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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spreading le wings

**My Razorbill version 
Hello guys! I'm over at Forever Book Lover today. Please head out there and see me spread my wings and marvel. I did ramble a lot. ;)

Thank you Kat for having me.  :D

**Photo courtesy of the world wide web.

"Waiting On" Wednesday (5): Days of Blood and Starlight


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating. 

Book: Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) by Laini Taylor
Publication Date: November 6, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company


In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed "Daughter of Smoke and Bone," Karou must come to terms with who and what she is, and how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, mysteries and secrets, new characters and old favorites, Days of Blood and Starlight brings the richness, color and intensity of the first book to a brand new canvas.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone was declared a "must read" by Entertainment Weekly, was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com, and The New York Times called it "a breath-catching romantic fantasy." - Goodreads

So...that cover.. Huh. Still speechless, my friends. *clears throat* I LOVE IT! Last week, my WoW was Jay Kristoff's Stormdancer which was super awesome by the way so you should all add it to your wishlist and TBR. But you know what, Stormdancer and Days of Blood & Starlight share something in common. Obviously, they will both rock the socks off your bookshelves but really, both their covers color palette is so appealing. I mean it's red. Red! I love red.

Anyway, Daughter of Smoke and Bone was one of my best reads last 2011 so I'm definitely looking forward to this one. November please be a darling and come soon. 

What are you waiting on?
Leave your link down below so I can check yours out.

PSST. I have a giveaway going on. You might want to head there for a chance to win. I know you want to. ;)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Random Ramblings (17): Cover Limelight

ANNOUNCEMENT: These 4 books are must-haves. I repeat. These 4 books are must-haves. Surely, your bookshelves will be looking forlorn if you don't get yourself a copy of at least one of the books I'll mention today.  So today's features: 

Asunder (Newsoul #2) by Jodi Meadows
Comes out 2013
Jodi Meadows pretty much wins the book cover lottery every single time. You can learn more about why the second book is called Asunder by visiting Jodi's blog. 

***

Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff
Comes out in September 18, 2012
Say hi to Yukiko. I guess it's clear you won't mess with someone who looks that bad-ass. I won't. I heard that tattoo comes alive too. And of course, I'm kidding.

You know what you can win an ARC of Stormdancer because Jay is awesome like that. Enter here. You might have to fight your chances through a throng of Jay's worshipers though, so good luck. 

***

Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas
Comes out in August 17, 2012
If you thought the US cover was incredible, think again. C'mon, that girl wields 2 swords and I have a feeling she wouldn't hesitate to cut or to kill if it comes to it.

***

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2) by Laini Taylor
Comes out in November 6, 2012
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone cover is blue now the second book is red. You just have to love the look of this series on your shelves. PS. Daughter of Smoke and Bone rocks so...

***

So folks what do you think? Pretty amazing covers right? 
You're welcome. ;)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday (4): Stormdancer

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating. 

US Cover
Book: Stormdancer (The Lotus Wars #1) by Jay Kristoff
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books


The Shima Imperium is verging on the brink of environmental collapse; decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshippers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, land choked with toxic pollution, wildlife ravaged by mass extinctions.

AN IMPOSSIBLE QUEST
The hunters of the imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger—a legendary beast, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows thunder tigers have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.

A SIXTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a hidden gift that would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.

But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire. - Goodreads

It seems like September is the new 'it' month and if you haven't even heard of this book, shame on you. Kidding! I have been pining for this book for as long as I can remember. When the UK cover came out I was like mesmerized by the whole concept of the look but when the US cover was revealed I was ready to trade anything just to have a copy of Stormdancer. Stormdancer sounds so goooood. Japanese Steampunk? I mean, c'mon I haven't even read any steampunk yet but hearing that makes me want to poke my eyes out just to stop myself from peeing in my pants. It does really help too that Jay Kristoff has an aura of a god or something. 

What are you waiting on?
Leave your link down below so I can check yours out.

PSST. I have a giveaway going on. You might want to head there for a chance to win. I know you want to. ;)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Read from May 15, 2012
 to May 16, 2012
Book: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) by J.K. Rowling
Publication Date: July 2, 1998
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Number of Pages: 251 pages
Genre/s: Fantasy

The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts Schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike. 

And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart; a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom; and the unwanted attention of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny. 

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone—or something—starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects . . . Harry Potter himself? - Goodreads

Excerpt: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

If I remember correctly the Chamber of Secrets was one of the books that I can quote by heart. It is not exactly my favorite book in the series but there were just too many stand-out moments in the book that stayed with me ever since the first time I read it. In here, Harry Potter met Dobby, a house elf and from him comes a dire warning.

"..Harry Potter must not go back to Hogwarts.. There is a plot, Harry Potter. A plot to make the most terrible things happen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year.."

Intent to keep Harry away from Hogwarts, Dobby hid Harry's letters from his friends and ruined Harry's uncle business deal that caused Harry to be locked up in his room with a barred window. With the help of his friend Ron and the twins, Harry escaped and spent the rest of his summer at the Burrow. But Dobby interfered again, and now Harry and Ron couldn't cross the gateway barrier for platform 9 3/4. Missing the train, they decided to use the enchanted flying car to Hogwarts, the same one that helped Harry escape the Dursleys, only to crash-land into the Whomping Willow. Bruised, battered and hungry, Snape hounded them with a promise of expulsion.

Harry's year is definitely not off to a good start. But all that's nothing compared to the horrors that would come next. The Chamber of Secrets has been opened once again after 50 years. Only the true heir of Slytherin has that ability and after several attacks, the castle was in panic and distress. It doesn't really help that Harry has the ability only a Dark Wizard can do. Now everyone thinks he's behind all the attacks and he has to clear his name and find the culprit before it's too late.

What I liked most about Chamber of Secrets is the atmosphere. You could really perceive the underlying peril, unlike in the first book, the danger here is active; it attacks and strikes. This created an adventure filled with dread, thrill and a lot of speculations. We also got a glimpsed at how the Dark Lord came to power, how he hated those that are not pure in blood and how immense this Mudblood loathing would affect the entire series.  

Readers were also introduced to a new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Gilderoy Lockhart who is not only incompetent in his job but is also nothing but a sham. Seemingly minor characters have in fact crucial roles to portray in order to solve the mystery. 

The struggles of Harry is also presented here. His confusion and frustration about his capabilities and likeness to someone who's supposed to be the bad guy is completely conceivable and I couldn't help but to root for him and keenly engage myself as he sought to learn more about himself and his worth. Nevertheless, everything comes through in the end with the help of Hermione's clever thinking and Ron's sellotaped wand and wild car (*winks*).  Harry again proved how loyalty is one of his shining strengths and how it saved him yet again in his battle with the dark forces.

I know that the world-building in the Harry Potter series was several years in the making. It was  carefully plotted and even minute details were meticulously structured. Since I am already aware of what would happen next, I could really appreciate Rowling as I watched her build the foundation along the way and not forgetting that she has a story to tell. The humor was there, lightening up the scenes unexpectedly. Now that my reading count of this book is 5, I could still say that Chamber of Secrets still brings that certain amount of thrill and excitement I had the first time I read it. Or maybe I should just admit that I am forever biased when it comes to this series. I am such a Potterhead.

Cupid's Verdict:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions # 5


Book Blogger Confessions is a new blog meme hosted by Tiger of All Consuming Books and Karen of For What It's Worth. It is a weekly meme in which bloggers can vent share about their blogging "problems" and experiences.


Question of the Week:
Memes. Love em or hate em? 

How many do you participate in? Which kinds do you like best? 
Do you feel like there are too many?

To be honest, when I started blogging last November, I did not know memes exist much less know what they stand for or mean. But in the short months that followed, I could honestly say these weekly features on hundreds of blogs, made the blogging world much more exciting and  it provided a lot of ways to interact with fellow bloggers.

Case in point, Follow Friday, a weekly blog hop hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. This has been so successful that even fairly new bloggers get noticed. It's like a rite of passage or something. I, for one, benefited on these awesome meme.  I increased my blog stats and meet new bloggers and friends. It's a win-win situation, folks.

Another meme I'm doing is this, Book Blogger Confessions. I just love doing this every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month because I could speak out about something that is relevant to what I'm doing here in the first place. It's a meaningful experience because I talked with other bloggers and learn from their posts.

But there are a lot of other memes out there. I love to do them all but these memes, while flashy and fun, can sort of pull you down. For starters, I do believe that a blog is first and foremost, a place to review books. So if your blog is 80% memes and only 20% book reviews, then that's really something to think about. Like always, there's got to be some balance.

How about you? What memes do you participate in? Which kinds do you enjoy best? 
Share your thoughts down below, I'd love to know!


Happy Monday!

Don't forget to check out my Comeback Giveaway! :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday (3): The Forsaken

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating. 

Book: The Forsaken (The Forsaken #1) by Lisa M. Stasse
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers


As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.     The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway. - Goodreads

I swear, dystopian is the new black. It keeps popping everywhere and what's positive about it is every book always introduces a new concept. Say for example, my WoW for today. The Forsaken just sounds so interesting and the cover was pretty fabulous as well, it looks very different in a good way. I think I'll just hibernate until July 10.

What are you waiting on?
Leave your link down below so I can check yours out.

PSST. I have a giveaway going on. You might want to head there for a chance to win. I know you want to. ;)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Still A Potterhead: HP Books Marathon

I'm going to Hogwarts this week. 
Who's with me?
This week, from May 15 to May 19, I will be having a Harry Potter marathon.  I'm awfully behind all my reading challenges and I also have been afflicted with the reading slump bug for a month now. Not a very good combination for someone who  only has 50 books as her reading goal for this year and still manages to be 1 book behind. o.o

I firmly believe that Harry Potter can cure anything so I decided to let my Potterhead alterego roar and hopefully I could finish the rest of the books before Saturday, May 19 too.

If muggle life will not get in the way I could: Finish the reading challenge + Recuperate from my reading slump. Win-win situation. Yowzah!

It's not yet too late to join Penelope's Harry Potter Reading Challenge so I'm inviting you to read along and head over to the The Reading Fever, hold your virtual quill and sign up. Also, you are cordially invited to the HPRC2012 Twitter party:

*See you! 
For those who will sign up and party hard with us, there may or may not be awesome *virtual* cupcakes in store for you. 
Am I the only one who'd not dare eat this?
 How could anyone have the heart to even try?
That's it, I'm all set. Now I'm off to Hogwarts. Adios, amigos. 



All pictures are taken from Turn to Page 394 not including *. 
Thank you!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Read from May 8, 2012
to May 10, 2012
Book: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Number of Pages: 327 
Genre/s: Young Adult, Historical Fiction


Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page. - From Goodreads

**This review focuses more on the feelings I had in Code Name Verity rather than about the characters. This was intentional to keep myself from giving away major spoilers.

Excerpt: "All I have done is buy myself time, time to write this. I haven't really told anyone anything of use. I've only told a story. But I have told the truth. Isn't that ironic? They sent me because I am so good at telling lies. But I have told the truth."

Code Name Verity was one of a kind. I believe it was the first book I ever come across that did not make any sense, well at least to me. Everything I read was pure technical, war details, pilot stuff and I couldn't care less. I was ready to drop this and just get on with my life--I was bored, in short.

But there was something really compelling about its narration. Told from two perspectives, you just want to find out what would happen next and even though you know that freedom is next to nil, you still wish for it. 

Verity is a British spy. When she made a seemingly minor but fatal mistake of blowing her cover by looking at the wrong side of the road, she was arrested and held as a prisoner of war. This start ed her confession and she was then branded as a collaborator.

She started this confession by saying, "I am a coward." I believed her. She was indeed a coward but what I did not realize was she was brilliant and cunning. If only I knew how  good she was as a spy, I would've prevented the inevitable. Before I knew it, I was cradling my heart like a broken limb suffering from what I called the book-heart attack. That "KISS ME, HARDY! Kiss me, QUICK" wrecked my heart in two. *sobs*

It amazes me how Wein managed to snagged my heart where it mattered. She planted tangents and those tangents knitted itself together taking the story with it. As I was reading, I thought I have no idea what the characters were talking about but I kept guessing correctly at everything!

Don't be fooled by Code Name Verity. It is not solely a novel about World War II. It was the undercurrent, yes but Code Name Verity is so much more. It is a novel about friendship and loyalty, how you will do anything to save someone precious to you. It was everything the book cover was trying to sell.

It is so hard for me to write this review, more so in rating it. Logically, Code Name Verity is a book I would not like. It was slow and it does not make any sense half of the time. But the saving grace of this book definitely overshadowed its weak points. Code Name Verity made me feel so much. There was just too much conflicting emotions running around inside of me that I simply do not know what to say. But if there was one feeling that stood out from the rest, it would be heart ache. I was heartbroken, crashed and trampled upon by this heartrending tale of friendship and sacrifice. 

Resilience and patience pays in the end my friends, and I was definitely glad I decided to finish this book.

Cupid's Verdict:
An advanced copy was provided by the publisher at no cost via Netgalley.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Random Ramblings (16): TBR Overload! SOS!


It's not really cool getting left behind by your reading peers. Yes, we all know that this is not a WHO-HAS-READ-THE-MOST race but it really sucks big time if you can't relate or join in a discussion because, alas, the book they're talking about is still on your to-read list.

There are a million reasons behind this but basically it all boils down to: THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY BOOKS! 

In fact, because our TBR pile is in the hundreds and thousands (and millions? Oh God, I do hope not), you just have no idea what to pick. And because we bloggers and reviewers have reading commitments, what with all the requesting spree we do in Netgalley (guilty!), blog tour, and review requests to attend to, we just do not have the time to work on our ever-growing, distressing TBR.

So I thought of making this post to at least keep track of what books I haven't read yet but should've supposed to read by now and at least help perk up my reading. I hate living under my reading cave and my reading is in serious need of intervention.  I've been experiencing the dreaded reading slump for about a month now and I need help. *gulps*

Since there are so many books that I really want to read, I handpicked the Top 11 in my list.  No throwing of rocks, though. I hurt easily. ;) In no particular order, here they are: 




1. The Fault in Our Stars or any John Green for that matter
2. Angelfall by Susan Ee
3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
5. Blood Red Road by Moira Young
6. Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendra Blake
7. Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
8. The Iron King and the rest of the series by Julie Kagawa
9. The Tiger's Curse and the rest of the series by Colleen Houck
10. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
11. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

So what do you think of the books above? 
Any favorites? What book should I dive in first? 
Recommendations aside from the books mentioned are very much welcome and please do not contain yourself, I love squealing! :D

Friday, May 11, 2012

Follow Friday # 7

Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee that expands your blog following by joint efforts between bloggers. This week's featured bloggers are  Books Galore   and  The Fake Steph Dot Com .

Question of the Week:  
This Sunday in the U.S. is Mother's  Day. In celebration, what are some of your favorite books with strong mother/child relationships? 

There are probably some books I missed out but these 3 came immediately into mind:

Weasley's Egypt family trip with me.
Where was I? Umm, I was the one who
took the picture cause nobody knew
how to work the camera except me.
 
1. Molly Weasley and the 7 Weasleys from the Harry Potter series  

Do I really need to explain this? Although, I love my mother dearly with all my heart, Molly is the mother I never had. She's just everything a mother should be. Need any more proof? Look at how her sons and daughter turned out to be.

2. Maggie and Clara Gardner from Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand

Maggie may be secretive about the mechanics of how the visions work, but she's always right there for Clara. Supportive and unyielding, like any mother should be.

Proud mom! 
3. Sally Jackson and Percy Jackson from the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan  

If you fell in love with a god (especially one of the 3 major gods), you would realized that although you love each other deeply, there will come a time when that god must leave you even if he does not want to. Sally realized that and as a single mother raising a demigod, she married a git of a man to protect Percy. I mean c'mon, if you marry someone who has a horrendous, abusive attitude and a terrible smell just to masked the demigod scent of your child to prevent monsters from attacking, you are an amazing mother.

What about you? 
Share your answer down below or link-up with your own FF post. 

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Mother's Day! :)


PSST. Fancy a giveaway? Enter here for a chance to win ONE book from 15 amazing April/May YA releases.  :D

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Review: Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig

Read from April 5, 2012
to April 6, 2012
Book: Pretty Crooked by Elisa Ludwig
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Number of Pages: 368 pages
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary

Willa’s secret plan seems all too simple: take from the rich kids at Valley Prep and give to the poor ones. 
Yet Willa’s turn as Robin Hood at her ultra-exclusive high school is anything but. Bilking her “friends”-known to everyone as the Glitterati-without them suspecting a thing, is far from easy. Learning how to pick pockets and break into lockers is as difficult as she’d thought it’d be. Delivering care packages to the scholarship girls, who are ostracized just for being from the “wrong” side of town, is way more fun than she’d expected. 
The complication Willa didn’t expect, though, is Aidan Murphy, Valley Prep’s most notorious (and gorgeous) ace-degenerate. His mere existence is distracting Willa from what matters most to her-evening the social playing field between the have and have-nots. There’s no time for crushes and flirting with boys, especially conceited and obnoxious trust-funders like Aidan. 
But when the cops start investigating the string of burglaries at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could he wind up being the person that Willa trusts most? - Goodreads

I never knew that this was a series. Why does everything has to be in a series these days? I mean, Pretty Crooked could've been a pretty good stand-alone novel if it just went on a little farther and tie its several loose ends. I don't even understand why it has an epilogue. 

But before I got carried away, let me tell you what Pretty Crooked is all about first. Willa is a new student at Valley Prep, a sophisticated, classy school for rich kids. She immediately befriended one of the Gliterati, a nice girl who introduces her to the other girls. After their ridiculously lame discussions, outrageous shopping sprees and bullying, Willa realized she had enough. She decided to pull on a Robin Hood-esque stunt to spread the wealth and change the social standing system. But how long can she get away with it? 

So that's basically the backbone of the story. One girl took it in her hands to stop bullying by stealing. Sounds crazy, right? But Willa has enough ethics behind her not-so-good actions--or so Tre says. I could go on about how the end does not justify the means but I think you'd start glazing off and start staring at me like I'm sprouting leafs or laying eggs or something. 

To be honest, I never knew much about Robin Hood. Yes, I know, shame on me. Robin Hood, just wasn't much of a talk when I was a kid or when I was growing up for that matter. I just knew that he was some kind of a rebel or a hoodlum with a good heart and cause. That's it, never watched any movies, TV series, read any books with any Robin Hood tale on it. 

So what exactly is my point, you say? Well, I do believe this is a problem on my part, but the thing is the plot, the characters, the scenes, the dialogues, just didn't translate to me. It was all flat. It just didn't work. The place, the Gliterati, the mean girls vibe. It was just mildly interesting and it was such a feat that I managed to finished the book. Praised the minimal pages! 

Tre and Aidan for me was the saving grace in this book. There was some layer beneath those muscles, good looks, and their awesome smell. And believe me when I say, I'm not fangirling and fawning over their hawtness when I said that.

If there's any indication how much the Pretty Crooked didn't work for me, I did not even talked about Willa. The Sly Fox. The person this book revolves around into. But I know many people enjoyed this book. So I suggest for you to give it a try and see for yourself. 

Cupid's Verdict:
An advance copy was provided by the publisher at no cost via Netgalley.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday (2): Ashes of Twilight

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating. 

Book: Ashes of Twilight by Kassy Tayler
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffins


Wren MacAvoy works as a coal miner for a domed city that was constructed in the mid-nineteenth century to protect the royal blood line of England when astronomers spotted a comet on a collision course with Earth. Humanity would be saved by the most groundbreaking technology of the time. But after nearly 200 years of life beneath the dome, society has become complacent and the coal is running out.  Plus there are those who wonder, is there life outside the dome or is the world still consumed by fire? When one of Wren's friends escapes the confines of the dome, he is burned alive and put on display as a warning to those seeking to disrupt the dome’s way of life. But Alex’s final words are haunting. “The sky is blue.”

What happens next is a whirlwind of adventure, romance, conspiracy and the struggle to stay alive in a world where nothing is as it seems. Wren unwittingly becomes a catalyst for a revolution that destroys the dome and the only way to survive might be to embrace what the entire society has feared their entire existence. - Goodreads

Ashes of Twilight is classified as a Steampunk. I have not read any novel from the Steampunk genre yet but I am very willing to try one. This book might just be my first. The synopsis really caught my attention because of the promise of adventure which I am hoping is abundant in the novel. Plus, the cover was cool and refreshing.  I cannot wait to find out what that golden bird means.

What are you waiting on?
Leave your link down below so I can check yours out.

PSST. I have a giveaway going on. You might want to head there for a chance to win. I know you want to. ;)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Read from April 2, 2012
to April 4, 2012
Book: Starters by Lissa Price
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 368 pages
Genre/s: Young Adult, Dystopia


HER WORLD IS CHANGED FOREVER 

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man. 

