Review: How We Fall Apart

Review: How We Fall Apart

Rating: 1 out of 5.

*I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

When top-ranking student Jamie Ruan is found dead, her former friends are shocked to the core. This is even more so when the blame is placed on them via their school’s social media app. The so-called Proctor anonymously incriminates them as they slowly reveal the secrets of students Nancy, Krystal, Akil and Alexander, who were all once Jamie’s closest friends. Jamie knew all their secrets, and now The Proctor does too. And they must figure out the truth because it all falls apart. 

The story begins with Nancy presenting to her school; when Jamie fails to make it, she thinks nothing of her ex-friend’s no show. Having abandoned the friendship months before in light of her father’s scandal, Nancy finally thinks she can take the spot that Jamie once held over her. 

That is until a threatening message to Jamie appears on the board, which triggers the beginning of the end for them all. Jamie is dead, and the finger is pointing at Jamie’s old friends. Nancy, a scholarship kid, practically grew up in the shadow of Jamie. Krystal and Akil are born from money, but they can’t hide their secrets. While Alexander is another scholarship student whose brother’s expulsion years ago haunts him to this day. Each has a secret Jamie knew, and now the Proctor is revealing them one by one, damning them all to expulsion and throwing them to the wolves. 

The story, in concept, is rather intriguing. Think Pretty Little Liars meets Gossip Girl. A group of kids work together to figure out who is behind the messages before their reputation is ruined. But the story is extremely rushed, and the lack of development in any of the characters will leave you feeling sorely disappointed. Slowly, the secrets of each of the main protagonists are revealed. The consequences of their actions are rushed, and you don’t get to feel the impact of everything that happens. Something drastic happens, and the story moves on without ruminating on its effect. 

The story also has a bad habit of withholding information in a poorly executed way. There was little originality in this tale, and the so-called finale was like the final nail in the coffin for me. A good mystery will immerse the reader and propel them further, so when the identity is revealed, it should be a shock and make sense to the reader. The ending didn’t make sense, the culprit felt like it was plucked out of nowhere, and now that I’ve had time to think about it, it was pretty hilarious how ridiculous this entire book was.

When I slowly began to realise the plot wasn’t working for me, I was somewhat holding onto the characters, hoping they would carry the story on, but it felt like I was reading a story that wasn’t quite complete. It doesn’t read like a draft, but it doesn’t feel like a polished story. Nancy made sense, plot-wise, to be the main protagonist, but she was the most insufferable in this story. I felt for her initially, growing up in a low-income family, feeling like you need to make your family proud, despite the obstacles in front of you. But she is rather cruel, thinking she’s above the rich kids like Jamie, without realising she’s a terrible person as well. Each character felt archetypal, almost like figurines of what the authors wanted them to stand for, but they don’t have a distinct voice, nor do they feel compelling enough to feel engaged in their journey. 

Overall, How We Fall Apart promises a lot but fails to play the part. I’ve been disappointed a lot reading books that I’ve personally been hyped to read, but How We Fall Apart is one of those reads that it pains me to say that I would not recommend this book to anyone. While having a promising concept, this release fails to capture the rush of a thriller nor the essence of dark academia. Everything you are promised is deflated and, honestly, relatively lacklustre. 


Review: Make Up Break Up

Review: Make Up Break Up

Rating: 1 out of 5.

*I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

Annika Dev has high hopes for her app, Make Up. Born out of her passion and personal history, Make Up will be a revolutionary tool to mend relationships. But as struggles to raise her app from the ground up, Break Up, helmed by Hudson Craft, is rising in downloads, breaking up relationships faster than ever before. Annika thought she could ignore her summer fling with Hudson, but when his business moves next door, the two find themselves pitted against each other in a meaningful investment contest. 

I know this will sound really mean, but I can’t believe I wasted my time reading this. Like, I am trying so hard to think of something to say that isn’t so harsh, but Make Up Break Up was not good. The book lacks tension, the writing dragged, and the characters were truly so miserable to read that I genuinely could not understand what they see in each other.

The story did not work for me at all. It begins with Hudson and Co. moving in next door to Annika’s office. They’re popping champagne while Make Up is struggling to stay afloat. Annika soon realises that Hudson aims to win the same investment competition she needs to keep the place afloat. And then it becomes a cat and mouse chase between Annika and Hudson on who can be the most annoying person ever. They act so pettily and messy between themselves; you would think they were some teenagers and not adults. Like hiring a mariachi band to disrupt the other’s party or taking the charger out of a laptop before a major presentation? The stakes were nothing to feel invested about. The plot pretty much drags itself through Annika and Hudson just being assholes to each other. They’re both very self-centered, but Annika takes the cake because at least Hudson tries to be more sociable. He’s still rude in my view, nothing he does redeems him, but his place as a love interest was so two dimensional. He’s pretty, and he’s got a good body. His personality was to be blatantly in love with Annika while she rants about him for a good chunk of the book. 

Much of Annika’s anger comes from believing that Hudson had stolen her idea and was now profiting off the anti-dating app. She spends much of this book with this high and mighty attitude that Hudson is a creep and that his app is terrible. And she’s not wrong. Break Up is essentially pay-to-break up service where people are hired to break up on behalf of a person. There’s an interactive element where random people just dump terrible new on another, and it’s passed off as quirky. That alone just put me off Hudson as a romantic lead because how uncomfortable that app made me. And, strangely, Annika is the only person to mention how terrible the concept is. But then she thinks she had this moral high ground because her app fixes relationships, but there’s a problem with her app: she never considers whether a relationship is worth pursuing. That not every relationship needs fixing. You would think that would be discussed within the development team. Her own reasoning didn’t do much either, and it felt more like pieces of a draft that hadn’t quite finished developing. This is where you could think they could work together to create an app that takes both concepts into account, but the book’s actual ending was just so much more disappointing. There was a demi-decent discussion about women in tech and the boundaries they faced, but it’s all weak. Annika is too inconsistent in what she wants to say, so Menon’s actual message falls through. 

To summarise, Make Up Break Up is not the romantic story it thinks it is. The plot was weak, the characters were unmemorable, and its whole execution was quite muddy. There were so many points where the book could’ve turned itself around, but it felt like it was doomed from the start.


Review: Shine (Shine #1)

Review: Shine (Shine #1)

Rating: 1 out of 5.

After training six years to be DB Entertainment’s newest K-pop star, Rachel Kim is so close to making it. She just has to train, train and train some more until she can finally prove her spot. One viral incident has her thrust into the spotlight beside DB Ent’s golden boy, Jason Lee. But the harsh realities of trainee life begins to strain on Rachel as she starts to doubt herself. And any mistake can risk everything.

I have to be honest, I went into this book with low expectations as my experience with most celebrity-penned novels have resulted in some mediocre reading experiences. I thought even being a SONE for years now would colour my judgement. But Shine might be the most disappointing book that I have read this year. From the writing, characters and plot, nothing in this book shines through.

The only decent thing I could say about this book was that it is readable. I flew through the story at a decent pace, but then again, I just wanted the story to be over with. So take that with a pinch of salt. The pacing was all over the place. One chapter would end like a drama, but the next would continue as if nothing was wrong. Much of the writing was so inconsistent which made the story rather dull and boring. Jung fails to make you feel anything but annoyance towards every person we encounter in this book, including our very own Rachel Kim.

Continue reading “Review: Shine (Shine #1)”

Review: Verify

Review: Verify

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ (1/5)

*I received a copy via the publisher in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

Meri Beckley is forced on the run when she discovers the world she lives in isn’t as truthful as she was thought it was. Months after the death of her artist mother, Meri tries to understand her mother’s thoughts in her unfinished pieces. Then one day, someone thrusts a piece of paper in her hands with one world: verify. There she discovers questions no one is willing to answer and learns a history that she didn’t know existed. However, the government is close on her tail, and she has no choice but to fight back. 

