Book Review: If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan


Young Adult > Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love—Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed if their relationship came to light.

So they carry on in secret—until Nasrin’s parents announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Nasrin tries to persuade Sahar that they can go on as they have been, only now with new comforts provided by the decent, well-to-do doctor Nasrin will marry. But Sahar dreams of loving Nasrin exclusively—and openly.

Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution. In Iran, homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. As a man, Sahar could be the one to marry Nasrin. Sahar will never be able to love the one she wants, in the body she wants to be loved in, without risking her life. Is saving her love worth sacrificing her true self?


For some reason I liked the secondary characters more than the MC and her love interest. I could not see what Sahar saw in Nasrin (for this girl is vain, spoiled, and selfish). And Sahar was very adamant to anyone who wants to help her. The stubbornness was too much for my liking. Nevertheless, the setting of If You Could Be Mine is enough to intrigue me.

Tehran is a dangerous place for a homosexual like Sahar. And that is not even accurate, because she does not categorize herself as gay, she just loves her best friend Nasrin, who just happened to be a girl. Does that make her queer? And so it went on, Sahar in constant turmoil – whether she should go into operation to make her a man, and finally marry Nasrin legally, or just accept that she and Nasrin has no future together as a couple.

I found it brave – books such as this – to actually deal with taboo social issues. It made me glimpse on how hard life can be for people to hide who and what they are, for fear of persecution. even death.

If You Could Be Mine is interesting, though not moving enough for me to actually love it. But Sahar’s cousin Ali was dear to me, and her father as well. These supporting characters temper my anger when Sahar turns bratty, because she cannot have Nasrin. Not the way she wanted.

The ending was predictable, but the open note for Sahar’s is quite nice. Good for her, I thought.

Thank you Netgalley and Algonquin Books for granting my galley request.


IF YOU COULD BE MINE by Sara Farizan

Published August 20th 2013 by Algonquin Books

3/5 stars


Book Review: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young


New Adult > Contemporary

Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.


…Well hello, Braden Carmichael. 😀

So it was not as good as I thought. But it was not terrible, either. On Dublin Street is sexy yes, but Jocelyn‘s endless chatter on how she cannot move on is just so… ugh. Gimme a break, Jocelyn. Here’s a hot guy throwing himself at you to be your Knight in Shining Armor, and yet… you still suffer. (Such a drama queen, LOL.)

Thank goodness Braden has a little bit of personality; her sister too. Plus it’s really easy to read, I breezed through it. Brandon’s family and the relationships felt so good. And let’s not forget those hot, hot scenes. *fans myself* I liked that they are not too long, or too short – those smokin’ parts. You know? Too long, and it’s all I remember from the book; too short and I’m disappointed that it did not deliver what it advertised. It’s just right, so yeah, this one’s okay.

Other than that, there’s nothing extraordinary about On Dublin Street. It even turned too sappy for me in the end.


ON DUBLIN STREET by Samantha Young

Ebook, 275 pages

Published August 31st 2012 by Smashwords

3/5 stars

Book Review: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison


Young Adult > Contemporary > Humor

(Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #1)

There are six things very wrong with my life:

1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.

2. It is on my nose

3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.

4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers.

5. I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.

6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.

Literary Awards: Printz Honor (2001), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2005)


Fact: The book is funnier than the movie. The movie is more romantic than the book.

Either way, Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging is guaranteed 100% entertainment for those who can bravely walk down memory lane and stare your own awkward adolescent stage in the face. 🙂

I could not remember a funnier girl than Georgia.. ooh, wait. I remember the girl from Deadly Cool. Anyway, Georgia is one scheming, manipulative, little.. princess. Ha! She’s fifteen, and she wants everything. When he spotted the hottest guy in school, Robbie, she thought it was meant to be. Eyes twinkling, gears in her mind turning – Georgia formulates the craziest ways to snag the guy. What usually follows is a series of (mostly no) hits and misses that has Georgia ending up like a drug-induced maniac. 😀

Man, Georgia got me laughing, and some more. Those moments you don’t want to get caught in, when you want a guy to notice you (for the right reason)? Georgia is almost always in it! Sometimes I pity the girl, as she get embarrassing more often than not. But I like that she goes for what she wants, no matter how crazy her ideas are. Attagirl!

She can be mean as well, maybe self-centered too. But I understand how prone she is to those, for her age. Kinda like a rite of passage to adulthood, yes?

The only thing that irked me is her treatment of her parents. Georgia was such a brat in some scenes, to the point of being rude.

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging is a quirky and enjoyable read. I wasn’t giving this book much thought when I browse the Printz Awards list. But I was grateful to have found a secondhand copy of it, so I had the chance to laugh at Georgia (sorry, it cannot be helped!). =P



Paperback, 247 pages

Published April 11th 2006 by HarperTeen
4/5 stars

Book Review: ManicPixieDreamGirl by Tom Leveen


Young Adult > Contemporary

Seventeen-year-old Tyler Darcy’s dream of being a writer is starting to feel very real now that he’s sold his first short story to a literary journal. He should be celebrating its publication with his two best friends who’ve always had his back, but on this night, a steady stream of texts from his girlfriend Sidney keep intruding. So do the memories of his dream girl, Becky, who’s been on his mind a little too much since the first day of high school. Before the night is over, Ty might just find the nerve to stop all the obsessing and finally take action.

(A copy was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Tom Leveen!)


I was introduced to Tom Leveen‘s work in Zero. I liked how realistic his depiction of teen life is, and in the same manner, that’s how it went for me in Manicpixiedreamgirl.

After years of watching Becky from afar, Tyler hasn’t shake off the feelings he have for that girl. Sure, they became friends, but is that all he can be? Tyler wonders if he can pursue the girl at last, while he was still experiencing the high of having his work published.

First off, Tyler’s treatment of Sydney is sucky. I get that Ty’s not the most upfront and aggressive among the guys, but dude, just tell her you don’t feel the same way. Ty is so typical, he thinks he’s just lucky that he’s still scoring with a girl, even if it’s not the girl. O_o *sticks tongue out*

But I think Tyler is as real as it gets, and that’s fine. I pity the guy sometimes. At least he has the gut to admit his mistakes, and own up to a broken heart. =( I love Robby! What a funny guy, and he has his moments – and I really, really like those.

It was an open-ended ending, not usually my cup of tea, but it worked for me. Mildly heartbreaking, but pain is pain nonetheless.

#23 Off-the-Shelf Challenge 2013



Hardcover, 256 pages

Published April 23rd 2013 by Random House Children’s books

3.5/5 stars

Book Review + Author Guest Post: True by Erin McCarthy

My blog is Erin McCarthy‘s TRUE Blog Tour stop this May 29th! Read on for my review, and see for yourself if you would like to pick it up soon. 😀


New Adult > Contemporary

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…

(An ebook copy was sent to me by the publicist in exchange for an honest review.)


…so the story is a 3, but the unexpected strength from Rory earned an extra star.

This was a quick read. While True is not a New Adult book favorite of mine, it did take away some of my time without my noticing it. And I think that’s a pretty good sign that I was into a book somehow. Right?

The plot was simple. Rory cannot believe a hot guy like Tyler will like a plain-looking girl like her. So when he started to show her that’s he’s interested, Rory was suspicious. He has to have some agenda… And I’m so glad she’s not as naive to guys even if she has not dated anyone.

I liked that Tyler was not a jerk to Rory (prior to liking her), and he’s not intimidated because she’s smart. In fact, it’s a turn-on for him. And behind the tattoos was really a normal guy trying to get by until he can have a decent job so he can take care of his brothers.

Like a said, it was typical romance. But Rory’s character was stronger in the end. She says what’s in her mind; she’s not afraid to show that she’s intelligent. She goes straight to the point; she does not stay silent when she wants to know something (especially from Tyler). Most of all, I really liked that even if she loved the guy, she left the choice for him. She let him decide if he wants to stay with her. Because it won’t work if Tyler did not want to have that relationship with her himself. Her attitude was refreshing, really. Here’s a girl who faced the reality of their circumstances.

True gave me a heroine worth reading. And that’s enjoyable enough for me.

Thank you Erin Galloway of Penguin USA for my ebook copy.


TRUE by Erin McCarthy

Ebook, 222 pages

Published May 7th 2013 by Penguin Group (USA)

4/5 stars


Erin McCarthy, author of the New Adult novel True, interviews her hero, Tyler.  She gets him to dish a bit on his heroine, Rory!


What is one word you would use to describe Rory?

Intelligent.  She’s so smart it’s amazing that she can still be so sweet.

What is your best quality?

I’m optimistic.  I never give up hope that everything will work out and that I’ll be able to give my brothers a life that doesn’t suck.

What is Rory’s best physical feature?

Dude, her hair.  It’s a color that you could never match with hair dye—layers of gold on top of red, and I’ve never felt anything so soft.  But the truth is, everything about Rory is awesome.

How many tattoos do you have?

Four.  For now.  TRUE on my bicep, a dragon on my calf, an infinity symbol on my wrist (okay, it’s actually the batman symbol) and a cross on my back between my shoulders.  Don’t tell Rory, but I’m thinking of getting her initials on my other wrist.


Erin McCarthy

Erin McCarthy is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 40 novels and novellas in the paranormal, contemporary romance, and young adult genres.  The author is a RITA award finalist and an American Library Association winner of the Reluctant Young Reader award.  She lives with her family in Ohio.





Thank you very much, Erin G. and Erin McC.!

I was really happy to meet Rory, and yes, Tyler, too. *giggles*

Book Review: Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter


Young Adult > Contemporary

(Heist Society #3)

Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it’s that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting–or stealing–whatever they want. No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale’s family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother’s billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there’s no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won’t let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother’s will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company’s fortune. So instead of being the heir–this time, Hale might be the mark. Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she’s willing to save her boyfriend’s company if it means losing the boy.

Book 1: Heist Society review     Book 2: Uncommon Criminals review


…What happened to Hale here? *frowns*

This is my least favorite among the series. The fun was almost absent, and the brilliant connivance was short and unsatisfying in the end.

Perfect Scoundrels went heavy on Hale’s and Kat’s drama. And I was miffed when they were described as “on-off” boyfriend/girlfriend. Really? They are an item? Because I am sure that I did not miss anything from Uncommon Criminals, because their relationship in that book was as vague as it was in Heist Society. And now? I have to jump in and deal with their romantic sorrows? Please. Unless there’s an e-novella somewhere (and I know there’s none) that showed how they officially got together, this itsy bitsy fact was downright inconsistent.

I did like that puzzle desk (what was it called again?), and I want one for myself. 😛 And I very much like Uncle Eddie and Kat’s dad, Bob Bishop. For such an absent father, Kat and him have this warm and comfortable relationship.

This installment is all about Hale, and his elusive family background. How he keeps Kat away from his family while he keeps on popping up in Kat’s, as seen in previous books. I miss the fun-loving, charming Hale. I don’t want this emotional wreck, because he’s reckless when doing the crew’s job.

But I have to say that Kat here is more mature and composed, especially when she’s dealing with Hale and the failing con job at the same time. And I admire Kat’s philosophy on families. That you don’t need to have blood ties to call someone family. That you can always, always rely on your family, if you ask for their help.

Sure, Perfect Scoundrels was a quick read, for Carter’s writing was as engaging as ever. But the execution of the story was just flat, almost boring. The last three chapters I think is the core. Perhaps you can skip the rest, and read straight there? Kidding. 🙂

#13 Off-the-Shelf Challenge 2013



Hardcover, 328 pages

Published February 5th 2013 by Hyperion Books for Children

3.5/5 stars

Book Review: A Separate Peace by John Knowles


Classics > Young Adult > Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

Set at a boys’ boarding school in New England during the early years of World War II, A Separate Peace is a harrowing and luminous parable of the dark side of adolescence. Gene is a lonely, introverted intellectual. Phineas is a handsome, taunting, daredevil athlete. What happens between the two friends one summer, like the war itself, banishes the innocence of these boys and their world.

Literary Awards: National Book Award Nominee for Fiction (1961), Rosenthal Family Foundation Award (1961)


The winter loves me, I mean as much as you can say a season can love. What I mean is, I love winter, and when you really love something, then it loves you back, in whatever way it has to love.

… it cannot be. *still in denial*

In another time that I might’ve read this, I would’ve hated A Separate Peace. I do, and I believe that. It was my first time to read a classic out of my own volition, I finished it, and I felt unhappy. Grieved. So by now you should know, this is a sad story (at least for me).

Gene and Phineas or “Finny” have an unusual friendship. It was amazing when Gene realized that there’s an underlying tension and rivalry between them (or not). So a simple act of defiance to gain ground against his best friend Finny is all it took to change their lives.

Finny was a charmer, as in he can get away with everything. Everything, I tell you. But even the most confident of boys feel suffering at one point of their lives. And when that happened to Finny, how my heart went out to him. He could use a hug!

A Separate Peace is an awakening of sorts. To Gene, who discovered what he’s capable of. To Finny, who found out that he can only avoid the ongoing war for so long. and with a cost.

Okay, then. I think I am entitled to sulk for a while.

You have to do what you think is the right thing, but just make sure it’s the right thing in the long run, and not just for the moment.

#14 Off-the-Shelf Challenge 2013


A SEPARATE PEACE by John Knowles

Paperback, 196 pages

Published October 7th 2003 by Scribner

4/5 stars

Book Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen


Young Adult > Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about? From acclaimed author Sarah Dessen, this is a captivating novel about a tough-as-nails girl and the unexpectedly charming boy who’s determined to soften her up.

Literary Awards: South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2005), Michigan Library Association Thumbs Up! Award Nominee (2003)


I had no illusions about love anymore. It came, it went, it left casualties or it didn’t. People weren’t meant to be together forever, regardless of what the songs say.

So, that’s Remy. Such a bucket of sunshine, right? *snorts*

This Lullaby is my second Dessen book… and I liked it. Not bad, see? This is because The Truth About Forever damaged Dessen’s first impression on me. It was not my cup of tea, really.

Last January, I was tweeting about my plans to read romance for February. Tina hinted, “Why not try Dessen again?” And I say, why not! I was feeling gracious that day, I think. When I added This Lullaby in  Goodreads, I was surprised that some of my friends wanted to read it as well. And so we decided to buddy read. And I thought it was awesome, right guys? =)

Moving on. Tina told me that I will like Remy than Macy (from TTAF). Well, I did not like Remy a whole lot (sorry, Tina!), but Dexter… he’s my funny surprise! Well, I’m not asking to be his girl anytime soon, but there’s something… magnetic and charming in Dexter that just seemed to rub off me. His antics in trying to goad Remy were just plain funny. I’m not even offended by the silliness of them all (because normally I would). Every single time that I want to throttle Remy with her washed-out ideas on relationships, Dexter almost always saves the day. His flippancy more than made up Remy’s run-down attitude. And I really, really liked that.

Remy is complicated. How can she not? Seeing love as a weakness. Just look at her mom! Already at her nth-time marriage. But… maybe I see myself in her? Thus, my hostility to her bullheadedness? I hate that she’s too scared, too rough, too tapped out on her life. And how old are again, Remy? *deep sigh*

I still think Dexter deserves better than Remy. That Remy’s mom is indeed stronger than her, jadedness included. That Dexter might not be the most responsible among his lot, but I adore him anyway. That Remy, despite all her flaws, deserves to be treasured.

The ending was open, not quite satisfying for me (as I rarely feel good about open endings) but it felt right. Not forced. Or formulated.

This Lullaby was an amusing read. I’m still getting there – on being a Dessen fan – but for now, I think it’s enough that I gave her work another chance.

I will leave you with this:

But wasn’t it better to just be brutally honest? To admit that your feelings for someone is never going to be powerful enough to justify taking up any more of their time?

Do you agree with Remy?


THIS LULLABY by Sarah Dessen

Published March 8th 2004 by Penguin Group USA

3.5/5 stars

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green


Young Adult > Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.

Literary Awards: Printz Honor (2007), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2010)


…after 3 John Green books, Paper Towns is still my favorite.

The humor I found in An Abundance of Katherines is.. forced? corny? not really that funny? I keep pysching myself up that, this is it, I will laugh in this chapter already. maybe in the next one? No, but keep going.. 😦 Until I reached the final chapter and it just wasn’t that enjoyable per my JG standard.

I do like Colin‘s penchant for anagrams. I think I have the same pastime, but with car plates. 🙂 I also like when he remembered his past relationships with the Katherines. Sometimes it made me smile, other times it made me wistful. I want to hug Colin for the disasters in his lovelife! Not that drastic, but I know it was equally painful on his part. and I think his parents are awesome.

John Green wrote superbly as usual. For other authors, it would take them to have a dual POV in order for me to peek at the MC’s love interest’s thinking. In here, I don’t need Lindsey‘s POV to understand her side. I can picture her mind (and her heart) completely just by how she talked and connected to Colin.

Overall, An Abundance of Katherines is an average JG book for me. Minimal highlights compared to Paper Towns, even Looking for Alaska.



Published August 14th 2008 by Speak

3/5 stars

Book Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington


Young Adult > Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there’s strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.


…took me a while to get reacquainted with Harrington’s writing. But it’s worth it! While Saving June is still my favorite, Speechless still managed to render me smiling and happy by the time I finished it. =)

I was delighted with Chelsea‘s hot and cold persona. She can be a witch sometimes, but she can be human, too. She can be cowering from shame and despair with the bullying, but she can be a total awestruck ditz when she sees Brendon..! It was funny to me, I don’t know why. At least shes’ not that depressing even if Chelsea thinks that her life is so over.

I rarely like nice guys. But I have one from Geek Girl, and that’s Trevor. He’s such a sweetie! and now I have another one in here… Sam. =) He skateboards, he cooks, and he’s… good good. You know? He’s Noah‘s best friend and I was expecting he will be this very, very angry kid towards Chelsea. Well, he’s not overjoyed, but he’s not hostile to her, either. It raised my eyebrows a little, but it was nice. 🙂

But my favorite character is definitely Andy. Cute, chain-smoking, angsty, angry, gay Andy! *beams* He’s not the MC, but I felt that he’s role is so big, and perfectly tuned to the theme of the story.

Speechless did not display Harrington’s remarkable writing as compared to Saving June. But the depth of emotions and the strong chemistry between characters is still amazing as ever. I may start reading Harrington’s work with the blues, but I always finished it with the warm fuzzies. *grins excitedly*

One more thing: Kristen should meet Lindsay of Before I Fall. I’d like a showdown of these mean girls. Oh yeah.

Thank you Netgalley and Harlequin for granting my galley request.


SPEECHLESS by Hannah Harrington

Published August 28th 2012 by Harlequin Teen

4/5 stars