Mar 31, 2014

A Bookish Day: Becca Fitzpatrick in Manila!


Last Saturday, I finally met Becca Fitzpatrick a.k.a. the creator of Patch Cipriano my babyyyy. Those of you who know me well are aware of my undying love for the Hush, Hush series so when I learned that Becca would be coming here, you can only imagine the amount of screaming and flailing involved.

Mar 29, 2014

Novella Mini-Reviews: Bitter Sweet Love; Evil Red

Title: Bitter Sweet Love (The Dark Elements #0.5)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: December 1st 2013
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: NetGalley
In a sizzling prequel novella to her new series THE DARK ELEMENTS, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout draws readers into the extraordinary, irresistible world of Wardens and demons.
Dez wasn't just Jasmine's crush. A gargoyle Warden like Jas, he helped her come to terms with her destiny—fending off demons and maintaining balance between good and evil. He was her everything...right until the moment he disappeared without a trace. It didn't help that Jas's father had just announced that she and Dez would one day be mated. Hard not to take that personally.
And now he's back, three years older, ten times hotter, ready to pick up exactly where they left off. But Jas isn't taking that risk again. Dez has seven days to meet all her conditions and earn back her trust. Seven days filled with terrifying danger and sweet temptation. Seven days to win her heart—or shatter it all over again...
For two days a book I've been reading put me in a reading slump - it's that boring but I refuse to give up and DNF it - so I decided to read something short but undoubtedly good; imagine my glee when I found this sweet little baby in my Kindle app. It's no secret that I loved White Hot Kiss, but I certainly didn't expect to love this prequel novella just as much.

Dez and Jasmine were not hard to love, both as individuals and as a couple. From best friends to almost-lovers to we-had-zero-contact-for-three-years, they obviously had a ton of history. I understood Jasmine's anger at him because of the way he left without saying a word, especially given the announcement her father had just made. I was wary of Dez at first but when his reason for leaving was revealed... my heart. What he did suddenly became reasonable and nothing but sweet because all that hatred inside him really would have gotten between them. Also, watching Dez trying to win back Jas' heart was just so adorable and entertaining. These two = shipped.

But aside from their heartwarming romance, it was also nice to get an insight into the world of Wardens through the eyes of someone who was, well, a full-blooded Warden. And you have no idea how much I squealed when pre-WHK Layla, Zayne, and Roth - oh, Roth - made an appearance. Can Stone Cold Touch just come out already?

MY FAVORITE PART was Dez and Jas meeting Roth. My bias is showing. Sigh.

RATING:


Title: Evil Red (Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #2.6)
Author: Nikki Jefford
Release Date: March 2nd 2014
Publisher: Self-published
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ecopy from the author (Thanks, Nikki! <3)
L.A. is one tough city, especially while sharing a trailer with four thieving sisters.
Valerie’s plans for a better life and Hollywood grandeur are interrupted after a fateful stabbing lands her in Anchorage, Alaska where government agents expect her to play the role of a vampire hunting La Femme Nikita.
The redheaded vixen is back in her own novelette.
If I hadn't grown to like Valerie in Northern Bites, I seriously wouldn't have even bothered to read this, but I did, and now, I think I may even love her? Me, loving the bitchy type? Wow.

Aside from my newfound love for this redhead, Evil Red confirmed another thing for me: that I no longer have an inkling of like for Fane. I can't believe I once found him appealing in Transfusion. Sure, he's the perfect balance of naughty and nice, but something about him turns me off. Pretty sure it's the way he pushes away and then, all of a sudden, pulls in people, particularly girls. I thought it was just Aurora he did that to, but turns out even Valerie received the same treatment from him.

But back to Valerie. Because I have now gotten a glimpse of her history with Fane, her rudeness to Aurora when she first entered the picture has made sense. I really thought Valerie saw Fane as nothing but property, but turns out she actually liked him for real. Not sure how much, but the way he made her feel special, unlike the guys she'd dated before, got to her, and that's removed her from my mental hit list. I really hope to see her again in Bad Blood.

