January 31, 2015

Review ~ Fairest (Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer


In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Book Depository


Every villain is a hero in his own mind.” –Tom Hiddleston

This is exactly how I would describe Levana after reading Fairest. The revelations about the Lunar queen in this book are very surprising and enlightening. It didn’t make me like Levana, but it did make me understand her.

I’ve thought of Queen Levana as the wicked, selfish queen, but she’s surprisingly unselfish in her intentions to rule Earth. In a way, I respect her for that, but everything else she did overshadowed that one redeeming quality about her. Still, it’s really good to know her story and what made her what she is in the Lunar Chronicles.

I was really surprised to discover that Queen Levana was once an obsessed and a vain (still is) girl. Reading about it, I couldn’t decide if it’s annoying or embarrassing. Being inside her head sometimes made me cringe.

Fairest has been a very interesting read. Queen Levana is more than a villain; she is a really twisted villain.

Oh, I almost forgot. I had no idea that Lunars are naturally a crazy lot.

~ Zee

January 24, 2015

Blog Tour ~ Withering Hope by Layla Hagen

Welcome to my stop in the Withering Hope blog tour (reviews only), organized by Xpresso Book Tours. I loved this book so much. Read on for my review and a giveaway of $20 Amazon Gift Card. Also, don't forget to visit all the stops for different feedback about the book!



Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.

But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits her—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rain forest.

With no way to reach civilization, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.
As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.

Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. 

But not lies. 

Or love.

Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.

Purchase links:

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iTunes


On a scale of one to ten, I am rating this book a clear TWELVE, plus an extra hundred brownies. How is it that when I read something from Layla Hagen, “I love it” seems to be always an understatement?

I must admit I’ve had my doubts with this one. Secondary characters are very important, and sometimes I end up liking them even more than the main characters. I tend to get bored fast when I don’t see anything but the endless interaction of the main characters. But Withering Hope doesn’t have secondary characters for about 97% of the book, so I was bracing myself for a loooooong read, and even prepared myself to write a review for an unfinished book.

Was it boring? Na-uh, nope.

Imagine my surprise when I actually finished reading this book from cover to cover. That’s how much I enjoyed it. I didn’t even mind that there were no supporting characters and all I can see are the MCs. That’s how good it is. The way it is written, it’s as if the author was there, not letting me put the book down and just keep reading until I get to the end. That’s how much I was into it.

Do I think it’s amazing? Heck, YES.

Withering Hope is not just a story of survival and inevitable romance, but also of friendship, passion, hopelessness, fear, and hope. It’s not an InstaLove (is that how they call it?) nor a love-at-first-sight thing (which pleases me to no end). It’s a beautiful beginning of an unexpected friendship and astonishing romance.

This book is incredibly beautiful. It’s the type of romance that is very sweet without being overdone. It pokes at your heart and, in some moments, squeezes it until you’re holding your breath. There are some inconsistencies in the plot, yes, but it’s nothing major.

There are too many moments when everything is just too much and I just had to take a breath, and those breaths, I later realized, were needed because something else is going to be thrown in my way to catch me off guard.

Withering Hope is beautiful because Aimee and Tristan’s chemistry and romance didn’t start instantly. Instead, it started as a necessity; each of them making sure the other is safe, which then turns into a profound friendship. You know that line that Fitzwilliam Darcy said when Elizabeth Bennet asked him when he fell in love with her? He said, “I cannot fix the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew I had begun.” I think that’s the perfect description of how I was feeling when I was following their story.  I can’t pinpoint where exactly Aimee and Tristan had fallen in love. The way the plot is weaved together took me right into their world, and I was very carried away to pay attention to how and when they fell in love. I was in the middle of everything when I realized that they were. Does that makes sense?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, right there, is what makes this book so much more beautiful. It has a natural feel to it. It’s very easy to get lost in it. Have I mentioned how sweet this book is? Yes, sweet enough that if I have a paperback of this in my shelf, there’ll be an anthill beside it.
I do not know how else I can pour my heart out in regards of this book, because my emotions are still all over the place and too messy to make sense of.

Pardon me for saying it again, but Withering Hope is just very beautiful. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, it finds a way to surprise you in a way that tugs at your heart strings. If you think it’s just another sweet romance, just wait until you’ve read everything. It’s not your typical Happily-Ever-After, but it’s equally sweet yet heartbreaking.

