30 June 2015

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Wicked White by Michelle A. Valentine + Excerpt & Giveaway!

Wicked White
by Michelle A. Valentine
Published by Montlake Romance on June 23rd, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Music
Get it on Amazon
After his mother dies, rock star Ace White—lead singer of the red-hot band Wicked White—is done with the celebrity game. The phony people, the meaningless one-night stands: he doesn’t want any of it anymore. Quitting in the middle of a sold-out tour, Ace sets out to find some place—any place—where he can be alone.

Aspiring singer Iris Easton’s life has never been easy. First, her mother walked out on her when she was a kid. Now she’s buried in debt, weeks after losing her beloved grandmother. When a mysterious and sexy new guy moves in next door, Iris can’t help but be drawn to his soulful gaze. She can tell there’s something from his past haunting him—something he’s not telling her.

Just as Ace starts falling for Iris, the media go on a worldwide hunt to find the missing rocker. Will true love conquer all, or will the truth be the very thing that tears the couple apart?


“Iris…that was amazing. You’ve got so much talent,” I praise.

Her green eyes light up with excitement like a child’s do on Christmas morning. “You really think so? You’re not just saying that?”

“No. I never bullshit about music. You’ve definitely got the chops for Broadway, it’s just…” I hesitate, not wanting to hurt her feelings, but I know that in order for her to get better, she has to be told what she’s doing wrong.

She lays her hand on my forearm. “Please, tell me. I can take it. Promise.”

I stand beside her, so close that my chest nearly touches her shoulder. I’m itching to touch her, but I won’t do it without permission. “May I touch you?”

She draws in a ragged breath and then nods. “Yes.”

I curl the fingers of my right hand around her right shoulder and pull back a little so that her posture is perpendicular to the floor. At this angle, I can’t help but notice her heaving chest and how her perky tits move in sync with each breath she takes.

I slide my left hand against her toned stomach and my pinkie grazes the warm patch of skin that’s exposed between her T-shirt and the waistband of her jeans.

Our contact is fucking electric, and my own breathing picks up speed as I attempt to fight back the arousal I feel for her boiling beneath my surface.

“Everything about you is magnetic,” I whisper in her ear, and she shivers at the words. “Don’t be afraid to open your eyes and watch your audience enjoy you. Be confident and project. Let go.”

I let go of her shoulder, and move to face her before pressing the repeat button on the machine. As the intro of the song plays, I say, “Do it again, but this time I want you to look at me.”

This time when she opens her mouth to sing, when she begins to tip her head down, I slide my index finger under her chin and angle her head so that she’s forced to peer into my eyes.

Her words are just barely above a whisper, so I slip my hand back on her abdomen and say, “Project--from here. Sing it like you mean it.”

It’s like lightening strikes this beautiful woman in my arms as she sings to me without fear. The words of the song come out effortlessly, and her voice could rival any of the greatest female vocalists of all time.

She’s that damn stunning. 

I nod approvingly and smile. “Yes!”

With that little bit of encouragement, she shocks me even more when she pushes herself to hit notes that are above and beyond what she reached the first time. 

Only on the last lyric does she close her eyes while she holds the note there until the music stops. She releases a contented sigh as soon as the music ends, and when her beautiful eyes meet mine again, they swirl with emotion.

Completely blown away, I fumble with the words to tell her just how impressed I am. “Iris, that was--”

Without warning, she throws her arms around my neck and crushes her lips against mine. I know kissing her back is wrong, but I’ll be damned if I don’t want her so badly at this point that I can’t stop myself from giving in. I’ve been so good with restraining myself when it comes to Iris, because protecting her from the chaos that I’ll bring her is what’s always been on the forefront of my mind.

Her fingers thrust into my hair, and I reach down and curl my hands around her thighs before hoisting her into the air. Instinctively she wraps her legs around my waist, and I thread one of my hands into her tousled curls while the other is busy cupping that perfect ass of hers. 

“I’ve wanted you since you walked into my trailer,” she breathes against my lips.

A thrill shoots through me at her admission of how long she’s wanted me. “You’ve been driving me out of my mind from the moment I first saw you.”

“Then take me.” 



