Sunday, December 28, 2014

THE BEST BOOKS OF 2014.

Where I get to recap my fruitful year and compile all the best ones I've read!
Again, where did the rest of 2014 go? Time have gone by so fast I felt like I missed life this year. Well, I totally did! I was just stuck at home almost the entire year because I quit my job and I allowed LOSS to get the best of me. I was pretty much depressed the entire time: didn't read much books, couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, no strength to go out with friends. Yeah, that was basically my 2014. BORING. But am glad there are still awesome things I could look back to and choosing the best books I read this year is one.

Here are the best books I read this year.
Am missing two books here because one is borrowed and one is an ecopy.


~January~
5 stars
"Nielsen never disappoints. Not in any aspect of the book. The plot was stunning, the writing was witty and "accent" sexy, characters are all well developed and thought of and the twists of every event leads to discoveries not only of secrets but motives and truth. The Runaway King deserves so much that I couldn't type and collect the right words to explain how satisfied I am with the story. Truly mind blowing. One of a kind. Magnificent."
~February~
8 stars
"I am sad. Sad that the series is now over. That I won't be seeing MORE of my Shatter Me crew. But I am happy. Happy that an extraordinary story ended in an ultramagnetic sonic way. Ignite Me exceeded my sky rocketing expectations that I think, I will never be this satisfied with any other series conclusion ever. Mafi made my standards so high I cannot almost see it. Ignite Me is a book and a story that will leave you asking, WHAT HAPPENED TO MY HEART."
~March~
8 stars
"Maybe Someday may have ended too perfectly but it ended the way it should. The idea of this story isn't totally applicable in real life but it gives a little spark of hope that the heart could wait and could find the one that beats the same way. Wrong as it may sound, but love will always take its own course to the right person no matter how wrong circumstances may be and it will take as long as it could until the time is right. Maybe Someday made cry ocean and seriously tore my heart apart. Hoover did it again. The story she created rendered my entire existence speechless and my heart shattered. Maybe Someday is absolutely a tear-inducing novel that will mess your feelings up but will plant love deeply to your heart. Then rip it."
~May~
8 stars
"Wings is the perfect conclusion to such amazing series. I will never have sufficient adjectives to describe how Wings gave euphoria and all sorts of unnamed emotions to me. Highly fitting to be the last installment (because there is nothing that would top this), every fiber of Wings suited the need for answers and satiated the cravings for action. Gripping with blood and vengeance, Wings turns out to be the key to all the madness. Treacherous, dangerous and brutal it may appear but Wings is by far the best part of the series. Breath taking and breath stopping altogether."
5 stars
"As I have shared on Facebook, I couldn't recommend this book enough. It isn't only mysterious but highly intriguing and it plays so good with the mind. Lockhart sure enough nailed this one, the characters are so lovely, the plot is one of a kind, the romance is ugh, to die for and that tingling sensation on each chapter gives an out of the body goosebumps. This book is surely one of the amazing novels I've read this year. And be warned: prepare for a support group. You wouldn't survive longer after you're done with this."
~June~
5 stars
"After the End is truly mind numbing, heart breaking and fist clenching dystopian take. The depth of my love for this book is undeniably immeasurable. It took my breath away in a surprisingly beautiful way. The striking prose combined with the astounding mystery behind the plot, this book is worth all the praises the dictionary can ever produce. Brilliant, wonderful, magnificent."
~July~
8 stars
"Monstrous Beauty is a story of eternal love, magic and tragedy mixed beautifully. It is one of the so many astounding novels ever written. Thrilling, mystifying and excruciating to the heart, Monstrous Beauty brings the kind of love that will haunt and torment you. This is a book that will change you forever."
~August~
5 stars
"Isla and the Happily Ever After is the perfect ending to this companion series. It is bubbly, swoony and dreamy that your heart will beat a hundred times faster than normal. Isla is my favorite next to Anna and definitely, there's a re-read that's going to happen soon! GO GRAB YOUR COPIES NOW!"
~September~
8 stars
"Heir of Fire is absolutely worth waiting for. If it takes another year for Book 4 to be published, I will wait with all my heart. Maas' wrote another phenomenal story with such amazing structure that never misses to surprise me. It is mysterious, brilliant and thrilling. Hands down to you, Maas! Another job well done! And I will follow the Throne of Glass series, to whatever end.."
~October~
4 stars
"Pawn is a book that is sensitive, intriguing and powerful. It speaks individual empowerment that nothing should stop you from being who you are and achieving what you want. It is such a magnificent work that you would beg for Captive immediately. Truly an evocative dystopian novel, Pawn will touch your heart with strength to fight not just to make ends meet but to seek justice, safety and equality."
4 stars
"Red Rising is absolutely heart-racing, hair-raising and mind-blowing take on a very cruel dystopian world. It speaks a language so uniquely and tells a story so admirably. Holding distinct characters as its strength, it doesn't stop there. Love, revenge, and freedom are cooking in such impeccable way that tasting Red Rising would have you asking for more."
8 stars
"Intoxicating and nerve-wracking, Golden Son brings full blast of action and suspense that will leave you grasping for air. With a remarkable plot and shocking ending, Book 3 couldn't be here fast enough. It holds love, loss and vengeance in its center that if this incredibly phenomenal sequel will not break you, I don't know what else will."
There are my favorite reads this year. Not only because I was swept away by the story or characters, it's because I was blown away by the emotional impact these books brought to me. Yes, I will never be the same again after reading such brilliant novels and I'll be more than happy to tell the world about these books!


Now, one of the hardest things I've to make this year it to decide which one is going to land The Bookaholic Blurbs' 2014 Book of the Year. I narrowed it down by rating so the 8 star reviews are among the ones I've to choose from. But it's still hard. I loved all of these books but only one fits the titles. Which one would it be?

I chose this book because I've never read anything quite like it. As in, there's nothing to compare it to.

The Bookaholic Blurbs' 2014 Book of the Year goes to:

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

There you have it! Thank you so much authors for writing such amazing novels and for making my life a little bit bearable! Till next year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

STACKING THE SHELVES (59): THE 2014 YEAR END HAUL EDITION.


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews that showcases newly acquired books or goodies we bought, received or borrowed during the week.

This is it. The last Saturday of 2014. Seriously, where did the rest of the year go? Well, in this STS post, I'll be showcasing what I accumulated for the past 2 or 3 months. I was originally planning on posting just the November haul but then I just received one this month and a few last October so I just combined them in one post. This year has been full of ups and downs for me, personally and here on the blog. Been on a terrible readings slump and honestly, I kind of neglected the blog. I tried to do something about the slump but I guess I didn't try hard enough. However, I met 12 authors this year and I'll be creating a different post for that. It should be up on the 30th.

So here's what I got! Enjoy!


GIFTED:
- Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu (signed)
- Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu (signed)
- Life Before Legend (Legend 0.5) by Marie Lu (signed)
- Champion (Legend #3) by Marie Lu (signed)
- Willowgrove (Hemlock #3) by Kathleen Peacock (signed)

BORROWED:
- The Chance You Won't Return by Annie Cardi

WON:
- The Calling (Endgame #1) by James Frey, Nils Johnson-Shelton
- The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows
- Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff
- The Secrets of Attraction by Robin Constantine
- Lies I Told by Michelle Zink 

BOUGHT:
- Landline by Rainbow Rowell

FOR REVIEW:
- Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion #2) by Aimee Carter (review HERE)
- Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor
- Replica (Replica Trilogy #1) by Jenna Black
- Resistance (Replica Trilogy #2) by Jenna Black
- Revolution (Replica Trilogy #3) by Jenna Black
- Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy #2) by Pierce Brown (eARC review HERE)
- Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes (eARC)
- The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand (eARC)
- Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay (eARC)
- The Pretty App (App #2) by Katie Sise (eARC)
- 99 Days by Katie Cotugno (eARC)
- Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley (eARC)
- Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby (eARC)
- Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge (eARC)
- Illusionarium by Heather Dixon (eARC)
- The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski (eARC)
- Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) by Victoria Aveyard (eARC)
- Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider (eARC)
- Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway (eARC)
- Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley (Kindle Copy)
- The Queen of Zombie Hearts (White Rabbit Chronicles #3) by Gena Showalter (Kindle Copy)
- Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid (Kindle Copy)

Thank you ever so much to my brother, Willowgrove Book Fairy, Hazel of Stay Bookish, Maricar of Black Plume, Netgalley, Edelweiss, HarperCollins International, Random House/Del Rey, HarlequinTeen CA, Mira Ink, Bloomsbury Plc and Tor Teen!
HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!!

