Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Compulsion by Martina Boone + Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.

Hi guys! For Waiting on Wednesday today, I'm featuring Compulsion by Martina Boone + Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Aside from the gorgeous cover, the summaries are catchy.

Book Description:

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Beautiful Creatures meets The Body Finder in this spellbinding new trilogy.

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson had been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Why I Chose This: This is the best "fusion-y" book ever. I love The Beautiful Creatures and am deeply intrigued by The Body Finder. I can't wait to actually read detailed reviews of this book. It sounds really, really, really, really promising. *grabby hands*

Book Description:

Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: March 26, 2015

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn't know she had. Except . . . her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.

Why I Chose this Book: Ever since reading The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski, I've been on the lookout for promising (oh yes, promising is the word of the day for me) fantasy reads. I like the color themes and of course, the amount of danger that the synopsis presents. In line with The Winner's Curse, there is also a master-slave hierarchy, which is bound to be interesting.

If you happen to drop by, kindly leave your Waiting on Wednesday links below so I could visit you, too!


Friday, August 08, 2014

Review: Wicked Games by Sean Olin

Book Description:

Hardcover, 343 pages
Published June 10th 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books

Wicked Games is the first book in a sexy thriller series where passion, lies, and revenge collide-perfect for fans of Simone Elkeles and Sara Shepard.

To all the locals in the small beach town of Dream Point, Carter and Lilah seem like the perfect It Couple-but their relationship is about to brutally unravel before everyone's eyes.

Carter has always been a good guy, and while Lilah has a troubled past, she's been a loyal girlfriend for the last four years. When smart, sexy Jules enters the picture at a senior-year bash, Carter succumbs to temptation. And when Lilah catches wind of his betrayal, she decides that Jules needs to pay.

By the end of the summer, the line between right and wrong will be blurred beyond recognition. Blood will be shed. Nothing in Dream Point will ever be the same.

This juicy summer read will keep readers turning pages until the shocking, nail-biting finale.

Reviewer's Copy: ARC

Source: Harper Collins (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

I admit: Wicked Games was addicting. It was hard to put down and at the times when I did, I felt that the intrigue, the dirty bits and the steam were pulling me back, sucking me back to the story. Though it was enjoyable, it was not the "ideal" read for me.

Dream Point was every bit as dreamy as I thought it would be when it came down to the ambiance, the sweet and hot rush of romance, the fun memories and all the sugary stuff. But it also has a darker side: jealousy, betrayal amidst shadows and waves and dirty secrets. I liked that the story revolved around the unraveling and solidifying of two separate relationships. It was the rise and fall of connection, emotional ties and romance as we know it.

Lilah and Carter's relationship was in shambles. There were down sides for the couple: Lilah was a bit paranoid and out of control while Carter had too little control. It was an emotional roller coaster for me. Seeing Lilah's heart get broken, her tears and eventually plotting and retaliating, was emotionally exhausting. I could feel her pain. On Carter's side, I could see how he tired he was and how the relationship he had with Lilah was damaging him. It was no longer healthy for both parties. He did not plan to get tangled up with Jules but in the presence of luscious, sexy Jules, his weakness got to him. This was the second contemporary book that I read with cheating in it. It was and always will be an uncomfortable topic for me. In Wicked Games, it was even more highlighted as it became the spark to the entire disaster. What I did not like about this was how Carter seemed so insensitive about what he did. Though with the whirlwind romance that he was experiencing with Jules, I couldn't blame him if his focus went to an entirely different way.

Individually and separately, I liked reading about Jules, Carter and Lilah. It reminded me of my youth, raging feelings and how the present felt like the most important thing in the world. Each one of them had their ups and downs. They were perfectly imperfect: the justified representation of a true human being. They made mistakes, they made special moments and they were 100% real.

Overall Wicked Games was an intense, steamy edge-of-your-seat read. This is perfect for people who enjoy reads (and TV shows) with drama, betrayal and evil plotting. It was a fast read for me. I felt like I was watching a show on TV, getting into the heads of the characters but not getting too emotionally attached.

Rating:


3 Cupids = Unrequited book love. Had certain expectations for the book. The book was flawed but I still enjoyed it.


Friday, August 01, 2014

Cover Reveal: Day Zero by Summer Lane

Hi guys! I'm happy to be a part of this cover reveal for DAY ZERO. The author is really nice. :) So if you're up for a post-apocalyptic read, check out the description below.