MY FAVORITE PART was Valerie and Fane's date. Is it wrong to be shipping them now? I want Aurora with Dante anyway :3

RATING:

Mar 26, 2014

Book Review: If Only - A.J. Pine

Title: If Only
Author: A.J. Pine
Release Date: March 24th 2014
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Age Group: New Adult
Source: eARC from publisher
Sometimes it takes crossing an ocean to figure out where you belong.
It's been two years since twenty-year-old Jordan had a boyfriend—which means it's been forever since she, well, you know. But now she’s off to spend her junior year in Aberdeen, Scotland, the perfect place to stop waiting for Mr. Right and just enjoy Mr. Right Now.
Sexy, sweet (and possible player) Griffin may be her perfect, no-strings-attached match. He’s fun, gorgeous, and makes her laugh. So why can’t she stop thinking about Noah who, minutes after being trapped together outside the train’s loo, kisses Jordan like she’s never been kissed before? Never mind his impossible blue eyes, his weathered, annotated copy of The Great Gatsby (total English-major porn)…oh, and his girlfriend.
Jordan knows everything this year has an expiration date. Aberdeen is supposed to be about fun rather than waiting for life to happen. But E. M. Forster, Shakespeare, and mistletoe on Valentine’s Day make her reconsider what love is and how far she’s willing to go for the right guy.
A year abroad in Aberdeen, a new school, new people – I really wanted to like If Only, but after reading this roller coaster of confusion and aggravation, I now know that I can’t handle too much drama. Or, more specifically, too much boy drama.

See, this book had a lot to work with: the European setting, two equally-gorgeous love interests, and the smattering of entertaining secondary characters. So why didn’t it work for me? After hours of contemplating, I’m now pretty sure that that’s because the entire book only seemed to revolve around the main character Jordan’s boy problems. It’s been two years since she broke up with her first and only boyfriend so, according to her best friend, that time has practically given her virginity back. And now she’s determined to let go of her inhibitions and her newly-issued v-card to someone she meets in her year in Aberdeen.

Jordan had no idea, though, that her search for, as she called him, Mr. Right Now is going to begin as early as her train ride to Aberdeen. There she meets Griffin whom I fell for at first read. Hot and smart? Sold. Griffin is an unapologizing womanizer who admits that he doesn’t do long-term relationships, and that’s exactly why Jordan thinks he’s exactly who she needs: someone she can have fun with on her year abroad but can break up with a year later, no tears involved. But then, literally minutes later, she gets stuck outside the toilet with Noah.
His grin widens, and I struggle for air at the sight of it, not just because of its beauty but because of what put it there in the first place—a book.
No, I didn’t think Noah was gorgeous enough, but he’s a freaking bibliophile so I might have swooned a bit. Both guys had their setbacks – Noah’s being his freaking girlfriend – but I personally liked Griffin more because he’s honest, if nothing else, so I didn’t appreciate Jordan pining for Noah just because he, what, kissed better than Griffin? Because he had a worn-out copy of The Great Gatsby ready to be read in his backpocket? Sorry, but I just didn’t get it. I couldn’t see Noah’s appeal the way Jordan did; I hate cheaters and cowards, and the way he didn’t break up with his girlfriend but obviously wanted something with Jordan was simply cheating and cowardice. I’d take the serial monogamist any day.

But despite all my rants, I put up with all the boy drama in Jordan's life for the entirety of this book so that's saying something, right? I actually enjoyed it at first, but it got old fast and soon I just wanted to get it over with. The ending also didn't do it for me because I don't think the guy she ended up with was worth all the trouble, but maybe that's just me and my cynicism. Anyway, If Only had an easy humor that made me laugh more times than I could count, and classic literature lovers will surely love the numerous references made in this book.

