Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Review: Lifespan of Starlight by Thalia Kalkipsakis

Lifespan of Starlight 
by Thalia Kalkipsakis

Genre: YA, dystopia, utopia, sci-fi
Published April 2015 by Hardie Grant Egmont
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon * Book Depository

Blurb (Goodreads):
The first in a thrilling new trilogy of epic proportions from best-selling children's author Thalia Kalkipsakis. A fresh take on the time tripping genre, The Lifespan of Starlight is Gattaca meets The Time Traveler's Wife. 

It already lies dormant within you: the ability to move within time.

In 2084, three teenagers discover the secret to time travel. At first their jumps cover only a few seconds, but soon they master the technique and combat their fear of jumping into the unknown. 

It's dangerous. It's illegal. And it's utterly worth it for the full-body bliss of each return. 

As their ability to time jump grows into days and weeks, the group begins to push beyond their limits, with terrifying consequences. Could they travel as far as ten years, to escape the authorities? They are desperate enough to find out. 

But before they jump they must be sure, because it only works in one direction. 

Once you trip forwards, there's no coming back.

My Thoughts:

I didn't feel the story or the main character right away on this book. I was even confused and wanted to stop reading. Right then. I wasn't being rude. You know I hate marking a book DNF but at that time I was VERY behind my reading and reviewing schedule and I feel like I have a bad case of reading slump. If the book didn't caught my interest from the first sentence or paragraph, then I'd be better off with worthy-of-time books. 

However, I continued reading Lifespan of Starlight. One of the reasons I continued is because I really like the sound of this book. The blurb is very interesting and something new in my selection. The concept is interesting, but there was a point where I was like, that's it? I thought there'd be more bomb in time travelling. But I'm glad I did read on! I end up enjoying Lifespan of StarlightAlthough there weren't many information about the society or an expected secret information about time-travelling or "jumping", it was really good. The ending was like waking up in a dream where the good part is yet to happen. Before, I have already decided not  to read the sequel, but after that freaking unbelievable ending, I'm gonna read it. If only I know how to jump in time to have the sequel right away.

I recommend Lifespan of Starlight to readers who enjoy sci-fi, futuristic novels, time travelling, dystopia/utopia, and such. It was fresh, exciting, and with a crazy ending. You'll end up enjoying this book anyway whatever your genre is. When I reached the ending, it was all better than I expected. I may be bored in the beginning, but after that, I was drawn to the book up to the very last page.

*Thank you so much Hardie Grant Egmont for the review copy in exchange of an honest review!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

ARC Review: Date With A Rockstar by Sarah Gagnon

Date With A Rockstar 
by Sarah Gagnon

Genre: YA, romance, dystopian/sci-fi
Published June 23rd 2015 by Spencer Hill Press
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Local order/purchase: Fully Booked * National Bookstore

Blurb (Goodreads):
A Dystopian future + a Bachelor-esque reality show = a sly yet heartfelt love story that will have you tearing through the pages to see how it all ends. –Heather Lyons, author of the Fate series

Monet isn t just another lust-struck teenager trying to win the heart of Rock God Jeremy Bane--she needs the prize money from his new reality show to cure her illness. Monet has Fluxem, a contagious disease that's spread through saliva. It's completely curable if you have enough money, which she and her single mother don't. Now that she's on the show, Monet has to work harder to keep her Fluxem hidden. She only has to keep the secret long enough to woo Jeremy Bane so he picks her as the winner. She doesn't even care about the love part; the prize alone will change her life. But the real Jeremy Bane is nothing like she imagined. Monet finds herself fighting against feelings that make her want to give in to her attraction and Jeremy's attempts for a kiss. The further she goes in the competition, the more impossible it becomes to resist him--and when the producers turn the tables and start digging up dirt on the contestants, Monet fears her secret will be revealed before she's ready and ruin everything. The only way to win Jeremy's heart is to tell him the truth, but confessing her disease could cost her the competition, the prize money, and him."

