Book Review: The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

Author: Maggie Hall

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Release date: January 13, 2015

Purchase from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

synopsis

Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family–but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she’s falling in love with.

SPOILERS MAY LIE AHEAD DEARIES. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. YOU’RE WELCOME.

I never thought that I would enjoy audiobooks and now it’s become an obsession. The Conspiracy of Us is the second audiobook that I’ve listened this month per my library’s collection. I was completely immersed with the rich culture that surrounded Avery – from Boston to Paris and Paris to Istanbul. That was one of my favorite things – that this story’s main setting is in Europe. The language is riddled with beautiful prose and metaphors, giving me a deeper insight to Avery’s newly discovered life and the consequences of that life to an ancient prophecy.

Avery’s life is turned upside down when Stellan, a keeper for the Dauphins I deeply apologize for butchering names as I have to go by ear and not text, one of the 12 families that form the Circle, shows up at her prom. Jack, a keeper for the Saxons, is also there and has been collecting Intel on Avery for nearly a semester. Avery is more comfortable with Jack and trusts in his judgement and it is only after his advice that Avery agrees to go to Paris with Stellan.

As the story progresses, Avery discovers an exquisite, lavish, and powerful world that is hidden from the rest of humanity. The Circle is made up of 12 families who have a hand in governing society, controlling the media, and closing down Prada for private appointments. At first, Avery is skeptical and she thinks that everyone is crazy and part of a conspiracy theory, and I loved that quality of her. She questions everything and isn’t a naive character. She is also willing to risk her life for someone else’s, which shows how deep her loyalty runs. I also liked how she breaks down – it is a raw emotion, especially because everything is too much. She is only seventeen years old, yet practically bears the fate of the world on her shoulders.

Then, there is Jack, who I found to be sweet, protective, and trustworthy for the most part. I liked Jack better than Stellan because we did get more of him throughout the story whereas Stellan was only in the book for about 20%, but I imagine he will be included more in the sequel BECAUSE OF THE ENDING! :O  Jack became Avery’s greatest ally while she was thrust into this other world of secrets and murder (yes, this is a heavy topic throughout the course of the book). Also, did I mention he was British? That is enough to woo me! 😉

I also should mention Luke and how he played a significant role in one of Avery’s closest ally’s. Luke saves Avery by setting her free and that is all I am going to say *hums*

I was so captivated by Julia Wehlan’s narration that I found myself gripping my steering wheel during action-packed scenes and startling revelations. Her voice depicts each character greatly and it was easy for me to follow the dialogue as well as the beautiful writing.

A lot of questions are answered throughout the progression of the novel, like what the ancient prophecy mandates, but there are also many questions left unanswered that I hope will be explored in the sequel!

I highly enjoyed listening to The Conspiracy of Us and l found it fresh and imaginative. I highly recommend listening like I did or reading. Whichever way you chose, you’ll be immersed in a beautiful world with equally vibrant characters.

 addy5star

Advertisements

Book Review: Keeping the Distance (Iloilo #1) by Clarisse David

Keeping the Distance (I Heart Iloilo, #1)Author: Clarisse David

Publisher: Self

Release date: February 6, 2017

Purchase from Amazon

synopsis

No bets. No fake relationships. Just a very real one that has to be kept under wraps.

Seventeen-year-old Melissa wants to dye her hair cotton candy pink and focus on her ukulele instead of Physics. But she can’t. As the daughter of a Catholic school principal, living up to her model student image 24/7 is a must. Something’s about to give under all the pressure. She only hopes it isn’t her.

Getting involved with a troublemaking basketball player is the last possible thing she needs…

Lance is used to getting what he wants. With a pretty face he uses to full advantage and his role as co-captain of the basketball team, the easy way is the only way he’s ever known. Until the day he notices the prim Melissa he’s known forever is actually hot and decides to ask her out. He has no idea he’s about to learn the lesson of a lifetime.

