Review – To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before | Jenny Han

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  • Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
  • Author: Jenny Han
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Release Date: April 15th 2014
  • Pages: 355

Blurb

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.


Every woman needs a good chick lit every now and then no matter how old they get! After a few challenging months of 2017, I needed just that – to get my reading mojo back on track. Happy to report, this book certainly did the trick in getting me out of my reading slump. Warning: this is a cute and fluffy read. Not for the hard-hearted 😛

Lara Jean is your typical teenager. Having to juggle between her non-existent love life, family, and school – she needed a platform to vent her emotions. She finds comfort in words so for every crush she experienced, she wrote a love letter. Once she writes the letter, she would keep it in her little teal hatbox, hidden from the world. She repeatedly does this along her teen years – 5 times altogether.

“My letters are for when I don’t want to be in love anymore. They’re for good-bye. Because after I write in my letter, I’m not longer consumed by my all-consuming love… My letters set me free. Or at least they’re supposed to.”

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a gem of its own. You will follow how Lara Jean is caught in situations where she has to deal with her previous love interests, and also potentially stumbling upon a few rekindles along the way. *hint hint* 

After her mother passed away, Lara Jean lived with her dad and two sisters – Margot and Kitty. I love the connection they share. The fatherly conversations. The strong sisterhood bond; backing each other up and diving into their many dramas together. There’s also Josh from next door, their childhood friend who is like family. The togetherness, care and love they share is very comforting. It makes you feel at home.

“Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s the part of the risk. I don’t want to be scared anymore.”

You will dive into Lara Jean’s many ups and downs as she goes through her late teenage phase. May even remind you of how you were during that age – a trip down memory lane! We have all gone through this crazy roller coaster ride, haven’t we? One way or another – crush after crush, heartbreak after heartbreak. But the way we handle them plays a part in developing our emotional strength and maturity.

“When I write, I hold nothing back. I write like he’ll never read it. Because he never will. Every secret thought, every careful observation, everything I’ve saved up inside me, I put it all in the letter. When I’m done, I seal it, I address it, and then I put it in my teal hatbox.”

The story of Lara Jean is both entertaining and full of lessons. At times, the young perspectives may come off as rather immature, but please keep on going. I could hardly put down this book once I started reading it. It’s very raw and truthful.

“I wonder what it’s like to have that much power over a boy. I don’t think I’d want it; it’s a lot of responsibility to hold a person’s heart in your hands.”

I love the warm feeling it gives you. It reminds you that yes love is crazy, but it is sure as hell worth it.

The book ends with a cliffhanger so I would suggest you to get the sequel, P.S. I Still Love you, right away. A promising start to the series. Looking forward to see what the sequel has to offer!

Rating: 

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Review – Our Chemical Hearts | Krystal Sutherland

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  • Title: Our Chemical Hearts
  • Author: Krystal Sutherland
  • Publisher: Hot Key Books
  • Release Date: October 4th 2016
  • Pages: 320

Blurb

Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love that he’s been hoping for just hasn’t been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he’s been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything’s about to change.

Grace isn’t who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys’ clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It’s obvious there’s something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn’t your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland’s brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.


Before we dive into what I think about this book, let us take a moment shall we, and appreciate this gorgeous cover! It is, hands down, one of my very favourite covers for the year – no surprise there. It’s simple yet gorgeous, and can you see how the fishes look very 3D-ish? Beautiful. I just couldn’t stop admiring it when I first received it. Just goes to show how a simple idea, if well-executed, can work wonders. Kudos, Theresa Evangelista!

Our Chemical Hearts is a story of first love. It’s warm and fun and sweet —- eh, hold on there. Let’s try again.

Our Chemical Hearts IS a story of first love, but it’s more than that. It’s a story on warm friendships and supportive families. It’s a story on tragedy and regret. Pain and forgiveness. It will take you through so many emotions; and that to me, shows just how well a writer can influence you.

I loved how the story was written in Henry’s point of view. His voice was very raw and convincing; which made it very easy to appreciate the writing. The funny thing is, some of the things he thought/said were kinda cliché – but it worked. IT. SO. WORKED. He has a very unique and imperfect personality which feels so REAL. Such a great character indeed. Put together with Grace’s mysterious ways, that’s where the magic happens.

“I didn’t want to tear off her clothes and kiss her. I just felt… drawn to her. Like gravity. I wanted to orbit her, be around her, the way the Earth orbits the sun.” 

If you’re into pop culture references you will have immense fun because this book is full of them – the Harry Potter references were spot on! Loved, loved it. I would say that the references in general were a bit too many in my opinion so if you are not really the movie-going type this book might not be for you. Unless you’re okay with researching stuff while you read, that’ll work too! Oh and if you’re not into some fandoms by the way – *cough* skins sparkles in the sunlight *cough* – you might find it entertaining too. Hehe!

“Edward Cullen, you poor, miserable bastard,” I said as I locked my phone screen and stared at the ceiling.”I should not have udged you so harshly.”

The story-telling was very well-thought and creative. You will find PowerPoint slides and Facebook conversations which scored the book extra points. I particularly loved how the author connected the different parts of the story with an old Japanese art of repairing broken poetry – Kintsugi. The Japanese believe that when something/someone has suffered damage and has some sort of a history, it becomes more beautiful. I’ve known this symbolic expression even before I read this book but seeing how it connected so well with the story made it ever more special.

Overall – a very strong, memorable YA contemporary standalone which will fill your heart with so much compassion and love. I would highly recommend reading this. Fragmented pieces, when patched up, will be whole.

Thank you for this, Krystal.

 “People don’t have soul mates. People make their soul mates.”

Rating: 

I would like to thank Pansing for this review copy in exchange for my honest review!

Review – Letters to You | Almaz A

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  • Title: Letters to You
  • Author: Almaz A
  • Publisher: Almaz
  • Release Date: August 1st 2016
  • Pages: 96

Blurb

Some people spend a lifetime looking for someone to call home. I found you.

Letters to You is Almaz’s debut poetry collection that narrates her journey to finding love by experiencing fear, hesitation, courage and ultimately letting herself freefall into the arms of her soulmate.


Sharing your love with someone is daunting, especially for those who have tasted its bitterness. Broken hearts doubt themselves and question the existence of true love. Though no matter how far deep this can swallow one’s self; there is always that longing to find love again. Love that can last. Love that can hold them together. Love that is encapsulated with hope, faith and courage.

And I’m trying, 

Trying so damn hard to unearth all the buried dreams I’ve forgotten about, 

Because I’m sure one of them was to love someone like you. 

Letters to You is a collection of poems written by the author for her lover. Every page draws you in with an array of emotions, peeking into memories of love you may relate to. As you immerse yourself into the book, you will see how beautiful love can unfold itself to, no matter how imperfect it may be.

You will always be that little piece of magic I carry with me wherever I go.

As I went on though, I realised that the poems were rather jumpy and sometimes repetitive; which could be seen as raw yet genuine. However,  I do believe that if there was more cohesion to it, the main message the author was trying to present could have been expressed more convincingly. Nonetheless, I must commend the author for stringing her words with so much heart, soul and honesty.

The book talks on old relationships, newfound love and all the securities and weariness in between. But most importantly, it is about the courage to believe again and experience love at its most fundamental. To allow it to take you through rain and shine; yet always finding a reason to smile at the end of the day.

I loved this book – read it in one sitting and kept on marking my favourite quotes as I progressed. I am definitely looking forward to more from this local author. Do read, and allow it surprise you with gems you may find.

 I fell in love with the way you held my hand and the way your breath whispered across my skin as you told me that 

it was okay to fall,

because our bodies may not have wings, 

but our souls already knew how to fly. 

