Book Review

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Pages : 320

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Synopsis:

To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.

When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.

Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams. (Goodreads)

Review:

I read this book because the book “DragonsAndTeaBookClub” on instagram was reading this last month. This was a book that took me a while to get into. It told the story of a girl “fox” named Min who wanted to go find her brother after her family was told that he deserted in the line of duty in the space force. She decided to go and find her brother to prove to everyone that he was not a deserter. This led her on a wild adventure through space, working for an evil captain and making the most unlikely of friends.

I really enjoyed the aspect that this book was based loosely on Korean folklore mixed with a space narrative. I loved the whole aspect of space and that the story took place on different space crafts and traveled through the different planets. 

I loved the loyalty that Min had for her brother that she would do anything to defend his name. This book had mystical creatures, foxes who could shapeshift and use charm to get out of trouble, goblins conjuring junk food, and dragons possessing the powers to control the weather. 

This was a new release (January 15, 2019) in the middle-grade genre. At times I did find this book slow to read around the middle but the last 100 pages or so were extremely entertaining. I was super satisfied with the ending and felt that everything was tied together very nicely without loose ends. I can see this book being a stand-alone or it has the potential to be made into a series.

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Book Review

T is for Transformation| Book Review

Pages: 272
Published: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Rodale

T is for Transformation by Shaun T.
Synopsis:

“Your mind is a sledgehammer. Swing it!”

(Shaun T, pg. 20, 2017)

In T is for Transformation, Shaun T unveils the 7 transformational principles that guided his progress through life and that are at the core of his incredibly successful workouts. T is for Transformation is a motivational master class as Shaun shows you how to become more flexible and resourceful, give everything you’ve got, and, most importantly, trust and believe in your path to success. The only real obstacles in life are the mental ones, and T is for Transformation can train you to achieve astonishing results in your own life, just as Shaun T has in his. (Goodreads)

Review:

My rating: 5 of 5 stars!
“And another one, and another and another one bites the dust ” – Queen

I love Shaun T. I can remember the first time I saw an insanity infomercial and I knew that I needed to be doing this program. And that’s what I did all throughout high school and was in the best shape of my life.

So, when I heard that this man came out with a book I was on the quick train to pick it up at the bookstore. His writing mirrored a lot of the things that he says to you during a workout. “Trust and Believe” and “Dig Deeper”. But, those words not only have the context to me that I can push myself through a difficult workout, but I can push myself through life.

I read this book at the right time in my life, and I highlighted all my favorite quotes. This book makes you want to get up and get going and try to do all the difficult things that you have not done because of the little voice in your head thats telling you to doubt yourself.

Personally, I think that this book is a great read for athletes and performers. Shaun T, gets his roots as a dancer. It shows the difficulty of auditioning, injuries and life in L.a. as a performer. But, the powerful thing about this book is that no matter how many time Shaun was knocked down, he was passionate in what he was doing that nothing was going to stop him from getting up and going for his dreams.

There are a few trigger warnings such as child abuse, and rape.

This book also contains LGBTQ+ content.

I think this book is remarkable. I think it teaches a lot about tolerance, peoples differences, and acceptance. Throughout the book, Shaun shares his “Truthbombs” with the reader which are lessons that he has learned about the hardest times in his life. These truth bombs are followed by superpowers, and man those superpowers have the ability for you to feel amazing. Each of us has superpowers, and knowing how to unlock those superpowers is so powerful. I think the mind-shift that develops through this book really helps in unlocking those superpowers.

There is no quick fix to fixing your life, or fixing your body. Shaun, tells each one of his readers that they themselves and only themselves are in charge of the choices that they make every single day. Even those small choices that seem insignificant can play a big role in getting you closer to your dreams. My take away from this book is; show up every single day no matter how difficult it may seem because each little step is a step into the direction of your goals.

Half the game is showing up.

This book is an inspiration but it also gives you a glimpse into the life of Shaun T, and what events that have occurred in his life to make him the person he is today. Amazing would be a great way to sum it up.



As Many As Possible By 2019 · Book Review

A Wrinkle In Time |Book Review

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1)
Pages. 219
Published: November 7,2017
1st Edition Published in 1962
Publisher: Square Fish

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Synopsis:

It was a dark and stormy night.

Out of this wild night, a strange visitor comes to the Murry house and beckons Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe on a most dangerous and extraordinary adventure – one that will threaten their lives and our universe.

Winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal, A Wrinkle in Time is the first book in Madeleine L’Engle’s classic Time Quintet. (Goodreads)

REVIEW:
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a beautiful read! I listened to the audio book for this story. And it was so intriguing. I loved the characters and the plot was interesting to me. I think that this story has a deeper meaning.

It was written as a fantasy novel for the time, but it is something else indeed. I think everyone can find something to relate to in this book.

Apart from the magical elements in novel, the book holds a stronger meaning of love, friendship and family. And how the support from your friends and family can get you through the darkest of times.

I think that the darkness that is identified in the novel, is a darkness that is among all of us. Only love can break through the darkness and heals us.

This novel is beautiful with a lot of hidden meaning that is meant to be identified by the reader themselves.

Surprisingly enough this was not one of the books that I read in school, experiencing this for the first was something magical.

Madeline E’Langle has so many beautiful quotes but my favorite of these is the following one “the problem is, it’s not too difficult for kids, but that’s it’s difficult for grown ups. Too many grown ups tend to put themselves into little rooms with windows that don’t open and doors that are locked. And they want to close themselves off from new ideas.”



Book Review

Slayer by Kristine White | Book Review

By Kristen White
Pages:416
Published: January 18, 2019
Publisher: Simon Pulse

SYNOPSIS:

Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard. (Goodreads)

REVIEW:

This book was not what I expected. I was so eagerly waiting for a Buffy-verse book. I was disappointed that there was not as much interaction with Buffy and the original characters. With that said, lets talk about the book.

I really liked that there was a continuation of slayers post-Buffy. This was also the first Buffy-verse book that has been published and it gained popularity from Buffy fans recently. The reason I personally picked it up was that I loved the Buffy-verse so much. It was a no brainer for me that I will be reading it because I was an original Buffy Fan.

My disappointment came from the lack of interaction that happened between our main character Nina and Buffy. For an action/ adventure novel there was not a lot of action events that occurred. There was a lot of information on the Watchers, which is the main characters of the book.

I felt that there was a little confusion involving who the main evil was. The book messed with your head a little because the person that you thought it was, ended up not being it.

I liked the family tension in this book and how it ended up being more of a mystery that Nina had to solve without even knowing. Nina, always thought that her mother hated her but she had no idea why. She resented her mother for events that occurred in her childhood, among her looking for answers she finds information that changes her outlook on her life and her family.

I thought there was a lot of different events that were occurring that were action packed but they were very short and seemed to have an easy resolution to them. I am hoping to see Nina, the slayer fight a danger that is harder to resolve. I think I am comparing the book a little with the tv show in the sense that there were vampires that Buffy killed off easily but there usually was a bigger evil that was planning something. It would have been interesting to see the story play out at the same time from the evils perspective to understand that when Nina, is not fighting it isn’t because something isn’t brewing.

I really enjoyed that there was LGTBQ+ representation and it was done in a very nice way. The characters really cared about there partners and they were willing to risk their lives in order to save them.

Clearly, this is a series and I think the next books are going to get more in-depth of slayer action and Nina stepping into her role as a slayer. However, the ending of the first book left me with questions that I didn’t expect to have in the last 2% of the story.

I am hoping that the next book brings back more of the old characters because I think this generation of watchers can learn a thing or two from the scooby-gang.

Book Review

Girl Who Played with Fire | Review

Pages: 630
Published: March, 2010
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard

Synopsis:

Mikael Blomkvist, crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium, has decided to run a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation. On the eve of its publication, the two reporters responsible for the article are murdered, and the fingerprints found on the murder weapon belong to his friend, the troubled genius hacker Lisbeth Salander. Blomkvist, convinced of Salander’s innocence, plunges into an investigation. Meanwhile, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past.
(back cover) Goodreads

Review:

It had been a long time since the first time that I visited the world of Lisabeth Salander. Her world does not disappoint. I enjoyed the second installment of “the millennium” series. The book starts with a series of murders of which Lisabeth is being accused of. Our main character Mikael Blomkvist, is determined to prove Lisabeth’s innocence. 

