A Series of DNFs

What is it like to write DNF reviews? For me, it seems to be the most terrible thing I’ve ever done as a book blogger. Books are treasures, but what if you don’t like a particular story? Or in my case, one story after another? I feel that I’m the odd one out when I don’t like the story everyone loves as well as feel very awful when I write DNF reviews.

Now this post is for three books that I have DNF-ed in the past few months because I didn’t enjoy them. I’m soooo sorry! 😦 Most of you loved these books, but I just couldn’t identify with any of them and their characters. There were also dragging parts that felt like forever. Plus, with the endless TBR pile that all book bloggers have, I don’t want to waste my time reading a book that doesn’t thrill me. 😦

 

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

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Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

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*Photos from Goodreads

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!

ARC Review: Ink by Amanda Sun (Paper Gods #1)

InkTitle: Ink

Author: Amanda Sun

Published: July 5, 2013

Publisher: MIRA Ink

Pages: 384

Source: e-ARC from the publisher

Synopsis:

A MAGIC MIGHTIER THAN ANY SWORD

A DESTINY THAT CAN’T BE DENIED

Katie Greene is lost in the wake of her mum’s death. Sent to Japan, she meets gorgeous but aloof artist Tomohiro, whose tough attitude intrigues and scares her. Then things get really strange. When they’re near each other, Tomohiro’s drawings start to come to life…

Soon the wrong people begin to ask questions, and Katie and Tomohiro must risk everything to protect the truth

*Image and synopsis from Goodreads

My review: 

For a long time, I’ve been wishing to read a paranormal/fantasy YA novel set in Asia and has a unique and compelling plot. I browsed every shelf at bookstores looking for something that suits my interest, but did not find any. I wanted a story that will blow my mind with its awesomeness and will make me beg for more after reading the last page. I discovered Ink from a book blog late last year and I considered that moment an answered prayer. I was instantly dazzled by the gorgeous cover and the equally undeniable synopsis. Set in Japan? Drawings come to life? Oh my gosh, I WANT this book! I put Ink in my 2013 TBR list right away.

Amanda Sun did a great job in telling the story. Her thorough and comprehensible descriptions combined with the well-paced story sequence made this debut novel a vibrant read. Ink immediately whisked me away from reality and shoved me into a glittering fictional world that radiates color, magic and mystery. I’ve never been to Japan but when I read Ink, I felt like I went on a field trip to that country. Amanda Sun captured the soul and magnificence of Japan’s reality and outstandingly integrated it into fiction. Her first hand experience of living in Japan is a huge factor in presenting its rich culture. Authenticity bleeds on every page and that’s one of the reasons why I find this book so good. I’ve always had a thing for effortless and organic writing and Ink embodied those qualities.

I found the Japanese words planted within the story—places, food, expressions—really interesting and informative. I was not only reading for enjoyment but also learning at the same time. Ink made me appreciate the Japanese culture and language. In fact, I remembered my Japanese foster sister, Yuri, who stayed with my family for a few days last December 2012. She and her classmates had an educational tour in the Philippines. Yuri taught us a few Japanese words and one of those was Ohayo.

The paranormal aspect of Ink is fantastic. It certainly gave the story a heartbeat that resonates in its entirety. The Kami enraptured me with their power and mystique. I was just a few chapters into Ink when I felt the mythology’s mystery embracing me with its allure. Because of that, it became impossible for me to stop reading so I let myself fall into its trap. I devoured Ink in three days and it was a phenomenal experience.

Katie and Tomohiro are both wonderful characters. Katie is a brave, independent and motivated girl. She doesn’t give up easily and would really fight for what she wants. On the other hand, Tomohiro is a tough guy. Yet beneath his tough exterior is a caring and loving person. He’s a gifted artist and a good cook! Isn’t that awesome? Katie is lucky to have a boyfriend like him. If Katie wouldn’t mind, I’d like to borrow Tomohiro for a day and ask him to cook for me. Haha! Readers will undoubtedly swoon over their relationship. At first, Tomohiro was a jerk towards Katie and of course, the girl hated it. Tomohiro was an enigma, a puzzle that Katie wanted to solve. So she followed him everywhere he went until she got answers to questions swimming inside her head. As Katie and Tomohiro learned more about one another and uncovered their secrets, they fell in love. Their falling in love was kind of fast but it was so sweet and adorable. 🙂

The last five sentences of Ink gave me chills and left me hanging. I could not stop thinking about the story even after I finished reading it. I’m so eager to find out what happens next but of course, I have to wait until next year for that.

Ink is a spectacular, one-of-a-kind debut novel that displays beauty and truth in the heart of a mystical world. Truly, a beautiful masterpiece.

Rating:

5/5 stars

Cover Reveal: Wings by Elizabeth Richards

Hello everyone! Are you ready to see something AWESOME? Well, here it is! 🙂

Today we are super excited to share the cover to WINGS, the third and final book in author’s Elizabeth Richard’s BLACK CITY series!


Check out this beauty! 
Wings (Black City #3) by Elizabeth Richards
 
Get the first two books in the series! 
OPEN INTERNATIONAL!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Phoenix by Elizabeth Richards [Review + Guest Post + Giveaway!]

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Hello everyone! Today’s my stop in the Phoenix Philippine Blog Tour. It’s the very first blog tour I joined which makes this post special to me! 🙂

Phoenix

Title: Phoenix

Author: Elizabeth Richards

Published: June 4, 2013

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Pages: 368

Source: ARC provided by the author

Synopsis: 

Ash and Natalie are just starting to build a life together when things in the United Sentry States go from bad to worse. Ash and Natalie find themselves at the center of turmoil when dictator Purian Rose threatens Natalie’s life unless Ash votes in favor of Rose’s Law—a law that will send Darklings and other dissenters to a deadly concentration camp known as the Tenth.

When Ash can’t bring himself to trade Natalie’s life for those of millions of Darklings, her fate is sealed. Enter Elijah Theroux, the handsome Bastet boy Natalie once saved from her mother’s labs, where he’d been experimented on and tortured. It was his venom the Sentry used to create the lethal Golden Haze, the heart of the government conspiracy that led to Black City’s uprising and Ash’s rebirth as the Phoenix, the face of the rebellion. Elijah is back and Ash doesn’t like him; it’s clear he’s taken with Natalie, and Ash fears she may have feelings for him as well.

But Elijah also may have the answer to taking down Purian Rose for good—a powerful weapon called the Ora. Ash, Natalie and Elijah just have to escape Black City undetected to find it. But fleeing the city and finding this weapon (if it even exists) are easier said than done, and the quest could tear Ash and Natalie apart, even pushing them into the arms of others.

This enthralling sequel to Black City is just as absorbing, delicious and steamy as the first book, leaving readers hungry for the series conclusion.

*Image and synopsis from Goodreads 

My review: 

Phoenix takes off a few months after the horrible events in Black City such as the riot and Ash’s execution which he miraculously survived. Purian Rose, the wicked leader of the United Sentry States wants to pass a law that will segregate the Darklings from humans. He wants Ash to vote in favor of it; or else, Natalie will die. Torn between saving his people and the girl he loves, Ash is thrust into a very serious and complex situation that tests his loyalty to the Darklings and to Natalie. The whole premise of Rose’s Law has a hidden agenda that will shock readers at the moment of discovery. Soon, the war begins and citizens of the nation are forced to take sides to save their lives.

In Black City, readers witnessed the beginning of Ash and Natalie’s beautiful and alluring relationship. In Phoenix, on the other hand, that relationship deepens and evolves into a mature one. Despite the complicated circumstances in the story, Ash and Natalie showed how strong they are as a couple. Their relationship became rocky at some point yet both did not give up no matter how betrayed and hurt they felt. Now that is what you call true devotion. Readers will get to know more about Ash and Natalie in their internal monologues. Feelings of love, desire, heartbreak, grief, and bewilderment unfold their strengths and weaknesses in those monologues. Amid the difficult situations, there are of course sweet moments that will set readers’ hearts ablaze.

Reading the book was a grand adventure. Phoenix takes readers to dangerous and magnificent places in the United Sentry States that will leave them completely breathless. Each place Ash and Natalie went to with the sexy and gorgeous Bastet boy Elijah leads to startling revelations. Those scenes splintered my heart into pieces as I read them. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move. It felt like fiction became my reality. The emotions were so genuine and that’s one of the factors I look for in a book. I believe being real comes from within and I definitely can say that Elizabeth Richards wrote Phoenix with all her heart, making the book timeless and most of all, priceless.

Also, Phoenix wouldn’t be as spectacular as it is without the heart-stopping tension surrounding the story. There were lots of running, hiding, and bloody battle scenes! I kept pounding my bedside table as I felt tension wrapping its arms around me. My mouth unleashed an outburst of “WHAT”, “OMG” and “OH NO,” with each expression ending in infinite exclamation points. Add to that my facial expressions which made my mom curious as to what was happening to me. New characters are also introduced in Phoenix that added spice and spark to the story. Each fresh face has an essential role and contribution that made the plot twists and turns very appealing and intense.

Phoenix is a remarkable novel. I’m completely drawn to Elizabeth Richards’ powerful writing. The vivid descriptions painted clear and striking images in my mind. And the emotions embedded within the brilliantly crafted prose make the novel a magnificent work of art. Like The Sight, this amazing sequel to Black City will certainly enclose readers in an enthralling experience they’ll never forget. I seriously can’t wait for Book 3!

Rating:

5/5 stars

Guest post:

In today’s ‘Scenes That Inspired’ Elizabeth shares the building that was the inspiration behind Thrace’s infamous tiered-roof taverns, which appear in PHOENIX.

“Ash lifts the truck door, letting in a welcome blast of cool air, which smells of spices and herbs. We’re in Thrace’s bustling central market, which puts the one in Chantilly Lane to shame. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of round buildings made from red sandstone bricks. Many of the buildings have murals painted on the walls, so the city is a vision of color. But this isn’t what’s most striking. All the buildings have elaborately tiered roofs, covered in tiles made from a strange, shimmering metal I’ve never seen before. It’s highly polished and reflects the light, so the whole city seems to be glittering, like sunlight on the sea.”

–          From PHOENIX, page 238

THRACE

[Photo: © Amelia Vincent 2013]

 “Weirdly, the shape of Thrace’s famous taverns was inspired by this Buddhist Peace Pagoda in Milton Keynes. I loved the tiered roof, circular shape of the building, and the stone carvings on the wall, and wanted to incorporate it into my novel. However, I wanted the taverns to have a rustic-meets-futuristic feel, which is why they’re made from red sandstone bricks with hand-painted murals on them, but have these advanced-technology, solar paneled roofs.”

About the author:

Elizabeth Richards

Elizabeth Richards is an award-winning journalist, who spent her early career reviewing video games before making the bold (or crazy) move into travel writing, despite suffering from terrible travel sickness. In her spare time, she ran a successful lifestyle website aimed at teenage girls, where she got to interview many of her favorite bands, go to gigs and                                                       basically blag loads of free swag all in the name of ‘research’.

Elizabeth lives in Buckinghamshire, England, with her husband. BLACK CITY is her debut novel. The sequel, PHOENIX, is out on June 4, 2013.

Fun facts about…Elizabeth Richards 

  • She’s an identical twin…and yes, she is the evil one.
  • She’s part sloth.
  • She hopes to see 10 volcanoes before she dies. She’s already climbed Vesuvius, had lunch on top of Mount Etna and watched Stromboli erupt at night.
  • She’s a little bit obsessed with Daniel Radcliffe.
  • Some of her favorite TV shows are Buffy, Being Erica, and Extreme Couponing.
  • Her favorite authors are JK Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Beth Revis, Stephen Fry, and Veronica Roth.

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Prizes:

One paperback copy of Black City, One hardbound copy of Phoenix, and swag! Open INTERNATIONALLY. 🙂

Please click on the Rafflecopter link!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini

Touching the SurfaceTitle: Touching the Surface

Author: Kimberly Sabatini

Published: October 30, 2012

Publisher:  Simon Pulse

Pages: 352

Source: Won from a giveaway (Thanks to author Daisy Whitney! 🙂 )

Synopsis:

Experience the afterlife in this lyrical, paranormal debut novel that will send your heart soaring.When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.

*Image and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Touching the Surface is a unique and enthralling story about the afterlife. Although it falls under the paranormal genre, it has a firm grasp of the complex realities of life. Each character in the story deals with issues from their previous lives that they have to understand in order to move on. The “delves” or the flashbacks of the characters’ lives showed their vulnerabilities and explained how they are connected to each other. The concept of delving is such a powerful element. Because of the delves, the holes at the beginning of the story have been filled.

I found it very interesting that the souls in the Obmil (the afterlife world) have specific scents to distinguish them from one another. Cool, right? Another thing is that they can manifest whatever scenery they have in mind!  I commend Kimberly Sabatini for her remarkable creation of a breathtaking afterlife world. *A STANDING OVATION PLEASE* 🙂

Elliot, Trevor, and Oliver are wonderful and unforgettable characters. But I have to say that Elliott is the character I was really drawn to, not because she’s the main character but because she resembles a part of me. Elliot’s courage to face her fears led her to learn how to forgive and most of all, to have faith in herself. There are times I lose faith in myself and after reading this book, I felt empowered to just let go and believe that everything will be okay. That I will be okay. Now I feel stronger and more ready to face any obstacle that will come my way because I believe I can.

Thank you for this wonderful book, Kimberly Sabatini. You’re an amazing writer! I look forward to reading your next book. 🙂

Rating:

4/5 stars

Book Review: Black City by Elizabeth Richards

ImageTitle: Black City

Author: Elizabeth Richards

Published: November 13, 2012

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons BYR

Pages: 374

Source: Won from a Twitter giveaway (Thank you Elizabeth! 🙂 )

Synopsis: 

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths

*Image and synopsis from Goodreads 

My review: 

This breathtaking dystopian/paranormal romance story got me hooked from the very first page. The intriguing world of Black City as well as the unique and intense love story of Ash and Natalie totally lured me. Scenes were perfectly woven together and the pacing is really good. It’s not too fast and not too slow, which I really like in books because readers could easily follow and connect the dots.

The writing is flawless–words are all effortlessly beautiful. I love that it is written in alternate points of view because readers get to understand how Ash and Natalie truly feel and think. Elizabeth Richards, thank you for giving your readers the chance to experience the world of Black City through the eyes of Ash and Natalie. Both of them are amazing and well-developed characters with strong voices and personalities. They’re so different, yet so perfect for each other.

Be ready for suspenseful, unexpected plot twists and turns! I was on the edge of my seat the whole time!

Black City is a story brimming with sparkling magnificence, blazing fierceness, and forbidden yet genuine and passionate love. This book will always have a special place in my heart. 🙂

Rating:

5/5 stars