Thursday, October 30, 2014

REVIEW: THE JEWEL (THE LONE CITY #1) BY AMY EWING.

Title: The Jewel (The Lone City #1)
Author: Amy Ewing
Edition: Paperback
Published: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Harpereen
Pages: 358
Source: ARC provided by the publisher
Genre: Dystopia, Romance, Sci-Fi
Trailer: Here.

Synopsis:

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.
The Jewel, hands down, has one of the prettiest covers I've seen this year. As soon as I saw it, it was love at first sight. Seriously. Maybe it was the girly part in me that fell in love with it because you know, you can't go wrong with a gorgeous gown. I was so happy I received one copy for review from HarperCollins and it was the perfect book to end my Oozing October Dystopia Read Challenge.

Violet Lasting, also known as 197, ranked third from the best surrogates out of 200. They are all from the Marsh, the poorest circle in the Jewel. They are being trained to be surrogates for the Royal families that will soon buy them from the auction. This is built so the royalties can continue their bloodlines without bearing an heir with chromosome malfunctions. There is a unique genetic composition that is found only from the people of the Marsh. The Royalties can no longer bear children because of these chromosome incompatibilities. Violet was bought by the Duchess of the Lake and was then asked to bear a daughter in three months. Since these surrogates have special abilities called Auguries, Violet is supposed to make the child grow as perfect as she can in a short span of time so the child can be betrothed to the son of the Electress. She is not ready to bear a child, she misses her family and worries about her best friend, she's afraid of the Duchess and she falls in love with this handsome Companion, Ash Lockwood. Violet is overwhelmed with the events in her life that she has to find a way to escape. Treason or not, she has to escape from a life she didn't choose.

Okay. I would try my best to make this short. I was a little disappointed with The Jewel. Maybe I was expecting too much or I wasn't expecting anything at all but there's no surprise in it. The book was tagged as dystopia but I didn't feel much of that aspect in the book. Yes, the world building is a little dystopia but the rest is fantasy with sci-fi. I think the mash up of these genres fell short at some point because it didn't work for me. Or maybe it's just me, I really cannot tell. But I wish it stuck to being fantasy, I might have enjoyed it that way. Being a fan of dystopia, I was looking for elements of it in the story but I was given just dots of it. It was eighty percent fantasy in my opinion. It isn't true at all that this is "The Selection meets blah blah". The Jewel is far from The Selection and this part makes the Jewel stand on its own. But still, I wasn't impressed.

I was confused most of the time. It took some time for me to grasp the science behind Auguries and why they have to bear children for the royalties. That part was answered in the middle of the book and was thoroughly explained but their abilities weren't. I was hoping there would be more logical reason behind Auguries but I was left empty handed. I also hated how weak the protagonist is.

I understand that Violet isn't trained to become an assassin or something but hell, she's one the weakest characters I've encountered in a while. Though she doesn't have the luxury to decide for herself (because she's owned by the Duchess), she could have at least tried to be submissive and you know, be wise enough to save the people she cared for. But she's selfish that she risked Ash's life so she could get all cuddly with him. She didn't even think of Lucien who is only trying to help her. Stupid Violet. AND OMG, THAT INSTA-LOVE IS SO RIDICULOUS. That's it. It's official, I hate Violet.

The characters also felt like there's no concrete basis of who they truly were. Like, along the story, they were still trying to figure themselves out. I wasn't convinced a single bit on any part of this story. Nope, it just didn't click with me as much as I hoped for.

The Jewel would have been an amazing story if there's an absolute history in it or if the genre mash up were properly executed. Such a promising synopsis only to be led on. I don't think I would still be interested in reading the sequel though. But who knows, things might improve in it.

Thank you so much Megan and Sarah of HarperCollins International for the review copy!

"I love sunrises, even more than sunsets. There's something so exciting about the world coming to life in a thousand colors. It's hopeful."
"After I've left this place, when I look back on these last few weeks, amid all the memories and tangled-up emotions there will be a gaping hole of regret in my life, the empty echo of what could have been, if I'd only had the courage to stand up and say, "I want you for as much time as I can possibly have."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

REVIEW: PAWN (THE BLACKCOAT REBELLION #1) BY AIMEE CARTER.