This book gives a better glimpse into who Lisabeth is. Essentially, all of Sweden thinks she is guiltily but there is only one person who believes her innocence and is willing to go to hell and back to prove it.

It was interesting to see how even through the strained relationship that Blomkvist and Salander had throughout the book, he never stopped believing that she was innocent. He didn’t have much proof but, he knew her character. He had so much faith in her innocences that he stopped at nothing to prove it to be true. 

The story is connected with past events that begin to show why Lisabeth is the way she is. Everyone is portraying her as a nutcase but is she really or is someone trying to cover up their wrong doings? 

The second half of the book is extremely fast paced, as the mystery of the murders is being resolved. I personally loved Lisabeth’s character. I think that she is so strong, for how many events occurred to her that were not part of her doing . I also liked that her character was not seen to be painted in angelic form. She had a lot of flaws, but she never tried to pretend that she didn’t. 

This is a slow burn book- the events take time to occur and in the meantime the author gives little glimpse of our protagonist. There are a lot of side characters, who provide a lot background information to our main characters. At first I felt like there was way too much information about them but once you hit the resolution of the book it is so worth having all the side characters and story lines. Every single character in this book plays a role in making the story come together at the end. 

I love thriller novels, this one did not disappoint. The slow burn was very much worth it. The time that I spent reading this book, made me feel as if I was in Sweden. It was extremely nice to escape reality with this story, even though the content did have heavy based material such as rape, abuse, and prostitution. I thought it was written in a way that supported the novel and gave the reader a backstory to the events that occurred in the book. It was written in a very classy way. The ending was everything that I wanted and more. The book resolved so well. I can’t wait to read the next installment. 

Rest In Peace Mr. Larsson! ❤️

0 by 2020 · Book Review

Ignite Me | Book Review

Pages:421
Published: February 24, 2014
Harper Collins

Synopsis:

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her. Goodreads

REVIEW:

I loved this book. I shipped Warner and Juliette so freaking much. I honestly, did not expect to like this book as much as I thought I would. But, honestly, Warner made it so worth. Clearly, we already know that I am team Warner. I really enjoyed how Warner and Juliette’s relationship was portrayed as if they were equals. I noticed that Warner has always thought that Juliette is such as strong and independent character. He sees that she doesn’t need his protection and his belief in her makes her a stronger individual. I loved that he empowers her and doesn’t bring her down.

I struggled liking Adam, he seemed like such a little whinny character. He tries to protect Juliette while not letting her live up to her fullest potential. I loved Kenji so much, I thought that he can totally be my best friend. He is such a light and fun character. I think that he makes all the tough situations a little lighter. I also enjoyed seeing that he stands up for what he believes even though some of his actions can cause tension between the people in the Omega Point group. Oh my goodness, can I just give a shout out to James. I loved Adams little brother and I love his connection to Warner. James is such a light-hearted individual. I love that he wants to be part of the action but he is also so loved and protected by the others (Juliette, Kenji, Castle, Adam).

Also, there were some steamy romance scenes that I was just living for. I also really enjoyed that this book shows progression of mental health. When the series began you can see that Juliette has a lot of anxiety but as the series progresses she has some great quotes that she says that really show how she is dealing with her mental health and becoming a strong individual. I really enjoyed that Warner owns his flaws. He knows that he has done some bad things, he knows that he is not perfect and he never claims to be. I love that about him. I feel like Adam contradicts himself so much in this book, he claims to love Juliette but the moment that she does something that he is not happy with he shames her for it and makes her out to be this delicate person.

Genuinely enjoyed this book. I hope to get into “Restore Me” soon. I hope that romance between Warner and Juliette continues because I a 100% living for it.

book reflection · Book Review

Beautiful Disaster By Jamie McGuire| Review

15749887Synopsis: The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match. (Goodreads)

Review Reflection: 

This was a reread for me. I remember reading this book a few years ago and being completely goo-goo-gaga over Travis Maddox. This book is a love story, following a dysfunctional relationship between Travis and Abbey. Travis is known for sleeping with all the girls on campus and when he meets Abbey, for some reason he wants to change his ways and just be with her. Although, the two struggle with their past selfs and entangle in a dysfunctional abnormal relationship.

If you are looking for healthy romantic representation this is not it. This book shows everything that a relationship should not be, however, the writing and storyline are addicting to read. On a 5 star scale, as an older adult, I would rate this book starsstars/5 stars.  If you are reading this for the entertainment purposes I think you won’t be disappointed, if you are dissecting the book like a science experience, better hold your breath and were your safety goggles.

Initial Thoughts (2013) +Commentary

I loved this book from beginning to end. Although many people compare Jamie McGuire to E.L. James, I think that these two authors are nothing alike.

I really liked watching our female character Abby, grow from being just Travis’s best friend to girlfriend to a girl who stands up for her believes to Travis’s savior. (I still enjoyed this aspect of the book. I really liked how for the first half of the book, the main characters were just friends. It didn’t seem as insta-love, as a lot of young adult books are. )

Man, was Travis something else too. I loved his character. I enjoyed seeing his dark side and how Abby brought out the good in him. ( I still enjoyed seeing the chemistry between Abby and Travis. ) He is impulse and possessive. (Marina, what in the world?? Impulsivity and possessive is now a major turn off for me. In the book, Travis pretty much threatened anyone male who came within 50 feet of Abby. Those situations could have been dealt with in a much classier way.) But, something about his nature makes him sexy. He is afraid of losing the one thing in the world that means the most to him, Abby. He makes stupid decisions and sometimes says the wrong thing but, is willing to give up anything not to lose her. (The thing that makes their relationship irresistible is they go through so much shit together and yet at the end of the day after they decide to be together. I think that was a part that was important to see. Half the book the two main characters are not even together, then they get together and mess up only to break up again, but in the end that work out their differences. I think that in one way it is important to show that it is easy to walk away from something, but with your head on straight it is important to note how important a person is in your life and not be judged for giving second chances or wanting to try again. ) 

The minor characters were really great as well, Shep and America, try their hardest to protect both water and fire elements of Abbey’s and Travis’s personalities. (Still relevant) 

The ending of this book was shocking and unexpected. Overall, I was sad when it all came to an end. I can’t wait to read the story from Travis’s point of view in “Walking Disaster”. (Still, have not read this story from Travis’s point of view)

Book Review

Leah On The Offbeat | Becky Albertalli

35820414Pages: 368

Synopsis: Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended. (Goodreads)

Review:  stars stars stars /5

This book was one of my most anticipated reads this year. This was a book I bought on a release day. This very rarely happens. However, this book was over hyped for me. I wanted more from this book.

I really enjoyed our main character, she was such a kickass, firey, female lead. I saw a lot of myself in her. I enjoyed that this character was portrayed as a larger girl. I really enjoyed that there was a lot of LGBTQ+ representation which played a huge role in this story as the main character is trying to figure out her own sexuality.  I think is important to have LGBTQ+ representation just to be more aware of and know about because it is something that our society is open about. I also think that young adult and middle-grade books and media need to be putting out LGBTQ+ content because this is the most confusing age for people when they are coming out, or having feelings about the same gender. I think that books are a good way to offer support and make people feel like they are not alone.

I struggled to get behind the main character love interest. I loved it when the characters finally got together, but the process that made them get together was extremely long and overly dramatic. It also hurt a lot of people, which took away from the whimsical feel that I had after reading “Simon and the Homosapien Agenda”. I also felt that there were a lot of loose ends at the end that were not tied together. I was left with a lot of questions about what was going on with the other characters in the book.

I think that a major reason I gave this book a 3/5 is that it went back and forth on the development of relationships. The character would make progress in their relationship and then a few scenes later take a step back. It seemed that the relationships were constantly being started over, and although I enjoyed that this whole book is not a fluffy love story. I think it did do a good job of showing how one may be unsure of their sexuality and it supported that idea really well. I just didn’t agree on how that influenced the other characters I felt that a lot of the characters got hurt, and some of the hurt could have been lessened if the events played out differently.

I also did not like that there were a lot of loose ends at the end. There were many characters that didn’t get the proper closure that they should have. However,  I was pleased with the end result of the book between Leah and her love interest.

Leave me a comment down below letting me know if you read this book and if you liked it.

With Warm Cups of Tea and Just a Few More Chapters,

Rina

Book Review

Now or Never: 5 Steps to an Epic Life| Book Review

Now or NeverAuthor: Alexi Panos & Preston Smiles

Pages:  240

Format Devoured: Audio Book

Synopsis: Alexi Panos and Preston Smiles, the internationally recognized next generation thought leaders, redefine what’s possible in relationships, career, and life.

Alexi and Preston went through periods in each of their lives where they felt like they were doing all the right things, but never got the desired results. They read all the best books in self-empowerment and positive thinking, took classes, and sought advice, but there was always something missing. After all of their soul-searching and personal development, they realized that they were missing a connection between mind, body, and soul.

Based on their 12-week successful online program The Bridge Method, Now or Never combines the couple’s years of training into five principles that can help you navigate the real world, learn how to overcome your inner obstacles, and become your best self. Filled with narratives and stories from the duo’s own lives as well as from those they have helped along the way, Now or Never shares exercises, insights, and challenges to help you attain the personal freedom you have always been seeking.

If you want to lead an ideal life, you must become the best version of yourself. Alexi and Preston can be your guides. Choose your life. It’s now or never.

Bookish Thoughts:

This was good. It had a lot of great information and easy to follow prompts to get you thinking about the ideas that were presented in this book. I would love to own the physical copy of this book to mark up all my favorite lines and go back to reference information.

This was a book that was realistic in terms of how you can use the information in this book in your day to day life and it got you thinking about the things you would like to change while prompting you with how you can make those things a reality. I really enjoyed the little prompt questions at the end of each chapter because as a reader you are able to physically use the information rather than just absorb it.

The audiobook was enjoyable and read like a light radio show.

Fitness Journey

Oh, Hey!! Let’s be Vulnerable|Fitness Journey

I have been sitting on this idea for quite some time.  If you follow any of my social media you may know that I have been working on my own fitness journey for about a year now. This is something so personal to me, that it takes a lot to share this. But, I think its time to share, the good, the bad, the dark and the ugly. It scares me to be transparent about this. But, I feel since I do share a lot of my fitness routines on social media, I feel like I should share this as part of the blog.

This blog has always been my safe zone, my outlet for expression and although it terrifies me to share things other than books on here, I feel like this is an important journey that I would like to have documented.

I guess we should start at the beginning. As a child, the youngest I can personally remember myself is being around is 3 or 4, when my family took me to a summer home. To be honest the details are a little fuzzy. But, I remember clearly that eating food was not my idea of fun during that tender age. I was more interested in the butterflies that were flying around, or the bunny that hopped by. I would not sit still for a single moment. My mom likes to say that she would run after me with a spoon in her hand (in the literal sense- this actually happened) while I would be running around. Can you just imagine how long it took my poor mom to feed me a spoonful of soup? But, I sure kept her lean, as she ran around after me.

The food in Ukraine was so different from food in America. As I am told apples were a treat and hard to come by. But, the account of food that I do remember is lots of different soups, soups for all occasions. Chicken noodle has and will always be my favorite, and not that fake chicken noodle out of the can- the chicken noodle soup made of fresh ingredients and boiled carrots with thin little noodles. There was always a spoonful of love in that chicken noodle soup. The beautiful part of food in Ukraine there was no preservatives, a lot of the food was homemade and sold at the local markets. For example fresh made cottage cheese, let me tell you that stuff is to die for when made right.

I remember that for my fifth birthday- the first Mcdonalds opened. That is where I had my birthday lunch. My first happy meal- the food tasted so much different than the McDonalds food I would later try in California. I don’t know how Mcdonald’s food is distributed but I am a strong believer that the European McDonald’s food quality is a lot better than in the United States.

Then, a couple weeks later after my fifth birthday, we moved to San Diego. McDonald’s was on every corner, Pizza was served at every birthday party – no more glorious Russian food feasts, and very few people who drink tea after every single meal. My taste buds adapted very quickly and after a few weeks the tears that were cried because I refused to eat pizza, burgers etc, became pleas to be taken to Wendy’s as a treat. Life sure began to be different….

Stay tuned for the next installment!!

With warm cups of tea and a few more bites,

Rina