MY FAVORITE PART was Jordan getting a tattoo if only (lol see what I did there? ;D) because I want one too.

RATING:

Mar 24, 2014

{Blog Tour} Character Playlist + Giveaway: Hothouse Flower - Krista & Becca Ritchie

http://kbritchie.com/1/post/2014/03/hothouse-flower-promo-tour-schedule-march-18th-to-28th.html
My love for the Addicted series and its spinoffs is no secret so here I am again, practically shoving these books to y'all because they are seriously some of the best NA books I've ever read - no, some of the best books I've ever read, period. Today, I have the third couple in the series, eighteen-year-old model and adrenaline junkie Daisy Calloway and twenty-five-year-old "likable asshole" (he is) Ryke Meadows, to give us a glimpse of their tastes in music. They're definitely two people I'd share my earphones with ♥ If you've never heard of these artists before (I highly doubt it, but just let me indugle lol), I've provided a few Youtube embeds to get you started ;D

Mar 21, 2014

Storyboard: Road to Somewhere by Kelley Lynn & Jenny S. Morris

Storyboard is my new feature where I mash up photos that remind me of a certain book. Unlike real storyboards, there won't be a chronology of some sort to these images because I'm not that awesome lol. Hmm, to best describe this feature, think Pinterest? ;D

Mar 20, 2014

{Blog Tour} Book Review: Liv, Forever - Amy Talkington

http://pinoybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/01/open-liv-forever-by-amy-talkington.html

Title: Liv, Forever
Author: Amy Talkington
Release Date: March 11th 2014
Publisher: Soho Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC borrowed for blog tour
When Liv Bloom lands an art scholarship at Wickham Hall, it’s her ticket out of the foster system. Liv isn’t sure what to make of the school’s weird traditions and rituals, but she couldn’t be happier. For the first time ever, she has her own studio, her own supply of paints. Everything she could want.
Then she meets Malcolm Astor, a legacy student, a fellow artist, and the one person who’s ever been able to melt her defenses. Liv’s only friend at Wickham, fellow scholarship kid Gabe Nichols, warns her not to get involved, but life is finally going Liv’s way, and all she wants to do is enjoy the ride.
But Liv’s bliss is doomed. Weeks after arriving, she is viciously murdered and, in death, she discovers that she’s the latest victim of a dark conspiracy that has claimed many lives. Cursed with the ability to see the many ghosts on Wickham’s campus, Gabe is now Liv’s only link to the world of the living. To Malcolm.
Together, Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm fight to expose the terrible truth that haunts the halls of Wickham. But Liv must fight alone to come to grips with the ultimate star-crossed love.
I never know what to expect when there are ghosts and mystery involved in books, but I certainly didn't expect to love Liv, Forever as much as I did. It was a dark but fun and heartwarming read - one that I will surely revisit in the future.

Liv is a very likable main character. She's honest and spunky, and her love for art is just contagious. So I really pitied her when she was killed because, getting into Wickham Hall and a step further away from her old foster care life, she had only been starting to feel like her life was beginning. I did question one line of her thinking, though: if you were a ghost, wouldn't one of your first thoughts be to talk to other ghosts in the vicinity? To get over your fear of them because, hey, you're one of them now, and to ask if they any inkling of who killed you?

Good thing Liv had Gabe, the only platonic relationship she made during her short life in Wickham Hall. Gabe could see and hear ghosts, and although this gift/curse did nothing but adorably scare him, it sure came in handy when Liv died because he was her only link to the living world. Being dead, Liv was surprisingly short on abilities, so she needed help if she were to solve the mystery behind hers and the many other deaths in her new school. And then there was Malcolm, the golden boy who didn't quite love his easy, privileged life. Malcolm and Liv fell in love in the little time they spent together, and, honestly, at first I rolled my eyes at them. I didn't think they could be real, you know? The boy seemed too good to be true, so for the most part I kept suspecting him of being part of something horrible and I just wanted to scream at Liv to not trust him. But in due time, their relationship grew on me and pinched at my heart because he couldn't even hear her. The feels. The pain.

