Wednesday, January 29, 2014

REVIEW: CRUEL BEAUTY BY ROSAMUND HODGE.

Title: Cruel Beauty (Cruel Beauty Universe)
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Edition: eARC
Published: January 28, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 352
Source: Edelweiss
Category: Romance, Fantasy, Retelling
Trailer: Here.

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Synopsis:

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.
Going back to reading after a two-month rest is quite hard. I never thought the laziness would drag off longer than what I anticipated. After I received my eARC of Cruel Beauty, it took a while for me to finish it because I was THAT lazy. I wasn't also THAT excited about this book compared to other titles I've been fangirling about that the entire story surprised me and the characters blew me away. Going back might be hard but just simply never this fun! Am so glad I picked this one up that my come back review is on a positive note and my reading spirit is happy.

A lot of people have been looking forward to reading this Beauty and the Beast retelling. It is one of my favorite Fairy Tales and I must say that Cruel Beauty surely put a fantastic twist to it. Aside from the creepy elements Hodge put to it, the Greek mythology touch made it more interesting. Not only that, Hodge owned it that the voices in the story made it a unique one as if it wasn't a retelling at all.

I loved the House. It reminded me more of Howl's Moving Castle to a point that I almost imagined it moves. Every door, every part of it and the Hearts are not only magical but masterpieces. It fits perfectly to the world Hodge created and lifted it to a level of fantasy world I wanted to see for myself. The discovery of the truth behind the Gentle Lord's secrets made me cringe and gave me goosebumps. It was all creepy and interesting and lovely and absolutely thrilling.

What I couldn't wrap my mind to is Nyx Triskelion's character. Of all the wives, how come she's so special she survived the Heart of Fire and the Children of Typhon? Is she stubborn and unpure enough to surpass them? Was it because she was trained to destroy the Gentle Lord? HOW IN THE WORLD WAS THIS COMPARED TO GRACELING? SHE ISN'T EVEN CLOSE TO LADY KATSA! NOT EVEN A LITTLE! And how come she let herself feel something for Shade that easily? I just don't simply agree to those but the fact that she's brave, loyal and so true to herself turned me a fan at the end. She made sure, no matter what it would cost her, she would remember and save the one she truly loves which is truly heroic.

I was caught off guard by Ignifex character though. I was seriously hating him at the beginning. How I hated his power, his bargains and how really cruel he could be to others. Especially the admission of how he loved Nyx the whole time. It was just ridiculous for me. But when he started saving Nyx and spending time with her, the hate turned to love. I never thought he would be protective and open. His quest to remember his name is one of my favorite parts. Doing the impossible things with the person who matters most to you will make it bearable and worthwhile. And I appreciated how he gave up himself to save Arcadia. I loved how he turned from annoying villain to loving hero. I want Ignifex for myself. And his true name? IT FITS HIM.

Cruel Beauty is a delicious read that will make you salivate the whole time reading it. It is surprisingly good with a fantastic twists in between. The elusive love proves how one can be changed once the perfect time arrived and having the person you want to fight for will make you think that the "right one" is just a label. Hodge planted in my head that love is love no matter what kind of person THE person is. Not only Cruel Beauty takes you to a universe where you breathe magic but it is a universe where loving the wrong person gets a happily ever after ending.


"If you desired someone, if he comforted you, if you thought he might leech the poison out of your heart, was that love? Or only desperation?"
"I wasn't born to be saved."
 "We still could have snatched happiness from our tragedy if we had made the right choices, the right wishes. If we had been kinder, braver, purer. If only we had been anything but what we were."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

MEETING THE AUTHOR: GAYLE FORMAN 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.

2014 absolutely started with such a loud, loud bang for me. I took a two-week vacation and went to Ilocos and Palawan with my family and have seen fantastic views! Also, I attended the first Blogger's Forum/Book Signing of the year hosted by National Book Store with New York Times Best Selling Author GAYLE FORMAN! Not only was I excited to meet her, I was also super happy to see my lovely co-blogger friends who I haven't seen in ages! I was supposed to transcribe the recordings I did for the entire Blogger's Forum but my free time this past week has been limited due to work and personal things I needed to give attention to, so enjoy these pictures and my little recap!

Left to Right: With Dianne, Algel, Kai, Leslie, Lyra, Eunice, Kazhy, Michelle and Jesselle. My #PHYABookBloggers Crew!

Gayle arrived at the location jet-lagged but so lively! She actually started singing songs from the Frozen movie! Also, everyone of us at the Blogger's Forum was so tempted to ask her if we all could touch her gorgeous curls! (We are really crazy like that!). Then the interview started and here are what we have talked about:
  • How she left the polar vortex of New York and welcomed Manila sunshine.
  • Her book If I Stay has been continuously compared to Twilight and her expectations if she has for the movie -- she explained that the length of a book to become a movie is around 9-10 years (except for TFIOS and Divergent) and her expectations are quite too high.
  • How fascinated she is with one day events and why is it appealing -- she wanted to tweak her stories and somehow showcase how lives can be changed in a day. Something happens in a day that catalyzes change. 
  • Favorite character of all time -- Maternal love for Mia and she's hot for Adam but she adored Winger by Andrew Smith.
  • Why Cello as Mia's instrument -- Mia arrived into her mind packaged as Cellist. And a famous Cellist will play at the concert scene in the movie.
  • Expectations when If I Stay was first released -- no agents nor editor during If I Stay was finished and she saved it on her computer titled "Why Not?". It felt surreal when it was published.
  • Writing ritual -- COFFEE and shower.
  • Which POV is harder to write: Willem or Allison? -- Willem. Because he's Dutch. She wanted Willem to be as Dutch as he could be. She couldn't get that free flow in writing because of the structure of the book. She has to check bits and pieces from Just One Day then write Just One Year.
  • What song best describes Just One Day -- There's a playlist for this but she was listening to Adele while she was writing it.
  • Easiest and hardest book to write -- If I Stay and her newest book called I Was Here are the easiest to write, the rest are hard.
  • How exactly do you write love -- She writes it as how she feels. 
  • Was music a weakening or strengthening factor in Adam and Mia's relationship -- She thinks it was a weakening factor for Adam. But it is not just the music that brought these characters together but what actually music does to them.
  • Allison traveled a lot in Just One Day, what were the preparations -- She took a 5-day trip in Paris and fell in love with the city. Also she traveled 3 years before college.
  • Would Gayle have done the same thing as Mia did, to live for the man she loves -- She clarified that Mia did not choose to live for Adam. If she is in Mia's situation now, no way she would wake up without her family.
  • Why music played an important role in If I Stay? -- Because music for her is an emotional trigger. It makes us feel intensely and her husband is a musician.
  • If Gayle have a book club, what would they be reading? -- It would be The Circle by Dave Eggers.
  • What is it that draws her to Contemporary and if she were to break out of the genre, what would she write -- she said there is no reason at all why she is drawn to Contemporary. These are just the stories she wanted to tell. Speculative Fiction genre if she have to branch out. She's not really sure that she would be good at Dystopia.
  • Have she ever thought of finishing the songs she wrote and what bands would she want to play it -- No desire to go back to write the songs.
  • Favorite among Adam's songs -- Bridge. Then Hush.
  • Does she aim to bring awareness to social justice issues through her novels -- In Sisters and Sanity, she wound up writing about an issue she feels strongly about. But she is not writing issues books. The next book has an element of suicide/depression but she's set out to write human stories. That isn't what she wanna do.
My hardbound copies of Just One Day, Just One Year, If I Stay and Where She Went ALL SIGNED!

Thank you National Book Store for Pretty Sly ARC and Kai for the tote!

More pictures! That's Louisse and Hazel over there! JB and Chad, too!