Friday, December 26, 2014

REVIEW: GOLDEN SON BY PIERCE BROWN.

Title: Golden Son
Author: Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising #2
Edition: Kindle
Publication:  January 6, 2015 by Del Rey (Random House)
Source: eARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
Pages: 400
Genre: Dystopia, Sci-Fi

Synopsis:

With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, debut author Pierce Brown’s genre-defying epic Red Rising hit the ground running and wasted no time becoming a sensation.

Golden Son continues the stunning saga of Darrow, a rebel forged by tragedy, battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom from the overlords of a brutal elitist future built on lies. Now fully embedded among the Gold ruling class, Darrow continues his work to bring down Society from within.

A life-or-death tale of vengeance with an unforgettable hero at its heart, Golden Son guarantees Pierce Brown’s continuing status as one of fiction’s most exciting new voices.

PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE:

Oh, boy. This is going to be a long one.

If you loved Red Rising and can think of a word better than love, then that's what I feel for Golden Son. Afraid it may fall under the Middle Book Syndrome? As early as now, listen to me. It is not even close to any syndrome known to middle books because when it comes to this series, Golden Son is waaaaaaaaaaay even better than the first. It surpassed whatever standards Red Rising set. You know, with flying colors.

Golden Son took off years after Darrow succeeded in the Institute. Left in the dark by the Sons, he has to find a way to make the cause work on his own. Together with his Peerless Scarred friends, he stretches all of what's left of him to pursue what Eo wanted him to do -- break the chains and live for more. In his saga to conspiring civil war against Octavia, betrayal and loss await him. He has to brave what lies ahead, whatever the cost maybe. One thing which conflicts him though, some Golds are more than their color.

I read Golden Son slowly. Like, I was torturing myself in the slowest way possible. I need to take breaks every chapter to tweet, breathe, pull my hair and be prepared for what the next page will bring. It makes breathing so hard and I mean this literally. Like, every page makes me dread for all of the characters I fell in love with because Golden Son was surely full of unwavering surprises. Surprises beyond what one could have anticipated. I took my time (and when I say time, it means weeks) because savoring each fantastically crafted scenes would just leave you breathless. I hyperventilated, palpitated and didn't sleep because aside from this book is unputdownable, the suspense, gore and politics are amazingly plotted and well-executed.

Golden Son wasn't what I expected it to be. Golden Son, with all the innards flying across the battle field, skyrocketed my expectations. It is true that I loved Pierce Brown even before I read Red Rising but this book made me love him harder. Not only that, the respect I have for him rooted deeper. His work, this work, this is a masterpiece. Nothing to compare it to. Absolutely shocking, stunning, breaking. Brown owned it as if there isn't any book written under the genre. His voice, style, personality and love for his work all showed in the story. Here I get to appreciate the dedication and passion Brown has for his craft. Written magnificently, Golden Son is one book to look forward to.. one book worth bragging about.. a book worth sharing to the world.

Brown honed his writing thoroughly. I was annoyed by how much "bloodydamns" I've seen on Red Rising but here, I understood its importance. The sequence of events, despite the time set in between, is utterly seamless. Character development, I kid you not, justifies the different personalities, motives and approach. Brown made sure that his characters developed fully to portray each roles with such intensity and perfection.

Darrow embraced the life of a Gold in such humbling way. Despite the ups and downs in his life, the power in his hands, he's not afraid to show vulnerability. He still gets scared and the pain he endures every time a life is lost, makes him a great protagonist. His ability to be a warrior and his strategic planet-invasion planning aren't only his strength, but he draws it from his friends. He knows when to be a smartass and when to be emotional. In the middle of betrayal and loss, the heart of the Golden Son shone brighter, felt tender, loved deeper. It was unbelievable that such mighty and god-like characters like Darrow, Augustus and Sevro (I love you, Sevro) could still have raw emotions.

The curves of the story almost drove me mad. With exhilarating anticipation for the twists to unfold, I was left paralyzed. Nothing could have warned me enough on what state my heart would be at. I was crushed, devastated, shattered over and over yet each pain made me fall in love deeper. I was brutally damaged after Golden Son. I will never be the same, ever again. Ever.

Intoxicating and nerve-wracking, Golden Son brings full blast of action and suspense that will leave you grasping for air. With a remarkable plot and shocking ending, Book 3 couldn't be here fast enough. It holds love, loss and vengeance in its center that if this incredibly phenomenal sequel will not break you, I don't know what else will.

Thank you Random House and Netgalley for the eARC!

"It's not victory that makes a man, It's his defeats."
 "What scraps you have been given by your betters, cherish. What favor you curried, remember."
"Everyone's honest till they're caught in a lie."
"We're all just wounded souls stumbling about in the dark, desperately trying to stitch ourselves together, hoping to fill the holes they ripped in us."
""Feels good. That's how I know it's right, Reap. Despite all this shit. It feels good in here." He taps his thin chest. "It feels... how do you say.. bloodydamn good.""
"My name has nothing to do with who I am."
"One word shatters a thousand lies."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

TWEAKED THE THEME Vx!

Just a quick note, I tweaked my blog's theme again for the xx time already! :)

I got tired of the girly theme so I researched a little bit and realized I want something with minimalist approach. Am super happy with the way it looks right now! I guess the blog "matured" a little bit. :D Oh and I finally added those little social media icons! Wooohooo!

One thing left to edit, blog button's grab box! Will prolly do that next time!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

REVIEW: TEASE BY AMANDA MACIEL.


Title: Tease
Author: Amanda Maciel
Edition: Paperback
Published: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 328
Source: ARC provided by the publisher
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Trailer: Not available.

Synopsis:

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. In the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her own role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.
Bullying, suicide and peer pressure have always been a hot topic. I've read several novels that tackle such issues and the emotion I've encountered has been the same -- it stings. Reading Tease made me ache in a disturbing manner because somehow at some point, I've been through this.

Sara will soon face the court together with her high school group. They were facing a lawsuit from Emma Putnam's parents because apparently, they harassed, stalked and bullied her to her death. Sara wouldn't back down because she knew she didn't kill Emma. But she was terrified. She wasn't allowed to talk to her best friend and boyfriend, her separated parents weren't there for her and she the hate she felt for Emma has the power of a thousand suns. She's never been alone in her life and all these things she's going through, she blames Emma. Emma got it all figured out by dying and making their lives hell.

Brielle. I've never seen such strong character that could pull off anything. Aside from the fact that her family is wealthy, her entire attitude screams *back off*. She's so manipulative and wouldn't take no for an answer. Her adventurous take on things around her would have been fun if she isn't hurting people. Her strong facade masks so much and affects people around her in a very negative way. This power she gets from bullying only makes her worse. Instead of influencing others to be their best, she's the other way around. It appears like, she wanted to be the only one to reign the school. It wasn't explained in the story how she was brought up, but it looks like she didn't have a happy childhood. And this is the outcome.

Dylan. I liked him at first because he's safe to be considered the boy next door. I liked his silent-type attitude and he's not pushy. Basically, he doesn't take advantage. However, I wish he could have ended things with the person he's seeing a decent way.

Braden. He's fantastic. That is all I can say. Fantastic. Fantastic. Fantastic. Well, I wish I could have known more about him though. His new found friendship with Sara can be a totally separate novel!

Emma. I tweeted Maciel about Emma if there would be a companion novel or sequel in Emma's POV. I would really love to know her side of the story. Why she decided to call it quits and how dark she's really going through. It would be an amazing novel if there will be one because we'd get an overall understanding of the WHYs in her story. I would really love that. Only, I wasn't really a fan of Emma. She's really a flirt.

Sara. The novel is from her POV which I absolutely adored. She's a little rebellious, easily manipulated but I loved her honesty and straight forwardness. She's very true to herself and she's not afraid to do what she thinks would make her happy. I feel her hate with Emma because at some point in my life, I FELT THE EXACT SAME HATE. Only, I didn't do anything about it. Sara's too clingy to her best friend Brielle and would just do anything she's told to do. It's like Brielle's words is where her life depends on. Even if she's doubtful, if it comes out of Brielle's mouth, she'd do it. Which in reality, we have that piece of attitude in us especially when it comes to the people who matter so much to us. Only Sara took it to a whole new level. She would have done things differently but it was too late and I respect the way she took responsibility of her actions. I believe her all the way, though. I've seen the goodness she has the entire time.

