Saturday, December 29, 2012

Review: V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram

Book Description via Gooreads:

Ebook, 360 pages
December 11, 2012, Bluefields

When Val Jensen gets dumped for her decision to stay a virgin until marriage, the nasty breakup goes viral on YouTube, making her the latest internet sensation.

After days of ridicule from her peers, Val starts a school-wide campaign to rally support for her cause. She meant to make a statement, but she never dreamed the entire nation would get caught up in the controversy.

As if becoming nationally recognized as “Virgin Val” isn’t enough, Val’s already hectic life starts to spin wildly out of control when bad boy Kyle Hamilton, lead singer for the hit rock band Tralse, decides to take her abstinence as a personal challenge.

How can a girl stay true to herself when this year’s Sexiest Man Alive is doing everything in his power to win her over?

Source: Kelly Oram (Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

Post-breakup with Zach, Valerie stood up for what she believed in, took all the bashing and all the insults, stood her ground and survived the chaos that was her life. She dealt with weakening relationships, sharp words of other people that cut her like knife and the overall pressure and expectation from her. I liked her very much as a character. She was strong, determined and filled with hope and energy. She was a force of nature – unstoppable. She took what other people labeled her – Virgin Val – and turned it into something positive. Under the principle, ‘if you can’t beat them, join them,’ Val gave Huntington High a virgin who remained a virgin all throughout the year. More importantly, she started the V is for Virgin campaign which encouraged virgins to wait until they are ready before having sex and allowed couples to join the Abstinence Challenge.

The sexual tension between Val and Kyle was palpable. It reminded me of the tension that Echo and Noah from Pushing the Limits experienced. I really enjoyed reading about their banter, fights and flirting. Kyle was determined to make Virgin Val fall in love with him, more sexually less emotionally, however, our heroine was also determined to not fall into his trap. Kyle’s natural charm and tempting ways were making it difficult for her to resist. The author did an amazing job developing their relationship. From the first meeting, there was an instant zing in the air, a live wire connecting them. There was undeniable chemistry – one that was so natural that it thrived even in their fights.

Kyle Hamilton was gorgeous and tempting in so many ways and he knew it. He had a tough, seductive side and a soft, charming one although I barely saw the latter. I liked reading about him, especially when his soft side comes to the surface. Kyle Hamilton was more than just hit songs and innuendo – he was a good guy underneath it all.

The pacing was good. I was never bored with it. Every page was a treat and I welcomed every twist with open arms. I admit that I’ve never read a YA like this before. V is for Virgin went beyond the value of virginity as it highlighted the weight of being able to make your own choices for yourself. I’ve never had this much fun reading a YA contemporary since The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.

The ending broke my heart and glued it back together again. Oram knew how to make me ache and how to make me smile. I must admit that I’ve become attached to Val (and to the boys in her life.) I was hoping Kyle would finally be able to let go of the idea that ‘waiting sucks’ and just be with his girl. When they’re together, they scream chemistry.

V is for Virgin is a refreshing treat of contemporary goodness with a balance of humor, sarcasm, tension, romance and fierceness that will satisfy readers. As delicious as The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, this lovely standalone will take you on a journey that you won’t get tired of. I highly recommend this to YA contemporary and romance readers!


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

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mentorship Project for New Filipino YA/MG Book Bloggers!

Kai from Amaterasu Reads and I want to share everything that we’ve learned in our almost-3-years of blogging to my fellow bloggers. This led to the Mentorship Project. Here’s the idea, we will tour my best to help new Filipino bloggers for three months. However, how the project runs depends on the mentor. Kai and I have different ways.

The project (according to yours truly) will follow an outline that I made:

  • Common Mistakes in Blogging 
  • The Balanced Review 
  • Review Style 
  • Communicating with Authors and Publishers 
  • Blogging Ethics 
  • Layout and Branding 
  • Consistency 
  • Memes and Features 
  • Interviews 
  • Hosting Blog Events

I will be an avid reader of his/her blog posts, keeping track of my mentee’s progress as a blogger. As a final test to prove that my mentee has learned from me, he/she will co-host a week-long feature/mini event with me. Of course, there are other possible perks which I will not disclose here. (It’s a secret.)

From January 1 to March 31, I will mentor a fellow Filipina and schoolmate:

Mentee Profile

Name: Dianne

Blog: Oops! I Read a Book Again (which is her second blog)

Blogging Experience: She has been blogging about movies and Korean dramas for so long. From time to time, she would blog about books, too. I’m one of the people who encouraged her to start a separate blog for YA book blogging.

To join the Mentorship Project you must be:

  • A Filipino, preferably someone who lives in Metro Manila (so we can have meet-ups) but most of the time, things will be done via email and Twitter. 
  • A Young Adult/New Adult/Middle Grade book blogger. 
  • A person who has been blogging for less than 6 months. 
  • A person who can take criticism and can consider suggestions and tips.

If you want to give the Mentorship Project a try, fill out this form:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Review: The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

Book Description via Goodreads:

Hardcover, 432 pages
August 28, 2012, Balzer + Bray

Eva's life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination--an echo. She was made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her "other," if she ever died. Eva spends every day studying that girl from far away, learning what Amarra does, what she eats, what it's like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But sixteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything and everyone she's ever known--the guardians who raised her, the boy she's forbidden to love--to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive.

What Eva finds is a grief-stricken family; parents unsure how to handle this echo they thought they wanted; and Ray, who knew every detail, every contour of Amarra. And when Eva is unexpectedly dealt a fatal blow that will change her existence forever, she is forced to choose: Stay and live out her years as a copy or leave and risk it all for the freedom to be an original. To be Eva.

From debut novelist Sangu Mandanna comes the dazzling story of a girl who was always told what she had to be--until she found the strength to decide for herself.

Source: Christine and Harper Collins (Thank you!!)

My Thoughts:

Eva was an echo, a replication, a back-up in case the real ‘Amarra’ dies. From page one, I cared for her and soon, got attached to her. It was easy for me to like her. She had a burning curiosity, an endearing stubbornness and a great thirst for life and freedom. This way, I saw myself in Eva. For so long, almost everything she did depended on what her Other did. She was enslaved in a way, living in a cage. She wasn’t supposed to go out of the house, to be seen by other people and to do anything that she wasn’t told to do.

The moment Eva was shipped off to India to be Amarra, she knew it was going to be hard. Eva blended into Amarra’s skin, claiming what she left behind, pretending to be someone she’s not. Despite being given the ultimate chance to freedom, Eva wasn’t 100% free. She was shackled by her responsibilities as an echo. In a country where Echoes are illegal, fitting in and blending in were bound to be difficult. I cheered her on as she faced the challenges. I felt her pain, her sadness and her frustration when she couldn’t quite convince the world that Amarra was still alive. I ached for her whenever people assumed that she was dispensable, unfeeling and inhuman. She may not be originally human but she thought, lived and suffered like one.

One of the things that I liked was Eva’s relationship with Sean. It was a sweet, slow and savored romance. The author did an amazing job in developing their relationship. I experienced first love all over again along with Eva. The hesitation, the anticipation, the wishful thinking and the crazy thump-thump-thump of her – and my – heart during her encounters with Sean all drew me in. Sean was mature for his age, in my opinion. He was rational and charming. I liked that he was Eva’s knight in shining armor. But that doesn’t mean that Eva was your typical damsel in distress. Eva fought hard.

Our determined heroine struggled against her shackles and fought hard. I ached for all the pressure and suffering she went through. She was trapped and in every direction she went, a wall blocked her way out. However, Eva was persistent, hungry for freedom and like her Weaver, clever. Can she claim her freedom before her time is up?

The Lost Girl is a breathtaking, atmospheric and unputdownable science fiction that will draw you in and let you experience the sophistication of England and the exoticness of India. If you enjoyed Delirium and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver and What’s Let of Me by Kat Zhang, you might like this, too. Both were written beautifully but The Lost Girl’s pacing is faster. Highly recommended!


 5 Cupids = Eternal book love. 

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

Friday, December 21, 2012

2013 YA + MG Time Travel Reading Challenge

Who doesn't love YA time travel? Well yes, there are those who don't but these two book bloggers love it to bits! Maybe even a (lot) little obsessed. So after Dianne put it out there that Precious should host a challenge and Precious invited Dianne to co-host it, their sleep-deprived brains worked out all of the details, giving birth to the *drumroll*  

2013 YA & MG Time Travel Reading Challenge!
hosted by Precious from Fragments of Life and Dianne from Oops! I Read a Book Again

So join us on a time-bending experience and read time travel books. We will bend backwards (and the time-space continuum, natch) just to read as many YA time travel books this year. 'Cause don't you know, time travel is the thing!

Challenge Guidelines:

1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013. You can sign up anytime of the year.
2. Anyone can enter. You don't have to be a blogger but you'd have to be a reviewer (Goodreads/Shelfari/Amazon/anywhere).
3. You can read any YA or MG time travel books. There aren't lots so we don't want to restrict you to a publication date, just with the genre.
4. If you're a blogger, make a post about your joining the challenge on your blog and put the direct link when you sign up for the linky. You can include a list of Time Travel books that you want to read for the challenge. It can serve as your guide. If you're not a blogger but a reviewer (you can post your reviews on Goodreads, etc) tweet about your joining the challenge and put the direct link when you sign up!

Here is a sample tweet: I'm joining the #YAandMGTimeTravelReadingChallenge @precious_shusky @oopsireadagain! 

5. You can move up levels but we do not encourage moving down.
6. At the end of each month, the hosts will put up a wrap-up post. It will feature a time travel book and an interview or guest post from its author (and maybe a giveaway). All you have to do is link up reviews to the YA & MG time travel books you've read for the month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry for the giveaway. The giveaway will run for one week and then we'll choose the lucky winner!
7. If you miss a wrap-up post and the giveaway, you can join the next one. Please be guided though that reviews can only be linked ONCE. We will definitely check your entries (and read your reviews).
8. Lastly, for bloggers, post the button on your sidebar and link back to us!


Nostalgic Traveler - 3 books
Year Hopper - 5 books
Time Slipper - 7 books
Era Switcher - 10 books
Temporal Explorer - 12 books
Time Travel Junkie - 15 or more

For a list of time travel books, refer to the Goodreads list we made. You can also add books to the list!

Perks of Being a Participant

What’s in it for you, aside from 365 days of time travel goodness, you ask? Here’s a list:

Free electronic copies of The Golden Scarab (Book 1) and The Cursed Nile (Book 2) by S.W. Lothian. All you have to do is email us at precious_shusky AT yahoo DOT com OR tomakunisnumberone AT gmail DOT com with the subject: I want The Quest Series!

Free electronic copy of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis by Sharon Ledwith. Just email us to get your copy!

Free electronic copy of Time’s Twisted Arrow by Rysa Walker. Again, just email us to get your copy!

Exclusive Giveaways! There will be books and swag giveaways that are only for you guys.

Easy Access to Authors. Have your questions answered and get writing inspiration from participating authors.

For any inquiries, feel free to comment or tweet us at @precious_shusky or @oopsireadagain. If the linky's not working, drop me or Dianne an email so we can add you up.

For authors who'd like to be featured, please email precious_shusky AT yahoo DOT com or tomakunisnumberone AT gmail DOT com. Thank you!

Sign-up for the monthly newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the features giveaways and freebies: