Monday, November 30, 2015

[Review] Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle
Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: Famous in Love #1
Release Date: October 21st 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
The romantic story of a girl who gets plucked from obscurity to star in the next major feature film franchise based on a book and the ensuing love triangles she gets entangled in on—-and off screen. 
Meet Paige Townsen, Rainer Devon, and Jordan Wilder…
When Paige Townsen, a young unknown, gets cast in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a crowded movie set on the shores of Maui, and is spending quality time with her co-star Rainer Devon, one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie’s famous love triangle, Paige’s crazy new life gets even crazier.
In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is – and who she wants – while the whole world watches.

Friday, November 27, 2015

[Review] A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

24397040A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

Rating: 3.5 Stars
Series: Twisted Tales #1
Version: ARC
Release Date: April 28, 2015

Goodreads synopsis:

Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed? This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?   When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.
This was perhaps one of the books I was most looking forward to getting at BEA a few months back, but after reading a bunch of negative reviews, I was slightly put off and didn't get around to finishing it until Thanksgiving break. A Whole New World is basically exactly what the synopsis says - a retelling of the classic Aladdin with a twist.

I think the main problem I had with this book was all the build up that didn't lead to anything big. The first couple of chapters is just like the actual Aladdin, and about a third of the way in is where we start seeing the plot twists, which were done well. However, after the initial major twist of Jafar getting hold of the lamp, it's basically all building up to the conclusion, which happened really fast and was a bit unbelievable. Even though it was evident that Aladdin, Jasmine, and the others faced a huge challenge, it didn't actually feel like it when the time actually came.

That said, I definitely did like some of the aspects of the last couple chapters - I thought Jafar's third and final wish was very interesting but I also would have liked to see more of that come into play - maybe less build up and more of the "aftermath".

Morgiana was perhaps the best character in the book, mainly because Braswell gave her a unique personality unseen in the original Aladdin, whereas the other characters (Aladdin, Jasmine, Jafar, etc) were all sort of "copy cats" from the original tale without a new personality. Actually, the side characters were all pretty great and all had different, unique personalities. I would definitely be interested in a Morgiana/Duban/Genie novella or the like. I also would have liked to see Braswell give these old, classic characters fresh personalities.We see that Jafar is evil and utterly insane, but have could have been multi-dimensional instead of flat and predictable.

Overall, while Braswell does give a classic tale a new twist, it was slow and too detailed at times, and it could have been done better in terms of giving old characters fresh makeovers. Despite its flaws, I am still looking forward to reading the other retellings in this series!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Twelve Books of Christmas Challenge

I have a bad habit. That bad habit is having way too many books, and still buying/borrowing more. And I only fill up my shelves when I finish reading a book, so they are a little bit empty and are collecting dust.
So what better way to curb my bad book accumulating habits then to do a final 2015 reading challenge?
So I signed up for Shainareads's The Twelve Books of Christmas Challenge over here! If you're interested in cleaning off that TBR pile, go and sign up! Spend your cold December mornings or evenings curled up reading a book.

The challenge is - I have to complete no less than 12 books in the month of December. You might be thinking... can I do it? Is it possible? And it certainly is possible! I'll be balancing my studying for finals and other college stuff along with it, and of course, books are great de-stressors for that end of semester crunch. I'll just try not to get too caught up in them.

But, I must also lessen the growing pile of books, because I know what I have in mind for Christmas gifts. So, to keep the motivation going, I'm going to comprise a list of all the books I (hopefully) will get to this December. This is a combination of library books, NetGalley reads, and books I said I'll read but didn't have enough time to. In no particular order. I'll keep it around 12, but who knows? I might be able to read more!

  1. Fire Falling by Elise Kova - I actually wanted to read it this month but delivery preorders disagree with my interests, so this will actually be conquered first! When it comes. I can't wait to read more about Vhalla and Aldrik and those epic scenes. (Physical Copy)
  2. Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray - Again, something I was going to read this month but unfortunately didn't have enough time to. (Physical Copy)
  3. Winter by Marissa Meyer - Third time of this was supposed to be a November read but I got busy; I really want to find out what happens to Cinder and the gang. (Physical Copy)
  4. Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn - I have heard nothing but good things about it, and I can't wait to start it! Atypical contemporary YA is always a plus to me! (NetGalley)
  5. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - Definitely another interesting contemporary! I also renewed this a few times from the library should probably get on that.. (Library)
  6. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas - I read Throne of Glass a few months ago, and I do want to catch up at some point, so why not now? 
  7. The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Katherine Howe - A mystery in the heart of NYC, near NYU no less (it used to be my dream school!) (Library)
  8. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon - Again another book I've heard a ton of positive things about, and the third book I've read this year about a girl conquering her disabilities/disorders, so I'm interesting in seeing how this will unfold. (NetGalley)
  9. A Dance with Dragons by George RR Martin - Okay, any book by GRRM is huge. They take me a week or so to finish. This will be not be attempted until after finals. I repeat, I am not going to give myself the pain of finishing this until after finals. (Physical Copy)
  10. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson - This was on my Fall TBR, and being a combination of fantasy/historical fiction? Two of my favorite genres? I'm intrigued. (Physical Copy, ARC)
  11. Burn for Burn by Jenny Han, Siobhan Vivian - To cope with my lack of Peter K and PS I Still Love You, I will read another Jenny Han book. (Physical Copy)
  12. Jackaby by William Ritter - Another mystery, and this time it takes place in Victorian England. Do I smell a Jack the Ripper in here? (Library) 
Well, there you have it. My list for next month. I'm pretty much sticking to this, and maybe, just maybe, I'll add more books. Or some of the books I'm reading won't be on there (You can't possibly think I'll put down everything I'm reading!?). I can't wait to read these books! When I finish it will be like a Christmas treat. Finally getting rid of this big pile (that's actually bigger and has much more books)
I have this much to read and more!!

Are you signing up for the challenge? What books do you plan on reading if you do?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

[Discussion] So Many Books, So Little Time, So How Do I Choose?

If you're admittedly a bibliophile, and feel free to raise your hand here because I'm definitely in that category, you've probably wondered at some point in your book-filled life,

As someone who had an on-and-off relationship with books until a few months ago (I only read for school and read the books I got from Bookcon and occasionally, well rarely, I read library books or books from Strand during high school) Shocking, right? I was obsessed with Harry Potter and The Princess Diaries as a kid, but during high school I missed out on so many good books.

So for the past few months, I've been catching up, in a sense. After Bookcon, after finally getting into the whole blogging thing Alice/Yiling were doing, there was a whole world of books for me. I didn't know where to start, but luckily, there are a ton of resources and reasons why I'm into these books today.

1. Recommendations from friends 
My friends read great books, I read reviews of their great books, and then I must read said great books. On occasion, they've even lent me these books because they're amazing people. They're so spot on with their recommendations because I've loved/liked all the books they've recommended/lent me. Definitely, if you're looking for good books, your friends are your best bet because they know you best! Also, we all tend to share similar book interests. 

I've been recommended:

2. Goodreads  
I know some people don't like to do this, but when I see a book that looks like I could read it in the future, I'll check it out on Goodreads for the rating, the synopsis, the reviews (but not too many; don't want any spoilers!) Plus, Goodreads even throws a few suggestions your way after you've read twenty books. Soon enough, your TBR list goes from 0 to fifty in under an hour - whoops. Does anyone else do this, or would they prefer to not know the ratings or reviews of a book before they read it? 

3. Beautiful covers 
Okay, okay, I know the saying goes "You shouldn't judge a book by its cover." As much as we hate to admit it, we do it a lot! When we're casually browsing through a bookstore or scrolling through Goodreads, we will look at those pretty covers, and hopefully they're as pretty on the inside as they are on the outside. So this is me basically admitting my bad habit, and I don't do this as much anymore because I've been kept busy with recommendations and reviews, but it was a good starting point that allowed me to branch out into other books. 
Example of beautiful cover that pulled me in

4. Coincided with my interests 
As a child, I liked princesses and fantasy and mythology, so I gravitated towards books about those things. As an almost adult, I'm into time travel and badass female main characters and arrogant but attractive princes. So I just had to find books that had those types of things I liked. The powers of Google! If you like sports or space or cats - anything, I'm sure there's a book out there about it.

Finally, and this is something I've discovered recently through social media...

5. Fellow book bloggers  
If you are looking for books and don't know what to choose or what to read, book bloggers are always on the lookout for awesome reads! They're passionate about what they do, and they will recommend to you the books they absolutely loved. And they read a tooooon of books, so they know what they're talking about. Lately, I've been on Twitter and snooping around on my fellow book bloggers' blogs. They have really great suggestions, so be sure to check them out!

So here are a few of the resources I used to find books to read/reasons why I picked the books I picked to read. Safe to say my TBR list will never be at zero because of recommendations and book blogs. 

How do you pick your books? Do you go to your friends for advice? Or book bloggers/booktubers? Do you simply google a topic of interest? Or... do you eenie, meenie, mini, mo a book at the library/bookstore? Let me know in the comments below! 

Friday, November 20, 2015

[Review] The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden
Rating: 4 stars
Series: The Casquette Girls #1
Version: NetGalley E-ARC
Release Date: November 17th 2015
 Goodreads Synopsis:
Seven girls tied by time.Five powers that bind.One curse to lock the horror away.One attic to keep the monsters at bay.
After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normalneeds a new definition. 
As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless . . . you’re immortal.
 I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Alys Arden crafted an intricate, mysterious read (and it would have been perfect for Halloween, but I'm a month late on that) that takes place in the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans (or should I say La Nouvelle-OrlĂ©ans?). This charming story incorporates witches, magic, mayhem, vampires, voodoo, and much more into the historical founding of the city, and the French words here and there only add to the authenticity - New Orleans seems like a magical place! 

To add to the magic, I thought, after reading it, it was a mix of The Princess and The Frog and Halloweentown (both Disney movies)! 

 The story itself has a slow start, introducing Adele and her father and the rest of our cast of characters, and how they managed to cope and move past The Storm that damaged their city. For the first two hundred pages or so, I will emphasize that it was slow. I did wonder for awhile where Arden was going with the story, because within the main plot, there was a bunch of smaller plots, and even smaller details imbedded in these plots that made me backtrack when these details were put to use, because I didn't remember when/what exactly happened. There's Adele whole discovery of the attic, and her newfound powers. There's her meeting Isaac. Meeting Niccolo and Gabriel. Going to Sacred Heart Academy, the rich preppy school. Trying to stand Desiree, the mayor's daughter who is at first very snobbish. Just going to input this here, but if The Casquette Girls was a movie, I was picturing Rihanna as Desiree the whole time. I don't know why, but Desiree was my favorite character, with her sassy fierceness.

Fire, fire, toil and trouble!
Back to the point, for the first half of the book there was a lot of detail and characters and nothing really began until halfway through, and that's when everything got really cool. Now it turned into a "we're descended from a coven of witches and we've got to stop the vampires" plot. Totally unlike Twilight, if that's what you're thinking. The vampires, while attractive, did not sparkle. They weren't entirely evil. It was actually interesting that after Adele found out about -insert vampire here-, they had a whole chat about it, no fangs (hehe) barred. There was no Bella. And it was a nice touch of Arden to have a coven that wasn't entirely full of girls.

The backstory with the original coven was also my favorite part; you get to see Isaac, Adele, and Desiree's great-great-great-something grandmothers' and the rest of the girls come together and ensnare some vampires. Not all witches are the same - Corsette had the powers of seduction, Scarlet had the powers of wind, etc.

And the twists - There were a ton of twists! I didn't expect a lot of them, or any of them for that matter. The very small details in the beginning of the book have a role here, so pay attention!

But with all the twists and revelations, there are still so many questions. Are there any descendants left of the original coven? What happens to Adele's mom? What now? Hopefully this gets covered in the sequel!

If you're usually wary of vampire books because of the cliches and the sparkles, don't fear, The Casquette Girls gives a New Orleans take of vampires and witches, complete with the allure, the magic, the French language, and of course, the voodoo.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

[Blog Tour] Of Delicate Pieces by A. Lynden Rolland

Tour Date:

November 9-20, 2015
Link to Goodreads:

Purchase Links:
Amazon | B&N | BAM | Chapters | Kobo | TBD | iBooks  


Of Delicate Pieces (Of Breakable Things)

By A. Lynden Rolland
Publication Date:  October 20, 2015
Publisher:  Month9books

Settling into her second year of death, Alex is ready to explore her limitless mind in an afterworld that changes each day, but she still isn’t resting in peace.
The ‘gifted’ are humans who see spirits and have the same extraordinary mental powers, though they aren’t considered equals. Centuries ago, Alex’s family led the movement to keep the living and dead separated, but the gifted believe Alex is a reincarnation of their slain civil leader. When they begin to break down the barriers that protect the city, the afterworld becomes dangerous and vulnerable to exposure. The living and dead both want to use Alex for their own gain, but what they don’t realize is that neither side will want her when they find out who she really is.
In the afterworld, nothing stays buried for long.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

[Blog Tour] Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saved by Michele Brouder

Link to Tour Schedule:

Claire Daly: Reluctant Soul Saver by Michele Brouder
Publication Date:  September 2015
Genre:  YA, Paranormal Romance

When seventeen year-old librarian wannabe Claire Daly is dragged kicking, screaming and cursing from everything she loves—her mam, her cozy Irish village and the dreamy boy next door—to take up arms in the battle of good versus evil, she learns the hard way that sometimes you don’t get to choose your own destiny, destiny chooses you.

Claire’s life plan is simple: head off to university to get her degree in library studies, summon up the courage to tell her best friend Chas that she loves him and live happily ever after. She never once entertained the idea that she might possess divine powers, that she might be predestined to battle Hell’s demons, or, to complicate matters further, that another love of many lives past might turn up on her doorstep. But life doesn’t always go as planned, and when a co-worker is viciously attacked by a demon and her own family threatened, Claire must face the truth: she is called to a higher purpose and has no choice but to answer. Claire sets aside her dreams and begins learning how to deal with the Unholy once and for all. Armed with only a crash course in soul saving and her wits, she gears up for the ultimate show down in Hell. But will it be enough?

Top Ten Tuesday (10) - Ten Favorite Book Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is a an original feature/ weekly meme that was created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new topic is presented and this week's is:

Top Ten Quotes from Books I Read This Past Year

This is also an opportunity for me to update my favorite quotes section on Goodreads.
Luckily for me, I tend to dog-ear the pages of my favorite quotes/passages. 

But don't you think that it's better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life? 

- (Claire) Audrey Niffeneger, The Time Traveler's Wife

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Earth's End by Elise Kova Cover Reveal and Giveaway (And Much More!)

Hello everyone! This post will have the whole 9 miles. A giveaway, a cover reveal, a Q&A with Elise Kova and her cover artist Merilliza (Meril) Chan,  Meril's explanation on how she makes her art - what more can you ask for? 

If you've been biting your nails in suspense or in a book slump since Air Awakens (because really, you couldn't find anything to compare), then I have good news. In case you've forgotten, Fire Falling comes out this Thursday. This Thursday. I've waited so long for this book. It comes out the day I'm finished with all my midterms, so this is will be a gift of sorts to me! 

But I have even more good news. Are you the type of person to hate waiting a year (a whole year and maybe more e-gasp) for the sequel to come out? Because I am. Luckily... As Fire Falling will come out three months after Air Awakens (despite the long, nerve-wracking wait), Earth's End will follow three months after! In February! My birth month! (Hint hint to all my friends who are thinking of presents)

And... Elise has finally revealed to us the cover of Earth's End. And let me tell you, her cover artist, Merilliza Chan, has outdone herself. It's so beautiful. It's my favorite cover. And I'll get to read such a breathtaking book around my birthday. 

I should really stop distracting you from looking down below. Behold, the cover of Earth's End! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (24) - Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)
by Susan Dennard 
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 5th 2016 

Friday, November 6, 2015

[Review] Tour and Giveaway of Of Delicate Pieces by A. Lynden Rolland


Of Delicate Pieces (Of Breakable Things)
By A. Lynden Rolland
Publication Date:  October 20, 2015
Publisher:  Month9books

Settling into her second year of death, Alex is ready to explore her limitless mind in an afterworld that changes each day, but she still isn’t resting in peace.
The ‘gifted’ are humans who see spirits and have the same extraordinary mental powers, though they aren’t considered equals. Centuries ago, Alex’s family led the movement to keep the living and dead separated, but the gifted believe Alex is a reincarnation of their slain civil leader. When they begin to break down the barriers that protect the city, the afterworld becomes dangerous and vulnerable to exposure. The living and dead both want to use Alex for their own gain, but what they don’t realize is that neither side will want her when they find out who she really is.
In the afterworld, nothing stays buried for long.

OF DELICATE PIECES is the follow-up to A. Lynden Rolland's OF BREAKABLE THINGS.