Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age Appropriate for: Adults and/or Mature Young Adults
Synopsis: The Black Dagger Brotherhood is a secret band of vampire warriors, fighting against a group of slayers, in order to save their race. Rhage is the most dangerous of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and when he meets Mary Luce, a human, everything in his life is turned upside down.

Review: If I can use just one word to describe the Brotherhood series, it will be that it is ADDICTING. I enjoyed Dark Lover and Wrath's character, that I just had to read its sequel. All I can say is, Lover Eternal is even better than the first one! I think it is mainly because of Rhage. I love his character, and do like him better than Wrath, in fact. I think he's a lot more relate-able in a lot of ways. I also liked the character and plot development in this one as well; effortless and smooth.

In truth, this series is not for everyone. However, I do suggest you give it a try. When you read these books, forget about trying to decipher the book's literary merits and just enjoy the addicting stories of these brothers. It's a light, fun, and entertaining read. Sometimes, that's all you really want in a book. 4 stars for this one.

Top Ten Picks: Favorite Reads So Far This Year

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Top Ten Picks is a weekly meme here where I would be posting just about that -- my top 10 picks! Every week, there will be a different and specific topic given. I will then choose 10 of my favorites from that given category, create the list, and post them up here! Everyone is welcome to join! To see the list of previous topics, please click here.

Since half a year has already passed, for this week, I thought it would just be appropriate to have the topic on our favorite books so far this year. These are the ones you gave 4-5 star ratings to. These are the books that you would love to add to your bookshelf, to re-read, and the ones we recommend to others to check out. Before I start listing, here is the official list of books I've read so far this year. Now, here are my picks. I will be adding a short review for each, but you can read the rest by clicking on the link I'll provide. In no particular order whatsoever.. here are my favorite books SO FAR this year.


Still Alice by Lisa Genova
This is a book that had to be told, and one I highly recommend everyone to read. It is a heart wrenching and unforgettable story that is written to call for awareness.
- my review

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
West Side Story meets Romeo and Juliet. Perfect Chemistry offers a fresh new take on the classic -- and sometimes overdone -- bad boy and good girl plot line.
- my review

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
This was a highly entertaining read that was extremely well-written and perfectly told. That being said, I highly recommend this to anyone of any age, who enjoys this kind of read -- mostly to junior readers (10+) and older -- as it truly is captivating. For lack of a better word, this book is just plain awesome.
- my review

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Well, this book sure wins the 'Most Innovative Storyline" award. Backed up with Jonathan Safran Foer's wonderful prose and writing, well, it seems like we got quite a winner here. That being said, it's quite clear; I loved this book!Do I recommend it? Yes -- but... in my opinion, it seems as if this is just not a book for everyone. I have read mixed reviews and heard different opinions about this, and I can see both sides pretty clearly. Maybe it's just one of those 'You either love it or hate it' kind of read. For me, personally, I loved it.
- my review

I Am An Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler
This one's an absolute must for me, as it discusses different situations and lives of different women. It's an awesome book full of insights about feminism, female empowerment, our rights, and the power that women have.

East by Edith Pattou
This is a wonderful retelling of a classic fairy tale, filled with adventures, lovable characters, and wonderful prose and writing.
- my review

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
Dark Lover is the first book in this paranormal romance series. I just finished the second one, and I have to say, I think I've found a new addicting series! It's not for everyone, so read with caution. I'm just glad I liked it a lot.
- my review

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
This is one of those books I highly recommend.; original, haunting, inspiring, and thought-provoking. Hopefully, you'll not only be entertained by reading it, but find it meaningful long after you finish it -- because that's exactly what happened to me.
- my review

The Midnight Disease by Alice W. Flaherty
- This one is a non-fiction book. I honestly never thought I would even like it. Fortunately, I loved it. The Midnight Disease is all about the psychology behind writing. It tries to find the connections between writing&brain, and writing&emotion. Truly an eye-opener.

The Lightning Thief series by Rick Riordan
- Can I just say how truly addicting these books are? I spent hours and hours, days upon days, devouring these and these alone. My new favorites!
- review for book 1, book 2, book 3, book 4, and book 5.


If you would like to join in, all you have to do is:
1. Do a post, listing all your answers. You do not have to include pictures, descriptions, or explanations, but if you would like to do so, feel free!
2. Please sign the Mr. Linky box below with the specific URL of your post.

Can't wait to see your own picks for this week and hear what you all have to say!

give YA more credit, please!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

When I was working at a bookstore two years ago, I had a co-worker, who was shelving books with me in the YA section. He complained that he shouldn't be stuck in that area because, and I quote, "Who reads these crap anyway? It's all whiny, over the top teenagers complaining about their sad, dramatic lives." You're off better reading "grown up" books.

There have been times also when some read and finish a good YA novel and they end up falling in love with it. Then, when they ask what genre it is, and they realize it's Young Adult, they are always shocked, as if unable to believe it.

This surprised me a whole lot at that time. I didn't even know that people looked down upon the YA genre. What was even more surprising was the fact that that wasn't the first and certainly wasn't the last time I heard of the same exact remark. First of all, what makes a "grown up" book a grown-up book anyway?? I don't get it. Now I wonder, why do people look down on YA?

There are different misconceptions about YA; that they are silly, predictable, over-the-top, and just full of high school drama. Some believe that it's all about cliques, underage parties, underage drinking, and boyfriends. While YA books do in fact have those aspects, it doesn't really mean that that's what they are all about. Perhaps the people that say these remarks have never actually read a good YA book in their lives. Do they even know that classics like Ann of Green Gables, Little Women, and The Giver by Lois Lowry are actually YA novels? Perhaps not. And maybe if they read novels like Wintergirls, Willow, Thirteen Reasons Why, The Book Thief, they might actually realize that YA is so much more than what they give it credit for.

These books, among so many others, have served as meaningful tools. These books tell the stories of REAL people, going through real and sometimes, difficult, scenarios, stories, and situations. Because of these stories, these books are able to speak directly to their readers. To me, a good YA novel has the power to shape and mold teenagers by giving the age group important and thought-provoking life lessons. These are books that can make an impact. And as if those reasons weren't enough, anyone can read YA, no matter what the age. In fact, I feel as though parents can also benefit from these stories. These stories that may or might have already changed someone's life, that may have served as an eye-opener, and that may have served as an inspiration. Simply put, YA books are important and are able to make a difference too.

Now I'm not saying that everyone should like YA, because I know it's not exactly for everyone. I guess all I'm just trying to say is, I really don't like it when people generalize. I wish people were a bit more open-minded and respectful towards the genre, or any other for that matter. I wish people would give more credit to it because it is deserving of it. More specifically, I can only hope that this discrimination against YA would also stop. Give the genre a chance first, before judging. For me, what I know for certain is, I will continue to read and support it, no matter what other people say or think. And I sincerely hope you do too.

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Warning: Sex and The City is one of my favorite shows. I really wanted to like this book. However, I did NOT. I give it ONE star. It might be a harsh review, but this is just me being completely honest.

Young Adult
Synopsis: This YA novel is a prequel, featuring Carrie Bradshaw, before Sex and The City.

Who wouldn't want to find out more about who Carrie Bradshaw was as a teenager? I for one, was excited to meet her even before she became a fashionable, sophisticated, and successful writer in the city of New York. While the idea of the book is promising, unfortunately, it simply fell flat for me. I was left disappointed.
First off, I do not see any Carrie Bradshaw here. Carrie, at least according to SATC series, is a strong woman. She is independent and is confident. She believes in herself. She is an empathetic character, who has compassion for people and her friends. The teenager Carrie was the complete opposite. Now I would get it if maybe the author was trying to show how she's going to grow as a person.. but that is actually where the second negative aspect comes in. There was no character development whatsoever. Like I mentioned, she just didn't grow up. She didn't "evolve." The main premise of the novel was to show Carrie's growth as a person and as a writer. There was none of that! Instead, the story was mainly filled with her rants about the drama and her obsession -- and I'm so sorry for using that word -- with her boyfriend. I never knew Carrie was such a needy girl who would do and give up everything just to get a cute boy's attention. And if she doesn't succeed, she's going to hate on everyone because she didn't get what she wanted. Apparently also, Carrie uses her writing for revenge. Uh.. what?

I HATE to say it and admit it, but I am just not a fan of this book AT ALL. Now this is just my honest opinion and a frank suggestion, skip this. Aside from the pretty cover, I just can't say anything nice about the story, unfortunately. The book, to me, is full of unlikable characters and poor character and plot development. The worst thing is that I do not at all find it very believable that this is even about the Carrie Bradshaw that SATC fans know and love.

In My Mailbox (6)

IMM is a meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren. For me this week, I didn't get any review books. I purchased ONE book using a gift card I got for my birthday from last month. Then, I borrowed FIVE books from the library.

Purchased Using Gift Card:
Skinny by Lbi Kaslik
Genre: Young Adult
About: Eating Disorders


Library Books!
Cum Laude by Cecily von Ziegesar
- Cecily von Ziegesar wrote the Gossip Girl series. I have read the books, but unfortunately did not like them at all. I just didn't like how she portrayed teenagers and high school, in general. However, I did like Seasons 1 and 2 of the TV show of the same title mainly because of Blair and the fashion. I gave up on it midway through Season 2 though.

Gentlemen by Michael Northrop
Genre: Young Adult
- I have no idea what this one is about, but the creepy cover really caught my attention and told me to borrow it! So I did. It could be good though; it sounds really interesting.

After You by Julie Buxbaum
Genre: General Fiction
- Little random story: While flipping through the pages of this book, this little cross-stitched bookmark fabric fell out. I guess the previous borrower left it there. It is so lovely though so I'm definitely going to keep and use it.

Lover Eternal and Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward
- I loved Dark Lover, which is the first one in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, so I'm super excited to read these!


But that is all for me this week. I am excited to read this ones. I've been getting a lot more reading time since it is officially Summer, so w00hoo for that, right? ;)By the way, I just finished The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell. I didn't like it :/ I'm going to be writing a review for it very soon. Anyway, what did you get in your mailbox? Feel free to leave your links; I love reading other IMM posts!

Interviewed by Smitten with Books..

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Morgan's blog, Smitten with Books, is just one of my favorite book blogs out there. I've been a follower for a while now, and have been a fan of her posts. Now she has this awesome feature where she interviews writers and aspiring authors about writing, blogging, their goals, and their inspiration. I am excited because I had the opportunity to be featured this week! You can check out her blog and the entire interview here. Thanks everyone!

Top Ten Picks: Favorite Writers

Top Ten Picks is a weekly meme where I would be posting just about that -- my top 10 picks! Every week, there will be a different and specific topic given.I will then choose 10 of my picks from that given category, create the list, and post them up here.
For this week, the topic is on our favorite writers/authors. These are the ones you grew up with, you look up to, who wrote your favorite stories and characters, who can do no wrong in your opinion, and/or influenced you in some way or another. In no particular order whatsoever.. here are my picks.


1. J.K. Rowling
- As most of you know, I have this obsession about the Harry Potter series that just won't go away. Years later, I am still in love with these books. In fact, I'm one of those people that are still sad there won't be another HP release during the Summer.
Though I have always been a big reader ever since I was quite young, something definitely changed when I first read The Sorcerer's Stone. It was like a new world opened up for me. A fascinating world full of books. I became an even bigger bookworm, and began to realize my love for writing as well. J.K. Rowling is one of my favorite writers, because, well, she is the author of one of the best and most influential series ever written. She created her own unique world, following the footsteps of writers like C.S Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien. I know that years from now, I'll still have her on this list.

2. Madeleine L' Engle
- A Wrinkle in Time is one of my favorite young adult novels. It is one of the best adventure stories I have ever read as well. All of Madeleine L' Engle's books are amazing and incredibly well-written; always unique and always fantastic.

3. J.R.R. Tolkien
- He wrote The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and The Hobbit. Enough said.

4. Louisa May Alcott
- Little Women is one of those books that truly influenced my love for reading. I first read it when I was very young, and even then, I fell in love with all the characters. Most especially though, I got to know Jo March. I always have a special place for Jo; she is an extremely family-oriented, independent, and strong woman. She is a writer, and cares deeply about her passion. Perhaps because of her and the rest of the March sisters, Louisa May Alcott also has a special place on this list as well.

5. Hans Christian Andersen
- How could I not have him on this list? He wrote some of the best fairy tales out there. The Little Mermaid, The Princess and The Pea, Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling.. just to name a few. When I was a kid, we had a huge book full of his stories. The cover even looks magical, to me. In fact, I wouldn't mind having a copy of that even today. Hmm..

6. Frances Hodgson Burnett
- In a lot of ways, Louisa May Alcott and Frances Hodgson Burnett are quite similar. They are both classic writers, and both wrote the books of my childhood. Frances Hodgson Burnett's characters, Sara Crewe and Mary Lennox, are one of the most memorable to me. Their stories are timeless. They are as magical to me now as they were the first time I ever read them. She is on this list because she is one of the authors that "introduced" me to the wonderful world of books.

7. Laurie Halse Anderson
- She wrote Speak, Fever 1793, Prom.. among many others. But the main reason she is on my list? It's all because of her Young Adult novel, Wintergirls. If you have not read it, I highly recommend you do so. Teens and parents alike can truly benefit from this book.
I love Laurie Halse Anderson because she writes about real people, real issues, and real stories. Keyword here is obviously, "real." She has the power to talk to her readers and influence them in a positive way. For me, an author is an incredible writer when he/she is able to do this genuinely.

8. Charlotte Bronte
- I love reading the classics. Jane Austen, yes. Charles Dickens, sure. However, my favorite novel in the genre has got to be Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I just loved everything about it.

9. Markus Zusak
- I have read all of Markus Zusak's books, and they are all really good. I just love his writing! In my eyes, he simply can do no wrong. But the main reason why he is on this list is because he is the author of The Book Thief. Now I think by now, most of you know that this Young Adult novel is definitely one of my favorite books of all time. It is just a beautiful story. It is original, engaging, inspiring, uplifting, and haunting all at the same time. It has unique narratives, memorable quotes, and the most lovable and unforgettable characters. The Book Thief, to me, is nothing less than amazing.

10. Pablo Neruda
- Pablo Neruda is my ultimate favorite poet of all time. He writes in such an eloquent manner. Every time I read his poems and sonnets, I can truly feel what he is saying. His words to me, aren't even just words anymore. They become alive on their own; so genuine, honest, and true. Simply put, he writes beautifully. If you have not read any of Neruda's poems, I do highly recommend you begin with Sonnet 17.


If you would like to join in, all you have to do is:

1. Do a post, listing all your answers. You do not have to include pictures, descriptions, or explanations, but if you would like to do so, feel free!
2. Please sign the Mr. Linky box below with the specific URL of your post.

I can't wait to hear from you all again this week!

Things That Turn Me Off

....when it comes to books that is. Now there are several reasons why we fall in love with a certain book; the one that hooks you right in and never lets you go. The one that you think about days after you finished devouring it. That one book that you wish never ended, and the one you truly connect to. Unfortunately, as much as we wish every story we pick up has all these wonderful aspects and more, at times, it even turns out to be otherwise. Here are just some of the things that are big no-no's for me when it comes to books. As usual, these are all just what I personally think. Feel free to agree.. or perhaps, disagree.

1. Cliche Writing
- Not only do I find myself rolling my eyes as I read another cliche story, but I also literally cringe as well. To me, cliche means something that is overdone. It has been used over and over and over and over and again and again... well, you get the point.
Stereotypical characters. Formulaic. Overdone dialogue. Corny lines. Overdone adj, adv, prep phrase, trans. words/phrases. Abrupt endings where suddenly, everything is clear and simple. Everything is alright. Everything is perfect. Cliche is when it's predictable. If it has been used multiple times, it is indeed a cliche if the writer doesn't add his/her own twist or make it his/her own.
Perfect Example: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

2. Telling Instead of Showing
- I honestly don't need to know every single detail of the way he looks while he flexes his arm. I don't need to know the complete details of him getting into his car. "In the car. Starting the car. Sit in the car. Wait for the car to warm up. Put my hand on the steering wheel. Put it on drive. Drive." It's like Twitter x100000. Spare me the details, please. Let me see for myself.
Perfect Example: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

3. Bad dialogue
- Dialogues can either appear real or fake. For me, for them to sound real and believable, they need to flow well. It has to sound natural; almost effortless. Not at all contrived. There's nothing worse than reading about a promising character that delivers nothing but a voice that doesn't even sound like his/hers.

4. Boring!
- What makes a book boring to me? If it is tedious, monotonous, and does not seem to be going anywhere. When it's all promise but no delivery. All questions but no answers. So many mysteries, no revelations. I'd probably have to give up sooner or later.

5. Not believable
- This is crucial, at least to me. Do I believe in the story itself? Do I root for these characters? Do I believe in their motives, goals, and actions? Do I actually think they really are happy, heartbroken, angry, or in love? If I don't see it or believe it, I probably wouldn't even buy the entire story.

6. Unlikable characters
- What's worse than cliche story lines, bad dialogues, and unbelievable plot lines? Bad characters. To me, it doesn't matter if the rest of the story's aspects are close to perfection. If there are awful characters, I will not like the book. Period.

7. No plot and/or character development
- I want to see growth in the story. I don't want to be reading something that is completely the same from Chapter 1 to its very last. Change? Change is good sometimes.

8. Bad Endings
- The ending appears to be rushed, abrupt, and all of a sudden. It doesn't all tie up. It doesn't make sense. Too unexpected. Now don't get me wrong, unexpected is good and can be effective. However, when it goes to the point when it does not even fit or when it doesn't even go with the plot, then what is the point? Was it written for the sole purpose of having a conclusion to the story? I swear, I will throw the book and wouldn't even bother picking it up. I'd go to the next one, crossing my fingers it won't turn out as much of a disappointment as the first one.
Perfect Example: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, Coma by Robin Cook


These are usually the main things that turns me off when it comes to books. Fortunately, I have not read any that has all eight reasons. Now that would be horrible. Now I'd like to know what you think. Agree? Disagree? Are there any other things that turn you off aside from these reasons? Are there any books in particular that come to mind when you read these? I'm curious.

East by Edith Pattou

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Genre: Children's Fiction/Fantasy
Recommended to: readers of all ages
Synopsis: Rose always felt like she was meant to do something greater than staying in the farm, tending to cows and crops, with her family. She craves for adventure. For a more exciting life. Then one day, a mysterious white bear pays her family a visit, asking for her to come with him. In exchange of his request, he promises better wealth, well-being, and health for the whole family. Though her father and her brother, Neddy, are not in favor, Rose insists she goes with the white bear. Little did she know that going with the white bear was just the beginning of a fantastic journey.

Review: The fact that this book has close to 500 pages may be quite daunting, but I have to say it is well worth it. In fact, the only negative thing I can think of about this book is that it ended, and I didn't want it to just yet. Having said that, it is quite obvious that I am in love with everything about this book. I love that it tells an old-fashioned story -- almost like a classic fairy tale. I loved the complex characters; they are empathetic and as multifaceted as characters can get. I could not help but root for each of them. I particularly loved the writing as well; its flow and its pace are both smooth and effortless. It is unique, and never did it seem forced or contrived at all. The details and descriptions are simply perfect; never too much. I also loved the fact that though there were multiple narrators, I didn't feel once confused by them as their voices were very distinct. And like I already mentioned, though this book has 500 pages, not once was I bored.
So as not to make this review even longer, I'll just go ahead and give East 5 stars. I highly recommend it to readers of all ages; children, young adult, and even adults. It is one grand story you should not miss.

Inspiration: Summer

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's the first official day of Summer! To "celebrate" this day, I decided to make an inspiration post. I haven't done one in a while so this one will be solely dedicated to this wonderful season. How could I not? I love Summer. While I am not a fan of the overwhelming heat, I do love the other things that come with it; longer days, more free time, random outings, day trips, ice cold beverages, summer fruits, picnics, pastel and light colors, summer dresses, floral patterns, road trips.. and so many more. What do you like the most about Summer time?