Sunday, January 8, 2017

Book Review: The Stranger Game by Cylin Busby

Title: The Stranger Game
Author: Cylin Busby
Published: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Balzer & Bray

The Stranger Game is a dark, suspenseful, and twisty young adult novel—perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver and E. Lockhart—about fifteen-year-old Nico Walker, whose sister returns home after a four-year disappearance.

When Nico Walker's older sister mysteriously disappears, her parents, family, and friends are devastated. But Nico can never admit what she herself feels: relief at finally being free of Sarah's daily cruelties.

Then the best and worst thing happens: four years later, after dozens of false leads, Sarah is found.

But this girl is much changed from the one Nico knew. She's thin and drawn, where Sarah had been golden and athletic; timid and unsure, instead of brash and competitive; and strangest of all, sweet and kind, when she had once been mean and abusive. Sarah's retrograde amnesia has caused her to forget almost everything about her life, from small things like the plots of her favorite books and her tennis game to the more critical—where she's been the last four years and what happened at the park on the fateful day she vanished. Despite the happy ending, the dark details of that day continue to haunt Nico, and it becomes clear that more than one person knows the true story of what happened to Sarah.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. No payments made between me and the publisher.

This book was one of the best reads I had, there were two POVs, I thought at first that this was a horror type of book because of it's cover but then I found out that this is full of mystery and twisted! I seldom read this type of book but this one catches my attention.

What made me interested in the book? It's the title. I would love to know why it was called The Stranger's Game. Who's the stranger and why? Luckily this book answered the questions in my head. I guess I could say mind blown, as I mentioned it was twisted but I loved how the two different character stories met at this book. How Nico found out about the stranger, how everything changed when she came in to Nico's life. Somehow it was a good thing that the stranger became the part of their lives.

Good news readers! It has a happy ending and no cliff-hangers. The book was straightforwardly written. You might get lost on some parts of the book but hang in there! You'll get the whole story once you've read everything. I swear it's worth it! :)

My Ratings

Cylin Busby is the author of several teen books and numerous articles as well as the acclaimed young adult memoir, THE YEAR WE DISAPPEARED,which was a Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, and a Cybils Award winner. 

Her latest novel, THE NINE LIVES OF JACOB TIBBS, has earned starred reviews and was an Amazon Best Book of the Month. The former Senior Editor of Teen Magazine, Cylin now lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

HBL's Best Books of 2016

Hey there! I'm ending my 2016 with 40 read books. Sadly I wasn't able to finish my Goodreads challenge which was 50 books blame my other life called work. LOL. Anyways, I'm happy to share my best read books for this year, it was hard to choose but this books stand out, aside from the good story, these books touched me emotionally and they caused book slumps. *laughs* Well... enough with introductions, below are the books I fancied. 

Immortalis by Leah Lozano

I've been looking forward to this book ever since the author told me about this. I thought it was horror at first though *laughs* but it wasn't and I really enjoyed reading this book. 

Majesty by Jay E. Tria

My first book from Jay E. Tria and my favorite until at this very moment. A book I can relate to. I'm in love with it so much and I won't get tired reading this over and over again. 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

THIS BOOK AND THE MOVIE MADE ME CRY!!! No matter how many times I read/watch the movie I still cry! I love how it was written even though it broke my heart in to million pieces.

  A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir

This book is better that the first one! I enjoyed reading it so much! The story was really great and lovely! It is more catchy too!

 OH THIS! It's another book that made me cry! First parts of the story is already heart breaking.

 Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Love the story! It is cute!!! It makes me wanna eat waffles every time I pick up this book and read. Look at the cover!!! Isn't it lovely?

You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCOUR

I'm a fan of David Levithan and when I heard this book, I  immediately requested it. It's an LGBT kind of book. I don't read much LGBT books but this one is worth your time.

All's Fair In Blog And War by Chrissie Peria

Lovely book from a Filipino author Chrissie Peria, blogging and travel kind of book and it was a light read. I love the cover too! so purple and lovely! I really searched for this book for a long time!

Coast by Jay McLEAN

The story is really interesting since this is Becca Owens that we're talking about. Her story and struggles is so much to take, the first part of the book is full of heartaches. You'll feel the character's pain. Everything she's been through it was awful. 

Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill

This was the last book I've read and I could say.. I GOT ADDICTED! I can't wait to get my own copy soonest. I'll buy one when I found it here! I love it so much! 
Well... So far these are my best books for 2016... I'm looking forward for more books to read this 2017.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book Review: Pushing Perfect by Michelle Falkoff

Title: Pushing Perfect
Author: Michell Falkoff
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: October 25, 2016 

A girl’s quest for perfection results in dangerous consequences in this layered, suspenseful YA novel by the author of Playlist for the Dead.

How far would you go to be perfect?

Kara has the perfect life. She gets perfect grades. She never messes up. Until now. Because perfection is an illusion, and Kara has been struggling to maintain it for as long as she can remember. With so much pressure to succeed, it’s hard not to do whatever it takes.

But when Kara takes a new underground drug to help her ace the SATs, she doesn’t expect to get a text from a blocked sender, telling her to follow a set of mysterious instructions—or risk her dark secret getting out. Soon she finds herself part of a group of teens with secrets of their own, who are all under the thumb of the same anonymous texter. And if they don’t find a way to stop the blackmailer, their perfect futures will go up in flames.

This dark, emotionally resonant contemporary YA novel is perfect for fans of We Were Liars and The Secret History.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. No payments made between me and the publisher.

First of all thank you for this copy which I received via Edelweiss. I saw this while I was browsing the website and I think it was a good book. The book itself looks plain simple but the content of it is something more.  

The book itself has a simple story, high school life who thinks of the future, college, universities and so on. Kara (the main character) thinks she should always be perfect in the eyes of her parents, friends and teachers. To her perfection will do you good but then some thing happened to her during her swimming practice, she's been allergic to pool water ever since that day and she didn't tell it to her friends, aside from that she keeps having panic attacks when she's attempting to take her SATs. To solve that, she became part of the group of teens who do the underground drugs, she never imagined that she'll become a pawn until somebody tried to blackmail her. She and her new friends found a way to solve the mystery and Kara didn't expect the drug dealer is someone close to her.

I think the lesson I got from this book is that, don't try to be perfect because nobody is. It was okay to make mistakes and it is better to be yourself for you to gain true friends. It is harder to be with people who only see your outer side not the inner ones so I guess, Kara really made big mistake when she didn't even try to explain her situation to her friends and parents. 

This book also applies to the society we have nowadays, we don't know who suffers the same thing to Kara but I guess this book will help the readers to be aware of what can happen to a person. Maybe teens nowadays must be more open to their parents because they know what to do, if not a trusted councilor will help.


Michelle Falkoff's fiction and reviews have been published in ZYZZYVA, DoubleTake and the Harvard Review, among other places. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and currently serves as Director of Communication and Legal Reasoning at Northwestern University School of Law.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Book Review: The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead

Title: The Secrets We Keep
Author: Deb Loughead
Publisher: Dundurn
Published: December 10, 2016

First she blamed herself. Now she doesn’t know who to trust.

When Kit disappeared at a party and was found drowned in the quarry the next day, Clem knew who to point the finger at: herself. She was the last person to see him alive, the last person who could have helped. If she had just kept a closer eye on him instead of her crush, Jake, maybe Kit would still be here. She knows she made a mistake, and wishes she could just forget about it — but Clem’s friend Ellie says she’ll expose Clem’s secret if she doesn’t play along with Ellie’s lies.

Jake seems to have his own difficult secrets, and when he and Clem start to talk, they make a plan to help themselves move on. But when an unexpected discovery at the quarry makes everyone question what they thought they knew, Clem and Jake decide it’s up to them to uncover the truth.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. No payments made between me and the publisher.

First of all I want to thank the publisher for the opportunity to read this book. I was intrigued when I saw this on NetGalley so I immediately requested this. The blurb and book title was catchy. I do want to know what were their secrets so...I decided to proceed reading this one.

I don't read much mystery related book but this one is an exemption, I enjoyed reading this. It was confusing at first but the story changes fast and the reader will be able to catch up right away. If you'll look at the details closely you'll be able to pick up the clues from what happened that night when Kit disappeared. The story wasn't that long either and it was straight forward mostly it was focused on finding how Kit died. 

Another thing I loved about this book was how Clem, Jake and Ellie found closure with each other. After all the things that happened to them, they still had each others back. 

My Rating


Deb Loughead, a Toronto author, poet and workshop leader, has been writing since she learned how to read. In fact, she’s saved everything she’s ever written, including her very first composition entitled “A Narrow Escape for a Mouse” which she often reads during her classroom visits! As of 2015, Deb has published over 35 books for children and Young Adults.  

Source: Website

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book Tour (Spotlight): Hell Holes Donald Firesmith

Author: Donald Firesmith 
Book: Hell Holes 
Genre: Science Fiction /Fantasy/Paranormal

When hundreds of huge holes mysteriously appear overnight in the frozen tundra north of the Arctic Circle, they threaten financial and environmental catastrophe should any more open up under the Trans-Alaska Pipeline or any of the many oil wells and smaller pipelines that feed it. An oil company sends a scientific team to investigate. But when the  geologist, his climatologist wife, two of their graduate students, a local newspaper reporter, an oil company representative, and a field biologist arrive at one of the holes, they discover a far worse danger lurks below, one that threatens to destroy all of humanity when it emerges, forcing the survivors to flee south towards Fairbanks.

↓Buy Links↓

A geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books, written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers, and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He's also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered somewhat by his fear that the term "distinguished" makes him sound like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer whose beard is still slightly more red than gray.

By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his wife Becky, and his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.

You can learn more about the author by visiting his website:

His magical wands and autographed copies of his books are available from the Firesmith’s Wand Shoppe at:

Visit him at:


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