why i'm taking a break from reading romance

March 19, 2019


Never in a million years would I consider dropping my favorite genre from my reading peripheral. Romance has always been my favorite genre and I think it always will be. Reading about love is so special. It can be beautiful in so many different ways. Some of my favorite romances aren't fairytales, and almost all of them have me in a river of my own tears. I love to read about the complexity of love and relationships. I love the heartbreak, the tenderness, the passion, the vulnerability. It all makes me feel like I'm on a rollercoaster of emotions, never knowing when it's time for another dip. So, it's a little weird why I'm deciding to take a break from a genre that brings me so much joy, right?

My choice to steer away from romance is not because I don't enjoy it, it's because I enjoy it TOO much. It's become obsessive to a point where it's interfering with my life and my relationships. Just recently I've decided to surrender a part of my life to God because it had been eating at my soul and drawing me closer to sin. In doing that, I had to remove anything in my life that would tempt me mentally or physically in participating in that sin. Romance novels was one of them. I refused to believe that it was tempting me or leading towards something that was hurting me spiritually. I thought my little romance novels were innocent and had no effect on my life. But as I started to make connections to why I felt so alone, why I was never satisfied, why I always loved love, but only when it wasn't happening to me. I became so invested in the idea of love. I became so obsessive over other people's relationships. Love was so beautiful, but for some reason, I didn't want it anywhere near me. In fact, when it came near me, I felt awkward and so out of place. Love and relationships became something that I loved to admire between other people in different ways. So much so, it became consuming and addictive. I was constantly trying to blur the line between the love I read about and the love that I saw. This fixation only lead me to sin.

I'm praying for God to heal me. To cleanse my mind, my body, and my spirit from this perversion of love that I've manifested into my life. Romance novels are not the problem. I believe I'm naturally drawn to them because I have such a big heart and a great capacity to love and to be loved. But until I can go back to reading a love story and leaving it at that, a love STORY and not an ideal of what love truly is or should be, ya girl needs to distance herself.

Now because my entire TBR for the year was basically comprised of just contemporary romances, I have no choice but to explore other genres that peak my interest as well. I'm definitely ready to jump into some fantasy. Perhaps sci-fi? What about dystopia or thriller? I have no clue what else I like so maybe this break will be good for me. It'll allow me to get out of my comfort zone and try new reads. Please let me know of some of your favorite books that aren't romance. I'm willing to check anything out!

Thank you guys for reading. Hope you all have an amazing Monday, and an amazing week. I'll see you again in a bit.

Until next time, 

kathlyn

2 am thoughts | what is this blog?

March 17, 2019


AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What an introduction right? This feels so weird to not be writing a book review and instead just writing to write. I haven't done this in so long so forgive me if it's a little rough. I'm laying in bed, listening to Demi Lovato, it's 2 am, I have to be up for church in less than 6 hours and I suddenly got this inkling to start writing. When I first started my blog I would write post like this all the time. It was the main reason I started blogging in the first place, to express my thoughts without anything holding me back. I didn't care if it was an unpopular opinion or if it was even grammatically correct lol. I just cared about sharing my thoughts and God, I cannot even begin to tell you guys how wonderful that felt. When I started blogging, I created Kathlyn's Korner. It stuck with me for a few years until I made the switch to Books Unchained. As much as I love writing book reviews, a part of me misses writing posts about love, loneliness, beauty, and everything in between. A surge of excitement would race through my veins as I would stay up writing word after word about something that God placed on my heart. Just a few minutes ago I was actually reading some of my old pieces from my original blog and you guys, I almost started crying. I felt so proud of those posts, and not to say that I'm not proud of the posts I make now, but I crave more. I crave discussion and rawness. I crave the spontaneity of writing a post and just publishing it. I use to share a lot on the internet and part of me, a huge part of me misses that. There was something so soothing about opening up to a bunch of strangers on a random platform that felt like freedom. It made me feel alive. And although I had like 1 reader, it made me feel seen. Heard. Like what I was saying meant something. Not just to myself, but to other people. I've been reading my older posts for a few months now and always considered about starting them up again, but was too scared. More people know I have a blog now and talking about books is easier than talking about my struggles, my pain. But that is not why I started blogging. As much as I love sharing my love for books, it was not the reason why I started blogging. In fact, I didn't even write a book review until 5 months into my blog. I started Kathlyn's Korner because I wanted a space on the internet that was my own. Where I could share my voice and not be silenced. Where I could express myself and not be judged. I believe I've lost sight of that. Fear never lead this blog in the beginning and I won't let it continue to run it any longer. I don't know what's gonna happen to this blog, but it's all a work in progress. I'm still gonna write book reviews because hello, I'm a bibliophile by heart, it's in my DNA. BUT, I am also more than that. I'm a book lover with so much more to say than just books. I want to incorporate more of myself into this blog. I'm not entirely sure what that's going to look like, but I'm excited for it nonetheless. I hope you guys stick around and continue to join me on this crazy blogging journey. Thanks for reading :)

Until next time,

kathlyn 

book review | the kiss quotient by helen hoang *spoiler-free*

March 1, 2019


SYNOPSIS
"A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic..." - Goodreads

PLOT
We meet Stella in the first chapter and get to know a little bit about her. She's an exceptional econometrician who finds herself struggling in the relationship and sex department. She hires an escort, my lovely man Michael, to help her gain confidence and skill in the bedroom. Little do they know that during their time together, they'll grow closer than they intended.

Some of my favorite things about the plot were the pacing and the POVS. My biggest annoyance when it comes to romances are that they either have a tendency to drag or speed everything up. The Kiss Quotient was steady throughout. I never once felt like I needed to skip pages or add pages in between. The novel is told in 3rd person, omniscient of both characters. I loved how we not only got both Stella and Michael's thoughts, but we got both their thoughts during the same scene! (sometimes)


CHARACTERS
Stella. Is she not the cutest person in the world? I absolutely loved Stella's character. She was so self-aware of herself and everything around her, and of course some of that is because of her Asperger's. One key thing I do want to point out, which made me love this book even more, is the fact that the author did not use Stella's Asperger's as the focal point of the story or her character at all. Stella's disorder is a part of who she is, but it is not who she is. Her disorder is part of what makes her unique and I love how we see her develop and come to terms with that at the end. She is neither ashamed or consumed by her Aspergers, but instead embraces it as being part of who she is as an individual. Although I do not have AS, I still found myself relating to Stella, which made her character more real and authentic to me. She deserves the world.

Michael. The hot escort who does everything right and is so god damn perfect. I don't know how, but it appears to me that Ms. Helen Hoang has been taking notes on all the things that make up my perfect fictional man because Michael is it, to a T. He's so gentle and caring with Stella it makes me so happy for her. Seeing how he interacts with her in contrast to how others have interacted with her in the past is so lovely. You can truly see how he slowly starts to fall in love with her. Although the main focus was on Stella, I loved the snippets we had into Michael's life beyond escorting. We got to know his family, and an insight into why he started having sex for business in the first place.

FINAL THOUGHTS
The Kiss Quotient was purfecttttttt. When I picked it up, I didn't know what to expect. It was hyped all over social media, and I just knew that I needed to get my hands on it. I read so many reviews and never saw a SINGLE negative one, and now I see why! This novel is written with humor, sensitivity, trust, and LOTS of steamy scenes. If you're looking for a quick read that will have you smiling from the beginning to the end, this is the one for you.

Helen Hoang wrote an amazing novel to debut her career as a writer and I cannot wait to read more of her works.

RATING
5 OUT OF 5 STARS 

Until next time, 

k.m.



book review | all your perfects by colleen hoover *spoiler free*

December 30, 2018


Well hello strangers, long time no see! It's so weird writing on this blog again after I've abandoned it for the last half of 2018. So much happened this semester. I changed my major, I got my license AND a car, I started a new relationship, and I didn't read a single book in the midst of it all. I know, I know. How I went 5 months without reading a book is beyond me. No wonder I was such a mess for the past 5 months though lol. 

I'm on winter break now (thank God), and have been enjoying my down time. I've been enjoying it so much that I still didn't touch a single book until a day ago. I started reading All Your Perfects on Saturday, at 1 am and didn't put it down until 7:30 am, the same day. I finished the book with tears flowing down my face, but that's no surprise because anything Colleen Hoover will leave me in a puddle of tears. 


Synopsis
Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair. - Goodreads

Plot and Writing
All of Colleen Hoover's books that I've read so far have been told in alternating POVs. Some alternate between the two main characters, and some alternate between the past and present tense. All Your Perfects was told in Quinn's POV, one chapter in the past outlining her and Graham's perfect love, and the other chapter told in the present as their once perfect relationship is now falling apart. Usually when a book is told from different POVs, I prefer reading one over the other. However, this was not the case with All Your Perfects. There were times when the present was too heartbreaking and I needed to be reminded of Quinn and Graham's perfect love story from the past. I wanted to escape the emotional turmoil that both characters were facing as their marriage was falling apart right before their eyes. But as comforting as the past was, the chapters told in the present were some of my favorite because love and marriage is not a fairy-tale. Colleen Hoover has a way of writing the most beautiful romantic stories, yet she always keeps it real. As perfect as I wanted the relationship between the two characters to be, I needed to be reminded that this is a real couple going through real issues. And to me, being able to see a broken relationship by two people who were once so in love made me love this book even more. It made it real. It made it human. 

I 1000% think it is best to go into this book, and all of Colleen Hoover's books with the minimal knowledge of the plot. Her stories are best told when you read them knowing little to nothing, so you can fully experience the love, the heartbreak, and everything in between.

Characters
Quinn. My heart goes out to her. There's not a lot of books I read where I love the female main character. Usually, they have a flaw within themselves that takes over any pleasant quality they have. Not Quinn. Although I found her to be selfish and frustrating in the actions she made, I could never hold her character against her flaws. What she faces in All Your Perfects is unbearable and she handles it the same way a lot of other people would. The number one thing I love about her is despite her struggles, she never projects it onto other people. She doesn't let her shortcomings stop her from celebrating the wins of others. She's stronger than she appears and I just love her. So much. 

Graham. My heart goes out to him even more. Hoover does an amazing job at creating the most perfect men. Out of all the books I've read by her, Graham is the guy that has my heart. Call it love at first sight, but the minute I met him, I already liked him. The more we got to know about his character through Quinn and their love story, I started falling deeper and deeper in love with him. He's not only honest and hilarious, and charming, but he loves and cares about Quinn so deeply it pierces my heart reading the chapters of their imperfect marriage. Reading the chapters when they barely interact, barely be affectionate towards each other, when just moments ago they couldn't take their hands of each other hurts deeper than you'll know. Graham is not perfect, but he's damn close. 

Final Thoughts
Colleen why do you always do this to me!!! It is VERY rare that I will read a book in one sitting, especially when I should be sleeping. But I could not put this book down. I could not tear my eyes from the pages. I was so enthralled with this story, with this couple, that I had to see the end of it before I closed my eyes for the night. I've said it once, and I'll say it again, one of my favorite things about being a reader is the opportunity to read about topics and situations that you know little to nothing about. It opens so many doors for further research and educating yourself on something that is important and prevalent in our society today. It allows for growth and I'm so grateful that Colleen Hoover has given me that opportunity with this gem. 

I cannot explain how beautiful yet heart wrenching this story is. I laughed, I cried, but that's nothing new with Hoover's books. All Your Perfects was by far my favorite book by Hoover, and it is definitely one of my favorites of the year. If you haven't already, PLEASE pick up a copy and read it. 

RATING: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS 

Until next time, 

k.m

If you only shine light on your flaws, all your perfects will dim.

SERIES REVIEW | TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE TRILOGY BY JENNY HAN (SPOILER FREE)

July 21, 2018



Long time no see blog!

It's been a while since I did a complete series review, so it's safe to say that I'm super excited about this one. For some reason, a lot favorite book series have all been trilogies. Maybe 3 is the charm? For today's post I will be doing a complete review on the incredible series, To All the Boy's I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. Before I begin raving about how awesome this series is, I just want to mention that 1) I am more than excited for the Netflix adaptation!!! and 2) Peter Kavinsky is my new book boyfriend. I thought it would be important to make that announcement.

Let's get to the reviews!


To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Synopsis
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? 

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control. -Goodreads

My Review
The book that started it all! I picked up this book after reading an epic fantasy, and just needed something that was fun and light-hearted. This book was exactly that for me. Lara Jean is the girl I wish I was in high school. She's so different from those around her, but there is something so innocent yet quirky about her that makes the whole book enjoyable. I love how this book had a fair amount of drama, which initially starts with all her love letters being sent out. It was just the right amount and not over the top at all. My favorite element in the book, and what would eventually be my favorite in the whole series is the family dynamic. I don't read a lot of books that have strong family relationships, so seeing that, especially in YA is refreshing. My only complaint was that I didn't love the super short chapters and wished some scenes where longer than others. Overall, I found the pacing to be great and found myself falling in love with all the characters.

RATING: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS



P.S. I Still Love You 
Synopsis
Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing. -Goodreads

My Review
Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first one. My biggest complaint was the introduction of a love triangle that completely threw me off, and one in which I found to be quite unnecessary. I'm such a big supporter of Lara Jean and Peter and anything that threatens that is a thumbs down for me. Apart from that, I found this book to be a really good halfway point in the series as a whole. As with the first book, P.S. I Love You does an incredible job of capturing the life of a teenager in high school. The ridiculous drama with friends or ex-friends I should say, boy troubles, navigating life at home and at school all resemble the perfect high school drama story.


RATING: 3.5 OUT OF 5 STARS



Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Synopsis
Lara Jean is having the best senior year. And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks…until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to? -Goodreads

My Review
The conclusion to the series aka, the book that broke my heart. I didn't realize how attached I was to these books until I read the final chapter with tears threatening to fall from my eyes. Always and Forever, Lara Jean wrapped up everything so nicely. So many cute moments between Lara Jean and Peter that made my heart swoon, and so much growing up for everyone. When I take a look back at these characters in the first book, I'm so proud to see how much they've matured. They are all so different, but still hold those special qualities that make them who they are.


RATING: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS


This trilogy is definitely going down as one of my favorites! I cannot wait for the Netflix adaption (as stated earlier), the cast and trailer look very promising! If you guys are in the need of a quick, fun read for the summer, then I highly recommend To All the Boys I've Loved Before


SERIES RATING: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS

Until next time,

k.m.
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