Book Description:

Title: Day Zero
Author: Summer Lane, author of the bestselling Collapse Series
Release Date: Fall 2014
Cover Artist: Arkadiusz Ostrycharz
Official Website: http://summerlaneauthor.com



Synopsis:

Elle is a survivor.
Ever since the collapse of modern society, she’s been living in the remains of downtown Hollywood, California, foraging for food and fighting for her life.
And then everything changes.
After Elle is forced out of her home, she heads north. What she finds are the remains of a juvenile delinquent camp, a group of unlikely comrades and the hope of a safe haven. Together, they journey toward the remains of civilization, facing starvation, imprisonment and death.
They are alone, but they are ready.
The end begins today. On Day Zero.

Day Zero is a Young Adult post-apocalyptic survival/adventure novel.

Add to your shelf on Goodreads!

About the Author

Summer Lane is the author of the national bestselling YA/NA Romantic Adventure novels of The Collapse Series. She is an experienced publicist, creative writing teacher and lover of all things feline. Summer owns WB Publishing, a digital publishing company devoted to releasing exciting survival and adventure stories. Summer is also the creator of the online magazine/blog, Writing Belle, and the developer of an upcoming children's creative writing program, The Art of Storytelling. She works as a journalist for Traffic Magazine, as well.

Summer lives in the Central Valley of California, where she spends her time writing, teaching, and writing some more. When she is not writing, she enjoys leisurely visits with friends at coffee shops, watching movies, reading, and visiting the beach or the mountains.

Follow Summer: Twitter | Website

So, what do you think of the cover or the book in general? :)


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review: The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno

Book Description:

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published July 8th 2014 by HarperTeen

You take it for granted. Waking up. Going to school, talking to your friends. Watching a show on television or reading a book or going out to lunch.

You take for granted going to sleep at night, getting up the next day, and remembering everything that happened to you before you closed your eyes.

You live and you remember.

Me, I live and I forget.

But now—now I am remembering.

For all of her seventeen years, Molly feels like she’s missed bits and pieces of her life. Now, she’s figuring out why. Now, she’s remembering her own secrets. And in doing so, Molly uncovers the separate life she seems to have led…and the love that she can’t let go.

The Half Life of Molly Pierce is a suspenseful, evocative psychological mystery about uncovering the secrets of our pasts, facing the unknowns of our futures, and accepting our whole selves.

Reviewer's Copy: ARC

Source: Harper Collins (Thanks!!)

My Thoughts:

Getting into Molly's head was definitely interesting. Clipped line of thought, gaping holes in between consciousness, hazy memory, and specks of recalls kept me thoroughly engrossed and intrigued. Molly as a whole was complex. There were buried secrets in her being that were slowly being unraveled with each flashback. The flashbacks fit into the "gaping holes of Molly's mental calendar."

The narration and the way the author presented the story so effective, in conveying the emotional and mental state of Molly. The interrupted line of thought, Molly's hesitant, indecisive way of thinking and the doubt that always lingered in her mind nailed it. The writing style was raw, evocative and deeply poetic. I could feel wave after wave of emotions. Molly's reflections on life, loss, pain, time, and memory were colorful and to an extent life-changing. These are eye-openers to reality. I really enjoyed reading about her thoughts.

There were minor characters that seemed so integral to the story, for me. The love interest, Sayer, just stood out for me. He exuded a strong sense of mystery. Although he was genuine, kind and thoughtful; really, just a perfect gentleman, he has a way of acting that made me know he had secrets up his sleeve. Nevertheless, I adored him.

In the process of unraveling her own past and history, Molly was undoing herself and rebuilding her life with block after block of memory and analysis. The journey with Molly was a roller coaster ride. I felt confused, intrigued, horrified, nervous, sad, hopeless, hopeful, grateful, overjoyed, hypnotized, tired and exhausted. But in the end, it was all worth it. Although some questions were left unanswered, some questions sprung to life at the end, in my mind, I was satisfied with Molly's discovery.

The Half Life of Molly Pierce is a a raw and evocative psychological novel that will keep readers flipping through the pages until the end. I remember how I got goosebumps while flipping through various suspenseful scenes. It's scary how I got scared when I know that it was a contemporary (and that no one was gonna die or was dying in the book but still...) In truth, I felt that the book was engrossing and hypnotic - not only with its words and the beautiful writing, but also with the twists and turns that the author spun and the charming double romance. I strongly recommend this to readers who enjoy books with a contemporary feel and psychological reads.


Rating:


4 Cupids = Strong book love.
I really enjoyed this. I recommend this!


Monday, July 07, 2014

Out and About: Stephanie Perkins in Manila + Giveaway: Signed Anna and the French Kiss!


Out and about is a feature here on Fragments of Life for events, book launches and movie adaptations.

For the fifth Out and about, I’ll talk about meeting the lively and lovely Stephanie Perkins, the author of the bestselling books Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door and of course, the upcoming Isla and the Happily Ever After!

