Saturday, January 31, 2015

ARC Review: Winterspell by Claire Legrand

by Claire Legrand

Series: Winterspell #1
Genre: YA, fantasy, steampunk, retelling, historical
Published September 30th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Local purchase/order: Fullybooked * National Bookstore

Blurb (Goodreads):
The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear. 

My Thoughts:

*This review is based on electronic advanced reader's copy. There might be some changes with the finished copy. Also, review may have an itsy, bitsy spoiler.

Clara Stole's life started to change when her mother was murdered and found something that made her question the truth behind it. Her normal life as a mayor's daughter in New York in 1899 became extra-ordinary when she *literally* jump in to another world's Door. With a stranger. 

Winterspell is another guilty pleasure for me. Pretty cover and fairytale retelling. Enough to make me become a desperate bookworm who would do everything just to read this book. And an afterthought, this should meet my expectations.

I have been on and off reading this book. I'm not sure if it's really because I have to adjust my chaotic reading schedule or I never expected the beginning to be...slow. Both, maybe. I wasn't impressed on the intro of Winterspell. Like I said, it was slow and so not my thing. Boring. I just wanted to experience the fantasy and thrill right away, which I didn't get. Yeah, some fantasy books started that way but this one made my fingers itch and want to skip. I also thought of marking it as DNF because when Clara and Nicholas finally arrived into another world, I realized that I'm also not connected to the characters and the story. So I just dragged myself to read it--because I'm saying for the hundredth time, I don't want another DNF in my life.

Clara Stole...I don't have much an impression on her but I'm glad that she had a character development. She became stronger each chapter and be the hero of her--and everyone's--story, which is a good thing. She's independent and a fierce one. The idea of "Nutcracker"-inspired sounds so appealing. I admit that I don't know what it's about before but when my friend described what it was, I became familiarized, though not with the whole story, just with the idea. On Winterspell, it was more mysterious, magical, and sexier. Not only with the Nutcracker man, but overall. Sexy and with a hint of LGBT--both I greatly mind, because I really wasn't prepared. Just thought I'd warn you. Though admittedly sexy, the romance wasn't something swoon-worthy. The chemistry was lacking especially when there's betrayal. And while Clara have a strong character, Nicholas went somehow flat. Not manly and inconsistent. Most of the supporting characters were inconsistent for me. There are also few things I'm not sure whether I missed or the author missed to mention: was Nicholas human? What was he and his people? How did some humans come to arrive in Erstadt?

The villain was another story. Anise was the only villain who's kind to the protagonist. Too kind. There's more from her than what was shown in this book. I want to know her reason in everything she did and still be so kind to Clara. And what was her real intentions. Her story was featured in the prequel, Summerfall. I haven't read it and only time will tell if I ever will. So many books waiting for me!

I love that Winterspell had a justifying ending. There's finality in the other world and on Clara's life in New York as well. It went smoothly and satisfying, with a little pang for me. I'm so glad when I found out that there's an epilogue, Homecoming, free from the author's website. Thank God it's free! LOL I hope that the buzz and the feels I felt there was present in the book. But anyways, I'm very satisfied with the ending and I think that's the part I like the most.

Winterspell had yay and nay parts, though the overall was good. The Nutcracker stuff was short-lived but the author obviously gave her own spin of tale with a really good world building that made it all dark and enticing.

*Thank you Simon and Schuster and Edelweiss for the review copy in exchange of an honest review!


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WWW Wednesdays (84) / Waiting on Wednesday (84): Things We Know By Heart


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?

Currently Reading:
Am re-reading Scarlet by Marissa Meyer for the Lunar Chronicles week on February! Review will be up by then.

Finished Reading:
Read two total opposites. Winterspell by Claire Legrand, a historical fantasy and Free to Fall by Lauren Miller, a futuristic sci-fi. Reviews will be up within this week!

Read Next:
Cress by Marissa Meyer

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

Things We Know By Heart
by Jessi Kirby

Expected publication: April 21st 2015 by HarperTeen

Blurb (Goodreads):
When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all. 

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn't want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they're connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.

THIS! Read the blurb. You'll know why I'm dying to read this book. Plus, it somehow reminds me of Thanks For The Memories by Cecelia Ahern (which I loved), although they're not entirely alike.


Tell me about your book pick/s this week!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Blog Tour (Review): I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Hello there! Today is my tour stop for Gayle Forman's newest masterpiece, I Was Here!
Tour schedule here.

I Was Here
by Gayle Forman

Genre: YA/NA, contemporary
Expected publication: January 29th 2015 by Simon and Schuster UK
Source: Tour host (Pinoy Book Tours)
Local purchase/order: Fullybooked * National Bookstore

Blurb (Goodreads):
From the bestselling author of If I Stay - this summer's YA blockbuster film.

This characteristically powerful novel follows eighteen-year-old Cody Reynolds in the months following her best friend's shocking suicide.

As Cody numbly searches for answers as to why Meg took her own life, she begins a journey of self-discovery which takes her to a terrifying precipice, and forces her to question not only her relationship with the Meg she thought she knew, but her own understanding of life, love, death and forgiveness.

A phenomenally moving story, I Was Here explores the sadly all-too-familiar issue of suicide and self-harm, addressing it in an authentic way with sensitivity and honesty. 

My Thoughts:

*Review based on advanced reading copy. There might be some changes with the finished copy.

Cody and Meg are best of friends. When Cody felt there could be more about Meg's suicide, she searched for the answers she started to question. Because how can she--her best friend--can't not know that Meg is suicidal? Since when did Meg become somebody she doesn't know?

To be honest, I was skeptical to read I Was Here because it talks about suicide and the blurb just didn't spoke to me. I don't have any expectations. All I know is it was written by Gayle Forman, one of the amazing authors out there. So I have to read it. Just in case.

I Was Here started out okay. I was afraid I wouldn't get it or connect with it. But when Cody started to get curious about Meg's death, I became curious too. I'm glad there was mystery that kept me reading and I find myself looking forward on the next pages. There was a "support group", though, that I questioned. Its purpose and people confuses me. I don't think they add up. It doesn't ruin the entire book but it made me wonder, if the support group was flawed or just the way the author wrote about it (I don't even know if it exists in real life but I don't want to find out about that. Too scary.)

I realized I haven't really known Cody as an individual character. Most of the story revolved around Meg, her past, and her death. So I'm not sure if this book is about Cody (since the ending is for her) or Meg or their friendship. Maybe about all. I think this book is about the value and importance of friendship. That you wouldn't know what you have with the other until it's gone. It's heartbreaking but an eye-opener as well. Meanwhile, the romance was a surprise for me. I didn't expect the love story and the chosen love interest. I don't like the guy but I could see it coming and I was like, No, no, no. But what surprised me the most is my reaction towards their relationship--a bittersweet romance I can't help but love.

So obviously, my thoughts on this book is divided. However, my feelings says one thing: I really liked it. The journey in reading this book made me question some things but when I look on the book as a whole, I find it beautiful, heartbreaking, and captivating. A Gayle Forman trademark that I'm sure her fans crave. The writing style is very Gayle Forman, but the book itself is quite different from her previous ones. I Was Here is another novel hard to put down.

*Thanks to Pinoy Book Tours for this opportunity!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Music Monday (34): Brave

Let's talk about music on Mondays!
Feeling gloomy today, yesterday, or the past few weeks? Did someone say something about you that made you feel so small and worthless? Were there recent challenges or failures that lessened your confidence? Lost your fighting spirit? Or did someone turn you down--or worse, forgotten you?

I know it's hard and it cut so hard, but we don't want to give them the satisfaction, don't we? We are better than the heartaches, failures, and rejections. If the world or the people around you can't do anything to make you feel better, then think of yourself. Do you want to be always like that? Do you want the world to continue its life but you're left with the pieces of your heart? Be brave. Do this for yourself, not for others. Use these hardships and failures to become your edge, your stepping stone. You can't renovate something without removing the ugly ones to make it a new improved one. You can't cover a wound without cleaning it. You can't experience, feel, and savor the success if you don't know how to stand up from the way you've fall down.

Today I'm sharing some of the songs that lifted my spirits up (and found from Youtube) when I was feeling all those ugly things. We can escape the world whenever we can, but we need to face the reality. And in this reality, choose to be brave.

  • Brave by Sara Bareilles

  • Superheroes by The Script

  • Undefeated by Daughty

  • Shake It Off by Taylor Swift

  • Stronger by Kelly Clarkson

  • Ones and Zeroes by Stellar Kart

  • Warrior by Demi Lovato

  • I'll Fight by Daughtry

  • Change by Taylor Swift

Remember when Destiny's Child and Christina Aguilera sang about being a survivor and a fighter?
  • Survivor by Destiny's Child

  • Fighter by Christina Aguilera

Also, let me share you the songs mentioned by some friends over Twitter.
  • I Can Lift A Car by Walk the Moon from Dianne

  • Skyscraper by Demi Lovato from Kyla

  • Safe and Sound by Capital Cities from Jesselle


Now, now. I can hear you say "preach", but hey. It's better to make someone feel better than be one of those pushes someone down or the one who does nothing. Right?

Life is hard but it feels great to say I survived in the end.
I hope with this little token, I've made someone feel better even in the tiniest bit. 

Have a wonderful week ahead!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WWW Wednesdays (83) / Waiting on Wednesday (83): The Pretty App

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?

Currently Reading:
I'm still reading Winterspell by Claire Legrand. I have a little changes on my tbr, so.

Finished Reading:
When I paused reading Winterspell for a while, I picked up Boomerang by Noelle August (review).

Read Next:
Not sure between The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil or Free to Fall by Lauren Miller. We'll see!

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

The Pretty App
(App #2)
by Katie Sise

Expected publication: April 14th 2015 by Balzer + Bray

Blurb (Goodreads):
Poor Blake Dawkins! She's rich, she's gorgeous, and she's the queen bee of Harrison High. The girls want to be her; the boys want to—okay, enough said. But it turns out Blake’s life is not so perfect—just talk to her dad, who constantly reminds her that she's not up to par, or to her ex-bff, Audrey, who doesn't even look her in the eye.

Then Harrison—and every other high school in America—becomes obsessed with posting selfies on the ubiquitous Pretty App. Next: Leo, an adorable transfer student, arrives at Harrison and begins to show Blake that maybe being a queen bee doesn't mean being a queen bitch. And though Audrey suspects somebody’s playing foul, Blake finds herself catapulted to internet fame after being voted one of the prettiest girls in the country. She's whisked away to star in a reality show—in Hollywood, on live TV. But she doesn’t know who to trust. Because everybody on the show wants to win. 

And nobody is there to make friends.

The Boyfriend App author Katie Sise spins another irresistible tale of technology, secrets, and big-time romance in this story of what it takes to be #trulybeautiful. 

I truly enjoyed the first (companion) book, The Boyfriend App, and so excited to find out there'll me more from their world! If you haven't read TBA, read it! (My review)


How's your week so far? It's been pretty long one (already) for me.
Hoping to be back on reading too. More books are piling up my tbr!

Share me your book  pick(s) this week!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Book Review: Boomerang by Noelle August

by Noelle August

Series: Boomerang #1
Genre: NA, contemporary, romance
Published July 8th 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Source: Won
Local purchase/order: Fullybooked * National Bookstore

Blurb (Goodreads):
The first book in a sensational New Adult trilogy from Noelle August

Welcome to, the dating site for the millennial gen with its no-fuss, no-commitments matchups, and where work is steamier than any random hook-up

Mia Galliano is an aspiring filmmaker. Ethan Vance has just played his last game as a collegiate soccer star. They’re sharp, hungry for success, and they share a secret.

Last night, Ethan and Mia met at a bar, and, well . . . one thing led to another, which led to them waking up the next morning—together. Things turned awkward in a hurry when they found themselves sharing a post hookup taxi . . . to the same place: Boomerang headquarters.

What began as a powerful connection between them is treated to a cold shower courtesy of two major complications. First, Boomerang has a strict policy against co-worker dating. And second, they’re now competitors for only one job at the end of summer.

As their internships come to an end, will they manage to keep their eyes on the future and their hands off each other, or will the pull of attraction put them right back where they started?

My Thoughts:

Boomerang started out as sexy and I thought it would be like that and only that all throughout the book. The next pages contains awkward and funny scenes and my impression died and I liked it instantly. Boomerang has something that sets apart from other ordinary NA novels. One, because there's a dating site (but not exactly about) where unexpected things happened to two strangers and a follow-up of crazy events. Two, interesting characters.

Mia Galliano and Ethan Vance woke up one morning together and despite the attraction and connection, they've been too drunk to remember what happen the night before. Willing to move on their lives and make sure to not be late on the first day of internship, they weren't prepared on what they later found out. They are now competing for the job they want so much. And a company rule: no co-worker dating.

I adore Mia and Ethan. They're both passionate and dedicated, with unique personality--they're easy to like. I also love how Mia is attached to her grandmother and her passion in film-making, and Ethan being a soccer coach to 9-year olds with passion both on the sport and the children. On the outside, Boomerang looks like a fun, witty, and cute read. Fluffy all the way. But I was surprised and pleased to find out that it is more than that. The characters are greatly structured: the connection and chemistry is definitely swoon-worthy, backgrounds you can't help but adore, the story and the supporting characters are really good too. And most of all, I'm happy that Mia and Ethan developed something deeper than physical attraction. They've grown to know each other and like the little or big things about them. It makes the love story more sweet and swoony.

I'm so glad that this is a companion series! I'm so excited to find out that the next will be about Alex, Mia and Ethan's boss, a.k.a the owner of Boomerang, a millionaire at the age of 22. I am quite curious about him when I was reading this novel. And also the scary Cookie. Although it will be also about Alison (which role in Boomerang I won't reveal. Yet.) Pfft. I don't like her in Boomerang. Let's see if I would set that aside just for Adam's story in Rebound.

I liked Boomerang and that doesn't surprise me because one of the two authors behind this novel is Veronica Rossi, author of best-selling Under The Never Sky series (Noelle August is a pen name, btw, for Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger). What surprises me is the difference of genre. But it's still good, no surprise there. Funny, swoony, and overall lovely! Anyway, if you're a fan or haven't even read her series, and you feel like you must read Boomerang, then read it. You wouldn't be disappointed!

*Thanks to Fay of Bibliophile Soprano for the giveaway!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ARC Review: Magnolia by Kristi Cook

by Kristi Cook

Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Published August 5th 2014 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Tour host
Local purchase/order: Fullybooked * National Bookstore

Blurb (Goodreads):
In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

My Thoughts:

*This review is based on electronic advanced reading copy. There might be some changes with the finished copy.

I'm supposed to review Magnolia on a blog tour back in August. Unfortunately, that was the time I think my laptop went down and I wasn't lucky enough to save the ecopy before it did until my tour stop came nearer and I have to do feature post instead and review later--that was only a simplified version of the crazy happenings then. And then I started my review classes and there's priority books I needed to review first so I wasn't able to read this ASAP. I can't believe I've waited this long to read this book!

Their story, as Jemma Cafferty described, was like Romeo and Juliet...only you flip that inside out. Both Jemma and Ryder Marsden's families are intertwined, devoted to each other, after the history of heroism/friendship their ancestors made. Born six weeks apart, Jemma and Ryder's mothers already have their plans and dreams about their wedding. Not that they were betrothed--but it seems worst that that. Their mothers always push them together even though they clearly despise each other.

From the beginning I knew I'd love this book. I like the summary, idea, and the tone of the narrator (Jemma's POV). It automatically drew me in and savor each chapter. I like the background of their families and especially the love-hate relationship of Jemma and Ryder. It's one of my favorite things to read in a book!

Magnolia is so cute and romantic and gosh the FEELS! Swoon to the highest level! There's nothing you could hate in this book (well, except for the storm. But then again, given what happened..I don't entirely hate it.). It's a light read, funny, the characters are easy to like, and the ending is quite genius (and funny). I also like the Southern style and I guess almost everything in this book. I hope Kristi Cook could write more of Jemma and Ryder or from their world. :D And gosh, can I have Ryder for myself? He's too gorgeous to be a fictional character! I love this book and would highly recommend it!

P.S I'm still fangirling while writing this review!!

*Thank you Simon and Schuster for the ecopy in exchange of an honest review!