Thursday, February 26, 2015

[#Facepalm Review] Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters

Lies My Girlfriend Told MeLies My Girlfriend Told Me

When Alix's charismatic girlfriend, Swanee, dies from sudden cardiac arrest, Alix is overcome with despair. As she searches Swanee's room for mementos of their relationship, she finds Swanee's cell phone, pinging with dozens of texts sent from a mysterious contact, L.T. The most recent text reads: "Please tell me what I did. Please, Swan. Te amo. I love you."

Shocked and betrayed, Alix learns that Swanee has been leading a double life--secretly dating a girl named Liana the entire time she's been with Alix. Alix texts Liana from Swanee's phone, pretending to be Swanee in order to gather information before finally meeting face-to-face to break the news.

Brought together by Swanee's lies, Alix and Liana become closer than they'd thought possible. But Alix is still hiding the truth from Liana. Alix knows what it feels like to be lied to--but will coming clean to Liana mean losing her, too?


I was enjoying the book & then BAMMMM! It's like the author threw up the rest of the ideas on the last part of the book and called it good.. What!

I should probably start from the very top. 

Alix gets the call that Swanee, her 6-weeks-girlfriend, unexpectedly dies. Trying to cope with the news, she is in disbelief and rushes over to her house to find a house full of emotional wreck and her hospital bag that was brought back with clothes that she died in. Going through her things, she find her cell phone and stashes it. REMEMBER THE CELL PHONE!

From the messages, it turns out that Swanee has been cheating on her with another girl but keeping it a secret to everyone including the actual identity of herself. Liana. Of all the 6 months that Liana was together with Swanee, she never asked her to see where she lived, etc. And Swanee actually pulled off the whole situation. Anyways, Alix ends up spending more time with Liana to figure out the extent of the lie and how deep it actually goes and start liking each other. 

So this part was actually interesting. I enjoy reading about horrible things like that (is that bad?) and there were a lot of raw emotions going on, specially with Swanee's sister. But the part that started to make me really pause was when they started to get closer to each other. Then it becomes something in between of "Yay you're my best friend, let's braid each other hair" & high school nonsense. Yup. 

To very briefly summarize one part of the book: 

Alix does something awful. 
They kiss. 
Liana finds out about that something awful and runs away. 
Alix thinks her life is over. 
27 days later, Alix drives to Liana's house with her new car. 
Alix says she's sorry. 
Liana says it's okay. 
They kiss. 
Liana yells: "Yay you got a new car!!!!" They both then jump in the air and high five each other..

Yup. #facepalm

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

[Release Day Review] Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Music, magic, and a real-life miracle meld in this genre-defying masterpiece from storytelling maestro Pam Muñoz Ryan.

Lost and alone a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo. 

Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, ECHO pushes the boundaries of genre and form, and shows us what is possible in how we tell stories. The result is an impassioned, uplifting, and virtuosic tour de force that will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.


”Your fate is not yet sealed.

Even in the darkest night, a star will shine, 
A bell will chime, a path will be revealed.”

From the very beginning of Otto and his encounter with the tree sisters, to three very separate and heartbreaking stories, Echohas managed to move something deep inside of my heart and fall in love with it from the very first chapter. 

After a short and magical prologue of Otto and the start of harmonica’s journey, we are introduced to Friedrich Schmidt in 1933, Germany. Hitler has just started to gather everyone and weed out the “unclean” and Friedrich has a very tough decision to either follow his sister and become a Hitlerite or share the passion against the new laws with his father. But the problem is that he has a birthmark that will never let him be anyone in life and will only mark him as the monster. After discovering harmonica and letting it fill his heart with joy, he has a plan to save his father and uncle, no matter how big the odds up. 

1935 – Pennsylvania, USA. In this part of the book we get to know Mike Flannery and his younger brother Frankie. The story behind these two is very heartwarming and really made me feel how unfortunate some children can be. They both were placed into an orphanage where the staff could not care less about the children and only how they can make money off them. With luck turning around, they are being adopted but with so many struggles and uncertainty, Mike will have to take his harmonica and decide whether protecting his brother is more important than anything else. 

Fast forward to 1942, California. Ivy Maria Lopez and her family get a break and have to move to a new plantation. The owners have been taken under arrest under suspicion to help with Japanese spies and Ivy’s father has to keep up with the farm to look over it. With unfairness to different race, Ivy has to be in another school with only Mexicans but harmonica and her playing being her joy that she never had before. Figuring out how to hold the family together while her brother is fighting the war is a lot harder than it seems for a girl who’s only in fifth grade. 


Echo has captured my heart. I never thought that I would be so engrossed in historical novel but the events that were occurring made me feel something else. Instead of facts and same stories that were spoken about over and over, it’s a new concept of a harmonica that touches lives of different families and in the end, brings them together. Incredible writing and the plot, I have found my new favorite author!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

[Book Review] Talon by Julie Kagawa

Talon (Talon, #1)Talon 

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

“They wanted me to sit, listen, learn, be quiet, 
when I wanted to run, shout, jump, fly.”

Dragon aspect in any books is always intriguing because you don't know how the story will go, who will they kill, and what the situation actually is. In Talon, we see a whole secret society of dragons who learned how to take human's form to fit in and try to make sure that humans do not suspect anything. The organization that manages the whole society is called Talon but they might not be what everyone thinks they are. With ongoing war against the Order of St. George, they have managed to stay hidden and grow in numbers. 

I would say that if I would have to judge the book by its originality and the whole idea of it, it would definitely be 7 out of 10. But the way Kagawa wrote it definitely felt more like a paranormal romance novel that included the dragon aspect of it but not really dug deep into it. With a cliche love triangle mixed with forbidden love, Talon still includes a lot of action but not enough to overlook the "I'm-a-teenger-I-do-What-I-Want" feel of it. 

“Because you're exactly like me- you don't want your whole life planned out. You're tired of following Talon's rules, of not having any say in your future. You want to know who Talon really is, but it's even more than that, isn't it? You want to be free." His eyes gleamed, golden and brilliant in the shadows. "And I can show you how.”

Ember, Dente, Garret, Riley - POVs of each one of these characters are bringing the story more to life. Ember herself was a little frustrating at times just because she wanted to have fun and didn't care at all about anyone around her. You would think that if you're in training to be one of the killers for Talon, you wouldn't want to kiss random "humans" around. Think my favorite was definitely Garret. Even with him being the enemy, I loved his personality. The emotions that he was feeling and the newness of them were surprising to him & he was just overall badass. 

My overall thought? Although this wasn't as perfect as I would liked it to be, I did enjoy listening to it as an audiobook and think I will continue with the series. I loved Garret and think I can overlook all the other flaws to see where the story goes.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

[Stacking The Shelves] #28 - Edelweiss-Crazy

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews featuring the books we got this week.
WTF where did February go? I mean it's kind of awesome that it was my birthday on 17th (woohooo) but it's going to be March next week and that is just not acceptable. Oh yeah & I fell into my "Request ARC" obsession again so please send your words of encouragement of stopping my crazy behavior hehe

Dust to Dust (Ashes #2) The Well After Hours Hand Drawn Jokes for Smart Attractive People We All Looked Up The Only Ones Ash: A Destined Novel Last Year's Mistake

What's on your list today?  Leave comments below & I'll be sure to return the favor! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

[Dead of Winter Recipe + Giveaway] The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse‏

The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival GuideThe Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse
Just because the undead’s taste buds are atrophying doesn’t mean yours have to!

You duck into the safest-looking abandoned house you can find and hold your breath as you listen for the approaching zombie horde you’ve been running from all day. You hear a gurgling sound. Is it the undead? No—it’s your stomach.

When the zombie apocalypse tears down life and society as we know it, it will mean no more take out, no more brightly lit, immaculately organized aisles of food just waiting to be plucked effortlessly off the shelves. No more trips down to the local farmers’ market. No more microwaved meals in front of the TV or intimate dinner parties. No, when the undead rise, eating will be hard, and doing it successfully will become an art.

The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse is a cookbook and culinary field guide for the busy zpoc survivor. With more than 80 recipes (from Overnight of the Living Dead French Toast and It’s Not Easy Growing Greens Salad to Down & Out SauerkrautHoney & Blackberry Mead, and Twinkie Trifle), scads of gastronomic survival tips, and dozens of diagrams and illustrations that help you scavenge, forage, and improvise your way to an artful post-apocalypse meal. The Art of Eating is the ideal handbook for efficient food sourcing and inventive meal preparation in the event of an undead uprising.

Whether you decide to hole up in your own home or bug out into the wilderness, whether you prefer to scavenge the dregs of society or try your hand at apocalyptic agriculture, and regardless of your level of skill or preparation, The Art of Eating will help you navigate the wasteland and make the most of what you eat.

Geedunk Magical Layer Bars

1 Hungry Survivor or Regular Joe serving

The word “Geedunk” is old Navy slang for candy, chips, and soda and reportedly comes from the sound these items made when they fell out of a vending machine. The name is appropriate here because this MRE version of the Magic Layer Bar consists almost entirely (unless you substitute the Chocolate Peanut Spread for Peanut Butter, then entirely) of junk.

I won’t lie, these pale in comparison to the pre-zpoc originals. But if they can satisfy my sweet tooth, chances are yours will be satisfied too. After all the living hell you’ve been through, your brain probably can’t even conjure a decent memory of what the originals tasted like, anyway. Yum!

