Thursday, November 12, 2015

Something Strange & Deadly Read-along: Discussion Two

Hi all!

So I am currently participating in a read-along for Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard and literally having all the fun! I have no idea why it took me so long to start reading SS&D but hey, better late than never, right? As part of the read-along, Stephanie from In Wonderland aka the hostess extraordinaire of the read-along made a few discussion questions and I'm here to answer a few of them.

Who is your favourite character in the first book and why?

Eleanor is easily my favourite character in SSaD mostly because I felt like I knew her so well being in her head, her different conflicts, experiences and feelings really bridged a connection between us. She was more of a friend to me than just a character in a book and it really amazed me how emotionally invested I became when it came to her life. Wish they had Facebook in SSaD so I could send her a friend request. Lol, what.

How would you convince your friends to read this book?

I'm happy that I have friends who trust me when it comes to book so I'd just fangirl to them about Something Strange and Deadly and they would 70% buy it. And I would totally mention how swoony Daniel Sheridan is because my friends are suckers for hot dudes, that would add the remaining 30% then BOOM, new readers.

Well, that was fun! If you guys want to join the read-along, feel free to check out Steph's read-along post HERE.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

ARC Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Title: November 9
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: November 10th 2015
Pre-order the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble


Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day of her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

My thoughts:

This is the first Colleen Hoover book I read after 3 years so I dove into this one erring in the side of caution. And it was a good thing I did because nothing has changed from CoHo's writing, nothing. I believe that there are two basic components that make up a CoHo book: simplistic writing and a crazy, crazy twist; and she delivered precisely on both accounts... but at the expense of what?

November 9 was written as a reflection of your average and typical romance novel, this is mainly because 1) Fallon is a major Romance fan and wanted the perfect "love" scene 2) Ben is a writer so of course he'd be appealingly pretentious, tortured (aka a drunken vagrant... jk), and writing a book about the two of them. I'm going to be honest and say that I enjoyed reading the few chapters of Ben's book more than I liked reading 70% of the actual novel. There was a depth and heart to his writing that I felt that CoHo's lacked, which is obviously ironic since she technically wrote his book... but still, I found myself wanting to read the dark complexity of his words as opposed to the slightly upbeat, angsty November 9 CoHo wrote.

Between the two main characters, I found Ben's chapters much more fascinating to read than Fallon's. I felt that Fallon lacked personality, which Ben ended up giving her. It was like Ben was the writer and every time they saw each other, he would somehow write more of her character for her to mature and accept herself. Sure, it was interesting to see Fallon develop and truly find herself but I liked how Ben was an unreliable narrator when it came to his chapters. He mostly focused on his relationship with and feelings for Fallon that you sort of get sidetracked from his issues. It makes you all the more curious about what he's hiding and where his character is really going while Fallon is literally just an open book whose storyline is clear and headed in one direction.

In regards to the plot twist, I will say that the major plot twist in the book actually caught me by surprise. I seriously did not expect it, I did not even notice that the story was going in that direction. I was impressed so CoHo gets extra brownie points for that. However, there were subplots that I felt were a bit too cliche and I was disappointed when I read them. I felt like CoHo just wasted one November 9th on that event. But oh well, to each his own.

Two of the things that really appealed to me in this book were 1) the wit of the characters and the fun back and forth between the characters and 2) the emotions that November 9 evoked in me. I have always loved humour in my books, especially witty dialogues and I was glad to see that in this novel. I found myself smiling as I was reading certain lines and even outright laughing at Fallon and Ben's banter (I won't deny that they have amazing chemistry). And the feelz? Don't even get me started. I cannot even count the times pieces of my heart chipped off. CoHo is definitely the master manipulator of emotions, she just knows the way to everyone's hearts.

While there were certain aspects of November 9 that I did not particularly love, I will say that I overall enjoyed this book. It was a quick and simple read that didn't take me too long to finish. One thing I do know about Colleen Hoover is that she has a magic touch that shifts a simple, not too special book into something more. November 9 was not an astounding nor impressive book but it was a good read and I just hope that I will enjoy the next CoHo book I read as much or even more than I did this one.

Rating:
.5

Monday, October 26, 2015

{Blog Tour} The Waterwitch Babes' Truthwitch Tour: Street Team Appreciation Post and Closing Remarks

See the full tour schedule HERE.

I still remember the day back in May (specifically the 27th) when I got to see Susan Dennard in BEA and had to pretty much fight people to the death for an ARC of Truthwitch. It made my first BEA so memorable and so special. And after weeks of holding myself back and finally delved into Truthwitch and came out a new woman. Ever since falling in love with Truthwitch (and basically Sooz's writing) I vowed to do my best to make sure that Truthwitch would be as successful as possible. And that was when Nicola, my Threadsister, asked me to be one of the clan leaders for the street team and also the time when that simple "Hell yes" changed my life.

I had never been immersed in such a passionate and enthusiastic group of people until I met The Waterwitch Babes and the rest of the Truthwitch team. The hard work everyone puts into thinking of Heists, planning super fun #ClanChat(s) and other really cool activities amazes me. Sooz, Nicola and the amazing ladies from New Leaf Literary who put so much time and effort into everything, thank you. Your patience, kindness, selflessness and everything completely astounds me. I just hope that we can do you amazing ladies proud.

And the Waterwitch Babes, oh my god. I never thought that we would get this close. I did not just get a group of members, I was also blessed with a clan of sisters. I am so grateful to have you all in my life. Our conversations don't just revolve around Heists or projects, I love that everyone takes the time to really chat and get to know each other. And one of the things that really amazes me what you fabulous ladies is that when one person is down or going through something, you never fail to send encouragements and be as supportive as possible. And that's what I think of you ladies, you are one of my support systems, it warms my heart and gives me so much honor knowing that I have you at my side taking on all these challenges. Let's continue to make waves, Babes!

The Waterwitch Babes Truthwitch Blog Tour is the product of months of masterminding and being crazy secretive. We wanted to give everyone a chance to see the different experiences we and our collaborators have had with Sooz and Truthwitch. We hope that we've piqued your interest as a reader and gave you all the fuzzy feels with our posts. Thank YOU so much for taking this tour with us and may you find the clan where you belong (you can totally take our unofficial Clan sorting quiz to help you out, click HERE).

Sunday, October 25, 2015

{Blog Tour} Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Title: Why Not Me?
Author: Mindy Kaling
Publisher: Crown Archetype
Publication date: September 15th 2015
Buy the book: National Book Store / Fully Booked
ISBN: 9781101905579



From the author of the beloved New York Times bestselling book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and the creator and star of The Mindy Project comes a collection of essays that are as hilarious and insightful as they are deeply personal.

In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)

Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

My thoughts:

I had so much fun reading Mind Kaling's Why Not Me?, it was great to take a breather from all the Young Adult and New Adult books I have been reading and try a Non-Fiction for a change. I have always had such great experiences reading Non-Fiction books by women (Chelsea Handler's books and Tina Fey's Bossypants are just a few of my favorite autobiographical novels that never fail to make me laugh and smile no matter how many times I reread them) and Mindy Kaling did not disappoint.

This book had me hook, line and sinker as soon as I flipped over to the introduction "Hello Again". There is something so natural and sassy about Mindy Kaling's humor that you literally just cannot help but giggle at everything she writes. But other than the deeply rooted humor Mindy Kaling likes to entwine into her writing, she also adds a heavy dash of thoughtfulness and heart into each discussion of her life. You cannot help but empathize with her in regards to her different experiences. She just has this way of really reaching out towards a reader and beckoning you into her hilariously complicated life.

Mind Kaling's Why Not Me? is the perfect read if you are looking for something light and fun but also carries an underlying depth. I am actually looking forward to my next visit to the bookstore because I need to a grab a copy of her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?. Don't worry, Mindy, you don't need to bribe me with Skittles to like you... just continue to write really awesome books. That's all.

Rating:

Something Strange & Deadly Read-along: Discussion One

Hi all!

So I am currently participating in a read-along for Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard and literally having all the fun! I have no idea why it took me so long to start reading SS&D but hey, better late than never, right? As part of the read-along, Stephanie from In Wonderland aka the hostess extraordinaire of the read-along made a few discussion questions and I'm here to answer a few of them.

How do you think you would react to the Dead walking around in your city?

There is a 99.999% chance that I'd pee myself/faint/whimper/get lost or all of the above... at the same time. I really wouldn't know what to do even though the Dead aren't really too zombie-ish, there's still terrifying about the fact that they're quite unpredictable. I'd probably also start assembling my own The Walking Dead team to protect me in case something insane happens, like, Idk the Dead apocalypse or something. (Yes, my team would totally have Eleanor and Daniel in it, just so I could watch them throw each other down. Lol.)

What do you think about the Dead? Are you glad it isn't too zombie-ish, or were you hoping for a more zombie-esque theme?

Nothing beats a shambling, decaying, flesh-eating zombie but Susan Dennard's Dead is like a more sophisticated version of them. (Who knew historical zombies would be something I needed in my life? Thanks, Sooz!) The thing with the dead is that there's a sentience to them that gives them an extra oomph that your average zombies don't have. I'd still want to stay away from them. Like maybe put a continent distance between us. *backs away slowly*

Well, that was fun! If you guys want to join the read-along, feel free to check out Steph's read-along post HERE.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

Title: Blood and Salt (Blood and Salt #1)
Author: Kim Liggett
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication date: September 22nd 2015
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble


Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.

"When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in-- blood and salt."

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town's history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself-- and discover the truth about Quivira before it's too late. Before she's all in-- blood and salt.
(Image and summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Growing up a horror junkie has got me constantly looking for my next fix and to say that my standard for horror-themed movies and books is high would be an understatement. But oh. My. God. Kim Liggett blew those standards to bits and exceeded my expectations amazingly. Blood and Salt is easily one of my most favourite reads of 2015. I read this book last June and I have reread it about eight times since then and I have loved it every single reread I did.

Blood and Salt is a beautifully nuanced novel that tackles different forms of unconditional love that will leave your heart aching and bursting with feelings. But even more than the evocative emotions this book will make you feel, Kim Liggett will literally put the fear of cornstalks in you. While the whole cornstalk bit may seem very Children of the Corn-y, Kim Liggett intricately weaves her own style and magic into every stalk, grain and drop of blood that appears in the book. My soul was so conflicted-- it did not know whether to cower in fear or keep flipping the pages because I just needed more Ash and Dane and Quivira.

I absolutely adored Ash, mostly because there were moments when she reminded me of myself. She was not perfect, she made mistakes but those small imperfections were what made her so relatable to me. I was able to really connect with her, especially when it came to times when Ash had to make choices and even more when she interacted with her family (I am really close with my mom and seeing how Ash was with her's reminded me so much of my relationship with my mom). But if there is one thing that I admire most about Ash is that she is so brave. There were times when I thought that she would bow out because of how creepy and unknown the situation was but noooo, she held her head high and moved on. It was just so amazing to see that and she inspired me so much. Getting to know Ash and connecting with her was such a great experience for me.

Ash + Dane = Louisse's #1 ship (#Dash4lyf, heehee, get it?) But seriously, seriously, what I feel for the two of them goes beyond just shipping, reading about how their relationship progressed and all the terrifying shit they had to go through made me want to pull them out of the book and protect them. It wasn't even just all the things happening in Quivira that was terrifying, their love and how intense and consuming it was honestly scared even me. Their love was a big presence in the novel, it sucks you in and finds its way into your bloodstream until your heart starts to beat to the rhythm of Ash and Dane's (figurative) dance. It was sexy, beautiful and terrifying. I got shivers every scene they had together. Legit.

And the horror? Holy crap, I don't even think I can talk about it. But let me just say, you will not be able to look at corn the same way ever again (*cough*humaneating*cough*).

Blood and Salt was fucking amazing, I hardly ever curse online but this is one of those super rare and special moments because I am 10000000% serious. I am so in love with this book and I think everyone needs to read it. Kim Liggett's words feel as if they've been infused with magic and everything darkly beautiful in this world.

"When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in-- blood and salt."

Is a line Ash's mom said to her in the early parts of the book but I chose it because it pretty much sums up what I feel for Blood and Salt. I am so emotionally attached to this book, I can't even. Seriously. And the ending? Let's just say that Kim Liggett had me crying in public (specifically Walmart and Dunkin' Donuts). Ugh. This book. This booooook. Read it. ASAP. Plus, it's the perfect Halloween read...

You're welcome.

Rating:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Making Waves with the Waterwitch Babes (3)


Making Waves is a weekly question feature created by the Waterwitch Babes (part of Susan Dennard's Truthwitch Street Team). Every Thursday, we'll have a fun question that all are welcome to answer on their blog. Anyone can join! The questions will be random and/or relate to the upcoming book, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. A link is provided so that everyone can link up their post and participate in the fun!

To participate, we ask that you use the Making Waves banner in your post and link back to the Waterwitch Babes blog.

This week's question:

WHAT CLAN DO YOU FEEL YOU BELONG TO?

It may be a bit biased for me to choose Water since I am a part of the Water clan but honestly, the Water Clan is perfect for me. Having gotten to know my fellow clanmates better and constantly working with them has made me realise how much Water really suits me. They are a very calm and peaceful clan but when you provoke them, then you better watch out because they make huge waves. And the Water clan (especially the Waterwitch Babes) is a ridiculously fun and hardworking group.

However, when I took the awesome quiz one of the Waterwitch Babes (ahem, Charlene) made, I got Fire, which, in a way, does reflect my personality. I have always been told that I have a fiery personality. Feel free to take the super fun quiz below or click HERE to be redirected to the quiz.




And also, do share your link to your Making Waves post.


You can find the Waterwitch Babes here:
Next week's question:

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE BOOKS THAT FEATURE ONE OF THE SIX ELEMENTS EITHER IN THE TITLE OR THE COVER?

See you next week!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Signing Info + Giveaway: Tessa Dare in Manila!

Bookish Filipinos, yes! Tessa Dare is coming to the Philippines! Romance fans, rejoice!



New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare book signing at Powerbooks

Bestselling and award-winning historical romance novelist Tessa Dare is set to do a talk and book signing event on June 27, 2015 at 3 p.m. in Powerbooks, Greenbelt 4. Registration starts at 10 a.m. Only books purchased from Powerbooks, National Book Store and National Book Store Express will be accommodated. 

‘Romancing the Duke’, the first book in Tessa Dare’s latest series ‘Castles Ever After’, is described by Publishers Weekly as a “a unique twist to a fairy tale, complete with an ancient castle, a damsel in distress, and a wounded hero”. Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens being the daughter of a well-known author. As her storybooks offered endless possibilities, she never doubted romance would soon be part of her life. As time passes by, she gives up yearning for romance and the never-been-kissed woman settles for a roof over her head. The series continues in ‘Say Yes to the Marquess’, which was released in December, and in ‘When a Scot Ties the Knot’, which will be released in August. 

Tessa Dare is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than a dozen historical romances including the ‘Spindle Cove’ series (‘A Night to Surrender’, ‘A Week to be Wicked’, ‘A Lady by Midnight’, ‘Beauty and the Blacksmith’, and ‘Any Duchess Will Do’), ‘The Stud Club’ trilogy (‘One Dance with a Duke’, ‘Twice Tempted by a Rogue’ and ‘Three Nights with a Scoundrel’), ‘The Wanton Dairymaid’ trilogy (‘Goddess of the Hunt’, ‘Surrender of a Siren’, and ‘Lady of Persuasion’), ‘Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Right’, and the ‘Castles Ever After’ series.  Her books bagged numerous accolades including Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award and have been translated in several languages. She is a librarian by training and a booklover at heart. Married to a Filipino, Tessa worked at a library in the Philippines and has recently visited Tacloban. 

The event is made possible in partnership with Raffles Makati. 

Books by Tessa Dare are available in National Book Store and Powerbooks. Shop online and buy eBooks at nationalbookstore.com. For reservations, call 8888-NBS
(627) for calls within Metro Manila, 1-800-10-8888-NBS for calls outside Metro Manila, or text 0998-8888-NBS and 0917-8747-269. The National Book Store hotlines are open Mondays to Sundays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert) for updates on the latest events, promos and contests. Tag #TessaDareinPH to join the discussion.

Not familiar with Tessa's books? Check out the blurbs for Romancing the Duke and Say Yes to the Marquess below!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

{Blog Tour} ARC Review: Black Iris by Leah Raeder

Title: Black Iris
Author: Leah Raeder
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: April 28th 2015
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble



It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She's going to show them all.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Review:

I read Black Iris several months ago and to this day, I still cannot properly express how I feel about it. Black Iris isn't just a book, it's this tangible, living presence that you will feel everywhere. When I would take a break from reading to study or nap, I could feel its words beckoning to me, seducing me and slowly entangling in its dark and sensual web. It lives as you live, it breathes as you breathe and when you turn that final page, you'll end as it ends. Sounds serious? It is.

Laney is the perfect example of what it means to be an underdog, her past experiences are perfect examples of what it means to start from the bottom and kick everyone's ass to get to the top. People bullied her. They belittled her. They looked down on her. It was completely heart breaking to read about but also very empowering because Laney isn't just a fictional characters, she's an amalgamation of all the people who were wronged based on their sexual orientation. She's this big FUCK YOU to the Universe and she's extra badass while doing it. But underneath all that built up anger and more anger, she's still just a girl who got beaten down. She had her moments of vulnerability and uncertainty but instead of letting that fear fester and grow into something worse, she made the proactive choice to do something about it. I am equal parts in love with Laney and terrified of her.

I wouldn't say that Black Iris is completely about romance because while there may have been an Armin and Blythe, it was never really a choice for Laney. It just happened. However, I loved the way Leah Raeder used the book's romance as a plot device to reach out to people. As fluffy as it may sound, I have always felt that love is a universal language, it's something we understand without having to hear spoken words, we can just feel it or sense it and we'll know it's there. Leah Raeder used the potency of romance to demand to be heard by people and it's a call that anyone will eagerly answer, especially when you meet these three.

Every scene with Blythe left me breathless... literally. Seeing her through Laney's eyes was a complete sensory overload, you just feel too much and even when it starts to overwhelm you, you won't want that Blythe experience to stop. Blythe is wild in nature (and not just in a party hard kind of way), there is something manic about her that draws you in, like a tiger in a zoo, you know you shouldn't try to pet it but you'll do it anyway. Her unpredictability and shine made her so enticing and it was so easy to fall in love with her. When you hear Blythe, think skin sliding against skin, breathy words and nails digging deeper and deeper.

While Blythe may have been the wild one, Armin was the slow and sweet caress of a gentle lover. Armin was the level-headed and calm one. And he is so nice. Like, I don't even know what else to say about him, haha. But in between Armin and Blythe stood Laney, she balanced them out. Their dynamic was rhythmic and consistent. It was very interesting to see how they moved together.

Just going to say: the wolf references? So. Badass.

One of the things that got me while I was reading Black Iris was how personal it felt, and I know it was. The way Leah Raeder made me feel while I was reading this book was a completely surreal and unexpected experience. I never thought that I could connect with so many characters at one given moment. It was beautiful and terrifying. Black Iris is Black Iris and I don't know how else to explain it to you.

If you buy this book after reading this review, then... You're welcome.

(At some point, I'm going to come up with a much, much better review than this but right now, everything still feel so raw. In the future, I hope.)

Rating:
.5

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Title: Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles #1)
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: February 9th 2010
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble


At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.

But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.

Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock--to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

In a bold departure from her acclaimed contemporary novels, Printz Medalist Melina Marchetta has crafted an epic fantasy of ancient magic, feudal intrigue, romance, and bloodshed that will rivet you from the first page.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Review:

Oh my god.

OH. MY. GOD.

I have so many feels in me that I cannot even construct enough proper and coherent sentences for my review... but for you, I will try. But one more OH MY GOD before I start: OHHHHH. MYYYYYY. GOD. Okay, I'm done... Maybe.

There's a part of me that hates myself for taking so long to read Finnikin of the Rock because I have literally had this book in my shelf for four years now and I never bothered to get past the first two pages. But there's a larger part of me that doesn't care that I took so long because in the end, what matters the most is that I read it. And worshipped it. I'm pretty sure that Melina Marchetta isn't even a human being, she must be some kind of genius-goddess-writer-being because my whole Finnikin of the Rock experience was completely out of this world. Seriously. I am still not over the whole thing. Was it even real? I don't even know.

I just want to say, Finnikin has way too much teenaged angst for his age. I was worried he'd bust his gut or something with all the stress he had. (Bro, take a chill pill.) I mean, thanks, Lumatere for putting your future freedom into the hands of a eighteen/nineteen year old. But seriously speaking, all the weight of the world seemed to lie of Finnikin's shoulders. It wasn't only the future of Lumatere that he worried about, but also the uncertainty whether Balthazar, the heir, was alive and even the constant tug of darkness in his heart. Finnikin definitely wasn't perfect, even though he was intelligent, skilled and generally well-rounded, he always seemed to have a hard time suppressing his emotions which was technically against the nature of the Rock people. The unpredictability of his temper and the internal battle regarding his true nature gave him a vulnerability that took away the harshness that threatened to change him. It made him all the more human. I mean, what teenager can say that he's traveled practically all over the nation as an ambassador for this countrymen who were exiled and even those that weren't? That's a heavy burden to carry but still he managed to do it -- of course, not without challenges.

Evanjelin. Oh, man. Don't get me started on that girl. She is literally the Queen of Mindfucks. Evanjelin will make you think one thing end then BOOM SURPRISE it was totally this other thing the whole time. I'm not saying this in a negative way because while she may have screwed with my brain, everything made sense and I found myself nodding along to every twist untangled. But Evanjelin's shady-ness wasn't why I liked her so much, it was mainly because of her strength that completely blew me away. I had never met such a stubborn/determined, brave/reckless, and confusing protagonist ever until her. I can't even properly say what I think of her because it was all so amazingly confusing but in the best way possible. My mind is still recovering from her mindf---ing. But wow, what a gal, such a great and inspiring character. Melina Marchetta is a genius. That is all.

The twists! Don't even get me started on the twists! All I am going to say is that Melina Marchetta was able to connect EVERYTHING with ANYTHING. I don't even know how she was able to do that but just pay attention as you read along... but still, no matter how close you look, you pretty much won't be able to catch 99.99% of what the words of Finnikin of the Rock is hiding.

The only aspect of the book that was sort of iffy for me was the budding romance between Finnikin and Evanjelin. It was very unexpected even though I knew it was going to happen. I didn't really feel it grow between them nor did I see it happening, it just happened. But after a while, I gave up on trying to figure out how it started and just started enjoying it because I have so much ship for those two. They weren't two puzzle pieces that fit each other, no, they clashed and didn't make particular sense together but they still fit, in an odd way. They complemented each other and also contradicted the other, which added spice and a uniqueness to their relationship. Honestly, it took a bit too long but it got there and when it did, Hallelujah!

I cried waaay too many times in this book. I kept telling myself Louisse! *sniffles* Stop crying. *cries* Stop crying. *cries even more* I'll pay you to stop crying. *sobs even more* Just stop. *sobs even more* But even bribing myself didn't work so I had to cry everything out. And I did. I hope that my tears feeds Melina Marchetta's evil writing muse for a long time. *whispers to future readers* Save yourself. *runs away*

I have so much love for so many characters in this book -- even Trevanion, Finnikin's dad, who pretty much just grunted most of the book. I'm kidding, he did a lot in the book. If I ever went to war, he'd be the man I'd want to stand behind, his Guard and him are certified badasses. But if there's one person who I didn't expect to love but 100% adored, it would be Boy Froi. That little bastard thief grew on and got to me and I found myself full-on sobbing at most of his scenes, I don't even know why. I look forward to reading his book (which I thankfully already have, woohoo).

Melina Marchetta has found a creepy, slightly fan in me. I may have to buy all her books just to satisfy my Marchetta fangirl needs. You need to read Finnikin of the Rock. You NEED it. And even if you don't love it, read it for the sake of reading the rest of the series because from what I heard it gets even better. Honestly, I don't think I can take even better because I may spontaneously combust if The Lumatere Chronicles gets even more amazing, haha. But seriously, read it. *peer pressures you through the computer*


Rating:

Friday, April 17, 2015

Dual Review + Giveaway: Her Dark Curiosity AND A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

Title: Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman's Daughter #2)
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Publication date: January 28th 2014
Buy the book (locally): Fully Booked
(Internationally): Amazon / Barnes and Noble



To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father's island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Review:

Oh my.

Oh my, my, my.

Megan Shepherd has definitely done it again and again... and again.

As an avid reader, I have read a lot of sequels that did not live up to expectations (save for a few written by genius authors) and I just glad to be able to say that Megan Shepherd has managed to deliver a book that lived up to my expectations, and a little bit more.

Her Dark Curiosity takes place a short while after the events of The Madman's Daughter and as you read the first few pages, you'll already know that some crazy shit stuff is about to go down. Juliet is struggling to make a cure and she's relapsing, someone or something is killing civilians and there may or may not be something sinister at hand relating to Juliet's father's experiments (the signs point to hell yes). Her Dark Curiosity is definitely darker than its predecessor and more complex, which is one of the things I really loved about this book. Megan Shepherd dug deep into the dark, dark core of this one and gave it an unexpected light.

The internal conflict going on within Juliet was extremely fascinating to read about. It wasn't just her recovering from the events of The Madman's Daughter, it was deeper than it. The constant battle between her innate goodness and the unshakeable evil inside of her completely reeled me in. Juliet was a contradiction as a person and it worked for her, she was characterized perfectly but the push and pull between her different sides added a unique quality to her that truly called to me. I wouldn't say that Juliet matured from the previous book because Juliet has always been mature; you will notice with the way she analyzed, observed and thought things through that she is a genuinely intelligent and grown up lady. When I found out that Her Dark Curiosity was influenced by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I first thought that it pertained to Edward/The Beast but as I read on, I felt that there were parts of Juliet that warred with each other. Just like Edward, which led me to think that the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde reference could also be applied to Juliet. Which is why I applaud Megan Shepherd for being able to create such a wonderfully complex yet appealing character.

Another character I want to commend Megan Shepherd for writing is Edward. I didn't appreciate him that much in the previous book but in Her Dark Curiosity, I was able to connect with him more and truly "get" his character. (In the first book, I was 100% on Team Montgomery but in this one, I am 111% on Team Edward. Swoon!) Like I mentioned above, Edward and Juliet were similar to each other and because of that, I was able to get a proper feel of his character. Tortured. Lonely. Torn. Just a few words to describe Edward at first glance, but as Megan Shepherd delves into different aspects of his person, you truly get to see him in different lights. There were way too many instances wherein I wanted to give him a good cuddle because daaaym, that boy is something else. And don't even get me started on The Beast. There was something weirdly erotic about him, no matter how sinister he seemed. I will admit that his character managed to seduce me one too many times... and I don't regret it. The contrast between the two aspects of Edward was... alluring, to say the least.

While the previous book focused more on Juliet's father's crazy island, the setting of this novel shed more light in the happenings of London. It was interesting to see how each event was linked to the next, from Dr. Moreau's involvement with the King's Club and other things that are too spoiler-y to mention. All I am going to say is that unexpected and slightly insane things will happen, especially when you reach the latter part of the book. The whole novel itself was filled with tight twists and sharp turns that managed to have me stuck to the book pretty much the whole day. I was completely engrossed. So. Much. Crazy.

In terms of other parts of the book that made it so dang enjoyable, it was mostly the characters that gave the book character. The different events in the novel made it exciting and daring but the people in it gave it life; from Montgomery's shift as a person to Lucy's helpful disposition, I felt like I was going out to meet friends I hadn't seen in a long time. One character that wormed his way deeper into my heart was Balthazar. I can't even properly express how much I absolutely adore that man. I literally just wanted to hug him throughout the whole book.

And don't even get me started on the romance. I pretty much wanted to steal both Edward and Montgomery away just to end Juliet's confusion. Though her love for Montgomery is a solid thing, too many rough things have happened between them that are not too easy to forgive nor forget. The love between the two was visceral and so real that it demanded to be acknowledge but it was also too raw and a bit distrustful, I honestly felt bad for them. And Edward too. (Let me comfort you, Edward. Hohoho.)

All in all, Her Dark Curiosity was a wonderful read. The way Megan Shepherd coupled a great plot with her beautifully distinct writing made the experience all the more enjoyable. If you loved The Madman's Daughter, then you need this sequel. Need. Also, I am just so relieved that I have A Cold Legacy in my hands. BRB, reading now.

Rating:

Title: A Cold Legacy (The Madman's Daughter #3)
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins
Publication date: January 27th 2015
Buy the book (locally): Fully Booked
(Internationally): Amazon / Barnes and Noble


After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Review:


Megan Shepherd does not stop. At all.

A Cold Legacy wasn't as disturbingly enticing as The Madman's Daughter nor was it as creepy as Her Dark Curiosity. A Cold Legacy was a slow shiver that you feel creeping your body and you just won't be able to help yourself to be enthralled by the mystery of Ballentyne's halls.

Juliet and co. are on the run because of reasons and of course something is going. And something did happen. Elizabeth, Juliet's warden, sends her to her family's ancestral home, Ballentyne, wherein Juliet and co. are met with a mixture of cold shoulders and warm welcomes. Ballentyne comes complete with a house full of helpers who you'll immediately notice are a bit different than your average human being. And since A Cold Legacy was inspired by Frankenstein, it's obvious that a dead thing or two will be reanimated... yay!

If there's one thing that plagues Juliet the most, it's knowing that her father's blood runs in her veins carrying his mad genius-ness along with it. While this is a recurring issue for her, Megan Shepherd still manages to dig even deeper into the recesses of Juliet to show her very person and her insecurities. Aside from that, her shoulders have even more weight on them since she was declared as the heiress of the von Stein family, inheriting everything and everyone belonging to the family (*cough*and their secrets*cough*). A lot of responsibilities have been given to Juliet and her learning to prioritize and see the importance of things added a certain depth to her character that wasn't there before. I was definitely satisfied with the way she handled herself throughout the whole book; making hard decisions and learning from her experiences. But even though she was "whole" most of the book, she is still just a girl and the cracks within her made her all the more believable as a person. Also, I bow down to Juliet's science magic powers.

I can't really get too into what happened in the book without spoiling what happened in this one and Her Dark Curiosity but I will say that someone from the previous book comes back and a lot of intense things happen. But I felt that this was secondary to the events in the manor they were in, regarding Juliert, the von Stein secret and of course, Edward. I was actually relieved to see that Megan Shepherd didn't rehash Edward's issues from the last book, instead she managed to connect something completely different and turn the idea into something new (you'll know what I'm talking about once you read the book).

The only thing that kind of put me off with the book was Lucy. I liked her in the previous books because she was a great friend to Juliet and also because she had a backbone and stood for what she believed in. The reason I didn't particularly like her in this one was because of her attitude in regards to Edward and all her peer pressuring. Girl is cray, guys. And yeah, to the very end, I didn't like her. Sorry (not really sorry). But hey, there were other characters whom I ended up really liking like McKenna, Moira, creepy kid Hensley and as always, Balthazar! Oh. My. Balthazar. How I completely adore him. I literally just wanted to take him and keep him in my pocket the whole time. (And the goat bits? So much awww.)

And can I just say? Montgomery is an absolute sweetheart. He's the kind of guy you fall in love with and stay in love with even though you think you've buried all that love somewhere deep. He and Juliet are not perfect, they hurt each other without meaning to and they have disagreements but in the end, they are a unit. They work together and they talk to each other.  Juliet and Montgomery do not let their problems fester and turn into an incurable disease, they work hard to find a remedy for that injury and slowly mend it. Their love is a quiet but passionate thing that you won't be able to help but feel. I ship those two so much.

A Cold Legacy is a stunning conclusion to The Madman's Daughter trilogy, I enjoyed it from the beginning to the very end (and yes, the ending was very satisfying). If you haven't read this series yet, I suggest you start now because you are missing out. Seriously. I am pretty much a fan of Megan Shepherd's... forever.

Rating:
Her Dark Curiosity and A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd are available at Fully Booked.
Just wanted to say a quick thank you to the amazing people at Fully Booked (Trish, Angel, Yvonne and co.) who made this all possible. You all ROCK.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (47)

Waiting on Wednesday/s are hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine in which you choose a book or books that you're excited and waiting for.
This week's Waiting on Wednesday book is...

Title: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication date: September 1st 2015
Pre-order the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble


Sarah J. Maas's New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series reaches new heights in this sweeping fourth volume.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Why am I excited for this book:

Any fan of Sarah J. Maas will understand why I am ridiculously excited for this book. But if you're not yet a fan, read the first three books (Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire) and you'll see. Sarah J. Maas is pretty much a Fantasy goddess author person, haha.

What's your WoW pick this week? Leave us a link and we'll check it out! :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication date: May 13th 2014
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble



A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Review:

This book told me to lie but I am going to be honest with you and tell you how much I disliked We Were Liars. Which is a huge disappointment for me because I have been an E. Lockhart fan for a really long time, her Ruby Oliver series was pretty much my teenage Bible. But no matter how much I liked E. Lockhart's other books, I could not muster up even the slightest bit of like for this book and I did not even bother trying to. Everything was just wrong.

A lot of people will tell you how absolutely amazing this book is or how completely genius it is but all I felt while reading it was irritation, frustration, confusion and a constant feeling of self-hatred because I was forcing myself to finish reading it (unfortunately, I never DNF books). The hype for We Were Liars is incredible and when you look at the book in bits and pieces, it works but as a whole, it felt like E. Lockhart took a bunch of random things that should never go together and threw them all together and hoped that she got enough pieces right to make a bestseller. There was a obvious disconnect between the prose, the characters, the plot and the whole "Liars" business.

About ninety-nine percent
of
the book
was written like
this
and oh my god,
I did not
understand why
why
why are you
so damn
pretentious,
Cadence?

If anyone tried to speak to me like that, I would most definitely smack them in the face for being so pretentious and annoying. Can you imagine around 200-plus pages of this kind of narration? The book was filled with these kinds of streams of thoughts and I wondered what the use was, the way Cady narrated the story did not even have a significance to the story. It felt like a cliché oh I'm a damaged protagonist so let me speak in a "lyrical" but actually annoying way to add more mystery to myself. Too much purple prose for me, sorry (I'm not sorry). It was really tiring reading that. The only reason I managed to last to the very end was because of the "insanely crazy/amazing/genius plot twist" everybody was talking about. I barely held on.

I was also really confused as to why they were called "Liars" in the first place. There was no explanation or even a small hint as to why they called themselves that. E. Lockhart mentioned in an interview that she wanted to create a name for them that would solidify and connect the four teens as a group but I never saw that or even understood it. The cousins and Gat literally just spent the summer together and that's it. (Also, lots of teen girl angst about whether he likes me or not.)

And now for the controversial twist. I am going to be honest and say that I never expected it. Nor did I appreciate it when all was finally revealed. The reason I did not see it coming was because of the obvious disconnect between the narrative to the twist itself. There was a certain flow the story was following, it was smooth albeit really boring but the stream was there and then E. Lockhart suddenly hits you with this insanely random twist which just felt out of place. It felt like E. Lockhart knew that her book was boring so she decided to look for and use a last-ditch twist to save her book. I was left unimpressed and really disappointed. And I have a question, was Cady pretentious even before the twist or was that an effect on her?

Reading We Were Liars was a learning experience for me: one, that not all books that will mind fuck you are good reads and two, my tolerance for pretentiousness is not as high as I thought it was. Even though I really did not enjoy We Were Liars, I feel like there is still a big audience that will like it so I recommend that readers still try it out to see for themselves.

Rating:
.5