Friday, December 31, 2010

Out with a Bang Readathon: Mini-challenge



Loud Words and Sounds is hosting a mini-challenge for Day 2 of Out with a Bang Readathon.

Right now, I’m reading Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves.

Fancy was intent on finding a fairy ring in the woods near their house. Kit helped her. But the fairy ring they found didn’t open doors, it did something else. Something creepy.

Kit and Fancy were asked to buy nice dresses for Juneteenth. One of the dresses was a black cotton lace pinafore (this was the best one I could find.)

Everyone in Portero was given a key by the mayor when they were born. Fancy kept her key in a necklace, unlike Kit and Madda who kept their keys on keychains.




Top 10 Reads of 2010 & 2011 Challenges

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I started this blog around February. I never imagined that Fragments of Life would be like this. Blogging for several months has been a wonderful learning experience for me, from writing reviews, to appreciating books, to interviewing authors and to hosting a blog event. 2010 brought lots of blessings (and awesome reads.) Thank you so much to everyone who helped me and had enough faith in Fragments of Life to be one of my lovely followers!

I know this is a little late. But I want to start 2011 by blogging about the top 10 reads of 2010.

Birthmarked by Caragh O’Brien. This is the first book that I received for review! It was just March then, I was only a one-month old blogger and Roaring Brook Press offered me a copy of this amazing dystopian read. Of course, I agreed! And I wasn’t disappointed. This was the first dystopian I’ve ever read – the book that brought my heart close to dystopia, the book that made me rave about dystopia. I loved the story world that Caragh created no matter how sad and harsh it was at times.
                                                               
Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison. Breathtaking, romantic and heart-felt. I borrowed Sing Me to Sleep from the first Filipina blogger that I became friends with, Reggie of the Undercover Booklover. I experienced several firsts with Sing Me to Sleep. It was an ARC. It was the first time I touched an ARC. Plus, it was the first romance story without paranormal elements that I read. Beth and Derek touched my hear, made me cry and made me want a second book with both of them in it.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. This was my first steampunk read. I loved it the same way I loved all of Cassie’s other books – City of Bones, City of Ashes and City of Glass. Shadowhunters never fail to be badass, sexy and humorous. I have to admit that the villain’s spawns in this book made my skin crawl. It was just creepy for me but I liked how this book made me feel that. It just proves how good a writer Cassie is.

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. This is the sequel of Beautiful Creatures, my favorite 2009 book. I loved Beautiful Darkness for its world, characters and magic. This was a powerful and sad read. Better than Beautiful Creatures in every way possible.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. I really, really wanted to understand why people were raving about this book. After working part-time and finding enough money on my hands, I bought this and devoured it! 5 stars on characters and plot. Lend was a very unique character, unforgettable too.

Jane by April Lindner. A rock star and a serious nanny. Dark secrets of the past. Wow. The collision of these two characters turned out to be an enjoyable story with just the right combination of forbidden romance, drama and mystery. The writing was amazing. If the retelling of Jane Eyre was this good, I must read the novel itself soon.


Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. I read this for Christmas Countdown. I was hesitant to read it a few months ago because I thought maybe it would be too Chick Lit, too girly for me. I thought it would be repetitive. I was so wrong. Oliver did an awesome job in telling the story. Nothing was ever the same! What seemed like a very simple day turned out to be a complicated one with several folds of possibilities underneath the events. Thought-provoking and powerful, for me it was the best debut of the year.


Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish Mcbride. Creepy and humorous, this was one of the most unique and most enjoyable YA novels I’ve read this year. Mcbride knew how to make me laugh and how to scare me. This was my introduction to the world of necromancy.

Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton. This was the scary version of Alice and Wonderland. Featuring the wondrous world of Mag Mell and the creatures of darker mythologies of Ireland, this caught my attention. There weren’t much goblins in YA and I never expected the mythology to be twisted in such a way that it was connected to one that I really loved.

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Funny, entertaining, unpredictable and romantic, this novel captured my heart. It reminded me of Blood & Chocolate (the movie – which I loved.) With a great cast for characters, human and wolf, this opened my eyes to the intricate connection within the pack.


This year, I will be joining the Debut Author Challenge for the second time and 100 Books a Year Challenge for the first time – which is perfect for me since my new year’s resolution for the blog is to read and review 100 books in 2011. 




Watch out for reviews of Anxious Hearts, Raised by Wolves, Tyger, Tyger, Trickster’s Girl, Slice of Cherry, Choker and The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter.



Out with a Bang Readathon: Day 2 and Day 3




I just woke up again. Do you know that feeling when your back hurts so much because of sleeping and every time you twisted, your sides hurt? That’s exactly what I feel now. Note-to-self: never ever sleep sideways again. Anyway, I downloaded galleys from Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab and I realized there are only four days left before Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves and Choker by Elizabeth Woods “expire.” Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves was one of the first books I read and reviewed for Fragments of Life. I loved it! So…that explains why I’m speed reading now.

It’s New Year’s Eve later and there’s a possibility that I might not be able to use the laptop. New Year’s Eve in the Philippines is SO noisy. Honestly. Imagine you’re in a room and people outside the room are throwing small dynamites at the outer walls of that room. That’s how noisy it is. It’s part of our culture to shoo the bad things – bad luck, bad spirits – out of our lives. Well, it’s a tradition and I’m fascinated by how much noise our ears could take for it. :)

I’m currently reading and will read:

1.      Trickster’s Girl by Hilari Bell (I wasn’t able to finish it because…I switched to Slice of Cherry – which will vanish in four days.)



2.      Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves (I’m loving it! I really really like Dia’s stories.)


3.      Choker by Elizabeth Woods (Only four more days before this one vanishes too…so I’m grabbing the opportunity to read it. I’ve read lots of good reviews on this one, even 5 out of 5 ratings and all of that made me curious.)


4.      Awakened by Ednah Walters (if there’s still enough time for this, I’ll squeeze it in! Jennilee of Reading Lassie said that she loved Awakened! And Brodie of Eleusinian Mysteries suggested that I read it (for the angels)) so it’s here, listed!



Like yesterday, I’m in need of coffee and sugar and chocolate this time before I start readathoning! I’ll check out some mini-challenges later too. So far, I just joined… one or two.

Happy New Year guys and girls! And! Don’t forget to enter my contest: The Other Side of Dark by Sarah Smith (signed)! It ends tomorrow and is open internationally!



Thursday, December 30, 2010

Out with a Bang Readathon: Day 1




Yawn.
I just woke up. I’ve been sleeping for a really long time. It’s 1 ½ hours until sunset. This wasn’t what I planned for the Readathon. Maybe I should drink a big cup of super sweet coffee later so I can catch up. I just feel so…sleepy for no apparent reason. Maybe it’s the weather. Or maybe it’s because my body could feel the end of the year creeping closer and closer, meaning the start of classes creeping closer and closer too, eliminating my days of rest with its progress.

Anyway…at least I finished something:

1.      Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (totally awesome! There’s a review coming soon, so watch out for that.)


2.      Tyger, Tyger by Kersten Hamilton (Loved it! Like a scary version of Alice in Wonderland that made my hair stand on end.)


3.      Trickter’s Girl by Hilari Bell (will read this after my uber late lunch and if I don’t fall asleep again – hopefully I don’t because Mom is coming home and she’d be really freaked out if I was still sleeping by then. It would mean I’m more asleep than awake this past few days and also less productive which she doesn’t like. At all.)



After that I plan to read any of these:

Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
Awakened by Ednah Walters

Just an update from a girl blogger who just woke up and is in need of coffee and sugar at this very moment. Have a nice day everyone!



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review: Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst


Book Description via Goodreads:

What Lily Carter wants most in the world is to attend Princeton University just like her grandfather. When she finally visits the campus, Grandpa surprises her; She has been selected to take the top-secret Legacy Test. Passing means automatic acceptance to Princeton. Sweet! Lily's test is to find the Ivy Key. But what is she looking for? Where does she start? As she searches, Lily is joined by Tye, a cute college boy with orange and black hair who says he's her guard. That's weird. But things get seriously strange when a gargoyle talks to her. He tells her that there are two Princetons; the ordinary one and a magical one; and the Key opens the gate between them. But there are more secrets that surround Lily. Worse secrets.

When Lily enters the magical Princeton, she uncovers old betrayals and new dangers, and a chance at her dream becomes a fight for her life. Soon Lily is caught in a power struggle between two worlds, with her family at its center. In a place where Knights slay monsters, boys are were-tigers, and dragons might be out for blood, Lily will need all of her ingenuity and courage; and a little magic; to unite the worlds and unlock the secrets of her past and her future.

Source: Simon & Schuster – McEldrerry Books (Thanks!)

My Thoughts:

Lily was a good daughter and a good granddaughter. Unlike most YA characters that I encounter, Lily was family-oriented and that was one of the things I liked about her. She lived by the ‘family first’ code. Having a mother who had psychosis and suffered from brain hiccups was difficult. There was always an extra safety measure to take. But her love for her mother overpowered everything else.

Enchanted Ivy was set in Princeton University, a place of wonder and mystery. Lily was given a chance to take the Legacy test, a test that would grant her an automatic acceptance into Princeton, if she passes. But what seemed like a college-related scavenger hunt turned out to be something she never expected. As she searched for the key, she unlocked secrets that will defy reality.

Talking gargoyles, tiger-weres, blood-sucking goblins, a library filled with books on mythology and fantasy, a vengeful dragon, dancing tulips and unicorns – all of these creatures graced Enchanted Ivy with their presence. A great cast of characters, magical and human, brought to life a story filled with surprises, with just the right combination of drama, betrayal, suspense, action and mystery. Everything that would make a reader want to read more was rolled in this novel. This was Alice in Wonderland meets Harry Potter minus the wizards and the witches. It was really enjoyable. When I started this, I thought it would take me three days to finish it. It just took me four hours, a good night sleep and a few more hours when I woke up to finish the story. It was a magical experience.

Lily and Tye’s similarity drove them close to each other. The romance was sweet and pure, Disney-like, but with a little hesitation and a healthy dose of challenges and obstacles. The will to stay and protect was there, untainted by the tension and thirst for change and vengeance.

The ending was just right for me, satisfying. But it made me want a sequel because it was simply sweet. I wanted to see how Lily’s relationship with Tye would come to be. I wanted to know more about Lily’s father. 


Enchanted Ivy will have you lost between worlds and reading for magic, secrets, love and vengeance. Durst is a pro at storytelling. I lost myself too. I recommend this to fans of fantasy and magic, and to people who like old campuses with lots of greenery, as well as the story behind them.


Rating:




Trailer & Contest: My Soul to Steal


My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent will be published on January 1, 2011. Celebrate New Year with a great read! You can purchase My Soul to Steal in Amazon.

Official Blurb:

YOU WANT MY SOUL AND MY BOYFRIEND?

Trying to work things out with
Nash—her maybe boyfriend—is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can’t just
pretend nothing happened. But “complicated” doesn’t even begin to describe their
relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to
take Nash back.

See, Sabine isn’t just an ordinary girl. She’s a mara,
the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people’s fears—and craft
them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she
survives.

And Sabine isn’t above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to
death to get whatever—and whoever—she wants.

I DON'T THINK SO.





Waiting on Wednesday: The Iron Thorn + Page by Paige


For this week, my Waiting on Wednesday pick is The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge. I read a review of this book yesterday and I was convinced. I needed to read this. Aside from it being a dystopian (which was enough reason for me to grab it), it had vivid imagery plus the premise sounds good! Cruel, harsh and somewhat icksome…the world of The Iron Thorn got me curious.

In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft's epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.

Aoife Grayson's family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.


My second pick is Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge! I love the cover art, as well as the sound of it!

Paige Turner has just moved to New York with her family, and she's having some trouble adjusting to the big city. In the pages of her sketchbook, she tries to make sense of her new life, including trying out her secret identity: artist. As she makes friends and starts to explore the city, she slowly brings her secret identity out into the open, a process that is equal parts terrifying and rewarding.

Laura Lee Gulledge crafts stories and panels with images that are thought-provoking, funny, and emotionally resonant. Teens struggling to find their place can see themselves in Paige's honest, heartfelt story.

What’s your Waiting on Wednesday pick?



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'll be reading my eyes off! Out with a Bang Readathon!



Before the start of December, I wanted to join the Holiday Readathon but I figured that since I’d be reading four books in two weeks just for the Christmas Countdown event, I wouldn’t be able to focus on it. Plus I was busy with exams. So…remember I posted about this? This pile of TBR I have? Thankfully, one co-blogger (and a fellow Filipina too!) mentioned Out with a Bang Giveaway!  Thank you Anne! 



