Thursday, April 30, 2015

ARC Review: Sophomore Year is Greek To Me by Meredith Zeitlin

Sophomore Year is Greek To Me 
by Meredith Zeitlin

Genre: YA, contemporary
Expected publication: April 21st 2015 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher/PR
Local purchase/order: Fully Booked * National Bookstore

Blurb (Goodreads):
A laugh-out-loud high school adventure set in Greece, perfect for fans of Meg Cabot 

High school sophomore Zona Lowell has lived in New York City her whole life, and plans to follow in the footsteps of her renowned-journalist father. But when he announces they’re moving to Athens for six months so he can work on an important new story, she's devastated— he must have an ulterior motive. See, when Zona's mother married an American, her huge Greek family cut off contact. But Zona never knew her mom, and now she’s supposed to uproot her entire life and meet possibly hostile relatives on their turf? Thanks... but no thanks. 

In the vein of Anna and the French Kiss, Zona navigates a series of hilarious escapades, eye-opening revelations, and unexpected reunions in a foreign country—all while documenting the trip through one-of-a-kind commentary. 

My Thoughts:

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

Sophomore Year is Greek To Me is one of the titles I'm looking forward to read. I like the fun, light, summer, and hilarious vibe I got from the cover and blurb alone. Plus, it says it's perfect for Meg Cabot fans! (I love her book, All-American Girl!)  + the mention of Anna and the French Kiss + Greece (I've never been there--physically and through novel-reading) + adventure. Surely this book would be a highlight this summer!

For starters, Zona Lowell is a young journalist. I like that about her instantly. You know readers and writers connect even fictionally, right? There were also newspaper-type of articles written about her journey that appeared on most of the chapters, which is something new and exciting to read. I also like how Zona sometimes communicates with her father using their self-made headline (cute) and most especially, their father-daughter relationship. Which is pure adorable and sweet.

However, Zona, having no mother since after her birth, she also never knew her mother's side of family--which are Greek. And now her dad wants her to meet these people. The family she never knew or heard of. The family that had cut the communication between them and her mother the moment she fell in love and ran off with Zona's father in New York.

Despite the issue can be considered as quite heavy, this book remained on light and fun tune, thanks to Zona's voice. The funny dialogues, events, and characters are given and so are the adventure and the cute boy she met in foreign country. But the thing that I think is huge and important in this novel is the family. There was a little romance (adorable and cute as well) but I love that the love mostly shown here was about friendship, family, and home. Because whatever happens, wherever you go, family is always there. You'll always find your way back home, Hannah Montana says in one of her songs.

And since I've been there (read-wise), here are some things I learned about Greece:
- Speak Greek! Good morning = kalimera ; Good night = kalinikta ; Good afternoon = kali mesimeri ; Thank you = efcharisto 
- underage has no effect on bars. No fake IDs. The attitude of Greek teens to alcohol is generally blasé 
- the person who have birthday brings the treats to be shared to classmates or coworkers. This happens both on actual days of birth and on name days (long story). This means that free chocolates are on offer pretty much every single day 
- drivers don't care about crossing people 
- Easter festivities last up to a month, culminating in a massive celebration including some unusual traditions

Sophomore Year is Greek To Me is a mixture of fun and knowledgeable Greek adventure, funny treats, and extra-ordinary characters. It wasn't an all-out hilarious or romantic novel like I assumed, but I'm glad how it turned out and added more depth. The family discovery and reunion made me go "aww". It was sweet and adorable and inspiring as well. Middle graders, young adult, or adults would enjoy this novel!

*Thank you so much to Tony (PR)/G.P Putnam's Sons for the review copy in exchange of an honest review!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Blitz + Excerpt + Giveaway: In A World Just Right by Jen Brooks

In a World Just Right
by Jen Brooks 

Genre: YA, fantasy, romance
Published April 28th 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Blurb (Goodreads):
Imagination takes on new meaning for a uniquely talented teen in this debut novel that is a breathtaking blend of contemporary, fantasy, and romance.

Sometimes Jonathan Aubrey wishes he could just disappear. And as luck—or fate—would have it, he can. Ever since coming out of a coma as a kid, he has been able to create alternate worlds. Worlds where he is a superhero, or a ladies’ man, or simply a better version of himself. That’s the world he’s been escaping to most since sophomore year, a world where he has everything he doesn’t have in real life: friends, a place of honor on the track team, passing grades, and most importantly, Kylie Simms as his girlfriend.

But when Jonathan confuses his worlds senior year and tries to kiss the real Kylie Simms, everything unravels. The real Kylie actually notices Jonathan…and begins obsessing over him. The fantasy version of Kylie struggles to love Jonathan as she was created to do, and the consequences are disastrous. As his worlds collide, Jonathan must confront the truth of his power and figure out where he actually belongs—before he loses both Kylies forever.


   This is from the opening scene of the book. In the middle of the night, worried, Jonathan goes to Kylie’s room. 
   I don’t actually want to talk. I want more kissing. I want more her. I reach for her hand, separate out her index finger, and draw it down the left side of my face, from my eye practically to my jaw. She doesn’t flinch, and that is exactly what I need. I pull up my shirt and place her hand on my chest, where the scarring is the worst. She moves her fingers over the snarls and craters, caresses them, then replaces my shirt and kisses the scar on my face.  
   Her eyes look into mine. Most people can’t look me in the eyes. The real Kylie has never looked me in the eyes, but this Kylie seeps into me with a gaze. She is not disgusted by me. She loves me.  
   She puts a finger to the scar on my face. “Is this bothering you again?”  
   “I don’t know.” Actually, that’s a lie. What’s bothering me is the weird cosmic whisper I got just before I came here, which scared me more than my near-death memories, but I do not discuss cosmic topics with Kylie.  
   Thankfully, she rolls with my faked ignorance and stays focused on my scar. “It’s just a line.” She moves a little deeper into the covers and puts her head on my chest, ear to my heart.  
   “And evidence that you’re a miracle.”  
   I enfold her in my arms and say nothing. No one in the real world cares that I’m a miracle, not since the doctors congratulated themselves and discharged me.  
   “Seriously,” she says, and I can feel her words vibrate against my chest. “Do you want to talk about it?”  
   Talking won’t help. Sometimes the truth cannot set you free. Sometimes, when the night is bad and the universe taunts me, I just need to be with my girlfriend.  
   “I feel better now,” I say.  
   Kylie breathes a contented sigh and snuggles against me. My body practically shivers with the ecstasy of being with her. She’s everything I need to live, and she’s not even real.


About the Author

Jen has a habit of being deeply moved by profound ideas, and her writing reflects her interest in exploring human goodness, relationships, and the feeling of being a part of something greater than oneself. She loves the science fiction and fantasy genres because of their dazzling possibilities for portraying characters and ideas. She credits her undergraduate experience at Dartmouth College, her MFA at Seton Hill University, and her fourteen years of English teaching with shaping her writing.  She is grateful to her family, friends, and students for inspiring her to write.



Check out my review HERE.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Book Blitz + Giveaway: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Happy release day to one of my most anticipated books, An Ember in the Ashes!

An Ember in the Ashes 
by Sabaa Tabir

Genre: YA, dystopian, fantasy
Published April 28th 2015 by Razorbill

Blurb (Goodreads):
A “deft, polished debut”  (Publishers Weekly, starred review), Sabaa Tahir‘s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is a thought-provoking, heart-wrenching and pulse-pounding read. Set in a rich, high-fantasy world with echoes of ancient Rome, it tells the story of a slave fighting for her family and a young soldier fighting for his freedom.

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.


A letter from Sabaa Tahir

Dear Readers,

Today, my “baby” AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is finally out in the world! From inception to pub date, this journey took eight years. And what a journey it was: writing, rewriting, revising, editing, querying, submitting; Meeting other debuts, bloggers, booksellers and librarians, and hearing their thoughts on EMBER. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the radness.

And now, the book is here! I am so excited to see it in the hands of readers. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. To celebrate release day, I’m giving away two signed, first-edition hardcovers of the book. Details below!

All my best,


About the Author
Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing An Ember in the Ashes while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Find her: Website * Twitter * Goodreads

-2 winners will receive a signed hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. US Only.
- 3 winners will receive a hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and a Sword Letter Opener! US Only.
- Ends on May 9th at Midnight EST!
- Tabaa, the publisher, the tour host, or I are not responsible for any lost or damaged packages

Monday, April 27, 2015

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Kissing Madeline by Lex Matin

Let's welcome to the bookish world the third companion of Dearest series, Kissing Madeline!

Kissing Madeline 
by Lex Matin

Series: Dearest #3
Genre: NA, contemporary, romance
Expected publication: April 27th 2015 by Lex Martin
Purchase: Amazon

Blurb (Goodreads):
What’s the worst thing about wanting a sexy NFL football player? Everyone else wants him, too. 

After catching my boyfriend getting deep-throated by a skanky cage girl, I’ve learned my lesson – never date a professional athlete. Never. Besides, I have more important things to worry about, like not blowing my shot to make it as a broadcast reporter. I won’t let anything get in my way, not even the new “it boy” of the NFL and my hot-as-hell neighbor.
What's the worst thing about getting death glares from his new neighbor? It doesn't make him want her any less. 
I’ve worked my ass off to make it to the pros. The last thing I need is the complication of a relationship, especially since my last one was a total train wreck. But I can’t stop thinking about the feisty girl next door with the smart mouth. And I’d love nothing more than to show her what to do with that mouth.
Friends with benefits might be the best idea he’s ever had. Or the worst. 

Kissing Madeline is a companion novel to DEAREST CLEMENTINE and FINDING DANDELION. Each book is a stand-alone.

Friendly notes! ;)
- Dearest Clementine is FREE for a very limited time. Get here.
- Lex will be posting a big giveaway on her author page as soon as it goes live for anyone who posts their review to Amazon:
- Kissing Madeline is on SALE for $2.99 for release week only! Check it out on Amazon

About the Author
Lex Martin writes new adult novels, the sexy kind with lotsa angst, a whole lotta kissing, and the hot happily ever afters. When she's not writing, she lives a parallel life as an English teacher. She loves printing black and white photos, listening to music on vinyl, and getting lost in a great book. Bitten by wanderlust, she's lived all over the country but currently resides in the City of Angels with her husband and twin daughters.


Signed paperbacks (international): Dearest Clementine by Lex Martin, Eyes Turned Skyward by Rebecca Yarros, Tool by Sabrina Paige, Kiss the Sky by Krista & Becca Ritchie, A Second Chance at Paris by Cole McCade, Frenched by Melanie Harlow, Three Nights with a Rock Star by Shari Slade, Loving Maddie by Kelly Jamieson, Ten Below Zero by Whitney Barbetti, Pretty Pink Ribbons by KL Grayson, When You Are Mine by Kennedy Ryan, Dirty Proof by Jade Eby, True Blue by Jules Banard, Every After by Rebecca Paula, an Off the Map ARC (winner’s choice) by Lia Riley, Everything Has Changed by Mia Kayla, Twice in a Lifetime by Ruthie Henrick, Love Me Back by Michelle Lynn, Love Nouveau by BL Berry, Away by BA Wolfe, Undone by RE Hunter, Truth in Wildflowers by Kimberly Rose....

Paperbacks for US only (ebooks if international): Lighter by Gia Riley, Wings Over Poppies by J.a. Derouen, Torn by Eleanor Green....

Ebooks: Any ebook by Elisabeth Grace (winner’s choice), Always You by Stephanie Rose, The Fragile Fall by Kristy Love, Feel Again & First Came You by Faith Andrews; $2.99 ebook of your choice
Enter here.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

ARC Review: Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

Things We Know By Heart 
by Jessi Kirby

Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Expected publication: April 21st 2015 by HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Local purchase/order: Fully Booked * National Bookstore

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.

My Thoughts:

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

I was smitten the first time I read Things We Know By Heart's blurb. It wasn't something you'll regularly see on YA titles and also it somehow reminds me of Thanks For The Memories by Cecelia Ahern--which I loved. While it wasn't entirely alike, both had the same uniqueness and quality and excitement just by reading the blurb alone. The kind that you don't ever wanna miss.

Quinn Sullivan has lost her boyfriend in an accident for over a year and still hadn't moved on. She has met the recipients of her boyfriend's organs..except the one who received his heart. She never heard from him but she wanted to meet him or just see him, because so. Colton Thomas has been waiting for a heart for long and when one finally came, his life changed. He sees the world and life as beautiful and bright thing every day. And every day he tries to live his best because of the second chance he got.

Things We Know By Heart has an obvious grief/sad/emotional vibe and it instantly added more depth on the story, apart from the--which I consider--heavy issue. I wouldn't also know what to feel or to think if I was in Quinn's feet or to know someone with the same situation. It was awkward and confusing because, how would you really know whether you fell on the person or on the original owner of the person's heart? I don't. That's why it's one of the things I wanted to find out in this novel.

And I like how the story turned out. The romance grew every day and each day Quinn connects to Colton, and not on his [literal] heart. There was no annoying characters or cliche love triangle/insta-love. It's not Trent's heart in Colton that's intervening Quinn's feelings or ability to move on--it's the memories of Trent she can't let go. I love it that way because it's a proof of a real love story between Colton and Quinn, where the transplanted heart isn't concerned.

Fans of Nicholas Sparks, Gayle Forman, and John Green would enjoy this novel with its heart-breaker, puts-heart-pieces-back-together theme. Emotional yet beautiful, Things We Know By Heart is the kind of novel you want to try.

*Thanks to HarperTeen for the review ecopy in exchange of an honest review!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WWW Wednesdays (92) / Waiting on Wednesday (92): Blood Passage

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?

Looks like I'm on a roll for YA contemporaries...

Currently Reading:

Sophomore Year is Greek To Me by Meredith Zeitlin. Really excited for this book! I can sense a Meg Cabot here but excited to know Meredith's writing style as well.

Finished Reading:

I went straight contemporaries for the past two weeks. Not that I intended it. Breathe, Annine, Breathe by Miranda Keneally (review), The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre (review), The DUFF by Kody Keplinger (review), and Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby (review tomorrow).

Read Next:

Up next is City Love by Susane Colasanti. My second book from this author!

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

Blood Passage
by Heather Demetrios
(Dark Caravan Cycle #2)

Expected publication: October 6th 2015 by Balzer+Bray

Blurb (Goodreads):
A jinni who's lost everything.

A master with nothing to lose.

A revolutionary with everything to gain.

When Nalia arrives in Morocco to fulfil Malek's third and final wish she's not expecting it to be easy. Though Nalia is free from the shackles that once bound her to Malek as his slave, she's in more danger than ever before.

Meanwhile, Malek's past returns with a vengeance as he confronts the darkness within himself, and Raif must decide what's more important: his love for Nalia, or his devotion to the cause of Arjinnan freedom.

Set upon by powerful forces that threaten to break her, Nalia encounters unexpected allies and discovers that her survival depends on the very things she thought made her weak. From the souks of Marrakech to the dunes of the Sahara, The Arabian Nights come to life in this dazzling second installment of the Dark Passage Cycle.

I LOVE Exquisite Captive. It was a beautiful surprise for me since I never expected it to be that good. And now I saw this! THE SEQUEL. Can't. Wait!!!

Check out my Exquisite Captive review.


What are the books you've read and/or looking forward this week?
Share them on the comments below!

P.S Don't forget to join my giveaway:
Win a copy of NA romance, Captive by Brighton Walsh!