Friday, January 27, 2012

Follow Friday # 5

Look! The FF button has a new look and I'm loving it. 
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 Fiction Fervor and Book'd Out.

Question of the Week:  
Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why?

Science Fiction and Spiritual books. I don't do aliens. Never liked them in movies, televisions nor in books. I'm pretty intrigued about them in real life but that's how far my interest about them would go. I do try this genre once in a while and would surprised myself that I do enjoy them. But it's not really something I would read for the rest of my life.

Spiritual books just don't sit well with me and I avoid them as much as I can. I'm a Catholic, yes but I don't like to read books that "preach". I don't appreciate opinions and doctrines being shoved down my throat. I learned enough about them at college and reading about them in books is just too much.

What about you? 
What book genre do you avoid like the plague?
Share 'em down below or link-up with your own FF post. 

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Friday!
 Don't forget to check out my Giveaway Extravaganza. Ends 2/1.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Random Ramblings (9): The 'Why I'm Busy' Confession

Sunday, Jan 22.

Know how significant that day was? You don't? Well, it was the last day I posted a book review. 4 days ago. *hides face in shame*

So I decided to explain my on and off hiatus on this blogging space of mine. And will try not to complain and blame everything to the sudden increase of our requirements this semester. Okay, maybe a little.

The reasons:

1) College is really in the hell variety as of the moment. I never thought everything would be this hectic (I actually was expecting this, but I'm still on the denial phase). Our thesis enjoys biting us in our butts and we could do nothing but endure it and trudged on. Bottom line, whining and grumping mainly sums up my day. Which leads us to reason #2.

2) My reading mood is on its all time low. Which leads us to reason # 3.

3) I'm backed-up on books to-read and to-review. I'm doing my best to catch-up but I'm barely keeping up. Everyone who visits the blog on a daily basis, must've seen how forlorn-looking the Under the Never Sky on the currently-reading portion.

So where do all this reasons leads to? Oh I know. The not-so golden question: 

Am I on the verge of the dreaded blogging burn-out?

My answer?

Not even close!

Why? I've been taking a lot of anti-stress pills, that's why. Kidding aside, the start of the year has been great for me. I have super-awesome followers *waves wildly to everyone* and readers who regularly visit whenever I managed to put up a post. And you know what gives a blogger real joy? Regular Readers. They're like the gold coins in the blogging world. Priceless. To that I am greatly thankful. 

What more is I started receiving physical books to review. Well, they're not really here yet but they will be soon. I never thought authors/publishers will send out physical books for me to review since I live in the Philippines. I'm more than okay with digital copies but having a real book in your hands is a much better reading experience.

And then I'm so excited because I'm hosting my very first blogging event this year with a fellow friend and  book-blogger extraordinaire. We're currently on the planning stage and everything is coming together perfectly, if I may say so. The post about this will come on the last day of January so keep an eye out for it. I hope you guys will participate!

Clue! Clue!

OK then. Here's all the clue I can give for now: 
Hunger Games?? Hmmm..
So before I spoil everything, I'm going to leave you all to ponder about this. And watch out for the reviews of these following books:

That's it for the WHY I'M BUSY confession. Sorry for not posting consistently but I hope you guys understand. What I can promise is I'll be doing my very best to keep Smitten over Books alive with blog posts. You can always count me on that. ;)

PS. The Giveaway Extravaganza is still ongoing. Ends 2/1.

**Photo courtesy of the world wide web

Event Alert!: Book Blogger Love-A-Thon

For the entire details, click here.

I was browsing my timeline when I come across this tweet: 

I checked. And this is what I've found: Katelyn from Kate's Tales of Books and Bands will be hosting an event which will be filled with love and thanksgiving in no less than the perfect day to do it, Valentine's Day

Before I get to the details about this event, let me tell you a little secret about my love life (or lack thereof). I am single. An NBSB (No boyfriend since birth) and I used to moan about this to my friends or anyone who'd care to listen. But ever since I started blogging, I found a place where I get to experienced what I've been missing.

So what's this got to do with this event? Read this. (Taken from the original post by the host)

What is a Love-A-Thon, you may ask? It is quite similar to a Read-A-Thon but instead of reading books for an extended period of time, you will be spreading the love to bloggers all over! I am still working out a lot of minor details but here’s what I hope to accomplish with this love-fest:

Who: Anyone and everyone can sign up just as long as you remember to keep it friendly! I would like it if you had a place to post stuff so having a blog is required (I don’t think anyone without a blog would try to sign up for a Blog Love-A-Thon but sometimes you can never be too careful!)

What: A Blogger Love-A-Thon! This will be a day full of commenting on blogs, following blogs, tweeting about blogs, thanking blogs, sharing the word about awesome blogs, telling another blogger how freaking awesome they are, the list goes on and on. Basically it will consist of fun posts, mini challenges, lots of commenting, and perhaps a giveaway or two! I do not have a full schedule completely detailed out yet but I will be e-mailing it to everyone who hopes to participate. Since I am a simple person and like to keep things that way, it will most likely be a fairly easy-to-follow schedule!

When: February 17th 2012 at 12:00 a.m. EST until February 18th 2012 at 12: a.m. EST. I understand that life gets in the way which is why I am not putting in major time restrictions on how long you have to actually be participating! If you can only do it for 12 hours, then do it for those 12 hours!

Where: Twitter, blogs, Facebook! All of your posts will be on your blog but OF COURSE links are welcomed on Twitter and Facebook!

Why: I doubt any of you were asking this question but just in case, it is because there are SO MANY book bloggers that I love! I want to take this opportunity to tell them how much I appreciate all the time and energy they put into their blogs. I know this is hard work and we have all had that moment of feeling like “is there anyone even paying attention to what I’m saying?”  I just really hope that a day like this will be good to lift the spirits of book bloggers everywhere! (There I go sounding all cheesy! I am sure I’ll be regretting my wording in about 2 hours but oh well, it gets the point across!)

How: If you would like to participate it is easy to sign up! (Or as easy as I can make it!)

Step 1- Read over everything I had to say and see if you a) agree with it b) want to take part in it and c) are able to participate in at least part of it!

2- Take the button at the top and save it to your computer.

3- Put it in your sidebar if you want!

4- Make up a post talking about the Book Blogger Love-A-Thon (and of course link back to this post). Also, it would be really sweet if you could put that button you so conveniently saved to your computer during step 2 and put it in the post somewhere. Your post can be as simple or as extravagant as you want. It can just be a copy and paste sort of deal or use your own wording. I don’t care just as long as ALL of the main info is there for anyone stopping by!

5- Publish your post and get the link.

6- Come back here, fill out the form and paste the link for me! Yes I will be checking out all participating blogs!

7- Tell people about this! Of course I would be happy if even 1 person wanted to do this with me but I think the more, the merrier!

8- Tweeting is optional BUT if you do Tweet about it try using the hashtag #LoveAThon. That way if I see it (trust me on this, I will now be stalking that hashtag like no other) I promise to RT for you!

Have any questions, concerns, comments, or suggestions on what we can do for mini challenges during the event? Email Katelyn here: katelynsblog(at)aol(dot)com!

This is really a great event. Giving thanks and some love will never get old. Also it's never too much to spread the love and support to others and it really goes a long way. Sounds fun, right? Let's make our Valentine's Day count, enter here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Review: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi

Read from January to 2012
Book: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Number of Pages: 338
Genre/s: Young Adult, Dystopia

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. 

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war-- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now. 

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 

Excerpt: "I tried so hard to fix what I'd ruined. I tried every single day to be what they wanted. I tried all the time to be better but I never really knew how. 

I only know now that the scientists are wrong. 

The world is flat. 

I know because I was tossed right off the edge and I've been trying to hold on for 17 years. I've been trying to climb back up for 17 years but it's nearly impossible to beat gravity when no one is willing to give you a hand. 

When no one wants to risk touching you."

I know it's no use writing a review after reading this fantastic book. I'm still reeling with mixed emotions that I have finished it and will have no more pages to flipped. But I'm going to try my best to at least touched (no pun intended) some of the parts that had me loved this book so much. 

The setting
The setting was tight. Shatter Me used only few places for the plot to unfold. And it's really commendable how everything fit perfectly with each other. The cell alone could sell the book for me. 

The pacing
Incredible. Fast-paced. Intense. This is exactly why I love reading dystopian. While other dystopian novels seems to bore a lot on information and details on its first parts, Shatter Me did not shy away from picking up the pace earlier in the book. And it worked splendidly to keep readers gripped from the time they opened the book and started reading it.

The writing
Different. Amazing. Mafi's an incredibly talented writer. It somehow reminded me of Lisa McMann's Wake Trilogy. They both write in their own style and it really made their book stand out from the rest. The description of Mafi's, and being inside Juliette's head is one incredible treat. 

The characters
Incredible. Interesting. Incredible. I love seeing Juliette grow. She was insecure, sad, alone, rejected and she has all the reason to rebel against those that ridiculed her but she didn't. She's a kind, compassionate person despite what people think of her. She's strong, loyal and loving. 

Adam. (fangirl mode) OMG. Adam was incredibly sumptuous. From the moment I heard of his deep blue eyes, I know I have a new literature crush. He is one hot man. (fan girl mode over) I feel for what he went through. He is a good brother and his devotion for Juliette was really touching and believable. 

Warner. A pyscho-villain. He creeps me out. His undeniable attraction to Juliette is unnerving and entirely foul. He's obsessed with her and I think we all know how obsessed persons deal with their objects of intense interest. I said it already. OBJECTS.

James. Kenji. They deserved a special mention. I'll be okay with a whole lot of swooning but the laughs they got out of me was unexpected and totally welcomed.

The love story
The swoon-factor of this book is outrageous. This book is extremely addictive and by that I mean you can't drop the book down and wait for a downtime to be able to read it. I read at class, at a thesis conference, at lunch. And you know what? The silly grin creeping up across my face uncontrollably and the squeals turned into a not-so successful cough and snorts is enough evidence that Juliette + Adam is unstoppable. 

Their chemistry and hunger for each other is palpable. It's like I'm standing in front of them, watching the exact same thing. It would be awkward, if I'm not so mesmerized by it.  


Will you please help me out? I'm running out of adjectives to describe how awesome this book is. Saying incredible again and again does not even give Shatter Me the justice it rightfully deserves. 

This book is my first dystopian read this year and I am so happy I picked this up. This is one of the few books I begged to have because I heard positive things about it. So expectations were high and thankfully, it was reached if not exceeded. I find myself stalling on the last few chapters because I don't want it to end.

Tahereh Mafi is as of now sitting at my best author lists and is enjoying a cup of coffee amongst my other beloved authors. So do yourself a favor and grab a copy now. If there's one thing I regret is I only picked Shatter Me now when I should have done it months ago. And shoot me now because the next installment has no estimated release-day yet.

Cupid's Verdict:
5 Cupids

Giveaway Alert!: By Evie-Bookish and Literary Exploration and Sparkling Reviews

I am presenting 2 3 giveaways! :)

First stop: Evie-Bookish's International Box of Books Giveaway.

I am so excited about this. This is extremely big. Like enormous! And one lucky winner will take it all. I'll keep my fingers crossed about this. I badly want to win. This will run until March 1 and is open internationally. 

What you can win? Behold... 

To enter click here.

2nd stop: Literary Exploration's 800 Follower Giveaway

Anna of Literary Exploration has reached a very big milestone and to celebrate and give thanks she is doing this fun-filled giveaway. :D

Grand Prize Winner:
A mystery box of books and swag!
UPDATE: Upon reaching 900 followers she announced ONE item that will be in the box - A SIGNED copy of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.
UPDATE: When she reached 950 followers she announced another item that will be in the box - A SIGNED copy of Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.

2nd Place Winner:
UPDATE: She managed to reach 1,000 followers. Because of this, someone else will win a little something! It won't be a big mystery box like the grand prize winner, but it will be some swag and maybe a couple of books!

Great prizes, right? This is open to US residence only. To enter click here


3rd stop: Another awesome giveaway by Sparkling Reviews! :) 

Looking for new Mac? Look no further! Enter Sparkling Reviews' 13in MacBook Air and Apple Giveaway. 

Big giveaway right? For the whole info and how to enter, go here

Friday, January 20, 2012

Challenge Alert: Middle Grade March Madness

Benji from The Non Reluctant Reader and Chelsey from Starry Sky Books is hosting the Middle Grade March Madness Challenge. Basically, you'll have to read middle grade novels.

The Levels: 
1. Citizen, Read 1-3 Books
2. Mayor, Read 4-8 Books
3. Congressman, Read 9-12 Books
4. President, 13+ Books

The Schedule:
January 20th: Sign-Ups are OPEN (along with the giveaway)
February 22nd: Giveaway Ends
March 1st: Challenge Begins
March 7th: Sign-ups close, First giveaway of the challenge goes up
March 14: Second giveaway of the challenge goes up, first giveaway of the challenge ends
March 15-17th: Middle Grade 72 Hour Readathon Begins!
March 21st: Third giveaway of the challenge goes up, second one ends
March 28th: Final Giveaway of the challenge goes up!
April 1st: Challenge ends!

Sign-ups are open until March 7, 2012. Everyone can join as long as you have a blog, Goodreads, Amazon, Library Thing, or Barnes and Noble account where you post reviews. 

That's all. Easy peasy! I have several MGN to-read and this challenge is a great push in the right direction. I'm going for the Citizen level. 

Like to join in the fun? Enter here or here.
See you there!

Follow Friday # 4

Look! The FF button has a new look and I'm loving it. 
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 Butterfly-o-Meter Books and Pretty in Fiction.

Question of the Week:  
What's the craziest thing you've ever done to 
get your hands on any particular book?

I am not really an impulsive book buyer. I weigh the books I want to buy and will think very very very hard before I buy a book. I prefer to just borrow the book first and then buy it after if I really LOVED it. I'd like to believe I am a frugal person. If I do have extra money, I'd either buy a book or stuff myself with food. But that rarely happens, since most of the time I really have no money to spend on books (Books here are so expensive, 'm telling you).

But you know what's my weakness? Bookstores. Put me in one and I'll never reemerged until you drag me out of it. And when it's one of those fateful days that I have my parents with me (I call them THE BANK), I swallow all my pride and beg for the book that really caught my eye. And it's not silent begging, mind you. I lay out on the table how awesome my grades are (not really), that I am a good student (white lie) and how I rarely ask them to buy me a book (truth!). If the good quality agenda didn't work, I sulk at the corner until they somehow realized that they are depriving me of one the few things I really love. Totally works all the time. You can say I'm spoiled but I'd like to say I'm just a "little" crazy about books.

What about you? 
Share your deepest, crazy secrets about book shopping.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Friday!
 Don't forget to check out my Giveaway Extravaganza

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: The Kissing Tree by Prudence Bice

Read from January 9, 2012
to January 13, 2012
Book: The Kissing Tree by Prudence Bice
Publication Date: December 6, 2011
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Number of Pages: 272
Genre/s: Romance

After five long years, Georgiana McLaughlin returns to the only place she’s ever considered home—the same place she stole a kiss from Ridge Carson under the community “kissing tree.” But this time he’s a man, and reconciling their past is just the beginning. You’ll find yourself applauding each new chapter filled with fun, romance, and adventure in this captivating, heartfelt tale of love, friendship, and finding your way back. - From Goodreads

Excerpt: "'There you have it, Ridge Carson.' She beamed down at him, proud she hadn’t lost her nerve. 'I’ve stolen a kiss and you can never have it back!'"

After Georgiana was uprooted from her hometown, Colorado to live in New York, she was forced to leave her old life and friends. Filled with longing and dissatisfaction with her new sophisticated life, the old Georgiana who was outgoing and full of life has become introverted and more reserved. When her beloved grandmother had died, she was finally allowed to go back to Colorado to help his grandfather and to know what keeps her from settling down in New York. She met again Ridge Carson, his childhood friend with whom he had stolen a kiss under the Kissing Tree. And in the beautiful place of pasture and mountains, she will found what she was looking for and finally be with her one true love.

Georgiana is one feisty young woman. She had a simple, happy life with her family and friends but when his father had died in a tragic accident, it had deeply grieved his mother. To cope they had to leave Colorado, because her mother couldn't take living in their home where everything reminded him of his father.

Ridge Carson was described as tall and ruggedly handsome with wavy brown hair, big honey colored eyes and having a sprinkling of freckles on the nose. Yes, I did take note of all of that because I just have to picture him while reading the book.

When they get together, the chemistry was undeniable. What started out as a childhood friendship grew into an enduring love. Their banters were adorable and you could really feel the strong connection between the two of them.

Another thing that's worthy of note is the fact that I was able to stick with the story knowing that I'm more of an urban fantasy/dystopian girl. There's no flying around or vampires biting someone's neck or telekinesis or any of those exhilarating notion. It is simple yet every characters were interesting because they were well-developed. The setting as well has a calming effect to it. The writing made me feel like I was reading a script on a play and it made everything feel so alive and entertaining.

However, there'd be a lot of things that would have irked me in this book as well. Like why everyone has to be beautiful or how naive Georgiana and Ridge about their feelings for each other, when it's just so obvious. The events were pretty predictable too. But I read The Kissing Tree as it is. A light book filled with romance and I found myself having plenty of swoon moments, crazy smiling and outrageous squealing.

Sometimes you just have to let a book be what it was intended to be and The Kissing Tree is one of those books. A sweet and endearing story about family and finding your one true love, this is a perfect read for Valentine's Day.

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

Monday, January 16, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions # 3

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:
Have you ever had reading/blogging slumps? 
How do you work through them or work around them?

I rarely get reading/blogging slumps. It was more like no-reading-time slumps, so when I finally get to have a free time to read a book, I devoured it like there's no tomorrow. If ever I have a reading slump, it could be because I have tons of books to be reviewed. For some reason, I can't truly enjoy a book knowing that I have gazillions of pending reviews to be done. So now I make it a point to at least make a book review draft of my latest finished read before I pick up another book and it did help a lot. 

What about you? Have you experienced the dreaded reading/blogging slumps? How did you handled it? Feel free to share in the comment section below or link up with your own Book Blogger Confessions.

Happy Monday!
Don't forget to check out my Giveaway Extravaganza!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Follow Friday # 3

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 Musings of a Book Lover and Badass Book Reviews.

Question of the Week:  
Many readers/bloggers are also big music fans. Tell us about a few of your favorite bands/singers that we should listen to in 2012.

I love music! I think even before I discovered how much of a book nerd I am, I was hands-down a music geek. I listen to a wide variety of genres and when I was a kid I was a big fan of Celine Dion, Whitney Houston and all those big divas out there. Now, I think I have developed a huge taste in music, ranging from classic to pop.

As of now my music montage are composed of the following artists:

1) All Time Low

A band that I discovered through my friends and I would be forever thankful for them. Their music is incredible and I genuinely think that the band members are more than bandmates, they're brothers related through music.

2) Christina Aguilera

A powerful singer and has an attitude to boot. I've been in love with Aguilera's singing style and prowess ever since I was young. Her Stripped album is one of my most beloved album of all time. 

3) Christina Perri

She was a recent favorite artist of mine. Her songs are definitely different and very heartfelt. My favorites are A Thousand Years, Blue Bird, The Lonely and Jar of Hearts.

4) Carrie Underwood 

Country music is my new found love. And that's all thanks to Carrie Underwood. Her albums Some Hearts and Carnival Ride are one of the most played albums in playlist.

5) Jason Mraz

His voice is soothing and his music can be catchy or really emotional. Everytime I listen to him, I am in my most relaxed mood. Have you listen to I Won't Give Up? Come on give it a go. It's a beautiful song!

6) John Mayer

This very talented singer/guitarist gives me the chill whenever I listen to him. From Your Body Is a Wonderland to Slow Dancing In a Burning Room, his passion for music really shines through.

7) Adele

Adele is one of a kind. Her songs both sad portraying heartbreak and betrayal and sassy saying she can move on and you're gonna be sorry. I think I raped the repeat button for about a week before I had my fill. My favorites: Chasing Pavement, Someone Like You and I Found A Boy.

8) Jessie J

Jessie J is for me one of the most versatile singers out there. With her strong, powerful voice and great song compositions, her album, Who You Are is such a treat.

9) Demi Lovato

Her new album, Unbroken is I think her best album yet. Despite the difficulties she went through last year she was able to deliver a great album. From her moving rendition of Skyscraper to her upbeat songs, All Night Long and Who's That Boy, it showcased how much she has grown as a singer but not altogether forgetting that she's young and is more than allowed to have some silly fun.

10) The Script

One of my favorite bands ever. Their songs Nothing, The Man That Can't Be Moved, For The First Time and many more are just incredible. I could listen to them all day and would still ask for more.

11) David Cook

I've never cheered so much on any contestant since David Cook's time on the American Idol stage. He is a talented singer and his song covers are risky but very well done and can be called his own. Who would forget, his cover of Carey's Always Be My Baby? Totally changed the song! Every time I hear that today, I now immediately think of him. 

12) Glee (cover songs and originals)

Their covers are always different and fun. They are a very talented bunch of outcast kids and when I listen to them I always feel as if I'm part of their fun group.

So based on the above, I could really say I'm into mainstream music as of this moment. Come listen to them and I'd surely vouch that their songs are amazing. Any recommendations are greatly welcome because I believe my love for discovering new things to love does not end in books but also include music.

And don't forget to check out my Giveaway Extravaganza
Thanks for stopping by! Happy Friday the 13th!

**Pictures are from the world wide web.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Review: I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1) by Pittacus Lore

Read from January 6 to
January 8, 2012
Book: I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1) by Pittacus Lore
Publication Date: August 3, 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins
Number of Pages: 480
Genre/s: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books—but we are real.
Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. we have lived among you without you knowing.
But they know.
They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They killed them all.
I am Number Four.
I am next. - From Goodreads

Excerpt: "It's the last thing to go,"Henri says. "When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope."

John and his Cepan(guardian) has always been on the run since they arrived from Earth after their planet, Lorien had been destroyed. They are aliens and they were being hunted by the Mogadorians, the same enemies that destroyed their planet. There are nine of them and they can't be killed out of order. Three are dead and John is next that is why they decided to travel again to another small town. Stakes are even higher this time so John has to do everything to conceal his true identity and protect his secret. But John did the unthinkable. He had drawn attention to himself. He even made a friend, Sam and got himself a girlfriend, Sarah. Also, John is getting stronger and with that comes the bigger risk of exposing his true self. In the inevitable battle between the Mogadorians and the remaining Loriens, John must make his last stand and he will come to know the true meaning of loss and the bittersweet power of sacrifice. 

I Am Number Four has never been high up on my TBR list. I am not fond of alien stories and I've already watched the movie. It was decent but not enough to really get me to pick up the book. But one fateful day, a classmate of mine lend me this book and I found myself highly entertained.

There was something about this book that was enjoyable and it was really interesting to know about 9 Loriens traveling to Earth to regroup and learn all their Legacies so they could defeat the Mogadorians and claim back their planet. One thing that also struck me was, I Am Number Four characters were one of those characters that would have bored me to death. They were not exactly the most flat characters out there but they came close. Maybe it was because I have seen the movie and I know what was about to happen that kept me really gripped by the story but honestly, I never found myself bored. Shocking, right? I even got a little teary eyed on the quite sad turn out in the story. I knew then that the characters had somehow managed to get under my skin and had me invested on them.

I could not really account the entertainment of I Am Number Four to it being exceptionally written either. It was pretty straightforward. He did this, he did that. He reacted, he retaliated. It was simple yet there was magic between those unassuming ventures. I was interested about John discovering his Legacies and how he handled his huge crush on his soon to become girlfriend. He's loyal and brave. He would disregard everything for the people he holds dear. Even for his dog, Bernie Kosar. Sam is a good friend. Sarah is pretty but I was afraid at first that that'd be her only asset. But she redeemed herself on the later half and showed me why John really felt that intense connection with her. Henry for me was a perfect guardian for John as well.  

If there's something that could be taken from I Am Number Four it is the underlying message about war and the devastation it could bring. That the never ending quest for superiority and power would bring destruction to Earth like what happened to the planet of the Mogadorians, what the Mogadorians did to Lorien and what they're trying to do again, this time to Earth. And that there's hope even at our darkest hours. 

I Am Number Four did not really make me shriek my head-off chanting "Best Book Ever" over and over like a raving lunatic. But it was packed-full of adventures, thrill and entertainment. I am certain that if the rest of the books in the series would give the same amount of likeability or even more, Lorien Legacies series would definitely sit on my well-beloved series shelf. And with that I am awarding my first half-rating ever for this book. Something I've never thought of doing. 

Cupid's Verdict:

3 1/2 Cupids

PS. If you have watched the movie and decided to skip this book altogether, I dissuade you to do so. There was a lot of minor and some major discrepancies between the movie and the book. And honestly after much reflecting, I actually liked the book better than the movie.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Follow Friday # 2

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 Pawing Through Books and Book Den.

Question of the Week:  
Go count the number of books sitting on your shelf. How many?

It'd take me forever to count the number of books on my TBR shelf. Shocking? Not really. I really hope I could make a dent in my reading queue this year. Wish me luck!

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Friday!
And don't forget to check out my Giveaway Extravaganza.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Review: Die For Me (Revenants #1) by Amy Plum

Read from January 1, 2012
to January 2, 2012
Book: Die For Me (Revenants #1) by Amy Plum
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Harper Teen
Number of Pages: 341 pages
Genre/s: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.
Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.
Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies...immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.
While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family's—in jeopardy for a chance at love? - From Goodreads

Excerpt: "I can't promise you an ordinary experience, Kate. I wish I could transform myself into a normal man and be there for you, always, without the trauma that defines my life as 'the walking dead.' Since that isn't possible, I can only reassure you that I will do everything in my power to make it up to you. To give you more than a normal boyfriend could. I have no idea what that will mean, exactly, but I'm looking forward to finding out. With you."

After her parents' death, Kate and her sister Georgia moved to Paris to live with their grandparents. Filled with overwhelming sadness and grief, Kate spends her day in a routine and immersed herself in books. As per advise of her own sister to spend more time outside and read books somewhere in broad daylight, she met Vincent. The uber gorgeous Vincent who seemed to be also interested in her. But Vincent, isn't what he seems. Dangerous and full of secrets, will she choose to be with Vincent in exchange of her safety and sanity or will she learn to live without him and live forever in regret and sadness?

First and foremost, I'd like to say that the cover is very pretty. It's what actually made me pick up this book, the moment I saw my classmate reading this at class, I just have to borrow Die For Me. When I started reading this, I was immediately interested in Kate and Georgia's story. They lose their parents in a tragic accident and they have to cope with the grief and sadness in their own way. Georgia by partying and Kate by reading classics and visiting museums. I had some fair share of swooning too earlier in the book but it was immediately replaced by indifference on the later half.

Vincent definitely has charm and humor, but something about him just turns me off. Maybe it was his immediate dismissal to Kate when something close to being dangerous arises. Kate also has a lot of potential to be something less cliched. She reads classics, she goes to museum, basically the author is trying to say that she's an old soul, that she's mature for her age. And it really shows, because her sister was in direct contrast to her personality. But as soon as she met Vincent, the plot lines became reminiscent of Twilight.

It was not a torture though, because for starters Kate was more tolerable than Bella. But what they do have in common was their prowess in whining. Kate keeps telling us readers, that she's no damsel in distress and at first it's believable. However, as I turned the pages I realized that she believes she's that, but she's really not. She whines about how unfair her life is because everywhere she goes, she encounters death. But she should know that hanging out with Revenants will always remind her of death because it's inevitable in their "job". She stayed away for a while and keep her head leveled but she have to whine constantly about how he misses Vincent and how miserable her life is away from him. And it's just tiring to hear that. 

And what's up with the grandparents? They are almost non-existent. Almost. And the moment her grandmother graced us with her presence, she just have to ruin what could be the moment to show us that Die For Me does not suck in the parental guidance department. She basically allowed Kate to sleepover with Vincent! The boy she has not met before. The boy who they thought send Kate back again in her depression. And this is also taking into consideration that Kate barely made it through her parents' death and need more supervision than ever. She even allowed Kate to not go to school the next morning when she feels like it, so they could patch things up. No parent/elderly/guardian will do that. Even Clara's mother or Tucker's dad for that matter, flipped out when they discover Tucker and Clara in bed fully clothed. 

There is also a shady description of Revenants. Although, the concept of Revenants were indeed intriguing, I can't help but feel that it's just a more glamorous version of zombies with missions. There's also no definite rule  about why they existed or how they were chosen to be reborn.  The explanations given were pretty much "I don't exactly know what we are" or "We've kept our identities secret. Have you heard of us?" We also get some "supposed" to be kick-ass scene but Vincent had to go all exorcist on Kate, which is just disturbing. 

Also, I raised this question a lot when I'm reading Paranormal Romance: What makes the female lead character that special to be the object of attention of Mr. Gorgeous Immortal? Would it really take a lot of effort just to give a little detail or highlights of her characteristics that'd make every guy like her? Am I missing something here? 

Die For Me, has an interesting concept and has the potential to be more. But it went for the "love" aspect instead and I've just seen this plot line way too many times. So I can hardly blame myself if I was not impressed. I'm a reader who likes to see balance between the paranormal stuff and the "love" and for me having that balance would really make an amazing unforgettable read.

Will I read the sequel? I would. But will I expect too much? Not really. It's more of a follow-through read than jumping-up-and-down-can't-wait-to-read read. I really do hope that the sequel would make up for the insufficient attention to the concept of zombies-slash-guardian angels. Revenants have a noble cause and I'd like to see more of them in action with the numas(bad zombies). And please, no more second helpings of New Moon, OK? I might just not live through reading another version of that.

Cupid's Verdict:

3 Cupids

Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions # 1

Book Blogger Confession 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 their blogging "problems".

Question of the Week:
How has the "job" of blogging changed your reading habits. 
Both pro and con.

From the moment I started blogging I knew it wouldn't be easy. For starters, you have to get your head around HTML and create at least an acceptable design before you introduce yourself into the blogging world. I can definitely say that my reading habits has changed because of blogging. For the better or for worse? Let's find out.

THE PRO: More reading buddies and discovering more books!

1. You get to meet new friends who are book lovers like you. I've never been surrounded with people who share the same passion for books. So I have to keep all this bookish ideas inside. They know I read but we never talk about it. I consider it a bliss that I have my own place now to share what I love and have others to appreciate it and talk with. And that's one of my motivation to read more.
2. I discover wonderful books because of blogging. I've got the chance to read books I may never find out on my own,  because book bloggers and friends recommended them. 

THE CONS: Reviewing problems and a case of OCD
I read lesser and slower  and it affected my over-all read last year which can be attributed to the following:

1. My inability to accept that nothing can be perfect. I spend an hour or two just to finish a single post because everything has to be uniform to my previous posts. Everything has to be aligned. No unwanted spaces. I'm learning now that it's OK not to be perfect all the time and it somehow alleviated my Type A personality tendencies.
2. I don't know if it's only me but reading a book knowing that I have to review it later, somehow dampens my reading mood.  I'm not really sure why but maybe it's the anxiousness that comes with reviewing.
3. I have to be a little bit professional here. I also have to take notes all the time so I can have a basis for my review.
4. I spend way more time ogling at my blog than reading. I don't know if it's because I just started and a little bit excited with all the comments popping up or it will become a trend. I seriously hope not.

So it's obvious that the negative effect outweighs the positive ones. But will I stop reviewing to get my old reading habits back? No. Seriously, I think that I just have to find the balance between blogging and reading. I love doing both of them and I wouldn't sacrifice the other one so I could continue doing the other.

What about you? How has this blogging business affected your reading habits? And is it in a good way or a bad way or both? Feel free to share in the comment section below or link up with your own Book Blogger Confessions.

Happy Monday!
Don't forget to check out my Giveaway Extravaganza!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Giveaway Extravaganza (OPEN INT)

I've been blogging for three months now as of today, January 1, 2012, and Cupid(He's right there, watching you and flying around) and I are very much grateful for all of you for welcoming us. I've met a lot of fantabulous people that made blogging this year really fun and meaningful. And to celebrate my 3rd Month Blogoversary and for reaching 100 followers (I made it! Oh yeah!) I'm going to host my very first giveaway.

What's up for grabs?

Pack 1: My favorite books last year.

Pack 3: Upcoming January releases
Giveaway Terms and Condition

To enter, you have to be at least 13 years old and a follower of Smitten over Books via GFC. There are also extra entries to increased your chances of winning. Two (2) winners will get to choose one (1) book from the Pack of their choice. You can enter as long as The Book Depository ships to your country for free. To see whether TBD ships to your country, you can check here.

This giveaway will start from January 1, 2012 and will end on February 1, 2012 at 12:01 AM EST. Winners will be notified via e-mail and has 48 hours to claim their prizes. If the winner has not responded within the time allotted, a new winner will be picked. 

Note: I am not responsible for any damaged or lost books in the mail. Also, please do not leave any contact information i.e., email address in the comment section. 

***Remember to verify your email subscription for your entry to be valid. And I'd like to reiterate that the prize is 1 book in your Pack of choice. Not the whole pack. As much as I love you guys, I can't start the year broke. :))

Enter below and Good Luck! :)
Click Read More to see the Rafflecopter form.
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