Friday, August 31, 2012

Review: One Moment by Kristina McBride

Read from June 20, 2012
to June 21, 2012
Book: One Moment by Kristina McBride
Publication Date: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Egmont USA
Number of Pages: 232
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary

This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie's life. Now it's the one she'd do anything to forget.

Maggie remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party. She remembers climbing the trail with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can't she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below-dead? 

As Maggie's memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding? The latest novel from the author of "The Tension of Opposites," "One Moment" is a mysterious, searing look at how an instant can change everything you believe about the world around you. - From Goodreads

I expected One Moment to be heavy. And it was, in a lot of ways. It has every thing a drama would be without: betrayal, deception, lies, and death. 

Maggie seems to have it all. A perfect boyfriend and a perfect group of friends. Then one summer, everything changes. Joey's dead and she can't remember anything that happened before the accident. But Joey's death is only the first slip, secrets will spill and it will ultimately change her.

How can so much drama revolve around one group of friends? I do not know. Friends don't hurt friends but here we see that. But eventually, friendship and love restored what has been broken. It's a balancing act and I admire McBride for handling it perfectly.

I admit One Moment did not blow my mind off nor made me scream best book ever but the story has this power to seeped in and get you where it matters. I found myself brimming with tears, angry and frustrated, but most of all McBride made me feel like I was Maggie, like I was experiencing it first hand. I felt her hurt, her devastation, her grief. How hard it is to cope with losing someone you love. To know that those people you loved and trusted was not entirely truthful all along. Upsetting, wouldn't really cover it.

But One Moment isn't just about the drama, it's about letting go and moving on. It's about standing up again and believing that no matter how dark the place you are in, light will always shine through. It could be a memory, a single moment of clarity or a person that will hold your hand to help you get ready to face life again.

Cupid's Verdict:
3 1/2 Cupids

An advance copy was provided by the publisher at no cost via Netgalley.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Random Ramblings (20): Cover Limelight (2)

It's been a while since the last Random Rambling post. Today, I'll share to you the final installment in the Transcend Time Saga by Michelle Madow. This will be released on November 20, 2012. 

Add it on Goodreads.

The e-version of Remembrance, the first in the saga, is available at only $ 2.99 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ibook, and Kobo so if you haven't started it yet, now's your chance. :)

For more information on Michelle Madow and her books, please visit

Awesome Giveaways!

These are just some exciting giveaways you should know about. All of these accept international entries.

From The Midnight Garden:

1 Hardback of The Girl of Fire and Thorns and an ARC of The Crown of Embers

8 Awesome YA releases

2 Signed Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (1 Aus/1 Int)

So what are you waiting for? Fabulous prizes awaits. Enter now! :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Read from July 15, 2012
to July 22, 2012
Book: Speechless by Hannah Harrington
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Number of Pages: 288
Genre/s: Young Adult, Contemporary

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can't keep a secret
Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast—and nearly got someone killed.
Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.
But there's strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way—people she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she's done. If only she can forgive herself. - From Goodreads

Hate's too easy. Love. Love takes courage.

Speechless spoke to me in so many levels. I believe this is one of the strongest contemporary novel I've read to date. 

Chelsea, for a lack of a better word, is a blabber. She's a gossip starter and she couldn't care any less whatever her gossiping might bring to the persons involved. She's doing it for Kristen, her supposed-to-be best friend and the most popular girl in school, and she's doing it for her social status. But everything went horribly wrong when the latest secret she shared almost cost the life of someone.  She ended up telling what happened to her parents, cops were called, news spread out, and just overnight, her social status came crashing down.

At first, I thought I wouldn't like Chelsea. I thought she was conceited and self-involved. But boy was I wrong! Not only did I love her but she and me connected in a way I never thought we would. I love her voice, I love being inside her head, and I love hearing her thoughts. When she took the vow of silence, she didn't know it yet but this showcased her strength and character. 

It's not an easy process, though. I saw her struggle to maintain her vow, how confused and frustrated she was that Kristen didn't take her side but only made her downfall worse. But with these came the realization that what she and Kristen had was an unhealthy relationship. New friends came along the way and she understood the true value of friendship. 

In the end, Chelsea became one of my most favorite characters. Her resilience is commendable and I admire her for growing up, owning up to her bad decisions, and learning to forgive herself. 

Speechless is my first Hannah Harrington novel and it definitely wouldn't be my last. I am very much looking forward to reading her debut novel, Saving June, and her future works. Speechless is out today. Don't forget to grab yourself a copy, I assure you it won't disappoint.

Cupid's Verdict:
5 Cupids

An advance copy was provided by the publisher at no cost via Netgalley.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Timepiece by Myra McEntire

Read from May 26, 2012
to June 7, 2012
Book: Timepiece by Myra McEntire
Publishing Date: June 12, 2012
Publisher: Egmont USA
Number of Pages: 336
Genre/s: Young Adult, Time Travel

A threat from the past could destroy the future. And the clock is ticking...

Kaleb Ballard's relentless flirting is interrupted when Jack Landers, the man who tried to murder his father, timeslips in and attacks before disappearing just as quickly. But Kaleb has never before been able to see time travelers, unlike many of his friends associated with the mysterious Hourglass organization. Are Kaleb's powers expanding, or is something very wrong?

Then the Hourglass is issued an ultimatum. Either they find Jack and the research he's stolen on the time gene, or time will be altered with devastating results. 

Now Kaleb, Emerson, Michael, and the other Hourglass recruits have no choice but to use their unusual powers to find Jack. But where do they even start? And when? And even if they succeed, it may not be enough...

The follow-up to Hourglass, Timepiece blends the paranormal, science fiction, mystery, and suspense genres into a nonstop thrill ride where every second counts. - From Goodreads

I looked at my notes and this was everywhere: 0_0.

I read Timepiece without even rereading Hourglass and I was baffled and confused because I couldn't really remember much about Hourglass.  I really tried remembering to no avail so I told myself that I'd give Timepiece until 100 pages to provide some background and clear things out, if not I'll reread Hourglass.

But you know what? Timepiece was really compelling and addictive. I didn't even get the chance to browse through Hourglass. I went in blind and I think it is a rare feat that I will really like a book I have trouble keeping up with. When I reached the 100 mark, I was still in the dark but it just got better and better that I just kept reading.

From what little I can remember, Hourglass narrator was Emerson but this time in Timepiece it was Kaleb's POV. At first I struggle to place him because I cannot for the life of me remember him in the first book but I grew to really like him. He was not all what he seemed to be. He was a compassionate and loving person and when he gave himself the chance to be that, he really shined through.

Lily. Oh Lily. How much do I love thee. She was incredible. I really love seeing her in Kaleb's perspective. She just perfectly complemented Kaleb.

The atmosphere in Timepiece was incredible. I felt creeped out by all the rips. How suddenly they are everywhere and how they could suck you from the present to the past and future and left you stranded there. Jack was ominous as ever and we are introduced to new villains that's why I am definitely excited to see where the next installment would take us.

I could definitely say that Timepiece will have a very special place in my memory now and I will surely reread Hourglass and Timepiece again. This is a must-read, people!

Cupid's Verdict:
4 Cupids

An advance copy was provided by the publisher at no cost via Netgalley.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Waiting On" Wednesday (7): The Lost Girl

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating. 

Book: The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination—an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her “other”, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known—the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love—to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive. - Goodreads

I've heard so many great things about The Lost Girl. They said it was heartbreaking. They said it was made of awesome. They said it was unique. And knowing me, I want all of that. The Lost Girl is coming out very soon and because I can't wait any longer, I've already pre-ordered it. Now I'm just waiting and I'm in the process of reducing my nails to nothing while doing so. Tough life! ;)

What are you waiting on?
Leave your link down below so I can check yours out. :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pushing The Limits Read-A-Long: 4th week

Questions of the week:

1. At a certain moment, Echo tells Noah that she feels safe with him. Echo thinks that because of this comforting feeling, she may be able to finally have a full night of peaceful sleep. Why do you think it is important for Echo to feel safe? And why no one else but Noah has been able to provide this to Echo?

Noah and Echo both understand each other. In a way, this helps Echo feel safe with Noah. Also, Noah has been very supportive of her. They understand each others pain and for the first time since the incident she could just leave all her issues out in the open and be honest with herself.

2. Beth, Noah’s friend, also has a very complex life situation plus she also does drugs. However, what grabs my attention is her mean behavior towards Echo. Why do you think Beth hates/dislikes Echo so much?

Beth has a narrow perception regarding the likes of Echo. She is protective of her friends and her hostility with Echo is her way of looking out for Noah.

3. At some point, we finally get to know how Noah’s parents died at the fire and how it started. Unfortunately, this is something that has happened before. What tips to avoid a fire (especially when there are kids at home) do you know about?

Well, children in nature are very curious about their environment. They want to touch everything and play with anything they could get their hands on. The best way to prevent any accident especially a fire is to keep matches or any flameable objects away. As always, supervision goes a long way.

4 . Echo finally discovers more about what really happened to her the day she got her scars at her mother’s place. Unfortunately, this also involved Echo’s father and Ashley. What do you think about them and to what point do you think it makes them responsible to what happened to Echo? 

I really felt Echo's devastation here knowing that somehow her father had let her down. I really think everyone's responsible here. They're the grown-ups and they should have known by now how unstable Echo's mother is. But I still think Echo's mother is the most at fault here.

5. On p.303 (of ARC) Echo said to Noah: “I love you…[y]ou love your brothers more. I’m okay with that. In fact, it’s one of the things I love about you. You were right the other day. I do want to be part of a family. But I’d never forgive myself if I was the reason you didn’t get yours… I love you enough to never make you choose.”  What do you think of Echo’s decision to break up with Noah? What does it mean to you?

This was indeed one of the best scenes in the book. I was bawling and sniffing like crazy. This is just so heartbreaking for both of them. All his life, Noah has to choose. And now, Echo's giving him this one chance wherein there's nothing to choose from anymore and sadly, it's the most heartbreaking of all. It's very selfless of Echo to do this and it just showcased how brave she was and how willing she was to give everything to Noah even if that means walking away and giving up her happiness. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pushing The Limits Read-A-Long: 3rd week


Questions for the week:

1. In the beginning of this section Noah decides to ignore Echo because he’s angry and hurt. What did you think of this? Have you ever experienced a friendship that went awry and they started ignoring you?

I guess most of us has some kind of experience with this at one time or another. I did my share of ignoring but that's only because I need space and I don't want to say awful things that I'd surely regret later to that person. So, I know what it feels like for both ends and it's not really a happy thing.

2. Noah has a bit of a false reputation. Everyone thinks he’s a big druggie and a guy that just randomly hooks up with girls. While some of it is true to a certain extent, we see it’s not really him. Have you ever had a false reputation where people draw their own conclusions? Do you think Noah should do something to make people not think that about him?

Yes. On a personal level, this help me empathize with Noah more. For him letting other people brand him into something he's really not is his defense mechanism. He keeps everyone at arms length except for his two best friends and his brothers. It's hard for him to trust anyone, the distrust he feels for the system is apparent. I don't think Noah really cares what people thought of him, well, until Echo comes along. 

3. Ashley finds out she’s having a boy and informs Echo she will have a brother ‘again’. Echo took this very personally and was extremely upset. Do you think Echo overreacted? Do you think Ashley meant that the new brother would replace her brother?

What Echo feels for her brother is the complete opposite of what she feels for Ashley. It's clear that she blames her for ruining her family and I do not think she overreacted. She sorely misses her brother and she just acted the way someone would act if they feel someone they loved most is being replaced by a representation of something that torn her family apart. Of course, at first I thought Ashley was the villain but I think she means well. She might think by telling Echo this, she wouldn't feel so alone anymore. 

4 . Echo doesn’t remember what happened with her mother and for this reason she has troubles seeing her the way everyone else does. She can’t seem to not miss her and still wants to talk to her. Do you think she should pursue finding her mom? Do you think it will help her or do you think she would be in danger?

I believe that as much as Echo wants to see her Mom for answers, she wants to seek closure, too. Also, deep down inside her she wants to give her mother a chance. From her memories, she really thinks highly of her. I think she needs to see her Mom. It might give her the answers she needed and make her realize something about herself. 

5.) Noah doesn’t trust the people who have his brothers because of his own past situations. He decides to seek out a lawyer himself and try to get custody. Do you think this is his best move? Do you think there are some other options he should consider? 

Noah is really determined to get custody of his brothers. He feels that by doing so they could become a family again. But there are indeed better options for him. Because if he did get custody of his brothers, he will have to throw away his future to become their dad. It's not a bad thing, I know but his brothers are now has a family who clearly loves them. They have a great future ahead of them. It's really a complicated thing because no matter what we say, Noah giving up getting the custody means letting go of his brothers, in a way. I just hope Noah would give himself a chance and don't get too blinded.

6. Echo finds out that Noah and his parents built houses for Habitat for Humanity. Have you ever volunteered for something like that? What is a cause that you feel strongly about?

Actually, yes. We made a house back in High School. It was a very hot day and we were all really tired on our way home but it's a really rewarding experience knowing that you made a family happy and you've given them something permanent.  Then 2 years ago, we reconstructed two classrooms in a rural town. Education is something I feel strongly about and doing that classroom made me realized I'm actually helping those children to have a more meaningful and comfortable time at school and hopefully it will make them look forward to studying and learning. I don't get as much opportunity and time as I would like to reach out and volunteer but it's something I really want to do.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pushing The Limits Read-A-Long: 2nd week


Questions for the week:

1. Noah and Echo create a plan to read their files.  What do you think of this plan?  Would you read your friends file first knowing you might not have time to read your own?  Would you want to read your own file?

I think the plan is very exciting. I don't think I could do it, though. I am a stickler to rules, the only thing I have trouble following is the time. (Yes, I am always tardy). Plus, when there's a prank going on, I am always the first one to bust it out because I can't even keep a straight face. Reading your own file seems like a big deal so I'd definitely wimp out and not do it.

2. Mrs. Collins starts to earn Noah’s trust by taking him to see his brother win a writing contest.  What do you think of how she’s handling Noah?  How would you feel if you were in Noah’s position, hearing that your brother sees you as his hero?

Personally, this was one of my favorite moments in the book. It's just so heartwarming and uplifting especially for Noah. Before, I really don't like Mrs. Collins but she's proving that she really cares and she's dedicated to make things work with Noah. I don't have any siblings but I have plenty of little cousins and if that moment happened to me, I know I would probably bawl my eyes out. 

3. Echo is starting to draw and paint again.  She’s starting to express the feelings and what she’s seeing as she’s starting to remember what happened that day.  Art therapy seems to be a popular way for people to deal with their feelings, why do you think Echo’s dad didn’t want her to continue with art since it was such a big part of her and is part of so many people’s therapy in dealing with similar issues?

There's something with art that could give Echo the memories she badly wanted back. I truly believe that even though his dad doesn't show it, he loves Echo. But that same love is greatly overshadowed by guilt and he is scared that when Echo starts to paint again, he might loss her, too. Stopping and prohibiting Echo to do what she loves may not be the healthiest option for her, but I understand her father for doing so even though it may seem selfish at a glance.

4 . We see how crazy Beth’s home life is and we start to understand why she is not as keen to be trusting with people in her life.  At the same time, we get to see how fiercely loyal Noah is.  What do you think of the way Noah reacted to Beth being beaten by her mother’s boyfriend?  Do you think it’s showing bad behavior that could get Noah in more trouble or the act of a true friend?

Well, friends got to do what they got to do. Noah is fiercely protective and loyal, just like Beth and Isaiah. For me in this kind of situation, protecting your friend even if it may lead to trouble is the righteous thing to do.

5 .) Echo has an unusual name.  What do you think of the story behind it?  Is there a Greek Myth or other story that would inspire you to name a child after a character?

Actually, I didn't think of it as a big thing. Although, it was a detail that added a little bit to Echo's character and provided a peek at Echo's mom. I think knowing the story behind her name subsconsciously made Echo wary about trusting people.

I think I would name my child Athena. I think she is the least petty of the goddesses. She is a great strategist and has a brilliant mind. I also like the sound of it, maybe it could be a second name? :P 

6. Echo’s big thing is trying to find “normal” again.  She doesn’t want to be the scared girl or the girl who can’t remember what happened to her, she just wants to be normal.  This goal impacts her relationships with her family, friends, Noah and her ex Luke.   But at the end of this section, Echo is starting to figure out that there’s no going back to old normal and she’s going to have to find a new normal.   How big of a step is it for Echo when she realizes she’s not “in” love with Luke and figures out that she does need to find a new normal?

So many things had happened to Echo that would probably scar her for life. She doesn't only have the physical scars to show for it but also the scars are deep within her. I think that even though she will move on eventually, the experiences would still be with her. I do believe in the saying that, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger", and little by little I could see Echo trying to let go of the notion that she could go back to the way things were. It's a little bit scary to do that cause I know some people want stability and familiarity even if it's only at face value. Echo admitting she's "not into" or in love with Luke anymore is her way of letting things go and admitting the truth to herself. It's not exactly a big step into the "PAST IS PAST" land that will make her start bringing down the walls she made for herself but she's getting there. It's a baby step but she's on her way to that. 
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