For me, Out with a Bang readathon starts now! This is the list that I would be reading for the readathon. I included ebooks from Netgalley and from authors for review! I want to read as much as I could.

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (currently reading)
Branded by Keary Taylor
Intrinsical by Lani Woodland
The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder
Fractured by Joanna Karaplis
The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton
Injane by Douglas Pearson
Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
Dresskeeper by Mary Naylus
Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach (ARC)
Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer (ARC)
Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell (ARC)
Wonders Never Cease by Tim Downs
The Flash of a Firefly by Amber Riley
Logic of Demons by H.A. Goodman
Selected Shorts and Other Methods of Time Travel by David Goodberg
Awakened by Ednah Walters
Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens
Nerds: M is for Mama's Boy by Michael Buckley
Tyger, tyger by Kersten Hamilton
The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter by John Gosselink
The Hollow by Jessica Verday
The Pack by L.M. Preston

Whew! There! I need to devour this pile down to at least 10 (or hopefully lower) by January! Because if not, I still won’t be able to buy Matched by Ally Condie!

If you’re still reading on…please give me a little help! What should I read first? Which would be good? Fast-paced? Thanks!




Teaser Tuesdays: Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

-Grab your current read.
-Open to a random page.
-Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)  
-Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

Adopted by the Alpha of a werewolf pack after a rogue wolf brutally killed her parents right before her eyes, fifteen-year-old Bryn knows only pack life, and the rigid social hierarchy that controls it. That doesn't mean that she's averse to breaking a rule or two.

But when her curiosity gets the better of her and she discovers Chase, a new teen locked in a cage in her guardian's basement, and witnesses him turn into a wolf before her eyes, the horrific memories of her parents' murders return. Bryn becomes obsessed with getting her questions answered, and Chase is the only one who can provide the information she needs.

But in her drive to find the truth, will Bryn push too far beyond the constraints of the pack, forcing her to leave behind her friends, her family, and the identity that she's shaped?

“Mine,” Chase said, rubbing his cheek against the side of my neck. I shivered, the touch between us electrifying.
“Mine,” I agreed, burying my hand in his hair, “but in a non-freaky, non-ownership, we-both-retain-our-independence kind of way.” I nudged Chase. “Right?”

-p. 179, Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (paperback)

What’s your teaser?





Christmas Countdown: Day 14: Huge Prize Pack Giveaway


We’ve finally come to the end of Christmas Countdown. This post was supposed to go up yesterday but due to some things that happened - I was out with my bestfriend - it was delayed!

Remember every comment counts! Just comment on any post and you’ll get an extra entry for this giveaway!

For the line-up of all the posts of Christmas Countdown, click the button below.



Prize Pack Giveaway

There will be two winners of this giveaway: one international winner and one winner from the Philippines. Winners will be chosen using random.org. And let me remind you. There are two chances of winning. You can also join Kai’s contest!

What’s in the prize packs?

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers (signed) + swag
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Deadly by Julie Chibbaro (signed ARC)
Revelations by Melissa dela Cruz
Two sets of Every Girl’s Guide Trilogy by Marla Miniano

Rules:

Must be a follower.
Comment with your email address.
Open internationally.
Ends on January 10, 2011!

Extra entries (if you like – not required):

Spread the word:
+2 tweeted (with direct link)
+2 sidebar (please leave link)
+4 blog post (please leave link)
+3 post Christmas Countdown button on your blog
+2 follow Amaterasu Reads

Remember that your comments in the other Christmas Countdown posts will count as an extra entry to this giveaway.

Here are the other giveaways that you can join:

The Other Side of Dark by Sarah Smith (signed)
Picture of the Dead by Adele Griffin (signed) + shirt
Prophecy of Days, Book One: The Daykeeper’s Grimoire by Christy Raedake (signed)
Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala (signed)
The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder (signed) + swag
The Candidates by Inara Scott (signed)
The Sapphire Talisman by Brenda Pandos

Thank you so much for participating in our first ever blog event! Special thanks to all the people who helped us with Christmas Countdown – Bernadette Cruz, Sarah Smith, Simon & Schuster, Adele Griffin, Christy Raedake, Holly Cupala, Amy Holder, Inara Scott, Brenda Pandos, Julie Chibbaro, Lauren Oliver, Melissa dela Cruz, Summit Media, Marla Miniano, Lisa Desrochers and Kimberly Derting!