The Basics:

Who:

Photo Credit to the enthusiastic admin of Stephanie Perkins PH, Kayla from the Bookish Owl!

The author is: Stephanie Perkins!
The Organizer is: National BookStore.

What books:


When: July 6, 2014, two in the afternoon

Where: National Book Store, Glorietta 1

How aka details:

Photo credit to Kate from the Bookaholic Blurbs!

Throughout the event, I got to meet Stephanie Perkins and get to know her more as a writer and as a person. I learned the following:
  • According to Stephanie, you can write a book that feels realistically in a foreign country and never leave your home if you know how to read a book well and pull the correct information out of it. She was really lucky that she had the finances to fly to Paris and research for Anna.
  • While in Paris, she read every book she could find and just try to get that full cultural immersion via books.
  • Stephanie Perkins was a librarian. (And librarians are very, very good at research.) *winks*
  • Out of all the male characters, Crickett was the one that was most similar to Stephanie's husband, Jarrod. In addition to this, she wrote a little bit of Jarrod into all the male main characters. He is her inspiration, which is just so sweet and touching. She met her husband when she was 17 and she is currently living her happily ever after with him.
  • She has an upcoming book in 2015, currently found on her website as "Untitled Horror Novel." It is a contemporary horror - based on real life horror and not in supernatural/paranormal-influenced ones. Her inspiration for writing horror stories is Stephen King. Our lovely author actually really likes horror.
  • Anna and the French Kiss was a product of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It took Stephanie seven years to finish the book.
  • When it comes to writing, she writes quite slowly. If we would put together Anna, Lola and Isla, Stephanie would write 10 pages per day on an average. (Which is just fine as I have started her book and found it very well-written!)
  • Series vs companion books. Anna, Lola and Isla are considered not as companion books but as installments of a series. The reason behind this was that Stephanie adores her lovelies, aka characters - whether minor or important ones, so much. So she writes stories for all of them and they are not forgotten. She wants to focus on each one of them and explore their stories. Also, in every book, there is a plot, a conflict. She doesn't want the same character to keep suffering until the final book. Hence, the switch of focus to the other characters. (I feel that she wants all of her characters to have a happily ever after.

Me, Stephanie Perkins and signed books!



Because Kai's selfie-snapping skill is improving, I just had to post this. :)

Giveaway Alert: I got an extra copy of Anna and the French Kiss, for a lucky reader who wasn't able to go to the signing yesterday. So you guys know the drill. :) If you have questions/comments/reactions, please do leave them below! Thanks for sticking until the end of the post. :)

"You are one lucky reader." The prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

NBS team continues to amaze me with their utter awesomeness! Thank you, thank you, thank you for the surprise ARC of Isla and the Happily Ever After! Thanks to National Book Store for the amazing event!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review: Rain by Amanda Sun

Book Description:

Paperback, 304 pages
Published June 24th 2014 by Harlequin Teen

American Katie Green has decided to stay in Japan. She's started to build a life in the city of Shizuoka, and she can't imagine leaving behind her friends, her aunt and especially Tomohiro, the guy she's fallen in love with. But her return is not as simple as she thought. She's flunking out of Japanese school and committing cultural faux pas wherever she goes. Tomohiro is also struggling—as a Kami, his connection to the ancient gods of Japan and his power to bring drawings to life have begun to spiral out of control.

When Tomo decides to stop drawing, the ink finds other ways to seep into his life—blackouts, threatening messages and the appearance of unexplained sketches. Unsure how to help Tomo, Katie turns to an unexpected source for help—Jun, her former friend and a Kami with an agenda of his own. But is Jun really the ally he claims to be? In order to save themselves, Katie and Tomohiro must unravel the truth about Tomo's dark ancestry, as well as Katie's, and confront one of the darkest gods in Japanese legend.

Reviewer's Copy: E-ARC

Source: Amanda Sun (Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

I was totally inlove with the first book, Ink. I had high expectations for the sequel, Rain, and I'm happy to say that Amanda Sun delivered well in the second book. Aside from the ever present Japanese elements in the story, which I love: the cultural manifestation, the mythology and the dialogue and language. Reading Rain gave me the pleasure of being culturally immersed in an exotic setting while enjoying the story.

Katie continued her life as a gaijin in Shizuoka, stumbling over cultural obstacles, cramming for her studies and struggling to help Tomo with his unstable powers. I have grown emotionally attached to Katie. I have felt her confusion, terror, love, pain, sadness and jealousy. Rain was a roller coaster of emotions for me, thrilling and daunting. 

Her relationship with Tomo was beautiful but bumpy - there were always obstacles along the way in the form of the ink's assault and the aftermath of its disasters, Shiori, the overly clingy childhood friend of Tomo, Jun's friendship and Katie's discovery. Amanda Sum developed their relationship well, going through all the motions - getting back together, making up, getting jealous, going through problems (both normal and supernatural) and protecting each other.

Tomo, the Dark Kami prince, was struggling more than ever to stabilize his powers and keep the ink under control. It broke my heart to see him so fragile and out of control, despite all the measures he has gone through. He didn't have a choice at all, with his fate, so much so that the suffering pulsed underneath the pages. With this suffering comes a dark kind of terror. There were times when I had to flip back to a certain scene and reread it again to digest the eccentricity of it. On the other hand,Tomo also had a soft, normal side. He was sweet, thoughtful and filled with surprises. Charming and mysterious, Tomo will continue winning the hearts of readers.

Jun was in the picture more. This was something that I wanted to see in the sequel. With Jun's presence comes explanations and more details into the Kami mythology - what was legend and what was truth. I found him pleasing and charming overall. There were moments when I wanted Katie to be with Jun instead. It was like seeing the perfect future for someone, a perfect what-if. It made my heart ache even more.

Rain was as beautiful as it was exotic. It was a breath of pure, fresh air in the field of YA mythology. With its strong romance, horrifying and hair-raising Kami-related incidents, and adrenaline-pumping scenes, Rain has become one of the most intriguing fantasy/paranormal novels for me. It bordered on horror when Tomo struggled to control the ink. Fans of Anna Dressed in Blood might enjoy this for its otherworldly ink-splattered scenes, enthusiasts of Japanese mythology will devour this book and finally readers who are looking for a true love story (the kind that is balanced) will adore this book. I highly recommend this!

Rating:


5 Cupids = Eternal book love.
I will never ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Out and about: Book Signing with Jenny Han!


Out and about is a feature here on Fragments of Life for events, book launches and movie adaptations.

For the fourth Out and about, I’ll talk about meeting the fun and awesome Jenny Han.

The Basics:

Who:


The author is: Jenny Han!
The Organizer is: National BookStore.

What books:



When: June 21, 2014, afternoon

Where: National Book Store, Glorietta 4

How aka details:


Throughout the event, I got to meet Jenny Han and get to know her more as a writer and as a person. I learned the following:
  • Jenny met her co-author Siobhan in David Leviathan's class (grad school). They became friends, hit it off and eventually started Burn for Burn.
  • When two people are writing a novel, they tend to divide the work per character or per chapter. In Jenny and Siobhan's case, the characters appeared so often in every chapter that they needed to know all of them well enough. They worked together on the book by focusing on the events that they are most excited about.
  • She has written a lot of books but so far she has not run out of ideas. She is a genius and actually has 3 novel ideas buing in her head as of the moment.
  • She was asked if she could write a spin-off for Jeremiah, and why. She flat out said no, because for her Jeremiah was left in a good place and I think she was satisfied with that.
  • Jenny Han likes nail art a lot. She goes to a certain Japanese nail art salon in New York. She also keeps a blog where she posts her nails: Just Another Mani Monday (yeah, like the song.)
  • If she could write herself into one of her books, she would be the nanny in The Summer I Turned Pretty. /li>
  • Quote from Amaterasu Reads: When asked if she was Lara Jean, who would be her Top Five celebrity crushes and which of them will be Peter Kavinsky for her.
    One is Alexander Skarsgard of True Blood. Daryl from Walking Dead. The cop from The Killing, he's a Swedish model. Jaime Lannister from GoT, even without the hand. Jo In Sung and recently, Seo In Guk in Reply 1997
    .
  • My question for Jenny Han: For you, what makes a contemporary novel stand out? Would you branch out into the NA genre? Jenny says that whether a book is contemporary or fantasy or science fiction, it all boils down to these things: the universality of emotions, growing up, pain and suffering. Also, her novels are leaning towards innocence and youth. But at the same time, she believes that YA can also be sexy. In regards to NA, it is an in-between genre. Teens read adult novels and adults read YA. Anybody could read anything and there is this "crossover."
  • In Jenny's books, we see a lot of sister-to-sister dynamics. In her recent book, Lara Jean and Margot reflected Jenny's relationship with her sister. "You always listen to your older sister."
  • It is definitely healthy to write love letters. It really depends on a person. But for Jenny, it could be a way of coping and letting all your feelings flow out of you and onto paper. It's when you explore your deepest feelings.




Signed books (I wasn't able to get a copy of To All The Boys as it was sold out and neither was I able to spot a copy of Fire with Fire - paperback) and shirt!



Each one of us got a surprise ARC of Ashes to Ashes by Jenny Han, the last book (I think) of the series. Big thanks to Jenny and NBS team! I didn't think this kind of thing could happen twice. Thanks to National Book Store for the awesome event!
 
 
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