blithe books

blithe books

Here's what you need to know about me: 1) I wear glasses. 2) I read books. 3) I have a never-ending tbr list. 4) I love to sleep. 

3 Stars
The Stars at Oktober Bend: Has Lost Its Spark
The Stars at Oktober Bend - Glenda Millard

I want to keep this review as simple, direct, and quick. For me, things the book surely isn't. I found it complex, flowery, and draggy. 


Honestly, it took me months to finish this book. I started reading a third of the book then took a long break after that and finished it after a few months later. At the start of the story, it was very slow-paced and I hoped that there would be better progress in the chapters to come. It did build up for a few moments but then I felt that the story lost its momentum after half of it.


The idea of the book containing both prose and poetry excited me so I decided to read it. I did enjoy the small bits of poetry written by Alice. But once there was prose involved in the switching perspectives of Alice and Manny, things just got more confusing and it continued as the story went by.


The book did talk about heart-warming themes such as family, friends, love, etc. I saw that but to be honest, I just didn't feel it. The blurb intrigued me which made me curious. But as for the plot, it wasn't clear to me or maybe I just didn't understand it. The characters were okay, I guess and there was representation which was great. I didn't like or hate any of them so I think that's alright.


In conclusion, The Stars at Oktober Bend just didn't work for me. Maybe my expectations were just too high. I could say that it was good at the beginning and at the end of the story. I liked the poetry but other than that, I feel in-between about this up until now.


Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a copy.

4 Stars
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle: A Murder Mystery on Repeat
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart  Turton

Actual rating: 4.25 stars


I read this book not knowing it was hyped so I started this with a few expectations, which were to be worth my time and hopefully, to be a good read. The hype wasn't the reason why I read this but because I was intrigued and fascinated by the plot and just see how everything would work out in the end.


The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle starts off with a party being hosted by the Hardcastle family which was fine until their daughter’s murder happened. Then, this dude, Aiden Bishop, has to play detective and solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. The challenge is that he has to wake up in different guests every day and still be able to sort out the puzzle which can unlock his freedom from the Blackheath house. This book will definitely keep you up at night and make you wonder what is going on inside the mysterious house.


The writing was refreshing for me because I haven't read books in the first person POV in a while. I really admire the writing of this book and how it was constructed. It strike me as a book that makes you feel like you experience the mystery first hand. This book took (god knows) how long to conceptualize and to stitch everything together so I salute the author for all the effort and time he took to create the story which ended up pretty outstanding.


The one thing I didn't realize sooner is the fat-phobia or body shaming this book contained. I only have one word to say about it that it was totally unnecessary. I should’ve realized sooner that there was a character was disrespected and that’s not fair to him or to anyone, for that matter. No one deserves that kind of judgment. This was one thing the book made me feel uneasy about. Adding to that, there were also mentions of suicide, drugs, and violence.


Moving on, a LOT of characters were mentioned. It was already difficult keeping track of the events happening between the hosts, imagine having extra and supporting characters. Setting my hardships aside, I did find each and every character carefully thought about by the author, each having their own distinct characteristics. I just wish some had even more appearances because I liked some of the minor characters. There were characters that did their "role" very well, if you know what I mean.


You would think that eight perspectives are alright but... I wanted more. I was waiting for a female host like Anna, Lucy, Grace, even Helena, or Evelyn herself, but it never came because they were all men. The thought just remained a "what if" to me. I wanted to get the chance to read Aiden portraying a female "role" and how he would navigate through it for a day.

(show spoiler)


Whenever you think that someone is who they are, think again. They tend to not be who we thought they actually were and that's confusing enough. If you were given eight of them, now that's a nightmare and it just tells you that you have to keep up. When you read this book, you better keep your brain intact and I suggest you pay attention to details because I had quite a hard time wrapping my head around everything that was happening (because I didn't read this in a few sittings). Once the events get even more thrilling and intense, you probably managed to hold a breath you never thought you were holding. It just has that grip on you somehow, or at least it did for me.


If I would describe The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle then it would be like a hanky. The story keeps unfolding and unfolding and unfolding and unfolding. With each unfolding of the story, you also get to see a fraction of the bigger picture until you've uncovered the whole thing. Then, you use the damn thing to wipe all the sweat and stress this mystery caused you in the first place.


The Blackheath house is full of mysteries, dark secrets, and mad twists, that's for sure. It did give me those chilly Murder on the Orient Express with the interesting Groundhog Day vibes. If you want something that is thrilling and will sure as heck confuse you and challenge you to solve a mystery, then, my friend, this book is surely for you. Prepare to be messed with by the haunting mysteries of the Blackheath house. Once you get in, you might as well not get out. We hope you enjoy your stay. We hope you enjoy reading.


My sincerest gratitude to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to be able to read such a thrilling book and to Mr. Stuart Turton for opening the doors of Blackheath to curious strangers such as myself.

4 Stars
The City of Lost Fortunes: A Twisted Take on Folklore & Mythology
The City of Lost Fortunes (Crescent City #1) - Bryan Camp

Actual rating: 3.75 stars but rounded up to 4 stars!


The start of the story was okay but then things started to get crazy because someone already died and that's just the beginning of this book. During my time reading this, I got legit confused. I can’t say it's completely random but the book being disorganized is one thing and how it all still fits together is another. You really need to focus on the story when reading it. I consider its pace to be somewhere in between because it starts slow but quickens maybe a little too fast. Try to keep up but take in every single thing so that you can understand whatever is happening because there is a LOT going on.


There were some unexpected stuff happening right there. Things like profanities, betrayal, murder, etc. I never thought I'd read that in a fantasy book but I had low expectations for this book because honestly, I didn't know what to expect out of it. One thing I enjoyed was the starting bits that contain stories or info about different mythology and folklores.


The characters were great. Each one had a distinct personality and let me tell you, there were a lot of characters. I really liked the main character, Jude. He is so quirky and adorable but damn, he can be one dangerous man. I probably like him even more because of his dark humor. Another character I liked is Renaissance, Renai for short. First thing’s first, the name. It’s an unusual name but I think that it is so witty. At first, I thought she was just going to be one of those passing-by, filling-out-holes kind of characters but nooo. It gets better than that and she’s more involved in the story and gets more “screen time.” When I saw that the sequel was somehow about her, I got a little too excited so I’m going to watch out for that. Hooray for great characters!


The story went on longer than I expected but it's fine. This book actually took me a few days to continue it because I started this on the day before NYE. When I read some parts, I thought some of them were unnecessary and just made the book longer than it had to be but all-in-all, the book seemed complete and came with extra bits. The City of Lost Fortunes seemed to start out as boring and slow but became more intense as it came to the end. I would describe it as twisted, not just because of its characters but also because of its plot. I hope the sequel’s just as a sick read as the first one.


A big thanks to NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book.

3.5 Stars
Glimmerglass Girl: Spread Those Broken Wings
Glimmerglass Girl - Holly Walrath

I got to be honest. In the past, I have read poetry and love reading it but i have never reviewed a piece or a poetry book, for that matter. This is actually my first time reviewing poetry with this book so here goes.


Glimmerglass Girl is a short collection of poems that talks about experiences of Holly Lyn Walrath through beautiful and exquisite poetry. It tackles topics such as life, love, marriage, abuse, self-harm, the body, death, and alcoholism, which people, and not just females, can relate to.


There were a few poems I liked and these poems include: In Rejoice of Kindred Grief; She Learns How to Disappear, Morning Song; Two Hundred Fifty-Seven; The Art of Loneliness; and White Matter. The book had a couple of art which I appreciated.


Although some poems seemed cryptic and confusing, they also held a pang of wonder and mystery to me which I liked. The author’s excellent use of representation and metaphors was what got me. In my opinion, using metaphors is good, especially in poetry. I just love it when writers use them because they make words (or poems, for this instance) seem more special. This book had a decent amount of metaphors inside it so that's great.


Truth be told, I just read Glimmerglass Girl because I wanted a short and quick read and that's what I got. In the end, I wanted to read more, to get more. The book is something that made me feel more half-full than half-empty. Nevertheless, i enjoyed it as a whole and am happy with the decision that I read it because I seriously missed reading poetry and this exactly did the trick.


Thank you to NetGalley for providing me a copy and to Holly Lyn Walrath for writing such powerful words and inspiring me as a person and young lady.

4 Stars
The Boy from Tomorrow: Featuring a Ouija Board as the New Telephone
The Boy from Tomorrow - Camille DeAngelis

The Boy from Tomorrow tells about a girl, Josie, and a boy, Alec, who both happen to live or lived at the house on 444 Sparrow Street. They never happened to met because she’s from the past and he’s from the future. Their only means of communication is through a talking board. Both Josie and Alec experience hardships and challenges with their own lives, during different centuries. But setting those aside, their friendship strengthens and they get through life little by little with the company of the other.


The book involves themes of friendship and family which captured my interest because of its representation in the book. It tackles family issues like abuse and divorce. The friendship of the two kids can be clearly seen, especially in their willingness to talk to the other (even if it means getting caught) and to offer advice and support the other needs. Even if you’re centuries apart and you still want to help your friend, now, that’s called real friendship.


There were some chapters and characters which I think were kind of unnecessary. But I understood that maybe it was for clearer context. At first, I found the pace of the book slow but as the chapters dragged on, the pace became better. I knew from the first line of the book that there was something, something that had piqued my interest which could make me attached to the book somehow.


The writing was nice, not because it was for middle graders, but in all seriousness, the writing was really good. That’s one thing I enjoyed about it. The writing was just simple, clear, and easy to comprehend. I felt like a young girl once again when reading this book. I felt like I was reading the kinds of books I read during my childhood. It was good to reminisce and this book made me did that. The books had a sense of lightness but also, a sense of deepness at the same time and I liked that it wasn’t just at surface level.


I actually had plenty of chances to  read this once I’ve started but I just seem to be always in a book slump whenever I try to read it. I finally had the courage to continue where I left and ended up actually liking the book.


The Boy from Tomorrow is actually quick and heartwarming read that can be for everyone, not just middle-graders. When reading this book, you could feel a whirlwind of emotions for the characters, sympathy, anger, sadness, joy. We could even learn a thing or two from Josie or Alec, to value our past, the present, and future.


Just a lil’ trigger warning and semi-spoiler. There is a chapter involving child abuse. When I read about it, my heart just went soft for Josie and her sister. They don’t deserve to be treated the way they did. No child does.


Note: Thanks a lot to NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book that I enjoyed reading. :>

2.5 Stars
A Fist Around the Heart: Two Sisters, Two Cities. One Train, One Life.
A Fist Around the Heart - Heather Chisvin

Actual Rating: 3.25 stars


I have delayed this book for sooo long. I just never had the energy to pick it up again once I've put it down. But finally, finally, I've finished it (last year actually before 2018 ended) and I've come with, you called it, a review.


A Fist Around the Heart is about the relationship of two sisters, Anna and Esther, who were forced to migrate to Winnipeg by their mother to escape the chaos in Russia. Since then, they were forced to live with their mother’s employers as their apparent guardians. A lot has happened in both their lives during the years that have passed. One day, after visiting Anna, there was news that Esther killed herself by letting herself get run over by the train that was supposed to be her ride home to Winnipeg.


Throughout the book, it shows the hardships Anna experienced, both living alone in New York and living with her sister, parents, and guardians. It deals with loss, pain, trauma, grief, and mental illness. But there were also parts which showed friendship, family, and support but being independent at the same time.


A Fist Around the Heart was an interesting read for me. The book's pace was just good enough for me and I understood what was going on. I could distinguish which were the flashbacks and the ones in the present day. I liked how some parts were kind of realistic and how I imagined they would be. I also learned some new things about history when I read this book.


I liked how the story was detailed but not too detailed. There were still some questions that were unanswered which was slightly disappointing because there was no complete closure about some things. But all in all, I guess, the end was patched alright. The characters were better than the plot so moving on...


