Friday, 14 August 2015

I've Moved!

Hello my lovelies!

I have big news!

So ever since about last December, when a good friend of mine moved from Blogger to Wordpress, I have been toying with the idea of moving. I was happy with Blogger and it's simplicity at that point in time but it's been over a year and I'm starting to crave a fresh design and a a sleeker design that Blogger can no longer give me.

My tipping point was probably when Sandee told me that she was considering moving. I just knew that It was what I needed. So I tinkered around with the site and realised that while it was more complex, it had the design and usability that I have been wanting for a while now.

So I did a bit more tinkering and exporting and importing and next thing you know, Page Twenty Three was born.

Now I am super happy because the name of this blog, Twenty Three Pages was a name that was my second choice. Page Twenty Three was my first and to find that it was available on Wordpress and not Blogger just seemed like a sign.

Also, I didn't lose anything. All my comments from you guys, my follows and my posts are all intact. So I want to thank you guys for sticking with me and I want to cordially invite you to continue to follow my journey by visiting my new site, https://twentythreepages.wordpress.com

I'm still learning about Wordpress and am still getting my site to look exactly the way I want it to but I want you guys to be able to still be able to read what I have to say and I don't want to go through a period of not posting.

I'm really excited about this move because I feel like my content has been lacking for a while now and I feel like this move has made me excited about my blog again and has made me want to write more. Not to mention that my holidays are coming up and I am going to be putting in a lot more effort into the content I put out and the photos I take. I can't wait!

I love you all very much. See you over at Wordpress.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

It's Kind of a Funny Story By Ned Vizzini


Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life - which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety.
Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness. -Goodreads
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*TRIGGER WARNING FOR DEPRESSION*

I don't know what it is  but lately, every book I've been reading has managed to strike a cord with me and has made me feel the need to tell you something about my life in the review. I don't know. But it's  very cathartic to write so I'm going to keep doing that.

This book is about a kid with depression. Craig has a good family and a bright future but midway through, he got depressed. This book just made me feel understood.

I don't think I have ever talked about this in great detail but when I was 14, I had what I can only describe as depression. I was struggling a lot in school. I couldn't keep up with my classmates academically because of my learning disabilities and that led to me believing what I was being fed at that point by my parents, tutors and teachers. That I was stupid and useless. I was also drowning socially. I had no friends and even the people I tried to hang out with bullied me mercilessly (I wasn't very strong when I was younger. I let people step over me because I wanted friends). My relationship with my mom was at it's worst. She was screaming at me nearly everyday. Life wasn't very good for me at that point.

I was so scared so I retreated into myself. I let my thoughts consume me and one day, I found myself in a very dark hole that I could not crawl out of. By this time, I was already crying myself to sleep, screaming into my pillows and starving myself because I was so afraid to face the school canteen by myself. I immersed myself in Jodi Picoult books and writing in my diary because it made the fact that I had no friends easier to bear. My mind, which had always been my safe place, had suddenly became a very scary prison. I would imagine killing myself. I even had a journal where I would plan it. I had everything I needed except the courage to do it. I would play everything out down to my funeral. At that time, I truly believed that no one would come to it. That my parents would be happier without me. That life would be better without me.

It's hard to convey to you just how real these thoughts were and how scared I was and anyone who has experienced this will say the same. Life was really really bad for me and I was drowning. Unfortunately, like many people, I was too scared to tell anyone. I never got formally diagnosed because my family refused to see my struggle. I left silent clues that I needed help. I silently projected my need and at one point even tried to self-harm (nothing too serious) but my parents refused to see them. They just refused to do it. So I struggled quietly. I self-diagnosed myself with depression with the online sources I had because I had no other choice.

By the end of 2011, I was at my worst. I was being held back a grade because I had stopped taking my ADHD medication and I just couldn't keep up anymore so I let everything slide. Life was bad.

2012 started rockily. I had a series of gastric attacks around New Year's time that eventually landed me in hospital with stomach and intestinal ulcers in February (now that I look back, maybe it was the stress of 2011 that made me sick). 2012 was a whole year of hospitals and tests and medication and all that meant that I was out of school majority of the time. I was also given a pain counsellor. These factors gave me time to be by myself as well as to talk to a professional about my feelings (I convinced her that I was no longer suicidal so that she wouldn't tell my parents. If you're feeling suicidal and get the opportunity to talk to a professional, don't do what I did. It may be scary but let them know. They need to know. Be braver then I was.)

By the end of 2012, I had a scary diagnosis of an incurable disease (I still have it). But I was in remission after a year of hell and life was looking up despite that. I did well in my exams despite my constant absences because it was just a repeat of the previous year. I just needed that headstart and I got it by repeating. I had friends finally and I was feeling good. I learnt to readjust and I slowly became okay again.

I still do get upset from time to time and I still can't listen to Rascal Flatts without spiralling but I'm much better. I'm happy. Which is all I could ever want.

I told you this story because I wanted you to understand how much this book and the struggle that Craig went through meant to me. I felt like I could really relate to Craig. I mean obviously since the author himself had depression and spent some time in a mental ward, he was in the best position to write a novel like this.

I hate it when authors try to tackle issues that they are unfamiliar with and end up looking stupid and ignorant about the subject. It's such a turn off so I'm so glad that Ned was able to write this.

I think this book is one of them that helps people come to terms with what they are going through. It makes you feel not crazy for what you are feeling and I'm grateful for Ned for helping me along.

The reason why this book lost it's one star from me is because I felt like a lot of the conversations felt stilted and a bit forced. I also didn't like that Noelle and Craig had insta-love going on. But at the heart of this book, the story was a good one and I recommend it to everyone.

By the way, the author, Ned, sadly took his life in December 2013.