Not getting what he wants might exactly be what he needs…

 SPOILERS MAY LIE AHEAD DEARIES. YOU HAVE BEEN WARN.
I was instantly captivated by David’s artfully crafted narrative of two teens who are polar opposites, hate one another, yet, find common ground. Crafting a prank war with each other and landing in detention is only the beginning for Melissa and Lance. These two will have you swooning with their witty banter, laughs, and unbelievable heartwarming moments.

The thing I loved most was how authentic her characters are. For instance, Mel loves cola-slurpees! SLURPEES. I wanted one as I read these two star-crossed lovers find their way towards each other.

Mel’s cola-slurpee obsession isn’t the only thing I loved about her. I also loved how beautifully aesthetic she is. She loves girly things like pink shirts with clouds on them and fishtail braids. I would instantly be Mel’s friend and ask her to teach me how to be a radiant and mystical beauty like her. She is fierce and loyal and also conscious of her actions. Near the end, there is this scene where Mel is brave and makes a very public apology and I just *sigh* YOU GO GIRL. YOU GO.

Aside from the romance (which I will get to in a bit!), I also loved her relationships with her best friend and family. Cam, Mel’s best friend, is an avid supporter of Mel’s musical talent like an amazing best friend should! Cam is also a savvy girl with a camera who loves everything photography and video recording. There’s this one instance where Mel’s mom (who is an excellent baker btw) comments on Cam’s skills as she needs a new FB profile picture 😛 Then, there is this other moment where she threatens Lance in a very comical way 😉

The biggest obstacle in Mel’s life is her father. He is the principal of her school and has high expectations that obscure Mel’s own will and desires. He is also over-protective – the kind of father who wants you to call every hour. It is a heartfelt moment when Mel confronts her dad. It made me cry because I am a sucker for well-written father-daughter moments.

Then, there is Lance. I loved how he grew as the story progressed. He went from this shallow guy who dated girls that he didn’t care for to a guy who falls in love with the unlikeliest of people. There’s nothing I love more than character growth and he (along with Melissa) grew exceptionally well and in all the right times. He cares so much and his actions show it.

I wonder if they’ll be featured in the next installment of this series. God. I hope so! *Clarisse if you read this…PLEASE. I NEED SOME MORE MEL AND LANCE*

Image result for please gif

Looking for a sweet romance? Then, look no further! Keeping the Distance is right up your ally with mischief pranks, hate-to-love romance, and secretive rendezvous.

 addy5star

Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt & Company

Release date: September 29, 2015

Purchase from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

synopsis

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

SPOILERS MAY LIE AHEAD. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

I didn’t know what to expect with Six of Crows and was pleasantly impressed, giddy, and quite frankly, blown away. I say “didn’t know what to expect” because I dived in without giving much thought into why this book is “highly recommended and over-hyped” (and for good reason!). To be honest, I thought the first two chapters were quite dry and a little boring. But, oh! The boredom quickly shifts to a captivating world filled with colorful characters. Their differences bring them together to see if they can pull off an impossible heist in order to gain some of their freedom/revenge.

This story is heavily driven by its characters and I loved that so much. The narrative is multi-perspective which was thoroughly developed. Each character has it’s own voice without being blurred or confused for another. To me, that is writing mastery and I applaud Bardugo for it.

I loved each character for their pasts, flaws, and fierceness. No one is who they seem on the surface. Every one has or will overcome their fears and demons. I also really really REALLY loved the diverse cast of characters like Kaz’s disabled body and how it did not affect how much of a badass he is, Inej’s dark skin and her strength and fierceness, Jesper’s attraction to men, and lastly Wylan’s disability. I’m not saying what kind of disability because it’s kind of a spoiler 😛 I loved how their characterization transcends their abilities as people. People are more than how they look and that’s a huge attribute I took away from reading Six of Crows.

The writing itself is powerful, spellbinding, and immersive. I was captivated by the world that Bardugo expanded upon. I only read Shadow and Bone in her Grisha trilogy and that was years ago. I saw this expansion as completely new and riveting, and it actually has made me want to continue reading the Grisha trilogy. The world-building is just…it’s magic. I love how she’s taken folklore and spun it to her own will, creating a whirlwind of adventure.

Lastly, I love love LOVE the romantic relationships within this fantastical world. I just swoon from every single one. There are so many quote worthy lines in this book and it is just:

Image result for heart eyes gif

It has been weeks since I finished Six of Crows and I cannot stop thinking about it. It was bloody brilliant and I honestly cannot wait until Crooked Kingdom is shipped to me. It needs to get here like NOW. I highly recommend this read if you like fantasy, beautiful world-building, and a mixture of unlikely criminals who can be seen as heroes of their story.

addy5star

 

Simply Sunday #32

simply sunday

Simply Sunday is a reading meme hosted by Books For a Delicate Eternity. It’s where you share your favorite quote; be it from a book, movie, novella, song, ect.

My favorite quote this week is anonymous:

Everyone wants a strong woman

until she actually stands up, flexes her muscles,

projects her voice

 

Suddenly, she is too much.

She has forgotten her place.

 

You love those women

as ideas, as fantasies

 

Not as breathing, living humans

threatening to be even better

than you could ever be

Why I Chose It

Last weekend a monumental historic event unfolded. Women (and supports for Women’s Rights) marched all over the world, igniting a fire that lead to revolution. Yet, despite the efforts to stand up for equality there are still many who see the protest as “bitching” and “unnecessary.” Women who fight, who speak up, are treated as feminazis. It is disheartening. It is appalling to think that women who are privileged (those of us who live in the U.S. or in countries who do not oppress women) do not have any claim to feel repressed because of the so-called equality we have now.

I am tired. My fellow sisters are tired. It is ridiculous to lift women up as inspirational role models in media such as literature, t.v., movies, ect. but not treat real life warriors to that same extent. If the idea of a strong woman is desirable, is inspiring, then they should be seen as such in all areas of life.

||

What do you think of the recent events? Do you agree or disagree? I’d love to hear your thoughts down below.

Lastly, I apologize with the sudden political content on my blog. I’ve recently found beauty in rebellion, in voicing my concerns with the world.

Emma

Cover Reveal: The Paths We Choose by Maria Hollis

Image result for hello gif

Happy Friday lovely people of the interwebs! Today I bring you the cover reveal for Maria Hollis’s new novella, The Paths We Choose. It is contemporary and sounds mysterious – which is right up my alley!

So are you ready to see this beauty?

3…2…1…TADA!

big-cover-the-paths-we-chooseSYNOPSIS

Lily Ferrari enjoys having control over every detail of her life. Ever since she left her parents’ house to gain her freedom, she decided to fully own her autonomy. But an unexpected visit from her little brother may change the path she chooses to follow.

Add to that a casual fling with the bright architect Mayte González, and Lily’s summer is turning out more interesting than she expected. It certainly beats the routine of working extra shifts at Johnson’s Bookstore.

A few weeks before her college life begins, Lily needs to figure out if she’s wrong about the past or if she should continue to protect her heart at all costs.

Sometimes moving forward is only possible if you have the right people by your side.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

M. Hollis could never decide what to do with her life. From the time she was a child, she has changed her ideas for a career hundreds of times. After writing in hidden notebooks during classes and daydreaming during every spare moment of her day, she decided to fully dedicate herself to her stories. When she isn’t scrolling around her social media accounts or reading lots of femslash fanfiction, you’ll find her crying about female characters and baking cookies.

Keep up to date with Maria:
Add The Paths We Choose to your TBR !!
||
I am so excited to dive right into this one! The cover is so PINK. I love it! You don’t usually see pink covers out in the world and I just love it’s brightness and prettiness 🙂 What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!
Love always,
Emma

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David

banner-lolas-blog-toursHello lovelies! Today is the cover reveal for Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David. This cover reveal is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. This cover is designed by Daniel Tinagan and wow! he did an amazing job with the typography and capturing a sweet moment between the models. I just love this (the cover and the book) so much and I know you will, too!

So without further ado…

keeping-the-distanceKeeping the Distance (I Heart Iloilo #1)

By Clarisse David

Genre: Romance

Age category: Young Adult

Release Date: February 6, 2017

SYNOPSIS

No bets. No fake relationships. Just a very real one that has to be kept under wraps.

Seventeen-year-old Melissa wants to dye her hair cotton candy pink and focus on her ukulele instead of Physics. But she can’t. As the daughter of a Catholic school principal, living up to her model student image 24/7 is a must. Something’s about to give under all the pressure. She only hopes it isn’t her.

Getting involved with a troublemaking basketball player is the last possible thing she needs…

Lance is used to getting what he wants. With a pretty face he uses to full advantage and his role as co-captain of the basketball team, the easy way is the only way he’s ever known. Until the day he notices the prim Melissa he’s known forever is actually hot and decides to ask her out. He has no idea he’s about to learn the lesson of a lifetime.

Not getting what he wants might exactly be what he needs.

You can find Keeping the Distance on Goodreads and you can pre-order Keeping the Distance here.

Believe me, you don’t want to miss out on this incredibly sweet read! It will have you swooning!

About the Author:

clarisse-davidClarisse David is a Young Adult and New Adult author from the land of epic heat waves a.k.a. the Philippines. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and cannot survive without Taylor Swift songs, red lipstick, and books. When not hanging out on Twitter, she can be found working on her latest writing project.

Stay up to date with Clarisse:

Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Newsletter | Pinterest | Twitter | Website |

GIVEAWAY

  • One winner will win an ebook copy of Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David and an ebook of their choice from #romanceclass. See the whole list of #romanceclass books here:
  • 2 winners will each win an ebook copy of Keeping the Distance.

For a chance to win, enter a Rafflecopter giveaway.

May the odds be ever in your favor.
||

What do you think of Keeping the Distance? Will you be pre-ordering it? I highly recommend it! I finished reading it this weekend and OMG:

Image result for HEART EYES gif

Stay groovy,

Emma

My Most Anticipated Reads of 2017

most-anticipated-reads

There are so many wonderfully diverse, epic, and beautiful stories being released this year and I can hardly contain my excitement! I want to be BLOWN away by everything that my hands can get a hand on. I want to fall in love with characters and uniquely explored worlds. I want to be utterly shocked by stunning revelations. I want it all! I’m hoping that these lovely reads will do just that 😉

January

The Bear and the Nightingale: Russian fairytales? Yes, please! Now!

By Your Side: #autobuy I’m a sucker for a Kasie West contemporary. They are swoon-worthy!

February

Empress of a Thousand Skies: A beautiful sci-fi space adventure. I haven’t read one in so long. Bring it on!

We Are Okay: A story of loss and heartbreak. I loved Nina’s Everything Leads to You so I’m positive I’ll love this one, too!

The Hate U Give: An #ownvoices insight to the #BLM movement. THIS book will change the world, I know it.

The Education of Margot Sanchez: A coming of age story written by a Latinx writer. YAS!

March

The Bone Witch: Necromancy, magic, and witches – all elements that I LOVE.

Strange the Dreamer: Laini Taylor is a goddess and this world is riveting, dangerous, and magical. #autobuy

April

Defy the Stars: Another #autobuy author and a sci-fic novel set in space! Also, look at that gorgeous cover!!

Alex & Eliza: I am utterly obsessed with Hamilton so this is so perfect ❤

May

The Seafarer’s Kiss: A modern retelling featuring f/f romance! Gimmeeee 😛

When Dimple Met Rishi: Diversity reigns again when two Indian-American teens have been arranged to be married. RomCom material = a very happy Emma 😉

Always and Forever, Lara Jean: #autobuy I just love these characters so much and need to know that Lara Jean x Peter stay together!

Eliza and her Monsters: A deeply relatable story about life online and writing fanfiction.

||

Are any of these lovely reads on your list? What are you most excited to read this year?

Emma

 

My Favorite Reads in 2016

Image result for hello gif

2016 was a better year for me when it came to reading! I surpassed my small goal of 25 books for the year, ending at 28! I’m a pretty proud penguin for that accomplishment. I read two adult fiction books, poetry, and NA. I also explored diverse reads written by incredible #ownvoices authors. As for the books I read, I pretty much loved everything I got my hands on. I’m easily pleased so picking just 6 favorites was a challenge.

So, without further ado here are my favorite reads in 2016:

||

My reading goal for 2017 is to read more #diversereads, to keep on stepping out of my comfort zone, and to explore all the wonder and imaginative worlds that are out there for the taking!

I’m going to push myself to read 50 books next year. The trouble is finding the right balance 😉

I hope you all had a great reading year! What are some of your favorite reads of 2016? Let me know in the comments below!

Much love always,

Emma

Book Review: Prom Queen Perfect by Clarisse Davide

Author: Clarisse Davide

Publisher: self-pub

Release date: July 7, 2016

Format: E-book

Purchase from Amazon

synopsis

Being perfect isn’t supposed to be this hard.

Alex dela Cruz has it all. Looks, money, and a killer sense of style.

When the annoyingly gorgeous Adam Cordero calls her selfish, she decides to prove him wrong by transforming Christy Marquez from an invisible misfit into a ruling princess of Asia Pacific Academy. Great hair? Check. Flawless red lipstick? Check. Instant popularity? A slightly too big check.

But now, Alex is on the brink of losing the plastic tiara she’s supposed to get as prom queen, her best friend, and her heart to the unlikeliest of candidates. Too bad she isn’t letting anything—or anyone—get between her and that tiara.

NO SPOILERS LIE AHEAD. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Prom Queen Perfect was everything I needed in an incredibly sweet and short (to my utter dismay) story about childhood friends turned high school frenemies/sweethearts. I plunged into this novel blindly; not really knowing or expecting how I’d feel. At the end, I felt a WHOLE LOT FOR ALEX AND ADAM.

Alex dela Cruz is that popular girl in high school that everyone hates but wishes to secretly be. She rules Asia Pacific Academy with an iron fist; no one dares to undermine her superiority. Well, except Adam Cordero. Adam is the only one who tells Alex that she is selfish, which sends her into an obsessive spiral of proving him wrong. Her project? Turn Christy Marquez from invisible to popular.

What I liked most about the plot was the fact that yes, it sounds cliche, but it is executed well with stunning metaphors that are unique to Clarisse Davide. The amount of emotion also blew me away as I felt overwhelmingly giddy for Alex in her bouts of clarity over love.

Even though Prom Queen Perfect is abundantly sweet, there are still some issues that Alex overcomes like the estranged bond between her and her mother, what it means to have a best friend, the act of selflessness vs. selfishness, and of course, how it feels to be in love.

I also loved the diverse cast from a diverse author! That was gold and god, soooooo good. I literally devoured this book in one sitting and all I wanted was MOAR.

 

Related image

At 58% I made a note: Slowly falling in love is one of my favorite things to read.

It is. It really is. The relationship between Alex and Adam was everything my little heart desired. I was grinning like the mad Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland. It was that SWEET AND JUST ASDFGHJKL.

I also highly enjoyed the relationship between Christy and Alex. It was an unexpected friendship. It was interesting how their bond grew, broke, and was mended back together as authentically as any friendship in real life.

Prom Queen Perfect is a beautiful, whirlwind of a story about learning to be not-so-perfect and showing the world who the girl behind the facade really is. I truly loved this so much and just want more of Alex, Adam, and Christy in my life.

addy5star

Simply Sunday #30

simply sunday

Simply Sunday is a reading meme hosted by Books For a Delicate Eternity. It’s where you share your favorite quote; be it from a book, movie, novella, song, ect.

My favorite quote this week is from M.A.W:

we’re all killers.
we’ve all killed parts of ourselves
to survive.

we’ve all got blood on our hands.
something somewhere had to die
so we could stay alive.

Why I Chose It

I am in constant war with myself. I am my worse enemy. I’ve lost parts of myself in order to fit in, to make others happy, to simply survive in this world. This poem illustrates the harsh reality that I (and maybe you) have gone through, and even though it isn’t the most happiest thing in the world, it is still part of us. The beauty lies within survival and the strength I’ve had to keep on fighting.

||

Do you have a favorite quote this week? Let me know down in the comments below! 🙂

Emma