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. - Goodreads

Excerpt: "Did Cinderella ever consider fessing up to the prince, that night she was enjoying herself in the fancy ball gown? Did she even think of telling him, oh, by the way, Prince, the coach isn’t mine, I’m really a filthy little barefoot servant on borrowed time? No. She took her moment. And then went quietly away after midnight."

I think it's important to note my previous reading history before I landed myself into the world of Starters. I read How To Kill A Rock Star by Tiffany DeBartolo which totally rocked my socks off and Partials by Dan Wells which was now enlisted as one of the best dystopians I've read this year. The thing is,  although those two books are from different genres (the former is contemporary BTW), they are both masters in the art of plot twist. 

Definitely, I'm on my reading high and I was expecting a lot from Starters. Unfortunately, it was in a lack of a better word, just OK. And yes, I need to explain that but I think I'd let this out of the bag first.

I just don't get it. 

If you have read the synopsis, it sounded so awesome, and I'm so optimistic that aside from delivering something new and wow-zah in the dystopian genre, Starters would be mindblowingly good. The concept was indeed original and the basic question was, "Would you in exchange of a big fat check (totally got that from **HIMYM, sorry where was I?) allow others to rent your body?" 

You see, in Callie's world, unclaimed minors are scrounging for money and a place to stay. The streets are dangerous and children kill for food even for a single cookie. The Marshals are everywhere and if you're not street smart and a runner-extraordinaire you could end up in an institution. They don't have parents anymore and being an unclaimed minor is the worst thing that you could ever be. The Enders is on the complete opposite side of the scope, they are wealthy, they live luxurious life and they could buy anything, even your body. And yup, I forgot that this was all after the war, the so-called Spore Wars, wherein the only vaccinated people, the younger and the older ones lived. 

Sounds tragic, right? It was. I was hooked from the first page. I think I didn't care for a character any faster than I did with Callie and Tyler. I could see the devotion of Callie to his little brother. His sick and she's the only one that's there. She's the grown-up now and she has to do the surviving for both of them. So she went to Prime Destination (in short, Prime--meh) and signed for a three rentals meaning three Enders get to use her body and she's done. However, by her third and last rental everything fishy starts to unfold.

Cue for the fun stuff to start. But you know what, I got lost. Somewhere when everything was supposed to be happening, I was confounded. I tried to be as gripped as I was but I just couldn't. So I did other things. Worst decision ever. Not only that made me more detached from everything, the world started to lose its attraction. 

But let's be more objective.

There are great points to Starters. The protagonist, Callie was relatable and endearing. She always thinks of others especially her little brother, Tyler. As I said, the concept was original. The pacing was great from the start. The villain was creepy. The Old Man was really something. Starters indeed has its moments, because if Tyler and Callie's and other unclaimed minors didn't break your heart, then Sara from the Institution would.

However, its great points also somehow become it's not so great points. Callie while relatable and endearing at first, became somewhat dreary to me in the long run. She was a survivor, yes. She has his brothers best interest at heart, yes. But why, is she so invincible? Why is she holding a gun every second and lose it everytime she closes her eyes. OK, that's totally off the point, but yes, why don't she have any concussion or limp from all the bumping and falling she gets from all her escapade. 

What my point really is, before you ask what's this got to do with anything, this little point along with some others just made it so unrealistic for me. I think my brows were so close to hitting the ceiling as I turn pages and pages, and I keep seeing Callie as a bad version of Angelina Jolie in Salt. 

I do think this all boils down to the concept of "body renting". Who in their right minds, especially older adults in their 150s-200s wants to use another body for fun? Are old people really like that? Do they fantasize to be young again so that they could party harder and be more attractive? Then those who undergo the renting gets to have a chip in their brains, and then the Enders get to used their body? If the technology was that advanced, then why weren't they able to vaccinate everyone so that nobody would die?

And to be honest, I just don't really understand this body renting business, how it works, how the real body is in some other place sleeping, while the Enders whose using the body is in the club sipping drinks or flirting. Why can someone alter the chip but not take it out? How the hell can you alter the chip without taking it out? Why did it not explode if you somehow did manage to alter it without taking out? I have questions, so many questions. 

I don't know. I still don't know what I feel about Starters even after all those griping and questioning. It wasn't really that bad. I think it just didn't work for me. Am I excited to read the sequel? Not really but I will read it, I swear. Like I said, I have so many questions and there's only one way to find out, read the sequel and hope for the best.

Cupid's Verdict:

Photobucket
3 Cupids

An advance copy was provided by the publisher at no cost via Netgalley.


**I was referring to How I Met Your Mother, a hit comedy TV series on CBS. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions # 4


Book Blogger Confessions is a new blog meme hosted by Tiger of All Consuming Books and Karen of For What It's Worth. It is a weekly meme in which bloggers can vent share about their blogging "problems" and experiences.

Question of the week: 
Comments. The holy grail of blogging success!
What type of posts do you leave comments on?
How do you try to encourage more comments on your blog?
Do you respond to people who leave comments on your posts?
How do you handle negative/spam comments?
Do you use captcha?

I think I am speaking for all bloggers when I say that comments are like being given a Wonka golden ticket in our own versions of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It always makes our day because it means that not only someone bothered reading our painstakingly thought-out and edited blog posts but we also managed to get you to think and comment.


There are blogs that I regularly read and comment on. One of their styles was at the end of the post, they always leave questions for thought. I think that really works in getting people to think and share their minds. I especially love commenting on TBR piles and WoW's posts.

I also have favorite blogs I always visit. Have you been to Cuddlebuggery? Because if you haven't then you're missing some of the funniest, wackiest, bluntest, snarkiest, most brilliant posts I've ever read. I bow to these 2 genius ladies. Their author interviews are so original and to die for.  They can be brutal but when they give the heads-up in a review, you just gotta take their word for it and go wild with anticipation.

How about The Midnight Garden? i swim for oceansThe Nocturnal Library? These guys are amazing reviewers. I always read their opinions on books because their reviews just blew me away.


I hope you do get to visit those blogs, because if not, you're missing out big time. Now back to the topic. I always respond to comments when I can. That's why I really wish Blogger has the same comment features that Wordpress has so that when I respond, the commenter can get a notification about it.

How to encourage comments? Reach out first. You can't just expect people to flock into your blog without even trying to exist somewhere. For instance, I always visit the blogs those who comment and visit my blog. I think it's just common etiquette. Also, try to be more interactive. Involve your readers, talk to them, ask questions and their opinions, and I think it really helps if you sound sincere and/or really excited in your blog posts.


Quick fact: I never received a spam nor a negative comment in life. Or at least ever since I started blogging. It could be because no one really cares about my opinion or they are scared away by my intensity or my honesty. Honestly, I do think it's the former. Even the most-loved reviewer gets them. I actually want a troll experience just for kicks.

Kidding aside, one way to turn off commenters is having your Captcha on.  I really like to teach you how to turn it off, but as of now I still couldn't get the hang of this new Blogger interface, so I might just make it worst.


Anyway, for bloggers, please turn off your Captcha. It's really a pain. When I started blogging, my Captcha was on, and that's when they're so much easier to read and I never received a spam. But when they changed it to the "new" infuriating two-non meaningful codes, it raised a lot of eyebrows so I turned it off. Up till now, no spam incident. Nada. Nil. Zil. Trust me. If you want comments, let the commenting experience be stress-free. I, for one, will still comment even if it's on but I cannot speak for the others.


How about you? 
Do you have favorite bloggers you always comment on?
Do you have Captcha nightmares as well?
Comment down below and tell me what you think. 

Happy Monday!
Don't forget to check out my Comeback Giveaway! :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Follow Friday # 6

PSST. Fancy a giveaway? Enter here and be amazed.  :D

Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee that expands your blog following by joint efforts between bloggers. This week's featured bloggers are The Housework Can Wait and Ali's Bookshelf.

Question of the Week:  
What is one thing you wish you could tell your favorite author?

Woo! This will be my first F&F post in such a long time and I'm really glad that the question of the week is really fun. Well, if I could tell J.K. Rowling something I would say that I may be her long-lost daughter. I swear, there must be some kind of mistake in the heavens and for some reason I ended up with my kind of lame parents (don't tell them I said that). They're the most muggle persons I know and they do not read. Shame.  I even share the same birthday with her first-born daughter, July 27. Sounds legit, right?

Anyhow, Rick Riordan would be on the top of my list as well. I like him and J.K. Rowling battle it out to Who's The Toughest? Percy Jackson or Harry Potter? The wizard who killed Voldemort or the demigod who fought plenty of immortal beings? It's kind of moot, I'd say but seeing them together would be the best day of my entire existence.

But in all seriousness, I'd say to them how they have changed my reading experience. I would've never love books as much as I do now, if I haven't come across their works. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter will be forever a part of my childhood and Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson, well, reminded me how much I am a sucker for a good mythology and how much I am a still a child at heart.


What about you? 
Share your answer down below or link-up with your own FF post. 

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Friday! :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Read from March 13, 2012 to
April 2, 2012
Book: Partials by Dan Wells
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Number of Pages: 472 pages
Genre/s: Young Adult, Dystopian

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials--engineered organic beings identical to humans--has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out. 

When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.  - Goodreads

Warning: This review was done immediately after finishing the book...at 4 AM. Needless to say, I'm still gathering up my brains on the floor, I think I stomped on it a few times. 

So what to say? First of all, I think I really need to say that this was one of the best dystopian books I've read for a while now. I was mindblown by everything, but let's backtrack a little shall we?

In Kira's world, no newborn survives.The RM virus made it that way. In an Isolation war fought over by humans and Partials--genetically engineered superhumans, America won but the world was destroyed. The RM virus was deployed, millions died and only thousands of people survived. Now living in a world post-Isolation, The Senate does it best to strive against the slowly dwindling population by the Hope Act in which they established a certain age for females to reproduce.

It's 11 years now and it's still not working. A civil war is brewing because of the Voice and the people are getting restless due to the attacks from them. Kira is a medic and has seen enough newborns die. When one of the most important person in her life got pregnant, she vowed to find the cure for the virus to save her baby before it's too late.

Crazy plan, dangerous undertaking, one epic capturing after, and we found ourselves a one heck of a YA dystopian novel.

You know what I liked about Partials, there was no "romance-ing" that happened here. Sure, Kira has a boyfriend in the persona of Marcus, (which by the way totally has a rocking sense of humor, most of my snorts came from him) but it was almost an afterthought. The story doesn't center from it at all.

So you ask, what made this story incredible then? Well I don't know about you sister, but if the medical stuff, crazy adventure, great bunch of characters, dash of political intrigue, and kick-butt heroine, didn't make it for you, I don't know what will. Because I'm telling you, it was like the whole book was rigged with C4 explosives and every end of the chapter was the trap button.

Being on the medical professional field myself (well, I'm still studying), I was really engrossed by the whole virus thing. I could really relate and I even got a few I told you so on the first few chapters.

Partials has the aura of Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant minus the zombies. The twists and turns just keep coming left and right, you just have to hold on to keep from being overthrown into a sea of nothingness. It was packed-full of action, mystery-driven, and it will keep you up at night. I know I need to sleep but I seriously need the next installment right now.


Cupid's Verdict:
An advance copy was provided by the publisher at no cost via Netgalley.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday (1): What's Left Of Me

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating. 

This is my first WoW post (YAY!) so it's entirely fitting that the book I'm going to present is the book that I'm mostly anticipating. I swear, I'm getting the thrill just thinking about it.

Book: What's Left Of Me by Kat Zhang
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins


NEVER LET ME GO meets HIS DARK MATERIALS in a beautiful, haunting YA debut, the first book in The Hybrid Chronicles. 

Eva and Addie live in a world where everyone is born with two souls, but where only the dominant one is allowed to survive childhood. Fifteen years old, and closer even than twins, the girls are keeping Eva, the ‘second soul’, a secret. They know that it’s forbidden to be hybrid, but how could they ever be apart? 

When a dramatic event reveals what really happens to hybrids if they are discovered, Eva and Addie face a dangerous fight for survival, neither wanting to be the one left behind… - Goodreads

Isn't the synopsis a complete winner? What's Left of Me has been on my radar ever since I've read the blurb and that was when it still has no cover. But look at that gorgeous cover? I want it so bad. Why is September so far away?

What are you waiting on?
Leave your link down below so I can check yours out.

PSST. I have a giveaway going on. You might want to head there for a chance to win. I know you want to. ;)
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