Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ARC Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3)
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton
Publication date: August 14th 2014
Source: Review copy received from publisher (Thank you sooo much, National Book Store and Penguin!!)
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


Books like these make my life a lot more optimistic. From the first page to the last, this book radiated romance and kilig-ness (is there an English translation for that?) I love how it started with a silly Isla and not a perfect goddess of sexiness. It adds a touch of reality to the story. I also love how their problem seems to be a real possible problem, one that is not too overused either. I mean, I know how parents can be so unaccepting of young love and how someone always cheats on the other but Isla and Josh's problem seemed so crazy and wild that I just immediately knew it could happen somewhere, sometime. In all it's glory, Isla and the Happily Ever After is definitely something I would read and re-read and let others read. (Yup, that great).

I feel that Ms. Perkins' writing style really grew all the while staying true to the sweet, romantic prose she is known for. Isla's story-line is more "filled" and well constructed compared to Anna and the French Kiss. Though Anna was as great, I just feel Isla had a bigger impression and impact on me in comparison to her two previous works. 

Isla made it into my "Fictional BFFs list" because 1) Her personality is like a thousand watt light bulb (super bright once you turn it on) 2) She is sensitive and in an okay way. She takes notes on the people around her and how they react to what she says. Some people may find that weird, but I think it is a great quality. 3) She is smart and sensible but reckless and spontaneous at the same time. 4) Josh is her man-candy. Which makes me friends with him too. Perks!! Josh also makes it into my "Swoon" list because he is as cute as he is complex. I really dislike it when characters are too predictable for their own good. One can only read too much YA books and not know that that seemingly perfect goody-two shoes will be the one who will cause the relationship to fail or that mysterious, brooding punk is the perfect boyfriend. These days, few twists and problems actually push me to think if they can happen and "reckless" behavior sometimes is not so reckless for me anymore but Isla and Josh proved themselves different from the lot. Their relationship is not as whirlwind as the rest and that is what I liked about it because it gave me the impression that even long after I read the last page, their love will still go strong. 

Supplementary characters like the lovebirds Anna and Etienne and head over heels Lola and Cricket really adds a touch of humor/friendship to the story. I do not know why, but I have always loved books that incorporate characters from previous books into the new one. It makes me feel smart for some odd reason.

Isla and the Happily Ever After (whew, what a mouthful!) really shed a new, interesting light on how teenage love affairs can be and how sometimes even the best of people make the worst of mistakes. 


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Review: Shameless by Nina Lemay

Title: Shameless
Author: Nina Lemay
Publication date: August 19th 2014
Buy the book: Amazon

Girls like me don’t get happy endings.

I know what I am. At worst a cliché, at best a cautionary tale. I put an international border between me and my past, only to wind up working in a low-end titty bar. Even my excuse is as lame as it gets: I’m paying for college, getting my art degree from Montreal’s most prestigious school. Although some days it becomes confusing: am I just a student who moonlights as a stripper, or a stripper who masquerades as a student?

But the inevitable happens and my two lives collide. And now there’s one other person who knows both the quiet, antisocial Hannah and the sensual, shameless Alicia. One person who keeps my secret.

He’s beautiful, he’s sophisticated. He comes from the other side of life, the one where I’m not wanted or accepted. But he calls me la petite Américaine, and his hot, hot hands on my skin promise me things I long ago gave up on.

The problem? He teaches my Classic Photography class.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


If there are two things I love when it comes to book themes, they would be strippers and student/teacher relationships. And Nina Lemay made my every fantasy come true when she decided to write a book about a stripper in a student/teacher relationship There is something about the taboo that makes it so enticing and addicting but it is also a topic that does not incite a lot of creativity in authors. Fortunately, Lemay had no problem in terms of creativity and uniqueness of her plot. And I will admit, I shamelessly devoured this book in a matter of hours and even asked for seconds.

Hannah's cynicism and confidence felt like a welcome home hug from my two best friends. I have a deep infatuation for heroines who can tell people off and have a very deep and intellectual mind. Although most would think that those characteristics are actually Alicia's (Hannah's stripper alter-ego) and not Hannah's, I beg to differ. The two have identical voices and I believe that Hannah just needs to discover that all that spunk and snark actually belongs to her. I really enjoyed being in Hannah's mind, the way she sees things gave the world a dimmer light but also managed to tilt it sideways, her mind was different, intriguing and very enthralling. I just could not stop reading! (Hannah actually reminds me of Maise from Leah Raeder's Unteachable, I can't decide if they would make great friends or be enemies because their personalities would clash.) I also really liked how vulnerable Hannah was at times but still manages to straighten her back, keep her chin up and snap her fingers in Z-formation. Her  growth as a protagonist and as a person progressed and showed as the book went on and I found myself looking up to her as she matured but still stayed true to herself. Hannah and Emmanuel's relationship was also a factor in her character growth.

I am still trying to decide if I love Emmanuel or if I am going to friendzone him. I loved him and Hannah together but there were times I felt as if for every step they took forward, they had to take three back. Their lack of trust in each other was their undoing. While their "love" was very passionate, it lacked the emotional connection between the two. There were also times when I felt as if Emmanuel was way harsh towards Hannah about her occupation. I mean, dude, give her a break! But what really struck me the most about Emmanuel was his backstory. When Hannah and Emmanuel's layers were being pulled back and their secrets exposed, I realized how much both of them let their pasts affect their future and because of this, their capacity to trust each other diminished. I was very impressed with the way Lemay piece things back together.

This may come as a surprise but what really amazed me about Shameless wasn't the romance between the two characters, it was the portrayal of women in this book. How women are actually condemned in society and are constantly victimized and preyed on because no matter how much we fight for women's rights, the stigma in society will take a looong time to destroy. The craziness and suffering that Hannah went through absolutely broke my heart but her bravery and determination made me want to hug her. Putting herself out like that? Amazing. I also have a newfound respect for strippers, really.

There were only a few characters that were mentioned in this book but Lemay managed to give them all a role. I never expected some people to turn out the way they did but as I read on, their roles started to make sense. Also, I super adored Marys, one of Hannah's coworkers. Haha!

Shameless is not just about a stripper in a student/teacher relationship, you may think that at first but as you read on, you'll see what I mean. Shameless is about self-discovery and finding that fight in you to defend yourself no matter how bleak the situation may be. This book was raw, powerful and spoke volumes, it transcended the very boundaries that society had set and freed itself. Reading Shameless was a beautiful experience and I definitely look forward to reading more of Nina Lemay's books.


17 Book Inspired Nail Art that will Inspire YOU!

I am a HUGE fan of nail art and every time I see someone use their magic nail art powers, I hate myself a tiny bit for not having any artistic talent because holy nailgasm, those peeps are so talented. My nails are envious, haha. So I have decided to compile a few of my favorite book inspired nail art that left my inner fangirl flailing. Get ready to get wow-ed, you guys. (They are randomly ordered, it is just way too hard to rank my favorites. I was also super tempted to include Frozen nail art but I resisted.)

  • Nicole, the goddess responsible for these gorgeous Daughter of Smoke and Bone inspired nails, definitely channeled her inner Karou. The detail - I mean, look at the feather!! - on the nails look great! (Inspired by: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor)
via @novelnailsdesigns

  • Holy shiny! When I saw these gold babies, I immediately knew that they were inspired by The Great Gatsby. The symmetry of the shapes and lines are really impressive. Can I plz touch? (Inspired by: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald)

via The Nailasaurus

  • Who doesn't love some Stephanie Perkins? When Nicole whipped these bad girls out during the book signing, we all 'ooh-ed' and 'aah-ed' over them. (Inspired by: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins)
via @novelnailsdesigns
  • I just had to put this one because hello, the Burn Book inspired nails? HELL TO THE MOTHEREFFIN' YES. All hail, The Plastics. (Inspired by: the Burn Book from Mean Girls, film)
via Lissa's Polish Addiction
  • If becoming a Tolkien fan means I'll suddenly have nail art magicky powers, then count me in! Look at the gorgeous elfish calligraphy! So shiny and pretty and preshusssssssss. (Inspired by: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien)
via Flavorwire: 15 Great Works of Literature-Inspired Nail Art

  • I AM FANGIRLING OVER THESE NAILS. *flails* (Inspired by: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell)

via @novelnailsdesigns
(Continuation: thumb)
via @novelnailsdesigns

  • Those are so some sexy nails! *makes whipping sounds* Totally into that, hehe. (Inspired by: the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy by E.L. James)
  • Is that a noose? Why yes, yes it is. Umm... still really beautiful. Eerily beautiful? Murderously beautiful? (Inspired by Come Little Children by D. Melhoff)
via break Rules, not Nails

  • No words. NO. WORDS. Can I please live in your nails because I swear that place look like Atlantis. (Inspired by Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly)

via @thebookishmanicurist

  • Requisite Harry Potter-themed nails. Really liked these compared to the other ones I saw. Love the detailing the artist did, he/she must've used a really slim brush. (Inspired by: the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

via Bit Rebels: Creative Harry Potter Inspired Nail Art
  • I absolutely adore these! A refreshing take on book cover nail art, haha. Cutie penguin. (Inspired by: Penguin Books)
via SheSaidBeauty: Digital Dozen Does Books - Day 5 Penguin Books
  • Brings me back to my childhood, these nails are just too cute! (Inspired by: Matilda by Roald Dahl)
via Lacque to the Future: The Blog: Matilda!

  • Those are not tadpoles. So yes, they are sperm. I mean, seriously? Doesn't everyone love sperm? So adorbs! (Inspired by Trouble by Non Pratt)
via @thebookishmanicurist

  • I love these True Blood nails! Don't you? They ended a lot better than the show did. #Patama (Inspired by: the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris)
via Book Nerd Reviews: Nail Art Inspired by Fiction #28

  • They may look slightly simple but I am a hundred percent sure that they aren't. Will have to leave the nail burning to the professionals. (Inspired by: books in general, I guess.) 

via Pinterest
  • I am Team Edward 5EVER and ever but I have to say, these Team Jacob nails are very impressive. And I will reluctantly admit that Jacob is looking very cute in them. Still not switching teams though! I need some Team Edward nails ASAP. (Inspired by: the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer)
via Nails by Coewless

  • OMG! A tiny person! I am seriously so amazed at the obvious time and effort Nicole put into these nails. Asdfghjkl. The pretty. (Inspired by: The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett)

Well that was exhausting, haha. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed all the nail sexiness. And I also hope that you are now all experiencing the envy I feel whenever I think about how talented those people are. Mwahaha!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Review: One Night Promised by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Title: One Night Promised (One Night #1)
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: July 17th 2014
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Livy notices him the moment he walks into the coffee shop. He's heart-stoppingly stunning, with a blue-eyed gaze so piercing she's almost too distracted to take his order. When he walks out the door, she thinks she'll never see him again. Then she finds the note he left on his napkin . . . signed M.

All he wants is one night to worship her. No feelings, no commitment, nothing but pleasure. Every defense mechanism Livy has adopted during her solitary life is at risk of being obliterated by this confounding man. He's obnoxious but well-mannered. He's a gentleman but aloof. He's passionate but emotionless. Yet the fascination is so powerful, Livy can't deny him... or herself.

M awakens something in Livy, something deep and addictive that she never knew existed -- and that she fears only he can satisfy. But she senses that behind the fast cars, fancy suits, and posh apartment, he's aching inside. To have him, body and soul, she'll have to brave his dark secrets. Delving into his world and breaking down his defenses become her obsession - an obsession that could shatter her heart beyond repair.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


You know that moment when you are eagerly anticipating a new release from one of the authors you absolutely adore but upon cracking that new book open and reading all 400+ pages of it you realize how much you did not like it and were just forcing yourself to read it all? Well, that was what it was like for me. While I may have enjoyed Jodi Ellen Malpas' This Man trilogy, One Night Promised was definitely not for me. One Night Promised had a pretty strong start, the prologue was enough to keep me reading and had me asking a lot of questions, but as the story went on, pretty much everything crashed and burned, in my opinion.

First let us talk about the protagonist, Livy, a beautiful girl who lives with her grandmother, works at a coffee shop and has a fabulously gay best friend but oh my goodness, please, just stop. More than half of the book was her saying "no" to "M" and then giving in after 5 seconds of denying him. She was so childish and I pretty much wanted to smack her all the time. BUT Malpas tried to redeem Livy by giving her a really sordid and crazy background that did not have its desired effect on me but might have worked for other people (the shock effect was just not there). Just warning you, her "secret" was really predictable. Sigh.

Next, onto the mysterious "M", who does not even stay mysterious, at all. You will be given his name about forty pages into the book (and trust me, it is not a sexy name). I have never been so creeped out and annoyed at a potential book boyfriend before. Let me list the things that turned me off about "M":
  1. He gave off stalker vibes and not in an attractive way. No matter how hot you are and no matter how much you like someone, you never follow someone around like that or badger them. If it were me, I would have had a restraining order put on his crazyass but here is the crazy part, it was kind of like Livy liked it. Maybe some girls are into that but just, no.
  2. He just can not take a "no". I have no idea how many times I have seen Livy tell him no but he was relentless. When a girl tells you "no", she means "no" no matter how much her body might seem to want you or whatever. Get it through your head, man.
  3. His bluntness borders on offensive. I do not think I would ever be with a guy who tells me that he wants exactly 24 hours of my time just to rock my world. Nor would I ever be with a guy who talks to me the way "M" speaks to Livy. Sorry, I am not that easy. He was way too emotionally unattached as well. Like, hello, am I speaking to a Lego block or a person? I could not tell the difference.
Other than the very questionable characters in this book, I felt that One Night Promised was a bit to reminiscent of the This Man trilogy. If you changed the name of the characters into Eva and Jesse, it would be like reading the same series except in a different scenario. The love scenes were boring and very repetitive, the story went around in circles and the cast in general did not impress me.

I will say this: One Night Promised had one redeeming quality, its ending. It felt like Malpas' last ditch effort to save her book because maybe even she knew that it was not that good. The way Malpas ended it guaranteed that the reader will want to read the next one, and yes, that also applies to me. She managed to squeeze in one last bomb that even I did not expect and one that left me very curious. So I will reluctantly be waiting for the second book, I am certainly hoping that the next one will be better than its predecessor.

I really wish that I enjoyed this book more but I would be lying to everyone if I said that I liked it. And you will not see me recommending this to anyone anytime soon. Read at your own risk, I guess.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

{Release Day Launch + Book Trailer Reveal} The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

So today is the release of Rin Chupeco's terrifyingly beautiful novel, The Girl from the Well. I am more than half-way through and I cannot decide whether I want it to end so that I'll know what happens or if I want to make the book last and savor every beautifully frightening page. It is so good. For any horror buffs out there - especially Japanese themed ones - then this is the book for you! And can I just say? The way Rin Chupeco writes is absolutely magical, very poetic.

Title: The Girl from the Well
Author: Rin Chupeco
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication date: August 5th 2014
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gentle, as your poet encourages, into that good night. 

A dead girl walks the streets.

She hunts murderers. Child killers, much like the man who threw her body down a well three hundred years ago.

And when a strange boy bearing stranger tattoos moves into the neighborhood so, she discovers, does something else. And soon both will be drawn into the world of eerie doll rituals and dark Shinto exorcisms that will take them from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Aomori, Japan.

Because the boy has a terrifying secret - one that would just kill to get out. 

The Girl from the Well is A YA Horror novel pitched as "Dexter" meets "The Grudge", based on a well-loved Japanese ghost story.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)

Check out the super creepy book trailer!

About the author:

Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching.

You can find her here: