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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! :)

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 She doesn't have anyone to face this with---her mom has withdrawn to herself and went away for a while, her brother started using drugs---so she feels so alone, until her mom thought that it's best for them to move.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 √Čtienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, √Čtienne 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.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Forgive My Fins (Fins #1) by Tera Lynn Childs

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush. 
Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life. 
When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she finds out that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

The Review:

Forgive My Fins.
This is a novel perfect for summer reads. I admit, it is my first time to read one about mermaids. Usually, my to-reads comprise mostly of paranormal, magical, and realistic fiction because reading about mermaids makes me feel like its third grade all over again (Little Mermaid? Hello?). BUT, it is safe to say that this particular story has me craving for more (of Quince!), despite myself. 
Here, we meet the main character, Lily Sanderson, a half-mermaid and the crown princess of Thalassinia. Her father, the King, allowed her to live like a normal girl on land just like her mother, a human, did. Being a mer, she seeks for someone to bond with for-life, and be her future King. Apparently, she's hoping that that someone is her crush, a natural swimmer, Brody Bennett. Quince Fletcher, her archnemesis and neighbor who decided to spend his life ruining Lily's, has become more and more pervasive lately. Lily planned to kiss Brody (the symbol of bonding for life), so that they could go back to Thalassinia and leave the exasperating Quince behind. But things didn't worked out as smoothly as she planned, for that moment she bonded, she's mistaken Quince as Brody. Thus, leaving her bonded with Quince for life. Lily would do anything to get separated from Quince; Even if she drags him to Thalassinia with her and ask the King to concede their separation. She never knew how she really feels toward Quince until her request was granted. Lily never thought how close true love is, when it's right it front of her eyes---mocking her. ;)

I liked this mermaid tale so much. The writing is very clever; Lily's "fishy phraseologies" and "sea slangs" never fail to amuse me. The underwater palace, Thalassinia, was described vividly in a way that makes it easy to imagine it impeccably. Plus, the love story is sooo cute. Quince always teases and bugs Lily in this the-more-you-hate-the-more-you-love kind of way. Soooo, if you haven't marked this one as to-read yet, then you'd better! Forgive My Fins is far too charming and quirky to be missed!

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

When Wayland North brings rain to a region that's been dry for over ten years, he's promised anything he'd like as a reward. He chooses the village elder's daughter, sixteen-year-old Sydelle Mirabel, who is a skilled weaver and has an unusual knack for repairing his magical cloaks. Though Sydelle has dreamt of escaping her home, she's hurt that her parents relinquish her so freely and finds herself awed and afraid of the slightly ragtag wizard who is unlike any of the men of magic in the tales she's heard. Still, she is drawn to this mysterious man who is fiercely protective of her and so reluctant to share his own past.
As Sydelle discovers North's dark secret and the reason for his interest in her and learns to master her own mysterious power, it becomes increasingly clear that the fate of the kingdom rests in her fingertips. She will either be a savior, weaving together the frayed bonds between Saldorra and Auster, or the disastrous force that destroys both kingdoms forever.

The Review:

First, I'd like to say that this book didn't disappoint me. There are lots of YA fiction nowadays that seems oh-so-good to read at first, but when you're finished, you find out it was actually just an 'okay' book. Brightly Woven, isn't one of those.

 The main character of the story is Sydelle Mirabil, the best weaver in their water-deprived village. They all believe that the rain can be coaxed by the finest wizards of the Wizard Guards. But when it proved ineffective, they all lost hope. Enter Wayland North, a wizard who brought the rain in with him. He went traveling to search for proofs of the King's murder. A war is approaching between the ruling family's kingdom for the throne right of the deceased King. Sydelle's father demanded that she help North get to the Provincia to tell the Queen about the war. When North discovered who the culprit is throughout their journey, it is up to him and Sydelle to save their own Villages, and their own families.

I have to say that I'm glad for reading a book so thrilling, amusing, and fascinating. Plus, Wayland North is just so.....utterly charming. Definitely a must-read!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lover Revealed (The Black Dagger Brotherhood #4) by J.R. Ward

Butch O'Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex-homicide cop, he's the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world-to engage in the turf war with the lessers. His heart belongs to a female vampire, Marissa, an aristocratic beauty who's way out of his league. And if he can't have her, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers. 
But fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he's found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back, though even her love may not be enough to save him.

The Review:

Butch O'Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex-homicide cop, he's the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world-to engage in the turf war with the lessers. His heart belongs to a female vampire, Marissa, an aristocratic beauty who's way out of his league. And if he can't have her, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers. 

 But fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he's found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back, though even her love may not be enough to save him.

Tiger's Curse (Tiger #1) by Colleen Houck

Passion. Fate. Loyalty.
Would you risk it all to change your destiny?
The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she'd be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that's exactly what happened.
Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

The Review:

Tiger's Curse
is more of a 4.5 out of 5 stars for me, just to be clear, because I wouldn't say that I was totally and completely amazed, but I loved it. Okay, how do I start? So this story, as you're all aware of, is about a prince named Dhiren or Ren who was cursed to be a Tiger for the rest of his life. Ren had almost lost faith and given up in breaking the said curse UNTIL Kelsey came to his life and brought back hope after centuries of waiting.

The turn of events has progressed very well as the story unfolded. I have to admit though, the first hundred pages of this book, as the other reviewers here have already mentioned, is slow-paced and seemingly dull. I advise that you keep reading the book albeit the first part drags, because once you reach the part wherein they start the adventure, I'm quite assured that you will be frantic in reading it page after page. I was surprised, actually, to love how the story have evolved from being tedious to being exciting and fascinating. 

The story focuses on a romantic-adventure between Ren and Kelsey (and Mr. Kadam, too, though not entirely). I loved all the adventures they had, particularly the last one that took place in the Kingdom of KishKindha because of their little arguments annnnd I find their sarcastic comebacks amusing. Kelsey, as a protagonist, was charming, thoughtful, witty, and lovable until last part. Maybe it's just me, but I am totally vexed on how her character have become in the ending---from being a charming, sweet girl into being a self-pitying, insecure one. I mean, I really don't follow that transformation of her because in the first up to the middle part of the book, she was all this confident, i-don't-care-what-you-think kind of girl, and then in the later part she's become insecure and annoying that when some certain scenes took over, I found myself exclaming a couple of Seriously?!s, Ugh!s and Oh, please! You've got to be kidding me!s. Ren, however, has constantly remained so amiable and so, so sweet (not to mention so SWOON-WORTHY) til the end. Okay, so maybe he has also changed a bit in the later part, but only to be better. I am saddened that he had to undergo Kelsey's what I call "idiotic stage" in the end because he really doesn't deserve to be treated like that at all. Just for the record though, I am rooting for Ren to be with Kelsey. Kishan's okay, but being me, I always go for the 'right guy' so Ren is definitely the one for me. ;) 

To sum up, TIGER'S CURSE has been a fun read for me. I'm not ashamed to say that I enjoyed the story a lot despite some of its flaws---which probably means that I'm definitely going to read Tiger's Quest (the second book). I give it a 4.5 Stars, a must-read for my fellow YA Fantasy Romance fanatics!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Halfway to the Grave (Nighthuntress #1) by Jeaniene Frost

The Blurb:
Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father -- the one responsible for ruining her mother's life. Then she's captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership. In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner -- are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

The Review:

Plot's amazing! Oh this book caught me off guard. I really, really like Bones & Cat's tandem. They have this awesome chemistry between them that I always find myself smiling like an idiot or snickering while reading parts of this book. It's been a roller coaster of emotions, really. There are only a few books that has the ability to make their readers experience different emotions throughout the book. I was puzzled with the mystery, literally laughed out loud with one of Bones&Cat's banters, amused, baffled, embarrassed for Cat, horrified with the killings, annoyed with some of the characters (but not with Bones or Cat), and so on. So I am definitely going to read the next sequel, One Foot in the Grave! It's really worth reading.