I believe this is Layla Hagen’s best yet.

~ Zee

Author Bio:

My name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author.

I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.

I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.

And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


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January 07, 2015

Review ~ Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins


Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, Étienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love—set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona—is a swoon worthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

Purchase links:

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Book Depository


Oh, how do I start?

I love the way Stephanie Perkins write. She has a unique way of telling a story that doesn’t allow my eyes and attention to wander elsewhere, even if I am not overly enthused by the plot anymore.

Isla and the Happily Ever After is an enjoyable read, but not the whole book. Still, I like this better than Lola. I liked a lot of Isla-Josh moments, but when I look at the plot I want to cringe. It’s not a very special plot, and even Pekins’s unique storytelling didn’t make me look at it in a different way. It’s just too. . .plain.

I cannot decide if I like Isla or not. I like the tone of her “voice”, but I do not like the way she thinks. She is very obsessed with Josh, which got very annoying eventually. I feel like there is no real conflict in this book; the problem is Isla. That’s it.

Aside from Isla’s obsession and the plot, I really liked this book. Certain moments swept me off my feet, like that time in Barcelona (best part of the book!), and the Josh-baring-his-soul-to-her part (intense; I love it that I finally got something intense from Perkins).

The part where the other characters from the previous books showed up (Anna & Etienne, Lola & Cricket and Meredith) made me feel nostalgic, and I wanted to stay there in the moment where they were all together. I wanted to put it in a jar and preserve it. They felt like old friends.

Isla and the Happily Ever After brought me laughter, frustration, nostalgia, and I-want-to-crawl-inside-the-book-and-live there moments. It’s perfect for a light read, and totally worth a sleepless night.

~ Zee

January 05, 2015

Review ~ Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins


Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion...she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket—a gifted inventor—steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.


Lola and the Boy Next Door has been an okay read for the most part—enough for me to finish the entire book. I like the way Stephanie Perkins write, and maybe that’s why I finished this book from cover to cover despite my lack of enthusiasm while doing so. Even though I had a hard time connecting with the characters, the way the novel is written kept me going.

I really had a hard time connecting with Lola. The more I read about her, the more I find myself not liking her. She sounds like a whiny teenager, and I hate whiny teenagers, especially a protagonist one. I failed to see the character the author was aiming for. She’s also annoying for most of the book, and I can’t decide if she’s being deliberately stupid or she just don’t want to admit certain things to herself. She has a lot of issues, and (thankfully!) those issues are well portrayed in the book, but understanding her didn’t make me like her personality. I do like her everyday outfits, though. I like it that she’s making an impression. Sadly, I think that’s the only thing I like about her.

I did not like the story of Lola and Cricket’s past before they stopped being friends. The issue was so mysterious, so big, and when it was finally revealed I had to pick up my jaw from the floor because of disbelief. I was like, THAT’S IT?! I felt cheated. By the way Lola was acting and thinking about it, she made it out like this huge issue. I didn’t find it that big of a deal.

I did not swoon over Cricket, although there are times that I admired him. Like how supportive he is towards his twin, and how honest he is to Lola about his feelings so there’s no misunderstanding. There’s also his gawkiness, which I adore for some unknown reason.

The other characters are a little MEH when I was reading. I like the Dads, and Calliope. Oh, Calliope is my favorite character. It’s like she’s the only one with a bright color in a dull canvas. I think she’s the only one who sees Lola and her stupidity, and she’s not afraid to call her out on it. Anna and Etienne (it is not true that Anna is the only one allowed to call him by his first name; he’s given me permission, too) went a little too overboard in this book. Seriously, I really, really liked them in their own book, but when I saw them again in Lola’s point of view, I wanted to skip their part whenever their names are being mentioned. They are just too cheesy and too clingy for my taste. I like them better when they were just friends, because they were totally holding back all those cheesiness.

The thing I cringe the most at in this book is the plot. I wish Perkins had made up a different plot. Lola and the Boy Next door feels like a just a reverse plot of Anna and the French Kiss. While reading, I couldn’t stop thinking about Etienne and how that must be the way he felt when he was pining for Anna silently while he had a girlfriend that is most definitely not Anna. So, yeah, the plot is a major let down for me.

Lola and the Boy Next Door is just not for me.

~ Zee