ARC Review: When We Collided by Emery Lord

27235365Title: When We Collided

Author: Emery Lord

Publication date: April 7, 2016

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s

Pages: 344

Source: ARC from the publisher (Thank you, Bloomsbury Children’s UK!)

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

Synopsis: 

Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.

Vivi and Jonah couldn’t be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi’s zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there’s something important Vivi hasn’t told him.

Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart and Jandy Nelson, When We Collided is a powerful story of two teens whose love is put to the test by forces beyond their control.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Emery Lord is indeed one of my favorite authors when it comes to YA contemporary novels. Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You both blew me away completely, so I made it a point to include her in my “auto-buy authors” list. This year, a new Emery Lord book comes out and believe me when I say that it will rock your world.

Told in alternate POVs, When We Collided is a profound and out of the ordinary kind of beautiful story. To tell you the truth, this book surprised me—but in a good way. When We Collided started effervescent and spellbinding that I actually thought it’s a feel-good, fluffy, summer read. But then I didn’t expect it would be heavy at some point along the way. This book is full of deep and indescribable emotions that puncture every bone in your body. So you better brace yourself for that! Furthermore, When We Collided is a huge eye-opener because the author takes readers inside the mind of someone with *insert name of illness* I applaud Emery Lord for a truthful execution of the story!

The characters are authentic in all facets. Vivi Alexander is a ball of sunshine. Her positive outlook is so contagious! Smart, creative, and full of surprises, she has magic in her that I can’t explain! However, beneath Vivi’s shimmering outward persona is a dark, mysterious version of herself. On the other hand, Jonah Daniels is a caring and responsible person. He takes care of his family, always putting them first. He’s also a sweet and thoughtful guy! He does swoon-worthy things for Vivi that totally melted my heart! ❤

Although the romance developed a bit fast for me, I admire the Vivi and Jonah moments that were charming and downright magical! I love how they understand each one’s flaws and supported one another as they treaded the road of love, acceptance, and healing.

Emery Lord’s writing is genuinely remarkable like an artwork oozing with zest. It’s easy to get lost in an Emery Lord book because the words will pull you in, bind your attention to the story, and never let you go. Most of all, I love how Emery writes realistic relationships and scenarios that readers could associate with at once.

A powerful story that will knock you off your feet, When We Collided is a perfect reminder that love brightens up life even when it is clothed in darkness.

Rating:

4.5/5 stars

Book Review: Blindsided by Natalie Whipple

BlindsidedTitle: Blindsided (Transparent, #2) 

Author: Natalie Whipple 

Publication date: January 2, 2014 

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Pages: 330 

Source: Finished copy provided by publisher (Thank you, Hot Key Books!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Book Depository / Hot Key Books

Synopsis: 

Three months after Fiona escapes from her father’s syndicate, all seems well in her tiny town of Madison, Arizona. She and Seth are happy together – apart from the teensy fact of Fiona being jealous that Seth can see through her invisibility – and her family and friends are safe. But when the local syndicate and even the Army show up, it’s clear there’s more going on in town than she could ever imagine. It seems like these huge powers are interested in the old Radiasure factory – could they be reproducing the infamous drug that caused mutations? – and everyone suspects Fiona of knowing more than she should. As Fiona and her friends try to cover their tracks, they discover that they do have some dangerous knowledge. Though at first determined to stop anyone from remaking Radiasure, Fiona learns a secret that could change everything, including her invisibility. Torn between her own desires and the greater good, Fiona might be too blindsided to see the real villain coming.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

After reading the last sentence in Transparent, I strongly felt that there’s a lot more to be explored in its unique world. I was so ecstatic when I learned that there’s going to be a sequel! Blindsided immediately became part of my 2014 TBR list. But waiting to read the sequels of books we love feels like a million years, doesn’t it? So I would like to thank the amazing Hot Key Books for sending me an early copy. 🙂

Blindsided. Wow. Natalie Whipple crafted a thrilling roller coaster ride of a story that amazed me in so many ways. All the intense situations, action-packed scenes, and unexpected twists pushed me to the edge of my seat. My heartbeat skipped along with every gasp that escaped my lips. The mystery and suspense surrounding the story made me feel like I was watching a crime/action movie the whole time I was reading! Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger or a string of questions that prompted my fingers to turn the next page.

In Blindsided, readers are carried back to Madison, Arizona, where main character Fiona and her mother appear to live a normal life. I appreciated Fiona in this book because she truly grew as a character. She is braver and better this time.

The significance of family is one of the things I loved in Transparent. I’m so happy that it still plays a huge part in the sequel. It was good to see Fiona’s mom fulfill the duties of a doting mother—taking care of her children and prioritizing their safety. Fiona’s brothers, Miles and Graham, are totally noteworthy. Miles has been the affectionate and watchful brother since Transparent. He’ll always be one of my favorite fictional brothers! Graham, on the other hand, surprised me a lot. It’s as if his bad reputation burned to the ground and a new Graham emerged from the ashes. I think the Graham portrayed in Blindsided is the real Graham—a devoted and concerned son and brother.

Fiona and her boyfriend Seth are closer than before. There are more sweet scenes between them that will make readers flail and squeal in excitement. Seth is a very charming, kind-hearted, loving, and patient guy. Not to mention overprotective because he fears losing the girl he loves. Oh. My. Heart! What more can Fiona ask for? On top of that, Seth is the only one who fully understands Fiona inside and out. However, Fiona’s issues about her invisibility and physical appearance put their relationship to the test.

Fiona’s friends, also known as The Pack, is back in full force with their all out support, great fighting spirit, and yes, funny antics. I can say that Blindsided is one of the books that best depict genuine friendship. The unity, strength, and faith displayed by the characters made their bond stronger.

A cool, smart, and fearless character whose initials are L and S is also introduced in Blindsided. It was such a delight to meet her! What I loved about L.S. is that her character added rhythm and spark to the story. Readers will definitely find her awesome! 

Blindsided proves that we can find true happiness when we let go of the things that make us feel bad and live life the way it is. 2014 is off to a great start with this remarkable tale of love, friendship, trust, and embracing everything that makes us who we are.

Rating:

4.5/5 stars

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