I had a hard time putting this book down when I had to because the mystery behind the killings at Wickham Hall was morbidly fascinating. Everyone was a suspect in my eyes, and I enjoyed watching Liv, Gabe, and Malcolm working together to uncover the identity of Liv's killer. They were a weird bunch, indeed - a dead girl, an outcast, and the popular guy - but that dynamic only made them more interesting. I was so nervous that the author would escalate things to love triangle levels, but thankfully, that didn't happen.

Liv, Forever is like a captivating painting: every line will keep you looking until you realize you've seen it all. Art lovers will appreciate the plentiful art references in this book, but prepare your heart for the bittersweet ending - more bitter than sweet, really, but inevitable and satisfying, nonetheless.

MY FAVORITE PART was Liv and Malcolm drawing together on the glass :c 

RATING:

Mar 18, 2014

Book Review: The 100 - Kass Morgan

Title: The 100 (The Hundred #1)
Author: Kass Morgan
Release Date: September 3rd 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought from National Bookstore
No one has set foot on Earth in centuries - until now.
Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents - considered expendable by society - are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life... or it could be a suicide mission.
Clarke was arrested for treason, though she's haunted by the memory of what she really did. Wells, the chancellor's son, came to Earth for the girl he loves - but will she ever forgive him? Reckless Bellamy fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only siblings in the universe. And Glass managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.
Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope.
I have a thing for book-to-screen adaptations so it's no surprise that I first heard of The 100 when it was announced that it'd be made into a TV show for The CW. I was ecstatic because omg Thomas McDonell I don't get to see much sci-fi on TV, so this certainly will be a welcome addition to my currently-watching list.

What I knew about this book prior to reading it I learned from watching the trailer for the TV series, so I had no idea that it has multiple narrators - four perspectives, guys - and, unlike most people, I loved that because it gave a deeper and wider look on the story. Each of the characters were intriguing, all of them with vastly varying reasons pushing them to carry on with their young, difficult lives. I admired everyone's will to stay alive and make the best of their situations.

And just how exciting is this premise? Imagine leaving a dying Earth to live in outer space and then, after three centuries of floating up there, going back if it's inhabitable once again or if dinosaurs have reemerged. That, plus all the secrets, lies, and emotional baggage of each of these characters, made for one thrilling story, and I couldn't read fast enough.
"The radiation might have mutated the genetic material hundreds of years ago, but there wouldn't be any trace of it now."
That's what I love about post-apocalyptic books: imagining what could change in our planet. What's new? Unicorns? Dragons?

Well, okay, no unicorns or dragons were present in this book, but there was enough tension between the characters to go around. Who the hell would think sending one hundred teenage rebels to test the Earth was a good idea? They were expendable, yes, but a lot of unafforded problems would surely arise from that rebellious streak. Anyway. One could say that love has no place in such a dangerous world, but I'm not that one. I actually really liked how familial and romantic love was the motivating force behind almost everyone because that just made it easier to relate with them.

I can see how not everyone will enjoy The 100, but I certainly did. I usually have a problem with third person POV and heavy use of flashback, but not this time. I actually really liked the flashbacks because it was like reading a prequel that's been infused in the main book. Now that I think about it, nothing much happens in this book, but that's not to say it's boring. I can't wait to see how this has been translated to screen because from what I can tell from the trailer, a few significant changes have been made. I'll certainly be doing tons of comparison.

MY FAVORITE PART was the ending. Just give me the next book now.

RATING:

Mar 17, 2014

{Blog Tour} Book Review + Giveaway: Road to Somewhere - Kelley Lynn & Jenny S. Morris


 Title: Road to Somewhere
Authors: Kelley Lynn & Jenny S. Morris
Release Date: March 11th 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: NetGalley
New! From Bloomsbury Spark, a sunny heartwarming story of discovery and sisterhood.
A road trip. A singing competition. And super-hot cowboys.
What could be better?
For Charlie, a post-high school road trip isn't just a vacation, it's life changing. While her parents think she's helping a friend move, a chance at fame is the real reason to grab her best friends and drive to L.A. But when her super annoying, uber-responsible, younger sister, Lucy, has to tag along, it isn't quite the summer of fun she imagined.
Add in a detour to her grandparents' ranch in Texas, and between mucking the stalls, down-home cookin’, and drool worthy ranch hands, this could just turn into the best, and most complicated, summer of their lives.
Wow. I don't even know where to begin. Road to Somewhere had me at road trip and cowboys, but it definitely exceeded my expectations. Summer is just starting to show here in my part of the world, and this is a definitely a nice read to accompany that with.

Fresh out of high school, Charlie has nothing to look forward to but the road trip to L.A. with her friends. College isn't looking promising and so she's grabbing on to her last chance of getting away from the disappointment that she's sure she'll bring to her family: a recording contract. But because her parents don't trust her enough, they only agree to let her go if Lucy, her younger sister, comes with her - like she has a choice. 

It was easy to connect with Charlie because I know the feeling of being scared and unsure about college and the future. I wondered what happened to turn her from sweet to rebellious daughter, and it was sad because whatever that was, it also affected her relationship with Lucy who just wanted her big sister back, who Charlie thought had it all together with her good grades when she was in fact very lost and lonely.

Both Charlie and Lucy thought they had nothing in common and that the other was better, driving the two sisters apart. Charlie irritated me at one point because she was so selfish and insensitive, not realizing how left out Lucy feels or how she's driving everyone away because she's so busy chasing after something she thinks is worthwhile. Lucy, on the other hand, was so insecure that she couldn't let anyone in, thinking she does everything wrong and will ultimately drive everyone away. But that's what I loved about these two: they were flawed and they knew it, and then they tried to do something about it.

God, I'm lame. Why am I not picking out one of these guys and seeing if he'll take me for a ride?
Oh, that did not sound good. Mind out of the gutter, Charlie.
Cowboys. Good heavens. I think I need to search for more books with cowboys in them. Anyway, although they weren't the ultimate solution to these girls' troubles, they certainly helped them find their way. Now, I love a standoffish couple because of all the sexual tension and whatnot, but I also love a shy, cute couple. Put them together in a single book? Jesus. I couldn't stop grinning! But it wasn't all kisses and rainbows. I loved how the characters in this book were all realistic about their relationships and knew what they were and weren't capable of.

A funny and heartwarming tale of family and finding one's self, all the sunshine and grass in Road to Somewhere somehow felt therapeutic for someone like me who has to stay at home. It's made me want to grab my friends and go on our own road trip, although I doubt even a single hot cowboy would be involved in ours. If you're looking for a short and sweet summer read that will touch your heart and make you giggle to no end, this one's for you!

MY FAVORITE PART was Lucy finally having the guts to go after what, or, rather, who she wants. :3

RATING:
 
About the authors:
Kelley Lynn was born and raised a Midwestern girl. She’s not afraid to sweat and fills her free time with softball, soccer and volleyball. (Though you probably don’t want her on your volleyball team.) She occasionally makes guest appearances as a female vocalist for area bands. Music plays a large role in her writing process as well as the characters and plot lines within her stories.




Jenny S. Morris is a YA author who loves all things geek, may have a Kdrama addiction, and prefers the rainy NW to any place she's ever lived. Road to Somewhere is her debut novel.



Giveaway!

Mar 16, 2014

A Bookish Day: Kate Evangelista's TIL DEATH Book Launch!

Yesterday, Kate Evangelista teamed up with National Bookstore for the launching of her newest book Til Death here in the Philippines! I've already read and reviewed the book here so you might want to check that out.

Kate answering questions from host and fellow author herself, Mina V. Esguerra. Kate shared lots of writing and publishing stories and advice, and hinted at the mayhem that will ensue in the Til Death sequel. She said that she prefers getting mixed feedback for her books because she wants to keep improving as an author, and all-positive reviews could hinder that. She also said that because Taste, Reaping Me Softly, and Til Death are the first books that she wrote, she's aware that those three have a few problems with regards to pacing and such, so she's addressed those in their respective sequels. 

Mar 14, 2014

Mark That Book! {3}

Mark That Book! is my attempt at showcasing my poor photo-editing skillz with gorgeous book covers. Basically, I just play around with them pretties.
 
This week, I am featuring Liv, Forever and Where You'll Find Me, two books that I really enjoyed and have stuck with me for weeks since I read them - in the latter's case, it's even been more than a month! 

Mar 13, 2014

Life of a Blogger {5}

Life of a Blogger is a weekly feature hosted by Jessi at Novel Heartbeat where bloggers chatter about random, non-bookish topics. This week's topic is: what's your favorite place?

Mar 12, 2014

Mar 11, 2014

Book Review: Heartbeat - Elizabeth Scott

Title: Heartbeat
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Release Date: January 28th 2014
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: NetGalley
Life. Death. And... Love?
Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.
But Emma can't tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.
Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn't have interested Old Emma. But New Emma - the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia - New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge.
Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death - and maybe, for love?
I genuinely feel like a black sheep when it comes to this book because all of my blogger friends loved it, and it's sad because I really thought I would too. I wanted this book to get to me, I tried so hard, but neither Emma's grief nor her understanding with Caleb touched me in any way. In the end, Heartbeat was a huge confusion. It took its time making sense, and by then it was too late to salvage it for me.

Emma, the main character, is not easy to love. I couldn't even like her. She was so blinded by grief that it made her selfish and I really, whole-heartedly hated her. I was like, what do you want your stepdad to do, let your infant brother die in your mother's womb when there was a chance he could live? When you know it took two years for her to get pregnant? 
"I - look, I do get that it didn't choose for Mom to die. But she did, you know? And the doctors say the embolism didn't happen because she was pregnant but it's just..."
Her constant argument with her stepdad was "Oh, how do you know she wants to be kept alive by machines so she can have the baby? Did you get to ask her that before she went into a coma, huh?" WTF? Although I do get where she's coming from - I would have wanted a say in my mother's well-being, too - the whole time I wished someone would smack some sense into her, that part of her grief was the guilt of being so focused on her grades, on herself, and thought a good future mattered most, until life took away what really did.
"But me... you've said you won't get rid of me, but that's all. And I get it, I do. You've got a baby coming, and I was just part of the deal with Mom. You can forget me, and you did because when she died, you didn't talk to me about anything. You never even looked at me."
Is she jealous of the baby? Does she feel like she lost her stepdad too when her mother died? Do you see now why this book confused me?!

I also didn't appreciate Emma's relationship with Caleb because it just didn't seem believable to me. What, because she found someone who shares the same kind of grief as hers, there's suddenly a ray of sunshine in her life? Is that what she really wanted but didn't get so she pushed her stepdad away: sympathy? Emma and Caleb's being together could have easily gone down the wrong road where they self-destruct whilst holding hands - good thing this is fiction. But even though they weren't realistic enough for me, there's no denying that they are sweet and good for each other.
He made me see all of him, everything, and I want to keep looking.

Now, maybe you think this book is all bad, but it's not actually. I really liked Emma's best friend Olivia who was there for her through it all, the good and the bad. Olivia knew when she needed to get Emma talking and when she needed to distract her and take her mind off of things, and I think if not for her, Emma probably would have gone insane. I also liked Emma's stepdad who seriously deserves a trophy for being the most patient and understanding stepdad ever. He never hated her even when she kept pushing him away and taking even more out of him. I'd commend the writing but seeing as I didn't get any feels from this book... maybe not.