Let's talk about the sisters... I could somehow relate to Anna's grief and I sympathize for her. All throughout the book, I admired her for being such a strong, independent woman. She may not had it easy but she got through. As for Esther, she made me think of how she and her sister have had it rougher compared to my life. She struggled through so much in her life. They both faced lots of challenges but they got through because they had each other. Or at least, Esther did. She was kind of dependent to Anna and that showed how fragile and vulnerable she is. Lucky she had Anna by her side as her support system.


Ugh, this book just makes me want to have a sister even more! The support, love, and concern represented by the two sisters frustrates me because I don't see that with me and my brothers. I hope that someday I could find someone who would consider as a sister to me and me to her.


Trigger warning: mentions of suicide and mental illness


Note: Thank you to NetGalley for my copy of A Fist Around the Heart.

4 Stars
Mardi Gras Murder: Not Your Typical Murder Mystery
Mardi Gras Murder: A Cajun Country Mystery - Ellen Byron

I can’t really give much about this book (without spoiling it, that is) but what I can give you is this set of keywords on what you need to know and expect about the book: murders, traitors, secrets, lies, lineage, Mardi Gras, festivities, celebration, mystery, and issues. (because supposedly everyone has them.)


I haven’t read any book by Ellen Byron yet, or any installment from the Cajun Country mysteries series either so I’m really new with their writing and the setting of Cajun Country. Because I’m a clueless human, the book introduced me to new things such as Mardi Gras and the orphan train to name a few. Her writing is also simply amazing.


By reading the story, I got a small glimpse of the Pelican culture and some snippets on history. The story may be fictional but part of me felt that. :)))


One thing I really really really liked was the flow of the story. The transitioning of each chapter makes me smirk every time. It’s just begging me, inviting me to read the next chapter immediately, and I did.


Most chapters ended in a cliffhanger (spoiler!) which, for me, was frustratingly good (if that makes any sense). I started slow but quickly picked up my pace when the cliffhangers began, continuing one chapter to the next. I just had to.


Onto the characters… (yayyy!) I absolutely, genuinely adore the characters in Mardi Gras Murder. I felt that most of them had character development. You can see how each character is well-rounded and that each one has a different story to tell. You can’t really point out who is good or bad, innocent or guilty, at fault or not.


Here’s one thing I can tell you: We can’t really say who did what because we don’t really know know everyone. We all have our secrets but at some point, they’ll be revealed. Someday, one way or another.


It's a chill book that gives chills. So settle in and ready your little tiny heart for some murder action and mystery in a town where it seems fun and light on the outside but secretly hides quite a lot of darkness on the inside.

3.5 Stars
Wotakoi: Otakus in Action
Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku 1 - Maki Fujita

This book is very kawaii!


It's about two young co-workers that are both geeks, one is an otaku and one is a gamer. They are also joined by their fellow colleagues, who are also their friends.


I would definitely read the other volumes because it's just sooooo adorable.


Overall, I found very light and an easy to read manga. It would make you laugh, smile, and smirk. So if you want a fast-paced manga that isn't complicated, read Wotakoi.




Just a side note guys. If you didn't know yet, Wotakoi's already been turned to an anime and I think it's good. 



P.S. I finished this like about a month ago but I just felt like posting a review about this today hehe.

Off Topic Post: My first time in Orléans and by chance we arrive on the eve of the Fête Jeanne D'Arc

We made our first visit to Orléans today because we wanted to break the journey from Cherbourg to Switzerland and we fervently wanted to avoid driving anywhere near Paris.


I'd expected a pitstop at a hotel and maybe a look at an interesting building or two tomorrow. After six hours on the road in 28C heat, in a car where the aircon had expired, all I wanted to do was to eat and sleep.


Fortunately, the meal refreshed us so we took a late evening walk through the town and discovered two things: Orléans is big, beautiful and bustling and tomorrow in the Fête Nationale De Jeanne D'Arc, a national holiday that celebrates the Maid of Orléans and French patriotism in general.


Orléans has its party frock on and people are already feeling festive, Here are some pictures from this evening that I hope give a flavour of the town.



20180506_215500.jpg The back streets of Orléans20180506_220249.jpg The main shopping street in Orléans



 Sunday night in the streets of Orléans20180506_221230.jpg Orléans Cathedral[


20180506_222449.jpg Statue of Jeanne D'Arc in the main square


Reblogged from Mike Finn
!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
4 Stars
Cinder: The Princess of the Future
Cinder - Marissa Meyer

First things first, the concept is pure genius. Turning the childhood classic tale of Cinderella into a modern-age, futuristic story that not just young teens might enjoy, but by everyone, too. Putting that big of a twist on such a simple story, Marissa Meyer definitely did a great job. Can’t wait to read the other retellings she did.

In a small attempt to sum this up, this book includes: cyborgs; robot BFFs; people from the moon with mind-controlling powers; a missing princess (who was believed to be dead); “the plague” causing quite a number of deaths; a doctor who you don’t think he is; an adoptive family which I dislike (except for Peony and Iko); a getaway car; a handsome prince (soon-to-be-emperor) that every girl seems to have crush on (even Cinder because why not?) and his advisor; “stars”; a secret that will probably twist the whole story (but you kinda saw it coming). And so much more. (You’ll know if you read the book.)

Pacing. The start, for me, was kind of slow so I was kind of was bored. But after a few chapters in, I was engaged and excited for what could happen next, especially with the budding romance. The romance actually started in the first or second chapter of the book which lured me in even more so I was kind of disappointed when it progressed after a number of chapters. It’s fine. I’m fine.

Just a lil’ insert. I liked how there was a world leaders meeting which talked about Earth’s alliance to Luna. I appreciated Kai’s attempt to make the mood lighter by inserting a tiny joke but the leaders seemed too serious and had no time for such things. “There are much more important matters to discuss.”

Writing-wise. I am not used to a lot of flowery words and the third person’s POV but I guess it’s time to turn in a new leaf. Every seed needs to bloom. Yet, here I am, growing little by little by reading such books.

Character-wise. The characters were close and similar with their fairy tale counterpart. I love the idea that there were also new characters introduced in the story, such as Dr. Erland and Iko to support the story. I both adored them. Dynamic and interesting characters, I must say. Another insert. Cinder is an awesome mechanic and character, no doubt, who has developed throughout the story.

I need Prince Kai to have a special mention here somewhere. Because, stars, he is the total package. He’s nice, attractive, awkward, funny, and willing to sacrifice a lot for his people (Cinder included). The way his hair falls on his face. I CAN’T EVEN. Anyway, I might add him to my list of fictional boyfriends this time. He sure does deserve a spot. His relationship with Cinder is just adorable. Too bad she can’t blush.

I also have to talk about my distaste for Pearl, Queen Levana, and Adri. Wait, maybe just Queen Levana. Wait. Nope, Adri and Pearl kind of made the cut. I understand where they’re coming from because they are still grieving for Peony but that doesn’t mean that they can bully and push Cinder around just because they can and want to. 

I also hate the fact that Adri constantly uses Garan’s death against Cinder, making it seem that she killed him by adopting her. Adri and Cinder fight about it and I always get annoyed because Adri dumps all of it on Cinder but it isn’t her fault. It’s no one’s fault. Why can't she understand that simple thing?! To me, it looks like Adri and Pearl are just miserable and they release it on Cinder. 

As for Queen Levana, she is a phony, tricking everyone around her into believing that she is beautiful inside and out. And I don’t like her for it. I find it annoying, really. But I want to figure them out more, perhaps in the following books.

Time for some light comments. IKO AND PEONY. OH MY STARS.Iko is probably the best sidekick / best friend I have ever read. I wish I had a good friend like Iko is just light and easy to be around, not pressuring me into anything, but still cares for me. Peony, on the other hand, is like the sister I never had. I don’t get why she had to die. Maybe she just had to… but why? WHY?! JUST WHY?! R.I.P. Linh Peony.


Marissa Meyer knows how to leave a good cliffhanger. It evidently means that I should read the next book. And I will. Soon.

4 Stars
Over Raging Tides: Get Ready for a Wave of Lady Pirates
Over Raging Tides (Lady Pirates, #1) - Jennifer Ellision

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Jennifer Ellision for granting me access to a copy of this book. I am truly grateful. It is an honor.


Grace Porter is the quartermaster and first mate of the Lady Luck, their ship. Her mother was taken by hideous and dreadful monsters called the Mordgris when she was young. She still believes that her mother is alive but hidden where the Mordgris lives. One day, their ship encounters a shipwreck, only to find not treasure but men, the last thing their crew wants to see. On the brink of being devoured by the Mordgris, Grace finds herself saving a boy and his brother and taking them in, which is against their rules. After this, a chain of events start, not just for Grace but also for the Luck.


I like the concept of switching the stereotype of men being the usual pirates. This generation is about change, and being different and unique, standing out. This book just makes the right amount of different because it beats certain stereotypes.


The fact that the origin of this concept was from watching a Pirates of the Caribbean movie adds a drop of awesomeness to the mix. Have you seen that cover? Amazing. Pure beauty.


Every chapter has something different and it relates to an article of the Lady Luck. The format was cool. I admired the writing style because it is comfortable and easy on the eyes, nothing too hard.


For me, I think that it lacks details or descriptions of the pirate world, just a little. I could imagine living the pirate life but something’s missing. As for the characters, most characters are molded great but the supporting could’ve had more “book time.” All of them are different in their own way and I want to be able to learn more about them because they all seem so interesting.


Some parts were predictable but some weren't what I expected. I felt bad about is the lack of pages. That ending left me wanting more. More action. More of the pirate-y life. It just screams a sequel. The book could’ve been much better if it was longer. Also... I need more moments of my ship.


This book would give you: (lady) pirates, sea monsters, betrayal, a strong-willed heroine, an adorable relationship of a captain and her first mate, crew of lighthearted and fierce lady pirates, a protective love between two brothers, a few moments of betrayal, a budding romance, and perhaps some treasure. If you’re up for all that and for a quick and fast-paced read, this book would be a good pick.

3.5 Stars
White Houses: The First Lady and "First Friend" Re-Imagined
White Houses - Amy Bloom

I seriously took too long to finish this book... Anyway, here it is!


Lorena “Hick” Hickok didn’t have it easy from the start. She was abused, separated from her sisters, lost her mother at a young age, and lived in poverty. Now, she has worked hard, and as a journalist, she was tasked to report on Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential campaign. Hick grows closer to his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, and is asked to move in the White Houses where she is labeled as the “first friend.” As the years go by, they, as individuals and as a couple, undergo different experiences and encounter challenges that just makes them stronger. It isn’t until the death of dear Franklin that really ignites them and proves their love to be true.

Amy Bloom’s portayal of Hick’s life and realationship seems close to reality, even though it is just a fictional account. I like how she wrote the backstories of Lorena’s life, especially during her time with a traveling circus. Gosh, I love that part. For me, that was the best part of the book because it was where she knew more about herself.

The way Amy wrote the words was precise. I admire the way she plays with them and is able to insert some witty remarks in her sentences, here and there. The writing was one of the reasons why I liked the book because it made me feel like I was actually there, years ago even though I’m living in the present. Each character was beautifully written and had their own distinct characteristics.

I was just slightly confused with the lack of quotation marks in the flashbacks because sometimes I can’t distinguished which ones are supposed to be said by a person. Another thing that confused me was that the parts weren’t divided “approriately” (I guess). Sometimes, I just think that there were chapters that could’ve been cut short and made into a new chapter so it doesn’t add to the confusion, that’s all.

The amazing parts were really the flash backs where there are a lot of, in the book. But being honest, I had some parts where I was reading and felt bored. It’s probably because it slightly involves politics and a few topics wherein you need deeper understanding. 

The idea of re-imagining a previous first lady and her “first friend” really fascinated me so I read it. I came for the idea, I stayed for the story. If you like a good gay re-imagine of historical ladies with a hint of drama and politics, I could say you should pick this up.

My deepest thanks to NetGalley, Random House, and Amy Bloom for introducing me to the fictional world of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok (and for the book)!


Bonus Content: 24 Letter Excerpts From Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok That Screams Gay! (I just saw this while researching and wanted to share it.)