This book is a mess. I’m actually surprised that this book is being published in the state that it is in. If this was 2013, Verify could have stood a chance in the dystopian young adult market, but right now, it’s nothing new and falls exceptionally flat. I really wish I could say this book just wasn’t for me, another reader might like it, but I honestly can’t in good faith recommend this book to anyone. 

Meri Beckley discovers the government is censoring anything that doesn’t align with their views. She learns of a secret organisation whose primary role is to remind the world of the history they have forgotten, but their work is continuously halted by secret government agents which snatch members off the street, never to be seen again. Meri meets Atlas, whose father ran [org name] but went missing, and takes the risk of reaching out to Meri in hopes that her mother might’ve passed some information before her death. 

The plot’s conflict was all over the place, and it doesn’t really settle on anything. It felt somewhat stretched out to become a duology because there is no shred of resolution that felt like the first novel was finished. This world is ridiculously dull, and the lack of stakes just made me laugh. Nothing really keeps you rooting for Meri, and we’re told how to feel, rather than seeing. The book’s climax where Meri and the others spread their message all over the city felt uninspiring. Meri is hopeless, she learns of a secret organisation where certain words can trigger the police to come after you, but she continues to act reckless, and we’re supposed to believe in the space of like a week, she is suddenly a key player in this “revolution” when she’s done nothing but cause trouble.

She’s a paper lead, with no personality, no reason or spark to root for her. The secondary characters were so forgettable, existing for scenes where they’re needed and quickly discarded. A love interest that I just felt terrible for, honestly, and there was zero connection between them. I had to laugh when they kiss in the middle of their vital life or death mission. Honestly, this entire book was so underwhelming that nothing could really save it. 

Verify is set far enough in the future that the government can easily remove everyday words from our vocabulary to the point where no one knows how to pronounce them. Paper usage is frowned upon and illegal to own. In this universe, much of the world’s darkest history is erased. But the only thing parts of history the book relies on is the Underground Railroad and WW2. I would’ve loved to see Meri reflect on the history and what happened during those times. But it’s very vague and doesn’t even talk about them at all. If you’re going to use specific elements from history, the least you could do is acknowledge them in your books, rather than being vague.

Overall, I can see what this book is trying to do, in a digital era, information is distorted and unverified information has the potential to do great ruin in our lives. But this entire book was unclear and not at all enjoyable to read, which is such a shame because its premise is so important. I don’t think this book is worth reading. 

If you want to read a YA book about the power of information and censorship, I’d suggest The Great Library series by Rachel Caine. (It’s not at the forefront like Verify, and it’s more fantasy aligned)


Book Review: Hush, Hush


you can find the book at:
GoodReads | Author’s website | Amazon | Bookdepository
my review:
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

HUSH, HUSH is the story of Nora Grey and how her life becomes anything but average when she is seated next to the new kid, Patch Cipriano, in her Biology class.

This really isn’t much of a review. Just me complaining, really, of how extremely terrible this book was. I’m not going to even follow my usual review format because I don’t think this even deserves a well, written review. Even if I absolutely despise a book, there’s usually a couple of redeeming factors but with this, there was nothing. Absolutely nothing

  • Ok, who lets a gym teacher teach Biology? I understand if he was a supply teacher but, no, this school let this poor excuse for a teacher teach Biology. (and half the stuff he was teaching I’m sure didn’t have anything to do with Bio)
  • This is also the same coach who allowed a male student to openly harass a girl in class, in front of the entire class by telling everyone exactly how to tell when a girl is turned on
  • Nora brings it up to the teacher that he’s ignoring her basic right as a student to not be harassed like that in school. His response? Just wait it out. And then proceeds to tell her that she should tutor the very boy who is making her uncomfortable.
    • No teacher should condone the abuse Patch does to Nora. 
  • I’ve seen Patch very high on YA Book Boyfriend lists and now that I’ve read it… I’m so confused as to why? Even if he does he better in the next book, his behaviour now is frankly quite disgusting and it’s quite scary to see people crown him as an amazing love interest.
  • For a girl aiming for the big Ivy league schools, Nora shows no sign of actually caring about her grades. The idea of Nora being smart is just told to us. We never actually see how smart Nora is. (Every chance she gets it’s ruined because she’s distracted by Patch the trash)
  • Patch sends the majority of this novel just stalking and sexually harassing Nora. And it actually confounds me that we’re supposed to be swooning at this. Are we really supposed to be finding a boy who continues to make unwanted advances on a girl who has repeatedly told him that she doesn’t like him attractive? He is manipulative, abusive and just plain disgusting.
  • “If rape, murder, or any other miscreant activities were on Patch’s mind, he’d cornered me in the perfect place. ” That is what the PROTAGONIST thinks of HER LOVE INTEREST.
  • Very stereotypical female enemy. You know the drill. I think the words slut and bitch were chucked around.
  • A pathetic excuse for a best friend. I liked Vee to start with. She was almost a redeeming factor but halfway through she stopped being a best friend. No best friend would make you go out with a guy you’ve told her is making you uncomfortable. Vee is the worst and their friendship is just so BAD.
  • One example of Vee being the shittest friend I’ve ever seen:
  • “He dragged me out the front door and shoved me against the house.”
    “But he was drunk, right?”
    “Does it matter?” I snapped.
    “Well, he has a lot going on. I mean, he was wrongly accused of being messed up in some girl’s suicide, and he was forced to switch schools. If he hurt you—and I’m not justifying what he did, by the way—maybe he just needs … counseling, you know?”
    “If he hurt me?”
    “He was wasted. Maybe—maybe he didn’t know what he was doing. Tomorrow he’s going to feel horrible.”

I’m going to stop here because that’s all the sections that I bookmarked but I think you get the gist. I hated everything about this book and its attempt to justify harassment by covering it up as a so-called love story is actually quite worrying.

Paperback, 391 pages
Published October 13th 2010 by Simon & Schuster BFYR
ISBN: 1416989420


You Can Find the Book At:

Barnes and Noble
Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

Emma decided to skip the gym and went home early. It was the last easy decision she made because she found her roommate being raped by her boyfriend.

She had two choices. Call the cops and be killed by his family’s mafia connections or kill him first and hope to survive. There was no choice to her.

She killed the bastard first and went to the one person who could protect her. Carter Reed. He’s a weapon for the rivaling mafia family, but he’s also Emma’s secret. Not only was he best friends with her brother, but she’s the reason he became that weapon in the first place.

My Review:

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

There’s so many things that I dislike about this book. The character, the story and just everything in general.

Emma, as a character, is so irritating, too demanding,and acted like a spoiled brat. She has killed someone, abandoned her equally irritating friends, and let them be hunted by the mob, while she look for shelter , to another mobster. When a mobster also happened to be your dead brother’s best friend and after seeing his GQ body, she basically forgot about the murder she JUST committed and starts lusting over him.

Also, I can’t believe this girl thinks she can have a say in all that was happening. She really believed she has the right to complain when a Mob is trying to kill her and she seeks protection; you need to sit yourself down and don’t put yourself in danger just because you feel like it, or because you were lonely. And about Carter? Im pretty sure even he was 100% done with Emma, with the disappearances he has made even when Emma begged him to stay.

Carter could’ve been a good character but he was so manipulative. But his confidence doesn’t balance out how he turned into a sappy love struck guy by the end of the book, falling in love with one of the most boring characters I’ve ever read. How he could’ve fallen in love with this girl is beyond me.

The secondary characters were undeveloped and flat, and it was impossible to connect with any of them. The writing style is not enjoyable, filled repetitive sequences and cringe lines. This book was neither romantic or thrilling, the premise had so much potential for an action-driven storyline, when in reality the story unfolded at a snail’s pace.

There was always something missing with this book. Perhaps a better backstory or Carter’s pov from the past? Added depth from the characters was desperately needed and I just wasn’t connected with the two main characters in the slightest. There is zero chemistry at all between Emma and Carter.