Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

Title: Blood and Salt (Blood and Salt #1)
Author: Kim Liggett
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication date: September 22nd 2015
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.

"When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in-- blood and salt."

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town's history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself-- and discover the truth about Quivira before it's too late. Before she's all in-- blood and salt.
(Image and summary courtesy of Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Growing up a horror junkie has got me constantly looking for my next fix and to say that my standard for horror-themed movies and books is high would be an understatement. But oh. My. God. Kim Liggett blew those standards to bits and exceeded my expectations amazingly. Blood and Salt is easily one of my most favourite reads of 2015. I read this book last June and I have reread it about eight times since then and I have loved it every single reread I did.

Blood and Salt is a beautifully nuanced novel that tackles different forms of unconditional love that will leave your heart aching and bursting with feelings. But even more than the evocative emotions this book will make you feel, Kim Liggett will literally put the fear of cornstalks in you. While the whole cornstalk bit may seem very Children of the Corn-y, Kim Liggett intricately weaves her own style and magic into every stalk, grain and drop of blood that appears in the book. My soul was so conflicted-- it did not know whether to cower in fear or keep flipping the pages because I just needed more Ash and Dane and Quivira.

I absolutely adored Ash, mostly because there were moments when she reminded me of myself. She was not perfect, she made mistakes but those small imperfections were what made her so relatable to me. I was able to really connect with her, especially when it came to times when Ash had to make choices and even more when she interacted with her family (I am really close with my mom and seeing how Ash was with her's reminded me so much of my relationship with my mom). But if there is one thing that I admire most about Ash is that she is so brave. There were times when I thought that she would bow out because of how creepy and unknown the situation was but noooo, she held her head high and moved on. It was just so amazing to see that and she inspired me so much. Getting to know Ash and connecting with her was such a great experience for me.

Ash + Dane = Louisse's #1 ship (#Dash4lyf, heehee, get it?) But seriously, seriously, what I feel for the two of them goes beyond just shipping, reading about how their relationship progressed and all the terrifying shit they had to go through made me want to pull them out of the book and protect them. It wasn't even just all the things happening in Quivira that was terrifying, their love and how intense and consuming it was honestly scared even me. Their love was a big presence in the novel, it sucks you in and finds its way into your bloodstream until your heart starts to beat to the rhythm of Ash and Dane's (figurative) dance. It was sexy, beautiful and terrifying. I got shivers every scene they had together. Legit.

And the horror? Holy crap, I don't even think I can talk about it. But let me just say, you will not be able to look at corn the same way ever again (*cough*humaneating*cough*).

Blood and Salt was fucking amazing, I hardly ever curse online but this is one of those super rare and special moments because I am 10000000% serious. I am so in love with this book and I think everyone needs to read it. Kim Liggett's words feel as if they've been infused with magic and everything darkly beautiful in this world.

"When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in-- blood and salt."

Is a line Ash's mom said to her in the early parts of the book but I chose it because it pretty much sums up what I feel for Blood and Salt. I am so emotionally attached to this book, I can't even. Seriously. And the ending? Let's just say that Kim Liggett had me crying in public (specifically Walmart and Dunkin' Donuts). Ugh. This book. This booooook. Read it. ASAP. Plus, it's the perfect Halloween read...

You're welcome.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Making Waves with the Waterwitch Babes (3)

Making Waves is a weekly question feature created by the Waterwitch Babes (part of Susan Dennard's Truthwitch Street Team). Every Thursday, we'll have a fun question that all are welcome to answer on their blog. Anyone can join! The questions will be random and/or relate to the upcoming book, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. A link is provided so that everyone can link up their post and participate in the fun!

To participate, we ask that you use the Making Waves banner in your post and link back to the Waterwitch Babes blog.

This week's question:


It may be a bit biased for me to choose Water since I am a part of the Water clan but honestly, the Water Clan is perfect for me. Having gotten to know my fellow clanmates better and constantly working with them has made me realise how much Water really suits me. They are a very calm and peaceful clan but when you provoke them, then you better watch out because they make huge waves. And the Water clan (especially the Waterwitch Babes) is a ridiculously fun and hardworking group.

However, when I took the awesome quiz one of the Waterwitch Babes (ahem, Charlene) made, I got Fire, which, in a way, does reflect my personality. I have always been told that I have a fiery personality. Feel free to take the super fun quiz below or click HERE to be redirected to the quiz.

And also, do share your link to your Making Waves post.

You can find the Waterwitch Babes here:
Next week's question:


See you next week!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Signing Info + Giveaway: Tessa Dare in Manila!

Bookish Filipinos, yes! Tessa Dare is coming to the Philippines! Romance fans, rejoice!

New York Times bestselling author Tessa Dare book signing at Powerbooks

Bestselling and award-winning historical romance novelist Tessa Dare is set to do a talk and book signing event on June 27, 2015 at 3 p.m. in Powerbooks, Greenbelt 4. Registration starts at 10 a.m. Only books purchased from Powerbooks, National Book Store and National Book Store Express will be accommodated. 

‘Romancing the Duke’, the first book in Tessa Dare’s latest series ‘Castles Ever After’, is described by Publishers Weekly as a “a unique twist to a fairy tale, complete with an ancient castle, a damsel in distress, and a wounded hero”. Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens being the daughter of a well-known author. As her storybooks offered endless possibilities, she never doubted romance would soon be part of her life. As time passes by, she gives up yearning for romance and the never-been-kissed woman settles for a roof over her head. The series continues in ‘Say Yes to the Marquess’, which was released in December, and in ‘When a Scot Ties the Knot’, which will be released in August. 

Tessa Dare is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than a dozen historical romances including the ‘Spindle Cove’ series (‘A Night to Surrender’, ‘A Week to be Wicked’, ‘A Lady by Midnight’, ‘Beauty and the Blacksmith’, and ‘Any Duchess Will Do’), ‘The Stud Club’ trilogy (‘One Dance with a Duke’, ‘Twice Tempted by a Rogue’ and ‘Three Nights with a Scoundrel’), ‘The Wanton Dairymaid’ trilogy (‘Goddess of the Hunt’, ‘Surrender of a Siren’, and ‘Lady of Persuasion’), ‘Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Right’, and the ‘Castles Ever After’ series.  Her books bagged numerous accolades including Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award and have been translated in several languages. She is a librarian by training and a booklover at heart. Married to a Filipino, Tessa worked at a library in the Philippines and has recently visited Tacloban. 

The event is made possible in partnership with Raffles Makati. 

Books by Tessa Dare are available in National Book Store and Powerbooks. Shop online and buy eBooks at For reservations, call 8888-NBS
(627) for calls within Metro Manila, 1-800-10-8888-NBS for calls outside Metro Manila, or text 0998-8888-NBS and 0917-8747-269. The National Book Store hotlines are open Mondays to Sundays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert) for updates on the latest events, promos and contests. Tag #TessaDareinPH to join the discussion.

Not familiar with Tessa's books? Check out the blurbs for Romancing the Duke and Say Yes to the Marquess below!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

{Blog Tour} ARC Review: Black Iris by Leah Raeder

Title: Black Iris
Author: Leah Raeder
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: April 28th 2015
Buy 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.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


I read Black Iris several months ago and to this day, I still cannot properly express how I feel about it. Black Iris isn't just a book, it's this tangible, living presence that you will feel everywhere. When I would take a break from reading to study or nap, I could feel its words beckoning to me, seducing me and slowly entangling in its dark and sensual web. It lives as you live, it breathes as you breathe and when you turn that final page, you'll end as it ends. Sounds serious? It is.

Laney is the perfect example of what it means to be an underdog, her past experiences are perfect examples of what it means to start from the bottom and kick everyone's ass to get to the top. People bullied her. They belittled her. They looked down on her. It was completely heart breaking to read about but also very empowering because Laney isn't just a fictional characters, she's an amalgamation of all the people who were wronged based on their sexual orientation. She's this big FUCK YOU to the Universe and she's extra badass while doing it. But underneath all that built up anger and more anger, she's still just a girl who got beaten down. She had her moments of vulnerability and uncertainty but instead of letting that fear fester and grow into something worse, she made the proactive choice to do something about it. I am equal parts in love with Laney and terrified of her.

I wouldn't say that Black Iris is completely about romance because while there may have been an Armin and Blythe, it was never really a choice for Laney. It just happened. However, I loved the way Leah Raeder used the book's romance as a plot device to reach out to people. As fluffy as it may sound, I have always felt that love is a universal language, it's something we understand without having to hear spoken words, we can just feel it or sense it and we'll know it's there. Leah Raeder used the potency of romance to demand to be heard by people and it's a call that anyone will eagerly answer, especially when you meet these three.

Every scene with Blythe left me breathless... literally. Seeing her through Laney's eyes was a complete sensory overload, you just feel too much and even when it starts to overwhelm you, you won't want that Blythe experience to stop. Blythe is wild in nature (and not just in a party hard kind of way), there is something manic about her that draws you in, like a tiger in a zoo, you know you shouldn't try to pet it but you'll do it anyway. Her unpredictability and shine made her so enticing and it was so easy to fall in love with her. When you hear Blythe, think skin sliding against skin, breathy words and nails digging deeper and deeper.

While Blythe may have been the wild one, Armin was the slow and sweet caress of a gentle lover. Armin was the level-headed and calm one. And he is so nice. Like, I don't even know what else to say about him, haha. But in between Armin and Blythe stood Laney, she balanced them out. Their dynamic was rhythmic and consistent. It was very interesting to see how they moved together.

Just going to say: the wolf references? So. Badass.

One of the things that got me while I was reading Black Iris was how personal it felt, and I know it was. The way Leah Raeder made me feel while I was reading this book was a completely surreal and unexpected experience. I never thought that I could connect with so many characters at one given moment. It was beautiful and terrifying. Black Iris is Black Iris and I don't know how else to explain it to you.

If you buy this book after reading this review, then... You're welcome.

(At some point, I'm going to come up with a much, much better review than this but right now, everything still feel so raw. In the future, I hope.)


