Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord + Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong


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

I spent four hours catching up and listing down books from Goodreads. I'm ashamed and at the same time surprised at the number of books that was new to me. I read through all the book descriptions and took note of the titles. Some of those jumped out at me, such as The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord and Empire of Night by Kelley Armstrong.

**Don't forget to join the giveaway: Win signed copies of Ignite Me + A Thousand Pieces of You or a book worth $15 from Book Depo!


Book Description:

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: March 31st 2015

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for a year, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

Why I Chose this Book: I have chosen this mainly because of the good feedback for her first book, Open Road Summer, which I'm dying to read. I just can't seem to find a copy and I always get distracted. On the other hand, who could say no to that gorgeous cover huh? I love the sunset effect - it looks absolutely romantic and nostalgic at the same time.

Book Description:

Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: April 7th 2015

Sisters Moria and Ashyn are the Keeper and Seeker of Edgewood. Or at least, they were.

Their village is gone. Their friends have betrayed them. And now, the emperor has sent them on a mission to rescue the children of Edgewood—accompanied by Prince Tyrus and a small band of imperial warriors. But the journey proves more perilous than they could have imagined. With treachery and unrest mounting in the empire, Moria and Ashyn will have to draw on all their influence and power to overcome deadly enemies—not all of them human—and even avert an all-out war.

Why I Chose This: I loved, loved, loved Sea of Shadows - the first book. It was one of the best fantasy books that I read. I loved how the author dragged the budding romance, so much so that I wanted to trap the couples together in an isolated island myself. Looking forward to more epicness!

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


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fragments of Life 2.0: New Look + Giveaway!

Introducing Fragments of Life 2.0: more reviews, new features and new look! Hey guys, did you see what Hazel from Stay Bookish did to my blog?? She gave it a makeover! What do you think? It also came with a blog button. :)



Ahem, of course this deserves a bit of a celebration. I have been using the old blog layout for more than four years. Honestly, it feels liberating to actually move on to something else - something new. Hence, this beautiful, corkboard background with notepad and post-its with washi tape theme. (Thanks Hazel!)

I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank you, my special reader, for sticking with me for the last four years and nine months. It really means a lot to me that you guys would actually hit follow on this blog and be interested on what I have to say about books, authors and book-related events and stuff. Especially considering that I have been on a semi-hiatus for months (that ends now, though). Moving forward, I'm gearing up for late 2014 and early 2015. Seriously, I love you all! I'm really low profile when it comes to blogoversaries and I rarely speak out about it. A giveaway is way overdue, but before I go on to that, here are some of the things that are coming to the blog soon:

  1. Features posts wherein I eat, read and treat you to specific food mentioned in books. (Yes, I'm really looking forward to this one. You just can't imagine how much.)
  2. Indie Friday! So, it's not a secret that I support YA and NA indie authors. So I'm thinking of making this promoting-indie-authors thing a Friday thing. It could be every two weeks, though.
  3.  More reviews. Here are the reviews I have scheduled: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, Proxy, Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little, The Young Elites by Marie Lu, A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray, and more.

There are two giveaways - one for PH residents and one for international readers.

**Guys, I just corrected the link to the site, for the tweet entries. Thanks to Dianne from Oops! I Read A Book Again, for informing me!


Giveaway #1: Win signed copies of Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi + A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray! Open to PH residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway #2: For my international readers, you could win a book worth $15 from the Book Depository. Open internationally

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Review + Giveaway: The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft by Lola Salt

Book Description:
The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft by Lola Salt
(Lara Craft Saga #1)
Publication date: October 7th 2014
Genres: Comedy, New Adult, Romance

Synopsis:

From bestselling authors Becky Wicks (Before He Was Famous, Before He Was Gone) and Sarah Alderson (Hunting Lila, Fated, Come Back to Me) comes a new romance with a difference…

After losing her job and her boyfriend on the same day, Lara’s beginning to wonder if her life can possibly get any worse. Then along comes Jamie, a childhood friend, offering her a job delivering mysterious packages to random destinations around the world and suddenly things are looking up.

Lara packs her bags and sets off on an epic adventure, meeting billionaire Arabic Princes, rugged cowboys, a sparkling wannabe vampire, a love guru with sex on the brain and Angelina Jolie’s bodyguards along the way. But though trouble always seems to find Lara, it seems love is rather more elusive.

