Friday, December 12, 2014

{Scavenger Hunt} Relish by Kate Evangelista



Hi, guys!

Welcome to The Soul Sisters and we're happy to have you her. We're hoping that you are enjoying the Scavenger Hunt so far and that the pages of the first chapter of Relish are keeping you satisfied. We're excited to give to the next page of chapter one. Enjoy!

~Page 4~


I reached up to check my patch. Its velvety hardness a small comfort amidst the numbness. Like I’d predicted the morning I’d gotten on a plane home, I spent the rest of the holidays on my mother’s couch feeling sorry for myself. From time to time she would make her disgusting brown tea and forced me to guzzle the stuff down. I didn’t protest since sleep usually followed. When she asked me what had happened, I told her I signed an NDA that prevented me from talking about it. The resulting creased forehead and concerned gaze almost guilt-tripped me into forgetting about the potential lawsuit and confessing everything. Good thing Mom never felt the need to press when I clearly didn’t want to talk. I loved her so much for that.

            Instead, when she wasn’t making tea, she cooked comfort food—mac ‘n cheese with bacon bits. I must have consumed my body weight in processed-cheese-covered noodles and mint chocolate chip ice cream. She asked if my state of pathetic depression had to do with a guy. I nodded and she left it at that. Did I mention how much I loved my mother?

            Waiting for my laptop to boot, I frowned at how slow it took. I may have to buy a new one since the processor of the current one couldn’t handle the workload anymore. Sad since the little silver trooper had been with me since freshman year. But, alas, some relationships end.

            Gah. My dream put me in a funky mood.

Stepping away from my desk, I shuffled to the kitchen and hit the button on the coffeemaker. The money I’d made for the promo shots for Vicious burned a hole in my bank account. Some opportunity working for one of the most popular indie bands out there turned out to be. I might as well put what I’d earned to good use. I hadn’t even touched the shopping spree debit card the band’s manager and their lead vocalist had given me for Christmas. If I could avoid shopping, I generally did, like a trip to the dentist. I gave in to missing Yana and Phoenix. Along with Deidra, the maid assigned to take care of me, they came close to what I’d consider best friends during my time at Lunar Manor.


More about Relish:


Placeholder from Goodreads.
Title: Relish (Vicious Feast #2)
Author: Kate Evangelista
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Publication date: January 12th 2015


I left Lunar Manor broken, seeking comfort in the hands of Laurel “the Dragon” Hardy, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Gossip. Okay, I may have used him to ease the pain He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named caused by his confession of loving someone else. On New Year’s Eve! Granted, he was drunk off his ass, but still! I stay with Larry mainly because the dreams are getting worse. Worse enough to wake me in the middle of the night needing the touch of another to save me from losing my mind.

Unfortunately, the handsome bassist of the uber successful indie rock band, Vicious, is never far from my mind. I thought I was rid of him once and for all only to have him show up at my hotel in London. Luka Visraya’s power over me is intense. No matter how far I run, I always end up circling back to him.

If you think my story is just some romance about two lovers getting back together, think again. Little did I know that returning to Luka meant I’d be plunging myself into a world more familiar than I ever thought possible. Trust me when I say I didn’t believe it either when the truth finally came out.

About the author:

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn't going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department and never looked back. Today, she is a graduate of De La Salle University - Manila with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature. She taught high school English for three years and was an essay consultant for two. Currently she writes full-time and is based in the Philippines.

You can find her here:

Twitter / Website / Facebook / Goodreads / Tumblr / Wattpad / Instagram




*A big thanks for Kate for letting us join the scavenger hunt! Woohoo! (Seriously cannot wait to read Relish.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review: In Bloom by Katie Delahanty

Title: In Bloom (The Brightside #1)
Author: Katie Delahanty
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Embrace)
Publication date: February 10th 2014
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble



My name is Olivia Bloom and I. Am. Free.

I left for LA with everything I owned piled into my old Volkswagen and dreams of becoming a costume designer. Little did I know I’d wind up designing for a lingerie company—yeah, not sure how I landed this gig—and taken under the wing of two young Hollywood insiders. The fashion shows and parties were great, but life really got exciting when the seriously hottest lead singer of my favorite band started to fall for me. 

How does someone like me, an ordinary girl from Pittsburgh, wind up in the arms of the world’s sexiest rock star—surrounded by celebrities, fashion, and music—and not be eaten alive? Berkeley is everything I've ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, but the paparazzi, the tabloids, the rumors, it's all getting a bit too crazy. My life has become every girl’s dream come true, if only I don’t blink and lose it all…

(Cover photo and summary taken form Goodreads.)

Review:

I am trying to think of a proper way to form my thoughts because I am literally this ball of mush and feelings right now. Even though In Bloom managed to get me out of my blogging funk, I am having a really hard time putting my thoughts together because of all the adore I have for this book.

Olivia "Liv" Bloom was a great and fun character to see through, her thoughts and reactions to things never failed to make me smile. I love how genuine she was as a character and I could tell that Katie Delahanty had fun writing from Liv's perspective because the flow of her thoughts and her mini-internal monologues were very smooth and well constructed (and her wit definitely had me laughing). Liv is the kind of person who prefers to blend in and just watch from a distance but when her friends decided to give her a makeover and push her into the spotlight, she gets a different kind of attention albeit short-lived; but I did feel like it wasn't because of that transformation that helped her become more confident, I think it was because of the attention Berkeley gave her. Like a flower just waiting for someone's attention for it to finally bloom, and that's what Olivia did, she bloomed.

Um... can I please have my own Berkeley? Because I need seven of him, one for every day of the week, seriously. Berkeley is one of the most refreshing male protagonists I have ever read about. In a sea of alpha-male rock stars, he is one of the only compassionate and genuinely nice guys out there. Even though he exudes rock star vibes, he didn't have the normal characteristics of the average rock star you normally see in other books, which is why I loved him so much. I am not going to elaborate but oh my word, that thing he did? Swooniest thing ever.

In Bloom isn't without its faults, there were times when the story would start to lean towards the cliche love story but Katie Delahanty was still able to make it her own. And I definitely appreciated the conflict in this story, it added drama and I found myself getting teary-eyed and heart-achey when I was reading Liv's feelings on the issue. Arrgh, so many feels. Oh and an added bonus for anyone who isn't into explicit love scenes. I really commend Katie Delahanty for being able to give a steamy and sexy story without going too far. (You won't be embarrassed to read this book in front of your parents or grandparents, lol.)

Even though the story focused on Liv and her journey through life and also her relationship with Berkeley, I still noted the minor characters of the book. They gave In Bloom an extra umph that made it more exciting and entertaining. The occupants of the Vicente had me smiling every time they had scenes in the book; Liv's friends, Parker and Blair, made me wish that I had friends like them. They were supportive but also knew when to push Liv to be more courageous, they were amazing. And Willis with his Betty! Omg, just lol-ing right now. Liv's psychic mom had me smiling as well, her predictions and bits of advice were crazy but insanely entertaining. I also really liked the tweets at the beginning of every chapter, they were fun and added something new and unique to the story.

In Bloom isn't about the perfect Hollywood dream nor is it a love story about getting everything you could have ever wanted, it's about real people who go through problems and managing to overcome those obstacles together. It's about trust, love and everything in between. This book makes me want to throw flower petals everywhere and look for my own Berkeley. #foreveralone I honestly cannot recommend this book enough. You need this book. Need.

 Rating:
.5

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Event Recap: Marie Lu Bloggers' Forum + Book Signing


I cannot even tell you how much I looked forward to the Marie Lu event. Not even enough, seriously. After a ridiculously hell-ish week in school, only getting the magic email in my inbox and the thought of meeting the Marie Lu got me through it all. By Saturday, I absolutely could not contain my excitement, I legit almost peed myself because I was that excited to meet her. Fortunately, I was able to hold in all bodily fluids (thank you, Lord). And when Sunday finally came, it was glorious.

They don't just look pretty, they smell good too.

Upon arriving at an undisclosed venue, I was met with the cheers of my fellow book bloggers and the sight of a lovely Marie Lu book display. Of course, seeing the pretty books piled together only added to my excitement and all that was really left was the wait. Luckily, I had the amazingly crazy companionship of my blogger friends and the wait didn't seem as long. And finally, the guest of honor arrived with a special introduction from our ever fabulous host, Chad Dee.

Marie and Chad looking very sharp
(from the back row, lol).

And with that, the forum quickly began. And here are a few things we learned from the interview:
  • If anyone had asked Marie who she was most like in the books, she'd have told you Day pre-Legend and June post-Champion.
  • Marie is least like June because June is very left-brained while Marie is more in touch with her creative side. Also, in the scene wherein June goes into a very deep discussion about paper clips and their elements, Marie had to read a whole Wikipedia page about paper clips for about an hour or so just for that dialogue.
  • Between Day and June, June is more of the rebel because she chose to sacrifice and change her whole life (instead of choosing to live the sheltered and luxurious life she did) for Day and the cause.
  • Marie used to work in the video game industry at Disney and yes, princess games and also Prince Caspian (yum!) were involved. She chose that route instead of attending law school. (That is also where she met her Elector Primo. #kilig) She also thanks her experience in the video game industry for the very cinematic and badass action scenes in her book.
  • Marie actually doesn't know what happens after Champion but she is very optimistic. *hint hint*
  • Marie turned in the first 100 pages of the original draft of The Young Elites and her editor strongly disliked *cough*hated*cough* it but Marie asked for a second chance because she could not imagine a life wherein she could not write a Fantasy novel.
  • The original protagonist of The Young Elites was a goody two shoes guy with Clark Kent tendencies aka he loved everyone. Adelina was originally the villain of the original novel and since Marie enjoyed writing her the most, she decided to rewrite The Young Elites in Adelina's perspective.
  • Marie grew up reading a lot of Science Fiction and Fantasy so she knows that she will definitely be staying between those two genres.
  • Marie can only write while listening to music with either no lyrics or sung in a different language but anything she can understand messes with her train of thought. Also, she loves writing in trains even though she has only done it once.
  • Before she writes any of her books, Marie draws her characters to properly get a visual and characterization from them.
Marie answering some questions.

Well, that's it! And now, onto the fun part: the book signing.

Marie signing this very shiny book.

Marie drawing on my copy of Prodigy.
Marie drawing on my copy of The Young Elites
Celine's (Two Ends of a Bookshelf) doodled copy of The Young Elites.
(Yes, that is indeed Adelina and Enzo smooching.)
Marie and I complementing each other's prettiness. Lol.
Srsly tho.

The Hardest Selfie Ever 8.0! Holy crap, we've done that many? Also,
welcome to the family Sab (Sab the Book Eater)!

And after all that fun, we took our last shot of the day.

Group photo! Whoot.
I then ate at Chili's with my #TeamActiveRomance baes.
Then off to the public signing we went!

Marie Lu's stage. Very comfy looking couches over there.
Honestly, it was very difficult getting into the book signing itself because by the time we got there, there were over 700+ people in attendance, and the crowd just kept growing. I was amazed at how they were able to fit that many people in their store. But seriously, looking at that crowd.

A bit of the crowd from above.

A bit of the crowd from the side.

People waiting by the doors for Marie Lu to arrive.
Fans cosplaying as Marie Lu's characters! They look awesome.

I seriously look up to all the people who waited for Marie Lu. The earliest bird in attendance arrived at 9:30 AM the day before, that is so crazy but admirable at the same time. #dedication I wish that I had gotten more photos from the book signing but I just couldn't, I tried to penetrate the crowd but they were tight. Lol. Here are the last of the pictures I took:

More book displays! The pretties.

Met Kevin (Tomebound) and Selva (Cuckoo For Books)!

I seriously had so much fun but by the time I left for good, I was exhausted. The walking, the wait and the heat killed me but meeting Marie Lu and seeing my blogger friends was worth all those things. I had an amazing time and it was a pleasure to meet Marie Lu, seriously.

My signed copies of Marie Lu's books.
Let us happy cry and fangirl together.
As always, there are so many people to thank and I will do my best to get everyone. The biggest thanks goes to National Book Store, their team (Sir Chad, Sir JB, Sir Louie, Miss Loraine, Miss Malou and everyone else I may have missed, thank you so much) and to Marie Lu for agreeing to come to the Philippines (please bring your hubby next time, lol). Thanks to Kai (Amaterasu Reads), Kate (The Bookaholic Blurbs) and Jesselle (The Lifelong Bookworm) for the pictures! A big smoochy thank you to my #TeamActiveRomance babes, I love you all. Seriously. And last but never the least, my parents for supporting me and for everything and God for blessing me and also for everything. Thank You.

For more Marie Lu love, check out Marie's message to her Filipino fans:



And gorgeous Champion-inspired nails done by Nicole (The Twins Read), feel free to talk Nicole and her awesome nail creations at


Also, be sure to watch our Facebook page (link here) because we will be doing a Marie Lu giveaway soon. Thanks for reading, y'all! Have a great week! :)

Recaps to check out:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Title: The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1)
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication date: January 29th 2013
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble



Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells's classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman's Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we'll do anything to know and the truths we'll go to any lengths to protect.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Review:

I actually hate myself a little bit because it took me way too long to pick this book up, even though I have heard so many great things about it; and now that I have finally read it, I can say that The Madman's Daughter is easily one of my favorite books of all time. My love for any book that can mess me up psychologically has never steered me wrong (all my favorites are mindf*ckers) and I am glad that I set my sights on this book. I have so many feels right now. So. Freaking. Many.

I have never really been the type to enjoy books that aren't set in the twentieth-century and onwards because historical themed novels or anything tend to get boring and I was pleasantly surprised to not have gotten bored in any part of The Madman's Daughter. I actually felt like the London setting already gave a hint for the darkness that would come next, like a foreshadowing of sorts. I was very impressed by the way Megan Shepherd set a slow but menacing pace to the book, like that feeling you get when you are being watched, you don't know who and where that person is but you just feel the discomfort and fear. That's what it was like reading The Madman's Daughter, I knew something sinister was going to happen and I readied myself for anything but what Megan Shepherd revealed was more than what I could possibly have expected. Mind = blown. Also, Megan Shepherd gives really good suspense. I found myself furiously flipping pages and drinking everything in because I felt that if I stopped, I would lose that momentum that was growing and growing, and I just couldn't stop. I couldn't put the book down!

Megan Shepherd has a lot of amazing words. The dialogues and especially Juliet's inner thoughts and reflections really got to me. There was darkness in her words and more than a touch of madness, but they were what made them so appealing and unique. I don't even want to know what frame of thought Megan Shepherd had to put herself into to create such an authentically distraught and slightly disturbed mind but I applaud her for it. She definitely has a talent of weaving words, sentences, and pages with not just meaning but also emotion and a rawness that not a lot of authors can put into their books. Her words gripped me with sharpened claws and did not let go. I can still feel the pressure and lingering madness that Megan Shepherd's writing left behind. And she will keep you guessing, you will not be able to see the plot twists she has in store for you, trust me. I was completely caught off guard.

For a girl who was raised as an upper class citizen, Juliet Moreau definitely had a wildness to her that I know the London society won't approve of. But lucky for her, between working as a maid after her family's fall from grace and moving to her father's mysterious island, the London society had no time to judge her for any indiscretions. And yay, because she didn't care what they thought anyway so, ha! I don't know if you can already tell but I really liked Juliet, not just as a character but a human being as well. That rebellious and fierce part of Juliet gave her a spark that most characters don't have. She wasn't flamboyant when it came to her snark unlike most protagonists, she was subtle and knew when to unleash all that wit. Each move from her was very calculated but also impulsive, Juliet was definitely a walking contradiction, and I say this in the best way possible. Her unpredictableness made her all the more exciting and made her (mis)adventures even more dangerous. There were times when I felt like Juliet wasn't afraid of anything... and the thing was, she wasn't. At least, not anything completely physical, of course. I think she was more afraid of the darkness that lived inside of her, that she inherited too much of her Father's madness to be normal. However, it was also her Father's blood that gave her her intelligence and curiosity so she didn't completely lose out. The internal battle going inside her mind was very clear, that urge to drive away all that tainted blood but no matter how much a we may fight ourselves, no one ever really wins, we just give up and accept it. Kind of like Juliet, that dark part of her also helped her even if she couldn't accept it. Oh and cue crazy plot twist somewhere in the book.

Normally, I'd totally be shaming a book for having a love triangle because books tend to get extra messy when they do and the characters end up becoming annoying but I was actually pretty okay with what happened in The Madman's Daughter. I wasn't a fan of the times when Juliet would get absorbed whether she liked Montgomery or Edward more and sometimes, the romance-y parts of the book didn't fit into the scenario that was happening but generally speaking, the depth of the romance scenes gave it extra points. The chemistry and bond between Montgomery, Juliet and Edward was very interesting. I found myself conflicted as to who I wanted her to be with but after a while, I was totally Team Montgomery. It was hard to pick not just because they were both great guys but because it was hard to trust anyone in the book, I was suspicious of both of them. (You'll find out why when you read the book.) For a YA novel, there was definitely a lot of steam but not too steamy, if you know what I mean. *wink wink, nudge nudge* Just enough to keep you interested and definitely begging for more of that. Both the M/J and the E/J pairings really worked and I loved the interactions between all of them but I am still 100% Team Montgomery even after everything that happened.

To make things simple: Juliet's Father is a rat bastard. That is all.

Okay, even though Juliet's Father totally creeped me out, his creations were very interesting. I was mystified at how Megan Shepherd was really able to put detail and character into Father's creatures. Just, wow. They were disturbingly captivating, it was hard to look away. Megan Shepherd's writing will do that to you, keep you spellbound. Among all the creations, I adored Balthazar the most. Throughout the whole book, I wanted to give him the biggest hug ever. Such a sweet fellow. No matter how evil or dark the act may be, sometimes the result will be the exact opposite. Balthazar was an example of that, he was hope.

Argh, I just completely loved this book. I cannot recommend The Madman's Daughter enough, everything just went so well together. From the haunting writing, to the exhilarating scenes, you will not be able to stop yourself from falling in love with Megan Shepherd's novel. Even though I already have the next two books on hand, I'm doing my best to prolong the series end. Seriously so. Dang. Good. I can't even right now.

Rating
.5

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

ARC Review: Archangel's Shadows by Nalini Singh

Title: Archangel's Shadows (Guild Hunter #7)
Author: Nalini Singh
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Publication date: October 28th 2014
Source: Received from author (Thank you sooo much, Nalini and Ashwini!)
Pre-order the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble



In the wake of a brutal war, the archangel Raphael and his hunter consort, Elena, are dealing with the treacherously shifting tides of archangelic politics and the people of a battered but not broken city. The last thing their city needs is more death, especially a death that bears the eerie signature of an insane enemy archangel who cannot— should not—be walking the streets.

This hunt must be undertaken with stealth and without alerting their people. It must be handled by those who can become shadows themselves…

Ash is a gifted tracker and a woman cursed with the ability to sense the secrets of anyone she touches. But there’s one man she knows all too well without a single instant of skin contact: Janvier, the dangerously sexy Cajun vampire who has fascinated and infuriated her for years. Now, as they track down a merciless killer, their cat-and-mouse game of flirtation and provocation has turned into a profound one of the heart. And this time, it is Ash’s secret, dark and terrible, that threatens to destroy them both.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Review:

If there's one thing I am complete sure of in my life, it's that Nalini Singh is a writing goddess. I swear, that woman manages to write even deeper and more complex stories every new novel; if that's not the work of a writing goddess, then I don't know what is. Nalini Singh always manages to outdo herself so it is so difficult to choose favorites (Archangel's Shadows is currently my favorite, haha, but I'm pretty sure that'll change when I read her upcoming books), it's literally like changing clothes, you like a certain piece for a while then something better comes along and then you love that one even more, I mean this in the best way possible, of course. There's a beauty to Nalini Singh's writing that a lot of other authors can only imagine having, she has this insanely amazing ability to create such complex and intricate stories that will leave you completely shattered and renewed every time you read them. I could go on and on about my author crush on Nalini Singh but I have got a review to write, haha.

I first encountered Ashwini and Janvier as a pair in Angels' Pawn and from there on, I absolutely fell in love with them. Their playful but also sexually charged banter never fails to get me laughing or hot and bothered, their chemistry is palpable and flows from the pages of the book so that even you can feel it. But even though Ashwini and Janvier have awesome dialogues and interactions with each other, there's still a shared darkness between the two. It lurks in the corner and leaves you wondering what the two are hiding from each other (hint: crazy stuff, trust me).

Ashwini is the type of person who I'd love to be friends with; little kooky, more than a little dangerous and loyal to the bone, I adored her. My heart broke as Nalini Singh slowly peeled Ashwini's layers, exposing her, till there was nothing left to hide. The extent of what Ashwini went through and was still going through threw me off, her vulnerability shook me, seeing such a strong person reduced to someone who thought herself as something completely different shattered me. I was so amazed at how Nalini Singh was able to characterize and flesh Ashwini out as a person, I have never felt such a deep connection with a character before. I felt as if everything Ashwini was feeling was somehow being channeled to me as well, I summed it up to Nalini Singh's writing goddess powers. Being given the chance to get to know Ashwini on a deeper level was a torturously beautiful experience and yes, Archangel's Shadows is the very first Nalini Singh book I have ever cried at.

Janvier. Oh, Janvier. I cannot even express how much I fell in love with this Cajun. His devotion and obvious love for her did me in. It broke my heart even more seeing how much he was suffering because Ashwini was suffering, I was completely overwhelmed (I'm feeling it even as I type this review). Janvier definitely suffered the most, in my opinion. I won't go too much into it but I'll leave you with a though: If you're an immortal and the person you're in love with refuses to join you in immortality, what would you do? (There's more follow up questions but I won't go there anymore, it'll hurt too much.)

Good news for people who want more of the normal cast, you'll definitely get more than a glimpse of the happenings of New York, post-war. It's common knowledge how much I absolutely freaking love Illium and it was great seeing another side of him, but also a bit worrying because of the darkness growing inside of him. But if there's one character who really shined the brightest in Archangel's Shadows, it's Naasir! It was so fun getting to know him better; there's an innocence to him that makes you think that he's harmless but he's really not. Naasir is also very genuine when it comes to his actions, every move is thought out and deliberate, I completely adored him. I kinda want him as a pet, lol. His idiosyncrasies made him all the more interesting and captivating, you won't be able to help yourself, you'll be completely enthralled and enchanted by him; I know I was.

Suffice to say, you've got another winner with Archangel's Shadows, it is Nalini Singh at her finest. She blends the perfect mixture of danger and sex, lust and love, and everything else in between; she will also show you that within darkness, there will always be light. Nalini Singh will grip your heart and will not let go until she has carved a space in your heart reserved for her characters. The passion and emotions she was able to convey gave me shivers, I could feel my heart filling up with, literally, all the feels. Nalini Singh never fails to amaze me and I will never get tired of saying how much she completely blew me away with Archangel's Shadows. I. Need. MORE. (Here's to hoping that the next Guild Hunter will be about me and Illium or Illium and Aodhan because anything else is unacceptable, lol. But seriously, I am very serious.)

Rating: