Current Giveaways

* NONE AT THE MOMENT *

Sunday, December 6, 2015

[DNF REVIEW] Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Firsts

Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Genre: YA Contemporary
ARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Expected Publication: January 5th 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin
Pre-order from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time-the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy - so far. Her mother isn't home nearly enough to know about Mercedes' extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won't even say the word "sex" until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn't bank on Angela's boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn - or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes' perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her own reputation -and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

Rating


My thoughts

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley!*


DNF at 49%

My main issue is the main character, Mercedes. I just couldn't take her anymore. I don't get why she does what she does. I mean, Girl, what do you care if people don't get a perfect first time? It's not your fucking business! I hate that she keeps on justifying what she does. She says that she wants to stop, yet she doesn't. And for someone who's supposed to be smart, she's kinda stupid for sleeping with some of those guys EVEN WHEN SHE SMELLS SOMETHING FISHY. It's really frustrating! And I find it ironic that those guys who come to her say that they love their girlfriends so much that they want to give them a perfect first time, yet THEY'RE PRACTICALLY CHEATING ON THEM BY SLEEPING WITH MERCEDES.

This book just made my head ache so much that it's a small miracle I even made it to 49%. I'm not even interested to know how it ends.

I always feel bad DNF-ing (Is this a legit word?) a review copy but it just has to be done. I feel I'm just wasting precious time I could have spent on better books. *le sigh* Do you feel me, guys? Did you DNF a book recently? What do you think about not finishing a book?

Friday, November 20, 2015

[ARC REVIEW] This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends

Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Genre: YA Contemporary
ARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Expected Publication: January 5th 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire
Pre-order from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Rating

My thoughts

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley.*

Sometimes you read a book so heartbreaking that days after you read it, you are still reeling from the deluge of emotions that the book has brought upon you. Sometimes you don't want to even think about it anymore because FEELS! This Is Where It Ends is one of those books. This is not an easy read, and this is not an easy review to write.

First off, I love the diversity of the characters. You get LGBT characters, POCs, and characters with disabilities. (As expected from DiversifYA's founder and We Need Diverse Books' senior VP.) I've always thought having multiple POVs is a huge risk on the part of the author. But in this book, it's quite fitting because we get to see a tragic situation from different perspectives. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

[REVIEW] Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

Playlist for the Dead

Author: Michelle Falkoff
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: January 27th 2015 by HarperTeen
Purchase from: Amazon | Book Depository
Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Spectacular Now.

There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, Sam's best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand. To figure out what happened, Sam has to rely on the playlist and his own memory. But the more he listens, the more he realizes that his memory isn't as reliable as he thought. And it might only be by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he'll finally be able to piece together his best friend's story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.

Playlist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that's always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself. But above all, it's about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.

Rating

My thoughts

Lots of people want to be invisible. Maybe they even think they can pretend to be. But someone always sees.
Playlist for the Dead was quite disappointing for me. It's not that the book was bad; I guess I just set such high expectations. I was expecting this book to make me cry since it deals with grief, bullying and suicide. But nope, I was pretty much indifferent to the story. In spite of that, there were still things I liked about the book.

To begin with, I couldn't connect with the main character. I know Sam was having a hard time dealing with his best friend Hayden's suicide, and on top of that, Hayden left him a playlist that would make him understand. Sam's plagued with so much guilt and anger, but I couldn't really sympathize with him. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Weekend Rambling [#7]: My Dream Literary Collection!

Weekend Rambling is where I discuss/rant/ramble about random things, bookish or non-bookish alike. Everyone's welcome to share their thoughts!

How's it going, you guys? What books have you recently added to your collection? I hope they're good! :) Speaking of bookish collection, today I'm going to share with you my own dream literary collection! Or rather, what books I'd love to add to my bookshelf. ;) 

Invaluable.com invited me to browse their huge collection of books up for auction and see if there are ones I'd love to have. And oh boy, I found A LOT! So after browsing 7943 collectible books, maps and manuscripts, (whew! #:-S) I finally found a few ones that I think would be perfect for my collection. (It was really hard to pick just a few because there are really a lot of awesome finds at the website! Go visit Invaluable if you haven't yet!)
Invaluable is the world's largest live auction marketplace, making it easy for people to find what they love at auction.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

[ARC REVIEW] The Yearbook by Carol Masciola

The Yearbook

Author: Carol Masciola
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
ARC Source: Author
Expected publication: November 15th, 2015 by Merit Press/FW Media
Purchase from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Misfit teen Lola Lundy falls asleep in a storage room in her high school library and wakes up to find herself 80 years in the past. The Fall Frolic dance is going full blast in the gym, and there she makes an instant connection with the brainy and provocative Peter Hemmings, class of ’24. His face is familiar, and she realizes she’s seen his senior portrait in a ragged old yearbook in the storage room. By the end of the dance, Lola begins to see a way out of her disastrous Twenty First Century life: She’ll make a new future for herself in the past. But major mental illness lies in Lola’s family background. Has she slipped through a crack in time, or into an elaborate, romantic hallucination based on the contents of an old yearbook?

Rating


My thoughts

*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Carol!*

Carol Masciola's The Yearbook is a compelling read. I don't usually read historical fiction but this one kept my eyes glued to the pages. And time travel! Yay!

First off, I really enjoyed the story. I liked the unpredictability and the mystery surrounding Lola's time travel. It's something she didn't expect and couldn't control, so it's very interesting to read. I would just have wanted to know more about how the 'portal' works, but really, glitches in the matrix are not something you could just wrap your head around. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Teaser Tuesday [#5]: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nikjamp


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read.
• Open to a random page.
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


My teaser




The book

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Flavor of the Month: November 2015

Flavor of the Month is a monthly feature here at Books and Insomnia that features new book releases this month.

Happy November, book nerds! Have you all had a good Halloween? Share your candies, will you? Hehee.. What's on your fall TBR? Shall we add some? ^__^

November 2015 New Releases

(Book titles are linked to Goodreads)

November 3rd

All In (The Naturals #3) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn
Half Truths (The Half Bad Trilogy) by Sally Green
Hollowgirl (Twinmaker #3) by Sean Williams
How to Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras
Lucid Dreaming by Cassandra Page
Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School #4) by Gail Carriger
Need by Joelle Charbonneau
Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2) by Claudia Gray
The Conjurer's Riddle (The Inventor's Secret #2) by Andrea Cremer
The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens
The Revolution of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #2) by Amy Engel

Friday, October 30, 2015

[BLOG TOUR: Review + Giveaway] Paper Planes Back Home by Tara Frejas

Welcome to the last day of the Paper Planes Back Home Blog Tour hosted by Bookish Diaries Book Tours! Have you stopped by the other tour stops? There's lots of reviews, excerpts, and Q&A posts all throughout the tour. And people, Paper Planes Back Home is one hell of a contemporary novel! Read my review below to know why I said that! ^__^ And hey, there's also a giveaway so be sure to check that out!

Paper Planes Back Home

Author: Tara Frejas
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Published: February 21, 2015
Purchase from: Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Apple iBooks

When Gianna wakes up on a cloud, she is disoriented yet fascinated. She thinks she's only dreaming until she gets a storm of paper planes—"They're thoughts of people who remember," a man on another cloud tells her—each pleading for her not to leave. The man tells her these planes are the key to get out of there, and while she thinks it's hard to believe, she decides everything is worth trying if it meant finding her way back home.






Rating

My thoughts

*I received a free ecopy of this book for the blog tour in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Paper Planes Back Home is a touching story of love, life, second chances, and how our thoughts make a difference. Tara Frejas delivers a remarkable debut novel.

Gianna wakes up on a cloud, which she later realizes as some sort of a limbo. She meets Skylar, another cloud-dweller, who helps her get her bearings and explains to her that the paper planes that she receives are thoughts of the people who remember her. These paper planes are her ticket back home – back to her life and to the man she loves.

The concept of the paper planes as physical manifestations of the thoughts of people around us is very unique and creative. I’ve never read anything like this before and I find it refreshing and different. The story generally has a somber tone but there are also parts that are heartwarming, especially towards the end. And the writing is beautiful! The words have a lyrical quality that feels like both a punch in the gut and a dull, slow ache in the chest.

The characters are interesting enough and I like how they all have their own stories. It’s as much as Anna’s story as it is Gianna’s or Skylar’s or Aaron’s. These four characters all get their moments and it is amazing how the author weaves all their stories together. And I love how the characters feel so real and human. It’s so easy to sympathize with them and a lot of times I found myself wanting to pull them out of my ebook reader and squish them all together in a big hug.

Paper Planes Back Home made me tear up more than a couple of times. I love the story, I love that it made me cry, I love the sad and happy moments, and I love how it ended. The only word I could think of to describe the ending is serendipity. You have to read the book to know why. Highly recommended!

Meet the Author

Tara Frejas is a cloud-walker who needs caffeine to fuel her travels. By day, she works in project management and events, and she writes down her daydreams at night. She began publishing fiction for public consumption in 2004, posting her pieces on various online channels like fan forums and Blogspot, eventually exploring other avenues like Livejournal, Soomp!, Tumblr, and most recently, Wattpad.

Aside from her obvious love affair with words and persistent muses, Tara is very passionate about being caffeinated, musical theatre, certain genres of music, dancing, dogs, good food, and romancing Norae, her ukelele. She owns a 6-month-old male bunny named Max who sometimes tries to nibble on her writing notes.

Paper Planes Back Home is her first novel.


Giveaway


This tour is organized by:


Friday, October 23, 2015

[GIVEAWAY] This Is Where It Ends galleys, chalkboards & chalk!

Guys. GUUUUYSSSS!!!! I recently finished This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp and ohmygosh, TALK TO ME!! *cue flailing and ugly sobs* But I'm going to reserve my feels for my review, which I'm going to post closer to the publication date. Today's post is actually about a giveaway that Sourcebooks Fire is running until November 1.
We are giving away advance copies of This Is Where It Ends along with chalk boards & chalk. Once they’ve read the book, we’re inviting readers to use the chalkboards to express how it made them feel, snap a photo and share on Tumblr, or any of their social networks (tagging with #thisiswhereitends #sourcebooksfire).
-- Sourcebooks Fire

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Teaser Tuesday [#4]: Paper Planes Back Home by Tara Frejas

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read.
• Open to a random page.
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser:

The book:

When Gianna wakes up on a cloud, she is disoriented yet fascinated. She thinks she's only dreaming until she gets a storm of paper planes—"They're thoughts of people who remember," a man on another cloud tells her—each pleading for her not to leave. The man tells her these planes are the key to get out of there, and while she thinks it's hard to believe, she decides everything is worth trying if it meant finding her way back home.

 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

[REVIEW] Weird by Theresa M. Jones

Weird

Author: Theresa M. Jones
Genre: Middle Grade Magical Realism
Published: September 7th 2015
Purchase from: Amazon 
Every time twelve year old Aislin sleeps, she experiences another person’s DREAMS, their hopes or despairs, loves or hates, most fervent dreams, or darkest nightmares. She is weird, a word she hates more than anything else. Though, when her little brother, Luke, the only person in the world who treats her normal, gets into a car accident, her only hope of saving him is her ability to communicate with him while he dreams.

It isn’t until she dreams with Jessica, another coma patient and her best friend’s little sister, that she discovers her chance to save him. After Aislin guides Jessica back to the waking world, she opens her eyes to find her plan gone horribly awry, and Jessica dead.

Devastated, Aislin must find a way to stop dreaming altogether or somehow perfect it, before she kills her brother, too.

While funny and charming, this Middle Grade Novel deals with some serious issues, and provides much for parents and children to discuss.

Some scary situations, bullying, and reality of car accidents make this appropriate for children 6 and older, but may be more appropriate for children 9-13 years old.

Rating

My thoughts

*I received a free ecopy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.*
"It's the differences in the world that make anything worthwhile."
Weird was a good kind of weird. While it contains magical realism, this book touches on very real issues on family, friendship, and self-acceptance.

I liked the main character, Aislin. She's not always nice, but she's a loving daughter and sister. I loved how much she wants to save her little brother although she isn't sure what to do. She knows she's different and she hates being called 'weird', but she seems to take it all in stride. It isn't easy for her to experience other people's dreams, but she handles it well. Aislin is a brave kid. And she's a huge bookworm, so bonus points for her. :)
"There was nothing worse than being bored out of your freaking mind and not having a book to read, especially when you're in the middle of a good book, and you just forgot to bring it with you."
The writing did not suit me, though. It somehow felt juvenile, although I'm not sure if it's because this is a Middle-Grade novel and the narrator was a younger teen. I was also quite disappointed because I was expecting this to be some dark and eerie story. I mean, look at the cover! The blood and the teaser were pretty suggestive. The pacing was good, however, and I really liked the story. The twist at the end was a pleasant surprise, too. I only wished Aislin and Zane's friendship was explored more. I absolutely loved that they instantly bonded over books. Hurray for bookish friends!

I don't read a lot of MG novels, but Weird is actually okay. I think what the book is trying to convey is that being weird is not a bad thing, and Aislin was able to realize that. She has a good heart, and that helped her save lives. Perhaps this book would be perfect for younger teens who hate being different and feel like they're outcasts. I hope they would see themselves in Aislin and realize that it's okay to be weird.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

[REVIEW] No Strings Attached by Mina V. Esguerra

No Strings Attached

Author: Mina V. Esguerra
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published: February 1st 2012 by Summit Media
Purchase from: Amazon
Carla is a whiz at her job: she’s efficient, reliable, and a total genius when it comes to putting something together at the last minute. The snag is she’s single and turning the big three-oh in a few months. Her girl best friend (yes, she’s married just like the other girls in Carla’s barkada) keeps trying to set her up with stable banker-types, while her guy best friend (single – the other single one) encourages her to play the field – no strings attached. Then, through no set up or extraordinary circumstance, Carla meets Dante. Hot, smug, sexy Dante. Definitely not a banker-type and seemingly too good to be true. So there’s got to be a catch. There is. He’s five years younger. Is the universe telling Carla to finally let loose and enjoy a fling with a younger man? Or is there a lot more to this awkward situation that she bargained for?


Rating

My thoughts

*I got a free e-copy of this book through InstaFreebie. This did not in any way affect my opinion of the book.*

“Funny what you learn about yourself when something is taken away from you.”


This is my fourth Mina V. Esguerra book and believe me, this won’t be my last. No Strings Attached is hilarious, realistic, light and swoon-worthy. I love this book!

No Strings Attached shows a modern Filipina’s take on love and relationships - that it’s okay to set boundaries and just want to have fun, that it’s okay to get into a relationship because you want to and not because you’re in that “marrying age.” I love Carla’s independence and self-confidence. Despite her friends’ goading for her to find a guy and settle down, she remained indignant and did not give in to the pressure. And when she met Dante, even though she was really attracted to him, Carla was careful and wasn’t impulsive. Smart woman right there.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

[ARC REVIEW] A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

A Thousand Nights

Author: E. K. Johnston
Genre: YA Fantasy
ARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Expected Publication: October 6th 2015 by Disney Hyperion
Purchase from: Amazon | Book Depository
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

Rating

My thoughts

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Disney Hyperion and Netgalley.*

Knowing practically zero about Persian folklore, I went into A Thousand Nights with no expectations whatsoever. The good thing about it is that I was able to enjoy this book as it is, and not as a retelling. I have nothing to compare it to since I haven’t read the original story of Scheherazade (from which ATN is based, apparently).

A Thousand Nights, with its lyrical prose and beautiful writing, is an enjoyable read. The pacing is quite slow though, but it matches the story and sets an atmosphere. There’s also less dialogue than I would have liked, but I guess it’s also part of the writing style. I find it unique that only one character has a name – Lo-Melkhiin – and everyone, even the main heroine and narrator, is nameless. I haven’t encountered that before and while it can be confusing and risky (and a little mouthful to say “my father’s father” or “my mother’s sister”), I’d like to commend the author for taking that risk. It gave the book its uniqueness and mystery.

Friday, October 2, 2015

[BOOK BLITZ] Cut by Kathleen Mareé

Remember the guest review of When It Rains by Lisa De Jong posted last week? It was contributed by newbie author Kathleen Mareé and today I'm featuring Kathleen's book on the blog! Her debut novel, Cut, was released yesterday, October 1, so go ahead and congratulate Kathleen! (This is actually supposed to be posted yesterday as a release blitz, but I got home late last night so I wasn't able to post. Sorry, Kathleen!) Read the teasers and an excerpt from her novel below.

Cut

Author: Kathleen Mareé
Genre: New Adult
Published: October 1st 2015
Purchase from: Amazon | Kobo | Itunes | Barnes & Noble
"When he is unguarded, he is addictive."

Penelope Price is a young woman who is utterly scarred and broken. She has been Cut.

A nightclub in Sydney leads to a strange encounter with Jay, a musician who at first meeting seems dangerous, but for unknown reasons there is an unconscious draw. The sudden return of her ex, Evan, who is persistent to fill in the reasons for their demise, exposes the shocking truth. Will her wound ever heal?



Excerpt

"Penelope, I have to go."

In a daze I just keep staring, not moving an inch, barely even blinking.

"I want you to tell me that you are alright, before I will leave you," he pleads. Still not really putting coherent thoughts together, I force a smile to my mouth automatically in response and soften my gaze upon his.

Flavor of the Month: October 2015

Flavor of the Month is a monthly feature here at Books and Insomnia that features new book releases this month.

It's October! Three weeks left for this semester!
Although this would still be a helluva three weeks. Bring it on, school! #ChallengeAccepted

Anyways, as usual, here's your monthly Flavor of the Month. I'd say this list is relatively short, but I see books I've been dying to have! Let's get it on!

October 2015 New Releases

(Book titles are linked to Goodreads)

October 1st


This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup

October 6th

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Dreamstrider by Lindsay Smith
It's A Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt
Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus
Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis
The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan
The White Rose (The Lone City #2) by Amy Ewing
We'll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean

Mugs, T-shirts, Iphone cases, Tote bags, Throw Pillows, etc. available at REDBUBBLE!

^