So. There you go. Very early on, I knew Heartbeat was not for me, and it's good that this book is short or I wouldn't have finished it altogether. This could have worked for me even without making me like Emma, but it didn't, so I really can't recommend it to anyone.

MY FAVORITE PART was drunk!Emma. That was fun. 

RATING:

Mar 8, 2014

Stacking the Shelves {21} + a Giveaway!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews, where bloggers share recently bought, borrowed, won, and gifted books (print or ebooks)!

My book-buying ban has obviously been failing. *sigh* But what's a girl to do? If I don't buy books, I buy food, then I gain weight and get sad; I buy books and not food, I feel guilty having so many unread books on my shelf. I need to find something to save up for. An Instax, perhaps...

Mar 7, 2014

Book Review: Panic - Lauren Oliver

Title: Panic
Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 4th 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC from publisher
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.
For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.
Panic was an inevitable read for me. I mean, it's Lauren Oliver, so of course I had to read it. Being a big fan of her Delirium trilogy, I expected something equally thrilling and magical from this book, but while I enjoyed Panic, I didn't love it, and until now I'm not sure exactly why.

More than the characters, what intrigued me about this book was Panic, the game. Before I started reading this, I couldn't fathom why anyone in their right mind would want to do something life-threatening just to alleviate their boredom, so imagine my surprise when I found out that these fresh-out-of-high-school kids were actually playing for a pot worth $62,000 - an amount that came out of their own pockets. Jesus. Even I would join. But then I'd probably back out when things become pure insanity. Because that's how Panic goes: as the number of players lessen, the challenges get harder and more dangerous. I won't be too specific about this aspect because these dares are real jaw-droppers, but trust me when I say that I wish I could be one of the audience. 

But that's not to say that the characters weren't interesting at all, because they were. They each had their own reasons for joining Panic, but I'll focus on our MCs. Heather plans to use the money to finally get herself and her younger sister away from Carp and their good-for-nothing mother, but she has no idea just how much danger she signed up for - especially when she starts receiving anonymous text messages telling her to quit playing. Dodge, on the other hand, is not playing for the money, although he definitely needs it as well. Again, I won't get into specifics, but if you pick up a copy of this book, you'll learn early on his real motivation. The other players along with these two had problems and motives that people their age shouldn't have had, yet did.

And then there's the romance. At first I worried that not one, but two love stories would distract from Panic, but of course not. If anything, they upped the stakes, because if Heather and Dodge were to get what they want from the game, they had to sacrifice the needs of their hearts, especially when, one by one, people's secrets were unraveled. I kept second-guessing everyone in here, and that just made the book even more exciting.

As Panic escalated and started involving non-players, it didn't remain a secret to the adults who of course wanted to put a stop to it, but its organizers were shrouded in so much secrecy and anonymity that they couldn't be stopped - like the thrill of having absolutely no idea what could happen next disabled me from turning the pages. Although Lauren Oliver's writing wasn't quite like what I've read of her before, it was still beautiful and captivating as always. Panic is not a book for the easily-bored, but if you're one for patience, then I'm sure this will be nothing but enthralling for you.

MY FAVORITE PART was Joust. Holy crackers. 

RATING:

Mar 6, 2014

Storyboard: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Storyboard is my new feature where I mash up photos that remind me of a certain book. Unlike real storyboards, there won't be a chronology of some sort to these images because I'm not that awesome lol. Hmm, to best describe this feature, think Pinterest? ;D

Faking Normal is a bittersweet story of two equally-damaged teens who find solace in one another. Alexi and Bodee are such distinct characters that even though I read this book two weeks ago, I can still remember all the feels that it gave me. If you've read the book, you'll know that I storyboard-ed one of Alexi's exchanges with her Captain Lyric because when I saw these lines, I knew I just had to use them for this feature.

Mar 4, 2014

{Blog Tour} Book Review + Giveaway: Til Death - Kate Evangelista

http://pinoybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/02/ongoing-til-death-by-kate-evangelista.html

Title: Til Death (Fractured Souls #1)
Author: Kate Evangelista
Release Date: March 4th 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: eARC for blog tour
Sixteen-year old Selena Fallon is a dreamer. Not a day-dreamer, but an I-see-the-future kind of dreamer. Normally this is not a problem as she has gotten pretty good at keeping her weird card hidden from everyone in her small town. Except from her best friend Kyle and her grandparents, of course. But when Selena dreams of her own rather bloody death, things get a little too freaky even for her.
Enter Dillan Sloan. Selena has seen the new guy in a different dream, and he is even more droolworthy in person. Beyond the piercing blue eyes and tousled dark hair, there is something else that draws her to him. Something…electric. Unfortunately, Dillan makes it more than clear that he does not feel the same. They just met, so why would he act like he hates her?
When Dillan and Selena are forced together one weekend to work on a school project, Selena prepares to be ignored as usual. But when she stumbles across a few undead in the backyard, Dillan comes to her rescue and reveals a whole lot more. Not only is he part of a society that hunts otherworldly creatures…she is too. And she is being targeted by a force bigger and darker than anything she ever imagined. Despite her death dream, Selena is not going to give up easy, especially when she discovers that Dillan might not actually hate her after all.
I knew Kate Evangelista wouldn't disappoint. Although I personally enjoyed Taste and Savor more, Til Death still had me intrigued and prevented me from putting it down. It's a book that's easy to read in one sitting, especially since it had me laughing every few pages or so.

Selena Fallon has been having visions of the future for quite a while, so it's nothing new and doesn't spook her out anymore. If anything, she's learned to use it to her advantage and to help the few people who also know of her gift: her grandparents and her best friends. But just who wouldn't feel disturbed and unsettled when they see their own death?

Perhaps what I found most interesting about this book when I first heard of it were the lives of the main characters: Selena, with her dreams, and Dillan, with the secret society that he's part of - think Cassandra Clare's Shadowhunters minus the angels and runes. It's not hard to deduce that Selena, unbeknownst to them both, has something to do with Dillan's society, and this is where things get even more interesting.

Selena and Dillan got off on the wrong foot. They both felt something like a zap when they first touched - they shook hands, if I remember correctly - and Dillan immediately suspected that the quiet town he'd been sent to had its own secrets. Determined to know just what's going on, he's rude and hostile to Selena, and because the girl isn't one to be pushed around (except when it came to her ex, ugh) verbal battles were in abundance. Their constant fighting actually irritated me at one point because by then it just seemed senseless and unreasonable, but I did enjoy watching them go from enemies to frienemies to friends who like making out with each other. Relationship status: it's complicated, indeed. I liked how they knew it wasn't smart to jump straight into a relationship because their lives were already crazy enough as it is.

Til Death had its slow moments, no doubt, but the never-ending twists and suspense just kept me reading. I also loved the dual perspective because it fleshed the story out more. Kate has me worried for my sanity with her apparent love for cliffhangers lately, but the wait for the next book is one torture I certainly enjoy.

MY FAVORITE PART was Dillan reading Frost to Constantinople. Swoon.

RATING:

About the author:
When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn't going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is in possession of a piece of paper that says to the world she owns a Literature degree. To make matters worse, she took Master's courses in creative writing. In the end, she realized to be a writer, none of what she had mattered. What really mattered? Writing. Plain and simple, honest to God, sitting in front of her computer, writing. Today she lives in the Philippines and writes full time.

Giveaway!

Mar 1, 2014

Cover Reveal: Reflection Pond - Kacey Vanderkarr

I have an exciting cover reveal for you guys today! I totally enjoyed Kacey Vanderkarr's first novel Antithesis so I'm glad to be sharing with y'all the cover for her second one. And without further ado: