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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

[ARC REVIEW] Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen

Life Unaware

Author: Cole Gibsen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: April 28th 2015 by Entangled: Teen
ARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Regan Flay has been talking about you.

Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother's "plan" for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she's ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school.

Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah.

The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend's hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan's going through, but what nobody knows is that Regan isn't really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she's barely holding it together under her mom's pressure. But the consequences of Regan's fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched...

Especially Regan Flay.


My thoughts

*I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I really enjoyed Cole Gibsen’s writing. The narration has a strong voice and the prose is very contemporary and well-written. I couldn’t put it down. Realistic and honest, Life Unaware certainly did not sugarcoat the ugly truth of bullying.

At first, I was disgusted by what a two-faced bitch Regan was. But as I read on and saw the story through Regan’s eyes, I couldn’t help but pity her. She had too much pressure on her shoulders, what with the constant nagging and controlling of her political mother and her “need” to stay at the top of the social ladder. Her anxiety disorder also didn’t help things. While it doesn’t excuse the horrible things she said and did, I easily sympathized with Regan. She was so lost and alone. It also didn’t hurt that she knew how to be humble and apologize for her mistakes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

[RELEASE DAY BLITZ + Giveaway] An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Happy book birthday, Sabaa Tahir! Her fantasy debut An Ember in the Ashes releases today, April 28th, and Rockstar Book Tours has organized a release day blitz! You can find a letter from Sabaa herself, the book trailer and a giveaway for a signed copies of the book and some of those awesome sword letter openers we’ve seen around courtesy of Sabaa, Penguin Teen, and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. ^__^

An Ember in the Ashes

Author: Sabaa Tahir
Pub. Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 464
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads
Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story that’s literally burning to be told.

LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the empire itself.

Letter from Sabaa Tahir

Dear Readers, 

Today, my “baby” AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is finally out in the world! From inception to pub date, this journey took eight years. And what a journey it was: writing, rewriting, revising, editing, querying, submitting; Meeting other debuts, bloggers, booksellers and librarians, and hearing their thoughts on EMBER. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the radness. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

[AUTHOR INTERVIEW] Cindy L. Rodriguez (When Reason Breaks)

Hello there, folks! Doing great, yes? I'm very excited about today's post because I got to interview Cindy L. Rodriguez! ^__^ Cindy is the debut author of YA novel When Reason Breaks, which, by the way, is one of my favorite 2015 reads so far. You can read my shining review of the book here, but for the meantime, here's what When Reason Breaks is about:

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.

Before we get to the interview, here's a little something about Cindy:
Cindy L. Rodriguez is a former newspaper reporter turned public school teacher. She now teaches as a reading specialist at a Connecticut middle school but previously worked for the Hartford Courant and theBoston Globe. She and her young daughter live in Connecticut. When Reason Breaks is her debut novel. For more author information, click here.

And now for my favorite part, I'd like to present to you, people,
Cindy L. Rodriguez!

Author interview

*First of all, congratulations on your debut novel (I really loved it!) and welcome to the blog, Cindy! Speaking of debut, what's your favorite part of being a debut author?

A great thing about being a debut author is having people I don't know read the book and give me feedback. It's one thing to have friends and family support me (which is awesome and completely appreciated) but it really blows me away when someone I don't know reaches out to me with a comment. Another great part of being a debut author is entering into the kid lit community. Other authors, my debut groups, and bloggers have been friendly and supportive. Writing is a solitary activity so much of the time, so it's been really helpful and comforting to have people to turn to with questions or for general support. 

*Who are your writing influences?

Throughout my college years, I read a lot of women, Latino, and African-American authors. Some of my favorites include the Brontës, Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Junot Diaz, Piri Thomas, Toni Morrison, and Maya Angelou. In children's literature, some of my favorites include Laurie Halse Anderson, Gayle Forman, and J.K. Rowling. I read mostly realistic fiction in both middle grade and YA.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

[COVER REVEAL + Excerpt] Darkness Brutal by Rachel A. Marks

Another debut graces Books and Insomnia today as I feature the cover reveal for Darkness Brutal by Rachel A. Marks! I'm not one for Urban Fantasy novels, but I might be tempted to try this one because the cover is incredible! (I'm easily tempted by pretty books; don't judge!) This cover is designed by sci-fi and fantasy illustrator, graphic novel artist and designer Cliff Nielsen. He's the genius behind the covers of The Bane Chronicles, The Infernal Devices series, Days of Blood & Starlight, Untimed, The Mortal Instruments series and other equally amazing book covers. You probably know by now that this is one pretty cover, right? So without further ado, here's Darkness Brutal by Rachel A. Marks! ^__^

Darkness Brutal

Series: Book 1, The Dark Cycle
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publication date: July 1st 2015 by Skyscape
Cover design by: Cliff Nielsen
Pre-order from: Amazon
Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer.

In desperation, Aidan seeks out the help of Sid, the enigmatic leader of a rag-tag group of teens who run LA Paranormal, an Internet reality show that fights demons and ghosts. With them, Aidan believes he’s finally found a haven for Ava. But then he meets Kara, a broken girl who can spin a hypnotic web of passionate energy, and she awakens powers inside of him he didn’t know he had―and unleashes a new era of war between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness.

With the fate of humanity in his hands, can Aidan keep the Darkness held back and accept his terrifying destiny, or will he and his sister fall to the same fate as their mother?

The cover:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

[TRAILER BLAST + Giveaway] The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack

Today marks the Book Trailer Blast for The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack! I rarely read non-YA but this one sounds really intriguing. Recurring dreams, historical fiction and time travel? Yes please! ^__^ Keep scrolling down to know more about this book and enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post! This trailer blast is organized by MMSAI Tours. Happy Tuesday, munchkins! ^__^

The Memory Painter

Author: Gwendolyn Womack
Release Date: April 28th, 2015
Publisher: Picador
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Internationally famous and reclusive artist Bryan Pierce has a secret. He paints memories of people who have lived in the past. His whole life he has suffered from these recalls. To keep his sanity he paints the dreams and hides from the world—until at an art opening, Linz Jacobs sees one of his paintings that is identical to a recurring nightmare she’s had her whole life. When they meet it becomes the catalyst for Bryan to begin to remember the life of a neuroscientist who died in an accident along with his wife in 1980, right as they were on the brink of curing Alzheimer’s. Solving the mystery of their deaths will lead Bryan and Linz to an even greater legacy buried deep in the past. Both a thriller and a timeless love story, THE MEMORY PAINTER spans six continents and more than 10,000 years.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

[BLOG TOUR: ARC Review + Giveaway] Never Sleep by Cady Vance

Welcome to the fourth day of the Never Sleep Blog Tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours! My stop is a review post and let me tell you people, this book is insanely good! Read my 4-star review below to know why Never Sleep really didn't let me sleep. (See what I did there?) There's also a tour-wide giveaway which everyone can enter. And don't forget to check out the tour schedule and visit the other stops. ^__^

Never Sleep

Author: Cady Vance
Genre: YA Science fiction
Published: March 15th 2015 by Sagan Press
ARC Source: Xpresso Book Tours
Purchase from: Amazon
Thora Green had a life once upon a time. But that ended the day her parents enrolled her in sleep clinic prison. At the facility, her chronic months-long insomnia is observed by scads of doctors, but she is never actually treated for her dire disease. In a feat of desperation, Thora escapes from the CT sleep facility and heads straight for NYC. Buried deep in the city’s underbelly, there is rumored to be a clinic called the Insomniacs’ Café: a secret haven where people like Thora can find relief. But finding it is going to take a lot more than a map app on an i-phone.

As Thora joins forces with Aiden and Florence, two fellow insomniacs, their search will take them from the dusty bookshelves of The Strand, to a quest for red-velvet cupcakes at Magnolia, to countless taxi and subway rides. Clues leading to their final destination are waiting for them at every turn. But so are Sleepers—a powerful core of sworn-enemies to all Insomniacs— who wish to see Thora and her friends destroyed at any cost.


My Thoughts

Never Sleep is a fast-paced, eye-popping, heart-stopping novel that kept me wide awake even at two in the morning. This book will probably make me a fan of YA science fiction. (Let's see. ^__^)

So, insomnia. Scroll to the top of the page again. See where it says "Books and Insomnia"? So maybe the reason I signed up for this tour is because I saw the word insomnia in the blurb. I thought, Hey. I would totally like this book! I have a teeny weeny mild case of insomnia (or so I'd like to believe when in fact I just stay up late to devour books) so I'm sure I would relate. (*clicks "Sign-up for this tour"*) And I'm just so glad to say that it didn't disappoint. I WAS BLOWN!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekend Rambling [#3]: Do You Also Read Non-Fiction?

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

Welcome to another Weekend Rambling post! It's been, what, two weeks since my last WR post and I don't have any other excuse for that except for my laziness. Seriously, this summer heat makes me want to just laze around and sleep. I can't even read for hours straight!
^Yep, that's basically me.
But hey, I'm not here to rant talk about what a lazy-ass reader I am. Today, I'd like to ask you, dear readers,

Do you also read non-fiction?

Of course, everyone of us has read textbooks, reference books, magazines and newspapers. I'm talking about non-fiction in various forms and sub-genres — self-help, biography, essay, speech, historical, memoirs, narrative, etc. Those we read for pleasure and not just because it's a school requirement.

Personally, I don't read a lot of non-fiction as it's not really my cup of tea. Aside from a handful of books written by my local authors, I've only read three non-fiction books and reviewed them here on the blog: Falling in Love, Tuesdays with Morrie and Regine's Book. And although I'm not really a reader of non-fiction, ironically enough, I really liked these three books. I enjoyed them and two even made me cry. I also have a battered copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology on my shelf (I'm currently reading it!) and a collection of essays. Still, it's not enough to make me a fan of the genre.

How about you, guys? Do you read non-fiction books and review them on your blogs? What are some of your favorites? I'm not really looking for recommendations but I'm curious to know what non-fiction books you liked!

As always, thank you for visiting Books and Insomnia! Leave your thoughts below, they're always appreciated! ^__^


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

[REVIEW] Die Once More by Amy Plum (novella)

Die Once More

Author: Amy Plum
Series: Revenants #3.5
Genre: YA Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Published: February 3rd 2015 by Epic Reads Impulse
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
This one-hundred-page novella picks up where the international bestselling Die for Me trilogy ended and follows the eternally irresistible Jules Marchenoir as he leaves Paris behind for a fresh start in New York City.

Jules is a revenant—an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save human lives. He's spent the last century flirting his way through Paris and, most recently, falling in love with his best friend's girlfriend. Loyalty and heartbreak have led him to choose a new life in NYC.

Separated from his friends and his home, Jules is adrift in this dangerous new world, facing unknown enemies . . . until he meets a revenant named Ava. Though the battle for France has been won, an epic war between good and evil has just begun in the Big Apple, and Ava needs Jules's help to uncover the key to an American victory. Jules finds himself in the same position he crossed an ocean to escape: at risk of losing his immortal existence as well as his heart.


My thoughts

It's been a couple of years since I finished reading this series and I thought I said goodbye to the revenants for good. This is one of my favorite series ever so when I saw Die Once More on Goodreads, I immediately dived in! Even if it's just a novella in Jules' POV, I still loved it. The Paris revenants were also there, so we're given a glimpse of how they were after the events of If I Should Die. Actually, I was a bit worried that I would find it hard to reconnect with the characters because I don't remember everything that's happened in the third book. Good thing that this novella is set in a different place and has a different story from the trilogy. Jules also provided recaps and flashbacks.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Flavor of the Month: April 2015

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

Happy April 1st, peeps! The semester officially ended last week so I now have more time for reading. Yay! ^__^ I think I might be able to catch up on my TBR now that I don't have school to worry about. . . Or not. Who am I kidding?! My TBR is a never-ending pile! Every time I finish a book, ten more are added to the pile! #BookwormProblems ^__^ Anyhoo, to know what books are releasing this month, check out this list and be prepared for your TBR piles to explode.

April 2015 New Releases

(Book titles are linked to Goodreads)

April 2nd

Othergirl by Nicole Burstein

April 7th

Fading Away (Hardest Mistakes #1) by Dannielle Wicks
I Am Her Revenge by Meredith Moore
Lies I Told by Michelle Zink
Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle #2) by Rachel Hawkins
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Skandal (Sekret #2) by Lindsay Smith
When You Leave by Monica Ropal

April 8th

Dating Down by Stefanie Lyons
Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee

April 13th

Beckon Me by Cindy Thomas

April 14th

All the Rage by Courtney Summers
Bloodkin (The Maeve’ra Trilogy #2) by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Forged (Taken #3) by Erin Bowman
One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart
The Pretty App (App #2) by Katie Sise
Where the Staircase Ends by Stacy Stokes

April 18th

Alice in Wonderland High by Rachel Shane

April 21st

99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Becoming Jinn (Becoming Jinn #1) by Lori Goldstein
Boy Band by Jacqueline E. Smith
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (Prisoner of Night and Fog #2) by Anne Blankman
Endangered by Lamar Giles
Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook
Finding Paris by Joy Preble
Nobody's Goddess (The Never Veil #1) by Amy McNulty
The Death Code (The Murder Complex #2) by Lindsay Cummings
Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

April 23rd

Starborn (The Worldmaker Trilogy #1) by Lucy Hounsom

April 27th

Watch Your Back by Tracy Bilen

April 28th

A Magic Dark and Bright (The Asylum Saga #1) by Jenny Adams Perinovic
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Cold Burn of Magic (Black Blade #1) by Jennifer Estep
Encore to an Empty Room (Exile #2) by Kevin Emerson
In A World Just Right by Jen Brooks
Invincible by Amy Reed
Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Omega City (Omega City #1) by Diana Peterfreund
Rogue (Talon #2) by Julie Kagawa
Rook by Sharon Cameron
The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight #1) by Melissa Grey
The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
Valiant by Sarah McGuire

Purchase your books from:

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Pre-ordered anything yet? Let me know what April new release you're excited for!


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