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My Rating: 4/5 stars

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Book-Tube-A-Thon TBR

Hello friends! Today is August the 3rd and it is also the start of Book-Tube-A-Thon 2015!! So if you didn't know, Book-Tube-A-Thon is basically an annual readathon. It lasts a week till the 9th and it is huge in the book community. Every year, book tubers, bloggers, readers and book clubs will participate. They will pick 7 books based on the challenges and we will basically read as much as we can.

This is my first year participating and I'm going into it straight from the #TBRTakedown 2.0. So I know this is late but here's my TBR for this week:

1) Read a book with blue on the cover

More Happy Then Not by Adam Silvera

2) Read a book by an author who shares the same first letter of your last name 

Something Real by Heather Demetrios

3) Read someone else's favourite book

Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruitz Zafron (This is my brother's favourite book)

4) Read the last book you acquired 

Red Rising by Pierce Brown (This is my bookclub's BOTM)

5) Finish a book without letting go of it

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Niel Gaiman

6) Read a book you really want to read

The Storied Life Of A.J.Fikery by Gabrielle Zevin


7) Read seven books

Well that's my TBR for this week. I'm super duper excited for it and I hope you are too if you are participating. Tell me what books are on your TBR for this exciting week!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Two for the Road (Stories in Pairs, Set 3) By Ekta Garg


The First Story, “Excess Baggage”: Allison has just come home from a grueling business trip. All she wants to do is spend a quiet weekend at home parked in front of the TV or maybe curled up with a blanket. When a friend calls to ask her for a favor, though, all of Allison’s plans hit rough air.The Second Story, “Wrong Way”: With one daughter married and another in college, Rachel and Jim should be enjoying their time as a couple again. But Jim’s worries about his widowed mother force Rachel into a spur-of-the-moment road trip to check on the old bat. When Jim catches Rachel complaining to a friend, tension will ride with them in the car. Can Rachel make an apology stick?- Goodreads
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I don't really know how to start this review but I've been following this series since the beginning of the year when Ekta approached me with the first book. From then on, I've been following the series and reading each book as it's come out.

This book was different from the first two because the characters were different and it was generally more on the American side instead of the Asian side that Ekta was pushing in her first two books. I didn't mind that too much except for the fact that I was rather enjoying her bold take. I think it takes courage to write about Asians considering that the world is predominately Western and most books are written with a Western context. So I did miss that.

Each of her stories ended rather abruptly in my opinion and I would have very much liked to hear more of the stories though I have a feeling like the fourth book might have more elaboration. I don't know. Just a feeling.

Otherwise, it was a very lovey and short read. I read it in one sitting actually. I absolutely adore this series and I can't wait to read more.
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My Rating: 4/5 Stars
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the author to read and review*

Thursday, 23 July 2015

#TBRTakedown 2.0

Hey guys,

I feel like I haven't blogged in ages. Anyway, I thought I would write this to tell you guys that I am participating in the #TBRTakedown 2.0 which is starting tomorrow (Saturday) and it will be running for a week. So we end on the 31st of July. You can watch the official announcement video here:


I am so excited to be taking part in it and I'm even more excited that my whole bookclub is doing it as well. It's going to be so fun and the challenges for this are so much more doable. So before it begins, I thought I would share my TBR list for the challenge.

1. First Book in a series: Cinder

Sandee has hyped this book so much and I've heard and seen it everywhere so I really can't wait to get to it.

2. Sequel Book in a series: Heir Of Fire

I have read the first two books in the Throne Of Glass series and this is the second last book. The last book is coming out later this year. So I want to get this book read before that.

3. Out of your comfort zone : In Real Life: My Journey In A Pixilated World

I love Youtubers. That's no surprise. Joey isn't my favorite Youtuber and I don't really watch him but I watch Zoe Sugg obsessively and she read this while on holiday a few weeks ago and she loved it. At first I thought she was just promoting it because Joey is her friend but I've also seen a lot of good, objective reviews online so I'll give it a go.

4. On your shelf over a year (or the longest): Winger

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you would know that I've been trying to read this book every single month since last October. It's been on every one of my readathon lists and I'm determined to finally get to it.

5. Most recently hauled book: Elizabeth Is Missing

This is a bit of a cheat because it was not in my last haul but it was pretty recent so I guess it's okay.

Well that's all my books for the week long readathon. I'm so excited for it and I've been finishing up books in preparation for it. Realistically I think I will only be able to read 3 books max but one can hope. Are you joining the readathon? What are the books on your list? Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

I Loved You When



I loved you when I first laid eyes on you. I loved you when there were secret glances. I loved you when you smiled at me. When you sat next to me. When you talked to me. Your words leaving me beautifully dumbstruck. I loved you when everyone told me not to. I loved you when my pen gently carved your name into my journal. I loved you when it was wrong. I loved you when I knew I shouldn't. When I knew you would ruin me in so many ways. When I learnt what you had done. Yet I still loved you blindly. But I was too scared. To scared of rejection. Too scared of you. So I let myself continue to love you in my head. I guess I got too good at living there because you never saw. You never saw me. And eventually you began to love someone else. The funny thing is, I still love you. I still taste your name in my mouth before I say it. I still quietly tell my journal that you are perfect. I let you live in my heart and head even though you belong to someone else. I let my heart leap when I see you. When you look at me. I let it happen because I hope. I still hope. Maybe soon. But until then, in my heart you shall live until one day, someone takes your place.

C

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Wonder by RJ Palacio



You can't blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go.
Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all? -Goodreads
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I don't really know how to review this book. This book that made me feel queasy on the inside. This book that made me need to isolate myself to think and to write down half this review when I was only 56% into the book. I don't know what to say about it. So I'll talk about myself for a bit.

When I was in primary 6 (11 years old), I endured what I still think was the worst bullying I had ever experienced in my life. I was bullied all through my school life really. But I think primary 6 was the worst because I was aware. I was aware of what was happening and I let it happen.

So this is what happened. In my primary school class, much like the classrooms in Wonder, we sit in twos. I was sitting next to this girl. Let's call her Jo. Behind me were two others and in front of me, two more. I thought the 6 of us were the best of friends. We used to play during lunch and we would send notes in class and eat together. We were friends. Until I wasn't. I remember this clearly only because I wrote about it in great detail in my old diary but what happened was that I accidentally gave Jo the wrong page numbers for our homework. It was a complete accident. Mind you, Jo was in school that day. She just wasn't paying attention.

So the next day, she got into a lot of trouble for not doing her homework and I of course didn't. I apologised profusely but she was mad. That day, after recess, I received a note from her. It was a sort of a contract and it was signed by 5 people. The same 5 people that sat around me and who I thought were my friends. It said that I had to change my attitude because it was really bad. According to the contract, the people that signed it were promising to not talk to me at all until Jo decided that my attitude was better. There was no mention of what it was I did wrong or how I could change or anything. I didn't even know what I had done wrong. Because as far as I knew, I did nothing wrong. Again, I was 11. So this was much like my world had just exploded.

Okay so that was day 1. The next day, more people in my class started signing it. Next thing I knew, people in other classes had signed it. Very quickly, people I didn't even know began signing the stupid contract.  I would ask someone something and they would be like, "I can't talk to you. I signed the contract." This lasted a week before I finally said something to my dad who talked to my teacher. She scolded Jo and the others and made them rip up the contract and apologise to me. Of course the problem didn't just vanish. I mean, a lot of things happened that week. The problem wasn't just that there was a contract. There was so much more that happened and so much more that happened throughout the entire year. But I won't go into it. All I will say is that at the end, I still embarrassingly enough, had to grovel to get my 'friends' back. I was 11. I was foolish and I let it happen.

The point of this story though was that for 1 whole week I was ostracised by everyone. Even people I didn't know. I pretty much was Auggie in that week. It was the most horrible week of my life. I had never felt so isolated and so belittled. What did I do wrong? I did nothing except to exist. The feeling was just indescribably awful.

So when I read this book, especially the Jack Wills chapter when the entire school froze him out, I got it. And I didn't like it that I got it. I felt queasy. I felt trapped because all the emotions from that awful week came rushing back at me. I didn't like that I got it. I was in school and I actually had to isolate myself during lunch to write all this down.

Okay I've just finished the book so let me talk to you more about it. Don't worry. No spoilers here. So the writing was excellent. It was very believable that the narrators were mostly 11 year olds. The way they reacted to things was also very understandable of people their age. I liked how the author got into the minds of children instead of making them overly philosophical and annoying.

I went into this book expecting to cry. And I did. I cried a lot. I had a lot of weird feels that I have never had when it comes to any other book. It was just strange and amazing at the same time.

I think if anything, this book really makes you think about how you treat other people. It really forces you to think. I mean we all want to be like the character of Summer. We all want to believe that when faced with someone with a disability or abnormality, we will react like how Summer did. But the truth is, most of us are Charlottes or Jacks. We try but when push comes to shove, we cannot see it through. We cannot defend our friendships with the less popular people. We show little bit of kindness but really we will not stick by them. I am like that. You are like that. And I think this book challenges us to be Summer. I know that I will now look at life differently. I will try to be Summer in the way I treat people who have difficulties. I mean, I don't know anyone who would strive to be Julian so.

Overall this was an amazing book. It's definately one of my new favourites and I've just got The Julian Chapter into my kindle and I'm reading it now and it's so exciting because people have been raving about it and I need to read it. It's a novella in the POV of the bully in the book by the way. So go read it. Now. Like go right now. Go. Click here. Buy the book. Now. Go.
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My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Sunday, 28 June 2015

My Top 5 Books For (Half) Of 2015

Hey guys so it's June!

Yeah okay. It's been June for a while now....Um...yeah... Anyway, I don't exactly know how half a year has gone by but it has and I thought that this was the perfect time to do recommendation post. So I'm going to recommend 5 books to you based on what I have read over this last half year. I've read 54 books so far and if you want to see all the books, you can click here. Okay so let's get straight into it!

1) The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

If you only read one book this entire year, I would say read this one. I read this in the early part of the year and reviewed it here. So you can check out my full thoughts on it if you want. But basically this is a historical fiction book that follows the lives of two sisters as they try to survive in France which has just been taken over by the Nazis. If you are worried about the historical aspect, don't. Its not boring or overly factual. It's more fiction really. I cried so hard during this book. It broke my heart and then stomped on it. And I loved it!  In fact, this is the book that I have been recommending left and right and I will continue to recommend it for a very long time.

2) All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

This book was perfection. You can read my full review here. But it is essentially about these two kids. Theodore and Violet. They meet on the top of a bell tower when they are both trying to commit suicide. They pretty much save each other from that and they soon start hanging out and eventually they fall in love. This book has quite a hard ending. It made me cry and it made my heart hurt for days after. I still think about this book now and consider how it made me feel and react.

3) An Ember In The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

This book follows Laia, a slave who is trying to free her brother from prison. She joins the Resistance and in exchange for their help, they send her to one of the most dangerous places. They send her off to be a slave and spy of the Commandant. The woman in charge of the Masks. She is in charge of a training ground for Masks and she is deadly. Among the Masks is a boy called Elias. He is desperate to be free of the Mask life. He meets Laia and together they attempt to attain freedom. I absolutely loved this book. The world building in this one was excellent. I loved how complex the story was yet it managed to still be very much readable and enjoyable. Certainly something to pick up.

4) Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

This book was something I enjoyed greatly. It's about how this young girl named Jenna spends her whole life trying to find her mother who disappeared when she was 3. She enlists the help of a psychic, Serenity and a private investigator, Virgil to find her mom who walked out of a hospital and vanished after a trampling killed her co-worker at the elephant sanctuary where she worked. The book is shrouded in secrets and mystery and I love how the story twisted and turned all the way through. I especially loved how much I learnt about elephants through this novel. Jodi always does amazing research for her books so each of her books is a learning experience in itself. I completely recommend this if you like a good mystery and have a passion for animals. Actually, even if you don't have a passion for animals, Jodi will make you love them in this book.

5) A Court Of Thorns And Roses by Sarah J Maas

This book is a retelling of Beauty And The Beast. It's about a girl called Feyre who kills a wolf in the forest one day. Unfortunately, she doesn't realise that the wolf is a Faerie. Because of what she has done, a Faerie named Tamlin comes to take her over the wall that separates Faeries and humans and he keeps her captive there. Slowly, Feyre finds herself falling in love with Tamlin. The story twists and turns and spins around. It's a really amazing book that I just fell deeply in love with. I completely recommend it if you're looking for an interesting love story.

Well that's my recommendations for the first half of this year. I most likely will do another recommendation post at the end of the year. Hopefully by then I would have finished another 50 books which actually looks like it might happen if I keep going at the pace I am keeping with now. Honestly this half year has been full of really good books so check out all the books I've read if you want to find more great reads. Other then that, have a great Monday and an awesome week ahead!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Happy Birthday Page Twenty Three!

Hey guys! Guess what today is! It's my blog's first birthday!! Wow. One full freaking year. I can't even believe how fast time has flown by. It literally seems like yesterday that I was nervously rereading my very first post over and over again to make sure that it was completely perfect before I posted it. I remember I used to be so nervous that one of my real life friends might find my blog. That has changed a lot now though. I mean I tweet out links to my posts now.

I just... It's so incredible that I've managed to keep this little space on the Internet alive for a whole year. It's so wonderful that people read my rants, my reviews. That you guys enjoy my boring days and my exciting ones. It's mind blowing to me




When I started Page Twenty Three, I was warned that I would not be an overnight success. It is years of hard work. And that is so true. I still have a long way to go to get my blog out there and to attract readers. But It's so much fun. I just have so much fun thinking of ideas, photographing them, writing my posts and finally pressing the publish button.

I started this blog to be able to tell the world about what went through my mind. I wanted to bring a message across to my readers. And I am in the process of doing that. It is such a learning journey. I learn something new every time I post, every time someone contacts me about my blog. I learn something new everyday with this blog. And I couldn't be more grateful.

I think it is something so special to be given an opportunity to voice your opinions and thoughts in a public space. It's a lot of responsibility but it is an opportunity. There are thousands of blogs out there and anyone can make a blog. But it's a two way communication. If no one wanted to read what I had to say, I don't know if it would have been possible for me to keep this blog going. So I want to thank each and every one of you for listening to me. For giving me a voice and allowing me into your heads. I want to thank you for spending time out of your day to read what I have to say. It's such a privilege. I wish I could give all of you hugs.


Sunday, 21 June 2015

Feng Shui & Charlotte Nightingale By Pam Ferderbar


Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale' is an uplifting and hilarious fable about empowerment and perception, and the magical things that happen when we begin to see the glass as half full. 

Charlotte Nightingale has the worst luck in the world. Her cluttered apartment is the poster child for *shar chi* - poison luck in the realm of feng shui. Her boyfriend s a jerk, her job sucks, she's broke and her own family seems to hate her. Kwan, a handsome Chinese food delivery man and aspiring feng shui practitioner, takes pity on Charlotte. While Charlotte searches for the money to pay for the Emperors cashew chicken Kwan has delivered, he surreptitiously begins to move things around in Charlotte s apartment in accordance with the ancient art of placement - hoping to improve her life. 

Charlotte's luck subsequently appears to change in a big way. It goes from bad to worse - or so it seems.
 Charlotte is free to embark on a great adventure that will awaken in her a world of possibility where nothing is as simple as it seems. Until, in the end, Charlotte realizes that everything she ever wanted was right under her hose the whole time.  -Goodreads
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This book was everything that I wouldn't normally read. If I saw it in a bookshop, I would let my gaze slip right over it. But I guess that is why it's good to be a reviewer. You get exposed to books and genres that you would normally glean over. 

When I started reading this, I found it a little bit hard to get into. I just couldn't understand how one person could be that unlucky. It seemed almost over exaggerated. But after a few chapters, the words and the storyline became smoother and I was able to settle comfortably into the story. I have always said that the one thing about reading that I find most special is the fact that you can live a thousand lives through the pages of a book. Through this book, I was able to live the life of an extremely poor woman who was miserable and who had nothing much going for her. I was able to see her rise up from her troubles and decide to make the most of her life. I was able to learn more about feng shui which I previously knew very little of.

I found the book to be very uplifting. Initially I worried that it might be preachy and it was slightly at the end but it was very relevant to the storyline and I could forgive her ending because the rest of the book was just really good. I loved how three stories  merged into one. I also loved how funny Charlotte was. In fact, I thought she reminded me a lot of the brunette girl in 2 Broke Girls.



I found myself laughing out loud at certain parts and shaking my head at some parts and rolling my eyes at some parts (especially after that doctor boyfriend got involved). It was a very feel-good book. Just a very lovely, sweet read.

Overall, I'm really glad that Pam approached me to review this book. I really enjoyed it and I think Pam personally deserves all the success that this book is going to garner. If you want to watch the book trailer and see the cover reveal that I did a short while back, click here.

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My Rating: 4/5 Stars
*The book was given to me to read and review by the author*

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

How My Reading Habits Have Changed Since I Started Blogging



Hey guys! So recently, I started thinking about how blogging about books in particular and joining Goodreads has changed the way I read and the way I feel about books. Because honestly, there has been a major change ever since I started blogging about what I was reading. I have gone from loving books, to obsessing over books.

I have gone from being a casual reader to someone who is in a fast paced and snappy community (that I adore). I've gone from being a lonely reader to bouncing thoughts with my book club mates. And I thought you guys might like to hear about this because a lot of you may be new to the community or just may be curious about it.

So let's start with some background. I first blogged about a book last year in June when I posted my review of The Fault In Our Stars. After that all I did was lifestyle. And then in October, I decided that I wanted to do more book reviews so I did one on Gone Girl. It was also about that time when I joined Goodreads. And from that point, everything changed.

1) I Read More

It's not a big surprise to anyone that ever since I joined Goodreads and started blogging, I've read so much more. In fact, I read a total of 36 books last year but this year, I've already read 49 books and it's only June.

 So that's a huge jump. I guess it has to do a lot with the pressure I face externally. I used to just read whatever and whenever but now I have friends in the book community and new books are coming in every day and there is so much discussion going on that you feel left out if you haven't read the latest Sarah J Maas book or heard about the publishing date of the final book in a series. There's a lot of pressure to keep up but it's the good kind of pressure. The kind that pushes you to keep wanting to do better and to read more. I personally love it. It just drives me and makes me feel amazing.

2) I Know What and Who I'm Reading

In the past, I used to walk into a book store and not know a thing. I wouldn't know any author except one or two that I found particularly notable. I wouldn't know a thing about any of the books on the shelves until I read the blurbs. But now, when I walk into a book store, immediately everything is familiar. I know what I like and what I don't. I roughly know when books were published. I know about the author and if I've read books by them in the past. I can confidently say that I recognise about 70% of what is in a bookstore now. I'm still learning but it's quite a leap from knowing absolutely nothing.

3) I Feel Less Alone

I never really had friends who were super crazy about reading. I had a couple of friends who liked reading but usually never as much as I did. Reading to me was a lonely hobby. That is, until Goodreads and book blogs and booktubers popped up. Now, I no longer feel like I'm in this bubble of sorts. I feel like I'm part of a group of people. I can freely talk to people about what I'm reading and it's not like I'm talking to a wall anymore. I feel like I can finally share my passion for something with other people and form friendships through that. It's just a lot of fun.

Well I think that about sums it all up. It was just a short little post but I wanted to let you guys know how blessed I am to be part of this wonderful community of people. Honestly I don't know what I would do without some of the friends I've made here. I just feel like I have a place here which is something that I have never felt in most aspects of my life.

Okay I have no idea how to end this without it being awkward so...bye haha.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Feng Shui & Charlotte Nightingale By Pam Ferderbar (Cover Reveal)

Hey guys! So a month ago, I got a very quirky email asking me to review a new book. Now I'm quite careful about the books I accept for review because I don't want to end up not reading a book I agree to read. So against my better judgement, I said yes to this book. And it's been one of the best experiences I've ever had regarding advanced reading. Pam and I quickly became friends through our regular exchange of emails and I read her book and I loved it. I personally gave the book 4/5 stars and a full review will be posted very soon. Pam clued me in to every stage and it was just a wonderful process to watch everything take shape.

So I'm super stoked today to be finally revealing not just the book cover of Pam Ferderbar's new novel, Feng Shui & Charlotte Nightingale, but also her website and book trailer! So without further ado, here's the cover for Pam's new book!


Feng Shui and Charlotte Nightingale' is an uplifting and hilarious fable about empowerment and perception, and the magical things that happen when we begin to see the glass as half full. 

Charlotte Nightingale has the worst luck in the world. Her cluttered apartment is the poster child for *shar chi* - poison luck in the realm of feng shui. Her boyfriend s a jerk, her job sucks, she s broke and her own family seems to hate her. Every day is a bad hair day. Kwan, a handsome Chinese food delivery man and aspiring feng shui practitioner, takes pity on Charlotte. While Charlotte searches for the money to pay for the Emperors cashew chicken Kwan has delivered, he surreptitiously begins to move things around in Charlotte s apartment in accordance with the ancient art of placement - hoping to improve her life. 

Charlotte's luck subsequently appears to change in a big way. It goes from bad to worse - or so it seems. Charlotte finds a photo of her boyfriend with another woman, her car dies, she is fired from her job, the plumbing in her apartment explodes, and making matters worse, Charlotte s perfect, perky, designer-obsessed, blonde sister is about to marry a square-jawed, richer-than-god, insanely handsome plastic surgeon from Beverly Hills and the entire family loves nothing more than to rub Charlotte*s nose in it. Is it bad luck that sends Charlotte careening through calamity after calamity, or is it merely a matter of perspective? 

Without a loser boyfriend, beater car and an awful job, Charlotte is free to embark on a great adventure that will awaken in her a world of possibility where nothing is as simple as it seems. Until, in the end, Charlotte realizes that everything she ever wanted was right under her hose the whole time. The reader might ask whether feng shui, luck, voodoo, prayer or magic can effect change in a person s life, or whether an about-face is purely a function of attitude. Or better yet, whether perhaps it is a combination of all these things. -Goodreads

And as promised, here is the link to the hilarious book trailer:



For more information on her book, you can visit her website here.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Royal Wedding (The Princess Diaries #11) by Meg Cabot


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series, comes the very first adult installment, which follows Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they plan their fairy tale wedding--but a few poisoned apples could turn this happily-ever-after into a royal nightmare.

For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia's gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn't need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal oui.

But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother's leaked "fake" wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia's father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch. Can Mia prove to everyone--especially herself--that she's not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?
 -Goodreads
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Okay so let's get this out of the way. I haven't read any of the Princess Diaries books before this. But I love Meg Cabot so when I found out that she was coming up with a new book in her Princess Diaries series after 7 years, I just had to read it. So I got early access to this book and I was so so happy. 

I absolutely loved this book. I thought it was hilarious at all the right places and that it was relatable yet not over the top. You know how some annoying authors try too hard to be relatable  and they shove pop culture references every which way? Meg Cabot is one of the few authors that can do that and still make her book flow and be not annoying.

I loved the humour here. I found myself actually laughing out loud and grinning at so many points in the book. It was such a happy book. It made me happy. It was quirky, sassy and clumsy but it was beautiful.

This one can most certainly be read as a stand alone but much like the Shopaholic series, you would feel closer to the characters if you had read the previous 10 books. But I mean, I managed it. In fact, if I wasn't worried that I might be too old for it, I might consider picking up the previous 10 books. Though let's face it. I'll never be too old for Meg Cabot.  As it is I'm going to be rewatching the movies for sure.

The book releases today so go get your copy and enjoy the genius that is Meg Cabot!

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My Rating: 5/5 Stars
*An ARC was provided to me by the publishers to read and review*

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Semester Break TBR List



Hey hey hey! I'm so excited! Today is technically the start of my semester break! I say technically because we have this white space week that is intended to be this week where we don't have classes but we still have submissions and things. We are supposed to be pursuing our interests in this week but I have a pretty huge essay due this coming Friday which basically means that I will be working all week on that. Immediately after our white space week though is our two week long semester break. So I am on holiday till the 21st of June.

I'm really excited for that and I have packed in my driving lessons. I'm serious. I booked 15 lessons and some are back to back. I just don't want to have to deal with driving while I'm dealing with the second half of semester which is always ten times crazier then the first half.

But I will be having a lot more time to myself and I really want to slay my TBR list. Oh! I forgot to tell you guys that the Rainbow readathon ended at midnight today. Basically we had a week to read seven books that each had one of the colours of the rainbow on it's cover. This was my list for the readathon.

Red: Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Orange: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Yellow: Something Real by Heather  Demitrios
Green: Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Blue: Winger by Andrew Smith
Indigo: '89 Walls by Katie Pierson
Violet: Off The Page by Jodi Picoult

I ended up finishing 4 books (one wasn't in my list oops) in the week which was not ideal but considering that it was also hell week (submissions week), I think I did quite well. I usually can manage 2 books a week so I'm quite pleased with myself.

But back to my semester break TBR list!

1) Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot

This is the 11th book in the Princess Diaries series and it is one of the most anticipated books of 2015. I personally have never read The Princess Diaries (I know I know!) but I requested this novel and Edelweiss approved my request yesterday. So I'm hoping to finish this one before it releases on June 2nd.

2) Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

This one has been on my TBR for the longest time and it is currently the only Jodi Picoult book that I have yet to read. So I'm reading it this month because The Freshly Picked Book Club is doing this for their monthly read.  I was the one who actually suggested it haha. So I'm very excited about that.

3) Never Never #2 by Colleen Hoover

To be perfectly honest, I didn't enjoy the first book in this series. But because I read the first one and also because this is a short read, I've decided to just go for it. But quite frankly, I barely remember the first book and I haven't heard that many great reviews about it.

4) Winger by Andrew Smith

Another one that has been on my list forever. I had a few friends who read it and loved it so I wanted to give it a go.

5) Feng Shui & Charlotte Nightingale by Pam Ferderbar

Pam emailed me last month with this book and I'm quite excited to read it. It will probably be one of my earlier reads because it releases on June 21st and I'm part of the blog tour and cover reveal.

6) 89' Walls by Katie Pierson

This has been on my Netgalley shelf for quite a while so I'm hoping to get to it finally. It's also leftover from the Rainbow Readathon.

7) A Court Thorn Of Roses by Sara J Maas

I am actually already 22% into this book and I'm loving it but I put it down last week so that I could have a fresh start when we did the Rainbow Readathon. So this will most likely be one of the first books I finish this month.

8) Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

I have heard an equal number of good and bad reviews for this one and in particular, the Rainbow Club isn't enjoying this one. But I want to see it for myself so I'm going to try it.

9) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

It's a bit ambitious of me to aim for 9 books in 3 weeks but it's the holidays and I want to challenge myself. I've been pushing this book every single month this year but I've never got to it. So I want to finally read it.

I'm really excited to have some time to myself. It's so important to slow down and to actually enjoy life. I never have that luxury during semester. And I feel like I'm writing a reflection. Okay I'll stop. What are your TBR books for June?

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The Disney Book Tag



Hey guys! So I haven't blogged in quite a while and I feel like I've lost a limb. Somehow blogging has managed to become a very important part of my life in these last 11 months (my blog will be a year old next month!!). Unfortunately school has gotten very crazy and the stress is building. Between my numerous assignments and driving lessons, I've just not have much spare time. Well okay I do have spare time but in my spare time I try to do something other then writing (which guess what, I'm actually doing so much more of this year). So I've been reading and of course, watching way too much Youtube.


Since I've been on Goodreads and Youtube so much, I've discovered the Booktube community. And the Disney Book tag challenge has been going around on there a lot. So I decided to give it a go because it actually looks really interesting.


1. The Little Mermaid - A character who is out of their element, a “fish out of water”


I would say 'We Were Liars' by E.Lockhart. I know I never really talked much about this book after I read it because it's honestly better to not know anything before you go into it. But Candence was a complete 'fish out of water'. She was constantly being treated with kid gloves and always being fussed over and she constantly felt like the odd one out among the Liars. 


2. Cinderella - A character who goes through a major transformation


The Tail Of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler. This was one of my favourite books from my childhood. Basically this girl Emily learns that the reason her mother never let her in the water was that her father was a merman and so she is half mermaid and she sprouts a tail when she gets in the water. It was a whole series that consisted of a few books and it was so magical and wonderful. All the feels remembering that one. 


3. Snow White - A book with an eclectic cast of characters


All I can think of is The Mortal Instruments series. I think Jace, Clary, Simon, Isabelle, Alec and Magnus made such an awesome kickass team.


4. Sleeping Beauty - A book that put you to sleep


Well this is a difficult question because I usually read myself to sleep and I'll wake up with my Kindle under me or something. The thing is, I plan to read myself to sleep. So it's not like the book is boring or anything. But I guess in terms of books that were dry enough to make me need to reread paragraphs over and over, I would pick Wanted by Amanda Lance. That book was annoying and a horrific train wreck.


5. The Lion King - A character who had something traumatic happen to them in childhood


The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah. This is my absolute favourite book in the whole wide entire universe. So there are 2 kids in the book and the most horrible and traumatic thing to happen to them is that their fathers have to leave to fight in the army and I don't want to spoil it but the Nazi's invaded and I'm sure you can imagine how horrible a childhood they had after that.


6. Beauty and the Beast - A beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by, but found the story to be beautiful


This is going to be weird because this book was technically a DNF. Okay so the book is 11.22.63 by Stephen King. I read it when I was in Secondary school and I actually loved the book. Except that with my exams and stuff I didn't have time to finish reading it and I had it for weeks under my desk and I had renewed it about 4 or 5 times at the library so I finally decided to let it go. I hope to one day pick it back up and continue it though because it was really good.


7. Aladdin - A character who gets their wish granted, for better or worse


My Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. Spoiler Alert: Aysel got her wish because Roman didn't die. So obviously it's for the better.

8. Mulan - A character who pretends to be someone or something they are not


 Mara Dyer from the Mara Dyer Trilogy. For the first book in the trilogy especially, she was constantly denying that she had any powers or that anything was wrong with her. 


9. Toy Story - A book with characters you wish would come to life


This is not even a question oh my gosh. I have honestly never heard of any reader who does not want the characters of their books to come to life. But if I had to pick just one, I would pick Park from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. You guys know that it is one of my top books ever and i just think that Park makes an excellent boyfriend. He's such a gentleman and he respects that Eleanor is scared. He protects her, loves her despite her flaws and he is just always there for her. I mean how could you ask for any more? 


10. Disney Descendants - Your favorite villain or morally ambiguous character


Cal from Red Queen by Victoria Avyard. I mean lets face it. A tag like this just wouldn't be complete without Red Queen yes? Yes. So I really think Cal was super morally ambiguous. He started out as the good guy, then the sort of bad guy then the reluctant good guy and just....ahh swoon worthy!!!

Thursday, 7 May 2015

The Mara Dyer Trilogy By Michelle Hodkin


Mara Dyer believes life can't get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can. 
She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her strangely unharmed. 
There is. -Goodreads
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I don't really know what made me decide to pick this book up. It isn't in my usual genre. I don't really do paranormal. There wasn't much to go on in terms of a blurb and pretty much everyone said that the book was creepy. I don't do creepy. So I don't know why but I just decided to dive in.

I finished all three books last month and I thought I would review them all together in one post instead of individually because I personally felt like it could have really just have been one big giant novel instead of three. The books flowed together really well. Each book just bled into the next. With every new novel, there wasn't any form of reintroduction of any of the characters. It was just continuous. So randomly she would bring in an obscure character from book 1 in book 3 and expect you to know who they are. But considering that I read the books (almost) in succession, I found that it was alright.

The writing itself was strong and it was easy to follow along. The book grips you and draws you in. She has a sort of addictive writing style that I love. It just made it harder to put down. Personally I felt that the first book was the best. The second book was alright but the third book just didn't do it for me which was disappointing. And if you're confused, writing style and storyline are two very different things. Both need to be excellent before you can get the perfect novel. I felt that Hodkin lacked a bit in the storyline aspect. It was an interesting premise but it was quite unbelievable. 

Throughout the book, you get loads and loads of unanswered questions. You find yourself desperately wanting to know the answers only to find that the book has ended without any resolution. It was very frustrating in my opinion. Especially in the third book, after you've invested so much time into the trilogy, you would expect an epic conclusion. However what you get is a confusing ending that doesn't exactly make the most sense. I personally just wanted more with the ending. I can't tell you what I was looking for exactly but I wanted more. I wanted to know how the villains in the book were able to do what they did without being supernatural. I wanted to know how the police didn't get involved at all. I still have questions and it annoys me that they went unanswered.

I think Hodkins just got a bit too excited with making the book different and as creepy as she possibly could and simply forgot that not everything she included could have simply been explained away by her weak conclusion.

Final bit of advice I would give you before going into the book, I found the book to be quite creepy. It started to get to the point of almost horror in book two especially. I found myself being afraid of mirrors at night and little things. So I suppose if you're into creepy horror kinds of stories, you might really enjoy this one. I personally didn't enjoy the horror aspect of this trilogy. If you scare easily, this might not be it for you. There's a bit of gore, a bit of horror and a hell load of creepy in this one.

As always, I'll leave you to decide after all that if you still want to pick up this series. It is a good. It really is. It's just that it leaves you wanting more even after the final book.
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My Rating: 3/5 Stars

Purchase the books at The Book Depositary using my special link Here

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Sunday Summary: Back To School & Learning To Drive

First Day Outfit 
Hey guys! Wow I haven't done a Sunday Summary in absolutely ages. My last one was in November. But this week was an eventful one and so I thought why not. Plus I really wanted to write but I didn't know what to post.

1) This was my first week of Year 2! It's been interesting so far I suppose. My timetable is absolutely crappy. I've got early classes every day except Wednesday. Two of my teachers are 'laptops down' kind of people so I have to print out lecture notes and readings every week now which is beyond annoying. And there's other stuff going on that is making me miserable but it will probably not end well for me if I post about it here.

2) I started driving this week! I did one lesson on Thursday and another one on Saturday. I did countless laps around the small circuit and so far I think I'm doing pretty well. I mistook the accelerator for the brake once and nearly hit the curb too many times but it's been going well. I absolutely love driving. It gives me such a high. I'm just worried about getting to the point where I don't have someone next to me watching my mirrors for me and getting ready to slam the breaks or grab the wheel if I make a mistake. So far simply driving at around 15km/hr requires 100% of my attention. I can't imagine having to add checking my mirrors and changing lanes to the mix. But I guess everyone learns eventually.


3) I finally joined a CCA! Well 2 actually. Vid and I joined two groups that help people and that volunteers at places. It's totally up my avenue so I'm excited about that.

4) I had two anxiety attacks this week plus one almost attack. One was before school started on Monday. The almost one was right before my first driving lesson and the latest attack was this morning. I woke up and my dad was leaving for his week long business trip. So I was missing him. And then I was scrolling through the Nepal tag on twitter and catching up with the developments of the rescue mission. I guess that was what really triggered it. It just got me thinking a lot about death and I was worried about my dad. What finally tossed me over the edge was that I walked out of my room to find that my mom had gone to the AGM meeting at church. I probably would have been okay if I had seen her but I didn't and so it was just a combination of my parents and the earthquake in Nepal that made me feel really panicky, scared and alone. I was pacing the length of my house and trying my best to calm down but I couldn't for quite a while because I was breathing too fast. Anyway it took me a while to come down from that and I really wanted to just write and get it off my chest.

 I don't know. Ever since my grandpa died, I've become so sensitive to death. Every time I see a death on TV or hear about it on the news or even think about it, everything I felt watching my grandpa's coffin being closed and being rolled into the cremation chamber thing just comes rushing back at me in full force. I don't know if that's normal or whatever but that's what's been triggering a lot of anxiety for me. It happened last week in the middle of the night as well. It was again triggered because I was thinking of his funeral. I really don't know. All I know is that anxiety is really becoming a part of my life and I'm scared about that.

5) On a slightly lighter but still not so light note, Derek Shepard from Grey's Anatomy has just died. I've watched his character develop for 11 seasons. I've watched Derek and Meredith fall in love. Watched them adopt Zola. Watched Meredith give birth, build their house, build a life. I sobbed harder then I've ever sobbed for a TV show. It was awful.

I've probably rambled on enough and it's almost dinner time so I should probably go. Here's to a better week 2.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Hometown Hunt

Hey guys! So guess what. Summer is around the corner and I quite frankly don't understand why the heck everyone is so excited. I live in Singapore and that means we have one weather all year round, every single day of our lives, and that is BLOOMING HOT.

But okay. One of my top readerships come from America so I'll cater to you guys who have the wonderful experience of four seasons in this post.

I recently discovered Eventbrite . Eventbrite is this cool site that helps you find and get the word out about events happening in your area. You can even visit their 'Sell Tickets' page to promote and track your events. But what really struck me was their 'Hometown Hunt' project. So basically, they are asking bloggers from all over the world to share more about a particular place in their country that does really cool events and things. Now you know me. I spend 50% of my life at home and the other 50% in school. So this question really made me think.

I finally decided to settle on the Grand Theatre at Marina Bay Sands. I first went there to watch the Broadway version of Lion King. It was the best musical I've ever watched. It was truly epic. The second time I visited was with my classmates. Our school too us to see the Broadway adaptation of The Sound Of Music. Again, I completely enjoyed myself.

The theatre is huge and gorgeous. It all just comes together to form this authentic experience of going to the theatre.

They put out all the Broadway shows which I personally adore. I love live musicals and so I love this place. If you're ever in Singapore, this is the place to go to watch a show.

*Apologies for the lack of quality on the pictures. These were crappy iPhone shots and my computer was being difficult when I tried to edit it*



Monday, 20 April 2015

Red Queen By Victoria Aveyard


The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win? -Goodreads
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THIS BOOK. 

THIS FREAKING BOOK.

I LOVED IT SO MUCH DAMMIT.

Okay so here's the story. I have basically not read a single fantasy novel since I did the whole Mortal Instruments series back in January 2014. I've been doing contemporary ever since and I finally decided that I wanted to sprinkle a bit of fantasy back into my reading lists. So I picked up Red Queen. It had good ratings and people generally seemed pretty obsessed with this book. So I plunged. AND OH MY THIS BOOK WAS GOOD.

From the very first chapter, I knew that this was going to be a good book. You know how sometimes you can just tell if a book is going to tank or if its going to soar? Well I knew this was going to be great. The writing was easy to read. It was smooth. The words and the style just flowed over my brain and tongue.  (Don't you dare tell me that you don't understand that. I know you do)It was very easy to follow along and to place myself in that castle and in that village. It was easy to merge myself into their world and to feel what they were feeling. 

I did read a number of reviews before reading the book though and everyone mentioned that there was a sort of twist at the end. So I kind of saw what was about to happen before it did and that softened the blow which I was a bit upset about. But it was still pretty cool. I mean it still affects you and you're still left with that 'what the hell' face after.

I was also really impressed with the way Victoria handled the conflict in this book. Usually when I read scenes with conflict in it, I tend to roll my eyes a lot because it's hard to control. Often it can end up sounding fake or overly dramatic. But in this book, Victoria did an excellent job. There was perfect control in her writing. I didn't find any parts to be too dramatic or anything like that.

A lot of people complain that this book bears many similarities to other fantasy novels but I don't read a lot of fantasy so to me, the whole idea of the story was shiny and new.

Overall this was an absolutely excellent book. I would recommend it to anyone especially people who are looking to read more fantasy novels. I literally can't wait for the second book in the series which will unfortunately only be out next year.
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My Rating: 5/5
Purchase the books at The Book Depositary using my special link Here