All the Bright Places

All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You have been in every way all that anyone could be.… If anybody could have saved me it would have been you.

All the Bright Places is about two broken teenagers- Violet and Finch- who met in one of the most unusual ways- at the top of the bell tower where Finch had to talk Violet off a ledge and save her. From then, Violet becomes Finch’s reason to stay Awake and not fall into the Asleep, a metaphor for his depressive episodes. Finch also helps Violet come to terms with her sister’s death. This book is about two people who wants and needs to be saved.

In many ways, I see this book as similar in other young adult contemporary books that I have read- two broken teenagers, adventure and a rollercoaster of emotion. Violet is a girl who belongs to the “popular” crowd but doesn’t really feel like herself around her peers. This kind of girl is actually repetitive for several young adult books. On the other hand, Finch is an “outsider” who doesn’t feel like he belong with anybody at all. Again, a typical boy in a young adult book. Violet and Finch also gets to go on an adventure for a school project. Another typical element. What’s different here is how mental disorders are depicted. What I find different here is how mental disorders are depicted. I don’t think I’ve ever understand mental health the way I did in this book. Another thing that’s different for me is that I desperately longed for a happy ending. In these kinds of books, I accept that the story may end tragically from the beginning or middle of book to save myself from more pain. In this book, I couldn’t do it. I let myself believe that this story may have a  happy ending after all.

In this end, this book left me heartbroken. It is a good read for it opens your eyes of the reality of some other peoples’ lives. Yes, Finch is a fictional character but there is someone out there who might be fighting to stay Awake just as Finch does. Maybe there is someone out there who is desperately searching for something to live for. Maybe that’s why the story ended the way it did. It’s not telling us that there’s nothing to be done. It’s telling us that we need to act for something to be done. It makes us think about all the ways things could have turn out differently. So maybe, in our real lives, we can be more attentive. We can seek more help. We can try harder not to give up on other people. Some say that this book does not focus on hope. And yes, I do agree. This book focuses on regrets. And for some, this is  a better fuel to act.

Historical Fiction Romance

Recently, I have been reading historical fiction romances and I may be obssessed with it now.

One of the reasons I like these kinds of books is the setting. I like getting a glimpse of the society back then where getting a woman married is a necessity and getting ruined seems to be the end of the world. I think I like it because it is so very different from what I see in our society today. It’s also refreshing – the dialogues are very different and so is their humor.

Also, let’s admit it, the men in these books are really swoon-worthy. The books I have been reading lately have rakes as the center of interest of the main character. I guess I like that these guys fall in love really hard with their girl. My favorite so far is Rhys Winterborne of Lisa Kleypas’ Marrying Winterborne.

I guess I also liked the premise of the stories. Most books have almost similar plots – innocent girl meets experienced rake. There will be courtship or flirtations and then the girl might be ruined after a kiss or maybe they have slept together. The rake will then marry the girl but in the end he will realize that he is so lucky because he is indeed in love with the girl.

So far, I’ve only read Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas and I’ve enjoyed their books immensely. Needless to say, I haven’t had enough yet and will keep reading the Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn. I’ve only read The Duke and I, the first book of the family series, and I want more.

I highly recommend historical fiction romance for people like me who are hopeless romantic and wants something different from contemporary fiction today.

Red Queen

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Revolution needs a spark,” I murmur, repeating what Julian would say in our lessons. “And even sparks burn.

Red Queen is set in a world where people are divided into the color of their blood -Silvers, people who have evolved with powers, rule the reds who are considered inferior to them. Mare Barrow is a 17-year old Red girl steals for her family. “It is the best she can do,” she says, “…before she gets conscripted.” In this world, reds are sent to fight a war when they reach eighteen when they do not have jobs. But an accident turned things around for Mare. Instead of living as a Red, Mare must now pretend to be one of the Silvers and marry a prince.

Red Queen, even with the same elements of a dystopian story is kind of refreshing. Red Queen actually reminds me a lot of The Selection Series by Kiera Cass but with powers and a lot more of rebellion and war. Victoria Aveyard did a good job of creating this alternate world. While I was reading, Norta feels more and more real as I read on. The characters, especially Mare, is actually very relatable.Mare was driven by grief and love for family which for me sets her apart from the other main characters in other books. With her as the center, the book did not revolve about romance. It actually portrayed a lot of inequalities and the effects of war to people and families.

Enough about Mare… let’s talk about the swoon-worthy princes of Norta. Maven and Cal. I loved them both but I loved Maven much much more. Throughout the book, I understood where their princes are coming from. I understood their decisions. Cal, being the heir to the throne, was trained to always do the right thing. And Maven, oh Maven, the often overlooked son, my heart broke for him (though he broke my heart a thousand times more). Their love triangle is not a typical love triangle. I questioned more than once if there is really a love triangle at all. For me, it was clear who Mare reallys loves… but then… that plot twist!

The best (and at the same time, the worst) thing about Red Queen is the plot twist in the end. I sooooooo did not expect that. I was convinced that I would read the next books and let myself get lost in this world but that plot twist hurt me so much. I may not read the next book because of that plot twist. I just feel so betrayed. Even if the book already warned me that

Anyone can betray anyone.

Still, that plot twist is so unexpected.

Over all, I loved this book. Maybe  a bit too much – the reason for my review 0f 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend this book for dystopian book lovers. This book is filled with action, a bit of adventure and a love triangle – the ingredients of a dystopian book.


by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love you more than I hate everything else.

Landline is about Georgie McCool, her marriage with Neal and the struggle in juggling family life and career. Georgie McCool has been waiting for a big opportunity her entire career, however, in order to achieve it she must work around Christmas. Instead of staying with Georgie, Neal decided to go on with their trip with their children, leaving Georgie in Los Angeles that christmas. Georgie then starts to wonder if this is the end of their marriage. She goes home to their childhood bedroom where a yellow telephone allows her to talk to past Neal – before the marriage even happened. Georgie starts to wonder if it will be better if they didn’t marry at all. Is their love for each other enough? They are very different people with different interests after all.

Some romance books dwell on the beginning of love where the fire burns oh so brightly. This book, on the other hand, dwells on the love that has surpassed almost a couple of decades. This story is not about the expectation of love – it is really love itself. Most books would show love with grand gestures – showing up in front of your door and declaring your love to the other person. This book has that too. But the great thing is, it has more than that. This book shows us the truth. That there is more to love than the great things. Marriage is a hard work (I’m not married yet though so I’m just guessing here). And sometimes, it’s just a matter of choice between to go on and try again or just give up.

Even if the book is dealing with something heavy, the narrative is really light. I really enjoyed the shift from the present married life to the time they were just dating and starting their life together.The pace of the book is really exciting as well. The book is also very emotional as well. I also just chose to ignore the concept of a magic time-travelling phone since Rainbow Rowell didn’t really give us an explanation. Maybe it’s just really magic. Setting aside the magic phone, this book is actually very realistic with its portrayal of love.This book is really great but I just felt like there is something missing. I didn’t feel like I was really into the book the way I am with Colleen Hoover’s romances. I don’t know why but I just felt a little bit detached. That’s why I gave it four stars.

This book, even when it’s about marriage, will be a good read for everyone in my opinion. It will teach us a lot about relationships and ourselves too. Family is also a big component of this book. So if you’re looking for just a light-hearted book but you don’t want a shallow concept either, this book will be a good read for you.




Golden by Jessi Kirby

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

How many people have gotten older and forgotten about the things they hoped for and dreamed about when they were young? Or given up without ever taking a chance, or settled in life because it’s easier, or they’re scared, or whatever other excuses? How many people need a reminder of who they once were?

Parker Frost will soon graduate high school and she would graduate without every doing anything risky. Valedictorian of her class and up for a scholarship from the Cruz-Farnetti scholarship, she’s supposed to spend her remaining days as senior composing the speech that will make her win the the scholarship – ticket to the standford, premed and the life she thought she wanted.

But then, she finds Julianna Farnetti’s journal. Shane Cruz and Julianna Farnetti is the golden couple… until a stormy night where they plunged into a river…and gone forever without even a body to bury. After then, their families opened a scholarship program to help teenagers with their future, a life Shane and Julianna weren’t given a chance to.

But Julianna’s journal somehow tells a different kind of story than being the ‘golden’ couple. With the secret Julianna keeps before the accident, Parker knows there’s more to the story. With that, she was ready to do a risky thing and set out to an adventure with her best friend, Kat, and her long time crush, Trevor.

Golden, for me, is one of those typical coming of age story. Typical goody-two-shoes girl but then fate comes along and she starts to “live her life” and have fun. This book extremely reminded me of John Green’s Paper Towns – finding clues and then a road trip and a certain mystery. The romance is also typica. Parker always had  feelings for Trevor but never really acted upon it until her “risky” adventures.

Yes, the book is typical but it is still very enjoyable. I happen to love these kinds of books in spite of me expecting something more. I still found myself immersed into the book and involved with the characters. The book even got me thinking about my life choices and what I want to do with my “one wind and precious life”. And I guess that’s one of the things I like about a book- it makes you feel and it makes you think. The characters are very relatable. I think most of us were in that point when we have the rest of our life ahead of us and we are facing a decision that may change it forever. We are on that point where we dread that maybe some time in the future, we may look back at this moment and feel regrets and not gratitude. That’s exactly what Parker is going through.

Overall, I think it’s a good read. It’s not a “scream while reading” and “put-down-the-book-and cry” kind of a good book but a calming feeling kind of book.