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A blog for all my reviews, rants, thoughts, and whatnots. Well, yeah, pretty much. Also, there will be random posts about movies, music, and other mundane stuffs like that. But this will be mostly me blabbering, ranting, and gushing about my latest read. So, if you are one who finds bliss in sipping a cup of tea while reading a book on a rainy day such as myself, then by all means, read on! :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Skid Out (Heavy Influence #0.5)

17 year old high school senior, Jake Masters, front man of a rising rock band, finds new interest in his younger freshman next door neighbor Alyssa Montgomery. Their relationship breaks hearts; stirs jealousy and band infighting. When they’re brought to new found awareness of body and soul, will rightful boundaries be crossed? Will the right decisions and choices, which are detrimental to the band and its future, be made through the haze of infatuation? Will Jake’s absences on the road lead to another filling his shoes? Jake and Alyssa’s lifelong friendships are strained and tested; secrets are kept, admitted and shared. Family bonds are broken, as others grow stronger. Who knew a first love could cause so many problems? Then again, in their eyes, there are no problems as long as they’re together. In the end, will his new found muse bring down everything he’s worked so hard to achieve or will she inspire positive creative change; that will carry him and his band to stardom.

The Review:

As a prequel to the
Heavy Influence trilogy, Skid Out did its part as a very tempting foretaste of an interesting and intoxicating story and another swoon-worthy literary crush to come.

The plot portrays a coming of age theme, which is inevitably linked to sexual maturity. The story was mostly about the coming of age of a 14 year old Alyssa, who has never thought of feeling a different surge of emotion towards the her next door neighbor, Jake Masters, because he's practically family to her. She basically grew up with him, since Jake and her brother were childhood friends. Part of the story was taken from Jake Masters' P.O.V., giving us an idea of how he feels towards Aly. He has always had this feelings for her, but because of their age difference, he doesn't pursue her. Up until that day they took notice of each other again in a whole different way...

I rated this prequel 4-stars, not because I love fictions with rocker guy characters or because Jake Masters is an utter hottie (although, yes, both reasons were considered), but because the story was downright stimulating. However, I took off a star because I think it lacked a bit of thought-provoking moments.

The song Transposed, which was sent to me attached with this novella, has also added to Jake's teenage punk-rock side of the story. And yes, the song was so good it went straight my iPod. ;)

Ms. Ann Frohoff has crafted an enticing coming of age story complete with fun and intriguing characters, which makes for a delicate yet pleasurable read. I cannot wait to read the first installment.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green


When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

The Review:

An Abundance of Katherines. This is my second John Green novel after Paper Towns, and of course, it was as entertaining albeit less emotional, and as decidedly amusing. So yes, I loved it.

An Abundance of Katherines is about Colin Singelton, a child prodigy (and has always longed to be a genius, so that he can be someone significant) and has acknowledged himself as a certified dumpee. He was just recently dumped by his 19th girlfriend, who is also his 19th Katherine. Hassan, his arab best friend (and only friend), came up with the idea that instead of Colin moping around, they should go on a road trip. And so they did. But the problem is that they don't have any destination until they passed-by a town claiming to possess the grave of a prominent Archduke. Of course Colin insisted they visit the grave, so albeit Hassan's enthusiasm about history is not as vast as Colin's, they went through. Neither of them had any idea that entering Gutshot, Tennessee will shake their lives like a fugging snow globe and turn both their worlds upside down. ;)

While I loved the whole book, here are some of the things I liked about it:

  • Interesting secondary character (Lindsey). And when I say interesting, I meant that she's, like, this is oh-so-cool and oh-so-bubbly person around everyone, yet you have this small feeling that she's just putting up a facade so people will think of her that way (a quality similar to Margo Roth Spigelman of Paper Towns). So you get intrigued about what the real Lindsey is like, and why she keeps that charade. 
  • No love-at-first-sight cliche. Yes, as much as I loved some love-at-first-sight novels, I still get tired of it sometimes. So one of the things I liked about this book is that the characters slowly develop their feelings toward each other, thus making the story more convincing and realistic; so the story grows gradually on the reader.
  • Straightforward characters. Unlike other novels, the major characters bluntly say what they feel towards the other---no dilly-dallying, no hesitations; straight to the point. Because of this, the characters, as well as the story, is easy to comprehend.

As the main character ponders about mattering in this book, I, too, have come to a realization that: You can make a theorem that can explain the past, but you can never make one to predict the future. The past is a logical story, whereas the future is unknown. That the infinite future makes Colin's idea of mattering (formulating an original mathematical formula) impossible. But there are stories. We can all be forgotten but the stories will last. And so that way, people can matter. Instead of obsessing about our past mistakes, why not live the most of our lives and make it a story worth-retelling? You can't stop the future from coming. Don't worry or think too much of what was, think of what lies ahead instead. Think of what you can be or what you want to be, because there is always, always, room enough to be anyone. :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate #2) by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti, now Lady Maccon, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears -- leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria. 
But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her into the backwaters of ugly waistcoats, Scotland, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only a soulless can. 
She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.

The Review:

After a couple of snide remarks here and there, and a few smooches or so, Conal Maccon and Alexia Tarabotti was finally wed in book one, Soulless. Now that she is Lady Maccon and Lady Woolsey, she is to live in the Woolsey Castle with her husband along with the rest of the pack.

, the second book from The Parasol Protectorate series, started off with Conal rushing off to handle a certain BUR business that requires leaving in a dash without informing her wife about it, leaving a disconcerted Alexia curious as to where he could possibly be going so early in the morning (or in the afternoon, essentially). And also, to find that the rest of the regiments from the war (also part of the Woolsey Pack) scattered about her front lawn. She, then, found out that the reason that had her husband in such a rush that morning is about a large scale humanization in London that was immediately and injudiciously assumed as her doing because, come think of it, only a preternatural can do so. But, Lady Maccon was not one to be affected by these unfounded accusations and merely dismissed them flippantly. However, as muhjah to the queen, she has rights, as much as her husband does, to investigate about such an occurence. So, by means of a dirigible, she, along with Miss Hisselpeny, Felicity, Madame Lefoux, and Mr. Tunstel, went to Scotland, where the source of humanization has been moved recently. It is also precisely where her husband went off to, but didn't informed her of it, so she wanted to know why exactly.

After some incident of food poisoning, falling from the dirigible, having a Westminister Hive spy in her allies, and having
that spy shoot Lord Maccon accidentally, Lady Alexia Maccon successfully found out who the culprit is, as well as the source of the humanization plague, in the end.

Blameless did not fail to amuse and entertain me with its action-packed plot, mystery, pack/family matters, conal/alexia banters, and of course, Miss Hisselpenny's outrageous hats (my new founded favorite character). But for the first time, there is this little
itty-bitty-bit part that I didn't like (only because the character was inconsiderate and prejudice), which is what happened in the ending, of course.

Oh, Conal, how could you even think of her doing such a thing? I am most upset. ;(

Anyhoo, Ms. Gail Carriger did not fail to entertain me with this quirky and witty novel. I loved it just as much as I did the first book! :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Heart on a Chain by Cindy Bennett

17-year-old Kate has lived her whole life in abject poverty, with an alcoholic father and drug-addicted mother, who severely abuses Kate. At school, her second-hand clothing marks her as a target. Her refusal to stand up for herself makes her the recipient of her classmates taunts and bullying. That is, until Henry returns. 
Henry Jamison moved away six years earlier, just as he and Kate had begun an to develop feelings for one another. He returns to find the bright, funny, outgoing girl he had known now timidly hiding in corners, barely speaking to anyone around her, suspicious of even him. 
Kate can’t figure out what game Henry is playing with her - for surely it is a game. What else would the gorgeous, popular boy from her past want with her? 

The Review:

Just to be clear, this book is more of a 4.5 out of 5 stars to me.

So I've been looking for good and tear-jerking books like If I Stay or Flat-Out Love, and found this. I've read some sparkly reviews about it and so I gave it a read. And you know what I think? I think describing it as "a good book" is most-certainly an understatement. Heart on a Chain was completely engaging in a way that you somehow feel what the main character feels, and that you have this strong urge to protect her from those who torment her.

In this book, we meet Kate Mosley, a plain girl who strives to be invisible from her parents and peers mostly to avoid attention---because attention means a focus of physical/emotional abuse and mortification for her---ever since she was nine. That is, until Henry Jamison came back. He was Kate's childhood friend, first love, and admirer until he and his family moved away. And now that he's back, he immediately became Mr. Popular in her school. She doesn't know why he keeps on trying to talk to her while she consistently ignores and scrambles away from him---because talking to Mr. Popular will induce a great deal of torment from one of her worst tormentor, the school's Ms. Popular, Jessica Bolen. So when Henry persistently try befriending Kate, she was then perplexed whether this friendship with Henry is genuine or if he went over to the bad side and it was all just one of Jessica's mean prank...

See? The outline of the story alone will make you want to read this book, well, at least for me. Though I admit, I was a bit incredulous during the first few pages because Kate's life seemed exceedingly drastic. But as the story goes on, I eventually became so engrossed that I started to tear up whenever people abuse or torment her. So, somehow, this book made me appreciate life even more; that we are very lucky not to experience such unfortunate situation as Kate's. And so when I was done reading it, the first thought I had was: Good luck, Kate and Henry. Most especially Kate; she deserves all the best.

All in all, Heart on a Chain is an utterly heart-wrenching, and absolutely moving story of love, abuse, friendship, betrayal, family, and trust. Kudos to Ms. Cindy Bennett for an amazing novel.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Angel (Angel #1) by L.A. Weatherly

Willow knows she's different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into people's futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where she gets this power from - But Alex does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows Willow's secret and is on a mission to stop her. The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous - and irresistible. In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy. 

The Review:

 I think it deserves a three-star rating and I will tell you why. I liked the idea of a different take about Angels, but the relationship between the two main characters was just not compelling, at least for me.

Angel was such a refresher from all the clichéd YA angel fictions nowadays. Its different take on Angels is a really intriguing and original concept. However, the story became a little dull in the middle part of the book when Alex and Willow acknowledged their feelings toward each other, because I was simply not absorbed. The lines were just too mediocre for my taste, thus unconvincing. And in my opinion, the author dragged their "cabin" moments a little too long that I start losing interest with the whole "saving the world from angels" plot.

And another thing, I feel like the climax didn't suffice. I mean, they've spent time pondering the whole "saving the world" shebang, but then in the end, when they finally had a way to destroy the angels, they found out that it doesn't really work? It's like they wasted time and effort for nothing. What's worse is that they didn't do anything about it. It's like: Oh well, it didn't work. Let's get out of here, then. Better luck next time!

Seriously?! :|

Okay, I apologize for ranting, I wasn't meaning to. But, too bad, I really liked the refreshing new concept of Angels; it could have been a great story, really.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Paper Towns by John Green


When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night - dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows her. Margo's always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she's always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they're for Q.

The Review:

 I've never read anything like this; such a poignant story that speaks of life in a different way. The ending is completely the opposite of what I had in mind but I wouldn't want it any other way. I feel sorry for Q, what he and Margo could have been, but he (and I should, too) needs to accept what is.

This is one of those books that evoke strong emotions in the reader, which will surely last for days, or at least for me. A couple of days passed but I still have this sympathy for Quentin and Margo whenever I think of this book. Most especially for Margo... It broke my heart when she described herself as a "paper girl", that she went to a paper town because she felt like she belong there---like she said, a paper town for a paper girl. She thought that if she went to a paper town that became an actual landmark, maybe a paper girl like her can also become real. I am so saddened that she thinks of herself that way, it was like she hated herself for pretending to be the perfect Margo everyone knew and loved most of her life; that she had to go away just to find her real self, all alone in an abandoned building, living all by herself. I know it sounds twisted---and I'm sure Margo is a bit disturbed to be able to do that---but it really got to me. Maybe it is the primary reason why I feel so sorry for her, because she went away and lived like that; because she wanted to live life the way she always wanted to, without ever worrying of what others would think of her.

 I wasn't meaning to cry (or even tear up) at the ending---because it was the kind that is heartbreaking but you have to understand why it all happened in the first place, and not blame the author for it---but this quote did me:

"I stand in this parking lot, realizing that I've never been this far from home, and here is this girl I love and cannot follow. I hope this is the hero's errand, because not following her is the hardest thing I've ever done."
"I feel her hands on my back. And it is dark as I kiss her, but I have my eyes open and so does Margo. She is close enough to me that I can see her. [...] After we kiss, our foreheads touch as we stare at each other. Yes, I can see her almost perfectly in this cracked darkness."
I am inclined to say that John Green is such a brilliant author, and Paper Towns is a truly amazing read.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Boyfriend Thief by Shana Norris

Avery James has her life planned out: this summer she'll work with a humanitarian program in Costa Rica, next year she'll graduate at the top of her class, and after that, college and medical school. Perfect, planned, total order.
The only problem: getting the rest of the money she needs for the trip before the deadline. Hannah Cohen, her biggest competition for the valedictorian title, makes an unexpected offer: If Avery can win over Zac Greeley and make him break up with Hannah before the end of the school year, a check for five hundred dollars is all hers. Faced with the prospect of spending yet another summer working as a giant hot dog, it's an offer Avery can't refuse.
Zac is nothing like Avery expected. Within his chaotic world of midnight slushie runs and spontaneous dance parties, her total order is quickly falling apart while Hannah seems poised to get everything she wants. But just how much is Avery willing to give up for the perfect, planned life?

The Review:

The Boyfriend Thief is one of those novels that you thought will just be a light, feel-good romance read but it's not. Well, not entirely. It has that feel-good romance alright, but it also has it's own depth. 

 The story is about Avery James, a girl who likes everything organized (to the point where I think that maybe she has OCD). She was offered by her biggest rival, Hannah, to steal her own boyfriend, Zac. Since she is short on money for that summer job in Costa Rica, she accepted her offer and went for him, only that, Zac was nothing she expected. The problem is, she's falling for the real Zac, the one who's crazy enough to invent slushie flavors and funny enough to go to a bar as a comedian every night. With her feelings toward him, she doesn't know which to choose: the summer job in Costa Rica or to leave the past behind and have Zac Greeley in her life? 

 This novel is somewhat engrossing that it had me giggling, tearing up, smiling like an idiot, and swooning over Zac the rest of the novel. Definitely worth-reading!

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

The Review:

The DUFF. This book is a wee bit similar with This Lullaby, which is one of my favorite realistic fictions. And that's saying something. 

 In this novel, we meet Bianca, a girl who thinks a man-slut like Wesley Rush doesn't deserve to be treated nicely. He's hot, yes, but he's also a colossal jerk. So when he started talking his charms with her bestfriends, Bianca did everything to make them repel him. She's not a fan of letting guys like Wesley get away with something, but because she thinks anything that has to do with him is such a waste of time, she did. That is, until he called her the DUFF. According to him, every group of pretty girls has a weak link, the not-so-pretty girl compared to her other friends. And that Designated, Ugly, Fat Friend is Bianca Piper---or at least that is only what Wesley thought of her at first. Despite herself, she ends up having an enemies-with-benefits relationship with him. And as frivolous as that sounded, she found herself falling for him when she found out that he's not as obnoxious as he may seem... ;) 

 The story was cute, amusing, and poignant at the same time. Bianca is every bit cynical regarding Wesley, and everything she does and says to fend him off is just hilarious. I enjoyed reading this book so much. Absolutely worth the read!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, the outfit - more sparkly, more fun, more wild - the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door.
When the family returns and Cricket - a gifted inventor and engineer - steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

The Review:

After reading Anna and the French Kiss, I'd been itching to read Lola and the Boy Next Door. And now that I've finally read it, here's my thoughts. 

In this novel, we meet the MC, Lola Nolan, an artistic and creative girl who likes to wear themes as her trend. She wears different costumes everyday, and spends most of her time plotting her Marie Antoinette theme for the dance---that is, if she's not with her bestfriend Lindsey or with her rocker boyfriend, Max. Everything went well, until her childhood friends/enemy/first love---Cricket and Calliope---went back to the neighborhood. The twins returned with a changed Cricket, although he's still shy and awkward, he is ready to admit his feelings towards Lola. The problem is, Lola already has Max. She doesn't know which one she really love, and which one who truly loves her, until the day she found out the truth behind that which teared her friendship with the twins apart. 

Since LatBND is a companion for AatFK, is seems inevitable to compare the two. Some says AatFK is better, while others say otherwise. For me, both books are equally good, in a different way. AatFK is about a growing friendship getting fonder between the characters. LatBND, however, is more about the depth of First Love. The novel shows what truly first love is all about; that juvenile yet strong, awkward yet sweet, and first yet unforgettable feeling towards another person. 

Personally, I'm not really one who gets all mushy about cheesy bits such as 'bringing the moon and the stars to you', and the like. But with Lola and the Boy Next Door, I get all week-on-the-knees with it. It really has something that makes the reader feel touched and warm inside. This book makes me realize that the person who really loves you is the one who could reach deep inside of you, one who could see who you really are underneath, and the one who thinks you're perfect even in your worst day. 

Lola and the Boy Next Door is undeniably one of the sweetest stories about first love of today, perfect for those who believe in "First love never dies."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn't mess around. After all, she's learned all there is to know from her mother, who's currently working on husband number five. But there's something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy's rules. He certainly doesn't seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can't seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy's starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

The Review:

This Lullaby
is one of my all-time favorite contemporary novels of today. Up until now, whenever I recall this book's plot, I can't help but smile, feel giddy and wish that I'm Remy so I can have my own Dexter.

In this novel, we meet Remy Starr, an independent girl who doesn't believe in true love. For Remy, being in love is being impossible, it's like being brainwashed by a religious cult---her words, not mine. It's been her view point when it comes to love, of course, after her mom had a divorce with her fourth husband. Enter Dexter Jones, vocalist of a band, and an employee of her soon-to-be stepdad. His stubborn persistence is what made Remy unable to resist his charms. He is everything Remy dislikes in a guy, from being so cocky and sure of himself, to being awfully disorganized with everything. That is why she's surprised when despite all that, she felt something strong for him. It scared her at first because she's unfamiliar of it and thought that feeling that kind of emotion towards Dexter is way out of the line, thus leaving her questioning everything she's known from the start. What they feel for each other eventually changed her, and her view on Love. That once it's real, it's for life.

I loved everything in this book. From Remy and Dexter, to her friends---Jess, Chloe, and Lisa. The plot is affecting, sweet, tender, and funny at the same time. So I absolutely guarantee that This Lullaby will leave you guys touched, and smiling like an idiot for a while---just like I did. ;)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Kissing Coffins (Vampire Kisses #2) by Ellen Schreiber


Not far from Dullsville, someone's lurking in the dark. . . .
After meeting the handsome and shadowy Alexander Sterling, goth-girl Raven's dark world has a bright, new glow. But as in her favorite movie, Kissing Coffins, Raven knows that love always has its complications, especially when Alexander has a big secret to guard.
When Alexander suddenly disappears, Raven leaves Dullsville to begin a dangerous search to find him. Can she stay safe, no matter who—or what—she encounters on the way?

The Review:

Kissing coffins is, I must say, much better than the first one in the series. The story is quite exciting, for the most part. While Vampire Kisses is more on paranormal love story and mystery; Kissing Coffins is more on suspense. I mean, what could be more thrilling than a vampire stalker following and hunting you and your vampire lover? Yeah, maybe there are lots of things more thrilling than that, but still. This sequel gained another star from me. :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. 
To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well ... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

The Review:

*wipes eyes, sniffs, and takes a deep breath*

 I want to write a review that is worthy of this amazing novel. So, where to start? 

When I first saw this book, I've expected a light, feel-good kind of YA romance novel. The title suggests a bit of a cheesy love story, which I have no idea I would flat-out devour.

 I would start of by introducing the MC. Julie Siggle is a college freshman who had an unfortunate situation of getting scammed into paying for a non-existent apartment. Luckily, her mother has been good friends with someone whose house is in that same area, which leads to her meeting with the Watkin's family. Enter Matt, a Geek (the exact term for him, and he prefers it that way), who is a double major of Physics and Math from MIT (see? absolute geek!) and the second son of her mother's friend---is the one who picked Julie up. Inside the Watkin's residence, she met Mr. and Mrs. Watkins, Celeste, the youngest of the siblings, and.....Flat Finn. Flat Finn is a cardboard cutout representation of their older brother, Finn. Finn is away...he's always traveling, that's why Celeste has Flat Finn as a substitute.

Julie, of course, found it strange that Celeste wants to keep a cardboard cutout of Finn. So, when she found the funny, gorgeous and hot Finn on Facebook (yes, facebook. the author is quite funky), she asked him why. But, neither Finn nor Matt answers any of her questions regarding Celeste. After a bunch of exchanged message and chats, Julie found herself falling in love with Finn, albeit he's far away and she's never met him personally. Julie was almost sure that Finn is "the one", until she found out all the answers to her every question about the Watkins family.

 Let's just end it up at that. I don't wanna mess up the twist. ;)

I flat-out love how the story ends in this novel. I am moved on how the characters struggle for their feelings towards the other, and how they exert effort for someone they love. I am glad that Julie has learned something during her stay at the Watkins residence---that Love is not always recognizable; Sometimes, love catches you off guard

 It takes an absolutely creative imagination to write an amazing, epic story such as this one. I just hope Jessica Park will write another epic love story like this. It is quite amazing how the story left me feeling heartbroken and flat-out in love at the same time in the end. Hands down, Flat-out Love is the most touching contemporary love story I have ever read. :')

Monday, September 19, 2011

Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire . . . fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil . . . until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.
Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don’t exist), and they’re shocked she survived. They’re even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl’s family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King’s feast—as the entrées.
The only problem? Pearl’s starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she’s definitely dead if she lets down her family. What’s a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

The Review:

So I was a bit sceptical before reading it, mainly because of the unicorn thingy. I mean, a unicorn? Really? But when I got to read the book, it proves to be an entertaining read. 

 I liked the idea of a vampire daywalker and the having the unicorn as the reason why Pearl, the main character, could come out during the day. It is supposedly exciting, mostly because of her emotional conflict because she doesn't know whom she would rather betray, her human friends or her kind, and somehow, it was. But as I the story unfolds, I find myself getting irked because it feels like I'm reading an ordinary love triangle, not a paranormal one. I mean, I'm looking for some vampire actions but there's not much of it here. Nonetheless, Drink, Slay, Love is an enjoyable read about love, friendship, and loyalty.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. 

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. 
With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

The Review:

Soulless is my first steampunk book, and I must say that, even with all the wild combination of werewolves, vampire, ghosts, science, robots, victorian era setting and tea, I was thoroughly entertained. Ms. Gail Carriger is truly a creative writer; one who has the ability to craft a highly enjoyable novel. It is apparent that the author had done quite a handful of researches for this book; for it was written with certainty and that the details were very convincing.

The plot is about Alexia Tarabotti, perhaps the only preternatural alive. Preternaturals, in this book, are a member of the supernatural set but are not immortal. They have this ability to "humanize" a supernatural with just a simple touch, thus being often called the curse-breakers (to werewolves) or soul-suckers (to vampires). After she was born, her father left them, and so she eventually lived with a stepfather and two stepsisters. Because she's half-Italian, she was often ridiculed by her own family. But after a while of their mockery, Alexia got used to it and dismiss their criticisms indiferrently. She got used to people seeing her as the uninteresting one, even see herself that way, compared to her two younger siblings. That is why Alexia was surprised that in a certain ball she attended, a vampire stealthily stalked her and when he finally got her alone, attempted to slay her. Good thing her parasol and wooden hair stick is always on the rescue so she managed to stop and slay the vampire herself. Enter Conal Maccon, head of the BUR (Bureau of Unnatural Registry), came to the room a little too late to check what the commotion is all about and saw the staked vampire and the seemingly fainted Alexia Tarabotti lying on the floor (even though Conal knows that Alexia is just faking it). Then, after some snide comments, arguments, and banters here and there, Alexia and Conal Maccon found themselves attracted to each other, in love even. And they both went to find the whys and whos behind Alexia's attempted slaughter.

I LOVED everything about this book. I keep thinking of what I didn't like or what bothered me even for a bit in this story but I just can't think of one. I just simply liked every part of this book. The story was fast-paced, and there was always something going on so I wasn't bored even for a little while, honestly-speaking. So, as I am fond of novels with a Victorian Era setting, supernaturals, and kick-ass heroines, Soulless here was merely the finest paradigm of an amazing book for me. Complete with an unusual love story, action, mystery, fashion, and witty characters, Soulless is most-certainly not to be missed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison

Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman knows about the power of positive thinking. With a little brother who has cancer, it's all she ever hears about. And in order to help Jeremy, she will go to the ends of the earth (or at least as far as Hollywood) to help him believe he can survive his upcoming surgery.
But Annika's plan to convince Jeremy that a magic genie will grant him any wish throws her a curveball when he unexpectedly wishes that his television idol would visit him. Annika suddenly fi nds herself in the desperate predicament of getting access to a hunky star actor and convincing him to come home with her. Piece of cake, right?

The Review:

You know those books that you thought would be just another YA book, but leaves you moved and staring at nothing while realizing what the story conveys? Well, Just One Wish is one of those. I was so stirred that I teared-up several times after all of it sinked in.

Here, we meet the protagonist, Annika Truman, a seventeen-year-old girl who would do everything to keep her kid brother, Jeremy's heart beating. She believes that Jeremy will survive his upcoming surgery if she encouraged him to believe he can surpass it. In order to do so, she made up a story that she found a genie, who will grant them 3 wishes. She said that she already used the first wish, thus leaving them only 2 wishes. The first wish, according to Annika, is for Jeremy to wish that he will survive his surgery, while the last wish is to be used for his own personal wish. Knowing that Jeremy loves the Robin Hood TV series, Annika bought an action figure that he's been asking their parents ever since the TV show began. But she didn't see Jeremy's wish coming---he wished that the real Robin Hood (the actor) will visit and teach him archery. Annika, thinking that everything she'd planned---from making up the genie story, up to helping jeremy believe that he will surpass the surgery---will all fail if she didn't get Jeremy's last wish to come true. So, she did everything to get Steve Raleigh visit his brother before the operation. After a couple troubles here and there, she finally told and convinced Steve of helping her plan work out---only to hear Jeremy wish a different one she never thought coming.

I was touched with Annika's made up a story about her saving Jeremy after them being stuck in the Underworld with the Grim Ripper, and how she struggles to tell him a way how the story ends.

Just One Wish is an inspiring yet heart-wrenching story about facing reality. Sometimes, in order to face life's trials, you just have to believe that everything happens for a reason, and will workout eventually---in God's will.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

Will Elise’s love life be an epic win or an epic fail?
At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your parents are can make or break you. Case in point:
As the son of Hollywood royalty, Derek Edwards is pretty much prince of the school—not that he deigns to acknowledge many of his loyal subjects.
As the daughter of the new principal, Elise Benton isn’t exactly on everyone’s must-sit-next-to-at-lunch list.
When Elise’s beautiful sister catches the eye of the prince’s best friend, Elise gets to spend a lot of time with Derek, making her the envy of every girl on campus. Except she refuses to fall for any of his rare smiles and instead warms up to his enemy, the surprisingly charming social outcast Webster Grant. But in this hilarious tale of fitting in and flirting, not all snubs are undeserved, not all celebrity brats are bratty, and pride and prejudice can get in the way of true love for only so long.

The Review:

Epic Fail. Okay, so I've had high expectations for this one mainly because of its sparkly reviews. But, now that I've read it myself....I just think, er, the title says it all. xD 

 So the story is about Elise who is one of the Benton sisters, the new girls in school. They're the new Coral Tree Prep principal's daughters. There, Elise met Derek, the son of a famous actress from Hollywood. She thinks Derek, having a famous mother, is condescending and a snob. He doesn't talk much to anyone, except his pal, Chase. So, when Elise met Webster, he surprisingly relates to her that Derek has always been that snob. Everytime she and Derek are together, she finds it hard to fit him into that person Webster makes him out to be, though it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Derek truly abhorred Webster. But when she found out the why's of it, only then she understood Derek entirely. 
So, now, here are my thoughts. First, I just didn't relate much to the main character, albeit her character's not flawless, I just didn't connect with her. Second, the climax of the story didn't get to me. I think the story would've been better if the climax was more exciting or fretful than that. Layla was stuck in the bathroom while Webster was being a pervert and all that with her friend in the other room? Really? I mean, it could've been better. And thirrrd, the love story between Derek and Elise is just not compelling, at least for me. So....if you're into girl-meets-boy-and-fell-in-love stories, then maybe, just maybe, you'll like this. But as for me? It was all toooo predictable, it was Epic Fail. :-S

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Breathe by Abbi Glines

Sadie White's summer job isn't going to be on the beach life-guarding or working at rental booths like most kids her age. With her single mother's increasing pregnancy and refusal to work, Sadie has to take over her mother's job as a domestic servant for one of the wealthy summer families on a nearby island.
When the family arrives at their summer getaway, Sadie is surprised to learn that the owner of the house is Jax Stone, one of the hottest teen rockers in the world. If Sadie hadn't spent her life raising her mother and taking care of the house she might have been normal enough to be excited about working for a rock star.Even though Sadie isn't impressed by Jax's fame, he is drawn to her. Everything about Sadie fascinates Jax but he fights his attraction. Relationship's never work in his world and as badly as he wants Sadie, he believes she deserves more. By the end of the summer, Jax discovers he can't breathe without Sadie.But can their love overcome the disparity in their lifestyles? Or will they have to learn how to breathe again?

The Review:

 Breathe. I admit, I was a bit skeptical during the first few pages mostly because I think the main characters fell in love immediately. But because the love story was so emotional and their feelings were compelling, I, too, fell in love immediately...with this book. 
Sadie White, the MC, is a responsible daughter. Her single parent's pregnant and she's the only one who has a job, which means she's expected to pay all their bills. She went to replace her mother as a maid on one of the wealthiest family in the area, the Stone's. Enter Jax Stone, the hot and talented rocker whom Sadie swore she would never lay her eyes on---she has a lot more important things to do than be interested with someone out of reach, or so she thought. 

The story is heart-wrenching, for the most part. I was so touched with Jax's persistence in the end. I cried---yes, cried---when he did everything he could to bring Sadie back, he was utterly and incredibly sweet. *sigh* I wish there are still guys like him these days... I feel sorry for Marcus though, he'd been such a good friend and I will always have a soft spot for him.

To sum up, the book is engaging and the love story is downright stirring. I would definitely recommend this to those who love a sweet and an emotional YA love story.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cross My Heart by Katie Klein

True love can blossom in unexpected places. This is Jaden pretending not to notice. . . .
Jaden McEntyre and Parker Whalen are a wrong fit from the start. Jaden is driven and focused, Harvard Med School within reach. Parker has a past-a reputation-and the rumors about his mysterious habits abound. 
As they bond over Edith Wharton's tragic novella, Ethan Frome, the "bad boy" vibe Parker plays begins to dissipate. Soon, Jaden finds herself shedding her own "good girl" image: sneaking around to be with him, confiding in him, and ultimately falling hard for this leather-wearing, motorcycle-driving loner who plays into the rebel stereotype. 
Still, Jaden can't shake the feeling that there's more to Parker than he's letting on. He's hiding something from her, and discovering the truth means reconciling the Parker she's grown to love with the person he really is. Because it's possible that his life inside the classroom-everything Jaden knows-is one, massive lie. 

The Review:

Cross My Heart. I've discovered this book from a recommendation because I was asking for books similar to Perfect Chemistry. During the first hundred pages, I got peeved because everything sounded perfectly cliché to me---the blonde cheerleader, the jock boyfriend, the bad boy rebel, their school project, and nothing more. BUT, I am oh so glad that I continued reading on! This book has an amazing twist in the end that I'm absolutely sure you won't see coming.

 In this novel, we meet Jaden, the usual good-girl-cheerleader type. She was faithful with her jock boyfriend until Parker came along. They were assigned as partner for their English project. Jaden becomes more and more intrigued, and not to mention interested, to Parker everyday for she feels that there's more to him than he's letting on. But when she found out what it is, everything came falling down and she doesn't know what to believe in anymore.

 This novel caught me off guard, you know. Just when I was about to conclude that this book is not as spectacular as the reviews say, the twist came all of a sudden, and every incredulous words left me. Boy was I stunned. And it's not the kind of twist that will leave you skeptical, it was one of those that will leave you in a daze. Then, as the story goes on, I get weaker and weaker in the knees for Parker. So, now that I'm done, I have to say...Cross My Heart is indeed an exceptional love story about two people surrounded by unintentional lies, but chose to believe that what's real is all that will ever matter.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road -- diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

The Review:

*wipes teary eyes and takes a deep breath*
Okay, I'm done reading it. I must say...

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour is undeniably a fun yet very moving story. I can say that enjoyed reading it immensely.

In this novel, you will meet Amy Curry, the MC, a girl who is struggling to cope with the death of her father. She blamed herself for everything that's happened. She doesn't have anyone to face this with---her mom has withdrawn to herself and went away for a while, her brother started using drugs---so she feels so alone, until her mom thought that it's best for them to move. While her mom's already in Connecticut and her brother's in rehab, she was asked to go on a roadtrip. Enter Roger, son of her mom's good friend, and a guy Amy barely knows. In this roadtrip, Amy has learned to face what really happened the day her father died, and Roger helped her realize that everything that's happened was not her fault. Roger, on the other hand, has learned how to say goodbye---both literally and figuratively---to things that are never meant for him.

This book has a unique touch to it, in a sense that the way the story's told is done not only through words and emotions, but also through Amy's Travel Scrapbook illustrations. The sketches and images helped me feel like I am travelling with them all the while. I teared up, giggled, laughed, cried, and rolled my eyes a couple of times while reading it.

I swear, and you have my word on this, Amy and Roger's truly Epic Detour will carve itself a place in your heart.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live. 
A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

The Review:

Along for the Ride, like the rest of Sarah
Dessen's novels, is about love, friendship, and family altogether. It has such a delicate and profound plot wherein every character has their own personal issue. 

In this story, we encounter Auden, a girl who is always proper, smart, and reserved, which makes for her peculiar childhood. She has never been carefree---her mom has always expected her not to be---but eversince her parents' divorce, she's had a problem with sleeping. Thus, making her discover the nocturnal world. Auden wants to know what being carefree is like, so she deicided to spend the summer with her dad and her stepmother. She met a couple of new friends and Eli. Eli's been a quiet guy eversince his bestfriend died, and blamed himself for it. In their nocturnal ways, Eli helped Auden experience some of the fun she missed during childhood, while she helped him face and accept that Abe's death is not his fault.

That summer, Auden realized two things: one, that people aren't always what they appear to be---no matter how shallow and overblown or smart and immaculate they seem---and two, that what defines a person is not how many times he/she fails, but the number of times he/she gets up and try again.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all . . . including a serious girlfriend. 
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.

The Review:

Okay, I may transform to my fan-girl self for some parts of this review, so please bear with me... I. just. can't. help. it!

Anna and the French Kiss
. Oh my gawd, what an awesome love story this is! Such an utterly sweet and touching novel. This is, without a doubt, one of the sweetest love stories ever written. Seriously.

 In this novel, we meet Anna Oliphant, the MC, a new girl in SOAP (School of America in Paris). There, she met different people including her new friends, Meredith, Josh, Rashmi, and the major swoon-worthy guy, ETIENNE ST. CLAIR (Oh sorry for the caps lock, his name alone is just begging to be emphasized). Anna has her friends back home too, but she found out that they're not exactly much her "friend" behind her back. Unqestioningly (and I understand fully well why she did, because I DID TOO!), Anna fell in love with Etienne, but knowing that he's already taken, and that Mer already called dibs, she doesn't show it. Well, that is, until the day she felt that Etienne's hinting on feeling the same way about her...and his being indecisive about who he really loves began.

 So.....if that hasn't made you itching to read Anna and the French Kiss yet, well, I am telling you now, that you definitely should. This one is, without a doubt, not to be missed! You could thank me later. ;)

Vampire Kisses (Vampire Kisses #1) by Ellen Schreiber

In her small town, dubbed "Dullsville," sixteen-year-old Raven — a vampire-crazed goth-girl — is an outcast. But not for long...

The intriguing and rumored-to-be haunted mansion on top of Benson Hill has stood vacant and boarded-up for years. That is, until its mysteriously strange new occupants move in. Who are these creepy people — especially the handsome, dark, and elusive Alexander Sterling? Or rather, what are they? Could the town prattle actually ring true? Are they vampires? Raven, who secretly covets a vampire kiss, both at the risk of her own mortality and Alexander's loving trust, is dying to uncover the truth.

The Review:

This book left me confused on what rating should I give it. I was practically decided that it was an "okay" book---since I was a bit skeptical with the plot and the main character---but the ending was unpredictable in a way that it makes the whole plot interesting. I mean, when  I started reading it, I have this prediction, but then the story will make you believe otherwise, and so when you reach the end, you'll be surprised because you've been right with your initial prediction all along. It was a good book, all in all. A worth-reading one, that is.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Ex Games by Jennifer Echols

Brace yourself for the battle of the exes....

Hayden and Nick used to be a hot item, but their brief affair ended with a highly publicized breakup. Now the two are "just friends," excluding the occasional flirtation.
When Hayden wins the girls' division of a local snowboarding competition, Nick is unimpressed, claiming that Hayden wouldn't have a chance against a guy. Hayden calls Nick's bluff and challenges him to a head-to-head boarding contest. Their mutual friends quickly take sides, the girls on Hayden's and the boys on Nick's, making for an all-out battle of the sexes. This friendly competition is bound to get heated -- and they might end up igniting some old flames.

The Review:

The Ex Games. This was truly a fun read. Every expectations I had with this book were met. 

The story is about Hayden (Hoyden? *winks*), who believes that she was one with the mountains. She is a girl who loves nothing more than skiing. That is, after she and her ex-boyfriend broke up. Enter Nick, the funny and the hottie ex-boyfriend. Even after four years, she never want him to know she still likes him, in love even. But now that Valentine's coming and both of his friends are paired up with both of her friends, that's when she decided Chloe and Liz is on to something. Not that she'd object. So when everything seemed to be working out perfectly, an unexpected rivalry between Nick and Hayden has begun and they're too worked up that they take it on a different level of competition---snowboarding. With everything that's happening, plus the sudden snowboarding competition with Nick, Hayden just doesn't know what to do. Only that, without them noticing, some old flame starts to ignite in ice. ;) 

I loved how this book had been an entertaining read for me. I laughed (yes, like, LOLed) with Hayden and Nick's banters, giggled with their affection, annnd heartened with the girls' friendship (wish I have two bestfriends like Chloe and Liz, too!). I relished the story all too much! Jennifer Echols is really an expert in writing enjoyable romantic-comedy books such as this one.