Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication date: May 13th 2014
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble



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.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Review:

This book told me to lie but I am going to be honest with you and tell you how much I disliked We Were Liars. Which is a huge disappointment for me because I have been an E. Lockhart fan for a really long time, her Ruby Oliver series was pretty much my teenage Bible. But no matter how much I liked E. Lockhart's other books, I could not muster up even the slightest bit of like for this book and I did not even bother trying to. Everything was just wrong.

A lot of people will tell you how absolutely amazing this book is or how completely genius it is but all I felt while reading it was irritation, frustration, confusion and a constant feeling of self-hatred because I was forcing myself to finish reading it (unfortunately, I never DNF books). The hype for We Were Liars is incredible and when you look at the book in bits and pieces, it works but as a whole, it felt like E. Lockhart took a bunch of random things that should never go together and threw them all together and hoped that she got enough pieces right to make a bestseller. There was a obvious disconnect between the prose, the characters, the plot and the whole "Liars" business.

About ninety-nine percent
of
the book
was written like
this
and oh my god,
I did not
understand why
why
why are you
so damn
pretentious,
Cadence?

If anyone tried to speak to me like that, I would most definitely smack them in the face for being so pretentious and annoying. Can you imagine around 200-plus pages of this kind of narration? The book was filled with these kinds of streams of thoughts and I wondered what the use was, the way Cady narrated the story did not even have a significance to the story. It felt like a cliché oh I'm a damaged protagonist so let me speak in a "lyrical" but actually annoying way to add more mystery to myself. Too much purple prose for me, sorry (I'm not sorry). It was really tiring reading that. The only reason I managed to last to the very end was because of the "insanely crazy/amazing/genius plot twist" everybody was talking about. I barely held on.

I was also really confused as to why they were called "Liars" in the first place. There was no explanation or even a small hint as to why they called themselves that. E. Lockhart mentioned in an interview that she wanted to create a name for them that would solidify and connect the four teens as a group but I never saw that or even understood it. The cousins and Gat literally just spent the summer together and that's it. (Also, lots of teen girl angst about whether he likes me or not.)

And now for the controversial twist. I am going to be honest and say that I never expected it. Nor did I appreciate it when all was finally revealed. The reason I did not see it coming was because of the obvious disconnect between the narrative to the twist itself. There was a certain flow the story was following, it was smooth albeit really boring but the stream was there and then E. Lockhart suddenly hits you with this insanely random twist which just felt out of place. It felt like E. Lockhart knew that her book was boring so she decided to look for and use a last-ditch twist to save her book. I was left unimpressed and really disappointed. And I have a question, was Cady pretentious even before the twist or was that an effect on her?

Reading We Were Liars was a learning experience for me: one, that not all books that will mind fuck you are good reads and two, my tolerance for pretentiousness is not as high as I thought it was. Even though I really did not enjoy We Were Liars, I feel like there is still a big audience that will like it so I recommend that readers still try it out to see for themselves.

Rating:
.5

Thursday, January 8, 2015

{Cover Reveal + Excerpt} Black Iris by Leah Raeder

I am so freaking excited and honored to have been given the chance to reveal to you the cover of Black Iris by Leah Raeder. I am an insanely huge fan of Leah and I am seriously just dying to read this book. I hope you love this cover as much as I do!

Title: Black Iris
Author: Leah Raeder
Publisher: Atria
Publication date: April 28th 2015
Pre-order the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble



It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She's going to show them all.
BLACK IRIS by Leah Raeder

     April is the cruelest month, T.S. Eliot said, and that’s because it kills. It’s the month with the highest suicide rate. You’d think December, or even January—the holidays and all that forced cheer and agonized smiling pushing fragile people to the edge—but actually it’s spring, when the world wakes from frostbound sleep and something cruel and final stirs inside those of us who are broken. Like Eliot said: mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. In the deepest throes of depression, when sunlight is anguish and the sky throbs like one big raw migraine and you just want to sleep until you or everything else dies, you’re less likely to commit suicide than someone coming out of a depressive episode. Drug companies know this. That’s why antidepressants have to be marked with the warning MAY CAUSE SUICIDAL THOUGHTS.
     Because what brings you back to life also gives you the means to destroy yourself.

About the author:

Leah Raeder is a writer and unabashed nerd. Aside from reading her brains out, she enjoys graphic design, video games, fine whiskey, and the art of self-deprecation. She lives with her very own manic pixie dream boy in Chicago.

You can stalk find her here:


Also, if y'all are interested, join Leah Raeder's fangroup, the Raeder Readers! You'll get all sorts of exclusive stuff (giveaways, excerpts, boobies, and more)! Just click the photo below to be a part of something rainbowy and amazing.


Big thanks to Leah Raeder and Atria for organizing this cover reveal!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Review: The Pact by Karina Halle

Title: The Pact
Author: Karina Halle
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Publication date: December 28th 2014
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble



It all started with a pinky swear…

Linden McGregor is tall, rugged, and gunslinger handsome; a helicopter pilot with a Scottish brogue and charm to spare. He’s also one of Stephanie Robson’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as she’s known him.

Beautiful, funny and an ambitious businesswoman (with one hell of an ass), Stephanie Robson is one of Linden McGregor’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as he’s known her.

But some relationships can’t be boxed, can’t be classified, can’t be tamed.

Back in their mid-twenties and tired of the competitive hit-or-miss dating scene of San Francisco, Steph and Linden made a pact to marry each other if neither one of them are in a serious relationship by the time they hit thirty.

It sounds like fun and games but as the years to thirty tick past and lovers come and go out of their lives, the pact becomes larger than life.
Sex is inevitable. Friendships are tested. Hearts are on the line.

The pact is about to change everything.
 

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Review:

If there is one thing I know in life, it's that Karina Halle can literally write in any genre. Paranormal, Contemporary, Suspense, Horror, and everything in between. You want it, she'll write it and yes, she'll write it well - extremely well. So well that I have yet to read a book of hers that I didn't enjoy (I loved every book of hers that I have read). And The Pact is no exception. I am going to be honest and say that I wasn't too keen on reading this book because I was tired of reading Contemporary Romances since so many of them have similar plots and they all just end up blending together, but I thank that Lord that He made me decide to read The Pact because ho-lee mother freaking helicopter jumper, this book was so damn good. I swear. It's like the best of Karina Halle mixed into one insanely hot and tension-filled book. I am shivering with delight right now.

Karina Halle truly took the time to carefully form her characters. Especially her two main characters, Linden and Stephanie, which is why it was so fun and interesting to read certain parts in each other their points of view. I feel like The Pact wouldn't have been as impactful had she written the book in only Linden's or Stephanie's point of view, it just needed to be both of theirs. And I loved every single moment I spent in their minds. Even when the times got rough, it was still such a pleasurable experience for me and I could not get enough.

I can't say that I connected with one person more than the other because both Linden and Stephanie have different aspects to them that when you put together, create a complete set. They really just completed and fit each other. One of the things I really liked about the The Pact was the way their relationship progressed, it wasn't an insta-I'm in love with my best friend kind of thing but more like a mutual attraction. And then from then you can see their friendship grow into something more like camaraderie and brother-/sisterhood than anything perverse or unreal. I loved how honest Linden and Steph's relationship was, their dependency on each other can be mistaken as something more but only they know the truth. Honestly, I am literally trying to hold down my feels right now but it is so hard because I am bursting with them. There were so many parts in the book wherein I just wanted to cry and cry out in frustration. Linden and Steph's love was a slow burn, it traveled and covered every base as much as it could and when it finally finally reached where it was meant to go, it was a glorious revelation for the both of them. It was an amazing experience reading about Steph and Linden's love, it's imperfections was what made it so much more beautiful to me. The rawness of their emotions and blatant hope for more made my heart ache way too many times. Karina Halle was able to truly portray and materialize the saying "True love waits," because there was definitely a lot of waiting but in the end, it was worth it. I cannot even properly express what The Pact did to me. I am a literal glass case of emotion right now.

It wasn't just their love that won me over, it was the way Steph and Linden's dynamic worked. Their quips and banter made their relationship so fun and entertaining but they definitely also had their dark moments. Their journey from just friends to something more was a really crazy. There were a lot of downs and just enough ups that they made up for those downs. But other than Steph and Linden's lovely and scandalous relationship that made me love the book so dearly, I also really liked the characters that Karina Halle threw into the mix, each other them added personality and shine to the book that made it so great to read. Even the distasteful people *cough*Nadine*cough* made the book more exciting. Each person had their part and they played their role very well.

Karina Halle isn't the type of author who pussyfoots by writing books that will make you tear up or blush, no, she is the type of author who takes a crowbar and will literally smash your heart into pieces and also manage to make you hyperventilate from all the steam that happens in her books. She will take everything from you but will also give everything she can in return, Karina Halle does everything with her very best and she gives it her all. I am so happy that sense was knocked into me because if I hadn't decided to pick up The Pact, I just know that I'd regret it forever. Scorching hot and heart achingly beautiful, The Pact will make you burn in the most deliciously painful way possible. So if you're looking for a refreshing, extremely sexy and heart wrenching read that will make you work for it, The Pact is for you.


 Rating:
.5

Friday, January 2, 2015

{Review + Giveaway} The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Title: The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1)
Author: Erika Johansen
Publisher: Harper
Publication date: July 8th 2014
Buy the book (locally): Fully Booked
(internationally): Amazon / Barnes and Noble


On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenseless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.

Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighboring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.

But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend…if she can survive.

The Queen of the Tearling introduces readers to a world as fully imagined and terrifying as that of The Hunger Games, with characters as vivid and intriguing as those of The Game of Thrones, and a wholly original heroine. Combining thrilling action and twisting plot turns, it is a magnificent debut from the talented Erika Johansen.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Review:

I was honestly a bit apprehensive in regards to reading The Queen of the Tearling because of the mixed reviews I saw, but as an opportunity came up for me to review it, I decided to throw caution to the wind and read it. After finishing all 400-plus pages, I realized that the novel was one of those “acquired taste” kind of books; because I did enjoy reading it (in all its weird but oddly appealing entirety). When I got over the obscure and slightly confusing world building (I sort of just forgot about it after a while), I was able to truly appreciate the complexity and diversity of the characters, the interesting plot and the great writing (Erika Johansen has got some beautiful words).

As I have mentioned above, one of the things that truly struck me was Erika Johansen’s writing. At first glance, it seems like your normal third-person point of view but as you delve deeper into the story, you see subtle shifts in her writing. The way she incorporates words and lines that make the text more captivating and enthralling. I was especially impressed when Erika Johansen was able to switch to different points of view so effortlessly and smoothly. I have read a number of novels wherein the characters have the same tone making it hard to differentiate between the alternating POVs or the author uses too many POVs which ends up with me being confused, but Erika Johansen used only significant POVs that may seem unimportant at the start but are given greater role as the story progresses. Each POV switch allows the reader to truly get to know the characters better and also see the story with a broader scope.

The character development in The Queen of the Tearling was also very good. The reader is given the chance to really connect with each character, even I found myself invested in most of the characters. I loved reading about the Queen’s Guard, each member had their own story to tell and I look forward to hearing more of them as the series goes on. (They are all so mysterious and so badass! Makes me want my own set of guards. Oh, and did I mention that they’re all good looking? I don’t even care how old they are, I’d take them, lol. Total groupie over here!) However, in the numerous characters I met, there were four that really got me all kinds of excited and intrigued: The Fetch, who reminds me of The Darkling (from the Grisha trilogy) but less evil but no less mysterious; The Red Queen, who is one crazy but interesting bitch; Cardinal Anders, who is a God’s man with insanely questionable intentions; and the dark thing, who is exactly that but where did it come from, what is its purpose, and so many more questions! But really, I commend Erika Johansen for being able to really build up each character and give them all a significant role. (Really liked the direction she took with Javel, the Gate Guard.)

If there is one person that surprised me the most, it would have to be the protagonist, Kelsea Raleigh. Having been sheltered and kept hidden for all of her life and then suddenly taken and then made into the queen would have made anyone pause but Kelsea took everything into stride. I never thought that she would be as fierce as she turned out to be. Even though she had bouts of insecurities at times, her confidence and rule as the Queen of the Tearling never wavered. She was very diplomatic and strategic and her command for respect made me respect her as well. She turned out to be a better queen that I expected her to be, than everyone expected her to be. Kelsea was definitely a force to be reckoned with and she stunned me. The decisions she made were tough and I really admire her for being so brave. I’d absolutely bow down to her. I am really looking forward to seeing how much more she can grow in the coming books.

Okay, time for the things I didn’t like about The Queen of the Tearling. First off, I wasn’t impressed by the fact that everyone seemed to be commenting on how plain Kelsea was. I really didn’t understand why people had to constantly mention it but I’m hoping that it’ll pass in the next books. And the other thing I didn’t particularly appreciated about the book was the world building and the general theme of the story. I felt that there were times wherein the story strayed from Fantasy and went into some other world or something. I wasn’t even sure if it was Fantasy in the first place because it was also Post-Apocalyptic or Dystopian or Historical or something. I was very confused but the farther I got into the story, the less it mattered, I literally just went with it. (It was better to go with the flow than stress about the structure.)

Another bit about the book that really got to me (in a good/bad way) was the fact that there was no romance, in Kelsea’s part (which was what really mattered anyway). While it gave the her more space to grow independently, I would’ve liked at least a kiss or a look from someone. (Totally Team Pen here, lol.) Hopefully we’ll get more in the next books! Also, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I keep mentioning the next books; well, it’s because there were a lot of things left unresolved in The Queen of the Tearling. I seriously have so many questions right now and I’m hoping that they’ll get answered in the sequels. So. Many. Questions. But I am happy to say that The Queen of the Tearling ended in a satisfying way, for me at least.

The Queen of the Tearling is a gem of a debut novel that shines with an exciting cast of charactesr, a great story line and gorgeous writing I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is looking for some pure Fantasy with an extra crazy world building thrown into the mix, and a bunch of other really awesome things. I really enjoyed The Queen of the Tearling and I am seriously looking forward to the sequel. (Interesting enough, this book was my last read of 2014 so I ended the year with a good read. Yay!)

Rating:
 

To start 2015 off, we're giving away this gorgeous copy of The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I hope that whoever wins this will enjoy the book as much as I did. (And the Queen's Guard, heehee.)




The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen is available in Fully Booked.
Just wanted to say a quick thank you to the amazing people at Fully Booked (Trish, Angel and co.) who made this all possible. You all ROCK.

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.)