Rating: 

I would like to thank the author, Almaz A, for this review copy in exchange for my honest review!

Review – After You | Jojo Moyes

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  • Title: After You
  • Author: Jojo Moyes
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Release Date: June 30th 2016
  • Pages: 409
  • Prequel: Me Before You

Blurb

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future…

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.


*Warning: Contains major spoilers from Me Before You and minor spoilers from After You.*

Me Before You is — hands-down one of my favourite contemporary reads of 2016. So when I knew there was going to be a sequel, GAHHHHH I was extremely excited.

With the death of one of the main characters from the first book, I didn’t really know what to expect from this one. But I felt that it has to be really good — cause why would we have a sequel for a book which had an incredibly good closure already?

Unfortunately, After You did not meet my expectations.

After You is largely about Lou – the story of her life after Will. The challenges she went through, her many discoveries, and her relationships with new people. Don’t get me wrong; I love the purpose of the book – sharing her story and showing how she has grown after the incident. However, I do feel that there should have been so much more depth in the plot. It feels rather unreal.

“I failed you, Will. I failed you in every way possible.” 

The plot was clunky and patchy. There was an introduction of an entirely new character which had zero connection with all the existing characters – Will’s daughter (like whaaaaaaaa–t?). It was not well-thought and the lack of continuity from Me Before You was distasteful. There was no solid direction throughout the book. There were many times when I felt – where is this story going? 

You may feel connected to Lou in ways where you can relate to her, and that’s okay. But this story should be so much more than her having to deal with an annoying, immature teenager and a terrible boss. It should more about Lou, rather than putting her character through “other people’s problems”. Didn’t Will give her enough difficult time already?

I felt her character needed more strength, vision, and empowerment. Where is that scene where she breaks free from all things pulling her back and make a real stand for herself? Where is the build up to something so amazingly surprising it would just keep you on your toes?

Even if I managed to wipe the whole thing from my memory, I would never be allowed to disassociate myself from Will’s death.  

I am disappointed with this sequel. I wish an epilogue was written at the end of Me Before You instead, rather than this long-winded book which did not do the prequel justice.

This is the part where I tell you that if you really want to know what happened to Lou, you should read this. I don’t have the heart to though. Me Before You is good enough as a very strong standalone. I believe Will would agree with me on this.

Pieces of him in pieces of me. Pieces of him where they shouldn’t be.

Rating: 

I would like to thank Penguin Books Malaysia for this review copy in exchange for my honest review!

Review – We Were on A Break | Lindsey Kelk

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  • Title: We Were on A Break
  • Author: Lindsey Kelk
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Release Date: October 6th 2016
  • Pages: 416

Blurb

Is it a break? Or is it a blip? ‘You’ve just had a holiday,’ I pointed out, trying not to yawn. ‘Wasn’t that enough of a break?’ ‘I don’t mean that kind of break.’ There’s nothing worse than the last day of holiday. Oh wait, there is. When what should have been a proposal turns into a break, Liv and Adam find themselves on opposite sides of the life they had mapped out. Friends and family all think they’re crazy; Liv throws herself into work – animals are so much simpler than humans – and Adam tries to get himself out of the hole he’s dug. But as the short break becomes a chasm, can they find a way back to each other? Most importantly, do they want to?


Before you ask, no this book has nothing to do with Friends, so sorry to disappoint dear fans! Having said that, I do feel the author should have acknowledged Ross’ well-known phrase “We Were on A Break” from the TV series. It would have been so much more fun for the readers! I talked to a few people on this and they did feel the no-mention was unforgivable. If there WAS a reference, I’m sorry but it was a no-show for me.  😦

We Were on A Break is a story on Liv and Adam. They have been dating for quite some time now and as they reach a certain stage of their relationship, the pressure to tie the knot mountains – both from family and friends, and internally as well. This book encompasses a truckload of emotions surrounding the expectations and everything that goes along with it. Love does, make the world go round. (Oh and a couple of crazy friends help with that too.)

HAS HE DONE IT YET?????????

My favourite part of this book is definitely the characters. There were so many good ones and each played a meaningful part in the overall story.

Plot wise, it did have a good direction to it but there wasn’t exactly anything out of the ordinary. It was a bit too typical and immature for my liking, to say the least.

The writing was great – nicely paced and understandable. Unfortunately, I did find it rather confusing (and annoying) at times when it came to the narrations. It was very difficult for me to distinguish between Adam and Liv’s voice as the swaps were not clearly stated and most of the time I could only guess at the end of first page into the chapter.

Sometimes, I realized, life didn’t work out quite how you’d imagined it would. 

And sometimes life was all the better for it. 

Overall, if you’re someone like me who rarely reads Chick Lit and have super high expectations for one worth my time, you can give this one a miss. I did enjoy the read, but it wasn’t memorable. But if you’re really into Chick Lit, by all means you could give this a try. I’m pretty sure you would enjoy the humour and lightness to it.

“I knew I should have taken her a pizza instead of flowers.”

Rating: 

I would like to thank Harper Collins International for this review copy in exchange for my honest review!

Review – Grief is the Thing with Feathers | Max Porter

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  • Title: Grief is the Thing with Feathers
  • Author: Max Porter
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Release Date: September 17th 2015
  • Pages: 114

Blurb

In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother’s sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.

In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow – antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This self-described sentimental bird is attracted to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months and physical pain of loss gives way to memories, this little unit of three begin to heal.

In this extraordinary debut – part novella, part polyphonic fable, part essay on grief, Max Porter’s compassion and bravura style combine to dazzling effect. Full of unexpected humour and profound emotional truth, Grief is the Thing with Feathers marks the arrival of a thrilling new talent.


“I saw my best friend cry over her dead dad.”

“I lost my own sister 2 years back.”

“I lost my close uncle yesterday.”

“I lost my twin brother 4 years ago. He died because of kidney failure. He was a fighter.” 

Grief is inevitable. The above are real stories from my own bookish friends. We’ve all gone through grief at least once in our lives. Question is, how do we heal?

My biggest worry right now is screwing up this review BECAUSE I NEED ALL OF YOU TO READ THIS BOOK RIGHT NOW AND PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THI- okay, you get the picture.

This book is by far the most unique book I have ever read so trust me, you need to read it as soon as you can. You need to read it at least once in your life. But once you do, you need to read it again, and again, and again.

When you’re happy,

When you’re sad,

When you want to make your next hour magical and consuming; in a train on the way to work, while waiting for your loved one to finish with their shopping, or just well – whenever.

Just please, just – read it.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers is story on how a crow helps two young boys and their father recover from their mother’s recent death and threatens to stay until the moment the family no longer needs him. Why a crow? The writer feels very strongly for this bird and believes that it acts as a good intermediary to bring the boys and their father together during this tough time. To help them cope and heal; a strong and bold symbol of hope. The story is not fluffy and full of sunshine – if that’s your idea of a book which can help you feel better. It’s raw yet hopeful. It’s truthful and convincing. Pages and pages of unexpected sadness, and cold, hard truths, but beyond that you will find humour, good memories and a breath of fresh air.

“Moving on, as a concept, is for stupid people, because any sensible person knows grief is a long-term project.”

Ironically, this story is very short – literally bite-sized, but it’s jam-packed with original and elegant prose entwined together.

The young boys are fragile. The father is putting up a strong front, but he is weak inside. You will see through all their insecurities, their thought process, their nightmares; even the crow’s. You will find comprehension questions at one point, and then suddenly come across funny sentence structures. It’s messed up and human. It’s a true reflection of grief. You will feel their sadness and struggles. You will be immensely consumed.

“the boys shouted

I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU

and their voice was the life and song of their mother.”

I love this book even more because words matter to the writer. While many authors seem to focus more on the overall story (in my opinion), I really appreciate it when more thought is put into stringing good sentences. When writing is done right, it really shows. So much beauty in the story, exactly what you’ll find in Grief is the Thing with Feathers. Not just words which are nicely printed on paper, but words which actually feel good in your head.

“Again. I beg everything again.”

It swallows you whole from the very beginning into a world you’ve never quite been before. It’s loud, it’s daring, it’s confident. It’s full of crazy words, and even crazier sentences; and will make you think – how did one piece it all together and still made sense? It will make you question all your earlier reading choices – I need to find more books like this. 

“Unfinished. Beautiful. Everything.”

This is the kind of book I would bring along a Dead Poets Society meeting. I have found it O Captain, my Captain! I will certainly treasure this work of art forever.

Rating: 

I would like to thank Faber & Faber for this wonderful review copy in exchange for my honest review!

Review – The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts | Annie Darling

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  • Title: The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts
  • Author: Annie Darling
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Release Date: July 31st 2016
  • Pages: 416

Blurb

Once upon a time in a crumbling London bookshop, Posy Morland spent her life lost in the pages of her favourite romantic novels.

So when Bookend’s eccentric owner, Lavinia, dies and leaves the shop to Posy, she must put down her books and join the real world. Because Posy hasn’t just inherited an ailing business, but also the unwelcome attentions of Lavinia’s grandson, Sebastian, AKA The Rudest Man In London™.

Posy has a cunning plan and six months to transform Bookends into the bookshop of her dreams – if only Sebastian would leave her alone to get on with it. As Posy and her friends fight to save their beloved bookshop, Posy’s drawn into a battle of wills with Sebastian, about whom she’s started to have some rather feverish fantasies…

Like her favourite romantic heroines, will she get her happy ever after too?


I was really excited to read Annie Darling’s debut novel after hearing so many good things about her. Oh and have you seen the cover? Super colourful and adorable, perfect for the story! I must also add that this book came in the mail when I was recovering from a high fever. Such good timing, thank you HarperCollins. 😉

The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts tells us the story of Posy’s journey in bringing an old bookshop, Bookends, to life after inheriting it from Lavinia after she died. Posy was both touched and worried when she was first told about this. She had absolutely no business acumen, what was she to do? Thankfully, her quest was supported by the other employees of Bookends who constantly gave feedback and ideas even though they very well knew Posy was as clueless as they were! To make matters more challenging, Lavinia’s only grandson, Sebastian, was such a pain in the neck. He prefers annoying them with his crazy ways rather than really helping.

Annie’s writing is like cotton candy – colourful, sweet and fun. She is capable of making typical items look better than they deserve. From her descriptions of clothes, streets and little jars of candies in tiny shops, she is bound to make you giggle with a happy, happy heart.

“…they’d pause as soon as they came to the delicatessen to look at the cheeses and sausages and brightly coloured edibles in glass jars all lovingly displayed in the windows.”

The storyline was very interesting and unique to me probably because I don’t remember the last time I read a book with a bookshop setting! I loved following through their journey in giving a new face to Bookends. From their brainstorming sessions, to decision-making, to actually putting it all together, the entrepreneur in me was really fascinated.

However, the romance side of the book was rather predictable in my opinion. Having said that, if the book is more about the setting up of the new bookshop rather than the romance, I would have been totally fine with it. But if we were to really focus on the romance theme as one of the very main themes, I am disappointed. The attachment lacked soul and euphoria. I wanted to feel a rush of emotions and have my heart swell in happiness. Indeed, a letdown for me.

Despite that, I am genuinely looking forward to the sequel. I believe Annie will develop more as she grows and establishes herself as a writer moving forward. The series does have a lot of potential and I will not give up on it too easily, just like how Posy never gave up on Bookends!

Rating: 

Thank you HarperCollins International for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review!