Sunday, 18 September 2016

Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Whispered by Clara Cheng at 1:17 am 3 lovely confession(s)

Publication Date: August 15th 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Owned, Paperback, 418 pages

Crowned by Evil.
Bound by Duty.
Divided by Love.

Celaena Sardothien, royal assassin, is the King of Adarlan's deadliest weapon. She must win her freedom through his enemies' blood - but she cannot bear to kill for the crown. And every death Celaena fakes, every lie she tells, put those she loves at risk.

Torn between her two protectors - a captain and a prince - and battling a dark force far greater than the king, Celaena must decide what she will fight for: her liberty, her heart or the fate of a kingdom...

My Review: ★★★★

"When you do, I want you to remember that it wouldn't have made any difference to me. It's never made any difference to me when it came to you. I'd still pick you. I'll always pick you."

This sequel to Throne of Glass delivered the best of it to me - action packed, swoon-worthy romance, inevitable heartbreaks and grief, substantial characters development, all of it. I could still smell the intensity hovering in the air when I turned to the last page.

We'd seen so much more in Celaena now. Underneath her femininity, she had gone through tough years and losses that caused her to live in severe pain, which she had built a high wall with a facade, and learnt to be the deadliest weapon to protect herself from vulnerability. Every piece of characteristic was delicate, aesthetic and beautifully written, especially the grief and loss she experienced in this book, as if I was feeling it too, slowly swallowed me bit by bit from the inside.

"The rest of the world quieted into nothing. In that moment, after ten long years, Celaena looked at Chaol and realized she was home."

The story strengthened my irrevocable affection for Chaol. I might have squealed a little when the ship started sailing, and I was on the brink of an overwhelming heartbreak when it began to sink. Even though Celaena was oftentimes ruthless and unmerciful, that was entirely not the case when it came to Chaol. He was kind, considerate, protective, loyal - everything a boyfriend material needs. He melted my heart just as he melted Celaena's, and it hurt me more than ever when the plot was twisted to the other way round.  

Dorian was sweeter in this sequel if that was even possible. I could absolutely sense that his character apparently has so much potential in the upcoming books, which had tremendously heightened up my anticipation towards the rest of this series, and leveled up my adoration for him, too.

In a nutshell, this book was one vehement journey that allowed us to take a glimpse of how huge the world building actually is for the entire series. You'll be pleasantly surprised. I solemnly promise.

Perfect for this book:

Two feet standing on a principle
Two hands longing for each other's warmth
Cold smoke seeping out of colder throats
Darkness falling, leaves nowhere to go

Still with feet touching
Still with eyes meeting
Still our hands match
Still with hearts beating

With love,
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Saturday, 3 September 2016

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Whispered by Clara Cheng at 3:58 pm 6 lovely confession(s)

Throne of Glass | Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: August 2nd 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Owned, Paperback, 404 pages

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly.
Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament - fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin's heart be melted?

My Review: ★★★★

"We all bear scars... Mine just happened to be more visible than most."

Okay, Throne of Glass is now officially, irrevocably becoming one of my most favorite series, ever.

I was absolutely devoured by the world building and the premise surrounding it, and I'm dying inside, hopelessly waiting to be rescued by my Chaol. It somehow makes me sad, seeing that the entire story and its characters were all merely creations by words plus the imagination of my own.

When I was first introduced to Celaena in this book, being the deadliest assassin, I expected her to be emotionally aloof and the barriers to her heart would be very much harder to breakthrough. Hence I was honestly surprised upon the realization that there was so much femininity in her - she cared about clothes, her appearance, and she pretty much aware of how others had been attracted by her beauty. It didn't really bother me though, in fact I admired her sensitivity on emotions, perhaps it was the softness hidden beneath that makes her stronger.

And CHAOL. Seriously, need I say more? I love Dorian too, but I feel Chaol and Celaena are meant to be together. I JUST FEEL IT.

All in all, if you asked me to describe the book in one word, I think I'm gonna let you down because there is no any single word I could muster to entirely fit in the awesomeness I've experienced while reading this book.

Perfect for this book:

Oh, all of these minutes passing, sick of feeling used
If you wanna break these walls down, you're gonna get bruised
Now my neck is open wide, begging for a fist around it
Already choking on my pride, so there's no use crying about it

With love,
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Sunday, 28 August 2016

Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Whispered by Clara Cheng at 8:34 pm 8 lovely confession(s)

It Ends With Us | Colleen Hoover 
Publication Date: August 2nd 2016
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Contemporary, Psychological
Owned, Kindle edition, 384 pages

Sometimes the one who loves you is the one who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up - she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing,

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan - her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

My Review: ★★★★

"In the future... if by some miracle you ever find yourself in the position to fall in love again... fall in love with me." He presses his lips against my forehead. "You're still my favorite person, Lily. Always will be."

This book wrecked me in the best possible way - I'm still being caught in the whirlwind of emotional turmoil, feeling the sorrowfulness in the hole of my shattered heart slowly seeping through my soul.

I have been suggested to start reading this book blindly, even without having a glimpse at the synopsis, but it was too late at that time because I had seen it several times. It somewhat worried me, I thought it would affect my connection with the story, but boy was I wrong. I totally did not see it coming. The brutally painful, heart-wrenching, ugly, naked truth.

The story was very difficult to be read because it was heavy with raw, emotional punch at the personal level. I could barely breathe for almost every single page, like I was anchored in the water as well. The fluid writing style made me fall in love and also fall apart - as if I was a part of the story, but honestly I doubted I could walk through all of these messes if it was me.

"I feel like everyone fakes who they really are, when deep down we're all equal amounts of screwed up. Some of us are just better at hiding it than others."

I must admit I adored all of the characters in this book, especially Lily, Atlas and Ryle. They were all flawed and broken, which made them beautifully human. It was saddening to uncover their pasts and travel along their constant struggles for survival - to live a better life, to behold on the hatred and compassion at the same time when everything hideous terrifyingly turned the superficial happiness over.

"There is no such thing as bad people. We're all just people who sometimes do bad things."

To simply say this was another aesthetically-written book by Colleen Hoover would be an understatement, because it was so much more. It delivered a strong and sensible message to all of the readers with powerful impact. I smiled through the beginning, and then wept through the rest of the story. The delicate layers of story entwined with characters' complexity totally made me feel it. Still feeling it.

And if you could only read a book under contemporary genre this year, read this.

Perfect for this book: Love in the Dark | Adele

You have given me something that I can't live without
You mustn't underestimate that when you're in doubt
But I don't want to carry on like everything is fine
The longer we ignore it all the more that we will fight
Please don't fall apart
I can't face your breaking heart
I'm trying to be brave
Stop asking me to stay

With love,
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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Review: Be With Me by J. Lynn

Whispered by Clara Cheng at 5:28 pm 5 lovely confession(s)

Be with Me | J. Lynn
Publication Date: February 4th 2014
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Romance, New Adult, Contemporary
Owned, Kindle edition, 365 pages

Teresa Hamilton is having a rough year - she's in love wit her big brother's best friend, but he hasn't spoken to her since they shared a truly amazing, mind-blowing, change-your-life kiss. She got out of a terrible relationship. And now an injury is threatening to end her dance career for good. It's time for Plan B - college. And maybe a chance to convince Jase that what they have together is real.

Jase Winstead has a huge secret that he's not telling anyone. Especially not his best friend's incredibly beautiful sister. Even though he and Teresa shared the hottest kiss of his life, he knows that his responsibilities must take priority. He certainly doesn't have time for a relationship. But it doesn't help that all he can think about kissing the one girl who could ruin everything for him.

As they're thrown together more and more, Jase and Tess can't keep denying their feelings for each other. But a familiar danger looms and tragedy strikes. As the campus recovers, the star-crossed couple must decide what they're willing to risk to be together, and what they're willing to lose if they're not.

My Review: ★★★★☆

"That's the thing about death that makes it useful. Death was always a reminder to the living to live - to live in the present and to look forward to the future."

Ever since I read Wait for You (Cam and Avery were my favorite OTP) and it instantly became one of my favorite reads last year, I've been eager to continue the series about the story of Jase and Tess. As expected, this book was another guilty pleasure, it especially helped when you were in a reading slump, because everything just effortlessly clicked the moment you started the first line of the story, and you would have been swept away, traveled along with them.

Just like the first book, this one was angst and emotionally driven, but with so many predictable twists and turns. Yes, you heard me right, predictable. The story line was somewhat cliche, almost all characters involved had their own emotional baggage, and when their secrets slowly unfolded, the entire book was overall dramatic - fulled with eventful scenes and heartbreaking revelations that sometimes you had to halt the reading because you could hardly breathe.

One of the aspects I absolutely adored in this book was the occasional appearances of Cam and Avery, they always uplifted the scenes to be even more lovey dovey, and further strengthened my obsessive belief that Cam was the perfect boyfriend material. Although Jase was less competitive with Cam constantly claiming the spotlight, he had his own charisma - protective, considerate and cupcake-ish sweet, which had frequently sent his chemistry with Tess off the charts. However, his hot and cold persona, the tendency to keep Tessa at arm's length even after kissing her slightly annoyed me, but he gradually compensated throughout the book, and everything was once again irresistibly swoon-worthy.  

Tess, on the other hand, was admirably brave and tough. A series of unfortunate screwed her over, but all of these had only made her stronger - like a life fighter. Her resilience and tenacity might be a little bit unrealistic, yet it did not affect my positive opinion on her any less.

Despite being overloaded with conflicts, the book was undeniably a captivating page turner. Even though the plot was predictable, the never-ending intensity often made my heart skip a beat and I had miserably failed to put the book down. I guess that is the true beauty of J. Lynn's writing, and I'm definitely going to dwell in her other books soon!

Perfect for this book:

Well, I'm not sure what this is gonna be
But with my eyes closed all I see
Is the skyline, through the window
The moon above you and the streets below

Hold my breath as you're moving in
Taste your lips and feel your skin
When the time comes, baby don't run, just kiss me slowly

With love, 
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Saturday, 13 August 2016

Playlist: Road Trip Upbeats

Whispered by Clara Cheng at 10:13 pm 6 lovely confession(s)

This playlist is rather spontaneous, it's like a random thought that strikes upon my mind when I was planning my upcoming birthday trip in September while the afternoon sun shines bright  - why not create a playlist of songs that we could blast all along the road trip? And you know, sharing is caring, so here it is.

1. Come On | A Great Big World

I wanna be a thought inside your mind
I wanna see the starlight through your eyes
What it's like?

This is the type of a song that will linger on your mind simply because of its catchy rhythm. Try to play this song in the afternoon while you're driving and staring at the cloudless blue sky, this song will definitely uplift your mood and make you sing along with it.

2. Faded | Alan Walker feat. Iselin Solheim

You were the shadow to my light
Did you feel us? Another star, you fade away

My relationship with this song is totally a love at first hearing. Iselin's voice is so delicate and celestial, and it never ceases to amaze me that how has her angelic voice perfectly matches with Alan Walker's electronic dance music.

3. Old Guitar | BUNT.

Sing me like an old love song
Baby take me everywhere you run
It's been too long, too long
Since I felt young

My boyfriend and I have instantly fallen in love with this song when we were aimlessly browsing at H&M last time, we even googled the lyrics because we had no idea who is the singer and our self-consciousness restrained us from asking around. Now, let me tell you, our passion for this country house music has never been faded ever since. 

4. Bitchin' Summer | Avril Lavigne

It's gonna be a bitchin' summer
We'll be livin' fast, kickin' ass together
Like high school lovebirds
Gonna have a blast make it last forever

Avril Lavigne is my favorite singer since her release of first album "Let Go" so it'll be an absolute crime if I didn't feature this song in the playlist. It has youthful lyrics that hypes you up for the summer and sends you into those nostalgic moments in high school.

5. Roses | The Chainsmokers feat. ROZES

Well, I'll be your daydream, I'll be your favorite things
We could be beautiful

This song is awfully addictive, I must say - actually many of their songs are - especially when you put on headphones and let the beats blast through your ears, I guarantee that you'll irresistibly hit the replay button over and over again. I guess that's why The Chainsmokers has risen up so surprisingly fast and most of their songs peaked at US & UK charts. 

6. Safe & Sound | Capital Cities 

I could show you love
In a tidal wave of mystery
You'll still be standing next to me

If you have listened to this song, does the trumpet send chills down your spine whenever you're playing it? Because I do experience the chills every single time. Even though the song has been released few years ago, it never gets old. 

7. A Sky Full of Stars | Coldplay

'Cause you're a sky, 'cause you're a sky full of stars
I'm gonna give you my heart

I always feel that this song is irrevocably a perfect companion for drivings and road trips at night, perhaps it's the title that creates the traveling, star gazing ambiance. Many people were missing Coldplay's alternative rock style when this song was released, but for me, their new attempt on the music deserves a round of applause, it's colorful and speaks the beauty of electronic dance.

8. Birds | Coldplay

Around here you never want to sleep all night
So start falling in love, start the riot and come rage with me
We don't need words and we'll be birds

I love how does this song lyrically deliver the message of infinity and boundless, of arms swaying freely like a bird - which constantly reminds me of road trips, because that's the purpose of traveling - to be yourself and feel alive.

9. Something In The Way You Move | Ellie Goulding

When our eyes meet, I can only see the end
And tonight the rain pours again

Ellie Goulding is my new love because of her synthpop album "Delirium". All of the songs are highly pop-oriented, which complements her distinctive vocal and unleashes a very appealing and ecstatic listen. This is one of the songs that offers the most buoyant rhythm, energetic enough to play along the journey.

10. Up | Olly Murs feat. Demi Lovato

I never meant to break your heart
Now I won't let this plane go down

Demi Lovato's powerful vocal combines with pop folk music that sends off positive vibes. Well, sign me up. Some songs will make you unconsciously smile while you sing along, this is one of those. I'm just really in love with the hopeful and bubbly atmosphere that this song fabricates.

11. Gone, Gone, Gone | Phillips Phillips

Give me reasons to believe
That you would do the same for me

This song is a breath of fresh air. It's arguably melodic and the lyrical content are memorable with strong determination about believing in love. The lively music often easily brightens up my day, which tempted me to make it as one of the ideal songs for road trips.

What songs will be on your playlist for road trips? Are any of these songs your favorite too?

With love,
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♥ La Sourire