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Title: Finnikin of the Rock (The Lumatere Chronicles #1)
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication date: February 9th 2010
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.

But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.

Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock--to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.

In a bold departure from her acclaimed contemporary novels, Printz Medalist Melina Marchetta has crafted an epic fantasy of ancient magic, feudal intrigue, romance, and bloodshed that will rivet you from the first page.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


Oh my god.


I have so many feels in me that I cannot even construct enough proper and coherent sentences for my review... but for you, I will try. But one more OH MY GOD before I start: OHHHHH. MYYYYYY. GOD. Okay, I'm done... Maybe.

There's a part of me that hates myself for taking so long to read Finnikin of the Rock because I have literally had this book in my shelf for four years now and I never bothered to get past the first two pages. But there's a larger part of me that doesn't care that I took so long because in the end, what matters the most is that I read it. And worshipped it. I'm pretty sure that Melina Marchetta isn't even a human being, she must be some kind of genius-goddess-writer-being because my whole Finnikin of the Rock experience was completely out of this world. Seriously. I am still not over the whole thing. Was it even real? I don't even know.

I just want to say, Finnikin has way too much teenaged angst for his age. I was worried he'd bust his gut or something with all the stress he had. (Bro, take a chill pill.) I mean, thanks, Lumatere for putting your future freedom into the hands of a eighteen/nineteen year old. But seriously speaking, all the weight of the world seemed to lie of Finnikin's shoulders. It wasn't only the future of Lumatere that he worried about, but also the uncertainty whether Balthazar, the heir, was alive and even the constant tug of darkness in his heart. Finnikin definitely wasn't perfect, even though he was intelligent, skilled and generally well-rounded, he always seemed to have a hard time suppressing his emotions which was technically against the nature of the Rock people. The unpredictability of his temper and the internal battle regarding his true nature gave him a vulnerability that took away the harshness that threatened to change him. It made him all the more human. I mean, what teenager can say that he's traveled practically all over the nation as an ambassador for this countrymen who were exiled and even those that weren't? That's a heavy burden to carry but still he managed to do it -- of course, not without challenges.

Evanjelin. Oh, man. Don't get me started on that girl. She is literally the Queen of Mindfucks. Evanjelin will make you think one thing end then BOOM SURPRISE it was totally this other thing the whole time. I'm not saying this in a negative way because while she may have screwed with my brain, everything made sense and I found myself nodding along to every twist untangled. But Evanjelin's shady-ness wasn't why I liked her so much, it was mainly because of her strength that completely blew me away. I had never met such a stubborn/determined, brave/reckless, and confusing protagonist ever until her. I can't even properly say what I think of her because it was all so amazingly confusing but in the best way possible. My mind is still recovering from her mindf---ing. But wow, what a gal, such a great and inspiring character. Melina Marchetta is a genius. That is all.

The twists! Don't even get me started on the twists! All I am going to say is that Melina Marchetta was able to connect EVERYTHING with ANYTHING. I don't even know how she was able to do that but just pay attention as you read along... but still, no matter how close you look, you pretty much won't be able to catch 99.99% of what the words of Finnikin of the Rock is hiding.

The only aspect of the book that was sort of iffy for me was the budding romance between Finnikin and Evanjelin. It was very unexpected even though I knew it was going to happen. I didn't really feel it grow between them nor did I see it happening, it just happened. But after a while, I gave up on trying to figure out how it started and just started enjoying it because I have so much ship for those two. They weren't two puzzle pieces that fit each other, no, they clashed and didn't make particular sense together but they still fit, in an odd way. They complemented each other and also contradicted the other, which added spice and a uniqueness to their relationship. Honestly, it took a bit too long but it got there and when it did, Hallelujah!

I cried waaay too many times in this book. I kept telling myself Louisse! *sniffles* Stop crying. *cries* Stop crying. *cries even more* I'll pay you to stop crying. *sobs even more* Just stop. *sobs even more* But even bribing myself didn't work so I had to cry everything out. And I did. I hope that my tears feeds Melina Marchetta's evil writing muse for a long time. *whispers to future readers* Save yourself. *runs away*

I have so much love for so many characters in this book -- even Trevanion, Finnikin's dad, who pretty much just grunted most of the book. I'm kidding, he did a lot in the book. If I ever went to war, he'd be the man I'd want to stand behind, his Guard and him are certified badasses. But if there's one person who I didn't expect to love but 100% adored, it would be Boy Froi. That little bastard thief grew on and got to me and I found myself full-on sobbing at most of his scenes, I don't even know why. I look forward to reading his book (which I thankfully already have, woohoo).

Melina Marchetta has found a creepy, slightly fan in me. I may have to buy all her books just to satisfy my Marchetta fangirl needs. You need to read Finnikin of the Rock. You NEED it. And even if you don't love it, read it for the sake of reading the rest of the series because from what I heard it gets even better. Honestly, I don't think I can take even better because I may spontaneously combust if The Lumatere Chronicles gets even more amazing, haha. But seriously, read it. *peer pressures you through the computer*