Thursday, October 26, 2017

DEWEY'S READATHON REVIEW: SONGS OF OUR BREAKUP BY JAY E TRIA.


Title: Songs of Our Breakup
Author: Jay E. Tria
Series: Playlist #1
Edition: Paperback
Publication: August 22nd 2015
Source: Bought from the author
Pages: 145
Genre: New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:
Every breakup has its playlist.

How do you get over a seven-year relationship? 21-year-old Jill is trying to find out. But moving on is a harder job when Kim, her ex-boyfriend, is the lead guitarist of the band, and Jill is the vocalist. Every song they play together feels like slicing open a barely healed tattoo.

Jill’s best friend Miki says she will be out of this gloom soon. Breakups have a probation period, he says. Jill is on the last month of hers and Miki is patiently keeping her company.

But the real silver lining is Shinta. Having a hot Japanese actor friend in times like these is a welcome distraction. This gorgeous celebrity has been defying time zones and distance through the years to be there for Jill. Now he is here, physically present, and together he and Jill go through old lyrics, vivid memories, walks in the rain, and bottles of beer. Together they try to answer the question: what do you do when forever ends?

PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE:

Songs of Our Breakup is an easy 5-star read. Its unique take on tropes, superb writing style, subtle love triangle, devastating heartbreak and amazing music are elements I loved tremendously. It also right away captured me because I have a thing for singing, I used to jam and mostly have guy friends. You can easily see yourself flipping through the pages with passion because the story is that amazing. Plus, Tria did mention Mobile Suit once so SOLD!

Can we also talk about the height of the characters in this story, please? Tria and I stand tall (5'8"-ish) and I AM SUPER THRILLED TO ENCOUNTER GROUP OF FRIENDS WHO ARE ALMOST THE SAME HEIGHT BECAUSE HELL YESSSSSS THAT IS ME IN THERE, ALRIGHT?! THANK YOU, TRIA, FOR REPRESENTING US TALL PEOPLE. IT MEANS THE WORLD TO ME.

I was straight rooting for Shinta. Aside from his jaw dropping looks, I loved his values. He's thoughtful, respectful and he's the kind of guy worth waiting for. Not sure if my ship will sail but I hope it would (though I still have 2 books to read so I don't really know what's gonna happen). Miki on the other hand is the best friend you can always rely on. The love triangle was put in there in the subtlest way and to be honest, I didn't see it if it weren't for Nico and Son's convo. Yeah, I am that dense. Miki's like, a wallflower in Jill's life. He's so scared to come fight for Jill because he doesn't wanna gamble it -- he can't lose his best friend -- which is a thing I am all too familiar with. FAAAAAK!!! SO MUCH FEELSSSSS!

The breakup between Jill and Kim (seven years together!) was a nasty one. But Jill handled it professionally for the sake of their band. I WAS LIKE, GURRRRL, HOW DO YOU DO IT? When they talked and legit shook on it, it was the most painful part because how could you not hurt by officially saying goodbye to the person you literally grew up with? I wish they worked on their differences instead of separating but Kim is absolutely right at one thing, some things just don't work anymore. OUUUUUUCHHHHHH. Tria, get it together!!! You are breaking me apart!

Lastly, the songs reflect the character's emotions in such a hardcore level I cannot even explain. The depth just hits the heart. I wanna hear these songs and wallow in my misery. DAMN, SOMEONE PICK UP THE PIECES OF MY SHATTERED HEART, PLEASE.

A story of moving on and living life one day at time, Songs of Our Breakup gives another level of meaning to forever. YOU NEED THIS BOOK YESTERDAY!!!!!

"She had grown up with this boy, shared B-sides, long nights, test answers, pajamas, and shawarma with him, a collection of things and moments that changed them both...Jill still knew the face, but no longer the boy behind it."

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

DEWEY'S READATHON REVIEW: THE ART OF SHIFTING GEARS BY CHI YU RODRIGUEZ.


Title: The Art of Shifting Gears
Author: Chi Yu Rodriguez
Series: Standalone
Edition: Paperback
Publication: April 2017 by Anvil Publishing
Source: Copy provided by the publisher
Pages: 120
Genre: New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:
Rae de los Santos was en route to a perfect adult life. She knew what to major in, she knew what career path she was going to pursue, and she knew who she was going to be with all the way to the realization of her dreams—until her seamless journey made a turn for the unimaginable and skidded to a stop.

All of a sudden she was facing every roadblock possible, and the people she held dear ended up running over her heart.

For a year, she distracted herself with hot lead and burnt rubber, using karting as a lifeline until she was strong enough to face the world that shunned her.

But during Rae’s junior year in college, she was again blindsided by signs that weren’t supposed to be there. Will Rae go full speed ahead? Or will the seduction of the past slow her down?

PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE:

The Art of Shifting Gears is another #romanceclass book that I enjoyed! I think this is the first book in the history of MY ever that I met a racer/mechanic female protagonist! Though our Rae is set to become a teacher, her hobbies and abilities are not limited to it and that's a character arc I've tremendously loved.

I was just a little bit - for the lack of a better term - unsatisfied. The story happened within a year and it left so many questions unanswered. Not sure if it was intentional to keep the readers imagining. As a reader however, I would like to have an understanding of what have happened in the past in order to have better judgement. But I was left guessing the following:

a) What really happened to Tessa, Rae and Mike? (Like, I get the gist but shouldn't there be more to it)
b) When did the parents pass? Money started to become an issue? (From the looks of it, yes. But it also sounded that they're well-off in the beginning, so what happened?)
c) What Jason supposed to be an LI as well?
d) Where is the follow-up on the racing encounter with Mike?
e) How did Rae end up with Jason when there is really no chemistry? Wait, what? REALLY?
f) What's the podcast for, to be honest?

and more. The fluidity of the story wasn't as smooth as I expected, it really felt like half of the story is missing and tropes that were mixed up just didn't work well together. But what I loved most are family dynamics, diversity and the rawness of life struggles. I want more racing, I want more car scenes and I want more girl power.

The Art of Shifting Gears is 5% cars, 50% life problems and 45% boy drama. But banters are to look forward to. The story has so much potential but needs a little bit polishing in my opinion. Would have been a lot better if 'sub-scenes' (or back story) have follow-ups and if prose didn't just jump over one another.

Thank you, Anvil Publishing, for the review copy!

"When things left unsaid and emotions left unexpressed have been stewing for so long, they become dense. They weigh a person down, the grime of pain sticks to their skin, forms a permanent lump in their throats that keep them from breathing normally ever again."

Sunday, October 22, 2017

DEWEY'S READATHON REVIEW: THE SUN AND HER FLOWERS BY RUPI KAUR.


Title: The Sun and Her Flowers
Author: Rupi Kaur
Series: Standalone
Edition: Paperback
Publication: October 3rd 2017 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Source: Bought from National Bookstore
Pages: 249 pages
Genre: Poetry

Synopsis:

From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.

Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.

this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year
they will teach you
that people too
must wilt
fall
root
rise
in order to bloom

PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE:


Trigger Warning - Rape

The Sun and Her Flowers is my first Rupi Kaur book, I must say that I enjoyed and connected to it the most part. The verses bring awareness to issues people would normally ignore and some had hit home. Most of my fave parts left me uttering what-the-fucks because of how real and strong they were.

However, it was a little bit of a let down. Maybe because of my high-expectations brought by the hype. A lot of the verses or topics confused me. What also weirded me out is that the book is chopped in to 5 chapters but some entries do not feel like they were in the correct chapter? Most of my feelings jumped between the previous chapters and the verse I was at. Also, a chunk of it bore me. To death. The illustration also wasn't my cup of tea.

The Sun and Her Flowers is an okay read. I loved the cover and I liked it enough to rate it 3 stars. I will definitely pick up Milk and Honey, there might be more feels in there.

"it isn't what we left behind
that breaks me
it's what we could've built
Had we stayed"

Saturday, October 21, 2017

DEWEY'S 24-HOUR READATHON 2017.


I am so thrilled to participate in the Dewey's 24-hour Readathon this year! I've always wanted to join but I have too many excuses in the past but today, I summoned all my courage and signed-up! This year is the first time I will join so I am a little bit ambitious, the books I decided to read are just around 150 pages each or less and these should be easy reads. That is if I could keep up with stay up all night. Here they are:



The stack above (except Kaur's) are all from Filipino Authors (so technically, all books are diverse). I have 7 books with a total of 1096 pages. I should be able to finish them all in one day but knowing how easily I could fall asleep, I dunno how much I could get done. So let's see how I go! Can't wait!!

Are you also participating in this year's readathon? What are you planning to read?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

REVIEW: THE MAPS THAT CONTAIN US BY MARLA MINIANO.

Title: The Maps That Contain Us
Authors: Marla Miniano, Reese Lansangan
Series: Standalone
Edition: Paperback
Publication: September 2017 by Summit Books
Source: Bought from National Bookstore
Pages: 99
Genre: Poetry

Synopsis:
What are the places that have transformed you? What are the cities you’ll never forget? What are the paths that will forever mark your soul?

In creating their new book of poetry and flash fiction, The Maps That Contain Us, bestselling author Marla Miniano and singer/songwriter Reese Lansangan write about the restless, unforgettable migrations of their spirits. From Ann Siang Road in Singapore to Matnog in Sorsogon, from Amsterdam to Tokyo to Hawaii, they explore love, loss, life, and loneliness in this collection, hoping to finally find their place in this world.

LOCATE THE BOOK HERE:
National Bookstore ▴ BookSale Store ▴ Fullybooked

"Guard your heart, the blues and the purples of it,
close it and lock it and slode the key under
the threadbare carpet for now. Don't worry,
you will find it when you need to. It can
wait. Close your heart, love, but open
your mouth to speak just before you leave--
not to say goodbye, but to tell him you're done
breaking. There are only pinks and golds
in your horizon, and even indelible ink
washes off in time, fades out the way voices
in the night do. And when he laughs
and tells you to save it for yourself, don't
allow yourself to shut down. Even when
he says it again and again: save it for yourself.
Save it for yourself. Run a hand over your face,
everything is in place, remember,
tear your eyes away from his mouth, still
moving, trace a path to the front door, and
save yourself. --MM"

The first time I heard of this book on Twitter, I knew I had to get it. I just knew. The gut-feeling that it's something I would enjoy was just there, flickering. You know that saying about trusting your gut? Damn son, my gut was right because I LOVED THIS!

As a frustrated artist, I admire prints that are done in watercolor. The Maps That Contain Us has these illustrations on the cover that are catchy and pretty much sold me the book. I cannot tell you how much I adore the cover alone! It showcases the talent of the illustrator and it gets you intrigued by just one look. Not only that, the illustrations inside are all gallery worthy I wanna frame them all and hang them on my wall so when I look at them, I will be reminded of how beautiful this book is.

Such a tiny book but is full-packed with the things that make your heart ache. The loss and longing in this book are all so deep I can't help contemplate about such sensitive topics in my life. That raw pain in there was just so strong I am at a loss for words. There's nothing more painful than knowing the story behind an art and this little book is surprisingly such a beautiful outlet of the said pain. The prose was alluring and it felt like - *snaps fingers* - a comfort and reassurance that every thing is going to be okay. You know when you also get that sentimental feeling that when you go to a certain place, you associate it with a memory? This book is THAT, exactly and it is beyond beautiful.

The Maps that Contain Us has impacted me in ways I didn't anticipate. It speaks to me. I loved the prose, writing style combinations, illustrations and cover. This book is written from the soul, a masterpiece that mirrors the heart, sorrow and all.

"I keep coming back
Not because I love you best
But I had you first -RL"

Monday, October 16, 2017

REVIEW: THE PROBLEM WITH BEING LAURA BY AVA FELIZ.

Title: The Problem with Being Laura
Author: Ava Feliz
Series: Standalone
Edition: Paperback
Publication: February 2017 by Spark Books
Source: Finished copy provided by the publisher
Pages: 104
Genre: New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:

Laura Bayani is the most rigid person you’ll ever meet, from her white long-sleeved blouses with starched collars to her knee-length black skirts to her three-inch high heels. While her colleagues value her efficiency, it hasn’t won her any friends. For a promotion at work, Laura is advised that she has to prove she has the social skills to be an effective manager. Her colleague, Mikaela Perez and her brother, Miguel, agree to help. However, her every effort is met with disaster, and Laura feels increasingly unsure as she tries to break free from her self-imposed chains.

Will Laura have the courage to find herself, and maybe even love, to achieve things beyond her wildest dreams?

PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE:

Laura is an achiever and a breadwinner. She cannot afford to lax due to her responsibilities at home and this pushed her to be serious at work. She was then bullied, called 'Ice Queen' and she's always the center of rumors. These made her keep to herself and not talk to anyone, it's like she's always sarcastic or mad when she does. She learned not to smile and shut the world around her. Until social skills is her key to get that promotion.

I absolutely enjoyed The Problem With Being Laura. From seeing her get bullied to freeing herself slowly with the help of her friends, it's something remarkable and definitely a thing I could relate to. It's always magic to witness how love (in any form) can transform lives. Laura showed me the side of life where lemons make people so salty they turn to stone and she also showed me how it could be undone. Laura's determination and open-mindedness helped her find the real her which led her to her happiness and I kinda envy that. The 'steps' she took cracked her hard core shell bit by bit and that is so fascinating to watch her development unfold. It's practically seeing a cocoon be a beautiful butterfly. (I cannot think of a better analogy, sorry)

I love her ways of getting what she wants and I truly understand why she sometimes snaps at her friends. She's lucky she has friends - namely Mikaela and Miguel.

Speaking of Miguesl.. Ahem, Miguel, ahem!!!! Miguel is not only dreamy but I think he exists only in fiction and dreams! The way she pursued Laura IS. EVERYTHING! He's such a big help in cracking Laura's armor and their "dates" (Kart racing, plane riding etc) are all drool-worthy. I mean, GOALS.

The Problem with Being Laura is such a feel-good read and definitely recommendable! Adventurous and quirky, this book is magic!

Thank you Anvil Publishing for the copy!

"She looked at him, standing so close to her. This guy who leaped from being a stranger to someone who could read her and her wishes, and tried to make them come true. This guy whose brown eyes and actions had been telling her something the past few weeks."

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:
AmazoniBooksKobo


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?
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