Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Many Uses of Black Ice + A Giveaway!

If you're living in the Philippines, then I am sure that you understand what everyone else is going through... the infernal heat. It's literally like suntanning in the actual sun. Or being roasted alive. Just standing straight and doing nothing will make you sweat. Everyone feels it. So we decided to help our fellow Filipinos cool off with a little Black Ice and it's many different uses (but if you want to skip that, scroll down a bit for the giveaway portion, LOL)! Also, pun intended. *wink* Let the weirdness begin:

It's a fan... *fans self*


A hat! (That's my thinking face.)


A mask! Boo.


And a pillow. (Nappy time!)


Well, that's it! Hahahaha! Now onto the...


Black Ice + awesome SWAG.


(Huge thanks to National Book Store for letting us meet Becca Fitzpatrick, so awesome. Also, to Becca Fitzpatrick for signing the book and giving us the ARC. And last by not the least, my sister, Raven, for taking these friggin' awesome photos. LOL)

Good luck to y'all! *throws confetti*

Friday, May 23, 2014

Review: Loving Mr. Daniels by Brittainy C. Cherry

Title: Loving Mr. Daniels
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
Publication date: May 11th 2014
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble



To Whom it May Concern, 

It was easy to call us forbidden and harder to call us soulmates. Yet I believed we were both. Forbidden soulmates. 

When I arrived to Edgewood, Wisconsin I didn’t plan to find him. I didn't plan to stumble into Joe's bar and have Daniel's music stir up my emotions. I had no clue that his voice would make my hurts forget their own sorrow. I had no idea that my happiness would remember its own bliss. 

When I started senior year at my new school, I wasn’t prepared to call him Mr. Daniels, but sometimes life happens at the wrong time for all the right reasons. 

Our love story wasn’t only about the physical connection.

It was about family. It was about loss. It was about being alive. It was silly. It was painful. It was mourning. It was laughter.

It was ours. 

And for those reasons alone, I would never apologize for loving Mr. Daniels. 

-Ashlyn Jennings

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Review:

I was pretty excited to read Loving Mr. Daniels, not only because of its very lovely cover but also because one; I have a huge love for student/teacher romances and two; a lot of the bloggers I follow seem to have enjoyed it so I decided to give it a try. End result? A very confused Louisse.

If there's one thing I absolutely hate when it comes to books, it's insta-love. The whole "love at first sight" bit just doesn't do it for me. I mean seriously, what if the guy/girl you instantaneously fell in love with has some kind of quirk you absolutely hate? And there's really nothing romantic about insta-love. Which is why it was really difficult for me to thoroughly enjoy this book, the way Ashlyn and Daniel connected so easily seriously peeved me. But, yes there is a but, I did enjoy the banter and quips between Ashlyn and Daniel. Their chemistry was palpable and as the story goes on, you do see an authenticity to their relationship.

It took me a while to like Ashlyn as a heroine because there were times she was just too self-centered. She always mentions her sister's death, always tries to make a deal out of things and is whiny. Period. And she was super confusing and indecisive in general. Still kinda annoys me when I think about it. However, on the flip side, Ashlyn was an intuitive person, she was intelligent and gave as good as she got. I wish that Brittainy Cherry took more time to really shape Ashlyn's character because she had so much potential to be someone great but in the end, just fell flat.

Mr. Daniels (full name: Daniel Daniels, I pity the guy) was kind of "ehhhh" for me. Sure he was hot and had insanely beautiful blue eyes, as Ashlyn never fails to mention, and was super witty; but like Ashyln, he fell flat. There wasn't enough personality in him to make him "swoon-worthy" or just likable. I did like the lyrics that the author placed in each chapter because they were pretty awesome, so the whole band thing worked out for Mr. Daniels. What didn't work out was the fact that he pretty much quoted Shakespeare all the friggin' time. I mean yeah, the guy is a romantic but man, it gets old... and creepy. I'm not even going to mention the inappropriate times Mr. Daniels has quoted Shakespeare. Sigh.

Okay, there was a scene in the latter part of the book that completely confused me. I didn't understand why it needed to happen because nothing good came from it. People reacted for a bit but after that? Nothing. Life just went on. I was left pissed off that it happened and emotional after reading the paper. And can I just say? This book has so much death in it. Seriously. Seriously.

Can't say that I completely disliked the book, it did have good parts but they really weren't enough to salvage the book, in my opinion. The parts that I really liked didn't last to the end and the parts that I liked were too few. I do understand the appeal of the book to other readers though, it talks a lot about life, love and other typical things that most people go through but they were imbalanced and incomplete. The characters would focus on one thing and then abruptly move on to the next topic with giving the earlier subject closure. If I could enumerate everything I didn't like about this book, I would but I can't. There was just too many. But I will give props to Brittainy Cherry for creativity and slight depth, which is why this is a 2-star review and not a 1-star one.

I really wish I could say that I enjoyed this book, but I would be lying to you and myself. There were just too many downs when it came to Loving Mr. Daniels, because by the end of the book, I didn't love Mr. Daniels. So yeah, that's it.

Rating:

Thursday, May 22, 2014

{Cover Reveal} Excerpt: His Reverie by Monica Murphy


We are so excited to unveil the cover for Monica Murphy's His Reverie! His Reverie is a Young Adult Contemporary Romance novel!

