Book Review: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

Rating: StarStarStarStarStar

“I’ve left some clues for you.

If you want them, turn the page.

If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Literary Awards: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Young Adult Fiction (2010),Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award for Honor book (2011), YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults (2011), The Inky Awards Nominee for Silver Inky longlist (2011)



Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares is the perfect Christmas read. It took me around New York in the busiest time of the year with Dash’s abhorrence versus Lily’s ecstasy for the holidays. It kinda remind me of the movie Serendipity: same Christmas-in-New-York setting with the same non-meetings but with the longing of meeting the one another.

Dash and Lily are the total opposites. Dash never recovered from his parents’ nasty divorce; Lily stayed at home while her parents celebrated their second honeymoon in Fiji. Dash reveled in being alone; Lily is scared of not having anybody. Dash is articulate; Lily is stumped on how to talk to boys (and girls!) her age. But they do have something in common – they love to read. and they wanted to believe that there is someone out there existing just for them. 🙂 So cute.

I loved Dash‘s character more than Lily’s. His has a certain sadness and hope at the same time. I relished reading his POV because it’s very entertaining to see the switch of his train of thought from simple things to contemplative ones. I loved the scenes where (1) he’s feeling up Santa, (2) he’s being interrogated by Aunt Ida, and (3) he’s being lectured by Boomer, of all people. Dash is very charming in this unobtrusive way that makes being snarly so endearing.

Lily is the odd girl. Wearing her school uniform even during weekends with her worn chucks, she already accepted her eccentricity years ago. But after reading Dash’s writings in her notebook, she thought that maybe it’s time to get out of her family’s comfort and venture to a normal teenage life. I found it funny that she’s this dogwalker who also loves hanging out with her Grandpa’s friends but can give the middle finger on a whim.

Boomer, Aunt Ida, and Mark are secondary characters that made me laugh in more ways i thought possible. I love how they are solid and yet they do not overpower the main characters.

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares is a story of what could be the machinings of first love set in snow-capped New York. Dash & Lily’s mismatches left me light-hearted and hopeful. I just felt good after reading it.



.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

Rating: StarStarStar

17-year-old Lila has two secrets she’s prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she’s been in love with her brother’s best friend, Alex, since forever. Or thereabouts. After a mugging on the streets of South London goes horribly wrong and exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust – her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they’ve found them. Trying to uncover the truth of why her mother was killed, and the real remit of The Unit, Lila becomes a pawn in a dangerous game. Struggling to keep her secrets in a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone – there are others out there just like her – people with special powers -and her mother’s killer is one of them…



Hunting Lila could’ve clicked for me if not for Lila’s constant swooning and drooling over Alex. Really, Ms. Alderson, I lose interest in your story every time Lila shifts from being afraid to being hot for Alex in a snap. Ugh. Still, I liked the paranormal stuff being connected with government covert operations.

Lila is telekinetic. She doesn’t know how she came by it, all she knows is that she has to keep it secret. When she visited her brother Jack and saw Alex again, she doubted she can keep her eyes off Alex and her secret at the same time. I have nothing good to say for her character, so let’s leave it at that. Alex, on the other hand, is cool. So cool, in fact, that i don’t see myself falling for him like Lila did. It’s like I can only admire him from afar. He’s kinda perfect that he felt unreal.

The story only got interesting when Lila began to run. It was like a yarn that unspooled so quickly. the ending was ok for a first book in a series. I think it is obvious by now that the 3-star-rating came from the suspense rather than the syrupy romance.

Hunting Lila might work for you if you want a teenage/action-adventure read. All i want is for Alderson to solidify her writing with the sole intent of building a suspenseful plot for the YA genre. But i guess she’s gunning for the romantic flair to appeal with the YA readers. Perhaps. Unfortunately, it only brought a frown on my face every single time Lila gushes about Alex. Grrr.



.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

RATING: StarStarStarStarStar

(Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?



It was a good thing that I did not read The Daughter of Smoke and Bone when everyone was talking about it way back September/October. It would’ve lost its uniqueness to me. So what did i think of  Laini Taylor’s book with so much hype? I was… enthralled. I think that was the word i was looking for. I was drowned in the richness of the myths and tales – hook, line, and sinker! No doubt Taylor is a superb storyteller. I was lost in Elsewhere! And being lost in that world was a sweet escape.

When I think of Karou, i think of her doing her Jujitsu moves, wishing rather immaturely on her pebbles, and keeping her two lives as secret as possible. I love her wryness on hiding the truth from her friends by telling the truth itself. I found her remarkable as a heroine and as a daughter of Brimstone and the others. Akiva‘s character is well-played for me. The transition from being lifeless to confused to enlightened to helplessness was really smooth. I love Akiva, from his exotic name to his remorse.

The part where Akiva and Madrigal’s story unraveled? I rather found it unnecessary. It dragged on with the somber feel I can do without. Nevertheless, the mythical twists and turns are pretty much what gripped me tight. Fave scene? When Akiva attacked Karou the first time they met. He was dead set on killing Karou! *bloodthirsty* LOL

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a very adventurous read. Too much information? I think not. I handled the magnitude of Karou’s story with ease and quick understanding. It is unlike any urban fantasy i’ve ever read in a while. Not to mention that Taylor wrote beautifully it made me a fan of her overnight. 🙂

#28 Off-the-Shelf Reading Challenge 2011



.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”