Title: Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
Author: Aimee Carter
Edition: Paperback
Published: December, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 296
Source: ARC provided by the publisher
Genre: Dystopia, Romance
Trailer: Aussie Version here.

Synopsis:

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.
On her 17th birthday, Kitty Doe took the test of a lifetime. The test that would determine what she would become and what life she would lead. She ended up being a III - which was what she didn't expect. The number tattooed at the back of her neck signifies how low she is in the society. She was devastated. Her boyfriend, Benjy, knew what this meant and he wanted her to run away with him. But Kitty knew better, she wouldn't take Benjy's chance of being a VI so she decided to work in a club only a month. Benjy refused so hard but Kitty didn't have a choice. However, Kitty, earlier that day, stole an orange in the market and a Shield saw her and told her her eyes are much like Lila Hart's -- a VII -- pretty much a royalty. What she didn't know though is the tragic meaning behind the Shield's comment. She was bought my the Prime Minister from the club and was offered to be a VII or else, she dies.

I received this ARC last year (I know, I know and am sorry) but I never got around to it. I've seen mixed reviews but I read a few chapters already on my eARC and I know I would love it. And I did. I have so much love for this book. The way Carter writes captivated me in a way that I could almost quote everything in it. I find it lyrical and I love writing styles like this. I loved how she tries to make the reader weigh each situation, its as if you're the protagonist. Carter tries to make you see both sides of the coin. That made me feel so connected to it and I felt how hard each decision was, how heavy it was to be in between. Carter won in exposing realities in the story, both from the eyes of the rich and the poor. And I was totally sold.

The world building was well executed. The Ranking System isn't new to me but in Pawn, it was delivered uniquely. I loved how she elaborated the ugly parts of District of Columbia, Elsewhere and the horrible options left for the poor. Also, the idea of perfectly Masking a person was absolutely brilliant. Carter explained the scientific consequence of Masking and the fact that the color of the eyes is the hardest to mask felt so real to me. However, in relation to Masking, one plot twist at the end seriously taken me off guard that I didn't appreciate it. I mean, I knew deep in my gut that it wasn't necessary at all. The entire plot of the story was sailing smoothly until that part. I was so ready to give this book 8/5 stars but then, THAT happened. It got me so confused and suddenly, I felt betrayed. You couldn't trust anyone, anymore.

I am Team Knox. Though he's intimidating, I like him because he's brave and coward at the same time. He's selfless and selfish and he tries so hard to be a man of his word. Plus, who wouldn't like a good kisser, right? Though Benjy is perfect, he's just too good to be true. But he's perfect for Kitty because she needs someone who would love her despite of who she was and who she is and I think only Benjy could give that. I am also looking forward to seeing more of Greyson. He's such a good kid with a trusting heart. But he can't be fooled. I loved the mystery behind his character and his inventions are absolutely useful.

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.

Thank you so much Lisa of Harlequin Teen for sending this in for review!

"But the world is out there, and it understands that the illusion of knowledge and freedom is not the same as the real thing. Eventually it will fade, and there are those who will do whatever it takes to make that happen sooner rather than later."
"The world doesn't exist because you gave it permission."

Saturday, October 25, 2014

STACKING THE SHELVES (56): THE RED RISING 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 post is long overdue. I bought Red Rising last September as a birthday gift to myself. I've been procrastinating for so long, hence the super late post. I was also so sick that day that I've been in bed for almost 3 days that week. I had a horrible case of flu. But since I wanted to spend my birthday with my best friend, I asked my nephew to drive me to BGC so my best friend and I could have late lunch. I haven't seen him for over 3 months and we've been best friends for over 4 years, am really not accustomed to not seeing him everyday. So there, we went to Contis BGC and just ate and talked and made fun of stuff (as we always do). I was really not feeling well and he live 2 hours away from that place so we had to separate early. It was such a simple birthday lunch but it meant the world to me. My effort of forcing myself to get up to see him was worth it.

After we had lunch, I went to Fullybooked and I found 2 copies of Red Rising. I couldn't pass up. I bagged it and stayed a little longer and spent the another hour sitting there. BGC is absolutely home to me. If am just rich, I would buy myself a condo there and just live a merry life. But alas! Hahaha!

Here are photos of Red Rising!!

Right at the counter!
While reading it!
After!
If you follow me on Twitter, you would know how much I fancy Pierce Brown! and I actually got the best birthday gift ever!


BOUGHT:

* Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy #1) by Pierce Brown

Here's my blurb:

"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."
I made a Street Team for Pierce Brown on Twitter so don't forget to follow it and follow him as well!
My Street Team: @PierceBrownPH
His account: @Pierce_Brown

OMG, right? It was really an awesome birthday, guys! I still couldn't get over it!
What did yo get this week, though?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

REVIEW: REBEL (REBOOT #2) BY AMY TINTERA.

Title: Rebel (Reboot #2)
Author: Amy Tintera
Edition: Paperback
Published: May 13, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 341
Source: ARC provided by the publisher
Category: Dystopia, Romance
Trailer: Not applicable.

Synopsis:

Wren Connolly thought she'd left her human side behind when she dies five years ago and came back 178 minutes later as a Reboot. With her new abilities of strength, speed, and healing—along with a lack of emotions—Wren 178 became the perfect soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation). Then Callum 22 came along and changed everything.

Now that they've both escaped, they're ready to start a new life in peace on the Reboot reservation. But Micah 163, the Reboot running the reservation, has darker plans in mind: to wipe out the humans. All of them. Micah has been building a Reboot army for years and is now ready to launch his attack on the cities. Callum wants to stick around and protect the humans. Wren wants nothing more than to leave all the fighting behind them.

With Micah on one side, HARC on the other, and Wren and Callum at odds in the middle, there's only one option left...

It's time for Reboots to become rebels.

I've read Reboot a while back and I had to read several reviews to refresh my memories of what happened. It took off hours after Wren 178 and Callum 22, with the rest of the others, escaped HARC and reached the reservations. They were met by Micah, a reboot who leads the reservation and they were immediately put to work. HARC shuttles were about to attack the the reservation so they fought back and won. Wren and Callum were observing unusual behavior from the other reboots and they eventually found out what Micah's real plan was -- to eliminate the human race. Callum tipped off the human rebels about it and he and Wren tried to move everyone out of the reservation but Micah took the first step about it. He dropped Addie and Wren to the bounty hunter's area to die. But as soon as Callum and Riley realized what Micah have done, they took over the reservation and left Micah. However, Wren was captured by HARC officers, was tortured experimented on.

Well, I flew through Rebel like The Flash. I couldn't put it down and just went ahead and read, read, read. It was developing so fast that I can't think of pausing because it was so good. It was blended so well I didn't even realize I was already halfway through it. There were no dull moments. And even before you can bat an eyelash, another action-filled scene happens one after the other.

There was just one thing however, that I noticed about the plot. They took over the reservation, rescued the reboots then united humans and reboots. That's it? That's it, right? I felt like there's something lacking in it or was it just too fast of a read that's why I felt something is inadequate? The alternating narrative is helpful but I truly felt like a very simple mission was stretched way too much just to make up for the rest of the book. What comes next can also be predicted easily as if every move of each characters is a clue. There is no killing Callum specifically Wren in this. That one fact is so confirmed you will never doubt it. You know they'll live.

Aside from the nonstop flow of action scenes, I truly enjoyed how much Wren has changed. She has been a calloused Reboot for the past 5 years and and slowly, her emotions are starting to make her care. Callum truly brought the best out of Wren and their humor wasn't stiff or pretentious at all! Not only that, Callum changed as well. He's now confident and he's no longer afraid to fight back. Whatever humanity they have left showed at the most crucial times and I find that amusing.

Rebel is definitely fast-paced and action-filled book dashed with light humor and genuine kisses! With a kickass heroine who isn't afraid to embrace change, partnered with someone who mellows down her intense side, Rebel is basically the best ending to this duology! I actually wish for more.

Thank you so much HarperCollins US International Sales for the review copy!

"Maybe you need to take a look at who I am, instead of who you wish I were."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

BOOKISH EVENT: HARPERCOLLINS WINTER 2015 PREVIEW.

Where all other bookish explosions, shenanigans and fun stuff happens!

Today, I just got home from one of the most amazing events I attended this year. Sarah Woodruff, awesome Publicist of HarperCollins US International Sales, hosted HarperCollins Winter 2015 Preview at Nationa Bookstore's Head Office in Mandaluyong. I was so fortunate enough to be invited in this small but absolutely fantastic event together with my lovely blogger friends. This event is probably the event of the year for me because this one is another affirmation that I am now a legit book blogger. I've been book blogging for years now but I still couldn't completely believe it, that you know, some authors, bookstores and publishers recognize me now. I guess I will never be able to fully admit how legit all this is. :)

Sarah answers some questions about book publishing, cover change and a little bit of sales.
Sarah brought snacks which include 2 packs of my fave Reese's and then we played some games. Our team lost the YA trivia part of the game but I won the raffle! I won a box of surprise galleys!! WOOHOOO!! After the games (this was the fun part for me), Sarah shared the titles Harpercollins will  be publishing next year!! They are all intriguing and we couldn't help but go like "oooooooh!" "wooooooooow" and "OMG"! This is the first time I attended an event like this and hopefully wouldn't be the last so my reactions during the event were powered by excitement! Then, Sarah answered our questions about book publishing, what are her responsibilities as a Publicist, how huge their building in NY is, a little bit of sales and of course, books she loved! I understood now the science behind blurbs and book cover changes. Even though cover changes are completely annoying especially if the it's in the middle of the series, I don't think I would still feel bad anymore. Sarah is so genuinely nice and friendly and she liked the yema I brought her! She's so approachable and I didn't feel shy around her (or maybe am just thick-faced like that :) ). We took pictures with her, asked her to sign our photos and had pizza for dinner. Then when she announced we could take galleys from the pile, it was like World War III! HAHAHA! My blogger friends are just adorable!

THE galleys that caused World War III :)
Here's the list of the titles included in their Winter 2015 catalog from HarperCollins: (oh, how I wish we have snow here!)

* The Jewel by Amy Ewing (Expected Publication Date: September 2, 2014)
* Falling into Place by Amy Zhang (September 9, 2014)
* Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton (October 7, 2014)
* A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray (November 4, 2014)
* Transcendent (Starling #3) by Lesley Livingston (December 23, 2014)
* Willowgrove (Hemlock #3) by Kathleen Peacock (January 6, 2015)
* Twisted Fate by Norah Olson (January 20, 2015)
* A Cold Legacy (The Madman's Daughter #3) by Megan Shepherd (January 27, 2015)
* Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff (January 27, 2015)
* Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (February 10, 2015)
* My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga (February 10, 2015)
* The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand (February 10, 2015)
* Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor (February 17, 2015)
* A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas (February 24, 2015)
* Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (March 3, 2015)
* The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows (March 10, 2015)
* Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay (March 15, 2015)
* Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly **FILIPINO PROTAG AND AUTHOR (March 24, 2015)
* The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die #2) by Danielle Paige (March 31, 2015)
* Lies I Told by Michelle Zink (April 7, 2015)
* The Pretty App (App #2) by Katie Sise (April 14, 2015)
* Forged (Taken #3) by Erin Bowman (April 14, 2015)
* 99 Days by Katie Cotugno (April 21, 2015)
* The Secrets of Attraction by Robin Constantine (April 28, 2015)
* Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley (April 28, 2015)
* The Heir (The Selection #4) by Kiera Cass (May 5, 2015)
* Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider (May 26, 2015)

(Dates are from Goodreads so they might be changed. Also, go ahead and check these titles out because believe it or not, each plot is extraordinarily unique, fresh and intriguing!)

PHYABookBloggers with Sarah and our acquired galleys!
We stayed a little bit longer and chatted with Sarah and my blogger friends. Afterwards, we had another set of dinner at Jolibee in the same area then headed home.

The galley I got from the event! Super stoked for this one!
I went home with so much smile in my face and joy in my heart. Books can really do wonders in ones life! I've never even thought I would be here, wherever I am at right now in this blogging life but I just feel so accomplished and grateful for these opportunities. This will never get old and I will never get tired! AM SO HAPPY, REALLY!

With Sarah Woodruff!
So to cap the night off, thank you ever so much, HarperCollins, Sarah and National Bookstore for such wonderful event! This experience will forever remind me of beautiful things and happy feelings! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Monday, October 20, 2014

REVIEW: ONYX BY JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT.

Title: Onyx (Lux #2)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Edition: Paperback
Published: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 366
Source: Bought from Fullybooked
Category: Paranormal, Romance
Trailer: Here.

Synopsis:

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we're linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there's this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that's possible. Against all common sense, I'm falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies..

**WARNING: FULL BLOWN SPOILERS BELOW.**

I was THIS close, THIS close in DNF-ing Onyx. I couldn't connect to it at all a hundred plus pages in and I find a lot of flaws in it along the way. Seriously, I was THIS close. I hated how I saw a lot of Twilight punch lines and scenes that I kept asking myself if this was a fanfiction of some sort. I even said simply make Edward Cullen an alien instead of a vampire and tadah, you have Onyx. This series is ridiculously expensive (for a paperback) here in the Philippines so I had to finish it. I just want to at least think that my money wouldn't completely go down the drain. If it wasn't for that shallow mindset, I would never have finished it. AND THANK GOODNESS I DID. THANK GOODNESS I TRIED SO HARD TO FINISH IT BECAUSE OMG DAEMON BLACK IS HOTTER THAN SUMMER IN THE DESERT!

So Onyx took off immediately after Obsidian. In the story, Katy is weirded out with herself because after Daemon healed her, she suddenly had X-men powers. She's out of control and if she couldn't master her newly acquired powers, she might expose Daemon's secret accidentally. It might bring the DOD back. Since school just started, she met Blake, a handsome new guy who has hot shots for her. Daemon don't trust Blake a single bit but Katy likes to try to date a normal guy. But trying to be normal fired back because Blake is just like her -- mutated human after being healed by a Luxen. Blake knows a lot about the Luxen and the mutation and offers her training. She agreed even after Daemon didn't. After Katy accidentally saw Bethany in the flesh, the mayhem began. Betrayal, loss, pain are just a few things that transpired. A lot has changed. But one thing remained - Daemon and Katy's we-wanna-kill-each-other-because-we-hate-each-other-but-we-are-really-inlove relationship. Also, Dawson's alive but he's lifeless. Irony is a bitch.

What I hated so much about Onyx aside from those annoying repetitive lines is Katy. It took her a novel and a half before she accepted what she truly feels for Daemon. She's so hypocrite. She knows she loves him to death but she just kept denying it as if it would make her forget or be normal again. I hated how she pushes Daemon away. She can't change the fact that no matter how hard she tries to avoid falling in love with him to prevent Dawson/Bethany fate from happening again, bitch, Daemon is Daemon! She even had the decency to be jealous with Ash when she just exchanged salivas with Blake! Ugh! Also, I hated how she set Dee aside like that. She claims she's her best friend but best friends don't do that! The worst she did? She didn't trust Daemon of all people! AND THAT CAUSED THEM ADAM!! SERIOUSLY!? What the hell is wrong with this character?

..heavy breathing..

As I continue to read, my rating surprisingly went up from DNF to 2 stars to 3 and then I settled for 4 stars. WHY? AFTER THAT RANT ABOUT KATY, WHY 4 STARS? BECAUSE HOLY MOTHER OF SMOKED BACON, DAEMON BLACK EXISTED. His entire being made this book so much better. From being the most annoying MC to being the most protective, loving and sweet alien, MY OVARIES EXPLODED! Their love-hate relationship somehow thrilled me because it wasn't all cheesy and hearty but it was also fun to see how they would almost want kill each other every damn day. It was unique in a way that despite their war-inducing differences, they manage be clingy and needy at the right moments. And Daemon Black just simply have this aura of being a bad boy with a marshmallow heart which is what I usually go for, probably the Alien mojo but it makes him THE one. Am not making any sense here but Daemon is everything a man should be - loyal, sweet, someone who values trust and loves his family a lot.

Onyx is a bowl of emotions mixed perfectly. It is hair-gripping, wall-punching, vocal chords-wrecking sequel that one would love and hate then love and hate repeat. Onyx, I can now confidently say, worth the time and money. Absolutely a fun read, I will definitely read Opal next and treat myself with a yummy tall glass of DAEMON BLACK.

"Some things are best left...unknown, you know? People search for answers and they don't always like what they get. Sometimes, the truth is worse than the lie."
"And I never felt this way with anyone else. Like I'm falling every time I'm around you, like I can't catch my breath, and I feel ALIVE - not just standing around and letting my life walk past me. There's been nothing like that with anyone else."
"There was something soul-burningly beautiful about being on the brink of losing control, tumbling over into the unknown, and I wanted to fall and never resurface."

Sunday, October 19, 2014

BOOK SIGNING: CLAUDIA GRAY AND MADELEINE ROUX 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.

Well, while am at it, let me go ahead and write down this recap of the awesome bloggers' forum I attended yesterday, October 18, 2014. Claudia Gray and Madeleine Roux, both New York Times Best Selling Authors, just had forty five minutes of Q and A with us bloggers and then they signed our precious books. It was so much fun! Plus, I haven't seen my blogger friends in a while and I miss them which makes it double fun!


Gaaaah. Madeleine Roux is beautiful. Like, beautiful beautiful. I can't stop staring at her. I want her House Baratheon dress and hair! Gaaaaaah. Did I say she's beautiful? Really, I think I found my girl author crush because yessssss she's THAT beautiful. She really is. And Claudia Gray is as beautiful and utterly hilarious! They are both very kind, sweet and friendly! I was able to record the entire Q and A and here are what we've learned from them:
Madeleine:
🔼 She does her hair using a beard trimmer. She didn't have time to put some designs on the side of her hair though.
🔼 Madeleine did get scared while writing her books.
🔼 She's a huge gamer. She loves strong supporting casts in games, when their stories are rich that they don't get much time to develop, she likes to incorporate that to her stories. She hopes that their interesting back stories would be something that comes across in her stories.
🔼 Michelle Gagnon is her best buddy and if she would do a collaboration, Michelle is on top of her list. They have different styles and she loves it.
🔼 Creepy Carnival or Haunted Asylum? No clowns so she would choose Asylum.
🔼 She didn't visit actual Asylums while writing Asylum but she had done a ton of online research. Her college buildings are also old and there are places she's been to that she would kind of feel the history.
🔼 Choosing photos for her novel is a collaborative process with Harpercollins.
🔼 You don't know how much social media comes with the job and how guilty she feels when she's not working are 2 things on top of her head that not all people know about being a writer.
🔼 Future of YA: She would like to say what she's writing next. :) A lot more blending of genres, on a serious note.
🔼 She started reading young and she started writing when she wrote a zombie-survival book she enjoyed so much was in college.
Claudia:
🔼 Claudia said Bianca probably will win in the Hunger Games because she can't be killed.
🔼 She would blurb her book like how they modified if for A Thousand Pieces of You "Orphan Black meets Cloud Atlas."
🔼 The magic in Spellcaster series requires a memory before it can be casted and she really wanted an emotional element added on it. Also, we could expect a lot of Asa (Ey-sa) from Sorceress.
🔼 If she would have to jump on a different dimension, she don't think she would go somewhere else.
🔼 Difficult part of the writing process? Differs from book to book. For ATPoY, it was figuring out how the Firebird would work.
🔼 She's always been a vampire/gothic fan and she wrote a whole lot of fanfic for Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and that's the genre for Evernight series. For Fateful, it is inspired by an artifacts exhibition about Titanic.
🔼 If she was born in the 17th/18th century and then suddenly transported to the 21st century, she would be very excited on hoe far women have come.
🔼 Future of YA: Together with Madeleine, they would rule YA :) But she thinks more diversity.
🔼 She's working on another book under another genre which she can't talk about yet but she finished the draft for the sequel of ATPoY. She also loves Scifi so much and she doesn't think she's done writing paranormal stories yet.
🔼 She's also a young reader and she wrote a hole lot of fanfiction of Superman and Lois Lane.

#PHYABookBloggers with Claudia and Madeleine!
After the Q and A, the book signing began and a lot of selfies happened! I was so starstruck looking at them up close! And did I say I love Madeleine's dress and hair? And Claudia's glasses are gorgeous, too!

Signed goodies by Claudia Gray
Signed goodies by Madeleine Roux
After the forum, we went to the public signing in Glorietta 1 and met the unbelievably gorgeous and sweet (and jetlagged) Sarah of Harpercollins! She's a gem!

Thank you Chad for taking the photo and Sab of The Book Eater for lending your phone!
Here is also the video of both authors giving their message to Filipino fans!
With the hilarious Claudia Gray!
With the gorgeous Madeleine Roux!
Yesterday's event gave me so much feels -- being accomplished is one -- that thanking National Bookstore for this opportunity would never be enough. Am so grateful I have my blogger friends to share this overflowing enthusiasm over fictional characters, world buildings, fantastic authors and books. Realizing I get to live this life doing what I love most brings this intense satisfaction in my heart.

To all the wonderful people of National Bookstore, Harpercollins then Madeleine and Claudia, thank you for making life so much better.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

STACKING THE SHELVES (55): THE HEIR OF FIRE 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.

Hello again!! Am so thrilled to finally lay my well manicured hands on the very gorgeous and shiny copy of Heir of Fire. Am also so glad that our local bookstore orders books from Bloomsbury (which are hard to find here). This book is a beast, I tell you! 565 pages of pure awesomeness and OMG waiting for a year for this is totally worth the wait (and the price). I immediately started reading it and even brought it to the office.

I matched the tabs!

DO NOT DISTURB. HAHA
The Heir of Fire Workstation Take Over! (Beautiful wallpaper by Iceybooks.)

BOUGHT:

* Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

And here is my blurb:

"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.."

I gave it 8/5 stars!
Thank you Fullybooked for reserving a copy!
What did you guys get this week?

Monday, October 6, 2014

REVIEW: RED RISING BY PIERCE BROWN.

Title: Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy #1)
Author: Pierce Brown
Edition: Paperback
Published: January 28, 2014
Publisher: Del Rey (Random House)
Pages: 382
Source: Bought from Fullybooked
Category: Sci-fi, Dystopia
Trailer: Not applicable

Synopsis:

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.
Red Rising had me pulling my hair out of sheer pain and thrill. However at the beginning, I was skeptical about it because I felt so disconnected to everything in it. I couldn't feel the connection and as I go deeper in to it, I feel lost. The similarity of it with Hunger Games took the best of me and how I had my brows raising because of the undeniably familiar parts of it with Divergent. Even though I've read blurbs saying that Red Rising is a book that will be loved by the fans of the said titles, it didn't prepare me well enough. As a reader, I am not fond of striking similarities because I wanted each book different from each other. If I wanted to read same-plotted books, I would just go ahead and re-read, right? Red Rising lead me on, I thought.

But my love for Pierce Brown is so strong that I held on. I read Red Rising slowly so I could have myself immersed in it. I took my time and BOOM!! There goes my lame self for doubting this story. I was so wrong for questioning why I was even reading it. IT WAS PHENOMENAL. It picked the pace up around 70% of the book and BAAAM! The awesomeness targeted me like a shot gun. From the intriguing world-building in Mars to a very dystopian setting in their color coded caste system, I became engrossed that I couldn't put it down. I loved, specifically, the language Pierce Brown used in Red Rising. It was something I've never encountered before. Plus, even though there are a ton of houses and characters, Pierce Brown was able to give unique voices to each of the characters. I may have not liked EO but I totally adored Pax (*cries*) and Tactus. The Reaper is too good to be true for my taste but Sevro and Roque compliment his strong character. Darrow is too strong and there is no doubt that he will succeed, I sometimes hate him, but his humility pinched my heart and that made him one of the most effective fictional leaders ever written. Though he has so much power, he was not afraid to admit that he's weak and afraid. Plus, his wit is fascinating.

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.

"Man cannot be freed by the same injustice that enslaved it."
"Promises are just chains," she rasps. "Both are meant for breaking."
"It is the hottest fire than forms the sternest steel."