I believe that some parts of this story happens every day. Different people react to things differently and there's just one line I'd like to share from my favorite novel, We Were Liars: BE A LITTLE KINDER THAN YOU HAVE TO.

Tease is a strong novel exposing issues we face day after day in a different light. It tries to heighten awareness and tries to make life bearable in simple good things we can do for others. Amazingly written, Tease brings tears, magnifies loss, and expounds pressure in an well-wrapped up everyday story.

Thank you for the review copy, HarperCollins International!

"The thing about having one really good friend, one person you talk to all the time about everything, is that you stop really talking to anyone else. You sort of talk to other people, but mostly you have your one person and that's enough.

And then one day, maybe for a good reason or maybe out of nowhere, you can't talk to that friend anymore, and you suddenly realize you can't talk to anyone else. Like, it's physically impossible. No one understands you except that person. it's like you speak another language, and the other person who also speaks it is gone."
"Don't add silence to your list of regrets."
"I look down and see my hands uncapping the pen, turning the notepad right-side up on my knees. My mouth is dry, my stomach is in knots, my life is over, my heart is broken.

I start to write."
"When the doors are open big gusts of cold air sweep into the car, and suddenly it smells damp and earthly, that early smell that tells you all the snow and ice is melting and someday the sun will come out again. And maybe it will, for some other girl."
"Something about this small glimmer of happiness feels wrong, but I can't think about that. I just hold onto the glimmer, the shred. I let myself feel a tiny bit happy. Even though it kind of hurts."

Thursday, November 27, 2014

REVIEW: SILENCE (HUSH, HUSH #3) BY BECCA FITZPATRICK.

Title: Silence (Hush, Hush #3)
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Edition: Hardbound (Signed)
Published: October 4, 2011
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 448
Source: Bought from National Bookstore
Genre: Romance, Paranormal (Angels)
Trailer: Here.

Synopsis:

WHEN SILENCE IS ALL THAT'S LEFT, CAN THE TRUTH FINALLY BE HEARD?

Nora Grey can't remember the past five months of her life. After the initial shock of waking up in a cemetery and being told that she has been missing for weeks - with no one knowing where she was or who she was with - she tried to get her life back on track. Go to school, hang out with her best friend, Vee, and dodge mom's creepy new boyfriend.

But there is this voice in the back of her head, an idea that she can almost reach out and touch. Visions of angel wings and unearthly creatures that have nothing to do with the life she knows.

And this unshakable feeling that a part of her is missing.

Then Nora crosses paths with a sexy stranger, whom she feels a mesmerizing connection to. He seems to hold all the answers...and her heart. Every minute she spends with him grows more and more intense until she realizes she could be falling in love. Again.
Nora woke up in a cemetery not remembering anything in the past 5 months of her life. The last thing she could remember was her biology test. She couldn't settle with what information she was given so she tried to learn what truly happened to her on her own. She found out Hank Millar was dating her mother, she missed school, she became friends with Marcie Millar, Vee lied to her and she couldn't remember who's Patch. In trying to stitch iffy events, her memories were slowly coming back and the truth not only hurt but ignited a rage she didn't know she's capable to feel. She has to do something about the welfare of her mother and the boy she loves most at the expense she's willing to pay -- even if that means she'll have to fight Patch.

The pull I felt while reading Hush, Hush and Crescendo died in Silence. The title did justice to the story but I believe, this is the worse in the series. I didn't truly buy why Nora lost her memories because it didn't add up to anything. A good chunk of the book was dedicated to her, trying to remember. So why shouldn't I just re-read Crescendo, then? Instead of developing into someone who's learned from past mistakes, she became that damsel in distress who needed saving. Thankfully, she didn't do something stupid (as a reader wold expect) despite the memory lost and still trusted Patch, I just simply didn't click with this story. A little boring yes and I can call this book the buffer in the series. You can skip this and the entire series would still make sense.

Patch's development though, gave me butterfly kisses. I adored how vocal he became about his feelings. I loved his ways of showing how he truly cared for Nora and Jesus, the way he held her? Bone-melting. He's full of surprises and I truly, absolutely fell hard for Patch in Silence.

Silence is an okay read. Not too bad but not that good either. Still dark and cunning, one can feel the balance of good and bad. Patch's mushy side appeared and that's all am after.

"The only way I'm going to survive this is by clinging to what I do know."
"How was I supposed to jump forward, when the platform beneath my feet had been yanked out?"
"Piece by piece, I let Jev break down my defenses. I swayed and dipped against him, letting him set the rhythm. I was overly warm, my head clogged with smoke, and the moment began to feel unreal, only making it easier to believe that later, if guilt or regret haunted me, I could pretend it never happened. While I was here, trapped in the club, trapped in Jev's eyes, he made it too easy to succumb."
"I can't move forward until I know what I left behind."
""There's only one thing I know for certain anymore." He turned, his eyes a clear black. "That I would do anything for you, even if it means going against my instincts or my very nature. I would lay down everything I possess, even my soul, for you. If that isn't love, it's the best I have.""
"If you need more reason, I love you. This is uncharted territory for me, but I need to know that at the end of the night, I have you to come home to."

Monday, November 24, 2014

BOOK SIGNING: MARIE LU IN MANILA 2014.

Where I relive the experience and share all the feels before, during and after meeting these fantastic authors WHO ARE BASICALLY LIFE.
Yesterday (Sunday, November 23, 2014), I met New York Times Best Selling Author, Marie Lu. I was invited by National Bookstore to attend the Bloggers' Forum for an exclusive Q and A with the lovely author of Legend, Prodigy, Champion and Young Elites. She was absolutely pretty!


Marie Lu exudes elegance. She's a little short but her legs are to swoon for! Plus, she was wearing this blouse which was a little low at the back thus, I got a glimpse of her tattoo! It was huge! The creepy stalker that I was, I stared at the details of it while I was standing behind her! Well, I saw swirls and feathers! (Sorry, Marie Lu! can't help but stare!)

Chad Dee, the lovely host, didn't beat around the bush. He went straight to the Q and A and I stood near the speaker so I can record everything crystal clear. You ready? Here are the bits and pieces! (I WAS SPOILED THOOOOOO!)

Here's the interview. (please do not copy/paste these. took me 5 hours to transcribe it and I expect respect. thanks :D)




Hardest Selfie Ever v8 Louisse, Lyra, Me, Jesselle and Sab!
#PHYABookBloggers with Marie Lu! (Thank you, Jesselle for the photo!)
The signing started after the Q and! It went by quickly and some of my friends had their books doodled on by Marie. I was supposed to get my copy of Champion doodled on as well but someone cut the line! Hmmmp!

Marie Lu's nailart!
My signed boxed set!! Thank you so much brother dear for giving this set as a gift and Lyra for the polaroid shot!!
After the forum, we had lunch in the food court and talked about books and blogs and people and our lives. We then went to the public book signing and I was so happy to see so many book lovers out there! What's crazy (in a good way) was some people started camping out a day and a half before the actual signing! I adore them for their dedication! There were over around 800 people registered, if I have my numbers right!

Note: I was supposed to take photos for Kayla's blog feature but I failed. Am so sorry, hun.
Marie Lu's fans!

Here's a video of Marie Lu's message for her PH fans!

From National Bookstore's page!
With the legendary Marie Lu!

So again,National Bookstore made a lot of book lovers and fans happy by bringing New York Times Best Selling author, Marie Lu here. How can we ever thank you, NBS!? Thank you , endlessly!
Other recaps:
Louisse of The Soul Sisters
Jesselle of The Lifelong Bookworm
Kai of Amaterasu Reads

Friday, November 21, 2014

REVIEW: CAPTIVE (THE BLACKCOAT REBELLION #2) BY AIMEE CARTER.

Title: Captive (The Blackcoat Rebellion #2)
Author: Aimee Carter
Edition: Paperback
Published: November 25, 2014
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Pages: 304
Source: ARC provided by the publisher
Genre: Romance, Dystopia
Trailer: Not available.

Synopsis:

For the past two months, Kitty Doe's life has been a lie. Forced to impersonate the Prime Minister's niece, her frustration grows as her trust in her fake fiancé cracks, her real boyfriend is forbidden and the Blackcoats keep her in the dark more than ever.

But in the midst of discovering that her role in the Hart family may not be as coincidental as she thought, she's accused of treason and is forced to face her greatest fear: Elsewhere. A prison where no one can escape.

As one shocking revelation leads to the next, Kitty learns the hard way that she can trust no one, not even the people she thought were on her side. With her back against the wall, Kitty wants to believe she'll do whatever it takes to support the rebellion she believes in—but is she prepared to pay the ultimate price?

I finished reading Captive earlier today, around five in the morning. Up until now though (it's already three in the afternoon), I still couldn't figure out how I truly feel for this book. It wasn't a bad read but there was no excitement in me either.

I loved Pawn that I was left in awe after reading it. I wasn't expecting much from Captive but I wanted to read it as soon as possible. After that ending in Pawn, am pretty sure a lot of us wanted to know what happens next.

After Kitty accepted her new life as Lila Hart, she knew that she doesn't own her life anymore. She has to follow everything the legitimate Harts tell her to do, especially the new Prime Minister, Daxton Hart. After the failed assassination, Daxton acted as if he didn't remember anything so no one would suspect him but he let Kitty know. Kitty couldn't stand being kept in the dark and being treated as a pawn so she went on her way to prove she's something -- only to get people killed including those she truly cared about.

Captive, as opposed to Pawn, is a little more daring and packed with tension, blood and well, rebellion. The story smoothly transitioned and even have a ton of blood-curdling surprises. Honestly, the twists are somewhat predictable only if you know how these characters act. You can easily read between the lines. And what I loved dearly about it is that Carter succeeded in patching events and would still make you scream in the middle of the night. Predictable for me but I still loved how these predictions popped up in a totally surprising way.

Kitty surprised me as well. She's now braver and she's no longer afraid to get killed. And because of that, she took risks -- UTTERLY STUPID RISKS -- which cost lives. See that? Plural. LIVES. From page one up until the last chapter, SHE CONSISTENTLY DID STUPID THINGS even if she's told it would endanger people. LIKE, WHYYYYYYYY? And the worst part? She didn't stop making ridiculously stupid things even if she knows she would get her loved ones killed. She didn't care. All she cared for is to prove she is uncontrollable and she can make decisions on her own. She even revealed the Blackcoat's plan to someone she barely know just because she thought it would give the person hope. WTF, Kitty. IT WAS A REBELLION AND YOU DON'T GIVE OUT SENSITIVE INFORMATION TO OTHER PEOPLE. I cannot even express how freaking annoyed I was with her. She is unbelievably stupid, stupid, stupid.

I do not know why Carter made her that way but seriously, it wasn't fun to see her fuck everything up. But at least she did a few helpful things and found out information about who she is in the process. Consolation, I guess.

And what about Benjy? No character development? Forever underdog? When would he stand firm on his decisions? I don't like how he would just say yes to everything Kitty says without batting an eyelash. I appreciate the love he has for Kitty but he has to be tough and be a man. He's so..bland.

Thank you very much Carter for making Knox, Knox and Greyson, Greyson. They are the only characters left with rational thinking. Without these two, I would have stopped reading, I would have cried hard in a corner feeling so defeated that I couldn't like this book as much as I anticipated. But thankfully, they remained logical and didn't let emotions cloud their judgement. Thank you very much for making me trust Knox from Pawn until Captive and that trust didn't falter. I knew his heart, I guess. And that's what I adore about him. He tries so hard to keep his promises.

I wish I liked Captive just like how much I liked Pawn. I wish this action-filled sequel didn't have such stupid and stubborn female protagonist because it would have been perfect. A few mistakes can be tolerated but being consistent with it? That will never work for me. Queen, please be better.

Thank you so much HarlequinTeen for the review copy!

"Finally he closed the distance between us and kissed me -- a sweet, gentle kiss that held within it every single one of the thousand days I'd loved him as my everything, long after I'd begun to love him as a friend."
"If you had something to tie you back to your old life, would you keep it or destroy it?"
"An armory isn't always made up of guns and knives. Sometimes, information is the most powerful weapon of all."
"The only thing that really matters in the end is how we choose to live."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

REVIEW: TRIAL BY FIRE BY JOSEPHINE ANGELINI.

Title: Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy #1)
Author: Josephine Angelini
Edition: Paperback
Published: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan)
Pages: 374
Source: Finished copy provided by the publisher
Genre: Romance, Paranormal (Witches)
Trailer: Here.

Synopsis:

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily's other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.
Have you ever had those times when you strongly wanted to throw away a book only you can't because of a single, gorgeous character? Well, this is one of those times.

I've fought with myself multiple times whether to mark this book as DNF or just continue reading. Honestly, DNF-ing was the easiest thing to do but I felt compelled to finish it because a.) it isn't really a habit of mine to DNF books and b.) this was a surprise gift by the publisher. So I gathered all the sense in me and still worked my way hard to finishing it. AND I DID.

Trial by Fire has been getting a lot of buzz on Twitter the past few months but I have minimal knowledge about it. It was about Lily, a sickly teenager from Salem, Massachusetts. Almost every microorganism known to man can be a trigger for her allergies. Her best friend Tristan, looks after her and she happens to be in love with him. Good thing though, they are getting there. On the night of the first party Lily attended, she was given a spiked drink then she caught Tristan making out with someone and she felt so betrayed. Her allergies and emotion took the best of her and went down with the worst seizure. Feeling all kinds of humiliated the next day, something weird happened to her, she woke up on a different Salem -- where witches rule the place and magic exists.

The story has a very alluring world building. I believe this is the first multi-universe story I've read and the construction of it was a little intimidating but lovely to read. It was not very easy to go through, maybe because I was also confused, but I get the picture. Mostly. The scene-shifting gave me a hard time focusing on it, too. Like, I was so into Rowan/Lily one minute and then I wouldn't have any idea the scene shifted to Gildeon or Carrick. Like, I was expecting a little breather in between. And because of that, I would go back to the previous page, skim it and try to wrap my brains around it so I could move on. Repeat.

I also had issues with the dragging pacing. I might not have enough patience but seriously, it was too slow for me. Also, the science reference drove me insane. That alone pushed me towards the DNF basket and just shoot for 3 points. I loved it but there were moments I felt like I was reading a science/text book. It didn't help for me because I wanted to escape that reality in life through books and yet, here I am, hearing all about thermodynamics, physics, biology and even OMG calculus. The book sounded too pretentious for me even though I know, the characters in this world have the ability to remember everything they read. You know, it didn't click for me.

One thing that didn't work for me as well was the Claiming. It was truly something that bothered me while reading not because of the process of how they do it but by how confusing the story became. I mean, I could no longer separate their memories from what currently is happening. Aside from sharing bits of memories, the background narration was really off. The story flow was zigzagging up until the end.

What about Lily? Lily was so weak but a good hearted character. The only problem was, since the time she was transported to this other Salem, she didn't STRONGLY show how badly she wants to go home or how she misses her true sister or even her real world. She EASILY adapted to this other Salem and didn't SLIGHTLY show any level of curiosity as to what the heck really is happening to her/around her. Just because she has Rowan, she fell for what was laid on the table in a snap. And the transition from being a normal human to a powerful witch didn't impress me. I didn't understand how they trained her or how fast she got accustomed to her powers which again, made the book pretentious in my taste. Like, she was only given some stones and she's immediately the most powerful witch in Salem. Wow. How unsettling.

"I want you to be everything I loved about her and nothing I hated." The romance part was so unfair for me. What, just because she looks somebody else doesn't give any man the right to fall for her THAT instant. We all should be loved for who we are and not because you know, I look like your damned ex or something.

This whole experience deserves 2 stars (or even 1), so to speak. But I gave it 3. It went up one star because of: a.) Rowan Fall -- he's the most caring male protagonist I can remember I encountered. He didn't show arrogance knowing how powerful of a mechanic he is (though he's impatient) and how much bravery he showed to admit his vulnerability made me swoon for him. Given that he's gorgeous, his entire character balanced the rightness and wrongness in a perfect sequence. (I also love Caleb and Other-Salem Tristan) And b.) THAT FREAKING ENDING. The ending was the climax of the story in my opinion. It was a full blast cliffhanger ending and I seriously can't calm myself right now.

Trial by Fire is something I wouldn't re-read in the near future but would still recommend it to readers who love multi-universe plots, intense endings and one of the boys kind of relationships. Though I am a little disappointed, I am still giddy to know what happens next!

Thank you Pan Macmillan for the review copy!

"Funny how quickly the mind moves, but how slowly time does when you’re in pain."
"There comes a day when every girl loses the stars in her eyes. And then she can see clearly."
"They'd shared more than memories the night before. What they'd experienced was a communion."
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