Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Escapist turns Three! (15 Facts About Me + Giveaway)


It's been quite an eventful three Cool years and it wouldn't be that way if not for my awesome readers (you!), brilliant authors, thoughtful publishers, and amazing God! If you could notice I have started to become busier *again* for the past month. I've got a job now! Though I'm seconds away (not literally) from transferring to a better (I hope) work place and schedule. I'm wishing for more and stronger years with you all.

My original blogoversary date was May 27th but since I'm on a tight schedule and been also thinking of what I can do for the event, the celebratory post ended up to be today. So here's what I thought I'd share: 15 random (and weird) facts about me! I realized I've been featuring different debut authors yearly for you to get to know them better but never got a chance to share mine. So here I am! Don't forget to also check out the giveaway below. ;)

15 Random (and weird) Facts about Me:

1. My high school nicname was Chim. Back from HS there were three Michelles in our room so to avoid confusion and lame jokes, I created a nicname. Since I don't feel like being Mich, I tried to read it backwards and it turned out to be Chim. Better than Hcim, right?

2. My childhood dream was to be a singer/an artist. (I still do.) Unfortunately, my love for music is only a one-sided affair. It doesn't love me back.

From Google images
3. I love cakes, cupcakes, any kind of pastries, ice cream, chocolates, gosh, sweet treats! I also love adobong mani (similar to roasted peanuts). NOW I'M HUNGRY.

4. I'm an introvert, a leftie, and not fond of wearing nail polish.

5. Yesterday I had my first motorcycle ride. It was weird. You know, riding something

6. My very first reason to start a book blog is to receive free books. Mehehe

7. I don't like wearing sandals or open-toe shoes outside. I always prefer closed shoes.

8. I never like the idea of being a nurse, let alone taking the course. That's why my heart isn't in it on my four years of studying. I came to appreciate and want [to become] nurse when I was reviewing for the board exams. It was a little late but now I'm proud to be called a registered nurse. Besides, I always liked helping other people.

9. Heights? Swimming? NO.

10. Coffee? Nope, either. (Sometimes I do wonder whether I'm the only bookworm who's not in love with the combination of books and coffee. Or coffee alone.)

11. I was once obsessed with the Jonas Brothers, especially Joe Jonas. I used to kiss the cover of a magazine he's in. Don't tell me you never did that to anyone. DIDN'T YOU?

12. I got my left eye blurred from reading too much ebooks years ago. I've been obsessed with reading that time (I had just started reading) and even if I'm sleepy, I'm still reading with one eye open and then read first thing in the morning. So yeah. Not the most beautiful thing happened to me as a bookworm. So I'm warning everyone! Rest your eyes now and then.

13. I've read Old Testament once and New Testament twice. (And counting.) So I can say that I've read the Bible.

14. I'm 21 and never had a boyfriend. Never held hands with someone who is a boy and a non-relative, never had my first kiss. But no, I'm not lesbian or what. And I don't feel sad or incomplete. As a matter of fact...

15. I believe in true love and forever. Because there really is!

I will be having two giveaways. Please read rules carefully and make sure to follow them to avoid disqualification!

General rules:
- contest ends June 20th
- there are two Rafflecopters below. One is for INT peeps and one for PH. They have different options so read carefully
- every day entries must be filled with DIFFERENT infos every day. Do not copy and paste the same info/link every day
- winners will have 48 hours to respond on winning email notification. If failed, I'll pick another winner
- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged packages

Giveaway #1
- $10 worth of book/Amazon GC

Giveaway #2
- one winner will get to pick two books from the pile below
- note that these books are second hand. These are all mine. Some read, some never, but been sitting by my shelf for years, other months. So some of the edges are yellowed but otherwise they're all in very good condition
- open to PHILIPPINE residents only

If the winner picked Fractured Light, automatic the second book will be Fractured Soul.
It's like pick one, take one.

Thank you all for your support and sweet comments/messages/tweets/emails! 

Love lots,

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Blog Tour (Review + Giveaway): Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Welcome to the Philippine blog tour of Katie McGarry's newest novel, Nowhere But Here! Check out my thoughts about the book below and a giveaway!
Tour schedule here.

Nowhere But Here 
by Katie McGarry

Series: Thunder Road #1
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Published May 26th 2015 by Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher
Local order/purchase: Fully Booked * National Bookstore

Blurb (Goodreads):
An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both. 

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down. 

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

My Thoughts:

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

I am familiar with Katie McGarry's writing style even though I've only read one book from her (Pushing The Limits) and reading Nowhere But Here is both familiar and  new. Nowhere But Here, like PTL, has major issues, hot romance, but it has more angst that it turned out to be more mature.

Being not personally and emotionally attached to her biological father, Emily doesn't care or even interested to get to know him or his family more even though she doesn't have choice by having a "vacation" with them. I saw how she hates her father for leaving them and to his family when they don't want her and her mother. She's a little brat towards these people but turns out to be understandable because of how she sees them. What she didn't know is that in this vacation opportunity will she find out the truth about her and her parents' past. I like that she didn't remained as she was on the beginning. She had character improvements which is really good.

Oz has one goal in life: to be part of Rein of Terror, a motorcycle club he's looking up for all his life. But when Emily arrived, trouble followed their lives. Oz is your typical bad-boy-got-soft-side kind of guy. He's all man (and hot) as described by Emily, he rides motorcycle and wants to be part of a club with 'Terror' in their name, but he cares deeply for his family and also kids.

Nowhere But Here deals mostly about the truth (or finding out about it) and family. Integrity. It also has hot romance in a Katie McGarry kind of way. There were only little info about the motorcycle clubs compared to I was expecting. It only kind of stated the facts but wasn't shown greatly in the book, they are all names and patches and leather black jackets but nothing major happened. Except they danced around the truths and lies.

I like Nowhere But Here because it shows the importance and beauty-ness of [having] family despite how at some points they become untrue. I like how from nothing, there came love and caring between the characters and how almost everyone grew and matured. The romance was undeniably hot and with chemistry but I feel like it lacks foundation. Maybe because the physical attraction came first than the getting-to-know-each-other. Anyway, Katie McGarry fans would love this. And if you haven't read anything from her, you give this a try and fall in love in the process as well!

*Thank you so much Harlequin UK for the review copy in exchange of an honest review!


- ARC of Nowhere But Here
- open to PH residents only

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Book Review: Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Never Never 
by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Series: Never Never #1
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Published January 8th 2015 by CreateSpace
Source: Bought from Amazon
Local order/purchase: Fully Booked * National Bookstore

Blurb (Goodreads):
#1 New York Times bestselling author of Hopeless joins forces with the New York Times bestselling author of Mud Vein. Together, they have created a gripping, romantic tale unlike any other.

"How odd to be made of flesh, balanced on bone, and filled with a soul you've never met."

Charlize Wynwood and Silas Nash have been best friends since they could walk. They've been in love since the age of fourteen.
But as of this morning...they are complete strangers.
Their first kiss, their first fight, the moment they fell in love...every memory has vanished.

"I don't care what our real first kiss was," he says. "That's the one I want to remember."

Charlize and Silas must work together to uncover the truth about what happened to them and why. But the more they learn about the couple they used to be...the more they question why they were ever together to begin with.

"I want to remember what it feels like to love someone like that. And not just anyone. I want to know what it feels like to love Charlie." 

My Thoughts:

It feels like it's been ages since I read a book by Colleen Hoover and my hands itch whenever I see teaser of her new/upcoming books. Never Never wasn't an exception. On the other hand, I haven't read anything from Tarryn Fisher, but very aware of her Mud Vein, which I heard so many great things and (am) deeply curious about. I'm excited to find out the result of combination of two brilliant authors.

Never Never was incredibly mysterious. I was immediately sucked into the world of Charlie and Silas, which turned out to be washed out. Silas and Charlie have been dating for four years but one day they don't know who they are and what happened 24 hours ago or earlier. However, whenever each recognizes a face, place, or things, they know what it is or how to use it. Only they have no idea about their personal identities including their relationship. No memories. No idea what's going on. And so do I. The book was told in Charlie and Silas' perspectives and since they both do not have memories, the voices were  confused and disoriented, which inevitably made the reader the same.

Even though Charlie and Silas doesn't have memories about each other and most around them, there were snippets of them revealing as the story goes on. Old Charlie and Silas is different to the new Charlie and Silas. The new (current POVs) Charlie and Silas laughs about the messes they made on their "past" and disgusted that they were able to do it. New Charlie is somewhat kinder and softer than the old, and Silas, well I don't have anything to make of him yet except both versions are sweet. I also enjoy reading the POV of new versions of Charlie and Silas. They seem fun to read than the old ones I suppose. The sweet romance budding to the old-before-new-now lovers was something to look out for. I love it and they obviously have chemistry.

Never Never was too beautiful to be short. It only has 150 pages and it feels like I've only read a prologue of a story. So so far, no answers were given about what happened and why they have lost their memories [especially about their relationship], which is a bummer.  I BADLY NEED ANSWERS AS CHARLIE AND SILAS DO!

What makes this book distinct, good/bad? It has an overall mystery vibe and it creeps me out. It is deeply interesting and has an engaging concept and reminds me of Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver). It has an annoying cliffhanger! Whoever wants that? Or was the story just too short? It makes the anticipation on waiting for the sequel both exciting and exhausting from holding on your breath.

Never Never wasn't my favorite CoHo novel but I'd say it's one of the most engaging. The mystery in it works greatly. I'd love to find out some answers in book two. I'm ready! I recommend this book to readers who wants a good mystery, drama, romance, and even creepiness.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Book Feature (Excerpt + Giveaway): Spelled by Betsy Chow

by Betsy Chow

Genre: YA, fantasy, retelling
Expected publication: June 2nd 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire
Local purchase/order: Fully Booked * National Bookstore

Blurb (Goodreads):
Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.

Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after. 

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called "Kansas." Now it's up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse...before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.

"A cute adventure with romance set in a world full of fairy-tale mash-ups. Readers will love Dorthea’s evolution from spoiled princess to strong, confident heroine… For Oz fans, this work is a great clean-read alternative to Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die.” - School Library Journal

     Most of the crowd had dispersed. The final few stragglers looked at me with the all­too-common look of fear mixed with trepidation. Pix ’em. They were just servants. It wasn’t like their opinion mattered. 
     Only one remained, watching me with open curiosity. He looked to be in his late teens or was magically enhanced to appear so. He could have been a hundred for all I knew. I’d never seen him before in my life. He was handsome enough, for a commoner, even in his worn leather pants and cracked work boots. A foreigner, his hair was unruly and dark auburn, which complemented his tanned but dirt-smudged complexion, though the tall, dark stranger vibe was ruined by his piercing pale blue eyes. 
     Well, I’d had enough of being a sideshow for the day. “If you’re the new gardener, the hedges are overgrown and in need of a trim.” I pointed in the direction of my father. “While you’re there, you can help the king with the wisps.” 
     The young man’s expression clouded over, but he didn’t move. 
     I stamped my foot and pointed more forcefully. “Off with you. Courtyard’s that way. Be sure to clean those awful boots before coming back in.” 
     “Someone told me I’d find a princess of great worth here. One with the strength to be the hero this realm needs.” He stared at me with those unsettling blue eyes. They were cold, like ice water—made me shiver from head to toe. Then his gaze seemed to search even deeper. Finally, he looked through me, like I was nothing. 
     In brisk steps, he strode across the marble to the courtyard. But before crossing the threshold, he turned back to glare at me with his lip curled ever so slightly. “It seems she was mistaken.” 
     Just like that, I had been sifted, weighed, and found wanting. 
     I felt my own lip curl in response. How rude! Who the Grimm was this peasant to judge me? I was wearing a Glenda original. Original! Not some fairy-godmother knockoff worn by those servant girls turned royal. I was a crown princess, for the love of fairy, and no one dismissed me. 
     Before I could put the boy in his place—down in the dirt, where he belonged—a clatter came from behind, making me nearly jump out of my shoes. I checked and was relieved that Sterling had simply dropped his sword. By the time I looked back, the gardener was gone. 
     After stowing his blade, Sterling held up his shield, not in defense of the entrance but so he could look at his reflection. “Clearly he’s blind and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” 
     I didn’t ask for Sterling’s opinion, but it made me feel better. 
     Until he opened his mouth again. 
     “Worth, pffft. I mean, look around at all the jewels. Your palace has everything you could ever want. Honestly, I don’t know what you’re fussing about. Why would anyone want to leave?” 
     Because a cage is still a cage, no matter how big or glittering the bars are. 
     And I would find a way free, no matter the cost.

About the Author
Betsy Schow is the author of the memoir Finished Being Fat, and has been featured on The Today Show and in The Wall Street Journal. She lives in Utah, but travels the country with Color Me Rad 5k, and partners with nonprofits to teach kids creative thinking and how to reach their goals.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Review: Dream A Little Dream by Kerstin Gier

Dream A Little Dream 
by Kerstin Gier

Series: Silber/Silver #1
Genre: YA, fantasy
Published April 14th 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Source: Publisher
Local order/purchase: Fully Booked * National Bookstore

Blurb (Goodreads):
Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yes, Liv's dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially the one where she's in a graveyard at night, watching four boys conduct dark magic rituals.

The strangest part is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They're classmates from her new school in London, the school where she's starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But what's really scaring Liv is that the dream boys seem to know things about her in real life, things they couldn't possibly know--unless they actually are in her dreams? Luckily, Liv never could resist a good mystery, and all four of those boys are pretty cute.... 

My Thoughts:

I pretty much liked everything about Dream A Little Dream. From the moment I saw it on Goodreads to the time I finished reading it. It didn't turned out exactly as I expected (blurb reminds me of Alice in Wonderland, but it's different), but still it's good and I'm sure the sequel is one of the books I'd greatly anticipate for next year.

Dream A Little Dream was a little lighter than I thought and a little darker than I suppose. Liv is a fifteen-turned-sixteen-year-old girl so her being somehow juvenile was obvious on her narration, but perfectly fits the book. She and her sister, Mia, are funny and had me giggling. It was fun and refreshing to be in Liv's world and thoughts. What I didn't liked about her was her being impulsive. Curious girl she was, she doesn't stop to think the consequences of whatever she's about to do. And for me, it's too dangerous.

There's also a love story but it didn't took up the entire novel. It's an added flavor to this exciting book and it didn't turned out bad at all. It was rather cute and swoon-worthy. The characters were like the colors of the rainbow. Although different to each other, they have their own hue that you wouldn't miss. Like, if someone isn't there, you'd know something's missing and you can't call it a rainbow (or a book) when one is missing. These characters, despite minor, they contribute to make this book more interesting and less boring.

The elements of this book were good but the connection between the dreams and its doors and the stupid creepy "game" the boys played the previous Halloween was lost on me. It becomes more confusing on the ending, especially on the unexpected twist that came. At the same time, I'm more curious and willing to wait in order to find out what's next.

Dream A Little Dream is a perfect mixture of creepiness, oddness, fairytale-like, cute stuff, mystery, and witty-ness. It has interesting characters and personalized dream doors. Fun and really entertaining read!

P.S I also love the mystery behind Secrecy's identity (he/she's the writer behind the Frognal Academy's Tittle-Tattle Blog). My  bet is that he's a he. And that he is Jasper Grant. Come back to me when you've read this book and let's talk about your guess on who Secrecy is. ;)

*Thank you so much Macmillan International for the review copy in exchange of an honest review!


Monday, May 18, 2015

ARC Review: Halfway Perfect by Julie Cross and Mark Perini

Halfway Perfect 
by Julie Cross and Mark Perini

Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Published May 5th 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Local order/purchase: Fully Booked National Bookstore

Blurb (Goodreads):
Bestselling author Julie Cross teams up with Ford model Mark Perini to pen a poignant and gritty YA novel about love and the dark side of modeling and the fashion industry.

Eve's time as a fashion model nearly destroyed her-now she's determined to build a career behind the camera lens. But landing a coveted photography internship brings her face to face with her dark past-and her ex.

While Eve is snapping pictures, up-and-coming male model Alex is launching his career-which, for him, involves maintaining a fake relationship with his (secretly) underage co-star, Elana.

But Alex is falling for Eve, and Eve won't let herself get hurt again. If Alex can pull off a fake love with Elana, can he convince Eve to risk a secret affair with him?

My Thoughts:

*This review is based on advance reading ecopy. here might be some changes with the finished copy.

I like how Eve have become despite her ugly past (in modelling). I met her in the book as strong, determined, and thoughtful. I wouldn't know until I learned her back story that something have happened to her (except for some hints). So it's easier for me to like her, even if I don't really relate to her. Alex is also fun to read (they both have their POVs), fun, and a sweet one. 

I liked the starting of the story, even the cute chemistry between Eve and Alex. I really liked the first half of the book but then I suddenly fell out of it on the second half. I don't know why exactly. Maybe partly because it became dramatic in a sense that I don't want to hear (or read, in my case) it anymore.

I've grown to know more about modeling in Halfway Perfect and the perks and disadvantages of it. I'm glad that the authors were able to spin a major modeling theme at the same time, tell an interesting story, and even throw some major issues.

I would recommend this book to romance readers, to those who like to be in a backstage pass in the world of modelling or Hollywood, and/or to those who like the combination of sweetness, angst, and major issue/topic. Halfway Perfect is overall an entertaining read for it caters different flavors for a book.

*Thank you so much to Sourcebooks Fire for the review ecopy in exchange of an honest review! You can win a copy here.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

What's Cool? Books! (And more books)

Get the latest Cool news from The Escapist! 
There's nothing Cooler than getting books...and more books. Here's what I got from a few weeks back + blog news!

  • Printed galleys = FANTABULOUS
That's our mixed word for fantastic and fabulous. BECAUSE PRINTED BOOKS!!! THE SMELL TOO AHHH.

For review:
Lifespan of Starlight by Thalia Kalkipsakis
End of Days by Susan Ee (Penryn and the End of Days #3)
The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Trilogy #2)
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
Dream A Little Dream by Kerstin Gier (Silber #1)
Model Misfit by Holly Smale (Geek Girl #2) - ARC
Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer - ARC
Sophomore Year is Greek To Me by Meredith Zeitlin - ARC (review)
Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry (Thunder Road #1) - ARC

Not A Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis (Not A Drop to Drink #1)

Thank you so much to Hardie Grant Egmont, Skyscape, Macmillan International, HarperCollins International, G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, and Harlequin/Mira UK!

  • eBook overhaul
I've never had too much eBook haul until now. I'm full-packed and it feels like it's heavier than the physical galleys. Good luck, eyes!

For review: 
Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby - ARC (review) 
The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre - ARC (review)
Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark (review) - ARC (review)
Captive by Brighton Walsh (Captive #1) - ARC
Spelled by Betsy Chow - ARC
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger (review)
Powerless by Tera Lynn Childs (The Hero Agenda #1) - ARC
Jesse's Girl by Miranda Keneally (Hundred Oaks #6) - ARC
The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski - ARC
World After by Susan Ee (Penryn and the End of Days #2)
The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak (The Heartbreaker Chronicle #1)
The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson (Medieval Fairy Tale Romance #1) - ARC

Thank you so much HarperCollins, Macmillan, Henry Holt and Company, St. Martin's Press, Sourcebooks Fire, Hachette Children's Books, Skyscape, Thomas Nelson/BookLook Bloggers, Edelweiss, and Netgalley!

  • Unexpected gift
Well..not literally unexpected,--like it just appeared on our doorway without me knowing--because I know it was arriving. It was unexpected because one day I was exchanging brief tweets with one of the friendliest and sweetest author about how "I cannot but He can", and then she suddenly asked for my address saying God put something in her heart. So here comes the awesome gift I got from her, her ministry--and from Him!

I really loved everything! I truly appreciate it. Thank you so much Jessica L. Brooks! (She's the author of If I Speak True and Pity Isn't An Option.)

  • Book Reviews
In case you missed any of them, here are my March and April book reviews! (Click on the titles to redirect on the reviews.)

Frostfire by Amanda Hocking (Kanin Chronicles #1)
Vendetta by Catherine Doyle (Blood for Blood #1) 
Dreamfire by Kit Alloway
The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons
Duplicity by N.K Traver
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic #1)
Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark
The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace (The Keeper's Chronicles #1)

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Keneally (Hundred Oaks #5)
The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby
Sophomore Year is Greek To Me by Meredith Zeitlin

  • 3rd Year Blogoversary!

The Escapist

The Escapist will be turning 3 on the 27th of May! I can't believe it has been 1,095 days since I first created something like blog with books to feature. I'd never thought I would be called a blogger.

Right now I don't have any plans or ideas for the celebration yet. I'm too busy in the outside world (a.k.a reality). But if you or someone you know might be interested in sharing something for a giveaway, just let me know. ;)


Those are my Cool tales for now. Thank you for being awesome (you're reading this, right?).
Keep reading!