Apr 29, 2014

Book Review: The Iron Legends - Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron Legends (The Iron Fey #1.5, #3.5, #4.5)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Release Date: August 28th 2012
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Gifted by my lovely sister <3
Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
Summer, Winter, Iron.
Together at last.
Dangerous faeries. Heartbreaking romance. Thrilling action and limitless adventure. The world of the fey has never been so powerful. This collection includes three novellas set in the world of The Iron Fey plus the expanded Guide to the Nevernever and exclusive information about Julie Kagawa's unforgettable world of Faery.

Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl... until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck - Meghan's best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon - who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.
Yet Meghan and Ash's detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter - a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat...
I reckon I should have read this before I read the second book, and I can't remember why I didn't. Anyway, this novella picks up shortly after The Iron King, when Ash and Meghan's relationship was still new, the restraints of their origins still strong, and that's why Ash's hot-one-second-then-cold-the-next attitude irritated me all over again. His struggle was easy to see, though, and it's not like I can hate the Winter prince for long.

It was inevitable that she keep her promise, but I still admired Meghan's determination in following through with the deal she made with Ash to save her little brother. She never once tried to escape - although it would have been futile - and I think that's really one of her strengths: her honor. 

For a novella, this one had a lot of suspense as the two tried to run from an unknown pursuer, and as always, Julie Kagawa knows how to surprise. Winter's Passage also offered a nice look into the faery world that deepened what I already knew about it. Overall, this is my least favorite of the three novellas in this series, but that doesn't mean it disappointed in any way.

MY FAVORITE PART was Meghan visiting Puck </3

A Midsummer's Nightmare? Robin Goodfellow. Puck. Summer Court prankster, King Oberon's right hand, bane of many a faery queen's existence - and secret friend to Prince Ash of the Winter Court. Until one girl's death came between them, and another girl stole both their hearts.
Now Ash has granted one favor too many and someone's come to collect, forcing the prince to a place he cannot go without Puck's help - into the heart of the Summer Court. And Puck faces the ultimate choice - betray Ash and possibly win the girl they both love, or help his former friend turned bitter enemy pull off a deception that no true faery prankster could possibly resist.
You have no idea how much I giggled when I realized this was written in Puck's POV. We finally get a glimpse into just what goes on inside our beloved prankster's head, and what's even more entertaining was the fact that he was alone with Ash. (I do love their banters.)

"One brilliant Goodfellow prank, coming right up."
With Ash enlisting Puck's help in fulfilling a deal he made, I expected the crazy, funny shenanigans that would ensue, but definitely not how crazy and funny it would be. I remember reading this in bed during the Easter weekend and laughing my head off at nine in the morning. This novella was a reminder how amusingly fierce Puck could be, and I sure wouldn't want him as an enemy.

I am solid in Team Ash, but Puck quietly pining for Meghan still made my heart ache. Even when the chance came up, I never once thought that he'd be tempted to betray Ash so he could have her for himself, because that's just not how Robin Goodfellow works. And as was to be expected, this is my favorite of the three novellas!

MY FAVORITE PART was, uh, "Sir Torin" flirting with Titania =))

Meghan Chase is finally getting used to being the Iron Queen, ruler of the Iron Fey. Her life may be strange, but with former Winter prince Ash by her side at last, she wouldn’t have it any other way.
But when they travel to the Summer and Winter courts’ gathering for Elysium, the oracle from Meghan’s past returns with a dire prophecy: “What you carry will either unite the courts, or it will destroy them.” Now Meghan faces a devastating choice that may determine the future of all fey - and her and Ash’s unborn child…
This novella made me believe that Julie Kagawa does not understand the meaning of "happily ever after". Just couldn't leave Ash and Meghan at peace, eh? Jesus. (Lol just kidding. Kind of ;D)

Here in Iron's Prophecy, we see Meghan living her new life as the Iron Queen. She has Ash by her side, and for the meantime the three other faery rulers - Oberon, Titania, and Mab - are leaving her alone... until the Oracle enters the scene with a dire warning that puts everyone to unrest.

The prophecy itself was a tad bit vague, so I'm really curious as to how Meghan and Ash's son could bring about the end of the courts and how Meghan's brother Ethan ties in with all of that, but I will try to put off reading the Call of the Forgotten books because I hate waiting. Let's see how long I can avoid them.

MY FAVORITE PART was the old gang teaming up for another, albeit short, adventure!


Apr 28, 2014

{Blog Tour} Excerpt + Giveaway: Plus One - Elizabeth Fama


Title: Plus One
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Release Date: April 8th 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Age Group: Young Adult
Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.
Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.
Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.
And now for the excerpt!

A Bookish Day: #VTRinPH!

Guess who I met last Saturday? Yep, that's Ransom Riggs, Tahereh Mafi, and Veronica Rossi! *cue freakout* They're three of my favorite authors so you can imagine how ecstatic I was to be in the same room as them. I was lucky enough to be part of the bloggers forum and my question was for Tahereh:

Apr 24, 2014

Life of a Blogger {8}

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 favorite music albums!

Apr 23, 2014

{Blog Tour} Book Review: The Hunt - Stacey Kade


Title: The Hunt (Project Paper Doll #2)
Author: Stacey Kade
Release Date: April 22nd 2014
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: NetGalley
Ariane Tucker has finally escaped GTX, the research facility that created her. While on the run, Zane Bradshaw is the only person she can trust. He knows who-and what-she is and still wants to be part of her life.
But accepting Zane's help means putting him in danger.
Dr. Jacobs, head of GTX, is not the only one hunting for Ariane. Two rival corporations have their sights set on taking down their competition. Permanently. To protect Zane and herself, Ariane needs allies. She needs the other hybrids. The hybrids who are way more alien and a lot less human. Can Ariane win them over before they turn on her? Or will she be forced to choose sides, to decide who lives and who dies?
The Hunt is certainly better than the first book in this series. It picks up a few hours after the events of The Rules, and so the action is immediate as Ariane and Zane are on the run from GTX. But they soon realize that it is impossible to run forever; they have to fight back and eliminate the threat once and for all, although with little resources and less allies, that is easier said than done.

I felt like a mouse with my teeth sunk into a suspiciously convenient piece of cheese, waiting only for the sudden rush of air and the crack of a metal bar on my neck.
This book is very aptly titled, and this hunt for Ariane and Zane tests their already-strained relationship. Both have hesitations; Ariane with her fear that Zane would suddenly realize that she's truly a different species who he shouldn't be with, and Zane with his fear that Ariane would leave him for his weakness and vulnerability. Their arguments became too much and bored me at one point because it actually slowed down the pace of the story, especially when once they gave one another space to cool down, they'd each have these long internal monologues that I could have lived without.

Yet it was during these strains that their own strengths shone through. Their situation left them little to work with, but they did their best with what they had and knew when to put aside their misunderstandings and focus on the immediate problem. Ariane is undoubtedly better at all the surveillance and running around undetected because of the training she'd received, and I really felt Zane's helplessness, pitied him even. He was her weak link, but he was in no way useless, and I liked how the author handled this dynamic between them because it was just so realistic. It broke my heart how much they both longed for normalcy and peace yet were so far from it, and the hurdles only kept on coming.

Especially because, in this sequel, they had more than one enemy. Aside from Dr. Jacobs and GTX, now they had to contend with the two other corporations whose products Ariane would have to face during trials. These two entities no doubt wanted to eliminate their enemies, meaning her, and with little knowledge of what happened behind their doors, Ariane and Zane had to fight almost blindly. In fact, they felt like an even bigger problem than GTX, and the suspense was simply unnerving.

A quick read that is chock-full of action, suspense, and emotion, The Hunt didn't disappoint. There is definitely room for improvement, but to be honest, not much of it is needed. I'm not sure if the next book will be the last in this series, but I am certainly looking forward to reading it.



Apr 22, 2014

{Blog Tour} Book Review: Ask Me - Kimberly Pauley


Title: Ask Me
Author: Kimberly Pauley
Release Date: April 8th 2014
Publisher: Soho Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC borrowed for blog tour
Ask Aria Morse anything, and she must answer with the truth. Yet she rarely understands the cryptic words she‘s compelled to utter. Blessed—or cursed—with the power of an Oracle who cannot decipher her own predictions, she does her best to avoid anyone and everyone.
But Aria can no longer hide when Jade, one of the few girls at school who ever showed her any kindness, disappears. Any time Aria overhears a question about Jade, she inadvertently reveals something new, a clue or hint as to why Jade vanished. But like stray pieces from different puzzles, her words never present a clear picture.
Then there’s Alex, damaged and dangerous, but the first person other than Jade to stand up for her. And Will, who offers a bond that seems impossible for a girl who’s always been alone. Both were involved with Jade. Aria may be the only one who can find out what happened, but the closer she gets to solving the crime, the more she becomes a target. Not everyone wants the truth to come out.
Ask Me was a surprising read. I read the blurb before I cracked the book open but somehow, most of the things in it still came at me unexpectedly, and coupled with the thick suspense and mystery, I couldn't read fast enough.

Aria Morse has a unique ability: answers spew out of her mouth for every question that she hears. But because it's an ability she can't control, she views it as a curse that prevents her from being a normal teenager who has friends aside from her grandparents. But one day, a girl's disappearance rocks her quiet town, attracting lots of questions, and this time, her curse may actually prove to be a gift.

What surprised me first was how cryptic Aria's answers were - they were so much like her last name - and they made me laugh even during serious moments. And that's how it is for me when it comes to books or movies: make me laugh and I'm sold.
"Have you seen Jade?" Delilah asked me, her bright red fingernails cutting into my elbow.
"Not me, no, not I. Not today, not today, she's gone away." I bit my tongue, hoping there were no more verses. I hated the singsong answers most of all.

This book is one of those I'd deem unputdownable. It was very easy to read and I doubt anyone wouldn't be rushing to get to the end, but that doesn't mean it was perfect. Because the story basically revolved around Aria having it, I would've liked to have known earlier on in the story all the technicalities and the history of her ability. It only works when someone else does the asking, so what about during written exams? (I'm guessing it doesn't work then, but it wasn't stated outright!) 

Then there was the question of just who the eff was the killer. There were two clear choices, but around halfway through the book I'd already guessed it. And because she's had it for years, you'd think Aria would know how to use her gift effectively. I get that the answers were, more often than not, exasperating, but with a killer on the loose, I'd have gone at it until I at least knew if I were going to be safe or not. I would also count Aria's longing to connect with other people aside from her grandparents as another snag in the story because it, ultimately, only brought her into deeper trouble, but that was natural, was it not? A bit childish and stupid, but all the more realistic.

Compelling and exciting, Ask Me isn't something I'd give to hardcore mystery fans, but for someone like me who's easily entertained, it was more than satisfying. Oh, and music lovers will enjoy this, too, because at the beginning of each chapter are a few lines of lyrics from various songs. I was devastated when I realized I hadn't jotted down the song titles before I passed on the ARC to the next tour participant; thank goodness the author has it on her website.

MY FAVORITE PART was the acrostic poem realization. I got chills.


Apr 17, 2014

Book Review: Fire & Flood - Victoria Scott

Title: Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1)
Author: Victoria Scott
Release Date: February 25th 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC borrowed from Kai of Amaterasu Reads (Thanks again, Kai!)
Time is slipping away...
Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.
Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.
The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?
Fire & Flood is one of those books that require patience in the part of the reader. It is easy to be put off by the main character, Tella, because of her attitude; she is vain and materialistic with a dash of selfish, although her joining the Brimstone Bleed for her brother probably cancels that out. But once the competition really begins, there simply is little to no time to nitpick her character.

As Tella raced with and against other Contenders and their Pandoras, I had a lot of questions in my mind regarding the Brimstone Bleed. Who started it, and why? Was it being televised a la The Hunger Games? There was a lot of mystery behind the competition but it's easy to assume that it couldn't be anything pretty. This aspect wasn't really dealt with until near the end, but that was fine with me because it wasn't as if Tella could do much about it whilst struggling to survive.

I sigh with relief. Adventure sounds a whole lot more enticing when it's safe inside my head.
A lot of people have said that if this book were real life, Tella wouldn't survive, and I kind of agree. Like, instead of wishing for bottles of water to be in her pack of supplies, she wishes for Chanel makeup. Makeup in a desert? Good luck with that. But like I said, this impracticality of hers became easy to ignore. In fact, every little thing that could've worked in this book but didn't - Tella's determination to save her brother was questionable at times; her yearning to become friends with other Contenders when she knew they were all there to save a loved one; even the romance that moved faster that I'd have liked - just became easy to ignore, as proven by the way I flew through the pages. And I have to admit, Tella's vanity and over-the-top bursts of excitement - butt-shaking, seriously? - actually grew on me.

Something is definitely up.
That or my family is auditioning for a remake of The Shining.
A crazy unpredictable and even funny adventure, Fire & Flood undoubtedly got better as the story progressed. Madox, Tella's Pandora, had me gasping because he is one sly fox, and I really hope they still get to be together after the race. I would be utterly upset if he meets a Hedwig-ish ending. Anyway, I didn't expect the book to end where it did so now I am eagerly waiting for the sequel - and I want my own Pandora!

MY FAVORITE PART is, hmm, maybe the ending because LIES & CONSPIRACIES!


Apr 16, 2014

The Books & the Art {2}

The Books & the Art is the new name of the feature I introduced last week, Artsy Librarian, but I didn't know that Jana of That Artsy Reader Girl has a feature which uses that almost exact same title so I decided to change mine to avoid confusion. Sorry again for that, Jana! :D

This week's wallpaper is one of the many that I loved from this certain book. If I were one to highlight my books, I would've highlighted every page in this one.

Apr 14, 2014

Book Review: The Other Way Around - Sashi Kaufman

Title: The Other Way Around
Author: Sashi Kaufman
Release Date: March 1st 2014
Publisher: Carolrhoda Lab
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: NetGalley
Andrew has seen a flash of his future. (Dad: unfinished PhD. Mom: unfulfilling career. Their marriage: unsuccessful.) Based on what he's seen, he's uninspired to put a foot on the well-worn path to the adulthood everyone expects of him. There must be another way around.
After a particularly disastrous Thanksgiving (his cousin wets Andrew's bed; his parents were too chicken to tell him his grandmother died), Andrew accidentally (on purpose) runs away and joins the circus. Kind of.
A guy can meet the most interesting people at the Greyhound station at dinnertime on Thanksgiving day. The Freegans are exactly the kinds of friends (living out of an ancient VW camper van, dumpster diving, dressing like clowns and busking for change) who would have Andrew's mom reaching for a third glass of Chardonnay. To Andrew, five teenagers who seem like they've found another way to grow up are a dream come true. But as the VW winds its way across the USA, the future is anything but certain.
The path of least resistance is a long, strange trip.
The Other Way Around started out really well. Andrew's voice grabbed me from page one, even before he ran away from home and made things interesting. I connected to his feeling of being lost and I loved his smarty mouth, but somewhere in the middle of this book when romance got involved, my interest waned.

I guess if I learned anything from the whole incident, besides that girls were completely baffling, it was not to imagine a future for myself that was dependent on anyone's feelings, even my own.
Andrew used to be a good kid, but one day he just found himself so disinterested in his future. He thinks there's no use fulfilling his parents' wishes for him to be a star student and finish college, and so he doesn't even bother trying. He just wants to go through the motions of life without really living it, but it all changes when he runs out of that life and meets the Freegans. His new life is, aside from having to worry about food, carefree, his new friends realistic but indulgent.

Wasn't it your responsiblity to sort all that "who am I" crap out before you had kids? I don't know how they can expect me to have the kind of answers that they don't even have when they've got like twenty-five years on me.
What's obvious was that Andrew's parents' divorce hit him hard. When his parents separated, they forgot that they had a son who needed their attention and love, and despite Andrew's bad grades, they really could've had it worse. I really pitied him because, in Andrew's own words, his parents were really shitty, and it was a relief to see him get away from all that (and give his parents a slight coronary).

"And this is supposed to make me feel better? You're getting a ride home with complete strangers, and I'm supposed to be glad that they're vegetarians?! Where in God's name did you meet this people?"
Everyone knows it's not smart to just drive off with total strangers, but Andrew wasn't going for smart - he was escaping, and the Freegans were the perfect people to do that with. Five teens who each had their own demons, they were straight-edge vegetarians who earned their keep by performing everywhere they could like a traveling circus. Andrew never imagined all the adventures he'd be in for by joining them, and that made for one fun, unpredictable read. I mean, killing chickens and dumpster-diving? Yep. But more than finding himself, Andrew found new friends, even a girlfriend. I didn't like his thing with Emily because it was easy to see that she only wanted him around for the drama and his attention, but he let his crotch do all the thinking, and that's when this book lost me.

Well-written and somewhat nostalgic, The Other Way Around hit home lots of times. I found it quite similar to Firecraker and Looking for Alaska, and fans of roadtrip books will surely love this. And even though the ending wasn't everything I'd hoped for, it was nothing if not realistic.

