Paper Princess

Book: Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Synopsis: From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself. Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone. Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from. Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals. He might be right. Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.  [via Amazon]

Book Notes:

Remember the days when teen drama shows were just out of this world? Start ticking off the list - The OC, Gossip Girl, Skins - I mean these were the shows I grew up with and it was absolutely absurd that sixteen-seventeen year olds were acting that way. But you know what, I loved it! You've got sex, drugs and Chanel raining down on you. You get the most cheesy lines like 'Welcome to the OC bitch!' and 'I never should have let you, let me go' *cue in music* its too late to apologise... It was just an entertaining break from reality, and its like you've been given an all access pass to the life of the crazy rich! Well, if you've missed the teenage drama of the spoiled, then this book is just for you!

Fine, it was a little trashy at times, but then it was quite expected from a lead character that was a teenage stripper. There was basically no preamble about her part-time job, but her life turned upside down when she was suddenly thrown into the Royal mansion. No, not with Will and Kate, but like Royal is the actual last name. *snickers* So basically with that premise alone, you kinda know what kind of read you're up for. Shamefully, I finished it through the end, enjoyed it, and pre-ordered the sequel. Excuse me now while I file this under guilty pleasures.

Book Quotes:

"It's nice to have friends and family around, even if the family is super dysfunctional."

"I stare at my tray of locally-sourced organic chicken breast and farm-fresh vegetables so that Valerie doesn't see that it's huge to me, too."

Book Rating: 4/5

Reading Map:

Welcome to the OC bitch! such a classic!!

Cruel Intentions 1999 i have no clue wtf those sequels are, but this is another classic!

Love Fortunes and Other Disasters

Book: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius 

Synopsis: Love is real in the town of Grimbaud, and Fallon Dupree has dreamed of attending high school there for years. After all, generations of Duprees have successfully followed the (one hundred per cent accurate!) love fortunes from Zita's famous Love Charms Shop to happily marry their high-school sweethearts. It's a tradition. So she is both stunned and devastated when her fortune states that she will NEVER find true love. But Fallon isn't the only student with a terrible love fortune, and a rebellion is brewing. Fallon is determined to take control of her own fate - even if it means working with a notorious heartbreaker like Sebastian. Will Fallon and Sebastian ever be able to defy fate and fall in love? [via Amazon]

Book Notes: 
Hands down this was a very cute book. It was a light and enjoyable read, and it was simple enough to keep along with the characters and the overall pace of the text. In so many ways, this was very young, perhaps highlighting the young in young adult genre to be more specific. If you're in the mood for fuzz free reading, and something that is warming and easy, then  maybe give this a shot. It's kind of like High School Musical. You're into it. You're kinda attached to it. And you know its a little juvenile but you love it anyway.
Oh you know what I really liked too is how the concept of being gay, and having gay friends is now more acceptable for the younger generation. This book was targeted for a very young audience, and it is great that it is touched upon something that is quite delicate especially when you're a teen. It is really nice to know that in little ways, there is more love and acceptance that is happening in this world.
Get to know the rest of the characters! Check the reading map for sequels and other Swoon novels.
Book Quotes:
"People shouldn't know their romantic fates. Because the truth is that it changes."
"Depends on the people," Love said. "Then let people depend on themselves. Let them mend and break their hearts together. Being blind isn't such a bad thing."
Book Rating: 4/5
Reading Map:



Book: Fractured by Dani Atkins

Synopsis: The night of the accident was a lucky escape... Now, five years on, Rachel's life is perfect. She has a wonderful fiancĂ©, loving family and friends around her, and the career she always wanted. But why can't Rachel shake the memory of a very different life? 
Gripping, romantic and heartbreaking, Fractured is a magical love story that asks: can two different stories lead to the same happy ending? [via Amazon]

Book Notes:

Admittedly this book was not as gripping as the first Dani Atkins book I read. I bought it on the Kindle store because of the amount of positive reviews this book generated. After reading it though, there was just something about this book I could not emotionally connect with. It had a very interesting premise, but it just felt a little lacking.

Book Quotes:

"I guess what you have to ask yourself is how much time and energy you want to spend on looking backwards."

"I fell even more in love with the man I was always destined to be with."

Book Rating: 2/5

Reading Map:


2016 Book List

2016 Book List

1. Wabi-sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers by Leonard Koren
2. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
3. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
5. The Heir by Kiera Cass
6. The Crown by Kiera Cass
7. Fractured by Dani Atkins
8. Love Fortunes and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius
9. Paper Princess by Erin Watt

30 First Dates

Book: 30 First Dates by Stacey Wiedower 

Synopsis: Erin Crawford is a relationship blogger with a bucket list and a vendetta. After years of horrible luck in relationships, she decides to start a blog called "30 First Dates." Her mission: go out with 30 men before her 30th birthday, all to find a non-jerk in 30 dates or less. As she blogs about her sometimes humorous and sometimes laughably bad dates, she crosses off her bucket list of 30 things she wants to do before she turns 30—and kills two birds with one stone by completing the items on her dates! In fourteen months she skydives, skinnydips, crashes a wedding, travels to multiple cities and lives way outside her comfort zone. The only question is, as her birthday approaches and her list grows smaller, will Erin be able to find love? Or is she destined to be a first-date-only kind of girl? [via Amazon]

Book Notes:

The thing about reading chick lits is you open yourself up to a certain predictability in terms of the story-telling process. It's popcorn romance on paper that happens to be just as comforting as a night in with Netflix. But then you kind of realise that after going through the library of RomComs on Netflix, there's certainly a big difference between an ABC/Hallmark movie as compared to the classics that we all secretly still own and collected on DVDs. The stories are cliche, but it all goes back to the story-telling, the characters and the lessons learned in between.

I wish I could rate this book with as much stars like the reviews on Amazon, but 30 First Dates is simply a mediocre attempt at trying to be romantic, witty and empowering. In the first five pages, you've pretty much solved that entire plot, and it was quite an accomplishment that I actually finished it. It did have some moments of sudden insights, but overall if I needed a reminder from life, I would reach for other books. 

On a more personal note, it scares me so much that the life I imagined by 30 is no where close to what I plotted it out to be a decade ago. In fact everything during that college conversation in the bench never came true. Perhaps it was flawed from the beginning, given I was planning a life with my then boyfriend whom I thought was perfect for me because he checked out perfectly on my list. Looking back on it now, everything was just one big illusion that I set myself up to believe my life was moving towards a direction with a future plotted out highly dependent on external factors to make me happy. 

There's something about turning 30 that I can't seem to properly grasp, or at the very least I am trying to let it go. It is definitely a milestone, much like turning 18 or 21, but to be driven mad by society's definition of what 30 has to be is something I am working on. Sometimes it is difficult to wake up in your late twenties only to realise that you haven't figured anything out, even worse if you realise you haven't actually lived. So yes, I am working on that and just reminding myself that sometimes my life doesn't have to be the perfect time line. 

Book Quotes: 

"Why did thirty feel like this precipice—this craggy, critical ledge with a 10,000 foot drop and no safety net?"

"Were those things Ben talked about—house, mortgage, kids—the net? Were they the answer? Those things she hadn't known she wanted, at least not consciously, now felt like some giant secret the rest of the world had failed to let her in on. A great big cosmic joke on her."

"Nope, it was growing pains—that was all. Thirty was the new twenty. She just hadn't grown up yet."

"If you want to do something different, do it. This is the time of life to figure stuff out. Obviously you've figured that out or you wouldn't be writing the blog. So you've already taken some chances. Take another one."

"She was a different story. She felt like she'd been running on the same track for years and suddenly realised it was the wrong track."

"You're young, you're smart, you have every single opportunity in the world out there waiting for you to grab it. You aren't tied down to a mortgage or a husband or even a job anymore. And so you don't have any of those things. So what? You still have time to create yourself, to figure out what you love to do. A lot of people recreate themselves over and over again. If you don't experience new and different things, how can you even begin to know what is right for you?"

"I only wish I had that kind of fire about something more important than my own fumbling inadequacy at committing to a profession or holding down a relationship."

"She'd wanted to change her life, and now it seemed her life was changing her."

"Honestly, the more perfect somebody's life looks, the more complicated it probably is."

"How will you know if it's the right move?"

"Love just wasn't something to be experimented with."

"I've learned you can't always will life into the shapes you want it to fit into. I've learned that things you think you want might not be right for you, and things that look like mistakes might take you exactly where you're supposed to be. I've learned you don't have to get it all right on the first try (unless you're skydiving). I've learned not to judge other people, because you're every bit as screwed up as they are. I've learned what failure feels like, and I've learned to look at failure as opportunity and opportunity as success."

Book Rating: 2/5

Reading Map:

One Hundred Proposals by Holly Martin

The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern

Change The Way You See Yourself by Cramer and Wasiak


The Story of Us

Book: The Story of Us by Dani Atkins 

Synposis: Emma Marshall can't wait to marry her childhood sweetheart, Richard. But then a tragic accident changes everything, and introduces a stranger, Jack, into her life. Gorgeous and mysterious, Jack is like no-one Emma has met before. But Richard is the man she loves... Two different men. Two different destinies. How will Emma end her story? [via Amazon]

Book Notes:

I had downloaded this book on my Kindle several months ago and started reading it, then stopped for reasons I cannot quite remember but I would probably assume it was because I got busy or was it because I moved back? Nevertheless I found myself on a train back to Milan from Pisa with about two and a half hours left of travel and having just finished my last book I decided to scan through my library and came across this book that was left behind. Well, I restarted it and then I couldn't really stop.

There was something with the way the author would write these breaks in between, something like a flash forward but you're not quite sure how far along into the future it is. Just when you think you had the story figured out, a "page break" (that's what I will call it since I'm not quire sure what the technical term is) would happen and you'll be sucked right back in the story out of sheer curiosity- what will happen next?

I think that's what I enjoyed most about this book, those flash forward page breaks would give an air of suspense hanging over you and it urged you to keep on reading to uncovering the story little by little. I also enjoyed how the author touched on very delicate life struggles without being too overbearing or patronising. I think it was very important that she was able to balance it because if it wasn't written with much care, the book could've easily been very tacky but she was able to pull it off with much ease.

Book Quotes:

"We cried for a long time, clinging together but saying nothing, because sometimes the pain is just too great for words to be of use, and the only thing you can do is hold on tightly to someone you love, until it stops trying to rip your heart out through your chest."

"Take time to heal... All will be well, but it takes time."

"Then you will have to speak fast, because I hear the union is only giving you an hour for lunch."

"For a man who made his living using words, he certainly knew when they weren't required. I really liked that."

"Now that man needs subtitles. I have no idea what he just said. Was he even speaking English?"

"I spent longer trying to invent this ridiculous excuse to call you than I do outlining the plot of an entire thriller."

"Richard isn't a bad man. He's a good man that did a bad thing."

"Home is where the person you love lives."

Book Rating: 4.5/5

Reading Map:

Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern

You're The One I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

The Notebook (Movie) who wouldn't love to see RyGos and McAdams?! <3>


The Rosie Project

Book: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Synopsis: The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers. 

Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you. [via Amazon]

Book Notes: 

Here's the thing about this book: The premise is quite obvious. Dorky, square, science nerd falls for the last woman he would ever expect. It really doesn't get as complicated as that. But why, you wonder, is this book on Bill Gates' Summer Recommendations? Well maybe aside from the fact it might have hit close to home... 

Simply put, the characters were very well-constructed. They felt tangible and real. Very human. And I think thats what makes this book stand out a lot, that despite the cliches, the author was able to create characters that are very rich that as a reader you were just drawn into them like a moth to a flame.

It's a perfect, light hearted book that has a ton of laugh out loud moments. And boy-meets-girl story aside, its a beautiful book to remind you that getting out of your comfort zone ultimately leads to the most rewarding things in your life.

Book Rating: 4.8/5

Reading Map: 

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