Wacky selfie with THE Gayle Forman!!


I just wanna thank National Book Store for hosting another awesome event and I am looking forward to attending more in the coming of months! Attending the Blogger's Forum is surely a surreal thing for me. Being acknowledged as a legit blogger makes all the hard work pay off!

Thank you again JB, Chad and National Book Store!
    Please check out these links for more pictures from the Blogger's Forum + Book Signing:

    Friday, January 3, 2014

    REVIEW: THE RUNAWAY KING BY JENNIFER NIELSEN.

    Title: The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy #2)
    Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
    Edition: Hardbound
    Published: March 1, 2013
    Publisher: Scholastic Press
    Pages: 331
    Source: Bought from Fullybooked
    Category: Romance, Fantasy
    Trailer: Not Applicable.

    AmazonBook DepositoryGoodreadsBarnes and NobleFullybooked

    Synopsis:

    A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen's blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!

    Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

    The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King!
    I started reading The False Prince's second installment, The Runaway King, November of last year. I was halfway through when an unforeseen burn out came in the way that I had to take a long break from the blogging world. I haven't touched a book in a month at all. But since the break is over, I know I have to finish this. I thought it would feel like a chore. Like am just going to force myself to finish it. But Nielsen's writing lifted my spirit and the story about Sage and his fight for his country seriously motivated me to go back and do what I love best -- reading.

    After Sage or Jaron was crowned King, his enemies didn't stop to torment him and threaten his kingdom. In the amid of an upcoming war against Carthya, Jaron needed to act fast. The King of Avenia and the Pirates were allies in bringing Carthya down. So Jaron, as a King, needed to protect his country and did what wasn't expected at all -- he went to the beast's belly to become a pirate.

    Sage/Jaron definitely matured in this installment. I loved how his sarcasm progressed and lead me to believe he was just bluffing a lot of things. I adored his overall personality that even though sarcasm is a negative trait, it made him what he's supposed to be. Courageous, loving and selfless King he is and I know he would succeed. Humility wasn't what I expected him to learn but Nielsen didn't forget to teach him a lesson! His character made such amazing impression on me in The False Prince and he carried that impression till the second book. What I loved most is that no matter how boastful he is, he finds ways to back up whatever he says. Like the word humiliation didn't exist in his vocabulary. At his young age, it is truly impressive. As a King, it is truly respectable.

    It pains me to think of what happened to Jaron and Imogen. I know how deeply Jaron cares for her but just because she isn't royal, they couldn't be together. Selflessness again took over because Imogen understood her stand and Jaron accepted their fate no matter how much it ripped him. I am hoping that eventually, in the last installment, their love would find hope because they pretty much belong together, they compliment each other beautifully.

    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.

     "Everyone gets scared at times. It's only the fools who won't admit it."

    Wednesday, January 1, 2014

    JANUARY 2014 RELEASES.


    HAPPY, HAPPY NEW YEAR, BLURBIES!

    It is so fun and hard at the same time going back to blogging. Am still currently trying to finish The Runaway King and Maybe One Day and reading is now taking so much time. I may have to practice some more HAHA! But here are my top picks for this month's new releases!

    *Info are all from Goodreads so release dates might change*


    January 07 - Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill
    January 07 - Enders (Starters #2) by Lissa Price
    January 07 - Erased (Altered #2) by Jennifer Rush
    January 07 - Defy (Defy #1) by Sara B. Larson


    January 14 - Hollow City (Miss Peregrine #2) by Ransom Riggs
    January 21 - Avalon (Avalon #1) by Mindee Arnett
    January 28 - The Unbound (The Archived #2) by Victoria Schwab
    January 28 - Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) by Veronica Rossi


    January 28 - Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
    January 28 - Infinite (Newsoul #3) by Jodi Meadows

    Cannot wait to read my eARCs of Avalon and Cruel Beauty and my print ARC of Infinite! Thank you, Harper Collins!!