MY FAVORITE PART is Tim's flatulence =))


Apr 11, 2014

Artsy Librarian {1}

Artsy Librarian is a new-ish feature of mine because it is a mixture of Storyboard and Mark That Book! plus whatever artsy, bookish stuff I manage to think of in the future. But for now, my latest foray into the 'arts' is a wallpaper! I dug through some of the quotes I wrote down last year onto my handy dandy notebook and found one that I just love.

Apr 10, 2014

Life of a Blogger {7}

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 food!

Ah, food. All the flabs on my body prove that I love food, but I also am a picky eater. I don't eat vegetables, and I even joke that I'm allergic to them. (Some people actually believe me until I say I'm joking. *shrugs*) When it come to fruits, I can count with my two hands the kinds that I eat. But I won't dwell on the food I don't like because they are a minority.

Apr 8, 2014

Book Review: The Iron Queen - Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey #3)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Release Date: January 25th 2011
Publisher: HarlequinTEEN
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought
My name is Meghan Chase.
I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.
This time, there will be no turning back.
I didn't think it possible to love this series even more, but that was before I read The Iron Queen. HOLY CRABSTICKS. It took everything I enjoyed from the previous two books and multiplied them by ten, equating to action plus adventure to the hundredth degree

Meghan and Ash's exile to the human world is cut short when they realize that she can't go back to her family to continue her old life, not without endangering everyone around them, and their time away from Faerie is ultimately ended when the Seelie and Unseelie courts enlist Meghan's help to end the false Iron King who is threatening to take over their land.

Meghan has always left much to be desired when it comes to her actions. She's impulsive and, frankly, a teeny tiny bit stupid, but she's undergone a ton of character development in the first two books without losing her selflessness. Here in the third book, she finally learns something I've long been hoping she would: fighting. She's no longer satisfied with being guarded and kept safe; now, she's jumping right into the midst of danger.

So good thing she has Ash, Puck, and Grim beside her. The four of them together is entertaining and formidable as ever, and even when they have their squabbles, they always have each other's backs.
"For this conflict only, we will carry you and your officers into battle. Afterward, our contract is done, and you will release us."
"Oh, goodie," Puck said as I stepped forward. "I'm going to have a rash in the most uncomfortable places."

I was also glad to see Puck being his old self, not bitter and angry because Meghan chose Ash over him. He's taken the friendship she offers him in stride, but not without pestering the royal couple who, by the way, made my heart ache multiple times. If you're still unsure of their love by the end of the second book, then you should lose all of your questions when you read this one.

Twisty and unpredictable, The Iron Queen took me on an even better ride than the first two books. It's very hard to put down and very easy to devour. If I didn't know about the fourth book and the spin-off series, that ending would have made me cry even more ugly tears.

MY FAVORITE PART was the knighting scene ♥


Apr 5, 2014

Book Review: Sea of Shadows - Kelley Armstrong

Title: Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends #1)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Release Date: April 8th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ARC from publisher
In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.
Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.
Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.
I have never been more thankful that I'm patient with books than when I finished reading Sea of Shadows. The first seventy pages were such a struggle to get through as I was getting more questions than answers - although, looking back now, I think I was just distracted then - and I actually almost DNF-ed this book, but once I got past that and the action truly kicked in, oh lord.

I'm asleep, she thought. Or I've gone mad. Moria's tales have come to life, and that is not possible, which means I've gone mad.
Or the world has gone mad, and we're simply trapped within it.
This year's Seeking is the first that Ashyn would lead without the guidance of her mentor, the imperial court's official Seeker. But as the tradition has been performed for many, many years, no one thought it would go wrong. Until it did. Suddenly, monsters of olden tales aren't so fictional anymore, and Ashyn races to court with her twin sister Moria, the Keeper, to warn the entire country of the new dangers that fill their land.

Ashyn and Moria are two very different girls, their similarities ending with their appearance. Ashyn, the Seeker, is shy and kind, the one charged with going into the Forest of the Dead, their assigned post, to settle the spirits in it, so she learned little aside from the rituals she's to spend her life performing. Strong and rash Moria, on the other hand, is the Keeper who will stand watch during the Seeking to make sure that no spirits come out of the forest. She's well-trained in fighting and is as rough as her sister is gentle; they reminded me very much of Rose and Lissa from Vampire Academy. It was hard to connect with them at first, but once the going got tough, their unyielding love for each other, determination and strength, both inner and outer, really shone through. And despite a handful of stupid decisions that had me facepalm-ing, I really loved them both.

As the girls raced to reach the king, it was hard to guess who their real enemy was: the dangerous foreigners or the legendary beasts that had come to life, and their lack of breathing room had me frantically turning the pages. Admittedly, the world-building wasn't astounding, but it was enough to get by with and surely didn't distract from the pace of the story - as did the romance or, rather, romances, because both girls had guys to keep them company through their perilous journey. If you're someone who demands romance in your fiction, then you shouldn't be disappointed.

Relentless and unpredictable, Sea of Shadows redeemed itself after its slow start and by the end, I was beyond desperate for the second one. A few people have mentioned that aside from the girls' journey to the palace whilst evading evil people and monsters, nothing much happens in here, and while that may be true, it's not something I can hold against the book because I would be lying if I said I didn't absolutely enjoy reading it.

MY FAVORITE PART is probably the ending because, like I said, it had me begging for more. The wait for the sequel is going to kill me.


Apr 4, 2014

Stacking the Shelves {22}

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

I'm trying out a new posting schedule so until I fail at it lol, my haul posts shall be up on Fridays. Anyway, this is another digital books edition! I'm not too good at reading them, but book hoarding is book hoarding, amirite? ;D

Apr 3, 2014

Life of a Blogger {6}

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 handwriting!

Apr 1, 2014

{Blog Tour} Book Review + Giveaway: Third Degree - Julie Cross


Title: Third Degree
Author: Julie Cross
Release Date: March 25th 2014
Publisher: Flirt
Age Group: New Adult
Source: NetGalley
Fans of Monica Murphy and Tammara Webber will savor this novel about coming of age in the heat of the moment from Julie Cross, the internationally bestselling author of the Tempest trilogy.
I used to be “Isabel Jenkins, child prodigy.” As lame as that sounds, at least it was an identity. But now I’m not sure what I am. I just failed the most important exam of my life—the emotional readiness test required to get into a medical residency program—and it turns out my parents can’t stand each other. Now I’m trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my life, and that means re-enrolling as a college freshman, but this time I’m shutting the books and majoring in being eighteen.
But so far, my roommate hates me and I’m not into the party scene. The only good thing about school has been getting to know my insanely hot RA. Marshall Collins makes me wonder about everything I missed while I was growing up too fast. Pretty soon we’re hanging out constantly, but for the first time, I find myself wanting more than a no-strings-attached physical relationship. And the lesson I really need is one Marsh definitely can’t teach me: love. Because I’m going to be alone forever if I don’t learn fast.
Going into Third Degree, I had no idea what to expect because the premise is just so unique. I only knew that I had to read it because Julie Cross, author of the Tempest series which I really love, wrote it and as expected, Julie didn't disappoint.

"You're always observing people, but maybe you're studying the wrong things."
Isabel is the type of character that, if not portrayed well, could be hated so easily, but Julie did a very good job of presenting her character's case that I loved her instead. Isabel's the doctor we all hate, the one who obviously doesn't give a damn about her patients, who's only there to do her job. Her lack of sympathy for what others feel would be infuriating if I were at its receving end but at the same time, it wasn't something I could take against her because she couldn't help but be that way given her personal history. She learned from an early age to distance herself emotionally from everyone to avoid getting hurt, and she never thought it would get in the way of her being a doctor. I really pitied her when she honest-to-God couldn't get along with anyone in her new, trying-to-be-normal life. The struggle was real.

And then in walked Marshall, Isabel's RA. Gorgeous, kind, and understanding, he, on the other hand, is easy to love. Instead of treating Isabel like a nutcase, he agreed to teach her how to interact with other people without driving them away with the smell of her weird, but beneath the happy facade lurked something sad, something that also kept him away from anyone. I was so eager to bring that to light because I wanted to know just what was wrong with him, but when it did... *sadface* Yet that was when Isabel truly shone. With her background, Marshall's issue wasn't enough to drive her away, and seeing them together was truly a delight. They're what each other needs and they knew just how to help with the other's problems.

Sweet, hilarious, and emotional - sometimes all at the same time - Third Degree is a remarkable novel about accepting people for who they are beneath the surface. It was so easy to read this book because it never bored me. If you're looking for a breath of fresh air in the NA genre, then you'll want to pick this up.

MY FAVORITE PARTS were Isabel and Marshall's exchange tutoring sessions <3


About the author:
Julie Cross lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She’s a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach, and former gymnastics program director with the YMCA. She’s a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and New Adult genres. She’s also a committed (but not talented) long-distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.