ARC Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were LiarsTitle: We Were Liars

Author: E. Lockhart

Publication date: May 13, 2014

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 240

Source: e-ARC from publisher via Netgalley (Thank you, Random House Kids!) / Finished copy gifted by Kai of Amaterasu Reads (Thanks Kai!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Bookstore

 

Synopsis:  

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
 
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review: 

For weeks, I grappled in finding the right words to write this review. Every attempt turned into a staring contest between a blank document page and me. I have a lot of thoughts in my head but the problem is how to weave those ideas into coherent sentences. Now that I found a motivating force in the form of music, I can finally set the bottled up emotions free.

We Were Liars is the kind of story that grabs you from the first chapter. It’s a total page-turner—very impossible to put down once you start reading. Load up on food and liquids before you sit down to read. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to suspend the thrill to get a glass of water from the kitchen.

Divided into five parts, We Were Liars tells the story of the Sinclair family as narrated by main character Cadence. The Sinclairs are a rich and prominent family who owns a private island where they spend their summer together. An accident takes place and their lives are changed forever.

E. Lockhart’s writing is fantastic—simple yet compelling and striking. It has an enigmatic and suspenseful effect that pushes readers to the edge of their seats. Prepare to go through a brilliantly intertwined web of secrets and haunting illusions that will puzzle your views of what’s real and what’s not. The story keeps readers guessing until they reach the last part where the shock-inducing twist will slap them in the face. In fact, it took me several minutes to compose my dumbfounded self from the massive impact of the ending. The crushing sensation unnerved me to the very core. I couldn’t believe that the truth revealed in the final chapters would be that heavy. Stained with tragic loss and agonizing grief, my heart was pulverized into a million tiny pieces.

Each character in We Were Liars possesses distinctive qualities that entrance readers to know them better. The Liars—Cadence, Mirren, Johnny, and Gat—are like riddles that you need to solve. Moreover, there’s a mysterious aura surrounding their personalities that will arouse questions as to why they act strangely. Everything’s so twisted yet beautifully executed. It will definitely blow your mind!

A gripping and mind-bending novel, We Were Liars transforms the sum and substance of a great YA thriller.

 

Rating:

5/5 stars

 

Song I listened to while writing this review:

Blog Tour: Wings by Elizabeth Richards [Review + Giveaway + Quiz!]

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Hello everyone! Today’s the first day of the #WingsPHBlogTour! Hooray! I’m so happy to be a tour stop along with Michelle of The Escapist. I hope you enjoy the whole tour as it’s loaded with lots of fun and interesting stuff including an awesome INTERNATIONAL giveaway! 🙂

About the book:

Wings

Title: Wings (Black City, #3)

Author: Elizabeth Richards

Publication date: June 12, 2014

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR

Pages: 400

Source: ARC from author (Thank you, Liz!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Book Depository / Fully Booked 

Synopsis: 

Following the cliffhanger ending of Phoenix, Natalie finds herself separated from Ash and unexpectedly reunited with her parents, including the father she thought was dead. But she can only think of Ash. She hasn’t heard a word of him since she and Elijah were brought to the underground headquarters of the Sentry Rebellion. But she vows to find him.

Ash, meanwhile is back in Black City; it’s the perfect place to hide from the Sentry government. But not for long. He won’t give up on Natalie or bringing an end to the terrible reign of Purian Rose.

A pulse-racing end to an exciting series.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads 

My review:

With Wings as the final book in the Black City series, writing this review is a bittersweet moment for me. As a parting gift to a beloved series, I wrote a lengthy review containing everything that my heart wants to say. 

Wings takes readers on a thrilling ride of stressful conflicts and startling discoveries leading to the final destination—the fate and future of the United Sentry States and of Ash Fisher and Natalie Buchanan. The book has an array of diverse secondary characters that added zing to its brilliantly crafted plot. Each secondary character plays a significant role in the story’s intense sequence of events. I’m in awe with how characters like Beetle, Day, and Elijah contributed to the rebellion’s efforts in fighting for peace and unity in their country. Day is a fantastic surprise! Fans of the series know that Day’s a girl with beauty and brains. But in Wings, she is more than that. Day has a lot of fire in her that uncloaked her fearless side.

Aside from the three previously mentioned characters, other familiar faces that readers met in Black City and Phoenix also make an appearance. What’s more, Wings introduces new and intriguing characters that make up the series’ well-constructed history. In addition, itenables readers to connect significant episodes in the past to the present and tie all loose ends until the biggest shock in the whole series is unveiled. My whole world stopped breathing when the pieces of puzzles finally came together revealing the picture of the big and horrible truth. It’s undeniably insane, you guys. Believe me.

As always, Elizabeth Richards’ writing is gorgeous, effortless, and authentic. She describes people, scenes, and emotions with a natural aesthetic touch. The originality of Elizabeth’s style never fails to enchant me with its impeccable beauty. Moreover, I love how she tells the past through one of the new characters named Edmund. Incidentally, Edmund is a giant time bomb whose explosion would send you flying out to space. When you realize his true identity, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the series’ history as well as why Edmund conducts himself in a particular way.

Ash and Natalie’s romance is so genuine, believable, and very natural in this book. I’ve been on Team Nash since Black City and I feel privileged to witness how far their relationship has come. In Wings, the bond that Ash and Natalie share is so much more than what they had in the first two books. Their love strengthened into something with greater depth and meaning—going beyond limits, taking risks, and devotedly trusting each other in spite of the odds. Two hearts beating as one, Ash and Natalie are unbreakable. Nothing—not even the people around them—can come between both characters.

My admiration for Ash grew stronger in Wings because of what he did for Natalie in the end. Throughout the years I’ve read young adult fiction, it is in Wings that I encountered the most immeasurable and selfless act that a YA fictional boyfriend can do for the love of his life. It’s an incredibly beautiful and moving expression of true love. A heavy stream of emotions coursed through me while reading that part. The intensity of the scene consumed me and when my heart couldn’t hold any longer, my eyes unleashed a waterfall of tears.

Thank you, Elizabeth Richards, for creating a brave and extraordinary world that inspires readers to fight for what they believe in and not let their fears reign over them. Never give up. And most of all, never back down! The Black City series is a huge part of my book blogging journey being the first paranormal/dystopian that I loved. I’ll definitely miss the thrill of being in the Black City world.

Charged with electrifying action, mind-blowing revelations, and passionate romance, Wings is a breathtaking grand finale to a series that’s too remarkable to be forgotten. Captivating until the end!

 

Rating:

5/5 stars

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

Please click on the link below and it will direct you to the Rafflecopter form!

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Before you leave my blog, have fun by answering this QUIZ:

 Which character from WINGS are you?

Let me know your result in the comment section below! 🙂

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For the complete schedule of the #WingsPHBlogTour, head over to The Bookaholic Blurbs!

2 Awesome Bookish Events in June and July!

National Book Store’s bringing two YA authors to the Philippines in June and July— JENNY HAN AND STEPHANIE PERKINS! AMAZING, right? I hope to see you guys at both events and let’s fangirl together! 🙂

Poster - Jenny Han

For information on the Jenny Han Book Signing Tour, please click on the links below:

Event Page

FAQs

Poster - Stephanie Perkins

For more information on the Stephanie Perkins Book Signing Tour, please click on the links below:

Event Page 

FAQs 

The Liebster Award

Hi guys! I’m nominated for a Liebster Award! *flails* Thank you so much to Alexis of Alexis Adores Books for nominating me. It’s such an honor! Alexis asked me some questions that I’m sharing with you today along with my answers!

 

1. If you could suddenly transport into your favorite book World, which would you choose and why?

The world of Harry Potter! I grew up reading the Harry Potter series and I’ve always fantasized being friends with the characters, studying at Hogwarts, and doing magic with a wand from Ollivanders.

 

2. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? 

Vanilla!

 

3. What do you see in your blog’s future?

I see my blog still up and running and recommending books that people would enjoy. There will come a time that I’ll stop blogging, probably when I’m really old but one thing’s for sure, I’ll never stop reading!

 

4. If someone wrote a book about your life, what would they title it? 

Chasing The Stars. Why? Because I will never stop until I reach my dreams.

 

5. What are you most proud of?

My passion for writing that is infused with creativity and life.

 

6. What are three things you cannot live without? 

My glasses, cellphone, and books!

 

7. What makes you unique?

Simple things like ice cream make me instantly happy.

 

8. What is the wallpaper on your cellphone?

The cover of Rain by Amanda Sun.

 

9. What song always makes you happy when you hear it?

Back To You by Twin Forks. I first heard the song on the TV show, Reign, and I’ve been in love with it ever since. I always get positive vibes when I listen to it.

 

10. What is your dream vacation?

A trip to Europe with my parents. I want to go to England, France, and Italy!

 

11. What did you want to be when you were little? 

I wanted to be a lawyer. But as I grew older and became exposed to books, specifically fiction, that dream changed. Reading sparked the writing bug in me and I realized that I loved the craft. Breathing life to characters and places that exist only in my imagination is really fun and worthwhile.

 

11 Facts About Me

1. I’m an only child.

2. I’m a One Direction fan.

3. I graduated college at age 19.

4. I’m scared of heights.

5. I love bright-colored pens.

6. I love Hello Kitty.

7. I enjoyed reading the Baby-Sitters Little Sister series when I was in grade school.

8. I wrote a letter to author Ann M. Martin when I was in 4th grade and she replied!

9. I love reading contemporary YA.

10. I spell everything out in text messages.

11. My favorite 90s movie is Matilda.

 

 

 

ARC Review: The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

The Chapel WarsTitle: The Chapel Wars

Author: Lindsey :Leavitt

Publication date: May 6, 2014

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 304

Source: e-ARC from publisher via Netgalley (Thank you, Bloomsbury!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Book Depository

Synopsis:

Acclaimed author Lindsey Leavitt brings her trademark heart, humor, and romance to her hometown–Vegas
Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?

And then there’s Grandpa’s letter. Not only is she running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money–fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family’s mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and… Dax. No wait, not Dax.

Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there’s a wedding chapel to save.

My review:

The Chapel Wars is my first Lindsey Leavitt book and I enjoyed it! First off, I like the author’s writing style. Bright, authentic and witty, it surely is an attention grabber. There was never a moment where I got bored reading the story. It’s purely entertaining and that’s the first thing I look for in a YA romantic comedy novel. In fact, I envisioned The Chapel Wars as a rom-com movie as I read it! Moreover, with its unique concept, engaging Romeo and Juliet-inspired storyline, and Las Vegas setting, who wouldn’t want to read this book?

Holly, the main character, is fascinating in its real sense of the word. What drew me to her was how mature she acts. At seventeen, she exemplifies the persona of a twenty-something adult. Carrying the responsibility to continue her deceased Grandpa Jim’s legacy and to keep his wedding chapel in business, it’s an acceptable reason for Holly to conduct herself that way. I truly admire Holly’s hard work, dedication, and perseverance to save the chapel. She dealt with its financial crisis with professionalism and grace. However, I pity Holly because she did not have the chance to live a normal teenage life. It was always school-work-home, school-work-home, and the cycle goes on. And then she meets Dax, the cute guy from the wedding chapel owned by Grandpa Jim’s rival, Victor Cranston. So now you see the resemblance to R&J: Family rivalry.

The romance in this novel is lovable and amusing. Who would have thought that the love of your life is just next-door, or in Holly’s case, at the next-door chapel? Dax and Holly’s conversations gave me happy feels. But most of all, their relationship felt so genuine and believable! Sure, Dax and Holly have a lot of sweet moments; nevertheless, they also have ups and downs especially when chapel business interferes. And yet they hold on and find a way to make their relationship work. Readers would be delighted to feast their eyes on Dax’s swoon-worthy lines that will make them smile for days.

Aside from the romance and family feud, The Chapel Wars addresses other issues such as grief and divorce. Those put a beautiful balance to the comical aspect of the story. What’s more, it is through those issues that the characters’ flaws and vulnerability become apparent. It’s wonderful how the delicate subject matters illustrate the inner struggles of the characters that make them well rounded and relatable.

The Chapel Wars is a charming contemporary YA written with humor and heart. Rom-com fans would definitely enjoy this book!

 

Rating:

4/5 stars

 

An Interview with Samantha Shannon, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Bone Season

Hi everyone! I have Samantha Shannon, New York Times bestselling author of The Bone Season, on the blog today! Get to know to know more about Samantha and her books in this exclusive interview!

 

1. When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?

When I was about twelve or thirteen.

 

2. How did you come up with the idea for The Bone Season?

I was working in London in the district of Seven Dials in Covent Garden in 2011. There are a few stores in the area that sell crystal balls and tarot cards and offer psychic readings, and I came up with the idea of a society of clairvoyants living in London. Then I had an image of a girl having the same day at work that I was having, but she happened to be clairvoyant. I combined that with a previous idea I’d had about supernatural creatures controlling Oxford, and ‘The Bone Season’ was born.

 

3. What made you decide to write fantasy?

It provides the best opportunities for worldbuilding, which is the part of writing I most enjoy.

 

4. What were the challenges you encountered while writing the first book in the Bone Season series?

The biggest challenging was explaining the world to readers, and it did involve a fair bit of exposition in the end. I thought it was important for readers to get to grips with the rules quickly, even if there had to be a few pages of explanation before I jumped into the plot.

 

5. What is the best part in building the world of the Bone Season series?

Creating the alternate history and thinking about how the events of the past impact on Paige’s world. I love taking bits of the Victorian era and mixing them into the futuristic milieu of Scion London.

 

6. What song best describes the series?

‘Merchant Prince’ by Thomas Bergersen.

 

7.  What makes a good storyteller?

Someone who can make you turn the page.

 

8. Would you consider writing a novel in a different genre? If so, what would it be and why?

Definitely. I don’t want to restrict myself to just one category. Generally speaking I’m quite anti-genre; I like to mix and match. I’d be particularly interested in veering towards sci-fi, high fantasy or steampunk.

 

9. The Mime Order is the second book in the Bone Season series coming out on October 21st 2014. What can readers look forward to it?

New characters, old characters, a deeper look at the world of Scion London and the clairvoyant underworld, and lots more.

 

10. What is your advice to young writers who aspire to be like you?  

Write the story you want to write. Trust your own voice and your gut instinct first. Most importantly, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re writing is too experimental or unusual, or that your way of writing is “wrong”. There is no right or wrong way to build a world or write a story.

 

Samantha Shannon’s books:


13636400It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.


But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

 

17901125Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal penal colony of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the fugitives are still missing and she is the most wanted person in London.

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided. Will Paige know who to trust? The hunt for the dreamwalker is on.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

 

 

 

 

Purchase the books: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Book Depository / Fully Booked 

 

Calling all Bone Season fans in NYC! Samantha Shannon is coming to your city!

YA Lit at 92Y
 
When: Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. 
Where: 92Y, Lexington Ave, 92nd Street, NYC 

 

 

ARC Review: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

Wish You Were ItalianTitle: Wish You Were Italian (If Only, #2)

Author: Kristin Rae

Publication date: May 6, 2014

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 352

Source: e-ARC from publisher via Netgalley (Thank you, Bloomsbury!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble Book Depository 

Synopsis:

Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!

Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?

My review:

There are moments in life when we wish to do something yet our fears hold us back. Can relate? The book I’m reviewing on my blog today might be the one for you!

Wish You Were Italian is the definition of a worthwhile self-discovery. It is a tale that will truly inspire readers (especially teens) to face their fears, go on an adventure, and grab the opportunities that come their way. I really love it when a novel encapsulates everything that a person goes through in life. Not only do readers relate to the story but also feel that they’re a part of it.

With a fantastic cast of characters, Wish You Were Italian is such an enjoyable read! Pippa, the protagonist, is so admirable. Her transition from a girl who has a lot of inhibitions to a girl who takes a leap of faith is the most outstanding aspect of the story. Also, the decisions Pippa made in her trip to Italy led to her best chance at independence and freedom. Because of that, she is remarkable. Pippa’s best friend, Morgan, plays an important role in in the story. I commend Morgan for what she did to help Pippa come out of her shell. She’s the reason behind Pippa’s memorable and life-changing Italy adventure! Another character I loved in the book was Chiara. Her warm and friendly personality as well as her thoughtful advices for Pippa added dynamism to Wish You Were Italian.

The romance was lovable and satisfying. Okay, there are two guys in the book. One is named Darren and the other is Bruno. Although both guys are irresistibly gorgeous, I love *insert name* more. I was rooting for him and Pippa to be together since the moment they met. Sparks fly every time they see each other! Their love story is the epitome of magical destiny. 🙂 

Wish You Were Italian has the sweetest and most brilliant revelation that I’ve ever read in contemporary YA romance! So much swoony feels in that last scene. My heart was a puddle of melted gelato after reading it. 🙂 The final moment was totally a delightful surprise and I couldn’t think of a more perfect ending than that. SO. MUCH. FEELS! ❤

Kristin Rae’s writing is fresh, lovely, and engaging. What I loved about her style is that her words echo the earnest desires and genuine emotions of the characters. Oh and she has a knack for describing places beautifully! Reading Wish You Were Italian was like a real adventure in Italy. I appreciated the country’s food (gelato and pizza!!), people, and lifestyle. Seriously, my desire to visit Italy someday was magnified because of this book!

Before reading Wish You Were Italian, my view of bravery and self-confidence were completely different from each other. Bravery for me was facing your fears even if you’re scared. While, self-confidence was believing in yourself in spite of the doubts and fears you have in your heart. But then I thought of bringing bravery and self-confidence together to come up with an idea for those who seek inspiration in discovering themselves: You can never be brave when you do not believe in yourself. When we remember this idea, we will experience the adventure of a lifetime just like Pippa had.

Charming and uplifting, Wish You Were Italian is a debut novel that will sweep you off your feet. I highly encourage you to add this book to your TBR pile! You’ll thank me for it. 🙂

 

 

Rating:

5/5 stars