Dec 6, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016



Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The 
First Time In 2016


*I'll be starting from 10 here.
**Some of these authors aren't really new to me. I've heard/seen them around but I never given the chance to check out their works until this year.

10. M. Hollis - This recently debuted author published her book The Melody of You and Me and it was one of the cutest reads for me this year. Hollis delivered a good F/F story not just on the romantic side but also making you admire her characters as they talk about the things they're passionate about and how they're so in love that it makes you go awww nonstop.

09. Alwyn Hamilton - First of all, congratulations to Alwyn Hamilton for winning Goodreads' Debut Goodreads Author! Rebel of the Sands was a great start for a series...? I still have no clue of this is going to be a duology or trilogy or saga or something. But all I know is that her debut novel kicked off to a start that had me wanting more of it. We're talking about magic here. Jinnis to be exact.

08. Melissa Landers - Starflight was recommended by a friend and I needed a good sci-fi book to read after The Lunar Chronicles so I went for it. After I read the book, I visited her profile and landed on her works. Alienated was one of them. I've heard the book so many times in Booktube that it actually surprised me that these two books are by the same author. I've been wanting to read Alienated but never got the chance...or time, I don't really know why.

07. Heidi Heilig - If not for The Book Voyagers' #amazingbookrace and Keep It Diverse's book of the month on Twitter, I would've never picked up The Girl From Everywhere this year. It was my first pirate book and another thing to add in my time-travel shelf. There's also going to be a sequel so you can definitely say I'll be reading it once it's out.

06. Mariana Zapata - I gotta hand it to her for the ever so slow-burn romance in her books. I've read Kulti and The Wall of Winnipeg and Me this year and sports sports sports!! (I love sports though and bonus points if the female protagonist actually plays) and if the tension between the two characters...and that WHEN ARE THEY GONNA KISS feeling. Yes, the author makes you feel that until who-knows-when while you're reading.

05. Melissa de la Cruz - I've seen her around: across the internet, the bookstores, even on TV (eye emoji at Disney's Descendants). This year, I've picked up my first book of hers: Something in Between. I'll be honest, the story was honestly realistic and it's actually based also on the author's experience but I wasn't into her writing. It felt flat to me but I really, REALLY, appreciate her for sharing what she went through by writing this book. I've had family members who are immigrants and their stories aren't as different as the protagonist's so this book is an eye-opener. Just that...the writing wasn't my cup of tea, sadly.

04. Nicola Yoon - I just read Everything Everything last month and I am impressed. I've discovered her through the numerous tweets about The Sun is Also a Star so I checked her GR profile and immediately went for EE first. I fell in love with the book and THERE PAGES WITH DOODLES! It really made the book so cute and so worthwhile reading. Now I'm all here for her other works.

03. Con Template - Many thanks to The Book Voyagers for creating a thread of diverse books and Con Template's work caught my attention: Welcome to the Underworld (have yet to make a series review for this). Now this series has made its home in my heart and I gotta give it to the author because this was a "fanfic series turned to published book series". Talk about achievement. I read fanfics and it's rare to find fics with a very interesting plot. That series belonged to the rarity, I had to give it to Con Template for putting me on the edge of my seat many times.

02. Mina V. Esguerra - As a Filipina, I was looking for Filipinx authors because I wanted to give my support to the local authors. So I searched for lists and I found a bunch of Esguerra's works (especially her Interim Goddess of Love - which was cute and have a pinch of Filipino mythology bits in it) her in the list so why not? I needed a good book with a Filipinx rep in it and her books are it. Plus, she recommends other Filipinx authors with their works too.

01. Melina Marchetta - I devoured her books this year. I've seen Finnikin of the Rock around in Goodreads, it was even recommended to me THRICE. But I never really had this...pull, to read it. I've known her for On the Jellicoe Road but it was when my Twitter timeline (or let's say my mutuals) were tweeting about a good fantasy series and kept bringing up Lumatere. I had no idea what Lumatere was so I searched it on GR and it's the name of the series and the first book is Finnikin of the Rock. So I finally picked it up, thanks to Twitter, and I got hooked. I've read her other books and I recently reviewed Saving Francesca. I've read majority of her books and I can say that this author has not yet disappointed me.


(I wanted to provide pictures of their works but I remembered about today's TTT while I was already in bed and ready to sleep)

Nov 30, 2016

[ARC] Book Review: The Blazing Star


Title: The Blazing Star
Series: TBA
Author: Imani Josey
Publication Date: December 06, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Add to: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?

She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.

Great.

Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.

As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.

MY THOUGHTS

Portia's used to being the twin that goes along with everything her sister does. Same clothes, same hairstyle, even agreeing to go to the same university with her once they graduate high school. But Portia wanted to be more than that. More than to be that twin who is behind the spotlight while the world looks at her sister. A class trip to a museum not only changed Portia's relationship with her sister, but it also took her back to the past. Ancient Egypt kind-of past.

I've studied bits of Ancient Egypt when I was in high school and I love how I understood (or remember) some terms that I didn't feel the need to Google them. I had the time of my life reading The Blazing Star because not only did this took me to Egypt's ancient times but it also packed some magic and humor between the pages.


This was gods and goddesses, myths and legends, and very old magic.

Aside from the quote above, the book has POC characters, female characters with different personalities and have their own strengths, a relationship between twin sisters that's going to be tested as the story goes on, a protagonist finding more for herself than being in the shadows of her twin, a prince who's nice and sweet (and adorable when he doesn't understand any "present/current terms/things"), and unexpected twists. This was also light on the romance department and I love it because it wasn't rushed. It was developed and I'm eager to see what's in store for it in the next book.

There was also a scene here where I teared up. It was when Portia finally told Alex, her twin, what she really felt and how she wanted to mean something for herself this time. I felt Portia's pain and I don't even have a twin or a sibling to relate this kind of emotion. Alex isn't bad though, she just wanted her and Portia to be together (and maybe until forever) but Portia wanted other things this time. This was honestly the one that really got me going because I've mentioned many times before that family relationships will always have the biggest impact on me whenever I read a book, despite me being a big sucker for romance.

I'm excited for the next book because that ending somehow left me wanting more, and not to mention that it was a bit of a cliffhanger. I also had no idea that this wasn't a stand-alone but I'm not complaining.

AND CAN WE JUST TAKE A MOMENT TO ADMIRE THE VERY BEAUTIFUL COVER? You all should know by now how covers are important to me because they are the ones that attract me first, the blurb comes second.

***ARC kindly provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.





MY RATING

Nov 28, 2016

Book Review: Saving Francesca


Title: Saving Francesca
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publication Date: March 31, 2003
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Add to: GoodreadsAmazon / Book Depository

Francesca is stuck at St. Sebastian’s, a boys' school that pretends it's coed by giving the girls their own bathroom. Her only female companions are an ultra-feminist, a rumored slut, and an impossibly dorky accordion player. The boys are no better, from Thomas, who specializes in musical burping, to Will, the perpetually frowning, smug moron that Francesca can't seem to stop thinking about.

Then there's Francesca's mother, who always thinks she knows what's best for Francesca—until she is suddenly stricken with acute depression, leaving Francesca lost, alone, and without an inkling of who she really is. Simultaneously humorous, poignant, and impossible to put down, this is the story of a girl who must summon the strength to save her family, her social life and—hardest of all—herself.

MY THOUGHTS

Francesca Spinelli transferred from her all-girls' school, St. Stella's to St. Sebastian's, because her parents thought it would be convenient for her and her brother to be in the same school now that St. Sebastian is starting to accept female students. Unfortunately for her, the female classmates she had back at St. Stella's weren't the same group who transferred with her to St. Sebastian's. And not only is Francesca trying to adjust to her new life in a new school, she's also trying to find her own person. Things at home aren't looking good with her mom's depression and her dad not knowing what to do.

Melina Marchetta once again delivered a story that gripped my heart. I don't know how she does it but I hope she continues to do it in her upcoming books. I read The Piper's Son first when I should've read Saving Francesca instead. TPS took place years (...? Or maybe just a year. I haven't been keeping track on the EXACT date.) after SF and even if you could still read TPS without the need to read SF because the book could still stand on its own with its story, it's still a nice thing to read SF because it will give you a

Saving Francesca revolves around Francesca finding herself because all her life she has this "picture" of who she is courtesy of her mother and her friends from St. Stella.

I want to be an adjective again.
But I'm a noun. 
A nothing. A nobody. A no one.

I don't know how many times Marchetta's books have hit home (meaning have my feelings in knots). This one really had me because of Francesca's relationship with her mom. I had to send my mom a text message after I finished the book and told her I love her (I'm away from home, that's why). Depression is such an ugly and scary thing. I couldn't even begin to describe it but I've lived through it and I never want to back to that place. Her mom's well-being really tested their family's strength to hold on and I couldn't hold back my tears every time Frankie talks to her mom but her mom isn't the same as before. And it hurts to read when she had to argue with her dad and that time when she ran away.

The depression belongs to all of us. I think the family down the road whose mother was having a baby and they went around the neighborhood saying, "We're pregnant." I want to go around the neighborhood saying, "We're depressed." If my mum can't get out of bed in the morning, all of us feel the same. Her silence has become ours, and it's eating us alive.

I had to give it to Marchetta on how she tackled depression in this book. She clearly put it here that it's not something you get over overnight. It's not something you are prepared for, like Frankie's mom was in high spirits the other day and the next, she didn't have the energy to even get out of bed. Frankie, herself, was even fighting the feeling that she felt like is crawling inside her to take over.

Now on to the lighter side of the story: the friendship between Frankie, Siobhan, Tara, and Justine. 

I am always weak for friendships, especially female friendships. These girls didn't start out as friends and they're all so different from each other that it marvels you how they got along and formed this beautiful bond that will likely last a lifetime.

I think I'm a bit in love with these girls. They make me feel giddy. Like I haven't a care in the world. Like I'm fearless.
Like I'm used to be.

And I just have to add these three guys: Will Trombal, Thomas Mackee, and Jimmy Hailler. Bless them and their existence because they also play a big part in this book and I have come to love all of them.

This was honestly so heartwarming and bittersweet with a side of romantic and funny. Another great read from Melina Marchetta that is bound to land in my reread shelf.


MY RATING

Oct 12, 2016

Waiting On Wednesday: Because You Love to Hate Me (13 Tales of Villainy)


Hosted by Breaking the Spine


WHAT I'M WAITING FOR


Title: Because You Love to Hate Me (13 Tales of Villainy)
Author: Ameriie + multiple authors
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Anthologies
Add to: Goodreads

This unique YA anthology presents classic and original fairy tales from the villain's point of view. The book's unconventional structure--thirteen of the most influential BookTubers on YouTube join forces (writing-prompt style) with thirteen acclaimed and bestselling authors--gives these mysterious, oft-misunderstood individuals characters a chance to tell their stories, their way.

Like Maleficent or Wicked, these are stories of vengeance, of defiance, of rage. They are stories of pain, of heartbreak, of sorrow. But don't expect a circle of hands. Leave it to the heroes to help the world; villains just want to rule the world. We love to hate them and they hate to be loved, if only because being hated frees them from having to be good.

Contributing authors include bestselling and buzzy names Renée Ahdieh, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon, with a foreword and a story from anthology editor Ameriie.

WHY I'M WAITING

THIS IS ABOUT VILLAINS. Wouldn't one be excited to read their side of the story? I'm one of those people who is fascinated with the villain of the story. I mean, it takes some effort being evil to annoy/piss me off. And these are short stories so this will be good to pass time.

Here's the list of authors:

  • Ameriie (Editor)
  • Renee Ahdieh
  • Soman Chainani
  • Susan Dennard
  • Sarah Enni
  • Marissa Meyer
  • Cindy Pon
  • Victoria Schwab
  • Samantha Shannon
  • Adam Silvera
  • Andrew Smith
  • April Genevieve Tucholke
  • Nicola Yoon
The Booktubers:

  • Benjamin Alderson
  • Sasha Alsberg
  • Whitney Atkinson
  • Tina Burke
  • Catriona Feeney
  • Zoë Herdt
  • Samantha Lane 
  • Sophia Lee
  • Raeleen Lemay
  • Regan Perusse
  • Christina Riccio
  • Steph Sinclair
  • Kat Kennedy
  •  Jesse George
*I don't know if I got all the booktubers right. I just followed the ones on the cover.

Sep 16, 2016

Book Review: Vein Of Love


Title: Vein Of Love
Series: Blackest Gold, #1
Author: R. Scarlett
Publication Date: August 16, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy
Add to: Goodreads /  Amazon

"Darkness isn't all one shade, sweetheart."

Three centuries ago, Molly Darling’s ancestors signed a contract in blood—daemon blood—to protect themselves from harm. On the eve she turns nineteen, Molly leaves for her birthday party against her parent’s wishes, sick of their warnings about her “betrothal to a demon.”

Except that she’s very much betrothed, and he’s very much a demon—one who’s only agreed to the nuptials to steal Molly’s ancient daemon powers. Brash, arrogant, and built like a Greek god, Tensley Knight keeps showing up to save Molly from otherworldly attacks, only to insult her a moment later.

As Molly learns more about the demon world, she realizes two things: that her family’s safety depends on a successful marriage, while any chance of freedom she’ll ever have calls for Tensley’s demise.

Yet sometimes Molly spots a tortured soul beyond those liquid grey eyes, and there’s no denying the way her skin tingles when Tensley touches it. In Vein of Love, safety requires sacrifice, foe becomes lover, and one must decide whether to kiss...or to kill.

MY THOUGHTS

Vein of Love is a dark fantasy that revolves around Molly finding out who she is, facing the situation she's currently in and how she'd protect her family while being engaged to Tensley who is like a Math problem she's trying to figure out.

This reminds me of The Sweet Trilogy by Wendy Higgins although it doesn't share the same story path as Vein of Love but it has the same concept about demons mingling in with humans in the face of the earth doing mundane things. Some anyway. The writing was good and the point of view changes weren't confusing for me despite being reading it as a third person narrator. The story is still very engaging to read and I love Molly's fierceness. Girl won't let anyone harm her family and friends and I had to give it to her for being brave in a world where she could be harmed at any given time. Also, I'm liking September, Illya and Lex. These characters had piqued my interest.

Like any other stories, there will always be things that I had to shake my head to. What put me off here were these: Tensley and Evelyn's relationship. I am bothered. Obviously, Tensley was unable to make up his mind about her even when he finds himself getting pulled by his feelings for Molly no matter how he denies it. While I get his situations and his nature, it was complicated and I don't think I could label this as a love triangle but low-key, it is. And I don't do love triangles. Another is his relationship with Molly. I feel giddy every "friendly" interaction they have that sometimes lead to something more. However, it's like one step forward and two steps backward. Last one that made me down was Molly trusting perfect strangers easily just because they were friendly. I'll stop there to avoid spoilers.

Overall, it's a promising start to a series and a refreshing read for me because it's fantasy and it's New Adult. The characters are close to my age and I've been looking for some good NA fantasy to read. This one did it but as much as I had fun reading, like I said, the whole "relationship" thing plus the "trust" situation were hindering me from fully enjoying this one. I'm indifferent when it comes to Tensley too but I hope that will change. Looking forward to the next book!

MY RATING

Sep 13, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: ALL TIME Favorite Fantasy Books




Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Fantasy Books
[ Trilogies Edition! ]



01. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare - ALL TIME FAVORITE TRILOGY EVER. And definitely one of my all time favorite fantasy books as well. I don't think I'll ever recover from this. Already excited for The Last Hours!



02. Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta - Hands down to Melina Marchetta for this trilogy. I'm planning to read ALL her books this year and I just had to give it to her for her awesome and heart-grabbing stories. These books have entered my all time favorites list and every reread is a treat.



03. Penryn and the End of Days by Susan Ee - This trilogy had me on the crying despite how (warning to the ones who plan to read this) gore some stuff were. The sibling relationship between Penryn and Paige made this book so worth the time. Of course, Penryn and Raffe's banter was A+.



04. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo  - I love the Grisha world and I love the characters in this book that the main female lead, Alina Starkov, has poked my heart and now she's one of my all-time favorite heroines.



05. Blood of Eden Trilogy by Julie Kagawa - We got a badass female lead who is a WOC and a story that's centered in a world where vampires are either good or evil. I'll be honest, I'm not into vampire books but this one is an exception.



06. Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor - The world and characters are too fascinating so props to Laini Taylor for her imagination and beautiful writing. This is one of the books I want to reread if only I have the time.



07. Curse Workers Trilogy by Holly Black - One of the many underrated fantasy books out there that I enjoy SO MUCH. I have to thank Katytastic from Booktube for introducing me to this series.



08. Precious Stone Trilogy by Kerstin Gier - The time traveling was and written well. There are some stories out there with the same concept yet it's all too confusing. Also, THE MOVIE WAS GOOD. It didn't really follow the flow of the books (+the many changes, though I can say this to all book-to-movie adaptations) but it was still entertaining to watch and the soundtrack makes my ears happy.


NOTES:

**Why trilogies? - I have A LOT of favorite all time fantasy books and this could definitely take a while. So... I decided to narrow it down to trilogies.

***09-10 - I have two trilogies I haven't finished yet so I'm keeping the last two spots open. I have to read the final books in these trilogies to see if I can put them in the list.