January 2016 || Looking Back

Looking Back

Hello everyone! Looking Back is a new monthly feature on this blog. It’s basically a recap of a specific month that I’ll be posting on the 1st or 2nd of every month. This will give you an insight on how I spent my month, involving both bookish and non-bookish elements. It also let’s me keep track of time and my progress, because let’s be real, a month can fly by without me really knowing what I did and I dislike coming out of a month with nothing to show for it.


Books

Books read/reviewed in January:

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  • Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon- 4 stars || Review
  • Not Okay Cupid by Heidi R. Kling- 4.5 stars || Review
  • The Girlfriend Request by Jodie Andrefski- 3 stars || Review
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard- 3.5 stars
  • The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder- 4.5 stars
  • The Secret to Letting Go by Katherine Fleet || Review

Total books read: 6

Book of the month: The Secret to Letting Go by Katherine Fleet

Books acquired in January:

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  • School of Deaths by Christopher Mannino || Review copy
  • The Truth Spell by Anita Oh || Review copy
  • Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake || ebook
  • Truthwitch by Susan Dennard || ebook
  • Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti || e-ARC
  • Love Me, Love Me Not by Alyxandra Harvey || e-ARC
  • Holding Court by K.C. Held || e-ARC
  • How Willa Got Her Groove Back by Emily McKay || e-ARC
  • The Secret to Letting Go by Katherine Fleet || e-ARC (Reviewed)
  • The Girlfriend Request by Jodie Andrefski || e-ARC (Reviewed)
  • Not Okay, Cupid by Heidi R. Kling || e-ARC (Reviewed)

Total books acquired: 11

Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge:

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Blogging

Posts in January:

Total posts: 7


Movies

Movies watched in the cinema:

I only watched one movie in the cinema this month which is The 5th Wave. My friends and I watched it on the first day of release and it was so good. Can’t compare it to the book since I haven’t read it yet but as a movie it’s enjoyable. And umm… the eye candy didn’t hurt either. 😉


TV Shows/ K-Dramas

TV Shows I watched in January:

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  • The Shannara Chronicles || Ep 1-5
  • Shadowhunters || Ep 1-3
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow || Ep 1-2
  • Grandfathered || Ep 10-13

K-Dramas I watched in January (first time watching):

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K-Dramas I watched in January (rewatch):

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For the K-Dramas if you click on the title you’ll be sent to its Drama Cool page where you can watch it with English subtitles. 🙂


Music

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I spent the second half of January obsessing over Panic! At the Disco and Brendon Urie’s exceptional vocals. I remember hearing ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ and ‘Nine in the Afternoon’ when I was way too young to actually get what the songs meant, especially Nine in the Afternoon. “But there’s no nine in the afternoon?”, the confusion was real and I think my parents were more than a little reluctant to explain to me the significance of the lyrics.

I stumbled upon ‘Nine in the Afternoon’ on Youtube recently, nostalgia hit and I somehow ended up listening to lots of their songs, even the latest album, Death of a Bachelor. So, now I can’t seem to stop listening to their songs, I’m actually listening to a playlist of them right now. My favorite changes constantly, but right now it’s ‘LA Devotee’. Or ‘Death of a Bachelor’. ‘Hallelujah’? ‘This is Gospel’, maybe?


Miscellaneous

  • I refrained from going to the recent Big Bad Wolf Double Trouble book and poster sale. I deserve a cookie.
  • Keira @ Signing On started a book club that Jackie @ fallinlovewithesoundofwords and I now co-own. You can check it out here.
  • I stayed up everyday till 3/4 a.m.. I feel like I’m able to get more things done at that time and I have trouble falling asleep, so…
  • I ended up re-reading more books than reading new books.
  • Every waking hour that wasn’t already occupied was spent stressing over college and my future. Now that I think of it, I even stressed while I was busy.
  • I don’t think anything else significant happened. To be honest, January passed in a blur of entertainment interlaced with stress and keeping myself busy.

    Overall

    Like I said, January was a blur and came to an end much sooner than I expected it to. 6 books really isn’t much for someone done with high school. I’ll be upping my game for February and hopefully no reading slumps will get in my way of slaying my TBR. It was a good month for TV shows and K-Dramas though, so I’m hoping to keep it up in February. As for movies, a film that I wanted to watch but didn’t get the chance to was The Boy. I might catch that with my friends this month along with Deadpool (YAY!). In terms of music I’m glad I got to really discover Panic! At the Disco.


    What do you think? Would you like to see more of these posts? Personally, I enjoyed doing this and found it oddly relaxing. Anyway, how did your January go? If you posted your own recap, leave a link in the comments and I’ll check it out. Share your thoughts with me! Hugs. ❤

The Secret to Letting Go by Katherine Fleet || ARC Review

28601381Title: The Secret to Letting Go

Author: Katherine Fleet

Series: –

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Publisher: Entangled: digiTeen

Pages: 367 pages, Kindle Edition

Publication Date: February 1st 2016

My Rating: ★★★★½


One summer can change everything…

Haunted with guilt after his girlfriend’s death, Daniel Hudson has no interest in committing to anyone. At the end of the summer, he’ll be leaving Florida for a new start in college. If only he could avoid the mysterious new girl in town, who seems every bit as naive and eccentric as she looks. Trouble is, she’s hard to ignore, with her beautiful piercing eyes, pitiful-looking dog, and unsettling tendency of finding trouble.

Clover Scott lived her whole life off the grid and arrives on the Gulf coast in search of her grandparents. She never expected to nearly drown, or get caught in a hurricane, or fall in love with the boy who rescues her. Now, she has a chance to rewrite her life’s story, to finally fit in somewhere, but Daniel wants answers about her past. When the police start asking questions about the disappearance of her parents, she must make a choice: go to jail or confess her secrets—even if they might destroy her chance at a happily-ever-after.


Hi all! I just finished reading this book and here I am writing this review- already! I usually give myself some time to think about the book and my thoughts on it, but this time is different because I already have my thoughts sorted out and I know exactly what to say. So, let’s get on with it!

If you’re new to my blog, you should know that I just can’t stay away from Entangled Teen books. I was drawn to The Secret of Letting Go the moment I saw its cover and read the blurb. (Because YA with some mystery and published by Entangled is so on. So on. Pretty cover’s just a bonus, guys.) 😀

I feel like this is a book you need to go into not knowing much, so you can properly enjoy the surprises and plot. What you need to know is that this book is beautifully written and will suck you in like a vortex. The writing while straightforward, is beautiful in an effortless way. The story alternates between Daniel and Clover in first person POV every few chapters or so.

Clover is unlike any character I’ve encountered before. She had her share of secrets and lies but she when it came to things not related to her past, she was so honest and straightforward. She didn’t see the need to lie about the way she felt or beat around the bush when she wanted to know something. Whether it’s about kissing or her feelings, she’ll just come right out and say what’s on her mind, often putting others on the spot. Having grown up the way she did, she was also pretty clueless about boys and social events. So she often spoke about those matters in a somewhat innocent manner. It was so refreshing to see the world the way Clover did. With innocence, wonder and compassion- unjaded by her past.

Daniel on the other hand is the exact opposite. He had the tendency to overthink and complicate everything. He liked to see things logically and was tinged with sadness after his girlfriend’s death, which he blamed himself for. I feel like he ran a bit hot and cold throughout the book but like he said, he’s not perfect and you can tell he put it a lot of effort. He had his own demons to face but he was always ready to defend/save Clover. Like Clover he has his flaws but that just makes them more believable.

Together, Clover and Daniel made a perfect team. They had a lot to teach and learn from each other, which they did. Clover changed the way Daniel saw and did things. She taught him to see and savor the finer things in life. Together, they lived in the moment until they couldn’t and had to face what was coming. Their relationship isn’t an easy, rosy one but it’s realistic and so are the choices they make.

Not only was I invested in the main characters, the supporting characters also had my attention. I loved Amelia, Daniel’s twin sister, who is the opposite of him with her tendency to act before thinking. I am now convinced that Amelia and Sam, Daniel’s best friend, need their own book because I need more of their relationship. Make it happen, please!

This book keeps you guessing what’s going to happen next and exactly what happened in the past. It’s like a puzzle and you’re given pieces of the puzzle gradually, so you have to connect the dots as you go and maybe you’re right, maybe you’re not. The only way to know is to keep reading.

Kudos to Katherine Fleet for keeping it real. I realised there were a lot of times where she could have taken the easy way out and just handed us a HEA, but she didn’t. She made it realistic, even if that meant asking the hard questions and going the long way. So you get full closure and nothing’s left unresolved.

One of the matters this book addresses is our habit of taking things for granted. To be honest, we are all guilty of that crime. We get so used to our luxuries and having our family and friends around that we stop appreciating them like we should. Seeing Clover and how foreign basic things are to her and the thrill of having loved ones, it makes you grateful for what you have. I just wanted to hug everyone after reading this book.

Overall, The Secret to Letting Go is a story about facing your fears, putting the past behind you but not hiding from it, and sacrifice. It’s fast paced and hooking so you will not be able to put it down, nor will you want to. I know I was hooked to it from the start to finish, and read it in one sitting, ignoring the rest of the world but only temporarily. I highly recommend this book to everyone. We can all learn a thing or two about life from Clover and Daniel.

We can’t change the past. All we can do is move forward.


That’s it for this review. I hope you enjoyed it and consider checking out The Secret of Letting Go because it truly is an exceptional book. If you’ve already read it, how did you find it? Chat with me in the comments! Hugs. ❤

Top Ten Tuesday #7: TBR Newbies

booksTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, it was created because of their love of lists and all things bookish. There are different lists every week and you can check out the topics on their website, they post some of them beforehand.


 

Only 19 days into 2016 and I’ve piled up my TBR with books- new and old.

Click on the covers to be sent to Goodreads

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

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Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?



Illuminae by Amie Kaufman

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.



Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

21414439On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.


The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

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Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.


The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry

25467698Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.


Defy by Sara B. Larson

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Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king’s army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince’s guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can’t prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she’s sworn to protect?


School of Deaths by Christopher Mannino

21798470Thrust into a world of men, can a timid girl find bravery as the first female Death?

Thirteen-year-old Suzie Sarnio always believed the Grim Reaper was a fairy tale image of a skeleton with a scythe. Now, forced to enter the College of Deaths, she finds herself training to bring souls from the Living World to the Hereafter. The task is demanding enough, but as the only female in the all-male College, she quickly becomes a target. Attacked by both classmates and strangers, Suzie is alone in a world where even her teachers want her to fail.

Scythes hungry for souls, Deaths who subjugate a race of mysterious magicians, and echoes of an ancient war with Dragons.

As her year progresses, Suzie suspects her presence isn’t an accident. She uncovers a plot to overthrow the World of Deaths. Now she must also discover the reason she’s been brought there: the first female Death in a million years.


The Secret to Letting Go by Katherine Fleet

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One summer can change everything…

Haunted with guilt after his girlfriend’s death, Daniel Hudson has no interest in committing to anyone. At the end of the summer, he’ll be leaving Florida for a new start in college. If only he could avoid the mysterious new girl in town, who seems every bit as naive and eccentric as she looks. Trouble is, she’s hard to ignore, with her beautiful piercing eyes, pitiful-looking dog, and unsettling tendency of finding trouble.

Clover Scott lived her whole life off the grid and arrives on the Gulf coast in search of her grandparents. She never expected to nearly drown, or get caught in a hurricane, or fall in love with the boy who rescues her. Now, she has a chance to rewrite her life’s story, to finally fit in somewhere, but Daniel wants answers about her past. When the police start asking questions about the disappearance of her parents, she must make a choice: go to jail or confess her secrets—even if they might destroy her chance at a happily-ever-after.


A Court of Mist and Fury

17927395Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court–but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms–and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future–and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.


 

Never Ever by Sara Saedi

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Wylie Dalton didn’t believe in fairy tales or love at first sight.

Then she met a real-life Peter Pan.

When Wylie encounters Phinn—confident, mature, and devastatingly handsome—at a party the night before her brother goes to juvie, she can’t believe how fast she falls for him. And that’s before he shows her how to fly.

Soon Wylie and her brothers find themselves whisked away to a mysterious tropical island off the coast of New York City where nobody ages beyond seventeen and life is a constant party. Wylie’s in heaven: now her brother won’t go to jail and she can escape her over-scheduled life with all its woes and responsibilities—permanently.

But the deeper Wylie falls for Phinn, the more she begins to discover has been kept from her and her brothers. Somebody on the island has been lying to her, but the truth can’t stay hidden forever.


Some of these books haven’t even been released yet but they are the latest additions to my TBR which is why I featured them. Do you see anything on my list also on yours? I hope you find some books on my list interesting enough to add to your TBR. Remember to leave a link to your TTT so I can check it out. Hugs! ❤

Mini Update

Hi guys! I just got back from an evening/night out with friends. We watched The 5th Wave and it was actually quite good. I can’t compare it to the book though, as I haven’t read it yet. What I can say is I am now very much in a reading mood (I was just telling my friend how I couldn’t seem to read or blog much this past week, alas, my saving grace has come), so I’ll be getting back to Red Queen which I had to put down because I either had other things to do or couldn’t really get into it. Right now, there’s nothing I’d like more than to read it, so read it I shall.

I’ll write up a review of The 5th Wave movie once I’ve read the book, which I am looking forward to reading.
Toodles!

Update:
This post was originally written on the 15th of January at 11 p.m., but I slept off and didn’t get much reading done or manage to post this- until today. I am still very much in a reading mood and am really getting into Red Queen right now. Later! ❤

Let the Read-Along Begin!

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Hello everyone! It is now Monday all over the world and with that our Red Queen Read-Along has begun.

Aubrey and Mel posted an announcement recently with all the details but I’m gonna post it again.

This read-along will run for a week, starting on the 11th (Monday) and ending on the 17th (Sunday).

To stay updated follow the hosts’ social media.

Aubrey @ Aubrey’s Book Nook

Goodreads: Aubrey (Aubrey’s Book Nook) // Twitter: @aubreysbooknook

Mel @ Dat Little Blog

Goodreads: Melanie // Twitter: @datpiratewitch // Instagram: @datbookishgirl

Myself

Goodreads: Tasha // Twitter: @heartinthebooks // Instagram: @heartinthebooks

I’m gonna do what Aubrey did by adding my post on Instagram:

This book has been on my TBR for awhile and I am so excited to read it with you! I know it’ll be so much fun!


Leave links to your social media in the comments below so I can follow/friend you. Let me know if you’re joining us. If you can’t make it from the start, you can always join us somewhere in between, no worries. I look forward to hearing from you. ❤

*Credits to Aubrey for the Instagram screenshot.

Not Okay, Cupid by Heidi R. Kling || ARC Review

28356550Title: Not Okay, Cupid

Author: Heidi R. Kling

Series: High School Heartbreakers Trilogy

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Publisher: Entangled: Crush

Pages: 234 pages, Kindle Edition

Publication Date: January 11th 2016

My Rating: ★★★★½


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The Girlfriend Request by Jodie Andrefski || ARC Review

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Title: The Girlfriend Request

Author: Jodie Andrefski

Series: –

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Publisher: Entangled: Crush

Pages: 216 pages, Kindle Edition

Publication Date: January 11th 2016

My Rating: ★★★


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