Monday, October 9, 2017

REVIEW: MOMENTS OF JOY BY YSA ARCANGEL.

Title: Moments of Joy
Author: Ysa Arcangel
Series: Moments to Remember #1
Edition: Kindle
Publication: April 25th 2017 by Ysa Arcangel
Source: Freebie from Romance Class News Letter
Pages: 177
Genre: New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:
With her family history of Alzheimer's and at great risk of acquiring the disease, Brandy Curtis always plays safe. She had always avoided commitments like the plague.

However, everything changed when she met Ivo, a gorgeous doctor with irresistible charm. He was just supposed to be another hookup, but he quickly became so much more.

It started as a one night stand which was followed by another, and another. The more nights they spent together, the more Brandy felt that life had given her something to live for.

The timing couldn't be worse. As her heart gets closer to Ivo, her memories begin to fade.

Will Brandy be able to actually have moments of joy with Ivo against the odds of losing herself into the recesses of her tangled brain?

PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE:
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What I didn't like about Moments of Joy:
- The father in the beginning of the story just woke up from coma and the first thing he did? Ask his kids to read someone else's diaries.
- The parts medical prose felt off.
- This novel is 177 pages and almost 8-10 pages were all about the detailed sex (which I have nothing against). They have the hots for each other I know but instead of letting the readers know how they fuck each other four separate times, the two times they had fucked could have been used for more character arcs or story development. But what do I know, right?
- Too little time for character development
- Everything was legit in a rush. This one felt like the story is limited to only 177 pages.
- Confusing as to who is the one narrating. (But this one could just be me haha)
- Should have at least translated the Italian lines to English because not everyone is fluent in Italian language.
- Cliches. There's just too much that even the names of the characters threw me off. God. From Romeo and Juliet, to the names of the siblings, to the ending? I am gonna faint.

What I absolutely enjoyed about this book:
- I really, really, realllllyyyyyy love this cover!
- Brandy is so freaking hilarious and scary at the same time. Her fear of inheriting Alzheimer’s was understandable and I adore her for being so so selfless in her decision not to get too close to anyone she could inflict the impending pain to. I mean, if that isn't brave enough then I don't know what is.
- The alternating POV narration. Ivo's POV is my fave!
- Verona. I am swooning because this place is OMG.
- The pain of losing your mother to Alzheimer is something I cannot hope to happen to anyone but Brandy was trying to hold it together and just be there for her family. It was bittersweet and emotional.
- Ivo's commitment to Brandy was remarkable.
- How the plot twist was revealed gave me all the chills!
- The family dynamics is well executed and I love the fights between the siblings - something real!
- The deployment of the entire story is intriguing despite the eye-rolling cliches.

Moments of Joy surely filled me with joy. Despite the cringe-inducing cliches, it balances it with the way the story unfolded and how the characters had given justice to their parts. Moments of Joy is addictive, catchy and oozing with sexy.

"If you think being friends with the source of your pain will help you through an emotional crisis, you're mistaken. Once you've had an opportunity to heal, it may be possible to be friends, but not before."

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

REVIEW: FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS BY JULIE C. DAO.

Title: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
Author: Julie C. Dao
Series: Rise of the Empress #1
Edition: Paperback
Publication: October 10th 2017 by Philomel Books
Source: ARC provided by the publisher
Pages: 384
Genre: High-Fantasy, Retellings

Synopsis:
An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress--and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins--sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE:
ISBN13: 9781524738297

Based on my reading experience, it's been tricky for me to delve into retellings with so much anticipation because it could be such a hit or a miss kind of read. Going in practically blind, the first half of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns* didn't grasp me. It was a bit slow because this the part where the build-ups happened and I felt like there are plenty of descriptions or scenes unfolding that are all unnecessary. But I took my time and kept reading.

This book is going to hit shelves October this year and I have a lot of things to say about it. First off is that I. FREAKING. LOVED. IT!!! It was absolutely epic! The second half of the book was just entirely opposite of the first because this part was where all THE things happened. I started reading it around five in the afternoon and I literally wasn't able to put it down until I devoured it around midnight! The pacing shifted and there were a lot of pillow-punching and screaming happened. It kept me on the edge because of all the scheming and revelations! It was brutal, intriguing and mind-blowing.

I know it's a MULAN gif but it's the closest I could find hihih
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns gave us a totally amazing retelling of the Evil Queen. Xifeng was abused by her Guma all her life but trained her to go after her great destiny: to be the Empress of Feng Lu. She's beautiful and she knows it's her weapon. She also knows something evil is inside her, conniving and wanting to control her. But the urge to go after what she was destined to is strong so she left Guma and went with the love of her life, Wei, to the Imperial Castle. Nothing stopped her in getting what she wanted. Her character was just so broken and greedy her need to be powerful exceeds her need to be saved. But despite the darkness lurking inside her waiting to be released, I adored her focus and her determination to lift herself up and become not only the fairest but the most powerful. There's no way you would be able to say that something else made her the villain because from the start, it was all her. She embraced it without seconds thoughts. The moments she was at war with herself were all lost battles because deep inside her, she knew what she wanted. Even Guma's confessions didn't stop her. It was a very dark story of a beautiful girl wanting the world kneeling in front of her.

The world building set in East Asia was phenomenal. This was one aspect I was so excited to learn about and it did not disappoint. In fact, it was everything I hoped it would be. Rich, delicious and absolutely a masterpiece.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is one heck of a debut novel I will forever remember. Bloody, lyrical and luscious, this well-delivered Evil Queen back story is the one you have all been waiting for! I can promise you that it is glorious!

*Let me know if you did cry because of the title.

Thank you so much, Penguin Random House International Sales, for sending me the ARC months in advance!

"Isn’t’ it better to give up a fraction of your freedom to gain tenfold in happiness, even for a short time?"

Sunday, October 1, 2017

OCTOBOOKISHFEST!


Hallo! October is officially here and it means that it's the start of autumn in some places and spring in others. Here int the Philippines though, our two seasons have been confusing us lately. One day it would feel like summer again and then the next it would rain so hard. So I am just trying to be autumn-y because Autumn is so pretty and relaxing. It could be my fave if we have Autumn here.

Anyway, here are the books I am so SO excited to get this month! I have read Forest of a Thousand Lanterns a few months back and it contends to being the Book of the Year with They Both Die at the End!



October 24th

October 3rd



October 3rd

October 10th

WHAT ARE YOUR MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE(S) THIS MONTH?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

MEETING THE AUTHOR: PIERCE BROWN IN MANILA 2017.


I met Pierce Brown last August (24th) and IT WAS SOOOOOO SURREAL!! (Here's my POST about it) I wasn't able to get my Red Rising signed that time because I didn't have the hardbound copy yet so I attended his public signing last August 27th for more of Pierce!


My blogger friends and other bookish friends lined up early (they were there around 6 or 7, I arrived around 8am) so I was able to register early. I also asked JM to buy me the hardbound copy of RR the day before (it was discounted and fresh out of the box) so yaaaay for completed trilogy! We then went out for breakfast and do some catch ups!


During the registration, we were given chapter samplers of Iron Gold and I may have howled loudly when I saw it. HAHA OMG I couldn't contain the excitement! SAMPLE CHAPTERS OF IRON GOLD OMG!!!!!!

(I would also like to commend National Bookstore for the pretty MIBF tickets for this year's event!)

Kate was here.

The picture above is the amazing crowd for Pierce's signing! I was shaking and fucking nervous the entire time! I know I met him up close but damn the build up of anxiety = noodle legs. The electricity in the air was absolutely hair-raising and my cheeks hurt so much from laughing/smiling! My throat also was a little bit sore from all the screaming! HAHA I LOVE BEING A FAN OMG

My lovely bookish/blogger friends

Pierce, just like my first impression, is such a cool guys. Very opinionated and he always always knows what he's saying. He's hilarious, so gwapo and generous. He answered all the questions in ways that not only fulfilling but with passion. What I really really appreciated is that he chose to stand up so that he could easily take pictures with his readers. It was the best thing I have seen. He's is soooo freaking down to earth!




I made these 3 posters for 4 hours the night before and I was so happy Pierce got them signed. He said that it's always wonderful to see his readers make art out of his books. He also asked me which one is my fave and I told him the quote from Golden Son.


LOVE YOU, LOVE!
I just love this author to bits and I hope that no matter how big he gets, he won't forget his fans who were there from the beginning! This signing is everything I have ever hoped for and I am sooooooooooo grateful that National Bookstore brought him here. I wish I could post the vid of me shrieking, flailing and crying when I was told he'd visit (I couldn't because it was embarrassing!). This series opened up so many doors for me and helped me love Sci-Fi even more! Thanks, Pierce!


Completed Series, all signed.
National Bookstore, Chad, JB and the rest of the gang: You know how much I am forever grateful to you and your generosity. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART THAT YOU MADE THIS HAPPEN AND I WILL NEVER EVER FORGET IT. SUPER THANK YOU!

Were you there at the signing? What was your favorite part?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

REVIEW: ; (SEMICOLON) BY NAVEED KHAN.

Title: ; (Semicolon)
Author: Naveed A. Khan
Series: Poetry
Edition: eBook
Publication: February 4th 2013
Source: Free on Amazon
Pages: 125
Genre: Poetry

Synopsis:
A collection of poetry by xq, published in February 2013. The pseudonym "xq" was adopted by writer Naveed Khan as an experimental anonymous release. Other works by this author include Cheap Therapy, Wrapping Paper, and Decaf.

One day, I might perhaps become something so small and insignificant to you that you only think of me as often as you think of the little particles of dust that you can see floating around the window in the late afternoon sun.
If I'm lucky enough, you'll think of me as often as never thinking of me again at all.

PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE:

The same forces that bring two people together are the same ones that pull them apart.

I only read a handful of poetry books and Semicolon definitely stands out. The beauty of words showered me with feels and the captivating emotions within this little book gave me a heartwarming experience. A few pages in and I knew I'd love this. The passion of the author is something else. You can feel it leaking as your turn every page. I am absolutely happy that I stumbled upon this poetry book! My heart is so SO full right now and don't you wish someone loves you this deeply, freely and tenderly?

OMG, what an amazing book! I highly recommend this to fans of Lang Leav! Semicolon is a feel-good and swoony book!

"I remember feeling the most alive
the moment I realized that it hurts
far more to miss something I never had
than to miss something I did."
"I learned to love you quietly, because I know you prefer silence"
"We grow together as we fall in sync with our inconsistencies"

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

REVIEW: TOWER OF DAWN BY SARAH J MAAS.

Title: Tower of Dawn
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #6
Edition: Hardbound
Publication: September 5th 2017 by Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books
Source: Bought from Fullybooked
Pages: 672
Genre: High Fantasy, Romance

Synopsis:
In the next installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire.

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE:

Took me a week to finish reading Tower of Dawn because a lot of parts were too slow to the point of not moving at all. I may have skimmed some of those parts but I finally. finished. reading.

My reaction after reading that last chapter was indescribable. Pain and joy went hand in hand and I am unbelievably speechless right now, I am in awe. Sarah J. Maas has never undelivered. Tower of Dawn at first felt dragging to me but once the pace started to pick up, there had been no way for me to stop. It raised all the hairs in my body and I was at the edge of my seat, literally and figuratively.

There were debates about the cover when it was released that it didn't match the series. Well, it didn't and to be honest, I find it unimpressive at first. But hell to the yeah, the significance of it is enveloped in this story and looking at it now, I was so wrong to judge it and also super thankful I was given the chance to understand the symbol. The revelation connecting to the cover was just nerve-wracking and an absolute what-the-fuck moment.

Now that I've read this parallel installment, it isn't just a story of how Chaol is going to acquire the Khaghan's help in the war or how he is going to get healed but a story of discovery, friendship, loyalty and family. This book was called a Chaol book but it is way more than that. Here we get to see the lands beyond what we are accustomed to, their culture, their power and their people. We get to understand how important it is to reconnect with our roots and how unparalleled it is to experience - first hand - the beauty of learning beyond our differences and building relationships with that. Tower of Dawn gave me so many opportunities to rethink how vast a person's background could be and how that background could help you shape to the person you want and not want to be. There's a line in the book that says something about a soul-injury and Tower of Dawn touches that sensitive part and I could say it succeeded massively and in one way or another, helped me heal my own.

Chaol has grown into a character whose fragility got the best of him. Both physical, mental and emotional. It was so so hard to watch him break over and over and take it against those people who care for him (I wanted to throw the book out the window during one of his episodes) and at first, I couldn't understand. As he is being healed deeper and deeper, I started to see. I started to see how truly broken he was and it pains me because deep down in me I know I needed to be healed as well. Not only that, having friends who are physical therapists, Tower of Dawn is validating beyond measure.

The ups and downs of the novel would take me forever to list but I am absolutely delighted I get to meet: The ruk Kadara (I cannot wait for you to meet Abraxos), Falkan (you brave you), Hazar (a bitch but a loyal bitch), Kashin (you poor prince! I wish you were given more airtime so I'd get to know you better), Botek (an amazing woman) and Yrene Towers who stole my heart from the moment I read her name. It was all an enchanting experience and absolutely different that the other installemnts. This may be dark but not as brutal.

As always, I was in awe the moment I finished it and it may have triggered the need to re-read Empire of Storms. Also, that last chapter may have or may have not broken me.

Tower of Dawn is a beacon of light, hope, love and loyalty. It resembles with what Aelin is hoping to give her people - a better world.

"I will cherish it always.
No matter what may befall the world.
No matter the oceans, or mountains, or forests in the way."
"You must enter where you fear to tread."
"It was agony and despair and fear. It was joy and laughter and rest. It was life, all of it..."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

MEET AND GREET: INTERVIEW WITH PIERCE BROWN.


After years of wishing, screaming, flailing, praying and dreaming, it finally came true. THE dream of meeting Pierce Brown finally happened. And as of this writing, my heart is so so full of joy and I am still on cloud 9 so I might be incoherent again. My knees are still shaking and there's this weird thing in my stomach that I couldn't get rid of. It was just the best day ever I was sooooo hungover by it that it took me 3 weeks to get this recap up!


I was invited by National Bookstore for a 30-minute Meet and Greet with Pierce last August 27 in Raffles. Together with Kai of Amaterasu Reads and JM of The Book Freak Revelations, we went there with so much anticipation. Of course there would be so much anticipation, imagine waiting for this thing to happen since 2014. Pierce was actually at the lobby (I AM FUCKING SHAKING BY JUST REMEMBERING THE ENCOUNTER) and he came and greeted us AND WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK, HE'S TALL, VERY GOOD LOOKING AND ABSOLUTELY DREAMY! He's wearing a simple white shirt, denim jeans, white sneakers and a leather jacket like he just came out of an action movie shoot. We then proceeded to one of the corners in the lobby and started the interview.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I introduced myself as the head of his Twitter Street Team, @PBRownPH (which I couldn't remember the password for, damn), and I said we're his PH Gang and I believe he remembered. I couldn't keep my eyes off of him because IS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE?? His eyes are the lightest shade of blue I have ever seen and it's actually bordering to light gray? I was just there, shocked, mezmerized, and wishing hard that that moment won't end.