My Thoughts:

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

I was excited to read Date With A Rockstar because even though I've read books/watched movies with the same theme, I always knew I'd fell for it simply because I'm hopeless romantic. And been there. You know, wishing to date a rockstar. Fangirl mode. But in this novel, our female main character, Monet, wanted to win the date competition not [just] because she's a fangirl, but mostly because she needs the prize money to be cured of her contagious disease, Fluxem.

Now I know that I'm familiar with this kind of story, but I'm still surprisingly pleased with what I've read. Date With A Rockstar was fun and it also had little elements that stood out. Like its futuristic world and sci-fi-ish. I liked it, but sometimes--especially the first time--it seems confusing. I was more like a contemporary genre and the little sci-fi wasn't really necessary. I also liked the relationship between Monet and her mother had. Jeremy was okay for me, he could be sweet around Monet but I don't know, I don't think I fully trust him. There were also "cat fights" and producer strategies that are too annoying to be realistic. But then again, it's a [reality] TV show, so what can I expect?

Date With A Rocktar has fairytale-like story. Prince charming, happy endings, with Cinderella spin. Although I feel like the ending was a little too fantastical, but not bad. Cute even. The Selection fans (though I can't say they're the same, but the competition is there, so), hopeless romantics, fangirls, romance suckers (all like me) would enjoy and like this book!

*Thank you so much Spencer Hill Contemporary for the review copy in exchange of an honest review!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Book Review: Denton Little's Deathdate by Lance Rubin

Denton Little's Deathdate
by Lance Rubin

Series: Denton Little #1
Genre: YA, contemporary, sci-fi-ish
Published April 14th 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers 
Source: Publisher
Local order/purchase: Fully Booked * National Bookstore

Blurb Goodreads):
Fans of John Green and Matthew Quick: Get ready to die laughing.

Denton Little's Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day they will die. For 17-year-old Denton Little, that's tomorrow, the day of his senior prom.

Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle (as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend's hostile sister. Though he's not totally sure. See: first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton's long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters…. Suddenly Denton's life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.

Debut author Lance Rubin takes us on a fast, furious, and outrageously funny ride through the last hours of a teenager's life as he searches for love, meaning, answers, and (just maybe) a way to live on. 

My Thoughts:

My first impression: The title and--especially--the cover is so awkward to own. Like in my case, I bring my current reads wherever I go so I could read them whenever. The thing is, I had to read the book in a way the cover won't be seen. I'm sorry for being embarrassed that way but that you can't blame me! I have never owned a book with a hearse on it. Part of me having second thoughts in requesting for this book from the publisher is the cover.

Denton Little's Deathdate is contemporary sci-fi-ish. Some people from this world has, they call, a deathdate. Upon a child's birth, people will know when they will die. It could be after five years, ten, eighty, etc. On Denton's case, he will be dead by the next day. And the day before his--anyone's--deathdate, is his funeral. People give eulogy and even himself. Yep, creepy and weird. I was asking myself why did I even bothered reading this. I cannot even begin with its weirdness.

And then the dialogues became funny enough for me to chuckle at some points and eventually, laugh. This comedic taste kept me reading. If I won't be getting any sense in here then entertain me by making me laugh. Until I reach the half of the book. A mysterious twist made this book more engaging. It turn out dystopian-ish which is cool. And I never expected that. I began to appreciate and get excited on each page. Although there's part of me that knows/had an idea for the answer, I had fun--and been frustrated (so many wrong lead-ons)--in unraveling the riddle of the book. So far the biggest surprise I read this year. 

Creepy and weird-looking, yes, but expect the unexpected from Denton Little's Deathdate. Light, enjoyable, and hilarious read. I never expected to have a fun experience with this book. It turned out better than I thought (actually, I don't have any high expectations. I thought it was gonna sort-of-sucked). I really liked it and I'll absolutely look forward on the sequel. Yay!

*Thank you so much Penguin Random House for the review copy in exchange of an honest review!


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Book Review: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Crime 
by Marie Rutkoski

Series: The Winner's Curse #2
Genre: YA, fantasy, historical
Published March 3rd 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source: Publisher
Local order/purchase: Fully Booked * National Bookstore

Blurb (Goodreads):
Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

My Thoughts:

The much-awaited (well, not really for me, since I already have the book with me) sequel of the elegant The Winner's Curse is here. Though I didn't have to wait long for the sequel because it already has been published, I just read the first book since it was published a year ago, and I already have my copy, I can still feel the buzz of excitement in reading it, especially with the ending the first book gave me. The feeling and anticipation is quite the same when you are waiting for another year for the next book (though it's more torture in that situation). 

As usual, the book was told in Marie Rutkoski signature: beautiful and graceful writing and story-telling. I love that the vibe the author let me experience in the first book was kept in the sequel. It was even more beautiful and breathtaking. Though also like in The Winner's Curse, the first half in The Winner's Crime was like in a slow pace. But the mystery and the characters' tiptoeing around each other's real intentions kept me alive. When the second half came, tiptoeing around was gone and explosives were being thrown into different ways, which made it more crazy exciting in a I'm-pulling-my-hair-out-because-IT'S-happening way. Too much emotions and Oh no's happened there. I'm not even talking about the ending yet. Oh gosh, THE ENDING. If I thought The Winner's Curse's ending was frustrating, then The Winner's Crime's ending killed me. Now I'm on the situation wherein I can feel the torture of waiting for THE next book. Please let's get there already, March 2016! I am hoping that The Winner's Kiss' (ooh what a sweet name) ending would be worth the two frustrating endings the first two books gave me.

However "frustrating" endings, though, I have to give the series and Marie a slow clap and a standing ovation. *dramatic pause* I really love what everything this series and the author (of course) has to give to the readers. Like I said in my review in The Winner's Curse, it has everything. And let me say this again: the romance wasn't satiating or too much. But dramatic, in a Romeo and Juliet way with a twist of well-thought story and characters. This book is fabulous and grand without even trying to. Simply elegant. I love it.

Read my review for the first book, The Winner's Curse here.

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


Friday, July 10, 2015

What's Cool? Four Hardbacks and a Paperback!

It has been raining for three days now--at least not non-stop--and I know I should be reading but no. *Gasp!* I confess that I've been obsessed with playing Candy Crush (again) and Candy Crush Soda that I have not been reading for the past THREE FREE DAYS. (So not a Cool story, I know.)

Cool stories, anyone?
Anyway, because there hasn't been any progress with my reading and to-be-reviewed pile, I'm stuck and hasn't been requesting for books (print or ebook--especially ebook!) for a while. What I'm sharing you today was my additional haul from last month. You would probably have an idea with my post title (I decided to title it in a different weird way--"Book haul" blah blah is too overused for me).

  • Four Hardbacks and a Paperback

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman - ARC
Off The Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella (review)
Denton Little's Deathdate by Lance Rubin
Of Dreams and Rust by Sarah Fine - ARC (with bookmark)

Thank you so much Penguin Random House and Simon and Schuster!

  • Swag

Thank you so much Katie McGarry and Simon and Schuster!

  • Archive book reviews
Here are my previous book reviews in case you missed it. 

In A World Just Right by Jen Brooks
City Love by Susane Colasanti
Halfway Perfect by Julie Cross and Mark Perini
Dream A Little Dream by Kerstin Gier (Silber Trilogy #1)
Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher (Never Never #1)
Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry (Thunder Road #1)

The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
World After by Susan Ee (Penryn and the End of Days #2)

Hopefully I'd be back on my reading appetite and post more reviews (and features). 


How is it going with your reading progress? Any exciting titles you got/bought?
Share them (or any random stuff) on the comments below!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Book Review: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse 
by Marie Rutkoski

Series: The Winner's Curse #1
Genre: YA, fantasy, historical
Published March 3rd 2015 by Square Fish 
Source: Bought
Local order/purchase: Fully Booked * National Bookstore

Blurb (Goodreads):
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love
They were never meant to be together. As a general's daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can't help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.Set in a new world, The Winner's Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

My Thoughts:

I've been waiting for this time to happen. To finally read The Winner's Curse and NOT be disappointed. (Yep, I will it.) And it did happen. The Winner's Curse is one of my top anticipated reads for 2014 and it's one scary moment when I *finally* started reading it. When you have high hopes, you'll either be perfectly satisfied or disappointed. I'm glad it didn't fall to the latter this time.

The first chapter transported me to a different world instantly. Like when Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) makes contact with the pin and instantly shows her a view of Tomorrowland (2015 film). Because of this, it was easy for me to be in Kestrel's world and story. That instant connection, Marie's beautiful writing and story-telling, and epic story (and the bookish smell too!) makes this book so overwhelming good. Like, you're having a grand tour to a majestic castle and each part you are in awe. You know what a particular part is/about but still, you're not prepared on the better things it offers. This is how it feels like when I read this book. You'd have an idea on some things/scenes, but you'll never be prepared on its beauty. I was caught off guard.

Its beauty comes from the perfect amount of different things it offered: mystery, espionage, flawed yet clever and strong characters, and the complicated romance. Especially the romance. It has everything most YA romances don't have. Or rather, it doesn't have what most YA titles/romances have like insta-love, physical love, and just too much of it. Every thing was done gracefully, except maybe on the pacing and some political talks (not much a fan. My fault.) Either way, the overall turned out really good.

From the cover, to the simple classy packaging, to the overall content, The Winner's Curse is totally a winner and elegant. The book was exciting and would make you curious enough, yet the ending promised so much more for the sequel. 

*I bought this book using the Amazon GC I won. Thanks again Carmel at RabidReads!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Book Review: End of Days by Susan Ee

End of Days 
by Susan Ee

Series: Penryn and the End of Days #3
Genre: YA, fantasy/paranormal
Published May 12th 2015 by Skyscape
Source: Publisher
Local order/purchase: Fully Booked * National Bookstore

Blurb (Goodreads):
End of Days is the explosive conclusion to Susan Ee’s bestselling Penryn & the End of Days trilogy.

After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

My Thoughts:

I broke down all the expectations I built on End of Days after reading World After, as I mentioned on my previous review. I'm glad I did because it lessened some disappointments and there wasn't much high mark to reach. However, Angelfall had already raised a standard.

End of Days is both what I assumed is and not to be a last installment of a series. It had a happily ever after (though not like your typical fairytale thing) and each character gave his/her best and had even improved on many aspects, including their roles on the book. From a typical-Me character in Angelfall, I'm happy to witness the evolution of each character into something new, meaningful, and edgy, but not missing their personalities. 

The romance/relationship (or the lack thereof) of Raffe and Penryn is more present here than the previous book. Though I noticed Raffe being hot and cold, which is confusing. In the end, I'm not sure I'm completely convinced on his final decision.

I was glad that in End of Days the pace picked up again the way it's supposed to be. I also like it better than World After, but not the way I loved Angelfall. This was probably the first series I had mixed emotions and thoughts about each installment. I guess what I found lacking is the Bomb. Yes, the book/series is all about the [made up] apocalypse and there are actions in it, but not in a way that my heart pounded, my breath caught, or left me wanting for more. There were no added mystery or ground-breaking plot twist that I'd lost my mind into. I lost those and missed them greatly. It was what I experienced in reading Angelfall. Though I'm also happy with what this book gave.

This series can be best enjoyed by readers who loves angels, star-crossed lovers, apocalypse, and the such. End of Days is a warming conclusion to the epic angels-and-apocalypse fantasy series, Penryn and the End of Days.

Check out my review for Angelfall (book one) and World After (book two).

*Thank you so much Skyscape/Amazon Publishing for the review copy in exchange of an honest review!