Michelle A. Valentine is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Rock the Heart. Wicked White is the first novel in her Wicked White romance series. She attended college as a drafting and design major, but her love of people soon persuaded her to join the nursing field. It wasn’t until after the birth of her son that she began her love affair with romance novels, and she hasn’t looked back since. When she’s not writing, she feeds her music addiction, dabbles in party planning, and expresses herself by working with arts and crafts. She currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband, son, and two beloved dogs.


28 June 2015

Long Overdue Book Haul [Stacking The Shelves #8]

*Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme created by Tynga's Reviews, where you share books you've recently added to your TBR (physical or digital)

Oh, happy weekend for the people of the United States! *throws bacon confetti*

Marriage equality is now legalized in all of 50 states in America and I am just so happy for the LGBT community because they are finally granted equal rights, and it's just so overwhelming to bear witness (well, not really, as I live on the other side of the globe, but you get the point) to an iconic day that will be etched in our world history in the future. What a time to be alive! 

Aaaand, moving on!

For the past two months, I have been buying books, little by little, almost at least twice a week, and I have pretty much hauled at least 12 books because I just could not control my book buying urges. Book buying bans never work on me, because I'd just feel miserable at the end of the day. 

So, without further ado, here are my new babies. 

Cress by Marissa Meyer
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

Here's a little bit of close up on my latest babies.

I am ridiculously in love with this edition of Fangirl. It's a huge book, in hardcover and comes in different colors: Red, Pink and Yellow. I got my copy from Fullybooked, a local bookstore here in the Philippines. I don't remember seeing the book in stores, but I did get a newsletter in my email stating that this book is now available for order, and so I sent one in and tada! Here it is!

It also includes exclusive features such as an excerpt of Rainbow Rowell's upcoming novel, Carry On, and also a couple of gorgeous fan arts from various artists!

I also got the first three books of Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series and they are just absolutely GORGEOUS, especially Cress. I just want to "Cress" it, get it? HAH!

As of now, I'm currently reading Cinder and it's taking me ages to finish because I'm currently swamped with ARCs, so I've got it on my "I'll get back to you in a while" pile, while stuck on chapter 20. 

Just look at those matte covers with a little bit of gloss on the red accents and text. PERFECTION.

Also, a few days ago, Leigh Bardugo was here for a book signing. Though I was able to join the party, here's an unsigned copy of her book, Shadow and Bone. Hahahaha! Ready Player One looks so cool too! 

Let's talk contemporaries. 

Y'all know how much I love contemporary novels, especially romances. Tika from Fangirl Confessions has been raving about Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma on how it's one of her favorite books. Also, the cuteness of Eleanor and Park, and Extraordinary Means (Oh, how I wish the alternative cover with the trees in the shape of lungs were available instead of this, I'd have preferred that). Also got Vanishing Girls to spook myself, though I've heard mixed reviews, I'm still down to read this. 

Thrift store/sale finds!

I found these two babies for a total of $5, like woah. 

I got The Dark Divine at a booksale in Powerbooks for 80 pesos ($1.99) and Edgar Allan Poe's poetry for 150 pesos ($3.40). The cool thing about my copy of Edgar Allan Poe's selected masterpieces is that it's a brand new 1962 edition. Smells real great too, like drugs. Hahaha!

This is my biggest haul yet in two months. I'm kind of scared for my self control when I finally start to earn my own money and get further liberty when it comes to personal purchases. Wow-ee. 

Have you guys read any of these books? 
Give me a heads up!
26 June 2015

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Up in Smoke by Tessa Bailey + Giveaway!

Up in Smoke (Crossing the Line #2)
by Tessa Bailey
Published by Entangled: Select on June 23rd, 2015
Genres: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Suspense
Format: eARC (352 pages)
Source: Publisher via TRSOR Promotions

Never start a fire you can’t control…

Connor Bannon is supposed to be dead. Dishonorably discharged from the Navy SEALs, he's spent the last two years working as a street enforcer in Brooklyn for his cousin's crime ring. Through a twist of fate, he's now in Chicago, working undercover to bust criminals. But when a cute little arsonist joins the team—all combat boots, tiny jean shorts, and hot-pink hair—Connor’s notorious iron control slips.

Erin "she's getting away" O'Dea knows two things. She hates authority. And… Nope, that's it. When she's forced to operate on the “right” side of the law, her fear of being confined and controlled blazes to the surface. The last thing she expects is a control freak like Connor to soothe her when she needs it most. Worse, something behind the sexy ex-soldier's eyes ignites a dangerous inferno of desire. One that invites Erin to play with fire. And one that could get them both killed…

As I've claimed in my previous review of a New Adult Tessa Bailey novel (which I, unfortunately, did not fancy at all); she does write fantastic erotic romances, and creates the sexiest characters ever, and as much as I loved her Line of Duty series, the sexy ex-convicts in this spin off series are taking over the men in uniform.

Connor Bannon, already introduced in the previous book Risking it All, as an ex-Navy SEAL and the street muscle for his criminal cousin, is now part of a squad team of savvy ex-convicts which includes Erin O'Dea, a pyromaniac with a knack for escaping, as influenced by her claustrophobia.

And my gosh, add up Connor Bannon to the newest additions of Bailey's alpha male heroes, because this man is one heck of a dirty talker. Let's not forget "broody and intense". Meanwhile, just like any Bailey heroine, Erin is a feisty little firecracker, with a little extra tidbit of having the fascination to set things on fire.

Up in Smoke is absolutely chart topping hot! Connor and Erin literally set this book up in smoke with the intense and frenzied sexual chemistry going on between the two, the very moment they laid eyes on each other. Despite the instalust (which I didn't like much, as I prefer the whole inhibited sexual tension and the chase), [Connor and Erin] still sizzled with every turn of a page.

Let's not forget the thrilling action and suspense as the whole squad work together to get the bad guys behind bars. Although it appeared as if there was a little too much going on, it was still exciting to read, especially since it includes the other characters from the previous books of the series and some new additions too.

Up in Smoke can be read as a standalone novel, although, I recommend reading the rest of the books first for the best results (hah!) and the full experience. If you're a major fan of erotic romances and you haven't picked up a Tessa Bailey novel yet, then what are you waiting for?! Fast paced, intense novel with dirty talking heroes and kickass heroines, this series might just be your next favorite.

*I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever





Thank you for your interest in my books! I'm Tessa and I live in the crazy, loud, overcrowded borough of Brooklyn, New York. I love it here. This city is a constant source of inspiration, which is why I've decided to set my most recent books in the Line of Duty Series here. 

I moved to New York when I was eighteen, the day after I graduated high school. Threw my suitcase in the back of a Chevrolet Cavalier and drove across the country to find my adventure. I'm still finding it, little by little.​Thank you for being a part of it. 


Join the giveaway for the chance to win signed copies of Risking it All & Up in Smoke and a $100 Amazon Gift Card. Two (2) winners will be picked! Good luck!

21 June 2015

COVER REVEAL: Kissed By Fire by Danielle Annett + Giveaway!

Hey Mischievous Readers! 

Along with the author and her artist, we are excited to share with you the Cover Reveal for the second instalment of her Blood & Magic series, KISSED BY FIRE, to be released on the first of October 2015!

Kissed by Fire
Cover Art by Mae I Design
Expected Publication: October 1st, 2015

As Friend of the Pack, Aria Naveed should be untouchable, protected by the most influential group in the Pacific Northwest. But someone is unleashing rogue vampires to hunt her down, and she is determined to find out why. 

When Aria gains command of Sanborn Place and takes on a case involving a mysterious paranormal, her life is put in more peril than ever as she finds herself bound to an influential power player. She doesn’t want to be anyone’s puppet, but must tread carefully as she traverses the streets of Spokane, WA, or risk being overwhelmed by the forces moving against her. 

As the only known pyrokinetic in the area, Aria is in high demand, but not for her services. It seems that to those in power, she’s worth more dead than alive, and if a mysterious enemy has their way, she won’t live long enough to find out why.


Don't miss the first book in the series:

Praise for Cursed By Fire

"I thought Cursed by Fire was an awesome read and a great introduction to the series. I can't fault it in anyway and thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to more." 
- Book Passion for Life

"Oh my GOODNESS! I completely devoured this book in one siting it was THAT GOOD!" 
- Cocktails and Books Blog



Danielle Annett is a reader, writer, photographer, and the blogger behind Coffee and Characters. Born in the SF Bay area, she now resides in Spokane, WA, the primary location for her Blood & Magic series.

Addicted to coffee at an early age, she spends her restless nights putting pen to paper as she tries to get all of the stories out of her head before the dogs wake up the rest of the house and vye for her attention.

You can learn more about Danielle on her website at Danielle-Annett.com or follow her on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDanielleAnnett and on twitter @Danielle_Annett


Get a chance to win a $20 Amazon GC and print ARC of book 1 in the series Cursed by Fire.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
16 June 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Chase Me by Tessa Bailey

Chase Me (Broke and Beautiful #1)
by Tessa Bailey (Goodreads, Twitter, Website)
Published by Avon Impulse on March 17th, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Humor
Format: eBook (272 pages)
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

College drop-out, Roxy Cumberland, moved to New York with dreams of becoming an actress, but her dwindling bank account is quickly putting the kibosh on that fantasy. To make some quick cash, she signs up to perform singing telegrams. Her first customer is a gorgeous, cocky Manhattan trust-funder if she ever laid eyes on one. And what could be more humiliating than singing an ode to his junk, courtesy of his last one night stand? Maybe the fact that she’s dressed in a giant, pink bunny costume...

After a night out to celebrate winning his last case, lawyer Louis McNally II isn’t prepared for the pounding in his head or the rabbit serenading him from the front door. But the sassy wit and sexy voice of the girl behind the mask intrigues him, and one look at her stunning face—followed by a mind-blowing kiss against his doorjamb—leaves Louis wanting more.

Roxy doesn’t need a spoiled rich boy who’s had everything in life handed to him on a Tiffany platter. But there’s more to Louis than his sexy surface and he’s determined to make Roxy see it...even if it means chasing her all over NYC.

Tessa Bailey is part of my auto-buy authors list, and I loved her romance novels. She's fantastic in writing sexy and steamy novels, and Line of Duty series is one of the sexiest Men-in-Uniform books I've ever read, and not only am I praising her for her skills in writing sex scenes, but also her style in writing explosive characters that are just oozing with chemistry... which makes my disappointment for this book kind of appalling.

Although the beginning had me cracking up and giggle-snorting—because the humor and the flirtatious banter between Roxy and Louis at the beginning was hilarious, with the right amount of tension unfurling between them—here are just so many unsatisfactory aspects of this book, particularly the characters.

Louis was an alright character, and he didn't wow me unlike Bailey's usual sexy, dominant heroes, which was disappointing. On the other hand, Roxy was another issue. I'm all for a strong female character; feisty, independent and perhaps a little bit of snark here and there, I love them. Who doesn't? A strong female, no matter how she's an "independent woman who needs no man" should know her limits and that is not how Roxy is. Sure she's snarky, feisty and has got a lot of backbone... but she's overly prideful, which had me shaking my head as I got further into the story. If worse comes to worst, and I still have a family to run to, despite not being close to them, I would ask for their help. But what does Roxy do? She'd rather go through drastic measures than ask her parents for a little bit of help. Basically, the word "help" is not to be found in her vocabulary.

The romance also bored me as the story progressed, as it was filled with push and pull scenarios. The number of times Roxy pushed Louis away due to her reasons that I absolutely consider too shallow, I couldn't help but just roll my eyes at everything. Their chemistry that unfurled at their first meeting went down the drain. I do understand Bailey wanted to go for the angsty kind of tension between the couple, but it just didn't work at all. Roxy and Louis' romance was literally a sped up ping pong game that went on for hours and hours. But I still stand by the fact that Tessa Bailey still writes extremely hot sex scenes, which I very much approve of. The ending, however, was too abrupt for my taste, which I obviously didn't fancy.

I didn't hate this book, but I didn't like it or enjoy reading it either (and I'm also not a fan of the cover). Although the main characters didn't appeal to me, the secondary characters (Roxy's roommates and Louis' friends) did pique my interest, thus, I will be continuing this series. Hopefully, it does better than this first novel.

15 June 2015

RELEASE DAY BLITZ: The Offer by Karina Halle + Excerpt!

We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Karina Halle's New Adult Romance, THE OFFER!

The Offer
by Karina Halle
Self Published on June 14th, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

She thinks he's an arrogant playboy.
He thinks she's an uptight prude.
But he's about to make her an offer she can't refuse.

Nicola Price used to have it all – a great career, the perfect boyfriend, an excessive shoe collection and an apartment in one of San Francisco’s best neighborhoods. But when she gets knocked up and her asshat boyfriend leaves her high and dry, Nicola’s perfectly crafted world comes tumbling down. And stays that way.

Now, Nicola is the proud single mom to a five-year old daughter and living a giant lie. She can barely afford their ghetto apartment and all the men she dates run when they hear she comes with a child. She’s struggling and scared – and nowhere near where she thought she’d be at age thirty-one.

Her saving grace comes in the form of a tall, handsome and wealthy Scotsman Bram McGregor, the older brother of her friend Linden. Bram understands a thing or two about pride, so when tragic circumstances place Nicola at rock bottom, he offers them a place to live in the apartment complex he owns. It’s pretty much the perfect deal, so as long as she doesn’t mind living beside Bram, a man that, despite his generosity, seems to antagonize her at every turn.

But nothing in life is free and as Nicola gets her feet back on the ground, she discovers that the enigmatic playboy may end up costing her more than she thought.

She might just lose her heart.

Those McGregor brothers are nothing but trouble...


When reality starts to fade in a bit, I find myself being walked to the door of my apartment building, my arms draped over both Kayla and Steph. We go up the stairs and now I’m standing in front of my door, wobbling back and forth, trying my hardest to look as sober as possible.

Steph goes to knock on the door but it’s already open. I guess we are being loud, giggling, in the hallway.

Bram looks at the three of us and my God is he a sight for sore eyes.

“We brought her home,” Steph says, motioning with her hand for Bram to get out of the way, “your shift is over.”

“No,” I tell them as they shuffle me inside. “He can stay.”

I know the three of them are exchanging a look over my head.

“I’ll make sure she goes to bed,” Bram explains. “No funny business, I swear.”

“Pinky swear?” Steph says and I turn to see her holding out her pinky to him. “You know I don’t break those.”

Ugh, Steph and her damn pinky swears. She wouldn’t even be married to Linden if it weren’t for one.

But Bram does a pinky swear with her. 

“No funny business,” Steph warns him.

“Good thing I’m not funny!” I yell as I flop down on the couch. The room is beginning to spin.

“Nic, that was, like, five minutes ago,” Steph says. She reaches over the couch and pats my head. 

“Do you want us to undress you because Bram’s not allowed.”

“No one undresses me but me!” I yell, throwing my fist up into the air.

“Have fun with her,” Steph says to Bram. “And remember, she’s untouchable. Don’t make me make your brother punch you in the junk or something.”

Bram makes a scoffing noise. “Last time he tried to do that, I got him back good. You just ask him what happened on January 16th, 2005 and why he’ll never eat pudding again.”

“I mean it,” Steph threatens and I hear her and Kayla leave and the door closing.

I close my eyes too. Drift away for a moment. The spinning has stopped and there’s a beautifully cool breeze wafting over my skin.

“I’m not supposed to touch you,” Bram’s gruff voice says and when I open my eyes, he’s crouched in front of me, a lock of dark hair over his forehead. His face is shadowy in the dark, the only light now being from my bedroom behind him.

“That’s okay,” I mumble into the couch. “You can touch me. I say it’s fine.”

“How about I bring you something to sleep in? Do you have a favorite nightshirt? I always see you in that top that your nipples try and poke right through.”

“No, not the nipple shirt.”

He goes to get up. With a lazy hand, I grip his shirt. “Don’t leave. I’m fine here.”

“I can’t imagine you being comfortable.”

“I’m drunk. Everything is comfortable. Except I wish I had a cheeseburger. I would eat it and use it as a pillow. Or maybe use it as a pillow and then eat it.”

“I see.”

I raise my brow at him. “You just want to go through my underwear.”

“Oh, I’ve already gone through your underwear.”


“I wore them on my head and danced around your apartment.”

“Did you really?” I ask, totally serious.

“Come on,” he says grabbing my forearms. “If you want to sleep in your clothes, that’s fine. But I’m bringing you to your own bed and taking off your shoes.”

“Can you brush my teeth too? I need clean teeth.” I let him pull me to my feet and I pitch to the left, heading right for the coffee table. But I’m in his arms, his capable arms, and he’s holding me to him.

“You have capable arms.”

“You have an exquisite arse,” he responds and half leads me, half drags me out of the living area and into the bedroom.

“I like the way you say arse,” I say with a giggle, exaggerating his accent. “I like the way you say everything.”

“I’m glad, because I foresee a lot of arse talk in the future.”

“Yeah, yeah.” I try and swat him away. “All talk and no arse pinching.”




With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term "Hybrid Author." Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she's a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA...whenever possible.

Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiancĂ© and rescue pup.

13 June 2015

Romance e-ARC Overload Haul [Stacking The Shelves #7]

*Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme created by Tynga's Reviews, where you share books you've recently added to your TBR (physical or digital)

This week has been really busy for me and I haven't had the time to post reviews, but June is surely going to be a very busy month for me with my over achieving TBR, topped with a couple of e-ARCS I got from these generous publishers (Thank you!). 

*Clicking on image will lead to Goodreads



Read and Reviewed ARCs

In the past months, I also got a number of e-ARCs that I forgot to share, but have already read and reviewed some on the blog and on Goodreads, which I almost forgot that I had. But fortunately, they've all been wonderful reads for me.  

*Clicking on image will lead to review


Upcoming Review

What's new on your shelf? 

11 June 2015

BOOK TOUR REVIEW: Modern Monsters by Kelley York + Giveaway!

Modern Monsters
by Kelley York
Published by Entangled: Teen on June 2nd, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Format: eARC (352 pages)
Source: Publisher via YA Bound Book Tours

Vic Howard never wanted to go to the party. He’s the Invisible Guy at school, a special kind of hell for quiet, nice guys. But because his best friend is as popular as Vic is ignored, he went…

And wished he hadn’t.

Because something happened to a girl that night. Something terrible, unimaginable, and Callie Wheeler’s life will never be the same. Plus, now Callie has told the police that Vic did it. Suddenly, Invisible Vic is painfully visible, on trial both literally, with the police, and figuratively, with the angry and judgmental kids at school. As the whispers and violence escalate, he becomes determined to clear his name, even if it means an uneasy alliance with Callie’s best friend, the beautiful but aloof Autumn Dixon.

But as Autumn and Vic slowly peel back the layers of what happened that night, they realize that while the truth can set him free, it can also shatter everything he thought he knew about his life…

Modern Monsters isn't the usual type of novel I'm accustomed to. It's controversial, and somewhat sickening, but hey, it happens every day in real life. Thus, I was intrigued by the topic promoted by the synopsis and I would have to say, this book did leave me in a bit of a shock.

Vic Howard is the quiet guy at his high school, and also has a terrible speech problem. The only thing that prevents him from being bullied is because his best friend, Brett, is one of the popular kids, which makes him kind of untouchable. But when things take a different turn and Vic is accused of raping a fellow schoolmate at the party, nobody believes him. Vic is innocent, and while the real rapist is still on the loose, walking the halls in school.

It's very interesting to hear the story from the perspective of the accused. Usually, the story is told in the victim's perspective, and it either reaches a point wherein she is pitied, victimized, and shunned, while the perpetrator is protected for the sake of a clean reputation.

However, reading about Vic Howard in Modern Monsters ignited the feeling of frustration and anger, because, obviously, he was innocent, but nobody wants to believe him, due to the fact that he was the less important kid. It's heartbreaking for the people who take the blame for something they did not do, especially in a grave situation such as a hateful crime. Vic is a caring teenager, loyal and extremely shy, and a character I could somehow relate to. He was the fly on the wall kid, who blended in the background and didn't crave attention, and it was just terrible reading about him going through the stigma of being a "rapist" despite the false accusation. But in the end, Vic, of course, triumphs. He does undergo extreme character development as he goes through terrible circumstances.

Modern Monsters is a total page turner. Every twist and turn in this novel feeds your curiosity as to who the real criminal is. Let's not foget the satisfaction in finally getting to prove Vic's innocence. Not only that, this novel goes through a number of touchy subjects that almost everyone can relate to: bullying, parental issues, abuse, and so on. It's a somewhat emotional read that will keep you on the edge of your seat, every turn of a page.

*I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.




"I like unicorns and cats and games...and stuff..." - quality author quote by Kelley

Kelley York was born in central California, where she still resides with her lovely wife, step-daughter, and way too many cats, while fantasizing about moving to England or Ireland. (Or, really, anyplace secluded.) She has a fascination with bells and animals and Disney. Her life goal is to find a real unicorn. Or to at least write about them. She occupies her spare time with video games,designing covers, playing on Tumblr, and watching anime.

Kelley is a sucker for dark fiction. She loves writing twisted characters, tragic happenings, and bittersweet endings that leave you wondering and crying. She strives to make character development take center stage in her books because the bounds of a person's character and the workings of their mind are limitless.


08 June 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen #1)
by Victoria Aveyard (Goodreads, Website, Twitter)
Published by HarperTeen on February 10th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia
Format: Paperback (388 pages)
Source: Purchased
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fullybooked

Mare Barrow's world is divided by bloodthose with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army, she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her ownan ability she didn't know she had.

Except...her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guardthe leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly violent dance, pitting prince against prince and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.

Ever felt cheated when it comes to reading a book? That's what I'm feeling now that I've finished Red Queen. Frankly speaking, I got lured into the hype and I regret that I even dared to venture into reading this book. Now, don't get me wrong. Victoria Aveyard's writing was good, and the concept, although unoriginal (the typical dystopian novel), seemed intriguing, but boy, I was wrong.

Basically, Red Queen... was boring... and was literally Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, with a little bit of Kiera Cass' The Selection. The instant I began to notice numerous parallels that go in line with Collins' famous dystopian trilogy, I immediately felt gypped. Now, I have nothing against books that were inspired by others, but there must be at least something that would make it stand out from all the rest. But Red Queenother than the superpowers and the whole kingdom and royalty shebang and a little bit of a twist in the setup—was basically a mere carbon copy.

In the world of Red Queen, we have the Reds (the poor people) and Silvers (which is basically the "Capitol" but with supernatural powers). Mare Barrow is pretty much a second-rate Katniss Everdeen. She risks her life (by being a thief) in order to feed her family, has a mature younger sister and a guy best friend whom she's willing to risk her life for. Similar to the Reaping, [Red Queen] has an event called the "Conscription" in which jobless 18 year olds are sent to fight to war. What does Mare suggest she and her best friend do? Run away. Sounds familiar, right?

Then follows a series of events that leads Mare to be given "royal treatment" at the palace, upon pretence in order to protect the Silvers' reputation, and in addition, to use her as a distraction to prevent the Reds from their supposed "uprising rebellion". There's also an arranged marriage and a ridiculous love triangle (or square, rather).

The characters were unappealing. Mare Barrow was the typical underdog YA heroine, who also turns out to be the "only hope" of mankind and the key that will lead the whole rebellion to victory. Nothing new. Her supposed "badass" demeanor just appeared immature and selfish to me. Plus the fact that she suddenly hand a change of heart when the boys came into the scenario.

Ah, the boys. Mare is thrust in a love square so ridiculous that it just made my head hurt. There's the best friend who's been with her since childhood, the incredibly indecisive crowned prince and the overly envious younger prince with daddy issues. Of course, as usual, it's very obvious who she would end up with, anyway.

Then there's the infamous betrayal scene that everyone has been raving about. I, for one, was excited for this scene to come because I was so bored out of my wits, I needed action. Sure enough, past 60% of the novel, we start to get glimpses of the promised war between the two races, but it wasn't enough. Then came the betrayal scene, which I already had figured out at a few chapters in as to who the traitor could possibly be. The execution, however, was not bad at all, but the gigantic plot twist appeared at the very near end of the novel and hastened which made it appear a little anticlimactic.

But hey, I'm not a massive YA fantasy reader, which was my reason to pick this novel up. I'm not going to say this novel may have ruined my experience with the genre, but I do confess I may have now become a little iffy as opposed my original enthusiasm to dwell in this genre. Obviously, this book isn't for everyone, and I am one of the minority that claims this book had merely been a waste of time. But if you're into typical YA fantasy centered on romance, well this might turn out to be your favorite.