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.)


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.


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: