Wednesday, June 26, 2013

WWW Wednesdays (38) / Waiting on Wednesday (40): Fangirl

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?

• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

WWW Wednesdays is back. Yay!

Currently Reading:

Taken by Erin Bowman

Finished Reading:

Mind Games by Keirsten White

Read Next:

The Year of the Great Seventh by Teresa Orts

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on.

by Rainbow Rowell

Expected publication: September 10th 2013 by St. Martin's Press

Blurb (Goodreads):
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I picked this book because I am a fangirl myself. Of course I'd want to read a book where I can relate. It also sounds and looked like really fun, cute, hilarious and even romantic. Eeeep--can't wait! :D

Share your books for this week! :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Feature + Giveaway: Belle Noir: Tales of Love and Magic by Ava Zavora

After the huge wave of giveaways from my first blogoversary, I'm here again to host a contest! Now who loves free books?
Belle Noir: Tales of Love is a collection of four short stories novella ranging from fantasy, urban fantasy, to speculative fiction. Check it out below and enter the Rafflecopter!

Belle Noir: Tales of Love and Magic
by Ava Zavora

Published June 3rd 2013

Blurb (Goodreads):
Enter a world of dark beauty…

This collection of enchanting and disturbing stories ranging from fantasy to speculative fiction will leave you spellbound! (Includes retellings of Beauty and the Beast)

Transfigured - The Beast has changed back to a handsome prince, yet Beauty finds out that although some curses may be broken, they are never completely destroyed. 

No Loyal Knight and True – In this modern-day retelling of Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott, a boyhood encounter with an odd girl who lives in a tower alters the course of Ryan’s destiny. 

Belle Noir – Young Jane flees from her abusive father into a seemingly perfect marriage only to find that the darkest hearts are never revealed until it is too late. 

Grotesque - A woman hardened by a difficult past witnesses a horrifying tragedy and undergoes a magical transformation.

Mirabilis (A Novelette) - Rosaria's life changes the day the veiled and mysterious Lord Devlin hires her to cure him of a terrible curse. 

***Some stories contain mature subject matter. 18+***

* * *

About the Author
"In my childhood, I used to ride water buffaloes and wade in swamps. When I discovered books, I would go adventuring with Anne of Green Gables, the Pevensies, Bilbo Baggins, or Alanna of Trebond. I incurred my mother's displeasure for reading too many romance novels, so I learned to hide them and read underneath covers with a flashlight late at night. Nowadays, I travel and write dark fairy tales and romantic novels about adventurous women. And I still stay up too late reading, even though I don't get in trouble for it anymore."

Buy Belle Noir now!

1 winner of an ecopy of Belle Noir. Open INT. Ends July 15th.

Monday, June 24, 2013

ARC Review: Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards

by Elizabeth Richards

Series: Black City #2
Genre: YA, dystopian, paranormal, romance
Published: June 4th 2013 by Putnam Juvenile
Source: Author

Blurb (Goodreads):
Ash and Natalie are just starting to build a life together when things in the United Sentry States go from bad to worse. Ash and Natalie find themselves at the center of turmoil when dictator Purian Rose threatens Natalie’s life unless Ash votes in favor of Rose’s Law—a law that will send Darklings and other dissenters to a deadly concentration camp known as the Tenth.

When Ash can’t bring himself to trade Natalie’s life for those of millions of Darklings, her fate is sealed. Enter Elijah Theroux, the handsome Bastet boy Natalie once saved from her mother’s labs, where he’d been experimented on and tortured. It was his venom the Sentry used to create the lethal Golden Haze, the heart of the government conspiracy that led to Black City’s uprising and Ash’s rebirth as the Phoenix, the face of the rebellion. Elijah is back and Ash doesn’t like him; it’s clear he’s taken with Natalie, and Ash fears she may have feelings for him as well.

But Elijah also may have the answer to taking down Purian Rose for good—a powerful weapon called the Ora. Ash, Natalie and Elijah just have to escape Black City undetected to find it. But fleeing the city and finding this weapon (if it even exists) are easier said than done, and the quest could tear Ash and Natalie apart, even pushing them into the arms of others.

This enthralling sequel to Black City is just as absorbing, delicious and steamy as the first book, leaving readers hungry for the series conclusion.

My Thoughts:

*This review is based on the advanced reading copy. There might be some changes with the finished copy but anyhow, I know it'd be as epic as this.

First off, I think the book was spoiled in the blurb up there. I hope they made it shorter, more mysterious yet interest-catcher. If there's something I didn't liked about this book, that's it. The rest--amazing. Review done. ;) But of course that wasn't true because I'm going to talk about the awesomeness of this book, but not that much because I don't want to spoil anything especially if you haven't read the first book so expect that this one would be short.

I think this is the third sophomore book that wowed me this year. I never expected anything from Phoenix, and what came to me was amazingly surprising. Black City was impressive and I saw a big potential in it, although it lacked something I cannot pinpoint. Phoenix came to me like a bomb. Everything about this book is exploding with action, action, action and surprises and I loved it. Each chapter was a highlight. There's no dull moments in this book. I'm either jumping with the excitement and adrenaline, wowing with the events and revelations, or freaking out with Natalie's and Ash's relationship. Oh, you'll get me when you read this. Elizabeth was really good at making me feel these things. Very effective. I'm applauding with the greatness that this book turned out. 

Phoenix put a higher stake into this series. If could, I would ask Elizabeth to give me the third book now because this book made me crazy and chant for more, more, more. The ending opened to another journey that I know and I hope would be one step more epic. Phoenix would definitely fall into my favorites list for this year, and even on my reading life. OF COURSE I'd recommend this book to ALL OF YOU. Read Black City now if you haven't and jump to Phoenix ASAP!

*Super thanks to Elizabeth Richards for providing me a print ARC of this wonderful book in exchange of honest review! She's as awesome as this book. ;)


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (39): 3:59

Since I barely had a reading progress, I'm only going to do a WoW today. We'll continue WWW Wednesdays next week!

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on.


by Gretchen McNeil

Expected publication: September 17th 2013 by Balzer & Bray

Blurb (Goodreads):

Josie Byrne's life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she's betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can't get worse.

Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.

Jo's life is everything Josie wants: she's popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they're just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo. 

Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo's perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.

But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo's boyfriend, he hates her. Jo's mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh.

By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?

From master of suspense Gretchen McNeil comes a riveting and deliciously eerie story about the lives we wish we had – and how they just might kill you.

This book sounds amazing. Crazy, dark, fast-paced. Yes, please. I want to read it.

* * *

What are your pick/s for this week? Share them with me below or simply paste your link to post! :)

* * *

Current Giveaways:
- 3 winners of Lunar Chronicles-inspired swag pack. Ends June 21st. Open INT.
- 5 winners of Simon Pulse title. Ends June 22nd. Open to US only.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Music Monday (7): No Matter How Far by David Archuleta

Music Monday is a weekly meme created by yours truly. Let's talk about music!
There won't be a chance that I'll never feature this awesome guy in my blog and Music Monday. To be honest, I didn't have the chance to watch his battle in American Idol. I met him on his first ever single, Crush. From then on, I became one of his biggest fans. He doesn't only have the cute face that any girl would have a crush on, he also have this amazing talent and personality. I have a crush on him, yes. But the main reason why I love and support him is because he creates real music. His own music. Music that inspires people. Music that speaks to the heart, from the heart. I look up to him and I wish that he'd continue making music to inspire more people and to show to everyone that in this wild world, there's still humanity left. And did I mentioned how much I love his voice? There's something about it that touches me. It's like when he sings, it goes straight to my soul. Like an angel. I always say that he's my angel. Because he looks and sings like one. ;) My love and support for him isn't like a fangirl screaming to Justin Bieber. It's a real one with my head up, proud.

Everyone, let me introduce to you David Archuleta and his new album, No Matter How Far. Featuring songs that has been previously released, new songs and OPM covers from his Philippine album, Forevermore (which I'm still very proud of *clears throat*).

  • Track 01: Nothing Else Better To Do
This song was originally released as a Japan bonus track for his previous album, The Other Side of Down. I really like the easy feeling of this song and the cute lyrics. Makes me feel good everytime.

This lyric-video was made by me two years ago. Enjoy David's cuteness! ;)

  • Track 02: Everything and More

Everything and More was released on a radio station in Singapore and it's a promotional single from the re-release of the album, The Other Side of Down: Asian Tour Edition, which features five brand new tracks including Everything and More, was released on July 19, 2011. (From the lyric-video's description)

  • Track 03: Don't Run Away

If you watch the video, there's a "DA 2014" written on the train. People on Youtube says that he'll be back in [April] 2014 from his Christian mission.

  • Track 04: Tell Me
A song from his Philippine album! PEOPLE. Listen to his wooonderful voice. *sigh* Shame. This is a break-up song.

  • Track 05: Love Don't Hate

  • Track 06: Wait
I just love his voice. I'll never get tired of saying that.

  • Track 07: Heart Falls Out
This is the first time I heard about this song. And I love it.

  • Track 08: Notice Me

  • Track 09: I'll Never Go
Another wonderful OPM song.

  • Track 10: Forevermore
One of my favorite OPM songs sang by him. That's perfect.

* * *

Do you, like me, love David? What's your favorite song from him? Apart from the featured OPM (Original Pinoy Music) songs above, was there any that you have come to like/love? I'm curious on what you think about our love songs! Don't forget to leave your thoughts below! :)

Listen to real music. Enjoy real music. Support real music. Happy Monday!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What's Cool? The Escapist.

Hey everyone! It's been forever since we talked about Cool stuff. Today I'm going to share you a really Cool thing--which I guess you already know. ;)

What's Cool? is an anytime meme created by yours truly. Let's talk about the Cool things I got, happened, about to happen and anything that I think is Cool!

  • The Escapist
Michelle Shouts Random is now The Escapist! Apart from that, I also launched the new blog look and celebrated my first blogoversary. This wonderful event won't be Cool without all of you who's been with me since the past year, the new people I met, and the awesome publishers and authors. Thank you so much, guys. You make all this blogging life so happy and exciting (apart from books). :)

Since I changed pretty much everything--title, layout, blog address--I also have to adjust some following stuff. I honestly didn't consider about it. I thought it won't bother if I change the blog address. But then I realized my feeds aren't updating on Networked Blogs, RSS and email. Thankfully, I have fixed them (except for the email; I have to check on that). I also created a new Facebook page (I was thinking of changing the name instead but Facebook won't let me because they are only allowing that for pages with 150 likes below) and Bloglovin. My Tumblr name has been changed as well. Make sure to check them all out and follow. If you're not into following but rather visit this page, it won't be a problem. You can add on your bookmark or just simply type it! :)

For now, for those who haven't joined my giveaways yet, join now before it's over!

- 2 winners of book of choice. Ends June 18th. Open INT.
- 2 winners of HarperCollins YA title. Ends June 20th. Open INT.
- 3 winners of Lunar Chronicles-inspired swag pack. Ends June 21st. Open INT.
- 5 winners of Simon Pulse title. Ends June 22nd. Open to US only.

  • Books!
Oh, they're always Cool! ;)

For review:
The Year of the Great Seventh by Teresa Orts (The Year of the Great Seventh #1)
ACID by Emma Pass (ACID #1) !!!!! - Review here.
This Girl by Colleen Hoover (Slammed #3) - ebook

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry (Pushing The Limits #1)
Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman
My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman

Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover (Slammed #2) - Review here.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

*signed* Entangled bookmarks for me and my co-Pinoy book bloggers

*signed* The Boyfriend App bookmark and stickers

Book Depository bookmarks came with the books I won

Super thanks to Random House UK, Atria Books, Netgalley, Teresa Orts, Nikki Jefford, Katie Sise, The Cover Contessa and Chyna!

  • Heads up
So as you all know, I'm always busy and now that my senior year in college had started, I'm 100x busier. I just want to let you know that I may not update my blog as often as you're seeing right now. My schedule is super tight and I'll try my best to write a blog post. Don't worry, I won't be leaving blogging community (I can't imagine my life without this now). I'm just giving you a heads up with what you can expect here. But I promise that you'll enjoy my posts. :)

Once again, thank YOU for being Cool! Now it's your turn to talk about the Cool things you've got or happened!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Review: ACID by Emma Pass

by Emma Pass

Series: ACID #1
Genre: YA, dystopian, sci-fi
Published April 25th 2013 by Corgi Children's Books/
Random House Children's Publishing
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Book DepositoryAmazon

Blurb (Goodreads):
2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule supreme. No throwaway comment or muttered dissent goes unnoticed – or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.

The only female inmate in a violent high-security prison, Jenna has learned to survive by any means necessary. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID – and to uncover the truth about what really happened on that dark night two years ago.

My Thoughts:

The moment I saw the cover, read the title and description, I knew I have to read this. It reminds me of the my dystopian favorites, The Hunger Games and Divergent. Why wouldn't I? Looking at the cover, I knew that it had a kick-ass heroine. I knew that I found what I'm looking for a long time. My book. And I knew by then that I'd do anything to have a copy. And I did.

After featuring ACID on WoW, I researched for any contact details I could find to request a review copy. I found a lot and my awesome blogger friends helped me out. I forgot how many emails I've emailed and how many times I sent them, and how many times I've been declined or receive no reply at all. I gave up. I know I can't get all the things that I want. I almost cried but I thought I could borrow Precious' copy. At least I'd be able to read it even though I don't have a copy. The doorbell rings and my heart stopped. I have package! But I wasn't expecting one, am I? And then I saw the package with printed Random House in it. I AM THE HAPPIEST PERSON ALIVE THAT DAY. *squeals* The smooth surface of the cover. The smell of the pages. The book itself on my hands. Ahhh, love.

I was almost scared reading ACID. One, because I know I have to wait for another eternity for the sequel and two, because I'm afraid that all those wishful nights, ACID would turn out to be the book I wasn't expecting--in a bad way. That could be really devastating. But then when I started reading it, I got sucked instantly.

Being in an all-male prison especially if you're teenage girl was never good. And to think I imagined before how will Jenna Strong meet her knight and shining armor here. But in reality, the men in this prison are mad. This is where she learned how to fight for herself and develop her strength and fearlessness, which makes her a total bad-ass. The book didn't spent with Jenna on the prison all the way. She's been escaped with the help of a secret agency without her knowing about these people. The story goes on like the water on a river, flowing. I like the fact that this dystopian novel wasn't spent into running and hiding and running. Although they did run and hide, there are scenes that I never expected and are fresh to me. There were no dull parts. It actually becomes more interesting with every turn of the page. The world building was also really nice and there are revelations that I never saw coming but I really liked. 

The romance wasn't also I expected. It wasn't an insta-love, which was plus points. I liked that the book didn't started with obsessing with a guy already, and it came to the time I wasn't expecting. I liked how their feelings for each other slowly bloomed, though I hope that they were closer before they really realize what's the beat of their hearts. What I didn't liked was that this guy (I'd like to make him remain unnamed so you won't be expecting before you read this book. It should be surprise for you as well. Hey, think of this as a gift. ;) appeared less in this book and he was definitely not a knight and shining armor because it's Jenna who's always saving him. I'd like to see him change on the sequel, though. They weren't puke-worthy "sweet" but I liked it and I'm craving for their team up. I'm looking forward on how their relationship grows on the second book.

ACID can definitely mention together with the titles The Hunger Games and Divergent, as other people said as well. It was action-packed and thrilling novel that every dystopian fans would love. A romance that's just right and a mystery and world people would enjoy finding out. As you pick ACID, get ready to be shocked, excite, and your blood pumping with this new unforgettable dystopian novel. Wonderful read for a debut. Applause to Emma Pass. If it weren't obvious, I am highly recommending this book.

*And because no one replied with a yes to me, I am not sure who to thank personally. But to that people that I'm guessing who sent me this copy--to David and to Stephanie (who's name on the media sheet)--huge thanks and hugs to you guys and Random House UK for sending (and surprising) me a review copy for an honest opinion!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WWW Wednesdays (37) / Waiting on Wednesday (38): Of Beast and Beauty

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Before anything else, let me greet my beautiful country a Happy Independence Day! :)

Currently Reading:

Mind Games by Kiersten White

Finished Reading:

Stray by Monica Hesse and Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards. Both amazing books. Review soon.

Read Next:

Taken by Erin Bowman

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, originally started by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming book releases everyone is waiting on.

Of Beast and Beauty

by Stacey Jay

Expected publication: July 23rd 2013 by Delacorte Press

Blurb (Goodreads):
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

I'd love to see how this version of Stacey Jay of Beauty and the Beast will turn out. Even if it sounds like a vampire novel.

* * *

Tomorrow's the start of my senior year in college. I'll be busier from then on but I hope I could still have time to enjoy reading my books. Do you think I have cool books for this week? Lemme see yours below! :)

* * *
* Don't forget to check out the blog events! *
Blogoversary Giveaways:
- 2 winners of book of choice. Ends June 18th. Open INT.
- 2 winners of HarperCollins YA title. Ends June 20th. Open INT.
- 3 winners of Lunar Chronicles-inspired swag pack. Ends June 21st. Open INT.
- 5 winners of Simon Pulse title. Ends June 22nd. Open to US only.

On The Blog
This Week:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book Review: Towering by Alex Flinn

by Alex Flinn

Genre: YA, fairytale re-telling, romance
Published May 14th 2013 by HarperTeen
Source: Publisher

Blurb (Goodreads):
At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.
Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.

Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her. 

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now. 

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Alex Flinn knows her fairy tales, and Towering is her most mind-bending interpretation yet. Dark and mysterious, this reimagining of Rapunzel will have readers on the edge of their seats wondering where Alex will take them next!

My Thoughts:

Knowing that Alex Flinn, one of my fave fairytale re-tellers, has put her magic again on a fairytale was just so exciting. I'm counting the days, weeks, months after reading Bewitching--her last novel that I devoured--for the release of this book. Even though I'm not really a fan of Rapunzel, I'm very excited to read Towering. I wasn't a fan of the Frog Prince but I really liked her Cloaked. So after that, I believed that it depends on the writer how he/she will slay an original story. I believed that Alex Flinn knew how to do it. 

Towering was told in two perspectives: Wyatt and Rachel. There were also some chapters that belonged to Danielle's diary--the missing daughter of the old lady Mrs. Greenwood, whom Wyatt is staying for a while for a vacation. This book was mysterious. It was creepily mysterious from the first chapters--the kind of mystery that I had a lot of guesses and still could not point my finger to the right one. Compared to other books, the mystery of this book was interesting and hard to guess, for me. Though I noticed that the pace was slow and the mystery of it is killing me, but it was also the one who kept me reading to find out the real story.

I think Towering was a little different from the other fairytale re-tellings (particularly Rapunzel) I've read (from different authors) and from Alex Flinn. It was different in a way that this book had more background story in it compared to the last Rapunzel re-telling I've read, and I liked it. It had story and answers readers would seek why's a girl locked in a tower for all her life. What I didn't liked about it was the main reason why she is locked. From the wonderful mystery leading to that revelation wasn't a good combination, although I'd give credit to the author that she made a solid background story. It was also different from Alex Flinn's novels because this one somewhat failed my high expectations. Towering could be forgotten because of her past books that are really wonderful and she just nailed her last novel, Bewitching. Even though I loved fairytales and know them well, I didn't liked the way Wyatt and Rachel instantly fell in love with each other. Maybe I needed more to be convinced.

Towering was nice. There's just something about it that I didn't liked that I couldn't put my finger on like I the way I've thought about the mystery. The fans of Alex Flinn (like me) might not enjoy this because of the expectations after Bewitching, but you'd enjoy this if you haven't read any from her or you're looking for a book that contained creepy mystery, fairytale romance and a happily ever after. This book was set on a winter season so you'd probably enjoy this while summer, feeling cold and an urge to shiver even if it's damn hot around. This was also one reason why I think this novel didn't failed completely--the effectivity of being sucked into the world of this book: feeling the cold and the eeriness of it.

*Thanks to Sarah and HarperCollins for providing me a printcopy for an honest review!