Pack your bags. The adventure’s about to begin!

Goodreads | Amazon

Reviewer's Copy: E-ARC

Source: Xpresso Book Tours (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft was definitely one of the craziest, most unique New Adult novels I have ever read so far. I didn't know what to expect in the beginning but I was happy and satisfied with the story in the end.

Let me start with Lara: smart, funny, a bit out of control, impulsive at times and a whole lot of crazy. At first, I had laughed, startled and panicked at her little acts of living the life and making the most out of everything. She was quite the imperfect heroine, getting into all sorts of mess from running away from a cowboy who wanted to marry her, to getting high and getting caught, and to reading too much into actions that she did not see the truth in front of her. I liked how Lola Salt brought Lara's character so far down, into the depths of being broke, feeling lost and feeling just plain hurt, and then moving her through a series of reflections about life and about herself. She turned out to be a girl with a golden heart who made the right decisions, for the things that really mattered.

While Lara worked for Calibre Concierge, she was immersed in various cultures and societies. This was the part that I liked the most out of the book, aside from the humor. It was a feast for one's palate, in terms of the culture. Lara traipsed around UK, LA, Dubai, Australia, Bali and Somalia, delivering packages and meeting new people and friends. I particularly liked how Lola Salt captured the uniqueness and eccentricities of the cultures involved. In traveling, Lara found her true self and the right path for her.


Jamie was Lara's knight and shining armor. Gone were the nerdy looks. He was handsome, charming and thoughtful. I just felt that it would have been better if I had come to know him better, the same way I knew Lara by the end of the novel. He was such an intriguing character; despite the exotic cast in the book, he stood out for me.

The entire cast of characters were alive. I felt that they were not just stuffed into the novel, but actually served a purpose. They felt real to me. Alf, the startling and cursing Aussie; Tyler, the sexy Christian cowboy - I just found him to be adorable with his innocence and newfound interest in expressing his feelings; CP, the gay Arabian prince - he was my favorite secondary character, full of life and surprises.

Injected with craziness, whimsy, sexual and emotional tension, hesitation and humor, The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft would not fail to entertain. It had the humor of Confessions of a Shopaholic, coupled with the craziness and whimsy, hot-and-cold romance, travels and adventures. Exotic and culturally flavorful, The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft would appeal to different reader appetites. I recommend this to readers who would like to read about travelling, adventure and humorous contemporary New Adult.

Rating:

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

About the Authors:
Lola Salt is the pen name for two bestselling authors: Sarah Alderson & Becky Wicks.

Becky has written several non-fiction travel diaries for Harper Collins; Burqualicious, Balilicious & Latinalicious, and the new adult Starstruck Series featuring Before He Was Famous, Before He Was Gone and Before He Was a Secret.

Sarah is better known for her Young Adult novels, particularly the critically acclaimed Hunting Lila series (published by Simon & Schuster), as well as the Fated series. She also wrote the new adult romance Come Back To Me under another pen name of Mila Gray.

The two authors met in Bali. Come visit us sometime and we’ll buy you a coconut.

Author links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads



Giveaway Alert!


Open internationally. 15 ebook copies of The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft


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Thursday, November 06, 2014

Review + Giveaway: Fall Like Rain by Ana Tejano

Hi guys,I'm excited to review a novel written by a fellow Filipina. It falls under the contemporary romance genre. Do stick around for the giveaway at the end! :)

Book Description:

Rain De Castro has been in love with her best friend, Mark Velasco, for almost the entire time she has known him, but she’s clearly in the friend zone because he’s happily in a relationship. Or so she thought, until the news of his break-up reaches her. Now that Mark’s single again, she decides that it’s time to get out of the zone. But when her cousin Lissa comes into the picture and sets her eyes on Mark, Rain feels troubled when he gets a little too friendly with her. Rain is determined to fight for what she feels this time, but is it worth the effort if it's a losing battle from the start? Will she back off to give way for her best friend's happiness, even if it means losing him to someone else again?

Goodreads | Smashwords | Amazon | Paperback order form

Reviewer's Copy: e-ARC

Source: Ana Tejano and Pinoy Book Tours(Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Fall Like Rain crawled its way into my heart. The story itself was simple and yet compelling. I was compelled to read as fast as I could. The writing was what I would consider superfluous - it just flowed from one scene to the next and the chapters were stitched together seamlessly. There were common elements based on the usual plotlines of Pinoy stories, but the author put so much life and color into the pages that it was enjoyable.

Initially, I found Rain to be naive and clueless. All the signs told her (and me) that Mark liked her more than a friend. But as the story progressed and Mark's history was revealed, I understood Rain's situation better. Aside from that, I also empathized with her. Rain was a typical Filipina, who was eager to find love once and for all. Let's move on to Mark. He was the thoughtful and do-it-all-for-you best friend, the knight in shining armor and the charmer. He had a soft spot for Rain and I liked how he came clean about his feelings and how he cared for her.

The romance aspect of the book was one of the things I liked most. It was a sweet kind of romance, lingering on the push-pull dynamics between Rain and Mark. It was drastically long since they stuck in the friend zone. I kept cheering them on, mentally pushing Rain and Mark together. Their interaction and banter were so sweet and cute. There were lots of "kilig" moments, the kind that brought butterlies in your stomach. I really enjoyed reading about these two, how their relationship slipped from friendship to something more, to spotting clues of the telltale signs of Mark's affection. I mused and investigated along with Rain.

The Filipino roots and culture within the novel were apparent: the extended family set-up, stretching from the parents, to the grandparents, to the cousins; the family events such as weddings, birthdays and the social responsibilities that came with attending and not attending; the ambiance at the workplace, wherein your coworkers could also be your friend, the ties were a bit closer than usual.

Fall Like Rain was a New Adult novel that read like Young Adult. It was a charming, wake-up-the-butterflies-in-your-stomach comfort read. You could finish this in one sitting. I recommend it to readers of contemporary romance.

Rating:

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


About the Author:

Ana Tejano has been in love with words and writing ever since she met Elizabeth Wakefield when she was in Grade 3. She has contributed several non-fiction pieces in print and online publications, and has been blogging for years. When she’s not writing, she works as a marketing lead for a multinational company by day, manages a book club, and serves in her church community in every other time that she doesn’t spend reading or sleeping. She lives in Metro Manila and is also known by another name in her other circles (but it’s not a secret identity, really).

Twitter | Facebook | Wattpad


Giveaway:


3 copies of Fall Like Rain ebook (International)
1 signed copy of Fall Like Rain paperback (PH)


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Friday, October 24, 2014

Review: Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Book Description:

Hardcover, 275 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by HarperTeen

Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.

Reviewer's Copy: ARC

Source: Harper Collins(Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Illusions of Fate was set in a colonial period alternate world, with a strong vibe of historical fiction. There was a struggle and tension between the Albens and the Melenese. The story world presented a colonial experience that was both a reality and a history for many people around the world.

Finn and Jessamin were two of my most favorite characters. Being both Alben and Melenese, Jessamin was stuck in between, not as dark as her people but not as fair and pale of skin as the Albens. Studying in Albion, made her standout as an outcast. She seemed so out of place yet she was determined to survive. She had a strong spirit and an even stronger dedication to her people. She wanted to finish school and to be a teacher back in her island. Finn, on the other hand, was filled with mystery and charm. In the beginning, I even thought that he was the bad guy. But as the story moved forward, his protective layers and "public face" were peeled off, revealing the true Finn. He was not your typical noble. He was open minded, which seemed too advanced for the period they were in, and had a kind heart.

The secondary characters were also bright and radiant, shining along with the main characters. Sir Bird, an unlikely ally, had become my favorite literary pet. Although wordless, his (not an it as Jessamin would say) eye contact, caws, movements and beak-thrusting-into-the-air could convey so much meaning. Because of this, I found myself amazed with Kiersten White. She was able to "humanize" a crow so effectively. Eleanor was another bright star of the show. She was extremely loyal, smart and fun. She brought color and humor into the story. I just loved reading about her ramblings, her gossips and her plans.

Albion has a highly political society. The hierarchy was apparent, though it was not as detailed as I would have wanted it to be. As the story unfolded, magic's role in the society was emphasized - how it could create both order and chaos, and establish the grounds for changes. Although there were predictable variables in the novel, there were also unpredictable elements and twists.

The writing was smooth and beautiful, as it was in her debut Paranormalcy. White was a good a storyteller. What I liked most about her novels was the humorous tone and wit that were embedded in the pages. Nothing was ever boring in the hands of White. The characters' lines had me thoroughly entertained, cracking up with laughter and smiling. The banter between characters seemed so natural.

I loved that this novel was a standalone but I hated that I would not get to read about Finn more. I would have very much wanted to find out more about his past and how he came to be such a gentleman. Aside from that, there was a specific scene in the book related to the antagonist that troubled me. It remained a question in my head until the very end.

Illusions of Fate was a captivating and humorous colonial period fantasy. With explosions of magic, tragedy, social politics and twists and turns, Illusions of Fate will satisfy readers of fantasy and historical fiction. I recommend this to people who are looking for the following:YA books with humor and wit, colonial-period historical fiction (the likes of The Winner's Curse) and a quick read.

Rating:


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


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Release Day Celebration: Giveaway: Loop by Karen Akins

Hi guys! I'm happy to be a part of this release day book blast hosted by Amber from Me, My Shelf and I. Stick around for a giveaway at the end. :)


Book Description:

Loop (Loop #1)
Author: Karen Akins
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

Goodreads
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

Praise:

"A creative take on romance in a high-stakes, high-concept mystery that trusts its readers' intelligence." - Kirkus

"LOOP is a page-turning adventure with some brilliant and original twists to the time travel genre. I devoured the entire book in one sitting!" - Julie Cross, Author of the TEMPEST series

"Hilarious and suspenseful with a delicious dash of romance, LOOP is a mind-bending good time!" - Melissa Landers, Author of the ALIENATED series


About The Author:

Karen Akins lives in the MidSouth where she writes humorous, light YA sci-fi. When not writing or reading, she loves lightsaber dueling with her two sons and forcing her husband to watch BBC shows with her.

Karen has been many things in her life: an archery instructor, drummer for the shortest-lived garage band in history, and a shockingly bad tic-tac-toe player.

Follow Karen: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram | Pinterest | Wattpad



Giveaway Alert!

Must be 13+ To Enter | Ships in US Only

One Winner will get a signed final copy of LOOP + a swag pack


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Friday, October 17, 2014

Review: Blackbird by Anna Carey

Book Description:

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 16th 2014 by HarperTeen

This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.

A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.

On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.

The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists.

Reviewer's Copy: ARC

Source: Harper Collins(Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

I expected Blackbird to be something like The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings, in the sense that there would be chasing, hunting and killing. I was pleasantly surprised to find a mystery/thriller with a strong contemporary vibe. At first, I was taken aback with the second person narration. I found it to be unique and extremely risky. Because of this, I got to participate in the heroine's journey. I, myself, became the heroine in a sense. Though I struggled a bit in the beginning because of the second person POV, eventually I got accustomed to it.

I had come to know the little bit of Sunny that was revealed in the story: quick hands, quiet footsteps, smart and a little bit lost, curious and passionate. Through the flashbacks, small details were given, enough to make sense of the puzzle that was Sunny's life.

Blackbird had startlingly violent bursts of action and adrenaline all over it. This was coupled with the heroine's lack of memory, which made things more interesting. There was something cinematic, heart-pounding-panting-in-the-moment vibe about these events. The second person narration could be a factor in this effect, as I, the reader, was involved.

Throughout the story, the questions, that were buzzing around my head like bees, were answered one by one. But I am a bit frustrated that there was one question, the most important one for me, that remained unanswered. The curiosity about Sunny's past before she was thrown into the wild chaos drove me crazy. That burning curiosity alone, though, was enough to make me rush through the pages. The ending was hopeful and was the perfect surprise for a weak and bone-tired Sunny.

Blackbird was a limb-jolting-read-at-the-edge-of-your-seat and one-of-a-kind mystery thriller. With a contemporary vibe, a dash of romance, a handful of crimson violence and adrenaline rush, and a smattering of colorful memories, readers would be entertained, mind-boggled, and delighted. The second person narration might not be for everybody. But I would recommend that you try it out for yourself. This book is ideal for readers who want a short, can-be-finished-in-one-sitting book, readers who want mystery thrillers and finally, readers who are interested in books tackling memory.

Rating:


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