Oct 31, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday {5}: Black City

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, where we post about much-awaited releases!


Title: Black City (Black City #1)
Author: Elizabeth Richards
Release Date: November 13th 2012
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons BYR
A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war. 
In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong. 
When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.
I thought I've had my fill of dystopia/post-apocalyptic already, but this seems too good to pass up! I mean, just look at that cover! *drools* Also, I have a soft spot for forbidden-love stories ♥ I hope this will be available here in the Philippines; I'll surely pick up a copy! 

Oct 30, 2012

Book Review: Broken - A.E. Rought

Title: Broken
Author: A.E. Rought
Release Date: January 1st (US/Can) / 3rd (UK) 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Pages: 384 (paperback)
Source: ARC (Netgalley)
Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where a young couple’s undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all. 
A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry's boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog. 
When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she's intrigued despite herself. He's an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely... familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel's. 
The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there's something very wrong with Alex Franks. And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks' estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows. 
I just realized that I finished reading this Frankenstein retelling just as Frankenstorm's about to hit the US East Coast. Stay safe, friends!

Broken opened by showing Emma's grief and undying love for Daniel, her deceased boyfriend. She visited the cemetery almost everyday, wishing for a grave that wasn't there because Daniel had been cremated. She didn't stop reliving their memories together... until Alex Franks came. 

Though quite predictable, this book still intrigued me. I guessed most of the what's, but the why's kept me reading. If I didn't have a life, I would've finished this in one sitting despite the insta-love. The symptoms were there: sizzling air, electricity, and vague familiarity. And although I almost always hated insta-love in other books, it didn't annoy me even a little here in Broken, probably because it was integral to the story.

But it wasn't without flaws. There were less happenings than I would've liked; Emma's entire days were written, right down to her waking up late everyday, choosing between Daniel's or Alex's hoodie, getting to-go breakfast from her mom, and buying breve from Mugz-n-Chugz; and the descriptions were overboard at some parts. At times, they didn't make sense until I read them again but oddly, I actually enjoyed the thinking that I had to do. 

Now for the characters. I didn't like Emma, but I didn't hate her, either. Her grief haunted her everywhere and she let it affect every part of her life. She also kept remembering Daniel in Alex, and I just thought it was unfair to him. One of her few redeeming qualities was that at least she knew it wasn't normal to have such deep feelings for Alex less than a week after they met. I also liked that she didn't care about what other people said. 

And Alex Franks. He's easily one of the sappiest guys I've ever read, but oh man, did he get to me big-time. I imagined the serene way he looked at Emma and I almost melted. Sweeter than chocolate? Yep, that's him. Long before I read The End, I was already in love with him, freaky medical history included.

Brilliantly emotional and creepy, I'm glad I read Broken this close to Halloween. It may be a retelling, but it was very original, too. And that beautiful ending truly earned itself. I hope this'll be available here in the Philippines because I really want a finished copy (look at that gorgeous cover!).

MY FAVORITE PART was whenever Emma stood up for herself... which was always!

RATING: 4/5
(photo and summary from Goodreads.com)

Oct 29, 2012

Book Review: Silence - Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Silence (Hush, Hush #3)
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Release Date: October 4th 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 448 (hardcover)
Nora Grey can't remember the past five months of her life. After the initial shock of waking up in a cemetery and being told that she has been missing for weeks - with no one knowing where she was or who she was with - she tried to get her life back on track. Go to school, hang out with her best friend, Vee, and dodge mom's creepy new boyfriend. 
But there is this voice in the back of her head, an idea that she can almost reach out and touch. Visions of angel wings and unearthly creatures that have nothing to do with the life she knows. 
And this unshakable feeling that a part of her is missing. 
Then Nora crosses paths with a sexy stranger, whom she feels a mesmerizing connection to. He seems to hold all the answers...and her heart. Every minute she spends with him grows more and more intense until she realizes she could be falling in love. Again.
If I had to describe Silence in a few words, it would be "the calm before a storm", because it's what it truly was! A great build-up for the final book.

The book picked up three months after the events in Crescendo. Nora woke up in a cemetery without memory of how she had gotten there, and found out that she'd been missing for three months. To make things worse, not only could she not remember everything that had happened to her during that time, but her amnesia also erased her memories of the two months before she had disappeared, totaling to five months of lost memory.