His Reverie
Title: His Reverie
Author: Monica Murphy
Publication date: July 28th 2014



I knew from the moment I first saw her she was the one. The only girl I could ever want.

The only girl I could ever love.

She is light.

I am darkness.

She is innocent.

I’ve done too much.

She is good.

I am bad.

She is my every dream.

I should be her every nightmare.

We come from different worlds. She’s…perfect. And I’m…

Not.

Somehow she wants me anyway. So we’ll grasp at what we can. We’re going to make this summer count. She’s my secret. And I’m hers.

The problem with secrets is they never last for long. And when others discover we’re together, they’ll do whatever it takes to keep us apart. All I know is: I won’t let them.

Because Reverie Hale? She’s mine.

His Reverie Teaser

“Thirsty?”

I jump at the sound of a soft female voice, my hand jerking so the hose splashes me right in the face. Muttering a curse, I drop the hose and reach out blindly, wrenching the faucet off with one hand as I swipe at my eyes with the back of the other. I hear the girl laugh and I whirl around, fully prepared to find some bratty preteen Hale daughter mocking me.

But she’s not a preteen. Not even close. More like around my age. She’s tall and slender, her long blonde hair falling far past bared tan shoulders. She’s wearing some sort of sundress or whatever you call it and she’s pretty much covered since it hits just above her knees, though her arms are exposed since the dress is sleeveless. The sun catches her just right though, shining through the thin fabric of her skirt so I can see through it.

My gaze drops and all I can see is long, long legs through the shadowy fabric. Damn. Those sexy legs are endless. She clears her throat, like she knows exactly where I’m looking and what I’m thinking and I jerk my gaze up guiltily to meet hers, feeling like a jackass.

That’s when I notice her eyes are blue. As blue as the sky above us, and she’s so damn pretty, with delicate features and pink, pink lips, that I can’t seem to form words.

“Who are you?” she asks curiously. Her voice washes over me, sweet and melodic and now it’s my turn to clear my throat to get the lump out so I can freaking speak.

“Who are you?” I ask back like an idiot.

She smiles shyly and my entire body reacts, a bolt of electricity seeming to go through me. “I asked first.”

“Are you Hale’s daughter?” If she is, that sucks because holy hell she’s hot but yeah.

She’s completely untouchable if she’s a Hale.

“What if I am?” She kicks at the ground with her sandaled foot, her cheeks coloring the faintest pink. Innocence radiates from her. She looks like a damn angel and seems a little uncomfortable with me.

Despite her seeming discomfort, I think she might be trying to flirt with me.

“Well, I’d make sure and be extra polite to you since I work for your dad.” I go with the truth because I don’t want any problems from this girl. I probably shouldn’t even be alone with her. She could say anything, accuse me of something terrible and I’d have no defense. Her word against mine.

And her word would win every single time.

Another laugh escapes her and she slowly shakes her head. “I like your honesty.”

I like everything about her so far but I keep my lips clamped shut. I’ve already said enough to make myself look like a total loser.“So I’m guessing you’re definitely Hale’s daughter?”


About the author:

MonicaMurphypic-250x373
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite. A wife and mother of three, she writes New Adult and contemporary romance for Bantam and Avon. She is the author of One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend.

You can find her here:







Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Double the Awesomeness: June and July Book Signings in the Philippines!

Recently, National Book Store announced that two very special authors will be visiting the Philippines! It's a well known fact that National Book Store is kind of like our book Santa Claus, red and very jolly or our Fairy Book Godmother. Haha! They've really been listening to the requests of their readers/followers and have been bringing the best authors around; and this time, is just like the rest. So for the June event we'll be meeting the very lovely, Jenny Han, who has made quite a following here in the Philippines because of her Summer series (my mom is a fan too). Well, here are the official deets:



Jenny Han Book Signing Tour: Frequently Asked Questions

When and Where will the event be held?
June 21, 2:00 PM at National Book Store, Glorietta 1
June 22, 2:00 PM at National Book Store, SM Cebu

What time will the registration be?
Registration will be at at 10:00 AM at National Book Store, Glorietta (6/21); and 10:00 AM at National Book Store, SM Cebu (6/22). Registration will be held in the store and not at the events area. Each guest will be asked to fill out a form upon registration; the events will be on a first come, first served basis.

Is there a registration fee?
Nope, no fee.

How many books can I have signed?
You may have any number of books signed as long as they were purchased from National Book Store, Bestsellers or Powerbooks. However, although National Book Store will make every effort to get as many books signed as possible, they have the right to limit the number of copies per person depending on how many attend the event.

Can I bring old books or other editions of the books?
Yes, as long as the books were purchased from National Book Store, Bestsellers and Powerbooks.

Do I need to buy on-site?
No. You can buy books before or during the event.

Can I have other items signed?
No. Only books will be allowed to be signed by the authors.

Can we have our photo taken with the author?
Yes, you can have your photo with the author when she signs your book. However, National Book Store strictly allows one photo per person only.

How much are the books?
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (Trade Paperback – P395)
The Summer I Turned Pretty (Trade Paperback – P349)
It's Not Summer Without You (Trade Paperback – P349)
We'll Always Have Summer (Trade Paperback – P349)
The Complete Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy Boxed Set (Trade Paperback – P1,079)
Burn for Burn (Trade Paperback – P385)
Fire With Fire (Trade Paperback – P385)

The second super exciting event happening, will be in July! This time, Stephanie Perkins, the author of Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and the upcoming Isla and the Happily Ever After will be coming to Cebu and then Manila for a book signing. I am personally really excited because I am huge Stephanie Perkins fan. So without further ado, here are the event deets:



Stephanie Perkins Book Signing Tour: Frequently Asked Questions

When and Where will the event be held?
July 5, 1:00 PM at National Book Store, SM Cebu
July 6, 2:00 PM at National Book Store, Glorietta 1

What time will the registration be?
Registration will be at at 10:00 AM at National Book Store, SM Cebu (7/5); and 10:00 AM at National Book Store, Glorietta 1 (7/6). Registration will be held in the store and not at the events area. Each guest will be asked to fill out a form upon registration; the events will be on a first come, first served basis.

Is there a registration fee?
Nope, no fee.

How many books can I have signed?
You may have any number of books signed as long as they were purchased from National Book Store, Bestsellers or Powerbooks. However, although National Book Store will make every effort to get as many books signed as possible, they have the right to limit the number of copies per person depending on how many attend the event.

Can I bring old books or other editions of the books?
Yes, as long as the books were purchased from National Book Store, Bestsellers and Powerbooks.

Do I need to buy on-site?
No. You can buy books before or during the event.

Can I have other items signed?
No. Only books will be allowed to be signed by the authors.

Can we have our photo taken with the author?
Yes, you can have your photo with the author when she signs your book. However, National Book Store strictly allows one photo per person only.

How much are the books?
Anna and the French Kiss (Trade paperback - P349)
Lola and the Boy Next Door (Trade paperback - P349)
Isla and the Happily Ever After (to be released August 14, 2014)

ONE LAST THING! Please tweet with the hashtags: #JennyHanInPH and #StephaniePerkinsInPH. Let's make the hashtags trend! WHOOT.

Well, that's it! We hope to see y'all at the events! :) Oh, and a ginormous thank you to the amazing peeps at National Book Store who made this all possible. Thanks so much, you guys! Y'all rock.



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review: Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren

Title: Sweet Filthy Boy (Wild Seasons #1)
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: May 13th 2014
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble



One-night stands are supposed to be with someone convenient, or wickedly persuasive, or regrettable. They aren’t supposed to be with someone like him.

But after a crazy Vegas weekend celebrating her college graduation—and terrified of the future path she knows is a cop-out—Mia Holland makes the wildest decision of her life: follow Ansel Guillaume—her sweet, filthy fling—to France for the summer and just…play.

When feelings begin to develop behind the provocative roles they take on, and their temporary masquerade adventures begin to feel real, Mia will have to decide if she belongs in the life she left because it was all wrong, or in the strange new one that seems worlds away.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Review:

Fact: Sweet Filthy Boy is my favorite Christina Lauren book to date (right above Beautiful Stranger). Christina Lauren's books have always been a guilty pleasure for me, they're like strawberries dipped in chocolate: decadent and sinful at the first taste but when you get to the strawberry part, you'll discover that there's a wildness to its flavor. Whenever I finish a Christina Lauren book, I always end up with a satisfied smile because, here's another fact, no one does sexy times better than those two. The scenes are tasteful yet dirty and they never cross that line that makes it gross or too dirty. Just perfect.

You just know that when a book is about staying in Vegas that things are about to get craaay... and things did.

When Mia wakes up in a very sticky situation (no pun intended... maybe) after a wild night in Las Vegas, she decides to throw caution into the wind and fly to Paris with Ansel, her French fling, hoping to escape for a while before her business school classes start. (I'd get into more details of what happened pre- and during Ansel but I really don't want to ruin anything for you.) I really liked Mia, I know I say this a lot about main characters but I genuinely like Mia. I feel like everything that comes out of her mouth and her actions mean something. Like, everything she does has a purpose; I think it's because she's a quite person in general and when she does decide to voice her thoughts, they're already thought out. But what I love about Mia is her ability to channel her thoughts into actions and allow herself to be more confident. She finds ways to express herself without really having to. What I love even more is that she's not perfect, she's scarred, she's nervous a lot and when it comes to Mia, there's also a lot of awkwardness but she does her best to fix that and show a more sure and comfortable side. It was literally like watching a flower blossom. Her staying in Paris allowed her room to grow and be more free, it was a beautiful sight to see. By the end of the book, I was completely in awe of Mia. I really was.

If I could, I would take Ansel and stuff him into my pocket and never let him out because he is just so friggin' adorable. Yes, he's an insanely virile man who oozes sex appeal and sex, in general but his charm takes him to a whole other level. I love how easygoing he is but as the book goes on, you also see a more serious and weary side to him. Ansel is multi-faceted and it was so fun to see the different aspects of his personality (but his carefree side is his default). The fact that Ansel is genuinely a nice guy makes me like him even more because with him, there is such thing as pretend. And the thing is, Ansel is a complete weirdo, he is so quirky that it's so cute. The stories that his friends shared made me legit LOL. Ansel brightened up the book and gave it its lightness. He is a big bundle of sunshine. I just want to bathe in his light.

The chemistry between Mia and Ansel was tangible, it was so evident that you could make a new element out of what was happening between the two of them. Their relationship wasn't an easy one, there were awkward moments when the other didn't know what to do and when they question whether they were too rash in their decision making or what, but you could also see the smooth flow between them. You just know that they fit together and that's what made Mia and Ansel so good together. And holy mother, their naughty scenes? I am seriously getting overheated here, and I don't mean the Philippine heat either. *fans self*

I didn't just love Mia and Ansel, the two main characters, I fell in love with their best friends too. I didn't get to see much of Finn and Oliver but what I read of them, I loved. They were fun, cute and sexy; and that's all I really needed to know. But Harlow and Lola, Mia best friends? They were so friggin' awesome. Their support for Mia and their protectiveness of her made me smile. They were real friends and their personalities in this book already cemented my decision to read their books too. You just know that their friendship is the type that will last forever, so great.

What's a Romance novel without a little drama? I am not going to say anything but... watch out. (Cue maniacal laughter!)

Sweet Filthy Boy brims with Christina Lauren's signature wit, humor and sexiness, except multiplied by a hundred. I can honestly say that Christina Lauren's books only get better and better; and that is so amazing because it so hard to find a co-authored book that is as well-written as this one. Their writing blends and goes together so perfectly and you won't get confused by the different voices in the story. I love Christina and Lauren's dynamic together and after reading Sweet Filthy Boy, I am more than ready for the rest of their upcoming books. Seriously looking forward to my next Christina Lauren fix... Bring 'em on! NOW. (Also, their books have the most gorgeous cover ever, seriously. They are so sexy but so classy. Love them!!)

Rating:
.5

{Cover Reveal} Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park

We were introduced to Celeste in Flat-Out Love and readers wanted more! Well, more they shall have! Look at this amazing cover and take a peek inside FLAT-OUT CELESTE! Yes, I love both Celeste and the cover! So excited to see her all grown up and to finally see things from Celeste's point of view.

COMING SOON!


Title: Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love #2)
Author: Jessica Park



Whether you were charmed by Celeste in Flat-Out Love or are meeting her for the first time, this book is a joyous celebration of differences, about battling private wars that rage in our heads and in our hearts, and—very much so— this is a story about first love.. 


For high-school senior Celeste Watkins, every day is a brutal test of bravery. And Celeste is scared. Alienated because she’s too smart, her speech too affected, her social skills too far outside the norm, she seems to have no choice but to retreat into isolation. 

But college could set her free, right? If she can make it through this grueling senior year, then maybe. If she can just find that one person to throw her a lifeline, then maybe, just maybe.

Justin Milano, a college sophomore with his own set of quirks, could be that person to pull her from a world of solitude. To rescue her—that is, if she’ll let him. 

Together, they may work. Together, they may save each other. And together they may also save another couple—two people Celeste knows are absolutely, positively flat-out in love.


     There was a knock at the door and Matt leaned in, swinging a brown paper bag in her direction. “I heard Mom made stuffed peppers tonight. Last time she made those, I nearly died from flatulence. I assume she stuffed them with her usual repulsive ground chicken, quinoa, Brussels sprouts, and pomegranate seed mix?”

Just the sound of Matt’s voice made Celeste relax. She smiled at him. “Based on the smell, I believe you’re right.”

“So you didn’t eat then? I was right!” Matt flopped onto her bed and lay down, his long body scrunching up the neat white comforter that she spent ten minutes arranging before she’d gone to school this morning. “I thought I’d take a break from studying and bring you something edible.”

“It smells like a burger from Mr. Bartley’s,” she said as she got up and took a seat next to Matt. “Hand it over, thoughtful brother.”

He tightened a hand around the top of the bag. “You have to guess which kind I brought you first.”

“How am I supposed to know?”

“Close your eyes.”

She did as instructed and felt him move the bag under her nose. Sweet, spicy... a bit garlicky. “Aha! Boursin cheese and bacon! The Mark Zuckerberg burger!”

“And sweet potato fries and a bottle of iced tea, but you win. A burger named after ‘the richest geek in America,’ as the restaurant calls him.”

“You will be the richest geek in America after you finish your Ph.D. Program,” Celeste said through a mouthful of fries.

“If M.I.T. doesn’t land me in a psych unit first.”

“You only have this year left to endure. And you will hardly find yourself in need of psychiatric care, Matthew. You are doing stupendously.”

“I’m scraping by.” Matt reached into the bag and grabbed a handful of fries and opened her iced tea.

“You are not ‘scraping by.’ You are assistant teaching classes, excelling in your own, and in all ways performing to standards that exceed even the high ones our mother set for you.” She frowned as he chewed on the fries. “Did you not eat?”

“I did. A Big Papi burger and a Fiscal Cliff. But you can never have enough sweet potato fries.”

“I have a finite amount of my own from which you are stealing. But I shall not complain because this was very kind of you.”

Matt chewed and studied her. “Are you okay?”

“Why do you ask?”

“No contractions. When you’re stressed out, they disappear.”

“I know. But most days I do not care to use them. If it is an effort, then I do not push.”

“Okay. I get it.” He chewed for a minute. “I heard your presentation went well. Did your friends like it?”

“It went marvelously. My friend Dallas took me aside to share quite the flow of compliments.”

“That’s great, Celeste.” He was downing half her iced tea.

“And then I bitch slapped her.”

Matt choked on the drink and desperately tried to clear his airway. “I’m sorry. You did what?”

She cocked her head. “I bitch slapped her.”

“That... that can’t be right,” he sputtered. “I mean, I hope it’s not.”

“I slapped my hand against her hand. Up in the air.” She looked at Matt blankly. “Is that not the right term?”

“Thank God, no, it’s not. I think you mean a high-five.”

“If you say so. Well, either way, it happened. You know I have trouble with colloquialisms, so I resent your shocked reaction.”

“I do know that about you, and I apologize.”

“Since we are on the subject, there is something else I would like for you to clarify.”

“Shoot.”

“What is meant by ‘nut bag’? Is that a testicular reference or merely the identification of a satchel of cashews or pecans?”

Matt groaned. “This conversation has gotten really weird. Could we just talk about— Wait a minute. Why are you asking me this? Did someone say that to you?” He looked angry.

Celeste picked at her fry. “No. Certainly not. I heard the term and had a natural curiosity.”

“Okay then...” Her brother crumpled up the paper bag and then smoothed it out in his hands. Then crumpled it again. “It’s the same as ‘nuts.’ You know, crazy.”

“Thank you for the definition.” She took the last bite of her burger and wiped her hands on one of the paper napkins. It shouldn’t matter what her classmates thought of her. Celeste would just be strong about this. She would move on.

PURCHASE-- FLAT-OUT LOVE and FLAT-OUT MATT on Amazon. FLAT-OUT LOVE at Barnes and Noble.


About the Author:


Jessica is the author of LEFT DROWNING, the New York Times bestselling FLAT-OUT LOVE (and the companion piece FLAT-OUT MATT), and RELATIVELY FAMOUS. She lives in New Hampshire where she spends an obscene amount time thinking about rocker boys and their guitars, complex caffeinated beverages, and tropical vacations. On the rare occasions that she is able to focus on other things, she writes.

Please visit her at jessicapark.me and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorjessicapark and Twitter @JessicaPark24.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: Arouse by Nina Lane

Title: Arouse (Spiral of Bliss #1)
Author: Nina Lane
Publisher: Snow Queen Publishing
Publication date: January 24th 2014
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble



"One day I'm going to touch you in a thousand different ways and show you how to touch me," he said. And he did.

Struggling with a tormented past, undergraduate Olivia Winter once led a practical but isolated life. Then she met Professor Dean West, a brilliant scholar of medieval history who melted Liv's inhibitions and taught her the meaning of both love and erotic pleasure. But after three years of a blissful, lusty marriage, Liv and Dean now face a crisis that threatens everything they believe about each other. And when dark secrets and temptations rise to the surface, the fallout might break them apart forever.

(Image and summary from Goodreads.)

Review:

Ugh! This book, and pretty much the whole Spiral of Bliss series is so friggin' good. And I don't mean that it's just good, I mean it in an extreme good kind of way. Arouse and co. are so good that I am disgusted at how well-written and amazing they are. Really. As soon as I finished reading Arouse, I immediately moved onto Allure and I just couldn't stop. I just. Couldn't. Stop. Olivia and Dean's story will pull you in and trust me, you won't want it to let you go. The experience is literally a spiral of bliss.

I have never been a fan of angst. In books and in real life, but since it's unavoidable in real life, I do my best to streer clear of angsty books instead; but I have to say, I enjoyed Nina Lane's particular brand of angst. The wasn't too much drama or self-pity coming from the characters, just enough to keep the reader nervous but anxious to see what will happen next. Arouse may not have been a action or thriller novel but it definitely kept me at the edge of my seat. I did not know what would happen next, and I certainly did not know what I wanted to happen, the little twists and big revelations that Nina Lane threw into the mix made Arouse all the more impactful and enjoyable. However, throughout the whole book, there was one thing I did know, it was that I was totally Team Dean and Liv. I just loved them together; their love story is easily one of the very best stories I have ever read. Honest.

When you meet Olivia, or "Liv" as everyone refers to her as, she is very frazzled and not your typical confident heroine. She's meek and quite timid and that's one of the things I really liked about her, she was honest as to who she was. Liv never tried to be someone who she wasn't, she never tried to act confident when she really wasn't but when the time called for it, she still managed to step up onto the plate. And honestly? She may not have been the most perfect or your ideal heroine but her tenacity and her perseverance was very admirable. Even though she was continuously getting fired from her jobs, she never stayed down but continued to search for any available jobs not only because she wanted to be independent from her husband, but also because she wanted to find what her true calling was. What's even better is that as the book goes on, you see her start to grow. The circumstances that she was dealt with pressed her to grow a backbone and see thing sin a different light that allowed her to really grow. She still retains her old qualities but also develops new ones that only strengthen her personality and character. By the end of the book, I was more than in love with the woman Liv turned out to be. (I was totally girl-crushing on her.)

I am going to say it loud and clear, I am absolutely in love with Dean West and I'm not sorry that I am totally coveting a married man. I loved Dean in Arouse and I still loved him by the end of Awaken, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. It's not because he's perfect that I love him, he's far from it actually, but it's the way that he complements Liv that amazes me. He is so supportive of Liv and he genuinely knows that she will do great things, it's his belief in her that truly makes me smile. And it doesn't hurt that he's absolutely gorgeous. Heehee. I really enjoyed reading some parts of the book in his point of view because at the first parts of the book, all you see are Liv's insights but once you read Dean's, you'll be able to fully understand what is happening; and you'll also get both sides of the story. One of the things that I really love about him is even though he's an affluent man who's achieved so many things, he still has some quirks and a youthfulness to him (Dean and his strings, so cute). I wish I had my own Dean West... And like I said, he is far from perfect. Dean still has his share of mistakes, both big and small, and there were times that he didn't deal with them particularly well but you can also see his need to understand Liv and the situation and his genuine desire to make things better. Dean West is a great man and throughout the whole book, he never let me down.

Liv and Dean have a beautiful and sensual relationship... but it's not as easy as it seems. They've been married for three years (and have been together for five) but it's like they've only just started getting to truly know one another. Once the tightly knit secrets unraveled, things started to get real serious. Feelings were hurt, tears were shed and curses were uttered. Though it may seem that things are going to be doomed, that's when the trust came in and Nina Lane did her magic. She salvaged the situation and used it to strengthen her characters, both individually and their relationship. It's Arouse's unpredictableness that will really keep you guessing and praying that things will turn out for the best.

Nina Lane was able to really capture the essence of what it truly is to be married. It's not all rainbows and butterflies, there will be times when a storm will come to erase your rainbows and fires that will burn the wings off your butterflies but the question is, what will you do? A lot of people thought that Liv and Dean's marriage was perfect so when things went downhill, they weren't really sure as to what to do. Them really fighting was something they were not used to and they both weren't sure how to fix the problem so their issue continued to fester and grow. Liv and Dean's dynamic was thrown off balance but the great thing was, they didn't stay down. They got back up and walked that narrow path, their balance was shaky, but at least they were trying. Nina Lane shows us the value of trust and honesty not just in marriage but in all relationships, they are the building blocks of a relationship and without them, all friendships, marriages and others will topple down and shatter. Nina Lane has written a novel that encompasses every aspect of a marriage and always us an insight as to what happens and may happen to a relationship, even in reality.

Arouse is a beautifully written novel that shows us even though love does conquer all, there will always be obstacles (both big and small) that will stand in our way, and it's our job to decide what we will do to face them. I learned a lot reading this book and I feel enlightened, believe it or not. Dean and Liv's story captured my heart and they now definitely hold a place in there. (I just want to smoosh those two!) They are the most perfectly imperfect couple I have ever had the chance of meeting and they just suit each other so perfectly. *dreamy sigh* I cannot even express how much I love Arouse, because I do. A lot. This book is so intense but in a good way, and it left me all achy after I read it. I cannot recommend this book enough; but if you're going to get a copy of Arouse, you'll need Allure and Awaken to accompany it. You'll need them.

Rating:
.5

Friday, May 9, 2014

Review: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

Title: Maybe Someday
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: March 18th 2014
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble



At twenty-two years old, aspiring musician Sydney Blake has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her good friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter cheating on her with Tori—and she is left trying to decide what to do next.

Sydney becomes captivated by her mysterious neighbor, Ridge Lawson. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the daily guitar playing he does out on his balcony. She can feel the harmony and vibrations in his music. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either: He seems to have finally found his muse. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance—and the enchanting music that inspires one young woman to put her life back together.

From the author of the New York Times bestsellers Slammed, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, This Girl, and Losing Hope, Maybe Someday is destined to become another bestseller and long-lasting fan favorite.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Review:

I was stuck in the longest reading rut and Maybe Someday sparked that old flame right back up. I was not expecting a lot from this book, thinking it would be another run of the mill romance, I had no real excitement save for the appealing cover. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was nearly three-fourths done with the book. The whole day passed by and I did not even realize it because I was so immersed in the story, following Sydney and Ridge into their world. The plot was a new, unventured reality that Miss Hoover so bravely included in her novel. Even as unaffected as I was, it still spoke volumes to me and the way she wrote it really helped me understand the process of it all. If I were asked to describe this book in a single word, it would most definitely have to be extraordinary. Starting at a seemingly heavy scene, Miss Hoover writes with such "oomph" that even the most drama-filled scene will seem easy to digest while the lightest moments, the briefest touches will make your stomach burst with butterflies.

At the first turn, we are introduced to the persona of each character. Sweet Sydney with a slight temper, slick, borderline douchebag-y (?) Hunter, sneaky Tori and the charming Ridge. I can't help but have a bias on the Hunter-Tori duo mainly because of the description but, hey, doesn't everyone? As the story progresses, you really get to feel and understand what ALL the characters are going through. And by all, I mean EVERYONE. Even the seemingly unimportant roommates and their hookups. *ehem ehem* Each character really adds to the buildup of the story, each one deserving a book on their own. There was so much to these characters but even with all the personality, it still seems that the major focus would be on Sydney and Ridge. I honestly do not know how Miss Hoover is able to write with such emotion and feelings. She was able to capture every moment, every feeling so accurately that you feel as if you were in the same moment and time as the characters. It was almost hard to remember that these people are just fiction, that they are just characters because as I said, their emotions were so greatly described and told.

The end just seemed a bit too abrupt, like it's not yet over and just maybe because you DON'T want it to be over, but it is. The ending is not something you feel sad about because the last few chapters are told in a sad state. You feel the sadness because the book is over but at the same time, your heart feels happy and you cannot help but make a silly little grin as you close the book because you know that even if the last page had been already turned, you know that their story had just begun. I really do not want to reveal too much of the story, because I feel that if I tell any more I might slip up and the important bits will be out in the air. What I do want to tell you guys is that this is definitely a must-read. It's such a new, crazy (in a good way) addition to your bookshelf and I assure you it will be one of those books that you will not forget. This book will make you feel all kinds of happy, sad, heartbreak and love all throughout the novel. Cheers to Miss Hoover for creating yet another gem of a novel.

P.S. The soundtrack should not be missed!

Rating:


Thursday, May 8, 2014

ARC Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Title: Faking Normal
Author: Courtney C. Stevens
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date: February 25th 2014
Source: Borrowed from Chyna (Lite-Rate-Ture)
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble


An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.

Alexi Littrell hasn't told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in "the Kool-Aid Kid," who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

A searing, poignant book, Faking Normal is the extraordinary debut novel from an exciting new author-Courtney C. Stevens.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


Review:

When I was reading Faking Normal, I kept asking myself: What did other people see in this book that I wasn't seeing or even feeling? Whenever I would browse Goodreads, I would always see 4-star reviews or even more and that only feel worse knowing that other people enjoyed it while I didn't. Even more the fact that Faking Normal addresses such a hard topic: rape. (Let's face it, we all know what happened to Alexi last summer.) While I find it so commendable and inspiring that Courtney C. Stevens tackled such a sore subject, I felt that she wasn't able to properly deliver it in, in my honest opinion. I will say that not everything was bad but the good parts were not enough to save this book, for me.

Let me first talk about our main character, Alexi. Right at the very beginning, you will already know that something happened to her, it took me reading the summary for me to find out and less than 2 minutes to figure out who was the aggressor (and trust me, I'm not bragging). It was the after that I really wondered about, I'm sure there are a lot of readers who are like me, a bit perceptive when it comes to books like these and my problem was the fact that once you you figure it all out, what then? The rest of the book is Alexi doing mundane things but also slowly withering away. I understand that people have different coping mechanisms and Alexi had hers too, she would count, she would stay in her closet and she even scratches the back of her neck raw. I'm not even going to try to understand what she went through because I now it was horrible but seriously? I didn't feel anything from her. No anger, pain or suffering. It's like Alexi was trying to cope with things without even knowing why she needed to.

The one comment I continuously heard from people (even those who enjoyed the book) was that it was dragging. Which I completely agree with. There was nothing remarkable about the writing, nothing that incites feelings within the reader. Alexi's voice was so bland, so monotonous and it was hard to connect with her. I found it so difficult to understand what she went through because she felt too closed off, and that really saddened me. I wanted to get to know Alexi and see her as more than just a character or a victim but as a person but I just couldn't. Sorry.

One thing that really pissed me off was how shallow Alexi's friends were. Heather in particular, I understand that high school girls now are all about boys but she was so insensitive. Heather would force Alexi to go out with guys with no regard as to how Alexi would feel. Even worse is that Alexi never said no and that is her problem. She's a yes-woman, she can't tell people no. It's just two letters with one syllable. I understand that it was difficult for her to do anything but she really could have said something, and I mean this in all the events wherein she didn't say anything. I was so angry when Hayden took Alexi to the dance where he got drunk and almost took advantage of her but she didn't do anything! Oh my God. Had Bodee not intervened, it would have gotten a whole lot worse. And you know what else? She forgive Hayden and gave him another chance. Are you friggin' kidding me?! I would've given him a swift kick in the nuts in response. I could strangle Alexi, really. And the thing is, she knew that she had a problem saying no to people-- men especially but she never tried to do anything about it. Never. And her family? Her parents are way too unobservant, when you're a parent, you're supposed to notice the changes in your child but nothing from them. I guess ignorance is a bliss. Now let me talk about Kayla, Alexi's older sister. I hate her. She's just a grade-A b*tch and you'll see what I mean when you read about her encounters with her. That's all.

I still don't know what to feel about Bodee. I know that he's a good guy and he empathizes with Alexi and is actually the voice of reason but I am still apprehensive about him. I did like that he was someone that understand and comforted Alexi when no one else was there. He actually noticed that something was going on with her, that is so much better than her parents and her so called friends. He made her brave and gave her the strength to be honest with herself, he was good for her. I won't mention why I can't verbalize what I feel for him without spoiling anything so you'll have to read Faking Normal to find out.

I felt that the real "action" of the story happens in the extremely latter part of the book, that's when you really see Alexi grow but it took more than 300 pages to get there so by then, I wasn't impressed and she wasn't redeemed in my eyes. I felt that Alexi's anger and her emotions were a bit cut-off because her revelations all happened near the end so there wasn't enough space/time to really emphasize on her feelings. However, I was glad to see that she finally accepted the truth and allowed herself to face her demons, opening up to people is a step towards recovery (but I'm not saying there's anything wrong with her... you know what I mean).

Okay, I'm not going to tell you who Alexi's aggressor was but like I said, it was easy to guess but Courtney C. Stevens actually tries to twist things up by having Alexi make an ambiguous confession. Frankly, it didn't work for me, I felt like she was trying too hard to make it seem like there was a mystery but it just fell flat. Maybe next time, Courtney.

I wish that I enjoyed this book more but Faking Normal just wasn't for me. The writing was off, the plot was shaky and I felt that Courtney C. Stevens tried a bit too hard to sell the story. I really didn't like it. But hey, that's just me, you never know if you'll enjoy it or not without giving it a try. Can't say that I recommend it though.

Rating:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

ARC Review: Rush Too Far by Abbi Glines

Title: Rush Too Far (Too Far #1.1; Rosemary Beach #1.1)
Author: Abbi Glines
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: May 6th 2014
Source: Received ARC from the author (Thanks sooo much, Abbi and Atria! <3)
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble


Fallen Too Far was Blaire's story. Now it's time for Rush to share his side.

Everyone in Rosemary Beach thinks they know how Rush Finlay and Blaire Wynn fell in love. But Rush is back to tell his side of the story...

Rush has earned every bit of his bad-boy reputation. The three-story beach house, luxury car, and line of girls begging for time between his sheets are the envy of every guy in Rosemary Beach, and Rush handles it all with the laid-back cool of a rock star’s son. All he needs are his best friend, Grant, and his sister, Nan.

Until Blaire Wynn drives into town in her beat-up pickup truck with a pistol under her seat. The Alabama farm girl instantly captures Rush’s attention once he discovers that the angelic beauty is his new stepsister, but he vows to keep his distance. Even if she needs his help. Even if he craves her.

Because Rush knows why Blaire is all alone in the world, forced to ask for help from the father who abandoned her three years ago. And he knows if he gets too close it will destroy Nan, who has a secret connection to Blaire.

He has every reason in the world to stay away from her. Find out why he doesn’t.

Review:

For those of you who have been waiting for this book ever since Abbi Glines posted the very first Rush scene on her site, trust me when I say that you will not be disappointed. I am not normally the type to read a book rewritten in the guy's point of view but when I heard that Rush Too Far was going to be published, I was ecstatic. I have always thought that Rush would be a far more interesting and complicated character than Blaire, especially when I read the Peanut Butter Scene back then. I knew there was something in Rush that we haven't seen yet and when I caught a glimpse of his inner musings, I was impressed and enthralled. I needed more and thank God, Abbi Glines decided to feed us and satisfy our cravings with Rush Too Far (Abbi's books are like gateway drugs, they never stop and are sooo addicting).

Reading Rush Too Far was in essence, an emotional rollercoaster. I know that it may sound cliche but it's completely true. You think Blaire's story was sad? She ain't got nothing on Rush. Sure, her problems run deeper and are more emotionally charged but the burden that Rush has to carry is far greater than hers but let me move on (this isn't a competition as to whose life sucks more)...

Right at the very beginning, Abbi Glines already sets off the mood of the story. You already know that it will be self-deprecating, harsh and very painful; but also has it's beautiful and happy moments. It was interesting seeing Blaire from Rush's point of view, how he was attracted to her but knew that he couldn't do anything about it and also resented her as well. It was a battle of wills went it came to Blaire for Rush because she was forbidden fruit to him, cannot be touched but oh so tempting. As the book goes on, Rush does start to accept Blaire and realizes that it's really not her fault but her father's and that she's just a victim. It was great to see Rush actually relax and allow himself to care for Blaire because for Rush, taking care of someone is a priority. Just like he cared for Nan, his evil sister.

I feel so bad for Rush to have a little sister like Nan, someone who constantly seeks attention like a five-year-old, who whines a lot and throws tantrums, is a hater but also has haters herself (#NanHater), who is also super shallow and lastly, has no regard or respect whatsoever towards other people (so self-centered). Nan is the epitome of evil and what is wrong with the world. I normally believe that evil characters deserve redemption and second chances but reading about Nan's scenes with Rush just pissed me off even more. Rush is so kind and allows thinks of Nan and her welfare but the way she responds to him, especially when he doesn't do what she asks is just so bratty. Ugh. I am getting a migraine. Point is, I am a Nan Hater all the wrong. (Sorry I'm not sorry.)

Everything felt so much more intense when you're reading Rush's POV compared to Blaire's. You will feel all his pain and how much he absolutely adores and worships Blaire. I legit felt my heart clench throughout most of the book because I felt so bad for him. The inner conflict going on in his mind: Whether to protect Nan or follow his heart. And how much he feels for Blaire is so extraordinary, you will seriously swoon at Rush's thoughtfulness. One thing is for sure: You will love Rush even more once you're through with Rush Too Far.

I couldn't have asked for a more perfect interpretation of Rush's mind, Abbi Glines absolutely nailed his story. His story didn't just start when he met Blaire, you get a full background story on his life and how that affected him growing up. You just get to know Rush even more and that's what really amazed me, learning so many new things from someone who I thought I already knew. The way Abbi Glines manages to connect you to Rush will leave you in awe. I understand Rush now, he isn't just some hot man candy that we all fantasize about, he's actually a kind and caring provider that puts others first. His tough facade is exactly that because deep inside, he's really a softie (but he was totally a hardcore player, pre-Blaire). I loved getting to know Rush even more and after reading Rush Too Far, I am so pumped for the rest of Abbi Glines's Rosemary Beach series! (PS: Rush Crushing all the way!! #RushCrush)

Rating: