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Monday, June 30, 2014

[Blog Tour] More than Music by Elizabeth Briggs

Title: More than Music
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Format Acquired: ePub
Publication Date: June 17 2014
Publishing House: Elizabeth Briggs Books
ISBN: 9781499607994
Source of Copy: Blog Tour


Music major Maddie Taylor just finished her junior year of college and has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, yet every night she practices guitar and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don't get to be rock stars. That is, until tattooed singer Jared Cross catches her playing guitar and invites her to join his band on The Sound, a reality TV show competition.

Once on the show, Maddie discovers there's more to Jared than his flirty smile and bad boy reputation - and that he's just as big a geek as she is. With each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore, but when the show pressures them to stay single they're forced to keep their relationship secret.

As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)

Link to the giveway on the sidebar!


I'm going to start off this review by saying that this was better than expected. My forays into the New Adult genre have always flopped and that made me afraid to give this book a go. But I believe in  second chances, and thirds and fourths and so I joined the tour. This book gets an instant 3 stars for the mention of Anberlin and all the music references. I love them so much so forgive me for being a little biased. Heh.

Maddie Taylor's about to take up an internship with the LA Philharmonic despite the fact that she secretly plays guitar and has rock star aspirations. As fate would have it, Jared Cross, lead singer and guitarist of Villain Complex catches her rocking out and invites her to join the band because they badly need her so they can join The Sound, reminiscent of The Voice, a reality TV battle of the bands kind of thing. Of course, once on set Maddie realizes that Jared isn't all about flirting and girls and doing the nasty. He's actually kind of a geek and kind of an okay guy. How is Maddie supposed to resist? 

Truthfully? I was never fond of rockstar romances but this book made it okay, less cringe-worthy. Maddie is multi-talented; she plays guitar, piano, sings a little and does a little clarinet. She's a decent character, a little shy, a little relatable, a little annoying with how she put Jared so high up on a pedestal. 

Jared on the other hand is typical of YA/NA. The tortured artist, the guy who leaves behind a trail of broken hearts, the one all the girls pine over. I mean he's a geek and I suppose that added a bit to his charm but still, as sexy as he is I don't know if I want to touch that with a ten-foot pole. He has big issues and out of control hormones but that's not to say that he wasn't a decent character. He was. He's just...typical of the genre.

So basically this book is like The Voice except it's The Sound and instead of singers they feature bands. It's like one of those reality TV shows except in text format but probably way more entertaining. It's got drama, romance, music and kissy scenes that lead to more kissy scenes if you know what I mean. 

If you're looking for a romance that features hot musicians and fluff then this one's for you. A quick read that will definitely satisfy and this book gives me hope for NA. (Or maybe it's just really my bad luck that all the NA I've ever tried was So thank you Elizabeth Briggs. I'm looking forward to the Hector Novella set in Comic-Con.



Saturday, June 28, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #39

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme first initiated by Tynga. This weekly segment will showcase the books/galleys/ARCs we've acquired/purchased/borrowed within the week.


City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Got my Jenny Han books signed plus an ARC of Ashes to Ashes

Anna and the French Kiss + Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins.
Don't forget to get your copies for the signing on July 5 at NBS SM Cebu and on July 6 NBS Glorietta 1

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han


Michelle's signed Jenny Han books.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

Title: The Things You Kiss Goodbye
Author: Leslie Connor
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Publishing House: Katherine Tegen Books
ISBN: 9780060890919
Source of Copy: Edelweiss


Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this "cowboy" is everything Brady is not - gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom - and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can't help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she's anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth - and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Bettina never expected to fall in love with a guy like Brady, but she did. And she never expected her strict Bampas to like him either, but he did. Suddenly, Bettina's world opens up because being with Brady means that she's freer that she's ever been in her life. But when Brady's treatment of her changes, and the bruises are starting to show, Bettina thinks that her only options lie between a rock and a hard place - freedom from Brady, or freedom from her father... until someone comes along and makes Bettina question her own choices.

Bettina and Brady's romance started off really, really sweet and adorable. You know, like that one couple you personally know and are secretly "shipping" with your friends because they are the very epitome of romantic love? But when Brady's darker side began to rear its ugly head, even readers felt the confusion Bettina did. The sweetest guy God possibly ever created slowly started pushing her around and "teasing" her, all because he was getting more popular in high school. (Hoo boy, now that is a really small fishpond you got there, bud.)

Bettina's relationship with Bampas, Greek for father, is just as tricky. Here is a very traditional father who wanted to raise his children in a controlled environment, never mind the fact that he was raising them in the Land of the Free. Well, hate to break it to you, Bampas, but you're gonna have a hard time with that one, and you're gonna have a harder time making your children fit into your mold. Bettina, being in an age of exploration and curiosity, of course has a pretty big problem with her Bampas' stern parenting. But when Brady and Bampas meet, her father seems to find him okay and allows Bettina to enjoy her little moments of freedom. Freedom that, in Bettina's opinion, will be taken away once Brady leaves the picture.

The first three-fourths of this book, I really liked. And since I got an eARC, the blurb was still pretty vague, so I had little to no idea what the book was heading towards. When I met Cowboy, I had pretty mixed feelings. Do I want a better guy for Bettina? YES! Do I want it to be Cowboy? Um, okay, he seems genuinely nice. Did I ever in my wildest dreams anticipate what happens next? H-e-double-hockey-sticks no!!! In my opinion, that little - okay, not so little - twist of events made me wave away the notion that this was a realistic contemporary fiction. While this book could motivate teens to speak up about abuse and violence, I think that Connor had another motive in mind when she wrote the last parts of the book.

Overall though, I'd still recommend Leslie Connor's The Things You Kiss Goodbye. While 80% of the theme revolved around abuse, I'd want teens to be more aware of how anything and everything could change in a relationship in an instant - and that just like Bettina, you are not the fault.


Monday, June 23, 2014

[Blog Tour] NICOLE'S REVIEW: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Title: Plus One
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Format Acquired: ARC
Publication Date: April 8 2014
Publishing House: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374360078
Source of Copy: Blog Tour


Sol Le Coeur is a Smudge - a night dweller in an America rigidly divided between people who wake, live and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays who live and work during the daylight. Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol deliberately injures herself in order to gain admission to a hospital, where she plans to kidnap her newborn niece - a Ray - in order to bring the baby to visit her dying grandfather. By violating the day-night curfew, Sol is committing a serious crime, and when the kidnap attempt goes awry, it starts a chain of events that will put Sol in mortal danger, uncover a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population, and throw her together with D'Arcy Benoit, the Ray medical apprentice who first treats her, then helps her outrun the authorities - and with whom she is fated to fall impossibly and irrevocably in love.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights - and a compelling, rapid-fire romantic adventure story.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Sol Le Coeur is resigned to her fate, working at the factory and flunking school. She's classified as a Smudge, and in an America divided into Night and Day it means that she lives, reads, works and basically comes alive during the night. She's fine with that. What she isn't okay with is her grandfather dying without ever seeing his granddaughter. So brave, impulsive Sol hatches a crazy plan that involves maiming herself, getting dragged to a hospital then snatching her brother's baby. Her plans are derailed when the Ray - it's what the day people are called - who treats her reports her to the authorities. That same Ray, named D'arcy, helps Sol run from the authorities and they find themselves uncovering a government plot to control the Smudge population and the conspiracies start to unravel.

I've never actually read Elizabeth Fama's other work, Monstrous Beauty, but I do own a copy of the book. (Hello, book hoarder.) So I was eager to start on Plus One. 

I liked Fama's characters. Sol is good-hearted, if a bit rash and naive. The plan she made up to steal her brother's baby wasn't exactly well thought of and I wasn't so keen on the way she was so cavalier about caring for the kid. It's a baby. You don't run around with a baby stuck inside your shirt. But I get that Sol was desperate and fueled by the love she had for her grandfather.

D'arcy is a Ray and the one who treats Sol when she accidentally-on-purpose maims herself as a way to get into the hospital. I liked the romance between the two, it was slow and well developed. I'm not gonna say anything more for fear of spoilers but D'arcy and Sol do belong together. There was a huge amount of uncertainty on whether their relationship would ever go somewhere because of the rules set in pace by their government. Ray and Smudge relationships are rare and it kept me on the edge because I was totally cheering for them.

I also enjoyed Fama's writing. She takes time with her world building and while I wasn't that keen on the plot seeing as how it revolved around babies - swapping babies, kidnapping babies - I was overall okay with it. I was able to predict some of the things that happened but that in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the book.

I'd recommend it to fans of dystopia. Oh I know, there is an abundance of YA dystopia out there and most of them blend into one another but this book manages to stand out somehow so give this pretty a chance.



Friday, June 20, 2014

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: The Wizard's Promise by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Title: The Wizard's Promise
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Publishing House: Strange Chemistry
ISBN: 9781908844736
Source of Copy: NetGalley


All Hanna Euli wants is to become a proper witch - but unfortunately, she's stuck as an apprentice to a grumpy fisherman. When their boat gets caught up in a mysterious storm and blown wildly off course, Hanna finds herself further away from home than she's ever been before.

As she tries to get back, she learns there may be more to her apprentice master than she realized, especially when a mysterious, beautiful, and very non-human boy begins following her through the ocean, claiming that he needs Hanna's help.

(Image, summary and information courtesy of Goodreads)


Named after one of the most awe-inspiring pirates, Hanna thinks that there must be something more to her life than being an apprentice to a surly fisherman. Learning some magic, and maybe even be a little good at it doesn't seem like an order too tall anyway. But little does Hanna know that Kolur is not what he seems to be, and what she's in for may be not the simple, tranquil fishing life she's imagined, but one of the biggest adventures in her life yet.

Hanna wants a grand life, the kind of life that her namesake Ananna, the great pirate, has. So when she becomes apprentice to Kolur, the grumpy coot who fishes, she thinks that the only magic she'll be honing will be all about the catch. While I do like Clarke using Hanna's starstruck voice when she talks about Ananna, as she uses the young girl to update readers of the great pirate's adventures, I did feel a bit overloaded with information about Ananna. Don't be mistaken; I love Ananna, and I love Ananna best when she's with Naji, but this one was supposed to be all about Hanna and her unlikely adventure.

Moving on.

Kolur is as vague as all get out when he instructs Hanna whichever way they need to go, so of course Hanna isn't particularly happy with the way things are working out. She's bent on getting back home where things aren't as crazy (or as unpredictable) as this wild ride. To top it all off, there's an insanely beautiful boy named Isolfr in the, err, water. But like Kolur, he can't tell Hanna his purpose either. So Hanna's even more pissed because everyone seems to be in on the big secret, and she's not. (And no, it obviously does not entail a surprise birthday party on an island for Hanna.)

I actually like Isolfr - even when I feel like I'm butchering his name because I can't pronounce it right (I-Sulfur? Isolf with a silent 'r'? Sorry, dude). While his vagueness was maddening, it was endearing watching him interact with the increasingly petulant Hanna. And it was kind of amusing to watch Hanna be all, "ADVENTURE PLEASE!!!" and watching her retreat back with something like a "NO, NO THANKS. I WANNA GO HOME NOW. K."

While the novelty of the mystery was refreshing at first, it soon waned and got me just about as impatient as Hanna. There's still a hint of the same author who penned both The Assassin's Curse and The Pirate's Wish, but having The Wizard's Promise follow up a fantastic quest like that made it kind of pale in comparison. It's still enjoyable, I must say, it's just that it felt more like a companion novel, or a novella, as opposed to a spin-off that would be having succeeding titles.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Blog Tag: Book Blogger Test

We were tagged by Louisse of The Soul Sisters to do this fun little test, and we figured, Hey, we haven't done something like this in ages. Let's do it.

So now you have a peek inside our rocket science-inclined brains, let's get on with it.

1. What are your top three book pet hates?

Insta love: Don't you just hate how heroines swoon at the sight of well defined abs and sultry eyes then fancy themselves in love? I mean swoon as much as you want girl, but don't mistake that for love.
Wimpy Heroines: I hate whiny, sniveling, snot-nosed spoiled heroines. Who wouldn't, really? I want my heroines strong and smart and resilient. Human. Flawed. 
Sloppy romance: I will never say no to romance in a book but when the romance consumes the whole story I just want to slap someone. Too much unnecessary romance will never be a good thing especially if the book promises bloodshed and a whole lot of action. The bloody, limb-tearing kind.

No clear plot lines: I hate finding out that the blurb is actually very different from the actual book, especially when I'm so excited for it only to have my bubble popped.
Misleading covers: Book covers are so misleading! Some have gorgeous, gorgeous covers, but the actual content is pretty 'eh'. Others, on the other hand, have 'eh' covers that may turn off some potential readers, but have kickbutt content!
Annoying protagonists: Since chances are pretty high that I'm going to be reading from their perspective, I hate being inside the head of someone who is obviously very petty and irritating.

2. Describe your perfect reading spot.
Nicole: Hmmm. It's got to be my bed, no doubt about it. I spend a whole lot of time in bed reading.
Michelle: Wow, okay. I just realized that I actually sprawl all over the room/house when I read! Like, later I'll be on the lounge chair. Next time you see me, I'm on my bed. Then I'll walk on over to my mom's room and get settled in her bed. And somehow I'll end up at the living room. Or the kitchen.

3. Tell us three book confessions.
Plastic wrap: Books I own NEED to be wrapped with plastic, book jacket style. I even do it to ARCs. 
Covers: If I don't like a book but it has a gorgeous cover, you can bet I'll be super tempted to buy it. I like covers that are illustrated like the Stormdancer novels (Jason Chan is a god) and the cover of Seraphina. Fantasy novels have wonderful covers (Assassin's Curse) and make for challenging nail art.
Nalini Singh: Let it be known that I am a huge fan of Nalini Singh. I love her paranormal romance novels and I devour those babies in one sitting. I do a lot of rereads because she has the best alpha males.

Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas: I am a historical romance aficionado! And what I love about warehouse book sales is being to hoard romance novels like no tomorrow. J. Quinn and Lisa Kleypas are my definite faves though.
The Sweet Valley books: I can't understand how shallow these teenagers can be, or that they don't killed in some of their books. Or that one of the twins falls in love with a movie star, and that the other is chasing after a prince - but they are super addicting! And since they're pretty old, finding them at unexpected places is pretty fun.
Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries: I re-discovered Young Adult fiction when I was in fourth grade, and I picked up a copy of Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries. It was so... different. Here was a girl who was talking about the weird changes in her body including certain hormonal urges, alongside trying to coincide two vastly different identities. It was this book that led me to reconcile that there were books out there that weren't afraid to talk about the things that teenagers actually think about!

4. When was the last time you cried during a book?
Nicole: I honestly can't remember. I don't usually cry. My emotional settings are set to minimum.
Michelle: I don't cry much either, but I do remember making exceptions for Corinne Jackson's If I Lie, and Morgan Matson's Second Chance Summer.

5. How many books are on your bedside table?
Nicole: Right now it's a copy of Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before because I'm doing some nail art for the book. Nalini Singh books. Hehe. Heh. And Cassandra Rose Clarke's The Pirate's Wish because I'm planning my nails for that too.
Michelle: Hooboy! The question should be: What books aren't on your bedside table? To which the answer would be all my books that are in the study downstairs.

6. What is your favorite snack while you are reading?
Nicole: I eat in between reading. So like... Fruits. I like fruits. And pizza. And cheese. Yeah.
Michelle: I find it hard to eat while reading, so I don't do it.

7. Name 3 books you would recommend to everyone.
Stormdancer: This shouldn't come as a surprise. It's one of the few 4.5 books on the blog my lovelies. I mean, Japan inspired steampunk with awesome lightning wielding Arashitora and motorized katanas? Yeah. Count me in. Not to mention how dark and gritty and full of bloodshed the series is.
Girl of Fire and Thorns: Please, this is one of my favorite high fantasy novels out there. There's nothing more satisfying than reading about a Godstone wielding Princess who grows into herself and her powers in the course of three books. Rae Carson is a masterful storyteller and her character development is simply wonderful. Not to mention Hector. Hector alone guarantees this series 4 rainbows at least.
Let the Sky Fall: Sylphs! Hot guys! My OTP! I seriously love this series because of Vane. He is such a guy. Plus it's a much needed break from vampires and zombies and werewolves. 

Michelle: (Sorry, I'm cheating - but I'm going with 4. I cannot just stick with 3!)
Neal Shusterman's Unwind: Because mind-blown. Only 5-stars I ever gave.
Marie Rutkoski's The Winner's Curse: This was the giveaway for my birthday this year because I fuh-reaking loved it! I recommended this to a good friend, and she was happy with it!
Rae Carson's The Girl of Fire and Thorns: Hector. Elisa. Awesome fantastical powers. 'nuff said.
Jennifer Nielsen's The False Prince: This was last year's giveaway for my birthday. I lent it to a another good friend recently and she was just as amazed as I was.

8. Pic of favorite bookshelf:
Nicole: I love all my bookshelves but just for kicks, take a peek at the titles displayed on my romance shelf. I haven't gotten around to arranging them. Also, ignore the misplaced Cuckoo's Calling.

Michelle: It's too bad that we haven't moved yet so I can share with you guys the staircase bookshelves and bay window reading nook bookshelf I'm having for my loft, but here's an idea (sadly, without the fantastic sea horse in the aquarium):

9.Write how much books mean to you in just 3 words.
Nicole: My whole world.
Michelle: Another different life.

10. What is your biggest reading secret?
Nicole: I actually have no idea. I'm a closet romantic?
Michelle: Right now, I am kind of tired of dystopians. Shh!

Tagged Bloggers:

We're tagging

Monday, June 16, 2014

NICOLE'S REVIEW: In the After by Demitria Lunetta

Title: In the End
Author: Demitria Lunetta
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: June 25 2013
Publishing House: Harper Teen
ISBN: 9780062105455
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


Not isolated.
Fate of Americans: Unknown

Amy is watching TV when the world is attacked by Them. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to survive - even rescue "Baby", a toddler she finds in an abandoned supermarket.

Then, after years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream, with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes than unless thins change, she'll lose Baby - and much more.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


It happened so suddenly, on a day like any other, They came. Ravaging cities and towns; decimating the entire human population save for a few stragglers. Amy is one of them. She's been surviving and hiding from Them for years now, along with Baby, a toddler she rescued from certain death. But a series of events lead to her capture, or rescue rather, and takes her to New Hope. It's like a dream; food and safety for all but underneath that pristine exterior, New Hope's system is far from perfect. Run by a man who wants everyone brainwashed to his cause. And unless things change, Amy's future is at stake. 

Now I like the first half better than the second. It's grittier, darker and more thrilling. Amy's got no one to depend on but herself and Baby and each time they venture out of their house for supplies is a risk. You see the aliens that attacked earth? They're very sensitive to sound and Amy had to learn to keep very quiet or die. The thrill was there, the fear of the unknown and it was dangerous. Oh was it dangerous. I liked every second of it.

Upon entering New Hope though, things start to change for Amy. After years of being on her own it's not the easiest to be stuck in a compound bound by a set of rules. There are a few surprises along the way and romance. The romance was not for me, but I understood why Amy developed feelings for the boy. Even if he is called Rice. If I remember correctly, it's short for Richard? But yeah. After being alone with Baby for so long I guess that seeing a cute boy her age kind of got her hormones working again.

Here's where we figure out what exactly is annihilating the human population outside of New Hope. The origin story for the aliens is frankly, something new and I've never really come across something like this before. It's a little disturbing though, not to mention horrifying but deliciously so.

I'm not giving this book a 3.5 mainly because of the second half. Don't get me wrong, it was interesting and all but there were so many things wrong with the rules set in place. So wrong in fact that it seemed unbelievable. Laughable. But nonetheless, oddly enjoyable.

For those who like their sci-fi fast-paced and bloody and gritty then try this. I'm sure it won't disappoint. Last thing though, I'm really not fond of the name Baby. It's just. I don't know. It doesn't sit well with me.



Monday, June 9, 2014

NICOLE'S REVIEW: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

Title: The Murder Complex
Author: Lindsay Cummings
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: June 10 2014
Publishing House: Greenwillow Books
ISBN: 9780062220004
Source of Copy: Edelweiss


An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young's Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is-although he doesn't know it- one of the MC's programmed assassins. Is their meeting coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Meadow was trained by her father to fight. Why? Because to secure a job for herself so she can feed her family, she'll have to pass a few tests and violence is key to passing. Enter Zephyr, unwitting assassin of The Murder Complex. He and Meadow form a bond but when he is, for lack of a better word, activated and attacks Meadow it puts a strain on their budding relationship and leads to secrets about her family and she realizes just how connected she is to the The Murder Complex.

The book has a really interesting concept, I was undoubtedly excited by the prospect of getting my hands on a copy of this pretty. That'll teach me to get my hopes up. This book was a total bummer because it was confusing. And boring. And I'm sorry but I really couldn't force myself to try to make sense of it.

I didn't like the dual POVs. I mean think about it, some of Zephyr and Meadow's chapters spanned a mere page. One. Page. One page is not enough to get inside a character's head and the constant switching between the two points of view? It made Zephyr and Meadow sound like the same person so much so that I had to keep an eye on the chapter headers. It was a little frustrating.

As for the characters? Boring. I couldn't form a connection with either of them and I think Meadow would be a pretty cool heroine if she were done better. She's a killer, trained since she was a child by her father to survive and fight. She loses that side of her when she falls for Zephyr. Because you know, insta love is definitely a thing in this book. Zephyr on the other hand, is a wimp. I'm not a fan of his, obviously, unless he turns into the mindless killer that he was programmed to be then yes. Go ahead. But here's the thing with Zephyr, I wasn't sure if he knew about himself being an assassin BUT there were scenes where all he wanted was to atone for the blood on his hands. So there's that I suppose. 

I like romance as much as anyone, but too much of it can never be a good thing. In the first place, this book wasn't touted as 'romantic'. It says 'action-packed' and 'blood-soaked' but to have half of the book consumed by this totally unnecessary romance? No. 

Aside from the that, and I never thought I'd say, this but this book had too much action. It got confusing because it's one scene after another of blood and death and running away and where nobody bothers to stop and ask WHY until I was halfway into the book. And that's just the thing! I was halfway into the book and I could not, for the life of me, figure out what was going on. Everything was a jumbled mess and the various revelations were too late or too conveniently dropped onto their laps. Too easy.

All in all, with dull characters, confusing plot and wholly unnecessary romance, I say seek your dystopian fix elsewhere. 



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

[BLOG TOUR] MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Title: Say What You Will
Author: Cammie McGovern
Format Acquired: ARC
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Publishing House: Harper Teen
ISBN: 9780062318114
Source of Copy: Requested from publisher


Amy and Matthew didn't know each other, really. They weren't friends. Matthew remembered her, sure, but he remembered a lot of people from elementary school that he wasn't friends with now.

Matthew never planned to tell Amy what he thought of her cheerful facade, but after he does, Amy realizes she needs someone like him in her life.

As they begin to spend more time with each other, Amy learns that Matthew has his own secrets and she decides to try to help him in the same way he's helped her. And when what started out as friendship turns into something neither of them expected, they realize that they tell each other everything - except the one thing that matters most.

(Image, summary and information lifted from ARC)


Matthew didn't really plan on becoming one of Amy's peer helpers. It makes him feel a little bit awkward. Because Amy wrote an essay about her disabilities, and about how lucky she is that she is liberated from conventional expectations of her as a teenage girl living in America. While everyone applauded her piece, Matthew saw through her - and it was there when Amy realized that she needs someone like him in her life. And it doesn't take Matthew long to come to the conclusion that he needs someone like her to push him into his life.

Say What You Will puts together a quirky teenage girl who is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, and a boy who has an intense affinity with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - and it works. I must admit that when I see disabled people, I am immediately called to sympathize with them. BUT if there's anything Amy taught me, it's that anyone's pity is definitely not needed, ergo uncalled for, and that while they are fragile on the outside, it doesn't mean that they are fragile on the inside as well. Amy is used to people treating her like a china doll, so the first person who doesn't see her that way will undoubtedly catch her attention. I loved them both in their own way because not once have they felt like characters in a book. Their personalities and identities were very realistic, so it just felt like I was reading a friend's free-for-all diary. (I also loved especially the lyrics to Mr. Careful. Someone turn it into an actual song please.)

Say What You Will will definitely catch readers off-guard at how the storyline progresses. In all honesty, I can count on my hand the number of times that a book has made me feel. I classified this book under my I-never-knew-what-feels-meant-until-this. Every emotion may be spelled out there, given Amy's personality, but there is an underlying subtlety that is pretty much undetected... until McGovern sucker-punches you on the face with it and forces it down your throat. 

This book is recommended for people who want their very much solid insides turning into mush and then turning back into solids. It was a very Feels! Feels! FEELS!!! book for me, and I do hope that this book finds a shelter in your bookshelves / eReaders as well.


Monday, June 2, 2014

[BLOG TOUR] NICOLE'S REVIEW: The Polaris Uprising by Jennifer Ibarra

Title: The Polaris Uprising
Author: Jennifer Ibarra
Format Acquired: epub
Publication Date: October 20 2013
Publishing House: Tiwala Books
ISBN: 9780989499200
Source of Copy: Pinoy Book Tours


No citizen shall be left behind.

Life in Neress is simple. For nearly four decades, people have known exactly what's expected of them. Obey the rules, follow the path that's been laid out, and everything will be provided for: food, shelter, education, safety. No need goes unmet.

But the cost is steep: you lose all rights to make your own choices in life.

In seven years, eighteen-year-old Ryla Jensen will come of age and take over for her father as president of this idyllic nation. Groomed since childhood to take on a role she's not even sure she wants, Ryla's only escape from the pressures of duty is her sister, Alanna. But when her eyes are finally opened to the oppressive regime her father built, she begins to question everything she's set to inherit - and finds herself at odds with her sister's blind allegiance to their father.

Torn between loyalty to her family and the fight for freedom, Ryla mut decide just how far she's willing to go to make a stand and risk losing the person she loves most in the world: Alanna.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads;)


In seven years Ryla will take her father's place as President of Neress. Until then, she's supposed to ready herself to ascend with meetings upon meetings and press conferences and lessons with her tutor. That is until she meets her tutor's son and he opens her eyes to the truth about their seemingly perfect society. No citizen shall be left behind. That could not be farther from the truth.

One thing I liked about The Polaris Uprising was the dynamic between Ryla and her sister Alanna. It was obvious that they could not be more different but their love for each other was obvious. Ryla was her father's chosen, the more outgoing of the two. Alanna, despite being the elder sister, was deemed unfit to succeed. It didn't seem to cause any strife between the two sisters but it was pretty obvious Alanna wondered why she wasn't worthy and yearned for her father's acceptance. Polaris Uprising is told in dual POV and it was interesting to get into their heads although I have to admit that I preferred Ryla. She was spunkier and more reckless.

Let's not forget the romance, Alanna was betrothed to Owen, son of the security minister. They've known each other since they were children and I found their romance rather boring.  I mean Owen was cute and rather charming but it just didn't work for me. They might be betrothed but Alanna was oh so lucky to actually feel something for her future husband. Ryla, on the other hand, fell for her tutor's son Tyson. Their romance was too fast and Tyson, despite being anti-government got over his prejudices fast stating that Ryla was different from other government cronies. 

I wasn't too fond of the pacing, everything just seemed to happen so fast. And I get that it's war and time is of the essence but left and right people were making snap judgments. Where was the strategic planning? And Ryla joining the rebellion? Done on a whim. Oh she saw her father's grievances against the people, saw the lies their precious Neress was built upon and bam! The rebellion got the President's daughter on board. Instant spy. It was messy and not well thought of, it lacked planning, but I suppose Ryla is still a teenager and bound to be a little rash. 

As for Alanna? She was quick to defend their father, unwilling to open her eyes like her sister. Maybe it was because she has always wanted her father's acceptance. Maybe she was too afraid. But she was quick to reprimand Ryla without hearing her through. (Why Ryla insists on keeping her father's secrets is beyond me). But I suppose it's all politics and it's not surprising at all that they ended up on opposite sides of a war with secrets left unsaid between them.

I'm okay with character death, I approve of it actually, but for this book? What was the point? (And no, I won't tell you guys who died.) Was it to push Ryla to finally choose a side to fight for? As if the death toll wasn't high enough.

The Polaris Uprising is all in all a good book. Decent characters, sufficient action, and a little romance to top it all of. I'd recommend it for those who want a quick dystopian read and I might read the next book. A little sibling rivalry is always interesting, especially when they're fighting a war on opposite ends. I especially can't help but think Alanna has always wanted to be President. But that's probably just me.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Sunday Post #41

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This special post will provide a recap for posts that have been written for the week (May 25 - May 31, 2014)





Okay so it came as a total surprise to us but Nicole's nails were featured on BuzzFeed! Check out this LINK for super cool book-inspired nail art. Nicole's nails are #17 on the list. (It's super cool to be featured alongside all those talented people!) For more bookish manicures you guys can follow @thetwinsreadnails or Nicole's personal instagram @nicolereadsbooks. 

How was your week?