Monthly Archives: August 2015

Sisterhood Of The World Bloggers Award

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Thank you Grape Fruit Books for my first ever blog award! You have been such an amazing friend and I would not have known how to add the badge into my site without your help.

sisterhood of the world bloggers award

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
  • Put the award logo on your blog.
  • Answer the ten questions sent to you.
  • Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Nominate ten blogs.

Questions:

Have you ever been to a book event? If yes, what was your favorite and what did you do?

I usually avoid being in a crowded situation, so no I have not. I do, however, want to be at Sara J Maas’ book signing just because of the fact that she is so pretty.

Are you a daytime or a nighttime reader?

I am a night owl and love reading at night.

A guilty pleasure novel? ūüėõ

My guilty pleasure novel would be Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. So much happened in that book that wrung my heart and shattered it to pieces, but I still love it anyway.

If you have to gift a book to a person who is not into them, which one would you give?

If I was to give someone who is not into reading, I would give them More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. This book is one of the best books I have had the opportunity to read and I am sure that person will learn to love reading after this book.

Bookish pet peeve?

Main characters who are whiny, stuck up, incredibly oblivious, useless, and fights with another girl just because of a boy.¬†Don’t forget¬†sexist, and homophobic pigs.

Which character do you want to pull out of the pages?

I don’t know if you are familiar with the book H2O by Virginia Bergin, but I literally ripped the whole book itself. The blurb was a big lie. I never really reviewed it, but I gave it 1/5 stars. I rarely give 1 star, but the main character is just, for the lack of word, stupid. Thinking about that book makes my blood pressure go high. *insert sassy Harry Potter eye roll here*

(this is a random one) Flashlights or pillows?

I would chose pillows because I love to sleep and flashlights would be very uncomfortable.

List three survival-essential books!

Books for my brain to survive: The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. Book for me to survive the zombie apocalypse: Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks.

What is your favorite genre?

My favorite genre would be fiction. I prefer reading books that allow me to escape my busy life over books that remind me of the constant struggle with everyday life.

Favorite social media site?

As much as I love my WordPress account, I would have to go with Instagram. I follow such amazing book addicts and they take great pictures of such amazing books.


My Questions:

  1. What was your favorite book when you were a kid?
  2. Are you guilty of buying a book just because of its cover? Give an example.
  3. What is your favorite trilogy?
  4. What book are you looking forward to be published?
  5. Do you prefer coffee or tea while you read?
  6. Where do you prefer to read?
  7. Are you a righty or lefty?
  8. What is your favorite color?
  9. Who is your favorite author?
  10. If your life story is written, what is its title?

Nominees:

Ever So Mela

Read at Midnight

Tea and a Good Read

Books at Dawn

Skyes Book Blog

(Sorry I am short of nominees. I need to talk more with my fellow bloggers).

Spinning Starlight by R. C. Lewis

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spinning starlight

Before I start my book review, here’s a little information and disclaimer about the book. The hardbound version of¬†Spinning Starlight¬†will be released on October 6th, 2015 at your favorite bookstore. Thanks to Disney Hyperion, I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Let’s talk about the cover. If I am not mistaken, this book has a close resemblance to Stitching Snow; a retelling with a twist of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The¬†sleeves also have the same feel and concept which makes both books a nice collectable.¬†However, these two books are not connected in any way.

I keep on reading reviews stating that this book is a retelling of The Wild Swans. Having no background of the said book, my review is based purely on what I have read and what the author has made me feel with her words.


Have you ever had¬†that feeling when you are not quite sure what you’re reading, but you like it anyway?¬†That’s what I felt when I was reading Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis.

I mean, I had a gist of what the author was trying to do:

  • The main character, Liddi,¬†was born in a big, influential¬†family, with riches poor people only dream about.
  • Someone wanted her out of the way = plot to have main character kidnapped.
  • Missing brothers that need to be saved.
  • You can’t trust anyone.
  • Dead parents, missing brothers, a very young heir who can’t seem to figure out a solid plan to save her brothers until 80%-ish of the story.
  • Tiav,¬†a very nice guy/love interest who is patient, understanding, has good morals, and is very unlike the recent circulating YA male¬†characters who just wants to get laid.
  • A lot of confusing terminologies — or maybe I’m just dim-witted.
  • Sort of happily ever after in the end; main character takes back her company, saves most of her brothers, and she gets to keep her love interest.

At first, I could not seem to put the book down. Then came the different points, sci-fi-ish terminologies, too many names of the brothers that I could not seem to remember, too many races, and very few talking (you’ll get this reference when you start reading the book). These, for me, really slowed the plot down.

I did like a few things about what¬†the author did. I like how¬†the book¬†made me think. I like how it has some gray areas like conspiracies, betrayals, murders, and much needed sarcasm. I love how the author ends every chapter¬†with a short story of¬†Liddi and her brothers. It really gives a¬†characterization behind each brother; giving them life, making them not just another name in the book. I also appreciate how Liddi and Tiav’s story was not an insta-love. I felt that they have a connection and their relationship developed without any rush.

Overall, I like Spinning Starlight. It is one of the anticipated releases this year and I am sure most of the crowd would love it. If you love retellings, Sci-Fi books, and if you don’t mind keeping up with names and terminologies, this book is for you.

PS. I would like to thank my friend Sania for reading this book with me.

Rating: 3/5 stars

The Book Cover Guessing Challenge

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Thank you Grape Fruit Books for tagging me with this fun challenge!

So here are the rules for The Book Cover Guessing Challenge:

  1. Pick random books you know nothing, nada, zilch about.
  2. Try to guess the plot based on the cover.
  3. After you literally “judge the book by its cover,” check its blurb at Goodreads to see if you got it right or if you failed miserably.

Sounds easy enough.

So I picked three random books based on its pretty, mysteriously, beautifully, and strategically designed book covers. If you haven’t read these books, feel free to guess along.

Let the Book Cover Guessing Challenge begin!

May the odds be ever in my favor.


lois laneLois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond

Published: May 1st, 2015

Publisher: Switch Press

Pages: 304 pages

Guess: Is this who I think this is? Lois Lane aka Clark Kent’s love of his life? I wonder if she works with him at The Daily Planet. My guess is that Lois Lane has a secret identity — writes the news by day, fights crimes at night — just like Clark Kent. Will they have a love affair in this book? I sure do hope so.

What Goodreads says:Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over‚ÄĒand seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won‚Äôt be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They‚Äôre messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it‚Äôs all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy.”

Conclusion: Is there a 0.5 points for this? I was close, yet so far.


under a painted skyUnder a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Published: March 17th, 2015

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 384 pages

Guess: This smells like full blown contemporary about friendship — childhood friends perhaps — that blossomed into something more. Then, by some unfortunate event, the two are separated and grew up far from each other. Luckily, fate brought them back together. Can they pick up where they left off? Will they ever be more than friends? Setting is probably somewhere in India because of the orange swirly design and rich colors.

What Goodreads says: Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician‚ÄĒnot an easy thing if you‚Äôre a girl, and harder still if you‚Äôre Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.


This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it‚Äôs a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.”

Conclusion: Wow. I was way off. I did get the friendship part. 0.25 points?


love lessonsLove Lessons by Heidi Cullinan

Published: October 1st, 2013

Publisher: Samhain

Pages: 379 pages

Guess: I think the main character is plotting for someone to fall for him though I am not quite sure if that someone is a girl or a guy. Why did you ask? Because the guy in the cover gives me this vibe that he could be gay. I am guessing he stars off as shy and turns out to be an amazing, funny person.

What Goodreads says: Love doesn’t come with a syllabus.

Kelly Davidson has waited what seems like forever to graduate high school and get out of his small-minded, small town. But when he arrives at Hope University, he quickly realizes finding his Prince Charming isn’t so easy. Everyone here is already out. In fact, Kelly could be the only virgin on campus.

Worst of all, he’s landed the charming, handsome, gay campus Casanova as a roommate, whose bed might as well be equipped with a revolving door.

Walter Lucas doesn’t believe in storybook love. Everyone is better off having as much fun as possible with as many people as possible…except his shy, sad little sack of a roommate is seriously screwing up his world view.

As Walter sets out to lure Kelly out of his shell, staying just friends is harder than he anticipated. He discovers love is a crash course in determination. To make the grade, he‚Äôll have to finally show up for class‚Ķand overcome his own private fear that love was never meant to last.”

Conclusion: OMG MY GAYDAR WORKS! I DON’T CARE WHAT YOU SAY, I AM TAKING MY FULL ONE POINT FOR THIS!


Well, this was fun. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

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a whole new worldA Whole New World by Liz Braswell is a retelling of the classic Disney movie Aladdin, but with a twist.

The beginning of the book was very familiar, because it was exactly how it was in the movie. Aladdin and Abu were busy with¬†their usual shenanigans; stealing food and running away from the palace guards, Al giving his share of bread to the two kids scavenging for food,¬†and meeting¬†Princess Jasmine¬†at the market by saving her from the vendor who wanted to decapitate her. These certain parts of the book made me nostalgic because Disney was my childhood. It gave me comfort that these parts weren’t changed. Though, I should have known better that everything else is bound to altered…

A Whole New World tried to tell a story where Jafar was the person who summoned the Genie. This book¬†unearthed Jafar’s¬†even darker side and his deep-seated hatred. He¬†did not just¬†want the throne —¬†he also wanted to be the most powerful sorcerer,¬†and¬†Princess Jasmine’s love.¬†Did I mention he wanted to¬†expand his reign worldwide with the help of his undead army?

For Jafar’s dictatorship to start, he first wished to be the Sultan. Second, he wished to be the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Fueled by rage, hatred, and the need to feel loved, it wasn’t enough for Jafar to be Sultan of Agrabah. He pushed Princess Jasmine’s father off the public balcony for everybody to see him die.

COMPLETE CUCKOO RIGHT?

Princess Jasmine witnessed her father fall off to his doom. She watched her father die while every citizen in Agrabah was busy gathering gold coins that was raining from the sky.

JASMINE WANTS REVENGE.

She wants to take back what was rightfully hers. She wants to defeat Jafar and prevent him from raising an army of the undead.

How will Princess Jasmine defeat Jafar, the most powerful sorcerer in the world? What does she have that can triumph over him? Will someone help her overthrow his regime and take back what was rightfully hers?

I am uncertain which one was worse: the retelling, or the way it was written. I never realized that the author did not give a description of the characters because having seen the movie, I automatically assumed their image. If it wasn’t for Bookowly’s Review, I would not have noticed this flaw.

In the movie, I remember Princess Jasmine as a headstrong, and clever princess. Throughout the beginning of the book, I felt like she was portrayed as a na√Įve, spoiled, pampered princess who craved attention and approval.

Exhibit 1: Jasmine was “seething since the evening before. Since the boy she¬†was just about to kiss was whisked away by the guards. She stalked down the halls, not caring who heard the stomp of her feet in their silk slippers. Seething and trying to track down the boy hadn’t left her a chance to bathe or change since the night before. Her thick black hair was coming out of its bands. Tendrils waved behind her like snake.”

Exhibit 2: Aladdin: “I just thought you were a pretty rich girl slumming it.” Jasmin: “You think I’m pretty?”

Imma let you finish, but this is not how Princess Jasmine should have been portrayed.

One more thing: Is it just me or did Aladdin and Princess Jasmine not have any connection at all? She wanted to do one thing, and he persuaded her to do the other. This did not only happen once, but twice which caused serious consequences and made Princess Jasmine look like a push over.

Though this book has a lot to work on, I did like a few things.

“Don’t let life’s unfairness, don’t let how poor you are¬†decide who you are. You choose¬†who you will be, Aladdin…

…you can choose to be something more.”

  • ¬†I like how I have a background of Aladdin’s mom. I appreciate how the author tried to give us a fanfic of how his mom was and how she raised him the way he is now. I love how strong of a woman she was until the end.
  • ¬†I like how the author built Jafar’s past that caused his demons. I like how she showed his pain, and anger, which caused him to seek power and vengeance.

In conclusion, A Whole New World by Liz Braswell has its ups and downs. I like how she tried to reinvent a Disney classic into something I would have never thought otherwise. With a little spring cleaning and character building, this book could be liked a little more.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Disclaimer: I would like to thank Netgalley, Disney Press, and Disney Book Group for granting me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio

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nota

“I want you to ask yourself: Who are you?”

Kristin Lattimer, the main character,¬†has got it lucky. She has a scholarship in the bag and her father won’t have to pay a cent for college. She has two amazing BFFs named Vee and Faith, whom she could share anything under the sun.¬†She¬†is taking¬†her dreamy boyfriend Sam (who has a smile that makes her feel like a goddess) to Homecoming and they were crowned Homecoming King and Queen.

And you know what happens after Homecoming, right?

Just like every hormone fueled teenagers at the back of a limo with champagne cruising¬†through their veins,¬†Krissy¬†and Sam had sex. Her first time was supposed to be AMAZING. But… It was far from pleasant. In fact, it felt like “someone had taken an electric drill to her insides.”

It’s not supposed to feel that painful, is it?

After visiting the OB-GYNE¬†doctor, Krissy found out why she’s never had her period. She found out why she never had an acne problem, and the reason why she doesn’t have any hair “down there.” She also found out why it was excruciatingly painful when she tried to have sex.

Krissy found out that she’s an intersex.

What??? She’s a girl! She can’t be intersex!

Krissy¬†felt like her life took a turn for the worse. Her two “hernias” turned out to be two testicles putting her at risk for cancer. She will never give birth to her own baby.

She will never be a true woman.

How is she going to tell her boyfriend? How will her BFFs react to the news? How will everybody treat her after they find out what’s going on with her?

Knowing she could always confide to her BFF, Krissy¬†told Vee about her condition. Vee, then,¬†told her mom and their other BFF, Faith, about Krissy’s¬†condition. You know how gossip goes.¬†As if¬†Krissy’s situation was not bad enough… Everybody at school now knows about her condition. Everybody who voted her as their Homecoming Queen are now calling her names like Kristopher, bumping into her, and are just being plain a-holes. Her boyfriend does not want to talk to her anymore and is being bullied because of her.

Her life is falling apart.

But there is one question that needs to be answered.

Who told everyone about her condition?

Was it Vee? She did¬†run against Krissy¬†for Homecoming Queen and lost. Did¬†Vee’s anger fuel her revenge?

Did¬†Vee’s mom, who is friends with Sam’s mom, spill the beans?

Or was it Faith? But… She’s the one who could keep a secret the best and the one who grew up in a religious family. It can’t be her.

At first, I thought this book was about LGBT people. Though the main character is not gay, the hate she received from her fellow students is very similar to homophobia and transphobia. She was called names like “tranny,” “man-whore,” and “faggot” which really stung personally because how could these so called “friends” easily turn their back on her? How could a person disregard someone’s whole being just because of their anatomy?

The idea behind the book was great, but the characters did not live up to it.

I didn’t feel Sam’s love for¬†Krissy. All the vibes I received from him was that he just wanted to have sex with her. After he found out about Krissy being intersex, he was vile, cruel, and an a-hole to her. What was his role anyway? He was just another pretty face. He did not contribute anything to the book.

Krissy’s life fell apart because of her diagnosis. However, I felt like losing her boyfriend was WAAAAAY worse. She was too obsessed with¬†Sam even if he treated her horribly. She kept on thinking about him and wanted to get back with him. I felt my eyes roll to another dimension every time she thought of him.¬†Girl… You are better off without him. Also, after the whole school found out about her condition, instead of accepting it and owning it, she went into hiding. She avoided people, and kept on making excuses. Yes, those are the common behaviors you’d expect. However, give me a strong main character. Show everyone a good example. Give people hope that even during hardships, one can chose to escape, or one can be brave.

I. W. Gregorio’s debut novel None of the Above took me on an emotional roller coaster ride. The author captured exactly how people are, and how they think when confronted with things that are far too difficult for their comprehension. If you want a mind opening, thought provoking, and gut wrenching book, this one is for you.

Rating: 3/5 stars

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

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A Thousand Nights

Let’s start this review with a little disclaimer, shall we?

I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

There we go. Now, to the fun part.

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston has a very promising plot. Lo-Melkiin, rules a prosperous and peaceful qasr. He accomplished this by marrying a girl from each village, and one from every district inside the city walls. And get this, they all die a few days after their marriage.

*insert surprised face here*

I know right?

Why do these girls die after they wed him? Why did the people worship the girls who died and built them altars to remember their deaths? Why did the main character sacrifice herself instead of letting Lo-Melkiin pick her sister? What is the purpose of this book?

It feels ghastly saying this, but I will never know the answers to my questions.¬†I will never know because I DNF’d this book at 50%. I swore I would never DNF a book, yet here¬†we are.

I feel sad that I DNF’d this book because first and foremost, look at the cover! I am a sucker for gorgeous, jaw dropping covers.

Second. It really bothered me that I was already at 50% of the ARC¬†and I¬†still don’t¬†know the name of the main character. It bothered me more because most of the people in the book does not have names. Instead, the author used the following:¬†lady-bless, lady mother, father’s father’s father, mother’s mother’s mother, sister, brother, mother, father, Lo-Melkiin’s mother.

WHY IS THERE A SHORTAGE OF NAMES? I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS!

Third. Because the characters lack names and proper building of their characters, I did not feel attached to them. There wasn’t any connection between the characters. There wasn’t any substance. They were faceless males and females to me. It felt like they exist solely because the author said so.¬†Also, you know how the guy always look hot and have perfect jaws and chiseled abs? Well, I think the author missed this memo. I don’t even know what Lo-Melkiin looks like!

Fourth. I did not get enough description of the setting. I understand it’s in a desert, but where? Middle East? Africa? North America? South America? Vegas? Ok, the author said Lo-Melkiin lives in a qasr and according¬†to Wikipedia, it is in the Middle¬†East.¬†But what does the qasr look like? The feel of the floor? The scent of the food? The curtains? The walls? I was so lost.

Fifth. I read this book after reading The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (which by the way I really LOVED), I was thinking if this book would surpass it, but it fell short.

NEVER, EVER READ THIS BOOK AFTER READING THE WRATH AND THE DAWN. JUST. DON’T. OK?

Enough with my rant. I would like to point out something that I like about this book.

I failed to mention that Lo-Melkiin is possessed by another nameless evil creature. I called it, The Thing. Anyway, The Thing, is the one who is controlling him, keeping his thoughts locked away at the corner of his mind. The Thing is responsible for the deaths and is just using Lo-Melkiin’s body and kingdom.

The Thing and its first kill aka the woman Lo-Melkiin loves: “I took what I required from her, and made Lo-Melkiin watch as she shriveled and wilted under his hands.”

Can you imagine the love of your life dying because of your touch and you can’t do anything about it? Pretty sadist right? This gave the book a sick, much needed horrendous twist, which I really loved.

I genuinely tried to finish A Thousand Nights, and I really wanted to love this book. The author tried, but the story just did not work for me.

Rating: 2/5 stars

The Six by Mark Alpert

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the six

I noticed The Six by Mark Alpert ever since it hit the shelves at Barnes and Noble. However, my copy is an ARC from Netgalley, and my review is purely unbiased even if I received mine for free.

This is my first book from the author and I did not know what to expect.¬†I was¬†hoping that I will not have to struggle and muscle through this read. I am pleased to say that this book is an easy 4 out of 5 stars and¬†I fully recommend this to any Sci Fi lover. Allow me to tell you why…

Let’s start with the protagonist, Adam Armstrong.

Adam is a smart teenage boy with a weird sense of humor. He lived a normal life —¬†played football with his best friends, hosted¬†Super Bowl parties, a big fan of the New York Giants and Kanye West, and programs¬†virtual reality¬†games — until his illness (Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy) crept upon him leaving him with weak neck muscles, useless thighs, no movement to the left arm, and “an ok” right arm.

He is dying.

Because of Adam’s condition, his mother is neck deep with depression. She barely takes care of herself and the family. His father, Thomas Armstrong, is the one who takes care of Adam. He is¬†a genius that works for Unicorp;¬†a company that is basically government funded to create stuff that is beneficial to them. Did I mention that¬†Adam’s dad¬†is the creator of the Artificial Intelligence called Sigma?

“My name is Sigma. This message is a warning to all government leaders and military commanders.

I have the power to annihilate you.

If you attack me or interfere with my plans in any way, I will exterminate the human race.”

BAM! I read those few lines and I felt my pulse quicken. Sigma, the Artificial Intelligence created by Adam’s dad, is making threats to the government and military?

THIS HAS GOT TO BE GOOD!

But wait a minute. Who’s¬†going to¬†stop Sigma from taking over bases that control the nukes? Who’s going to stop him from erasing the human population from the face of the Earth?

All I’ve got to say is that the author did not disappoint. The book is fast paced and action packed. This is an I-have-to-know-what-happens-next type of read. I flipped through the pages wanting to know more without being overwhelmed by too much action. Most of the characters are well developed which allowed me to feel attached to them. The author also did a great job researching government machineries which helped me understand and visualize what was going on.

And, HOLY ENDING!

IS THERE A BOOK TWO??? YOU CANNOT LEAVE ME HANGING LIKE THIS!

Rating: 4/5 stars