Friday, July 17, 2015

REVIEW: 99 DAYS BY KATIE COTUGNO.

Title: 99 Days
Series: Stand Alone
Author: Katie Cotugno
Edition: Paperback (International Edition)
Publication: April 21, 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Source: Bought from National Book Store
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Trailer: To follow!

Synopsis:

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.
Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”
Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

I cannot even draft this review without feeling so angst-y and rage-y. I mean, this story? UNCOOL. Cheating is one thing (and that I could tolerate or even enjoy depending on how it would be presented) but it's full of slut shaming, bullying, double standards and sexism I don't even want to elaborate.

I would have given this absolutely ZERO stars but I decided to give one star for the author's hard work and one star for what it made me feel during the course of reading. Yes, it made me pull my hair, feared turning the next page, wanted to slap Molly in the face with a chair so hard and all other violent emotions. It's rare for a book to make me feel that. This book, I believe, would have ended in such high note but not even a glimpse of empowerment made it through its page.

99 Days gave me the thrill initially. I have never read a book like this before. I wanted to flail because a cheating book is something absolutely new to me plus I wanted to know how the story goes. Different people have different takes on cheating but heck, this was waist-deep let down. I loved the first couple of chapters but Molly's --- grrrrr -- stupidity threw everything out the window. I knew it, I knew that at some point she would fuck everything all over again and that was exactly what made me hate this one. Why does she have to make the same mistake, like didn't she learn from what hell she just went through? And this is all for what? It isn't love, man. It's bullshit, that's what.

I also want to point out how come nobody's hating Patrick and Gabe but naaaa, I don't wanna even go there. I don't wanna stress myself. Also, Molly's mother? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH HER?

99 Days is one of the most horrifying books I've ever read and I wish I could buy some brain bleach from the grocery store because I don't want to ever remember it. Sorry, I am not that forgiving today.


Quotes to follow.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

STACKING THE SHELVES (65): THE BEAST 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.

Squeezing bookish time in my unbelievably hectic schedule (because of work, Gundam building and other things non-book related) has been so hard lately. It feels like 24 hours isn't enough to finish a day's work. But I know my priorities now so I spent the last 30 minutes back tracking books I got since my last STS post. It was so hard as well to find a nice space to take photos from since our house isn't really picturesque. *wait, be back in a bit*

Just got back from a fun night out with the fambam. I was out for about 6 hours and was in the middle of drafting this when my nephew (he's on vacay with his lovely wife from Washington State) knocked on my door! We went out for some booze, karaoke and food. It's fun going out once in a while and I absolutely adored Starbucks' Strawberry Cheesecake Frappucinno. Anyway, here are the books I acquired. I've read and reviewed some of them already. Enjoy!


BOUGHT:

BORROWED:

GIFTED:
 
FOR REVIEW:

I also got eARCs from Edelweiss. You might ask why Beast Edition? END OF DAYS, ILLUMINAE AND SIX OF CROWS, GUYS! :)

Thanks a bunch to: National Bookstore, Leigh Bardugo, Kati Cotugno, Robyn Schneider, Kai of Amaterasu Reads, Dianne of Oops! I Read a Book Again, Hazel of Stay Bookish and HarperCollins International!

Friday, July 10, 2015

REVIEW: EXTRAORDINARY MEANS BY ROBYN SCHNEIDER.

Title: Extraordinary Means
Series: Stand Alone
Author: Robyn Schneider
Edition: Paperback (International Edition)
Publication: May 26, 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Bought
Pages: 324
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Trailer: Enjoy!

Synopsis:

From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it's easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down.

Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.

What I told my friend about Schneider was that this author is so good with heartbreaks. If Cynthia Hand perfected grief, Schneider perfected ruining lives. I mean, if you've read The Beginning of Everything, you would absolutely know what I am talking about. With Extraordinary Means, I was rooting for an ending with such tremendous emotional impact and sure enough, I got what I hoped for and more.

I was fortunate enough to have met Schneider last weekend (July 5, 2015) and I told her she broke my heart, not once but twice now. She said she couldn't help it because it was what the story really led her to. I also told her I loved her books even if am left broken. It was so much fun hugging her and fangirling with her. Such a dream come true.

Extraordinary Means is a novel that is familiar to me yet felt so brand new at the same time. It is about how two lives intertwined because of a common goal -- to heal from a deadly Tuberculosis. Lane had planned his college life thoroughly but his TB ruined it all. He was sent to Latham, a quarantined facility away from home. There, he felt his life disconnecting from him and it made him realize people from the outside world saw him. Though he's trying to grasp his new reality, this girl he saw from his window who wasn't afraid to embrace life and actually live it gave him something to hold on to. That life in Latham might not be as bad as he thought it would be. And he knew her from a camping trip. Sadie, in return, didn't forget Lane because he hated how he broke her heart when she was thirteen.

Schneider gave us an alternating POV which I adored. I was able to look at how the story evolves from 2 different perspective. There were also a ton of pop culture references in this book. These references made it easier to connect to the characters and it helped the story become lighter to carry (emotionally). She didn't hold back in throwing these tiny bits of fun stuff and honestly, without it, this would have been a pillow in the snooze ville. I enjoyed how modern the setting was, like finally, a book with a complete set of social media! Also, this setting was the perfect one for Sadie and Lane, I couldn't see them anywhere else. The middle part of the novel was a little too slow but you'd learn how everything developed from there.

Now on to the heavy part. I've finished this book I think 2 weeks ago but man, the burn in the chest is still real! So as you know, Schneider is a collection of pure evil heart breaks! I wasn't expecting IT to happen to THIS character and seriously? seriously.. I was so, so shocked. Schneider tricked me so bad I wanted to pick my eyes out and throw it at her! It was like, NOOOO! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO MEEE but then Schneider got to do it. But it wasn't actually THAT part that tore me, it was Charlie and Lane. What happened to Charlie was just so freaking traumatic! (YOU HAVE TO READ THIS GUYS TO RELATE TO THIS PLEASE GO NOW AND READ I DON'T WANT TO SPOIL IT AND THIS IS SOOO HARD GUYS!) Charlie's a hero to be honest. I wouldn't be able to live knowing and remembering how tragic this part of the story if it happened to me in real life. No man, am gonna go nuts. But that part captivated me so much I wanted to grab my friends and just hug them. How badly devastating to see Charlie like that I would never be able to explain. All I know is my pain and it freaking stings. *wipes tears* (page 266-267 guys *hears heart breaks again*)

And then we have Lane. The last part of the book was the culprit of this shattered heart of mine. I was already broken from TBoE then Charlie then Sadie then THIS! Just when you're about to give someone everything you never thought you had and just when you're finally allowing yourself to go out of your comfort zone, something would fuck it up. REALLY? I related to him in some ways because it has always been hard for me to step out of what I'm familiar with so I saw myself in him. He was so brave to not lose it completely. He was so loving -- he loved Sadie in such a special way that pinched my heart. That kind of love when the person values you, everything he knows about you and those small parts of who you are. He was written perfectly for this novel because Lane filled what Sadie lacked with and Sadie to what Lane lacked from. He was shallow at times so as Sadie but their love story was something more than the ordinary.

Extraordinary Means is Eleanor and Park meets The Fault in Our Stars. Buzzing with compassion, it pulls the strings of miracle and ties it to every fiber of hope it could find.

"Here's a secret," I said. "There's a difference between being dead and dying. We're all dying. Some of us die for ninety years and some of us die for nineteen. But each morning everyone on this planet wakes up one day closer to their death. Everyone. So living and dying are actually different words for the same thing, if you think about it."
"It's strange how we can lose things that are still right there. How a barrier can go up at any moment, trapping you on the other side, keeping you from what you want. How the things that hurt the most are the things we once had."
"Being temporary doesn't make something matter any less, because the point isn't for how long, the point is that it happened."
"It seemed so wrong to me then that there were only ten options, only ten types of pain. Because I'm pretty sure there are hundreds of types of pain in this world, maybe even thousands. And none of these are numbers on the same scale. They all hurt differently, and amounts have nothing to do with it. They all hurt too much, and not enough."
"Because that's all you can do in this world, no matter how strong the current beats against you, or how heavy your burden, or how tragic your love story. You keep going."

Saturday, July 4, 2015

BOOK SIGNING: LEIGH BARDUGO IN MANILA 2015.

Warning: This post is an online proof and documentation of how I murdered capslocking and !!!!!!!ing. You've been warned!

Aheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeem, guys!!!!!! GUUUUUUYS!!! *someone hold me* Been trying to compose myself for the past several days so I could come up with a decent recap but reality hasn't sinked in yet that I met -- in person (OMG) -- one of my all time favorite authors! This fantastic New York Times Best Selling author graced the Philippine archipelago with her presence last June 21 (June 20 in Cebu) and boy it was freaking surreal!

GUUUUUYS, I FREAKING MET THE LEIGH MAGNIFICENT BARDUGO!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAH!!!!!

I was cleaning up my screen shot album (3000+ screenshots, unbelievable guys) so I could free space on my phone when I saw this tweet of mine back in 2013. I was still Kisskitkatey back then. Realizing it after a deadly lag of 20 seconds that I was referring to Leigh Bardugo! See? Dreams really do come true! Grasping how miracles happen in our lives has been so hard especially when Chad of National Bookstore told me things I will never ever be able to accept (THANK YOU FOREVER HUHUHU). I AM NOT MAKING COHERENT STORY TELLING HERE GUYS PARDON ME BECAUSE LEIGH HUHUHUHUHU. Anyway, where was I again? Okay, so I woke up early (30 minutes before Kai of Amaterasu Reads called to wake me up, love you!) and was already cramming about the event then headed straight to the Bloggers' Forum. I haven't seen my blogger friends for a while and I was excited to see them and hear all about Hazel and Louisse's extravagant BEA 2015 experiences. We talked for I think an hour about everything and as always, took selfies and fangirled about books! THEN SUDDENLY I SAW HER IN THE CORNER TALKING TO AN INTERVIEWER AND I HAVE GONE TO SOME PLACE ALL SPACIOUS AND WHITE FOR ABOUT A MINUTE AND MY HEART STARTED TO BEAT SO FAST OMG REALLY NOW!

PH YA Book Bloggers with Louie and JB.

When she was introduced, I wanted to scream but I couldn't so I squealed a little! (well, I take that back. I just watched my video of Leigh entering the forum and my scream was so embarrassingly loud!) She was so freaking beautiful and glamorous and funky and tall and her hair was perfection! She was so energetic and her enthusiasm was contagious! I recorded the entire Q and A however, it is my greatest heartbreak to announce that I couldn't transcribe it due to Mic-at-the-event-sucked issue I couldn't hear most of it.

I am among friends. :)

I learned a lot about her through the Q and A. Her accent was so girly I couldn't help but giggle! She was so hyper and her excitement in meeting us was beyond comprehension! She recognized Louisse! Eeeeeek! We talked about The Darkling, her being a Team Story, how her life has changed since being published (she was nearly in tears), writing process, Six of Crows and a lot more. Knowing I was that close to her made me love her more (in a not creepy way) and appreciated her books more! THEN HOLY FUCKING HELL SHE ANNOUNCED SHE BROUGHT SIX OF CROWS ARCS FOR ALL OF US LIKE WHAT THE HELL IS THIS LIFE REALLY!! The ARC was a beast, man and so SO beautiful! You know, being with my friends and talking to Leigh made life so so much better!

Leigh's edgy nailart!

FRIENDS.

Dianne of Oops, I Read a Book Again and I were wearing our Grisha Army pins (why didn't we take a photo?) and Leigh appreciated it as well. She did appreciate us being there to be on point. There were three things I failed miserably in this event though: No signed polaroid shot because I forgot to borrow my niece's Instax camera, I forgot to ask her to sign my Six of Crows bookmark and the worst was I DIDN'T GET TO HUG HER. Epic, epic fail, Kate!

My Queen signing my books! I was staring at her so bad HAHA sorry but not really!
PH YA Book Bloggers with Leigh! Thank you for the photo, JB!

At the public signing! YOU GUYS SHOULD SEE THE COSPLAY! IT WAS MIND-BLOWING!!

Before we went our for lunch, we did the usual. We went to the public signing to take photos. Most of us though went home right after the forum because it was father's day that day. I wasn't able to take photos of the cosplayers but I saw it on Leigh's IG. Gaaaaad, they nailed it! But still, I got to see and hug my friends and this event definitely rekindled my blogging fire. I guess, it was all I needed to be back on my feet!


Leigh's message to Filipino fans!
(At the end after I stopped filming, we all went like "AAAAAWWWWWW")


Signed books huhuhuhuhuhu!
Take home goodies! Hmmm, my signed Post-It is missing.
SIIIIIIX. OOOOOF. CROOOOOOOWS. *dies* *dies again*

I look so thin here bahahah! Thank you for snapping this one, Hazel!

WITH HER EXCELLENCY LEIGH BARDUGO!

I think I can breathe now. I can calm the fuck down, no? This day was not only a blast but a weapon of emotional destruction explosion. I couldn't thank National Book Store enough for this event. Thank you, particularly, Chad. Thank you for everything! You wouldn't believe how this meant to me! I will forever treasure this, as in. Till my last breath. Thank you ever so SO much! I wouldn't be able to repay it but THANK YOU HUHUHUHU!

Thank you, Leigh, for visiting the Philippines and for enjoying our Lechon and Pancit! Don't forget us!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

SPILL THE FEELS (08): LOOK WHO'S BACK.


Been staring at this blinking cursor since this morning but I still couldn't come up with a blog post to pump my July up. Let's see where this goes though.

I feel like I owe it to those amazing people who visit the blog often to check for new posts -- that I want to give an update about how's my bookish life doing. I've said this repeatedly but I've wasted my entire year last year in things that I thought mattered at the moment. The intense blogging urge slipped from my grasp that the blog suffered so bad. I was so side-tracked I lost focus. I don't regret anything I did, I just feel immensely bad that I could no longer go back and put value in what I've lost.

I know I could have done so much in a year but well, my choices had been greatly stupid. There are no do-overs in this life but I want to start anew and here we are, coping and making it up.

This simple post is dedicated to my bookish friends all over the globe who never abandoned me in times I'd stumbled and almost gave up; to those blog readers who didn't falter in visiting this little site; to those who believed and continues to believe in what we do and to all book lovers who give so much meaning to this journey. This is too dramatic for my taste but hell, I owe it to all of you. Without your never-ending enthusiasm, I wouldn't be blogging anymore. So thank you, everyone! Thank you ever so much!

I've been putting this off for so long now that I know I've given myself soooooo much time to be ready once again. Expect more reviews and a little extras on the side here on the blog. There will also be giveaways so watch out. But for tonight, let me share this and dive deep in to this excitement that I am finally going back to what I love most -- books! Here's to never again getting tired of blogging! Cheers!


Well, that wasn't so bad, was it?