The ingredients for this recipe can be found in the following 2012-issue MREs:
·         Fudge Brownie: Menu #2
·         Blackberry Jam: Menus #3, 9, 16, 19, 22
·         Chocolate Chip Toaster Pastry: Menu #4
·         Chocolate Peanut Spread: Menu #6 or Peanut Butter: Menus #3, 9, 12, 13, 14, 16, 19, 22
·         Peanut M&M’s: Menu #13 or Plain M&M’s: Menu Menu #15
·         Kreamsicle Cookie: Menus #6, 7, 11

Chef’s or survival knife and cutting board
1 plate or bowl

Heat Source:
1 Flameless Ration Heater

10 minutes

1 x MRE-issue Chocolate Peanut Spread or Peanut Butter
1 x MRE-issue Fudge Brownie
1 x MRE-issue Blackberry Jam
1 x MRE-issue Chocolate Chip Toaster Pastry
1 x MRE-issue Peanut M&M’s or Plain M&M’s, crushed
1 x MRE-issue Kreamsicle Cookie, crushed

1.      Use a Flameless Ration Heater to warm the Chocolate Peanut Spread or Peanut Butter for about a minute, to loosen it slightly and make it more spreadable.
2.      In the meantime, remove the Fudge Brownie from its packaging and lay it, upside down, on a plate or in a bowl. Spread a thick layer of Blackberry Jam over the brownie.
3.      Remove the spread from the heater and set aside. Carefully remove the Chocolate Chip Toaster Pastry from its package (it’s delicate!) and layer on top of the brownie. Spread a thick layer of the Chocolate Peanut Spread or Peanut Butter onto the pastry.
4.      Sprinkle liberally with the crushed M&M’s and Kreamsicle Cookie.
5.      Cut your creation in half and devour.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

[Book Review] Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson

Of Things Gone AstrayOf Things Gone Astray 

On a seemingly normal morning in London, a group of people all lose something dear to them, something dear but peculiar: the front of their house, their piano keys, their sense of direction, their place of work.

Meanwhile, Jake, a young boy whose father brings him to London following his mother’s sudden death, finds himself strangely attracted to other people’s lost things. But little does he realize that his most valuable possession, his relationship with his father, is slipping away from him.

Of Things Gone Astray is a magical fable about modern life and values and finding the things that really matter.

When I first stumbled upon this book, I wasn't sure what to make of it. Of course, the summary had some sort of explanation but the way it was written was if the magic of the novel was a regular thing and this was just something that happened all the time. Of course, later on I understood the meaning of everything was very intrigued with the way things turned out. 

One random London morning, people lost something that you wouldn't necessarily think that these things would be important to some people. Things like the front of the house, piano keys, a sense of direction, independence and more. When Jake's father brings him to London after his mother died, he is very drawn to those missing things and it's very interesting to the actual process of which every person goes through because they have lost something very dear to them. 

Of Things Gone Astray made me think. Alot. Thinking about losing something that is very dear to me was like a breathe of fresh air and I was able to realize that some things are taken for granted and should be paid attention to more. I loved this book, it will definitely stay with me for awhile. 

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Janina MatthewsonAbout Janina Matthewson

Janina Matthewson is a writer and trained actress from Christchurch, New Zealand. She now lives in London. Of Things Gone Astray is her first full-length novel.
Find out more about Janina at her website, and connect with her on Twitter.

Monday, February 16, 2015

[Book Review + Giveaway] The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

The Glass Arrow
The Glass Arrow 

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

The Glass Arrow was an incredible read and really shocked me. The summary from Goodreads says that it is a mix between The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road but since I've never read either of them, I was coming into this story with a fresh start, without any expectations. I have heard that Simmons is an incredible author and I was definitely not disappointed. 

The story starts out when Aya, our main character, is being captured. Because all women are captured and being sold for population control purposes, she has been hiding in the woods with some of her family and have grown up to be more wild. Once she's captured, she's put into the Garden - a place where all girls get prepared to be sold at the auction and have given another name to go by - Aya's being Clover, a weed. Not wanting to be sold off, she tries to get into more fights so she can go into solitary where she can see Brax, her wild wolf who she came to love. And that's when she meets Kiran. A mute Driver who never hurt her and was not taken back that Aya was Unpromised. 

I loved this book. The world building was incredible and very much made sense. I did find it offensive that women were viewed as "baby makers" of the society but that was the world that they lived in and I really sympathized with them. Aya was really incredible. I loved how wild and determined she was, there are not a lot of YA novels where we find the female be so strong and mature for her age that she could take on guys bigger than her. Just simple things like working out and trying to get stronger for her escape made me love her even more. Definitely packed with action, although slow at times to explain about the world building and other characters, I really enjoyed this book. 

Kristen Simmons is the author of the ARTICLE 5 series and THE GLASS ARROW (Tor Teen). She loves her family, Jazzercise, and chocolate cupcakes. She currently lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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