Review: This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

15790873 Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: December 24, 2013 by Poppy
Length: 407 pages
Source: bought (at Barnes & Noble)

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O’Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie’s Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?”


This Is What Happy Looks Like is such a cute book! It is written in 3rd person point of view and alternates between Ellie’s and Graham’s perspective. The story begins when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an e-mail instead of sending it to someone who will babysit his pet pig, Wilbur. I really like the two main characters because they are so believable. Ellie’s life is simple; she goes to work at Sprinkles (an icecream parlor) and uses the money she earns to fulfill her dream. Graham on the other hand just wants people to see him for who he is. He is tired of people, especially girls, treating him “extra special” just because he is a celebrity. There are also a couple of Charlotte’s Web references which made me smile because it is one of my all time favorite children’s book.

The story takes place in Maine, and the way the author describes the setting felt like I was there. She uses a lot of descriptions but not too much that it will make you bored. I can easily imagine the beach scenes, Graham and Ellie’s dates and their adventures, where Ellie works, etc.

Family and friendship is also significant in this book. The two main characters help each other out to resolve their family conflicts which I really loved because it shows that these characters are compassionate and caring. I really recommend reading this book because it was a light, fluffy read and it was easy to just dive into the story. At times it was a bit unrealistic and hard to believe but overall  I enjoyed it.

4 of 5

Review: Carrier of the Mark (Carrier #1) by Leigh Fallon

10335701 Genre: YA Paranormal
Published: October 4, 2011 by HarperTeen
Series: #1 (Carrier)
Length: 342 pages
Source: bought

Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she’s surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.


I think Carrier of the Mark is a book you should just read without any expectations. It was very similar to Twilight, but I love how it was not about vampires. The main characters have element powers and I wish the author elaborated more on how the characters can manipulate their powers. I thought the romance was okay. It was insta-love but I already saw that coming since the romance in Twilight was insta-lovey. It was a bit cheesy at times, but bearable. I wish the book wasn’t so focused on the romance, though. I was really interested to know the side characters’ background especially Adam’s family (lol see what I did there?). Also, the author wasn’t very clear on the whole “carrier of the mark” thing. I still kind of do not understand how one can become the carrier of the mark and how one can pass it on. Overall if you liked Twilight and you are having a hangover from it then you should read this, if you did not enjoy Twilight then maybe skip this one because it really is very similar to it.

3 of 5

Review: The Dolls (Dolls #1) by Kiki Sullivan

18249114 Genre: YA Paranormal
Published: September 2, 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Series: #1 (Dolls)
Length: 384 pages
Source: Balzer + Bray (ARC)

Eveny Cheval just moved back to Louisiana after spending her childhood in New York with her aunt Bea. Eveny hasn’t seen her hometown since her mother’s suicide fourteen years ago, and her memories couldn’t have prepared her for what she encounters. Because pristine, perfectly manicured Carrefour has a dark side full of intrigue, betrayal, and lies—and Eveny quickly finds herself at the center of it all.

Enter Peregrine Marceau, Chloe St. Pierre, and their group of rich, sexy friends known as the Dolls. From sipping champagne at lunch to hooking up with the hottest boys, Peregrine and Chloe have everything—including an explanation for what’s going on in Carrefour. And Eveny doesn’t trust them one bit.

But after murder strikes and Eveny discovers that everything she believes about herself, her family, and her life is a lie, she must turn to the Dolls for answers. Something’s wrong in paradise, and it’s up to Eveny, Chloe, and Peregrine to save Carrefour and make it right.”


The Dolls was an okay book with lots of creepy scenes and interesting plot. What I liked about it is the mystery at the beginning. I say the beginning because the mystery kind of died down towards the middle and the end of the book since it got a bit predictable. I think the world building was pretty good. Eveny’s hometown is divided into two parts – the rich and the poor. The author was very creative on explaining how the town became like that.

I enjoyed it for the most part, but the whole clique thing a.k.a. ‘the dolls’ and boys chasing them was just too cliché for me. What I liked about the characters though is that some were easy to differentiate because they had different personalities. Though they were easy to differentiate, I don’t think they’ll fall under the category of ‘memorable characters’. There were also some inconsistencies throughout the book like Eveny’s aunt telling her that it is not safe in their hometown yet they move there…UM OKAY?

Overall it was a good book with some inconsistencies and cliché characters. I would recommend you reading it but I wouldn’t put it on top of my to-be read pile.

3 of 5

Top 10 Books That Have Stayed With Me In Some Way

Thank you Kristy and Melissa over at Book Nerd Reviews and Nikki over at Love at First Write for tagging me! The rules are you have to post 10 books that have stayed with you in some way and then tag 10 other people to do it. In no particular order…





All of these books are amazing and definitely affected me in some way. Some of these books have plot twists that are just mindblowing…but what I love most about these books are the realistic characters. I think that’s the hardest part about writing; making the characters connect with the readers.

I Tag:

1. Hazel @ Stay Bookish
2 & 3. Alise & Bec @ Readers in Wonderland
4. Giselle @ Book Nerd Canada
5. Kaitlin @ Reading Is My Treasure
6. Andrew @ Endlessly Reading
7. Ariella @ Secrets of Lost Words
8. Emily @ Reverie Rhapsody
9. Jessica @ Fly to Fiction
10. And to whoever wants to do this tag :)

Review: Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare

10025305 Genre: YA Paranormal
Published: December 6, 2011 by Simon & Schuster, Margaret K. McElderry Books
Series: #2 (The Infernal Devices)
Length: 502 pages
Source: bought (at Barnes & Noble)

In magical Victorian London, orphan Tessa found safety with the Shadowhunters, until traitors betray her to the Magister. He wants to marry her, but so do self-destructive Will and fiercely devoted Jem. Mage Magnus Bane returns to help them. Secrets to her parentage lie with the mist-shrouded Yorkshire Institute’s aged manager Alyosius Starkweather.”


I am so glad I decided to continue on with this trilogy because the story just got 10x better! I didn’t really enjoy reading the first book, Clockwork Angel, because I thought it was dull and boring. I’m so glad I decided to pick up Clockwork Prince though because the story is so fast paced on this one! I found myself constantly flipping the page, and it was so hard to put the book down. After reading this book, I now know why there is hype around this trilogy. The characters felt so real and I love how I got to know them a lot more in this book. Will is so funny and Jem has such a kind heart! I love how it is so easy to differentiate the characters because of their realistic personalities.

What I loved the most about Clockwork Prince is the romance. I think this is the only book where I love the love triangle. I usually don’t like love triangles, but this book pulls it off. Overall, if you did not really like Clockwork Angel, I suggest you still pick this book up because it is way better. There are so many plot twists and the romance is just *swoons*. If there were stuff you were confused about in Clockwork Angel, this book definitely explains them.

4 of 5

Review: The Swap by Megan Shull

19321449 Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: August 26, 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books
Length: 400 pages
Source: Katherine Tegen Books (ARC)


ELLIE spent the summer before seventh grade getting dropped by her best friend since forever. JACK spent it training in “The Cage” with his tough-as-nails brothers and hard-to-please dad. By the time middle school starts, they’re both ready for a change. And just as Jack’s thinking girls have it so easy, Ellie’s wishing she could be anyone but herself.

Then, BAM! They swap lives—and bodies!

Now Jack’s fending off mean girls at sleepover parties while Ellie’s reigning as the Prince of Thatcher Middle School. As their crazy weekend races on—and their feelings for each other grow—Ellie and Jack begin to realize that maybe the best way to learn how to be yourself is to spend a little time being someone else.


This book was such a fantastic read. I never thought I would love it because I thought the characters were going to be annoying & too immature for me since they are 12 and 13 year olds. This is told in 1st person dual point of view of Ellie (Elle) and Jack. Ellie is in 7th grade and is trying to fit in while Jack is in 8th grade and is trying to cope with his mother’s death. These two characters swap bodies during the first day of school and it was just fun to read how they tackle each other’s lives. Since the book has two narrators, I’m happy to say that I was not confused on who was narrating at all because Ellie and Jack are very different from one another. Ellie is this 7th grader who just wants to fit in by trying to befriend her ex-best friend Sassy, the most popular girl in school while Jack sees all of Sassy’s flaws and knows how true friends should be.

One of the things I love about this book is how Ellie and Jack changed as a person ever since they swapped bodies. Ellie was whiny at the beginning, but by being in Jack’s body and life, she learns a lot of lessons from Jack’s brothers and she changed big time as the story progresses. What I loved about Jack is that he is so caring! I wish there was more like him in real life. He is very understanding, polite, positive, and funny.

Besides the two main characters, I also loved the supporting characters! The author did a fantastic job of giving them distinct personalities. I especially loved Jack’s brothers (Gunner, ) because they are so headstrong and supportive! I also like how they are all respectful especially to their father even though he is very pushy and doesn’t settle for “good”. Their father wants them to strive in hockey and life in general but he pushes them so hard that sometimes the boys doesn’t think he loves them. The only thing I did not like about the brothers is that I feel like the only words they know are “bud, bro, nails, tough”. Sometimes I’d be like “can you please expand your vocabulary” lol.

