Sunday, September 20, 2015

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Book Description:

Paperback, 404 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

Reviewer's Copy: Paperback

Source: Bought

My Thoughts:

The Wrath and the Dawn drew me in several months ago, when its book summary was unleashed into the world. I took a copy in my hands and refused to let it go. Its deliberate beauty consumed my being. I have no regrets, other than I would have to wait months stretching into the future for the second book. My heart needs it. My sanity needs it.

Shahrzad, also known as Shazi to her beloved and to her friends, was a strong heroine. She didn't need saving - she handle everything and could save herself. I admired her strength, determination, loyalty and intelligence, and even her imperfections. She wavered and found herself falling in love with the monster caliph, Khalid. Love was mixing into the already troublesome concoction of emotions wrapped between Shahrzad and Khalid. Shahrzad soon found herself trapped in the middle of her revenge, her heart's call and her shame and betrayal. When her first love, Tariq, waltzed into the palace, things were bound to spiral out of control.

Khalid, the murderous boy-king, was not the monster that people, including myself, thought him to be. Underneath the boy of ice and stone, past through his walls and distance, Khalid was a broken boy with a longing heart and a tortured conscience. His suffering and his honor melted my heart. Khalid was a gentleman; he was protective, undeniably sweet and thoughtful and most of all, intelligent. I am fond of intelligent characters and I just found another reason to like Khalid because of this. Seriously, Khalid had everything a reader would look for in a male MC. He was the caliph of Khorasan, the second best swordsman in all of Rey, and possibly the most handsome man in all of Renee Ahdieh's story world. Readers would enjoy reading about him - he's such a complicated character and it was a delight to explore his strengths, weaknesses, motives and hopes. It was also heartbreakingly painful and yet, I love it!

Reading about Shahrzad and Khalid was like watching yourself falling in love with your perfectly imperfect match, sans the deaths and bloody complications, of course. The emotional tension between these two was palpable; you could feel it pulsing through the pages. It was not the straight-out love or love at first sight. It was an unexpected love, the kind that caught you off guard and the kind that made your heart skip a beat because you noticed that you weren't looking at someone in the same manner anymore. While I enjoyed reading about Shahrzad and Khalid's moves in their own little game, I enjoyed seeing the telltale signs that they were falling for one another, from the most obvious ones to the subtlest ones. Each sweet word, each confession was a balm for my heart. Each fight and misunderstanding tore me apart. The emotions evoked in The Wrath and the Dawn could possibly rival those of Clockwork Princess.

The minor characters were also animated and well-developed. I loved Jalal aka Captain Al-Khoury. He was the boy who brought the room to life. His funny and sometimes-sarcastic remarks kept me entertained throughout the book. Despina's loyalty, teasing, sarcasm and attitude complimented that of Jalal's. Together, they injected humor into the emotionally heavy story. Tariq, Shahrzad's first love, was actually the first male character that I noticed. He was undeniably boyish in his ways, albeit a bit judgmental. He was fiercely loyal and so desperately in love with Shahrzad that I couldn't help but feel for him. I would have considered Tariq's presence as the third side of a love triangle but I just found Shahrzad and Khalid's connection too strong to be broken by Tariq.

The writing was gorgeous. It was crisply clipped in some places - sweet and short - and yet it delivered the emotion needed for each scene. I felt it echoing in my own ribcage. The story world, but most importantly, the palace, was well-constructed in the book. I could easily visualize every door and item in my mind. The plot was smooth and nicely done. Renee just left enough breadcrumbs for me to follow, and it eventually led to the prize. The timing of each event was perfection. I am in awe of this woman's writing and I vow to buy all her upcoming novels.

The Wrath and the Dawn is an unputdownable, all-consuming, heartbreakingly beautiful tale with just the right concentration of tragedy, humor, secrets and adrenaline and a generous overdose of love, heartbreak and pain. I was engrossed from page one. The Wrath and the Dawn is a truly, heady blend of everything I love in a book. I highly recommend this to readers of fantasy and romance. And if you're having doubts, just give this a try. You won't regret it.

Rating:


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


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Review: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Book Description:

Paperback, 608 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Danger, betrayal, and enchantment abound in the riveting conclusion to the #1 New York Times bestselling Infernal Devices trilogy.

THE INFERNAL DEVICES WILL NEVER STOP COMING

A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Will and Jem, will do anything to save her. As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

The tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

Reviewer's Copy: Paperback

Source: Bought

My Thoughts:

This book has been in my possession for two years. I really don't understand, and frankly I'm quite frustrated with myself. I simply don't know why I waited this long to finish this amazing series. I was not disappointed.

The love triangle. Jem and Tessa were engaged. However, it was a race against time since Jem's life was nearing its end. Jem Carstairs was the perfect gentleman: kind, thoughtful, well-mannered and loving. Jem was burning as brightly as he could for Tessa before his time was up. It was such a weakening thought that someone so beautiful and good as Jem, could not possibly live longer to stay with Tessa. Meanwhile, there was William Herondale, the wild boy who shared Tessa's love for literature and books, who sacrificed so much to keep Jem happy, and who would die protecting the people he loved. He was charming, effortlessly funny and witty. Underneath the sarcastic facade was a fragile heart that continued to break every single day. The three of them were all so honorable, choosing the best possible path and decisions for their loved ones; as a result, each one of them, mostly Tessa and Will, suffered. I was torn along with Tessa, from Clockwork Prince until this book still. And this time around, it hurt twice as hard. I had to stop reading after certain scenes and remind myself that this hurt - this piercing pain - was not actually happening to me but to a fictional character. 

The feels. This book most probably evoked all emotions, in such a way that was effective, intense and long-lasting. I had the feels even after I finished the book. I have become emotionally attached to all the characters at this point, in such a way that no matter who Tessa ended up with, I would suffer the consequences along with her. 

The Magister. The Shadowhunters were tense as the battle with the Magister drew closer. The book crackled with anticipation, danger and inevitable loss. The plans of the Magister were incredibly thorough and downright merciless. It was unusual to see a full blooded human wield so much power over the story world. I liked how Clare showed the entirety of the villain's personality. Mortmain was once a victim before he rose into power.

Magnus Bane. Another character that I enjoyed reading about was Magnus Bane. I've been fond of him since reading about him first in The Mortal Instruments. It satisfied my curiosity to see a younger, less colder version of Magnus. As always, he was a source of entertainment with his humor, sarcasm and quotable quotes.

The minor characters. Another thing that I loved about Clockwork Princess was that the author allowed the minor characters to grow. The Lightwood brothers have become part of the London Institute, becoming part of the London Shadowhunter family. Sophie and Gideon were gradually getting closer, despite Sophie's initial efforts to keep their relationship formal and distant. Cecily's musings were curious and intriguing. She was stubborn and went with her gut and this almost always led to something interesting. Gabriel was also softening under Charlotte's roof and in Cecily's presence. Aside from this, I was most curious about Bridget, the Institute's cook. She spouted and sang depressing songs with bad timing. But what really surprised me was her prowess with blades.

Clockwork Princess is a heart-wrenchingly epic, emotionally charged, tragedy-riddled, adrenaline-infused novel. This book is emotionally raw and will touch the hearts of readers, entertain with its humor, sarcasm, and twists and turns. There is nothing I didn't enjoy in this final installment. It has everything I want in a book. It is so beautifully written that I found myself reading over specific lines. The book was filled with quotable quotes that made my heart skip a beat. I highly recommend this unputdownable novel and the Infernal Devices series to paranormal readers, steampunk readers and most importantly romance readers, especially the ones who delight in well-written love triangles.

Rating:



5 CupidsEternal book love. 
I will never, ever, ever forget this book. I highly recommend this!


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Out + About: Book Signing with Colleen Hoover, Tarryn Fisher and Christine Brae + Giveaway


Out and about is a feature here on Fragments of Life for events and book launches. Today's post is about #CTCinPH - the Manila leg of Colleen Hoover, Tarryn Fisher and Christine Brae's visit to the Philippines.


Tarryn, Colleen and Christine

Today, Sunday, September 13th 2015, I felt like I went to work (on a positive note) because I just spent seven hours with my blogger friends and amazing bestselling authors and brilliant NBS Staff. Remember all those Colleen Hoover (and of course Tarryn Fisher and Christine Brae) books you have stashed on the most secure, most seen spot of your bookshelf? You were probably out today in the area between Toy Kingdom and the Food Court at the lower ground floor of SM Megamall.

The Q & A with the authors was interesting. It was the first time that I interacted with New Adult (NA) authors. I am primarily a YA girl. The questions more or less revolved around the writing and publishing of books. A lot of aspiring writers would find the information valuable. So, here are the things I learned from Colleen, Tarryn and Christine:



Colleen Hoover

  • Colleen could only see herself writing with Tarryn. She thinks that it might not work for all writers. With Tarryn, they kept sending the draft back and forth until it was finished.
  • Her favorite thing about self-publihing is not having boss. Not having a boss means that there is less stress and it feels less lirk. The hard part of it is that there are thousands of books being released every day. There are countless amazing books that go unnoticed. It is hard to break into it when you're a new author.
  • In Colleen's books, there is always a twist. She mentioned that she just waits for inspiration to hit her. She doesn't necessarily google or researrch stuff for her to be inspired.
  • Back in 2011, the emergent "NA" genre still didn't exist. And yet it was this year when Colleen Hoover's book was published. She mentioned that she doesn't necessarily write a genre. She writes story that she wants to write. She only found out about the term "NA" or New Adult six months after the book was published. Colleen mentions that she is very disorganized when it comes to her writing. She tends to be manic, in which she has to allot consecutive days locked away to work on her book. She can't ever end with a sad scene because then she would feel sad. This is the reason why she puts humor into her books.
  • She is actually experiencing writer's block because she doesn't know the name of the female main character. She has to know the name, in order to proceed to write the story. She also mentioned that the name of the male main character should always be unique and unforgettable because this is what readers remember.
  • Writing is crazy. She feels that she lives more in a fantasy world, in her head, and she visits her house every now and then.

Tarryn Fisher
  • For Tarryn, co-writing a story was enjoyable experience, Colleen and her did it for fun. She can't see herself writing with anybody else.
  • Self-publishing is badass. It's a deviant movement because some people say that there is something wrong with their books and that it can't be published. However, based on Tarryn's experience, self-publishing is successful. The hard part of self-publishing is when people don't take you seriously.
  • Tarryn's writing process: Feel something - anger, etc. Write daily, a few hours or so. Be in her character, to make it authentic (this involves reading books and watching movies that is related to her character).
  • She doesn't think too hard about the character names. Whenever she is writing, and she would then need a name, it just drops into her mind.
  • Good writing is a combination of believable characters, a good story and beautiful words. This can also be related to developing a style and reading a lot. She incorporates pieces of what she loves into her style.
  • "Only you can see the world the way you see it."


Christine Brae
  • Christine can't imagine herself co-writing with anybody, due to her busy schedule.
  • Self-publishing entails doing it all on your own. You need to have your own resources, your own readers, etc. The good thing about it is that you can write whatever you want and when you feel that it is ready to be shared, you can share it with the world (aka self-publish).
  • Christine's writing process: She starts from the ending and move backwards. (In fact, whenever she reads a book, she always reads the last line first. Just like I do.)
  • Every character's name has a meaning in Christine's books. She researches the meaning of names before she uses them.


I have to admit that a big chunk of my book pile was written by Colleen Hoover. After reading Ugly Love and Maybe Someday, I have become a fangirl, indeed. There was something about her writing, something good and addictive. All of the books she wrote were superfluous in the narration. The plot and the story itself and the way in which it was told were all seamless. Enough of my babbling, I'm practically typing all this while I'm still high off of it.

Me, the authors, Maricar from Blackplume and signed pretties!


Bloggers :)

I have an extra copy of Never Never, signed by Tarryn and Colleen, for giveaway. This one is only open for Philippine residents. Sorry, my international lovelies, I will have something super nice for you soon!

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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Review: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith + Giveaway

Book Description:

Hardcover, 256 pages
Expected publication: September 1st 2015 by Poppy

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.

Reviewer's Copy: ARC

Source: Dianne and Pinoy Book Tours (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

From the very first page of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between, I was immediately swept away by Jen E. Smith's trademark writing: superfluous and heart-wrenching. It had a bittersweet feeling all throughout the book and I have to admit that I probably loved that the most about it. This book captures all the ups and downs of loving someone a lot and being on the brink of breaking up with them. This book captures the moment when lovers hold on to what they have shared for a certain length of time; they hold on to the magic so fiercely and desperately and yet, they have already planned to let it go. I broke up with my ex-boyfriend a year ago. I didn't expect to relive the experience again with this book. It was one of the most eye-opening experiences of all, knowing that this experience was universal, so was the hurt, the desperation, the confusion, the dilemma, and the bittersweet tang of it on my tongue.

Clare and Aidan have been together for years, but reality has caught up with them and it's time to part ways as they go to opposite directions in college. I really adored how mature Clare thought. At an early age, she was already predicting the possibilities, taking into consideration the pros and cons and most importantly,taking care of her heart. Aidan was so optimistic and hopeful that it was almost too painful for me. Halfway through the book, I wanted him to convince Clare to stay with him. 

I loved that Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between also touched various themes such as family dynamics, parent-child expectations when it comes to college, the changes after high school and the nostalgia that grips one as one leaves it behind, truth, lies and trust between family members, couples and peers, and friendships. On the downside, I was expecting something more epic. Though I truly enjoyed the story, there were some things that I wanted more of.

Jen Smith captured the beauty and bittersweet side of love. The book was what I would call a "relatable" book for almost all ages, from young adults to new adults and maybe, even adults. It has a timeless vibe about it, as if it has encapsulated and carefully preserved the little details, the intensity and the rush of young love and firsts. In this sense, it could be a nostalgic novel, a throwback of some sort, that would bring back to people to their own versions of the "old days" of young love. This was a quick read and yet, it was heavier than other Jen Smith's other novels.

Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between is a moving, nostalgic and heartfelt novel about changes, finding and letting go of love, and figuring out life. Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between is a bittersweet capsule of memories, love and hope. The writing, as always, was beautiful. I found myself lost in the pages, in a good way. I couldn't let go of the book. I recommend this novel to readers of contemporary romance and readers who like books about post-high school/college period.

Rating:


4 CupidsStrong book love. 
I really enjoyed this. I recommend this!

Giveaway:

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