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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

[BOOK SPOTLIGHT] Breaking Free: Una Familia Segura by Annie Hughes

Breaking Free: Una Familia Segura

Author: Annie Hughes
Genre: Young Adult
Published: September 19th 2014
Purchase from: Amazon | Amazon UK
Anna Rosa Castillo is unlike most 16 year old girls.

She doesn't care for clothes or make up, nor does she giggle with her friends about hot guys. Coming from a small town in the North of England, where drugs and criminals are at the top of the food chain, Anna’s life is an impossible mixture of pain and sorrow. Drawing and tattoos are her only way of escaping the tortures that consume her at home. She lives by only one rule – do whatever he says, and she might live long enough to get away.

All that changes when a fatal night lands the monster of her nightmares in a prison cell and herself in a hospital bed, staring into the eyes of a father she has never known.
The addition of a father and family turns Anna’s life upside-down, thrusting her into a world she could never understand. Inner demons and unspeakable memories claw at her as she tries to build a relationship with her new family. But with her past looming over her new life, will she be able to break free?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Weekend Rambling [#2] Yay for Diversity!

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

Happy weekend, everyone! Today's topic is inspired by Marie Long's debut novel, Scarred, which I recently read and reviewed here on the blog. This post isn't actually about the book itself, but about a theme that I find common in a lot of novels today:


So I said that I got the idea for this post from Scarred. Actually, it's more from my frustration that this book's cover suggests interracial romance yet I didn't read anything in the book that says so. As I've mentioned in my review, "And here I am waiting for diverse characters." Totally quoting myself here!

And how do we define diverse books? According to DiversifYA, diverse experiences includes, but is not limited to: "racial diversity; cultural and religious diversity; sexuality and gender diversity; disability, neurodiversity, and (mental) illness."

Thursday, March 26, 2015

[REVIEW] When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez

When Reason Breaks

Author: Cindy L. Rodriguez
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: February 10th 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Purchase from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
13 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control. 


My Thoughts

When Reason Breaks is a gripping and emotional tale of hope, despair, friendship, love and giving up. Saying Cindy L. Rodriguez did something right with her debut novel is an understatement. This book will definitely make my 2015 favorite reads list.

I fell in love with both Rodriguez's prose and Dickinson's poetry in this book, and their fusion made for a beautifully written novel. It was also interesting to know that there are parts of the book that are loosely based on the life of Emily Dickinson herself, as mentioned in the author's note. "The characters in When Reason Breaks represent pieces of the iconic American poet Emily Dickinson." I just think it's a refreshing and unique take to incorporate the life and works of a literary icon on a contemporary novel like this. I've never actually read anything like this before as I'm more familiar with fairy-tale and folklore retellings, so this is a new one for me.

Friday, March 20, 2015

[ARC REVIEW] Scarred by Marie Long


Author: Marie Long
Series: Book 1, The Anderson Brothers series
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Published: March 3rd 2015
ARC Source: author
Purchase from: Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble
Sometimes, love comes with a price…

The past is always gonna try and bring you down, but you gotta fight. Fight hard for what you love. Fight to win is what twenty-two-year-old Dominick Anderson believes, but his life is a struggle. Growing up with an abusive father has made Dominick slow to love and trust, and he relies on his brother Kevin to keep him on a straight path. Dominick fights his demons every day, every night. Now a sophomore at the University of Washington and working a steady job at a mechanic’s shop, Dominick wants to create a better life and find the future his father never wanted him to have.

Dominick suppresses his identity and feelings until he meets Denise Ramsey. Smart, stunningly gorgeous, and sharing his love for motorcycles, Denise is everything Dominick longs for in a girl but knows he can never have. When a past love threatens her life and brings out Dominick’s suppressed dark side, he must decide if she’s worth the risk.


My Thoughts

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sweet and sexy at the same time. Scarred definitely went beyond my expectations. I've already said before that I'm quite picky when it comes to New Adult novels, but this book is among the few ones that I liked.

First, I liked the characters. Both Dominick and Denise are just genuinely nice people. Although Dominick has a terrible past, it doesn't make him a nasty, angry bad boy so common in the NA genre. Denise is a smart girl. She's nice enough but smart not to immediately trust strangers, even strangers as hot and chivalrous as Dominick. And speaking of chivalry, I liked the fact that their first meeting happens in a relaxed but meaningful manner with Dominick coming to Denise's aid during a problematic situation. It only goes to show that chivalry definitely isn't dead.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Reverse Thursday [#2] Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Reverse Thursday is a meme created by Ashley @ Bookaholics Anonymous Online that spotlights highly-anticipated books that have been out for a while.

This week's pick is:

Jellicoe Road

Author: Melina Marchetta
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: March 9th 2010 by HarperTeen
In this lyrical, absorbing, award-winning novel, nothing is as it seems, and every clue leads to more questions.

At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor's the reluctant leader of her school's underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can't avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.

Jellicoe Road is one of my favorite books ever! I read this in 2013 and still I can't forget this book. It's heartbreaking and raw and just so darn amazing. This is also the second review I've posted in this blog. I am yet to read another of Marchetta's works, but I expect they're all equally awesome. Here's the link to my review of Jellicoe Road if you guys want to check it out. :)

Have you read this book? Whether you loved it or not, comment your thoughts below! And if you also have a Reverse Thursday post, feel free to leave your links! Happy Thursday! ^__^  


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Reverse Thursday [#1] Easy by Tammara Webber

Reverse Thursday is a meme created by Ashley @ Bookaholics Anonymous Online that spotlights highly-anticipated books that have been out for a while.

This week's pick is:


Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Published: November 6th 2012 by Penguin Berkley
Purchase from: Amazon | The Book Depository
When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night - but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

I came across the intro post for this new meme by Ashley @ Bookaholics Anonymous Online and thought, "It's perfect!" We already have Waiting On Wednesday that features upcoming releases so why not have another meme that shows books releases 2-3 years ago? I, for one, am guilty of getting sidetracked by new releases that I often forget those I already have. So really, Reverse Thursday is an awesome idea.

I picked Easy by Tammara Webber to feature today because it's easily one of my favorite New Adult reads. It tackles some deep serious issue but still swoon-worthy nonetheless. I actually won my copy from a giveaway and dived into it immediately. You can read my review to know why I love this book so much! ^__^

What do you think about this new meme, guys? Wanna try Reverse Thursday, too? Check out the intro post for the guidelines! And have you read Easy, too? Comment your thoughts about it. You can also leave your link if you reviewed it. Happy Thursday! ^__^


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday [#14]: The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough

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

My WoW pick today is:

The Game of Love and Death

Release Date: April 28th 2015 
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Genre: YA Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now . . . Henry and Flora.

For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.

Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?

Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured — a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.

The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.

Achingly romantic and brilliantly imagined, The Game of Love and Death is a love story you will never forget.

Why I'm Waiting On It

Hello, diverse characters! Heavens know YA needs more diversity and The Game of Love and Death seems abundant of it. And historical fiction is a genre I don't usually read so it's nice to venture outside of my comfort zone once in a while.

What are YOU waiting on this week? Leave your WoW links, lovelies! ^__^


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Teaser Tuesday [#3]: Scarred by Marie Long

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. 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 teasers:

My stomach does flip-flops as she stands before me. I catch a whiff of her intoxicating pear scent. How the fuck am I supposed to move on from her?

--page 84 (ARC); Scarred by Marie Long

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Weekend Rambling: [#1] Bookmark Love!

Welcome to my first Weekend Rambling post! This will probably the closest thing to a discussion post that I'll ever get. Hehee.. Today's topic isn't actually a discussion topic, but more of a, well, rambling. ^__^ I just want to show you guys my love for. . . (drumroll, please)


Eh, I consider it more of a book accessory. And besides, a girl gotta rest.
Believe it or not, I don't collect only books. I'm also a hoarder of bookmarks! Every time I go to a bookstore, I almost always buy a bookmark or two. My reading experience is not complete without it. And don't tell me I'm the only person obsessed with them because I've seen other readers with more bookmarks than I do.

I know my collection's not impressive, but aside from my books, my bookmarks are MY PRECIOUS! I don't even let anyone touch them. (Yeah, I'm crazy like that.) And now, let me show you my meager collection of bookmarks! (Sorry for the crappy photos!)

These are my store-bought lovelies! I feel like I don't buy enough so I'm planning to remedy that soon. ^__^ 

These ones I got from The Book Depository! Lovely bookmarks they have!

I also bought these bookmarks from the bookstore. They're actually smaller than the typical bookmarks but as you can see, they're very cute so who am I to resist them? Plus, they're really cheap so I bought lots. 

I don't use these because they're not as convenient to use, but I still keep them nonetheless.

And of course, I also have bookmarks sent by authors or won from giveaways! I also don't use these because I don't have the matching books, but they're pretty to look at, so yeah. ^__^

There you have it, folks! Not that impressive, I know. But I love those bookmarks and am always on the lookout for more cute and unique ones. Who's with me?
On a side note, I found this article about interesting bookmarks that any book lover would love to have. And boy, I want them all! Check them out!

I hope you enjoyed my first Weekend Rambling post, guys! I'd love to hear what you think! Do you also collect bookmarks and/or other bookish stuffs? Do tell!


[REVIEW] Beware the Hawk by A.J. O'Connell

Beware the Hawk

Author: A.J. O'Connell
Series: Book 1, The Resistance
Genre: Thriller, Spy Satire
Published: January 2012 by Battered Suitcase Press, an imprint of Vagabondage Press 
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N | Powell's | GooglePlay | OmniLit
Sure, being a courier for a secret, possibly terrorist society has its risks, but the pay was worth it. At least I thought it was until I was ordered to make a late-night run to Boston to meet an opium-addicted, vodka-addled contact, who blows the deal.

Now I am being hunted as I hobble, injured through the streets of Beantown. When I discover a gun and my new assignment, I wonder if perhaps I made a bad career choice.


My Thoughts

*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

Beware the Hawk is a very short read but it's definitely worth it. I practically devoured it in one sitting! The pacing is perfect and the mystery factor is high. I savored the eerie and suspenseful atmosphere of the story. The characters are very few since this is only a 41-page novella, but they're all crucial characters. The unnamed heroine is feisty and smart. She's also funny at times and has got a lot of spunk. And I liked that in the end, she decided to take things in her hands and not just take orders blindly. Leo is a shady character, but there's a point when I also felt sympathy for him. Danny is a revelation. I honestly didn't see that twist on his character coming. But looking back, I think his subtle actions are quite suggestive of his identity.

For a novella, Beware the Hawk is quite packed. There's action, suspense and a little bit of almost-romance. And I liked that ending! Although it was easy to guess what happened to the heroine, it still felt like there are still other possibilities on the way things ended. It's sort of an open ending, but it was written very well. I would have wanted this to be a full-length novel though; it seems like the heroine has an interesting history. But still, it's good as it is. If you're looking for a quick and good thriller read, Beware the Hawk is recommended!


Meet the Author

A.J. O’Connell is an author, journalist and adjunct professor who lives and labors in Connecticut. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield University. Her work has appeared on the website for National Public Radio, in Citizen Culture Magazine, The Battered Suitcase, The Wheel and various anthologies. She has reported for The Norwalk Hour and the Boston Herald.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

[BOOK BIRTHDAY] Scarred by Marie Long

Today is the release day for Marie Long’s debut New Adult Romance novel, Scarred, and I'm thrilled to share it with you!
See? Even Dumbledore's partying!



Author: Marie Long
Series: The Anderson Brothers Series, Book One
Genre: New Adult Romance
Pub. Date: March 3, 2015
Get it from: Amazon | B&N | iBooksGoodreads
Sometimes, love comes with a price…

The past is gonna try and bring you down, but you gotta fight. Fight hard for what you love. Fight to win is what twenty-two-year-old Dominick Anderson believes, but his life is a struggle. Growing up with an abusive father has made Dominick slow to love and trust, and he relies on his brother Kevin to keep him on a straight path.

Dominick fights his demons every day, every night. Now a sophomore at the University of Washington and working a steady job at a mechanic’s shop, Dominick wants to create a better life and find the future his father never wanted him to have.

Dominick suppresses his identity and feelings until he meets Denise Ramsey. Smart, stunningly gorgeous, and sharing his love for motorcycles, Denise is everything Dominick longs for in a girl but knows he can never have.

When a past love threatens her life and brings out Dominick’s dark side, he must decide if she’s worth the risk.

“Dom and Denise will make you believe in happily ever after. Dominick is definitely book boyfriend material.” 
Marie Hall, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A MOMENT

Meet the Author

Marie Long is a novelist who enjoys the snowy weather, the mountains, and a cup of hot white chocolate. She’s an avid supporter of literacy movements like We Need Diverse Books (WNDB) and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Marie has shared a fondness and interest in the New Adult genre since its popularity boom in 2009. And now, as both a reader, and debut RWA author of New Adult fiction, Marie dreams to keep this fascinating genre going strong.

Find Marie Long online:

I'm really excited for this book that I even requested for an ARC of it. Unfortunately, I still haven't received it so I wasn't able to read and review Scarred in time for the release. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed and waiting for the postman, though. ^__^
Happy Book Birthday, Marie Long! Cheers!


Monday, March 2, 2015

Flavor of the Month: March 2015

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

It's March already and summer's fast approaching here in the Philippines. What better way to battle the heat but to stay inside and curl up with a good book? Real good timing too, because a lot of good books are coming our way this month. Check these goodies out! ^__^

March 2015 New Releases

(Book titles are linked to Goodreads)

March 3rd

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Dead to Me by Mary McCoy
Death Marked (Death Sworn #2) by Leah Cypess
Kin (Tales of Beauty & Madness #3) by Lili St. Crow
Missing Pieces by Meredith Tate
Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz
Scarred by Marie Long
Sorceress (Spellcaster #3) by Claudia Gray
The Memory Key by Liana Liu
The Storyspinner  (The Keepers' Chronicles #1) by Becky Wallace
The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski
Vision in Silver (The Others #3) by Anne Bishop

March 5th

Mind Games by Teri Terry

March 9th

Hearts of Fire (Six of Hearts #2) by LH Cosway

March 10th

Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy
Burning Kingdoms (The Internment Chronicles #2) by Lauren DeStefano
Confess by Colleen Hoover
Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) by Rachel Hartman
The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

March 17th

Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay
The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne
Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

March 24th

Catalyst (Control #2) by Lydia Kang
Half Wild (The Half Bad trilogy #2) by Sally Green
Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

March 30th

The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer

March 31st

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein
Etherworld (Elusion #2) by Claudia Gabel, Cheryl Klam
I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen
Instinct (Chronicles of Nick #6) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
King (The Dragon King Chronicles #3) by Ellen Oh
The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die #2) by Danielle Paige
Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle

Purchase your books from:

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Did your TBR piles just explode? I know, right! Personally, I'm looking forward to Mosquitoland, Scarred, Under A Painted Sky, Written in the Stars and The Start of Me and You. How about you, guys? What March release are you eager to read? Comment away! ^__^


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