Overall I just love how even though the two main characters have different lives, they were able to learn from each other’s lives and apply it to the real world. There are a lot of lessons to take from the story even if it is a light and easy read. The characters were very real and relatable. Although some things were a bit cliche in the book, it did not really bother me. I was engaged the whole time and I recommend it to everyone!

4 of 5

2nd Blogoversary – Part 2 with Rosamund Hodge

Hey everyone! If you missed part 1 of my blog’s 2nd anniversary, check it out here where I interview Emil Ostrovski author of The Paradox of Vertical Flight! Today I have the wonderful Rosamund Hodge who wrote one of my favorite Beauty & the Beast retelling, Cruel Beauty. Before we get on to the interview, here is a little bit about her…


I love mythology, Hello Kitty, and T. S. Eliot. My debut novel is CRUEL BEAUTY, a YA fantasy where Greek mythology meets Beauty and the Beast.





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Q: One of the things I loved about Cruel Beauty is the way you mixed Greek mythology with Beauty and the Beast. Was it difficult to intertwine them?

No, actually, because the parallels between Greek mythology and Beauty and the Beast were what inspired me in the first place. When I was a kid, one of my favorite myths was the story of of Cupid and Psyche. Briefly—an oracle tells the king he has to sacrifice his daughter to a “monster.” But the daughter, Psyche, isn’t devoured by a beast as she expects; instead, the wind carries her to a strange palace with invisible servants who tell her that she is a bride. And every night her husband comes to visit her—but he forbids her to see his face. When her jealous sisters persuade her light a candle anyway, she discovers that he’s Cupid, the god of love. But because she broke his command, he becomes a prisoner of his mother Venus, and Psyche must complete a series of impossible tasks—ultimately going to the Underworld—in order to free him.

As much as I loved the story of Cupid and Psyche, I never planned to write a retelling of it. In a way, it felt too perfect: what could I add? Then a few years ago, I read the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon, which is basically a half-and-half mix of Beauty and the Beast with Cupid and Psyche. (The girl marries a polar bear, who turns out to be an enchanted prince trying to escape the princess of trolls.) Suddenly I realized that all three stories were the same story, working itself out in different ways. And that was the birth of Cruel Beauty.

Q: Your favorite quote from Cruel Beauty?

“He made his choice, and lief or loath he shall have it until the end of time.”
(I have, no joke, been waiting to use the phrase “lief or loath”—an archaic way of saying “willing or unwilling”—since I was fourteen years old and read it for the first time.)

Q: Who is your favorite Greek mythology character?

It’s hard to pick a favorite, especially since a lot of characters in Greek mythology are not exactly likable. But I’ve always liked Cassandra, the prophetess who’s been cursed so that her predictions will never be believed. Because she always knows what will happen and can’t change it, her position in the story is like the audience’s, and that’s a fascinating dynamic to me.

Q: Random fact about Cruel Beauty?

My inspirations included fairy tales, mythology, T. S. Eliot, and C. S. Lewis . . . but also Gene Luen Yang’s brilliant little comic book Prime Baby. I can’t tell you why, because it’s a spoiler for both books; just read it. You won’t regret it.

Q: I read on your website that your new book, Crimson Bound, will be out next year! Could you describe it in 3 words?

Swords. Guilt. Nightfall.

Thank you so much for your time, Rosamund! Make sure you follow her on the interwebs!
Goodreads | Twitter | Website

2nd Blogoversary – Part 1 with Emil Ostrovski

Hey guys! So my blog just turned 2 years old today. That’s really crazy. I just want to thank everyone – authors, bloggers, my followers, viewers, publishers, and my parents (for buying me books haha). I also want to thank those who comment on my blog posts. I know it’s time consuming to read AND write a comment so I really appreciate it. This past year has been a crazy journey…I’ve had a lot of reading and blogging slumps and I even considered to just stop blogging because sometimes I would get really lazy to type up a post. I decided not to because I know I’ll regret it. I think it’s better for me to go on a hiatus instead of quitting. Anyways, I decided to contact the authors whose books have impacted me and I’m so glad that they agreed to do an interview even though they are busy…so thank you so so much!

Today I have Emil Ostrovski, author of one of my favorite books, The Paradox of Vertical Flight! He is such a great writer which is why I wanted to interview him, and I’m so glad he said yes! Before we get into the interview, here is a little bit about him…

Emil Ostrovski

14290962I’m twenty-three.

Rather than give you a witty, self-deprecating account of the trials and tribulations of my twenty-three year old, suburban, upper-middle class, went-to-a-girl’s-liberal-arts-college life, I’ll admit that I haven’t really done anything much worth reading about.

So in lieu of providing you with my biography, I will recommend that you read Desmond Tutu’s. Here.

Why Desmond Tutu?

Well, I’ve always liked his name.

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Q: Welcome to Little Book Star, Emil! I noticed on your website that you also write short stories. Do you prefer writing short stories as to a novel?

I like writing short stories better. They’re less of a commitment (I have literary add and major commitment issues), and if you want, you can write short stories about recurrent characters or places and get an effect very much similar to that of writing a novel or novella. A novel, by contrast, is necessarily a massive project, and as such, it weighs heavily on you psychologically. Unfortunately though, it’s virtually impossible to make a living off writing short stories, so I concentrate my efforts on novel writing out of financial necessity and a rare streak of pragmatism.

Q: How would you convince a person who hates reading into becoming an avid reader?

Look, obviously, as a writer, reading and writing are very important to me. People, for whatever reason, are pretty universally drawn to stories. If someone hates reading, I’d be tempted to say they just aren’t reading the right things, and I would encourage them find a book or story or publication that appeals to their interests. I would also say that books expand our imagination, our sense of what’s possible, they enlarge our understanding of other people and of the world we inhabit together. That said, everyone’s different. Not everybody has to be an avid reader. You’re alive once. If it genuinely makes you happier to climb mountains or skateboard or do jumping jacks on the roof of your house at 3 a.m. while singing Ella Fitzgerald’s Somethings Gotta Give in a tone-deaf bass, then go for it.

Q: Would you rather read or write for the rest of your life?

Good question! Read, probably. Because if I’m not reading, I don’t think I’ll be able to write anything that’s worth anyone else’s time anyway. Besides, reading is a lot more fun than writing.

Q: What’s your favorite word? Mine’s lackadaisical (such a fancy word for being lazy haha).

Haha, lackadaisical is a good one! Mine is apotheosis. :)

Q: Random fact about The Paradox of Vertical Flight?

The original title was “To Grandma’s House With Socrates.” The Spanish title translates to “Socrates’s First Trip/Voyage,” and the German title is, “Where there’s some time…”

Thanks so much for interviewing me, Leigh!

All the best to you!

Thank you so much for your time, Emil! Make sure you follow Emil on the interwebs!
Goodreads | Twitter | Website

Review: (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

18599667 Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: June 10, 2014 by HarperTeen
Length: 336 pages
Source: HarperTeen (ARC)

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.”


If you didn’t know, I go into reading books BLIND. Meaning, I do NOT read the summaries before reading books. After reading the book, that’s when I read the summary…and let me tell you, I did not get the information that’s on the summary in the book. After reading Don’t You Forget About Me, I still did not understand what the “fourth year” was until I read the summary, and that’s really bad! The book should be the one that has the explanation of the world building, not the summary. For me, this book was just a hot mess. The world building was really bad because it was very confusing and lacked details. I think I could have enjoyed this book if the author put in more explanation of why Gardnerville, where the story takes place, is like that. Also, the main character, Skylar, is unreliable because of the pills she takes which just makes everything more confusing.

What I do like though is the sort of mind blowing ending. It kind of cleared things up a bit about the world and Piper but it was still lacking. I also like how the chapter titles are songs. I think it would be really cool to be listening to the song while reading that chapter (if you don’t get distracted easily).

Overall I just strongly disliked this book. I was itching for the book to end so I can pick up and read a new book (I hate not finishing a book I’ve started which is why I pushed through Don’t You Forget About Me). I did not care for the characters at all in this book because they just seemed flat to me. I also did not like how the story jumped from present day and then past. It wasn’t necessary in my opinion. The romance was also bad. This book is just very different. I think readers will either love it or hate it. I don’t recommend this book at all but if you do decide to pick this up just remember it’s not a fluffy read and get ready for a lot of confusion because of the weird puzzles the MC is trying to solve.

ARC August 2014

ARC August 2015

First off, wow, I’ve been gone for a month. I really missed all of you & I’m so sorry for the lack of posts. I’ve just been really busy especially since I’m part of my friend’s court for her 18th birthday (debut). We’ve been hanging out a lot and practicing our dances. Anyways…so I joined ARC August last year and it was lots of fun! I’m so excited that Octavia decided to host another ARC August. I’m so up for the challenge! Here is what I’ll try to read during the challenge:

1. Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts
2. Amity by Micol Ostow
3. Feral by Holly Schindler
4. The Jewel by Amy Ewing
5. Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson
6. A New Darkness by Joseph Delaney
7. Anatomy of a Misfit by Andrea Portes
8. The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan
9. Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten
10. Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

Any of you joining ARC August!? If not, you should! Let me know in the comments what you’ll be reading!

Well hello there! Thank you so much for stopping by. Little Book Star is a young adult book blog ran by Leigh, an 18 year old avid reader. This blog consists of book reviews, giveaways, author interviews, and more! Feel free to explore!

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