Jul 24, 2014

{Blog Tour} Book Review: Teaching Roman - Gennifer Albin


Title: Teaching Roman (Good Girls Don't #2)
Author: Gennifer Albin
Release Date: June 26th 2014
Publisher: Self-published
Age Group: New Adult
Source: eARC for blog tour
Jessica Stone has her life in perfect order until her perfectly boring boyfriend Brett puts things in perspective. So when she receives a call to action from her heartbroken best friend Cassie, she ditches her plans for Winter Break in gloomy Olympic Falls and sets off to Mexico for some fun in the sun.
Determined to use her oceanview to prep for her MCATS, she doesn't plan to run into anyone from Olympic State, least of all the cute communications prof she's been crushing on for a year. When he unexpectedly saves the day, the two are thrown together in a distinctly extracurricular activity.
Roman Markson doesn’t expect to run into anyone he knows from Olympic Falls while visiting his family in Puerto Vallarta, especially not a former student. Although Jess Stone has a way of catching men’s attention, a relationship with her is strictly off-limits. However, the rules feel less strict in Mexico, so they agree to a plan: one week in paradise and nothing more.
But avoiding each other back on campus is harder than they anticipated, especially when they can’t stay away from one another. Neither is sure what they have to learn—and lose—before life teaches them a lesson they’ll never forget.
Catching Liam was one of my favorite NA reads of 2013, and I was so happy when I learned that there would be more. Unlike Jillian, the protagonist of the first book, Jessica is the careful girl. She has her entire life mapped out, with her plans circling around her dream of becoming a doctor. But when Brett, her long-time "safe" boyfriend, kneels and asks her the question, her life gets derailed. She runs off to Mexico with Cassie who's also nursing a broken heart, but instead of a break full of sun, sand, and books, distraction comes in the form of Roman Markson, the communications professor who always gets her tongue-tied.

"Did you just spank me?" I asked as a strange mix of self-awareness and horniness took over.
Roman drew back, his eyes widening. "Sorry."
"Don't apologize." My fingers clutched his shoulder and jerked him back to me. "And do it again."
Say "hot teacher" and I'm there - so there - and if I were Jessica, I also wouldn't have been able to say no to a week of debauchery with Roman. The two consenting adults promise to carry on with their normal lives once their week is done, but as it draws to a close, they realize they want more. The pushing and pulling kept me reading even as it frustrated me; I didn't think it possible, but these two outdid Jillian and Liam in the hotness department.

"Mi bella," Roman leaned forward and trailed a finger along my jaw, "I cook better than I screw."
But when they get back to the US, Jessica and Roman not only have to deal with their conflicted feelings, but they also have to face the scrutiny of the people at their school. This part had me at the edge of my seat with worry and anxiety because I was already so invested in the couple. The happily ever after is to be expected, but I feel like the author still made me work for it, and I loved that.

After two books, the characters in this series are already like friends to me. The third book, Reaching Gavin, will focus on Cassie, the group's carefree psych major, and you can't imagine how excited I am to read more about everyone ♥ 

MY FAVORITE PART is the whole gang at Garrett's. I just love seeing - or, rather, reading about them together :3


About the author:

Jul 19, 2014

Book Review: Reboot - Amy Tintera

Title: Reboot (Reboot #1)
Author: Amy Tintera
Release Date: May 7th 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Finished copy borrowed from Dianne
Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).
Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.
The perfect soldier is done taking orders.
Reboot went straight to my TBR list the first time I heard about it. I had high expectations - as in Divergent- and The Hunger Games-ish expectations - which the book certainly reached. Before reading this, I thought Rebooting was done by evil scientists, but turns out it's actually natural selection. Huh. The Reboots are like rational zombies with a fair hint of Wolverine in them - yeah, they're as awesome as they sound.

She froze. Her eyes flew from the 178 printed on my skin to my face and she let out another shriek.
No. There was no human left in me.
Stoic and unfeeling as she was, Wren was easy to like. She thinks that after one hundred seventy-eight minutes of being dead, she has no humanity left, when in reality she's been stripped down to the most basic levels of it. At first she's the perfect soldier, obedient and unquestioning, but soon she gets doubts about the system she's followed her entire undead life.

Imagine if Four from Divergent was quite the adorable softie and the one who's new to Dauntless, with Tris as his trainer - yep, that's the situation with Wren and Callum. Because of his constant coaxing, the best takes a chance on the worst, and with that begins a no-nonsense and practical but sweet and passionate romance. And I loved it! The two never seemed to catch a break, but all the hurdles only strengthened their relationship as they helped each other face their nightmares.

Bloody and ruthless, fast-paced and action-packed, Reboot proves that just because you're on the run doesn't mean the kissing has to stop; in fact, why catch a breath when you can lose it cuddling with someone? I really enjoyed the author's writing style because it was so simple yet so perfect for the story, Wren's voice so appropriate and realistic. I have the sequel waiting to be read right here, and I plan to pick it up real soon.

MY FAVORITE PART is the couple going to Callum's home.


Jul 18, 2014

The Books & the Art {5}

The Books & the Art is where I feature whatever artsy stuff that books inspire me to make, and at the moment that consists of storyboards, bookmarks, and wallpapers.

Another Sarah Dessen book, another new love. As if it could have gone otherwise.
Click photo for full size.
The Book: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
The Art: Storyboard
A Quote: 
"So you don't want me to take you," he said.
"No," I replied. "But I'll meet you there."
Particulars: Diners (the good and the bad kind); a beautiful baby girl; the beach; bikes, and more bikes; all the girly stuff!; coffee by the gallons; accounting by a high school graduate; hotdogs; a laundromat with a secret.

I was enjoying this book so much that I didn't even stop to take notes for a review, so until I re-read it, this post will have to be enough proof of my love for it. Aaaand I am now opening the poll for which Dessen book I should read next! (I've read Just Listen, btw.) Vote in the comments ;D

Jul 16, 2014

Book Review: Perfected - Kate Jarvik Birch

Title: Perfected
Author: Kate Jarvik Birch
Release Date: July 1st 2014
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: eARC from publisher
Perfection comes at a price.
As soon as the government passed legislation allowing humans to be genetically engineered and sold as pets, the rich and powerful rushed to own beautiful girls like Ella. Trained from birth to be graceful, demure, and above all, perfect, these “family companions” enter their masters’ homes prepared to live a life of idle luxury.
Ella is happy with her new role as playmate for a congressman’s bubbly young daughter, but she doesn’t expect Penn, the congressman’s handsome and rebellious son. He’s the only person who sees beyond the perfect exterior to the girl within. Falling for him goes against every rule she knows… and the freedom she finds with him is intoxicating.
But when Ella is kidnapped and thrust into the dark underworld lurking beneath her pampered life, she’s faced with an unthinkable choice. Because the only thing more dangerous than staying with Penn’s family is leaving… and if she’s unsuccessful, she’ll face a fate far worse than death.
Imagine a world where girls are genetically engineered and raised to become a perfect pet. Once they are of age, they are sold to the highest bidders, brought home, and treated like a labradoodle or what have you, pampered like a princess and displayed like a gold bar. The girls are expected to obey every single one of their masters' whims because if they don't, they will be put down like a useless K9 (a practice that I absolutely abhor, by the way). There. See it in your head? If you can't, you need not worry because that's exactly what Perfected is about.

Your sole purpose is to enrich the lives of your new owners. 
This book ended up being different from what I'd expected. Instead of a full-blown action-packed sci-fi/dystopian, I feel like I read a contemporary with a side of action, so don't go into this expecting the former. That said, I can say that the premise made Perfected nothing like anything I've read before. The idea of breeding girls to be sold and used in whatever way was just sick and disgusting, and the need to know the reason behind the practice made this book a must-read for me.

Maybe freedom wasn't a state of being. Maybe it was an act of courage. Maybe freedom was defiance and sacrifice and pain, something that couldn't be won without giving up something else in return.
Ella - as she's named by her owner - knows only a life of refinement and obedience, and as a pet, she's perfectly alright with that. Her owners are kind enough, and she's well-fed and more than well-dressed; she doesn't have reason to want for more. But soon she learns how it is to be treated like property, and although most readers will find her helpless - which she was, indeed - that didn't irritate me at all because she was raised to be like that, like a damsel in distress. It was hard to relate to her, but it was easy to understand her.

The romance aspect was sweet enough, but to be honest, I could have done without it. It didn't distract from the story, but aside from being a major motivating factor for Ella, it didn't add much more to it; actually, I think it's the reason why this book, though unpredictable and intense, dragged in the middle. Good thing it picked up towards the end, but the ending? Let's just say it made me go "Wait. What? That's it?", and not in a good way.

MY FAVORITE PART is Penn playing for Ella :3


Jul 12, 2014

Stacking the Shelves {26}

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews, where bloggers share recently bought, borrowed, won, and gifted books (print or ebooks)!

Another book haul coming through! I have quite a huge pile of books to haul and I've decided that I'm going to deal with them from newest to oldest because I have one book in particular that I'm anxious to share with y'all ;D Can you guess which?

Look at that piece of gorgeous. I've already read Eleanor & Park (and loved it, of course!) but I had the UK paperback back then. This collector's edition I bought from Lyra of Defiantly Deviant for a ridiculously low price so thanks, Ly! :3

Jul 10, 2014

Book Review: Minutes Before Sunset - Shannon A. Thompson

Title: Minutes Before Sunset (The Timely Death Trilogy #1)
Author: Shannon A. Thompson
Release Date: April 28th 2013
Publisher: AEC Stellar Publishing
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: ecopy from author (Thanks again, Shannon!)
She was undoubtedly a shade, but I didn’t know her.
Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.
He had gotten so close to me—and I couldn’t move—I couldn’t get away.
Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.
Paranormal romance is something I've been reading less and less of lately, so imagine my glee when I got the chance to read Minutes Before Sunset. And although it took a while for the book to capture my interest, I can say that when it did, I couldn't stop reading.

Unbeknownst to humans, a secret war has been brewing between the Dark and Light, beings who have special powers that correspond to their namesakes. A prophecy has foretold how the war will play out, so both sides are desperate to make sure it happens - or doesn't happen. Eric is of the Dark, a Shade, and as the first descendant, he will face the second descendant, who is of the Light, in the Marking of Change. His life consists of nothing but training and school, until he meets an unknown Shade in the forest.

One of the top reasons why I enjoyed this book was all the conspiracies. Even Eric, who plays a huge role in the prophecy, apparently doesn't know a lot, and that only added to the suspense factor. Jessica, on the other hand, is clueless. She's new to town, but more than making friends, her priority is to find information on her deceased birth parents. It's not very hard to guess so I'll just say it already: Jessica is the unknown Shade, and even without the training that Eric has been receiving for years, she easily gets adept with using her powers. The paranormal aspect of the book is very unpredictable, up until the end.

I was falling in love with her, and she was falling in love with me. It was fated, decided before any of us were born, and I hated it as much as I loved it. I could barely stand it.
Now for the romance. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but it was sweet, if nothing else. And well-developed, too; no insta-love here, in case you're worried about that. All the sneaking around that Eric and Jessica had to do - with the Dark, Light, and even each other - made for one tense read. 

Like I said earlier, this genre is an unusual read for me nowadays, but I don't think the dual POV is something I've encountered in it before; it worked really well for the story because I've gotten quite tired of the scenario where the guy is always being mysterious and all that jazz until the girl unravels him. And just when I thought I had everything figured out, another twist is shoved to my face (metaphorically speaking, of course). The sequel is definitely in my TBR list.

MY FAVE PART is Jessica's first visit to Eric's house.


Jul 9, 2014

{Blog Tour} Book Review + Giveaway: Boomerang - Noelle August

Title: Boomerang (Boomerang #1)
Author: Noelle August
Release Date: July 8th 2014
Publisher: William Morrow
Age Group: New Adult
Source: eARC for blog tour
Welcome to Boomerang.com, the dating site for the millennial gen with its no-fuss, no-commitments matchups, and where work is steamier than any random hook-up.
Mia Galliano is an aspiring filmmaker. Ethan Vance has just played his last game as a collegiate soccer star. They’re sharp, hungry for success, and they share a secret.
Last night, Ethan and Mia met at a bar, and, well... one thing led to another, which led to them waking up the next morning—together. Things turned awkward in a hurry when they found themselves sharing a post hookup taxi... to the same place: Boomerang headquarters.
What began as a powerful connection between them is treated to a cold shower courtesy of two major complications. First, Boomerang has a strict policy against co-worker dating. And second, they’re now competitors for only one job at the end of summer.
As their internships come to an end, will they manage to keep their eyes on the future and their hands off each other, or will the pull of attraction put them right back where they started?
Boomerang is the kind of book to hook a reader right from page one. It is the usual NA - steamy and dramatic and all that jazz - but it packs a punch with its hilariousness. Seriously. I was reading it in a train full of people and I had to stifle a laugh that would have been boisterous at best. Phew.

Hurrying down a narrow hall, I catch glimpses of sports photographs and motivational posters with soaring eagles and mountaintop sunrises. One says, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone," which means my life is definitely beginning. Right. Now.
Imagine waking up beside your one-night stand partner - your hot one-night stand partner, and not remember anything that happened. If you're one for such activity, then it's okay, right? No biggie. Then your partner wakes up too, and you both prepare to go to work. Still okay. You share a cab because the two of you are going to the same general direction, but when you get there, you go into the same building, into the same elevator, and drop off at the same floor, into the same office, and start your first day at the same job.


But that's life for Mia and Ethan, new interns for the dating site Boomerang, and they have to get over their maddening attraction to each other if they want the job at the end of their internship - and to keep the internship in the first place. With the book written in their alternating POVs, these characters just leaped off the page, and it was truly enjoyable to read about them tackling the challenges that most people in their early twenties face, particularly in the professional aspect of their lives.

"Can you even breathe?" she asks.
"Barely, but I don't think I'll be able to eat anything."
"You're just trying to avoid my mother's cooking."
"No way. Sulfuric acid is my favorite."
Mia and Ethan have the kind of chemistry that I fall for in the blink of an eye. They are those lovers who are also best friends; they can communicate with their eyes and, together, they just feel so right, perfect in every way. And because most of this book is them trying to prove that they don't belong together, most of this book is also me wanting to reach into the pages to push them into each other until they stuck. Talk about secondhand sexual frustration.

The bottomline: Boomerang is the NA book for you if you're still iffy about trying the genre (which you shouldn't be). And it's not totally about the romance; it's also filled with family and friendship that gave the book so much more personality. As with other NA series, the sequel is sounding more like a companion novel, but I am excited.

MY FAVORITE PART is Mia and Ethan going on their first work-required dates =))

About the author:
NOELLE AUGUST is an anagram for Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger. Just kidding, it's a pen name!

VERONICA ROSSI is the author of the New York Times Best-selling UNDER THE NEVER SKY trilogy for young adults. The books are available in more than thirty countries and the film rights have been optioned by Warner Bros. Veronica completed undergraduate studies at UCLA and lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons. She is fond of dresses with pockets, fluffy dogs, and cheese and chocolate -- but not together.

LORIN OBERWEGER began her storytelling career by captivating her first-grade class with tales of her summers on a kibbutz in Israel. Lorin had never been to Israel. While teacher/parent night put an end to her first experiments in fiction, she’d already caught the bug and eventually made a career of all things story. As a long-time independent editor and story development guru, Lorin's client successes range from small press publications to major bestselling novels. She's an award-winning author and has also worked behind the scenes as a ghostwriter on a variety of projects. Her work has received starred Kirkus reviews and glowing mentions in The New York Times. Oh, she did get to see a kibbutz, eventually, and found out she had it pretty much right all along.

Veronica and Lorin met at a writing workshop and just knew they were destined to create awesome things together.


Jul 8, 2014

A Bookish Day: Me and the Happily Ever After

July 6th 2014 was the day I met a new favorite author of mine - I can't believe I waited until last week to read her books - Stephanie Perkins! A few blogger friends and I arrived late so I didn't get to ask her a question, so here's a photo recap instead.

Click photo for full size. Credits go to Jesselle, Kai, Kate, and Leslie!

Jul 5, 2014

The Books & the Art {4}

The Books & the Art is where I feature whatever artsy stuff books inspire me to make, but at the moment I'm quite captured with wallpapers ;D

I am so excited to meet this certain author in just a few hours that I just had to wallpaper my favorite book of hers. 

Jul 2, 2014

{Blog Tour} Book Review + Giveaway: More Than Music - Elizabeth Briggs


Title: More Than Music (Chasing the Dream #1)
Author: Elizabeth Briggs
Release Date: June 17th 2014
Publisher: Self-published
Age Group: New Adult
Source: eARC for blog tour
Music major Maddie Taylor just finished her junior year of college and has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, yet every night she practices guitar and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don't get to be rock stars. That is, until tattooed singer Jared Cross catches her playing guitar and invites her to join his band on The Sound, a reality TV show competition.
Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared than his flirty smile and bad boy reputation – and that he’s just as big a geek as she is. With each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore, but when the show pressures them to stay single they’re forced to keep their relationship secret.
As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.
It's been months since I last read an NA novel, and with its geekiness, sexiness, and humor, More Than Music has everything I want from the genre - or in any book, for that matter. If you've ever had dreams of being in a rock band, then I can't imagine why you wouldn't enjoy this read.

Maddie is a pianist in her third year of college, but when she's alone in her apartment with her two best friends, she lets out the real her and rocks out with her seafoam green Fender. One night, while checking out her friend Kyle's band's studio, she gets caught playing the guitar and singing by none other than Jared Cross, lead singer of Villain Complex and the guy Maddie's been lusting for for so long - so she dashes the hell out of there. The next day, Jared's waiting for her outside her classroom and begs that she join their band temporarily for an audition, and before she knows it, she's on TV and living the dream... except that means she can't be with Jared.

Reading this book was like watching an entire season of The Voice within a few hours, but with an in-depth look into what happens when the cameras stop rolling: unenthusiastic mentors, manipulated votes, and all the drama. But More Than Music is so much more than that. It's about Maddie learning to go after what she wants, and even Jared learning that his idea of success isn't all there is to it.

"I thought of Aerosmith's 'Love in an Elevator'," Kyle said.
"That's a good one, too," Jared said, and belted out the lyrics.
Hector shook his head. "Not me. I heard that Nelly song 'Country Grammar'."
"What?" Kyle gaped at him. "I think we might have to kick you out of the band."
Aside from the tense and steamy romance between Maddie and Jared, another thing I enjoyed about this book was watching the friendship form between Maddie and the guys in Villain Complex. With their bassist quitting because of drama with Jared, the two other members feared a repeat of the incident and were against Maddie joining at first, but in time, she proved herself and her kickass guitar-playing skills. I can't help but think that even if things didn't work out between her and Jared, I still would've loved More Than Music as long as she got to be in the band. Alone, they were lovers, but with Kyle and Hector, they really were like siblings.

A sweet, fast, and easy read, More Than Music should appeal to music lovers out there. And if you're not, well, I can assure you that you'll fish out a ton of great music recs from this book, so what are you waiting for? Me, I'm waiting for the next books!

MY FAVORITE PART is Maddie returning after a brief, uh, break.


About the author:
Elizabeth Briggs is a Young Adult and New Adult author who lives in Los Angeles with her British husband and a bunch of fluffy white rescue dogs. She's a guitar-playing geek who loves books, rock music, and video games, goes to Comic Con every year, and is still hoping to be a Jedi when she grows up.

Elizabeth currently works with WriteGirl to mentor at-risk or pregnant teen girls in writing, to help them get through high school and into college. She also volunteers with Bichon FurKids to help rescued dogs find a new, loving home. She previously worked as an intern for literary agent Jill Corcoran of Jill Corcoran Literary Agency, an intern for Entangled Publishing, and an editor for Curiosity Quills Press.

Elizabeth is represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of KT Literary and is a member of SCBWI and RWA.


Jul 1, 2014

{A Reader's Digest} June Recap!

June has come and gone, and I'm quite relieved because blogging-wise, I didn't do so well this past month. And I wasn't even that busy! I just felt exhausted most of the time, and even reading books became such a chore that (I think) all I read were review/tour books. But! Right now that's not the case - sure hope this doesn't jinx it, though LOL - and my term break officially starts on Friday, so I plan to get a lot of reading done.

Bloggy Stuff
I read 8 books in June. Eight. Jesus. Anyway, that brings me to 56/100 books read this year. I am disappointed with myself. I did read two of my favorite YA contemps, though: To All the Boys I've Loved Before and Anna and the French Kiss, and oh my Lord I still cannot get over these two books. Where in the world is my Peter Kavinsky and/or Etienne St. Clair? Yeah, and/or. I'd totally keep them both.

Here are the reviews I posted in June: Don't Fall | Girl of Rage | Life in Outer Space | Twinmaker | MELT | Plus One | Say Her Name

Books to watch out for in July
So. Many. Good books are coming out this month! Another reason why I want to find a part-time job - if only my family would agree already. Sigh.

Have you read/will you read any of these books? HAVE YOU FALLEN IN LOVE WITH PETER AND/OR ETIENNE YET?!