Because of the abduction and memory loss, the water was already boiling right off the bat. Nora tried to regain and relearn the life she lost, and if Becca Fitzpatrick didn't execute that well, I would've been bored. Also, I pitied Nora, but I admired her more because she faced her "amnesia" very bravely. If I were her, I would've suffered from panic attacks to top it off. I also liked how she was still wary around Jev even though she felt an instant connection to him. It spoiled the romance, but it showed her level-headedness.

The pace was a mountain range. It climbed up, reached the summit, and went down only to hike up again. Dull moments? There was none of that here, only an abundance of shock and thrill. And swoon, of course. Patch swoon.

Unlike the usual case in other series, Silence bested the first book in its saga - or equated with it, at least. Now excuse me while I prepare myself before digging into Finale.

MY FAVORITE PART was when Nora disagreed with Patch in his plan to keep her away from the action, to hide her until he's solved the problem.

RATING: 5/5
(photo and summary from Goodreads.com)

Oct 26, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday {3}

Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. This week's featured blogs are Carmen Jenner and The YA Bookworm Blogger. 

This week's question is:
What writing device or trick most irritates you when reading a book? For example, if an author employs an omnipotent narrator that is sometimes considered bad form.

My answer:
When I read George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones, at first, I had a problem with the multiple POVs. I hadn't read anything like that before, so it took me a while to adjust. Also, there's the abundance of metaphors in Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me. Some of them didn't make sense, but I still loved it. Overall, I think any device would work as long as it's executed well.

If you follow, comment and I'll follow back!

Oct 24, 2012

Book Review: Crescendo - Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2)
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Release Date: October 19th 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 427 (hardcover)
Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it. A mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever (if that's possible) and what's worse, he seems to be spending time with Nora's archenemy, Marcie Millar. 
Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadn't been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude, Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feelings that he is hiding something. 
If that weren't enough, Nora is haunted by images of her murdered father, and comes to question whether her Nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death. Desperate to figure out what happened, she puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations to get the answer. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.
I bought Crescendo the same time I got Hush, Hush (last year), so immediately after falling in love with the first book, I devoured this one... and fell deeper in love!

Crescendo started out with a glimpse of Nora and Patch's happy months together after the events in Hush, Hush, then the problems trickled in again, but this time, it was in the form of archangels and Nora's bloodline. The plot thickened with shocking truths and new characters, and I just kept turning the page - I still did even during re-reads, and I just finished my third for this year. 

In this book, Nora learned that being with Patch wasn't going to be easy, and I loved that fact because it is not supposed to be easy. He's an angel, she's a human, and the hardest kind of love is probably the one between two different kinds of DNA. 

I understood Nora's mistrust towards Patch when he wouldn't tell her about his business with Marcie, but not how she thought he was faking his feelings for her. If he was, she wouldn't be alive! That part just irritated me, but what's worse was how, for the most part, Crescendo was Nora's rollercoaster ride of conflicting emotions. She did stupid things and made questionable decisions, but in the end, she came out a better and more mature person.

Although I don't think Crescendo suffered the "second book syndrome", it was a letdown compared to Hush, Hush. The pace was okay, and it didn't have enough action for me. But when it comes to the amount of laughable moments, this book kicked its predecessor's butt. And did I mention the killer ending? Wow! Becca Fitzpatrick sure loves to torture her characters and readers.

MY FAVORITE PART was Nora sneaking in to Marcie's bedroom, especially the way she got out of there. Swoon.

RATING: 4/5
(photo and summary from Goodreads)

Oct 21, 2012

Book Review: Midnight City - J. Barton Mitchell

Title: Midnight City (Conquered Earth #1)
Author: J. Barton Mitchell
Release Date: October 30th 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 384 (hardcover)
In a post-apocalyptic world controlled by alien invaders, two teens and a young girl with mysterious powers embark on a dangerous journey. What they find will change everything... 
Earth has been conquered. An extraterrestrial race known as The Assembly has abducted the adult population, leaving the planet’s youth to fend for themselves. In this treacherous landscape, Holt, a bounty hunter, is transporting his prisoner Mira when they discover Zoey, a young girl with powerful abilities who could be the key to stopping The Assembly. As they make their way to the cavernous metropolis of Midnight City, the trio must contend with freedom fighters, mutants, otherworldly artifacts, pirates, feuding alien armies, and perhaps most perilous of all: Holt and Mira’s growing attraction to each other.
As with alien-invasion movies, I expected Midnight City to be either of two things when I started reading it: a hit or a miss. And the beginning made me think it was the latter of the two, until it started hitting me in all the right places.

The best part about this book was the pace. I'd only planned to read a hundred more pages today, but I kept reading because I had to know what would happen next.

I also loved the group of misfits who were the main characters. Holt, a survivor, if nothing else; Mira, ever so resolute about her plan; Zoey, innocent but courageous and smart for her age; and the Max, adorable... although I believe Mira when she said that he stinks. Their group was formed out of necessity, and their hostility not just towards their pursuers but also towards each other made them very real.

The world-building was outstanding. Mitchell described everything in a way that made it easy for me to see the scenes in my mind, and also made me thankful that I do not live in his futuristic world. A world without adults might seem fun to some, but not to me, especially if aliens would take over the minds of nineteen-or-so-year-olds and kids had to mature quickly if they wanted to make the most out of their lives before the Tone gets to them. It's just awful.

The idea of the artifacts also intrigued me. I'm sure it would be cool, although dangerous, to mix and match seemingly worthless items that produced magical effects such as controlling gravity and opening any locked door.

The ending was fulfilling, but it still left many questions unanswered. What was it with Holt's and Mira's pasts and what will happen to their future? What did the Assembly do with the adults? - because I don't think they just beckoned them with the Tone and then killed them off. And just how many Assemblies are there? But I am certain of two things. First, this is one story I would not want to live in, unless I want to die of exhaustion or have running as the last thing I'll do. Second, if you want a constant surge of action, you'll want to get Midnight City.

MY FAVORITE PART was learning just how much Zoey could do, and I'm sure there'll be more.

RATING: 4.5/5
(photo and summary from Goodreads.com)

Oct 19, 2012

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Release Date: The edition I have was published in February 2nd 2009
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 231 (paperback)
Charlie is a freshman. And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
This book sat on my to-read pile for months. I picked it up because I planned to watch the movie, but now it's not showing here anymore *cries*

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my first epistolary novel. The letters were written by Charlie to an anonymous "friend" whose identity he hinted at towards the end, but I'm not good with hints. Anyway, in his letters, Charlie talked about every facet of his secluded life and how it slowly changed as he tried to "participate".

I think one of the reasons why this book is as known as it is today is because it really hit home for most of its readers. Including me, I admit. While I may not have experienced yet most of what Charlie did - dating, sex, drugs, infinities in a tunnel, and that big shocker in the ending - I still connected with his thoughts, especially on family, friends, and school. I wish I had a Bill, though. That would've made my high school life richer and more fun.

One of the best things about this book is the trio of Charlie, Sam, and Patrick. I really liked how open and understanding their friendship was. 

Another is how real the characters were, major or minor. Chbosky did a very good job of mixing together real individuals and molding them into each of his characters.

But, of course, my favorite would have to be Charlie. I've always loved smart characters, and I've read quite a number of books with smart characters, but what made Charlie different was his outstanding introspection. I should try that sometime.

I'm writing this review after a reread, and I can't believe how the first time around, I didn't understand the ultimate surprise at the end, because, really, it's there written clearly, staring me straight in the eye. But even if I got it before, I would've read it again still, because The Perks of Being a Wallflower is simply one of those rare books that gives its readers a new experience every time it is opened.

MY FAVORITE PART
So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there.
RATING: 5/5
(photo and summary from Goodreads.com)

Feature and Follow Friday {2}

Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. This week's featured blogs are Kinx's Book Nook and Book Liaison.

This week's question is:
When you step out of your usual genre, what do you like to read? Best books in that genre?
My answer:
I usually read YA - I don't really base on genre, but I looked at my book stacks and noticed that I have lot of YA books - and the only non-YA books I have, aside from a few classics, are Adult Fantasy & Mystery/Thrillers. My favorite from the first is George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, and from the second, it's Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (which I'm planning to re-read soon!), particularly A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, and The Hound of the Baskervilles.

If you follow, comment and I'll follow back!

Oct 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday {4}: Luminosity; Meant to Be

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Title: Luminosity (The Raven Chronicles #1)
Author: Stephanie Thomas
Release Date: November 13th 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
My name is Beatrice. When I was born, I was blessed with the Sight. I was immediately removed from my parents and enrolled in the Institution. At the age of twelve, I had my first true vision, earning my raven’s wings. And when I turned seventeen, one of my visions came true. Things haven’t been the same since.  
The Institution depends on me to keep the City safe from our enemy, the Dreamcatchers, but I’m finding it harder to do while keeping a secret from everyone, including my best friend Gabe. It is a secret that could put us all in danger. A secret that could kill me and everyone close to me.  
But the enemy has been coming to me in my dreams, and I think I’m falling in love with him. He says they’re coming. He says they’re angry. And I think I’ve already helped them win. 
I added this to my to-read list because it was eerily similar to a WIP I was working on back then. Everyone who's gotten to read this already all said positive things about it, so I can't wait!


Title: Meant to Be
Author: Lauren Morrill
Release Date: November 13th 2012
Publisher: Delacorte
Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.  
It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be"). 
But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love. 
Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.
Mortal enemies thrown to London? Count me in!

Oct 15, 2012

Book Review: Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush #1)
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Release Date: The edition I have was published in October 13th 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 391 (paperback)
When Nora and Patch are forced together as lab partners, Nora would rather fall to her death than put up with his elusive answers to her questions, his teasing, and his infuriatingly handsome face and hypnotizing eyes. It seems Patch was put on earth just to drive her crazy. 
But before long, Nora's defenses start to break down as her curiosity about Patch heats up. Why does he always seem to be wherever she is and know exactly what she's thinking? How does he know what to say to both attract and repulse her? And what is up with those V-shaped scars on his chiseled back? 
As their connection grows stronger, Nora's own life becomes increasingly fragile. Nora needs to decide: Is Patch the one who wants to do her harm or the one who will keep her safe? Has she fallen for one of the fallen?
I first heard of Hush, Hush back in 2009, I think. A friend uploaded a photo of her copy and I just fell in love with the cover. I mean, look at it; it's perfect! Anyway, I only got to read it around October or November of last year, and as my first YA book, to say that it's memorable is an understatement.

Hush, Hush introduced me to my first literary crush, Patch Cipriano - my first, and still immovable from the top five. If the phrase "tall, dark, and handsome" was to be put in the dictionary, his photo would be right next to it. Also, epic won't even begin to describe his witty remarks. If he doesn't get to you, you're either a rotting cabbage or a brick wall. (I'm kidding, of course. I understand that not every girl likes a bad boy.)

Okay, now that I've gotten the thing I loved most in Hush, Hush out of the way, I'll get to what I didn't like. There's Nora, because she came across as the smart, composed girl, but when it came to Vee, her irritatingly desperate best friend, she was a plain pushover - and do I hate pushovers. My dislike for Vee is a given, of course.


You might be wondering; no, I totally understand Nora's undoing when it comes to Patch. I would've felt the same if I were her.

Because I'm writing this review after having read this book thrice in a year, the ending wasn't a surprise to me anymore, but I devoured it like I did before. Becca Fitzpatrick perfectly balanced mystery, suspense, and romance so it's no surprise how well Hush, Hush has done in the market. I'll also re-read and review Crescendo and Silence before I pick up Finale which will come out on the 23rd!

MY FAVORITE PART was the motel scene. Oh, Nora, how I envy you.

RATING: 5/5
(photo and summary from Goodreads.com)

Oct 12, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday {1}

Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. This week's featured blogs are Reese's Reviews and Book Fever.

This week's question is:
What book do you think would make a great Halloween movie? Please explain in graphic detail of goriness.
Answer:
I've only read one scary book so far, and that's The Diviners by Libba Bray (which I just reviewed!). It has the ghost of a serial killer, cannibalism, cults, violent deaths, people with supernatural powers, and the Museum of Creepy Crawlies to top it all off! Now I'm really hoping it'll be turned into a movie...

If you follow, comment and I'll follow back!
 

Book Review: The Diviners - Libba Bray

Title: The Diviners (The Diviners #1)
Author: Libba Bray
Release Date: September 18th 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 578 (paperback, international / first edition)
Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City - and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It's 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her Uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened...
November 1 is just around the corner and, just last week, I was sad that I won't be able to read anything scary in time for it, but now I'm sad because I read the perfect Halloween book weeks away from it!

The Diviners starts with Libba Bray introducing us to Evie, an outspoken party girl from a ridiculously conservative town, who gets sent to New York after another episode of thoughtless fun. She - oh, just read the blurb above; it does its job quite well, really (especially because I copied it straight from the back of the book and into Goodreads! Guess who the new librarian is, hehe).

One of the things that I loved most about this book is how Bray's writing transported me to New York in the 1920s and introduced me to a plethora of living, breathing characters - all of whom were equally interesting and mysterious. I thought I had them all figured out - particularly Evie! - and then surprises smacked me right on the face, one after another. A few other Diviners weren't focused so much on in here, so I guess we'll meet them again next time. And here I thought they'd be like some paranormal version of X-Men, oh well.

I also loved how it tackled a wide range of issues in the family, religion, and society, even racism and abortion - both of which are wrong, no matter how I look at them.

The ending reminded me of the quiet before a storm. Bray wrote an exhilarating start for a series, packed with action, wit, and humor, brimming with mystery and suspense that had me guessing and shocked right until the end, and with just the right amount of romance (I'm Team Jericho, by the way *avoids the tomatoes*). It kept me on the edge of my seat - and my bed, and my school's corridor, because I brought it everywhere I went - and spooked me out a number of times because I actually believe in these paranormal stuff, and this book is another reminder of why I'd never play with a Ouija board even if my eyes were about to pop out of boredom. I pos-i-tute-ly can't wait for the next one!

MY FAVORITE PARTS were the revelations, and there were so much of those!

RATING: 5/5
(photo and summary from Goodreads.com)

Oct 10, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday {3}: Venom

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Title: Venom
Author: Fiona Paul
Release Date: October 30th 2012
Publisher: Philomel
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancĂ©, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape. 
When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman — practically in her own backyard — she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancĂ©, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco? 
Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.
Such a pretty cover. Also, I've been wanting to read more mystery lately. I'm sad that I can't snag a galley of this.

Oct 8, 2012

Sundays in Bed With {1}: The Diviners

Sundays in Bed With is a meme hosted by Kate at Midnight Book Girl where we share what book we're spending our Sunday with.
 
 

I spent my Sunday evening by reading almost a hundred pages of this beautiful book. It was quite hard because believe me when I say this book's heavier than my hardcovers, but it was worth the effort! I've no class tomorrow so I'll try to read another hundred pages. 

I got this book just two days ago, and good thing I reserved it because when I got to the store, I browsed for around an hour and didn't see another copy! Talk about lucky.

This afternoon, I also bought Sweep volume one (the omnibus edition) by Cate Tiernan at a used books store for half the price of a new one! I'd been planning to read that series for a long time, but I kept putting it off for other books. I'll get to that once I finish The Diviners and two eARCs I received from netGalley.

Oct 7, 2012

Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

Title: The Catcher in the Rye
Author: J.D. Salinger
Release Date: The edition I have was published in May 1991
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 214 (mass market paperback)
Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists.
It begins, "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."
His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.
I didn't buy this book during the recent Manila International Book Fair for the same reason, but I ended up reading it for Banned Books Week! And it was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made, because The Catcher in the Rye is a classic without needing a complicated language or a complex plot.

The story was quite simple, really. It started with Holden Caulfield, the charming main character, about to get kicked out of school for the nth time. He left days before he's supposed to, then went to New York and smoked, drank, and "horsed" around, calling up and visiting some of his past acquaintances. The story's just all that, really.

Only, it's not. Holden did all that while reflecting on everything he saw, and for me, those were the best parts of this book. I haven't seen what he's seen or experienced what he's experienced, but I can still relate to him and his thoughts.

Holden got depressed quite easily, but he's really entertaining. He's crazy, to put it simply. At times, he clutched his stomach, pretending that he's shot. And he's quite the smooth liar. A very funny person, he was. I also loved how he just did what he wanted to; I wish I could be as brave as him.

Overall, The Catcher in the Rye was very good, and totally unworthy of being a challenged book. It reminded me of John Green's novels, which I also enjoyed (though, unfortunately, I have not yet read them all). I'm looking forward to reading Salinger's other book, Franny and Zooey.


MY FAVORITE PART was his encounter with who was possibly the true Mr. Antolini. That was hilariously shocking.

RATING: 5/5
(photo and summary from Goodreads.com) 

Oct 4, 2012

Luminosity and Gravity Double Trailer Reveal & Giveaway!

Title: Luminosity (Raven Chronicles #1) - Stephanie Thomas
Release Date: November 6th 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 400 (paperback)
ISBN: 1620611279
My name is Beatrice. When I was born, I was blessed with the Sight. I was immediately removed from my parents and enrolled in the Institution. At the age of twelve, I had my first true vision, earning my raven’s wings. And when I turned seventeen, one of my visions came true. Things haven’t been the same since.
The Institution depends on me to keep the City safe from our enemy, the Dreamcatchers, but I’m finding it harder to do while keeping a secret from everyone, including my best friend Gabe. It is a secret that could put us all in danger. A secret that could kill me and everyone close to me.
But the enemy has been coming to me in my dreams, and I think I’m falling in love with him. He says they’re coming. He says they’re angry. And I think I’ve already helped them win.

About Stephanie:
Stephanie Thomas has been writing ever since she could put letters together to form words. When she was a small child, she would present her mother and father with self-made newspapers filled up with make believe stories and pictures. Her love for writing followed her all throughout her schooling, where she entered and won writing contests of all sorts. Stephanie decided to become an English teacher and completed her B.A. at The Pennsylvania State University. While teaching, she later went on to get her Master’s in writing from The Johns Hopkins University. She completed her very first manuscript during her graduate studies, and by the end of the program, she had completed two more. Stephanie is quick to tell anyone that she’s a born and raised Philadelphian, and her heart will always belong there. She moved to Baltimore with her husband, and they’ve been living there for the last five years with their doggie, Sailor, and their rabbit, Buns (aka "T Sizzle").
Where you can find Stephanie:


Title: Gravity (The Taking #1) - Melissa West
Release Date: October 30th 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 400 (paperback)
ISBN: 1620610914
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
In the future, only one rule will matter:
Don’t. Ever. Peek.
Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die.
Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.

About Melissa:
Melissa lives in a tiny suburb of Atlanta, GA with her husband and daughter. She pretends to like yoga, actually likes shoes, and could not live without coffee. Her writing heroes include greats like Jane Austen and Madeleine L'Engle.

She holds a B.A. in Communication Studies and an M.S. in Graphic Communication, both from Clemson University. Yeah, her blood runs orange. 

GRAVITY is her first book.
Where you can find Melissa:


And time for the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oct 3, 2012

Book Review: Angel Dust - Sarah Mussi

Title: Angel Dust
Author: Sarah Mussi
Release Date: August 2nd 2012
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 352 (paperback)
Would you move heaven and earth for the one you love?
ANGEL DUST is a powerful, gritty and utterly modern tragic love story with a twist. When Serafina, the brightest and most beloved of all God's angels, is sent to collect Marcus Montague - "the original badman" - and take him to Hell, she finds herself powerfully drawn to him and makes a decision that places her in the middle of a war between Heaven and Hell. Can Serafina fall in love without falling from grace? Can Marcus's soul be saved? And just who is the mysterious and ever-so-helpful stranger Larry?
Sarah Mussi asks pertinent questions about free will, morality and how far is too far when it comes to love, making ANGEL DUST a must-read for YA readers who want more than the usual from their paranormal romance.
THE COVER
When I first compared this cover to the ARC copy that I received - thanks to a giveaway by the publisher! - I actually preferred the plain white ARC. Then I read it. Nice to meet you, Zara.

THE STORY
I admit: I thought I'd get another human-angel love story when I began reading Angel Dust, except that this time, it's the girl who's the heavenly being. But no, Angel Dust is so much more than that. In fact, I don't think it's a love story - another case of insta-love here, unfortunately - as much as a coming-of-age story.  

The book started out quite slow, although I was thrown straight into the action. Written in first-person POV, I easily understood Serafina's mind. The author integrated the backstory really well, no info-dump or whatsoever. It was easy to understand her take on angels and, trust me, it's so different, it made me laugh a few times.

It dragged in the middle, to be honest, but it was essential and I can't see it being done in a better way. And the ending? Wow! I love endings like that; not sugar-coated and realistic.

And Free Will. Sarah Mussi made me question that, too. Books rarely make me question anything, so I just loved this.

THE CHARACTERS
The main character, Serafina, was very hard to like. I doubt angels - yes, I believe in them - are really that naive and innocent (though in her defense, Serafina is a fresh graduate from the Cloisters). Then the next minute she was complaining about the littlest things! But I loved that she was brave and knew what she wanted. She also matured so much in the span of a week. 

Marcus, the gangsta whom Serafina fell for, was just that: a gangsta. He didn't make me swoon or anything, which was a first because I normally love bad boys.

And Larry, the helpful stranger, was not to be taken in face value. I had two guesses of who he truly was, and one of them, as I learned in the end, was correct. There was another guy - archangel, actually - and he was the one I liked. I have a thing for archangels.

MY FAVORITE PART was the ending. Just read it and see for yourself.

RATING: 3.5/5
(photo and summary from publisher's website)