It wasn't really a formal interview but more like we were there to talk to a friend. He made us feel so comfortable and he made us laugh so much, OMG HE IS HILARIOUS I TELL YA. We did ask questions and he did too so here are some of the bits and pieces from our 23-minute convo:

- He loves Adobo.
- He thought LA traiffic is the worst but I said, welcome to Manila!
- There will be no spoilers for Morning Star during our convo because Kai and I haven't finished reading it yet (thank you, Pierce) and that we have to finish it because Iron Gold is coming out soon.
- Pierce is a huge fan of Game of Thrones. He didn't have more to read after A Feast For Crows so he wrote books while waiting for A Dance with Dragons.
- He hopes he could top RR series with Iron Gold.
- There are 4 more characters he explored in Iron Gold and since we couldn't really get into it without spoiling MS, he only exclaimed: THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
- His favorite character is definitely Sevro (yaaaay) but their only similarity is the swear words because he has way better hygiene haha
- Character deaths he kinda regret: Lorn, Nero, Fitchner, Tactus
- The characters he would bring to life are: Viktra so he could date her wahaha, Tactus because he loved his character and Lorn because it's fun to see how he would respond to Darrow
*talks about GoT S7 EP 06* (yep, we did)
- Golden Son's ending wasn't planned at all. He initially ended it with a happy wedding but then his editor said it doesn't feel right. So Pierce went the complete opposite direction and his editor said *in Pierce's deep voice*: WHAT. THE. FUCK.
- We told him how heartbreaking the ending was and he said: "I am delighted to be able to invoke any emotion in you whatsoever." that's verbatim I mind you.
- We asked him what was going on in his head because Morning Star's initial chapters were so brutal already and he said he was in a deprivation tank for 3 hours so he could get in to Darrow's head for those scenes. Aaaahhh creepy.
- The gravboots weren't inspired by Starwars but his vision of Nero landing in front of EO in Book 1
- If given a chance to change the endings, he wouldn't change anything but perhaps add a little bit more, like more of the Jackal and Darrow in Luna and he would explore the underworld of the said planet.
- He is also open to writing novellas - Lorn's and then Servo's POV on his Pluto Journey
- When asked how does it feel to be a published author at 24 (he was 24 when RR was published), he said he doesn't stop thinking about it, he's aggressive about it, that it's wonderful finishing MS, it's a big validation for sure and the best feeling is sharing the experience with readers who get to imagine the world he built.
- The movie is developing, he will share more in the coming months. It was bought by Universal and he wrote the scripts.
- Casting for Darrow - someone unknown, it's really about finding someone who can show the emotion and has to have the presence, should also be terrifying for the part
- He is also writing a fantasy series called LampLight (wooohoooo!)
- We taught him SALAMAT
- We showed him our Golden Son ARCs and he loved it!
- I told him it was a dream come true to meet him and he said we were very pretty persistent on Twitter (which confirms he noticed HAHAHA)

HE IS SO AMAZING, ISN'T HE??

After the short interview ( I SWEAR I DIDN'T WANT IT TO END), we asked if he could sign our books and take photos with him. You see, I wasn't really myself in the course of this interview because ughhhh I forgot to:
- ask for a short video for his message to fans and
- take a #KaiSelfie (Kaiiiiiii!!!)
I mean, I dunno man but I was just simply on cloud nine floating and unbelievably grateful for this wonderful chance~~~~~



I will never ever ever ever forget this day to be honest. I waited a long time for this to actually happen - wait no... I actually gave up! I wasn't expecting this anymore. So THANK YOU SO EVER MUCH PIERCE FOR COMING TO MANILA!!!! It truly means so so much to me, to all your fans here!!

BEST! DAY!!!! EVEEEERRRRR!!
QUESTION: WHAT WOULD YOU ASK PIERCE BROWN IN PERSON?
THANK YOU NATIONAL BOOKSTOREEEEEEEEEE!
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOUUUUUU!
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