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Thursday, September 24, 2015

[GUEST REVIEW] When It Rains by Lisa De Jong

Howdy, guys! Today, we have a guest reviewer on the blog – newbie author Kathleen MareĆ© (a round of applause for her, please, thank you) and she reviewed When It Rains by Lisa de Jong. I haven't read this book yet, but I've heard good things. ^__^ You can find a short bio on Kathleen and her debut novel below.

When It Rains

Author: Lisa De Jong
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Series: Book 1, Rains series
Published: September 25th 2013
Purchase from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
One night changed my life forever.

Beau Bennett has been my best friend since I can remember. He was my first crush before everything came crashing down, and now he wants more, but it's more than I can give him. Things are different now. I wish I could tell him why, but I can't.

I haven’t told anyone.

I never knew how much I really needed him until the day he left for college, and I was completely alone.

Then one day, Asher Hunt rides into town with his dark, captivating eyes and cocky grin. He doesn't care who I used to be, he's simply breathing life into what’s left. People warn me to stay away from him, but he helps me forget the pain that has held me hostage for so long; something I thought was impossible before he walked into my life.

I’ve been hurt.

I’ve been saved.

And I’ve found hope.

I thought my story was written that night, but now I know it was only a new beginning. Until one secret turns my world upside down…



My thoughts

So I may be a little late to the party with this one, as it was published in 2013. But for those that know me well, I am always in search of those smouldering book boyfriends that we just have to know more about. Yes, we all know - I love love. 

One thing you may not know, is I am not a fan of tear jerkers. Whilst it isn't the fact that I get emotional over a book nor the fact that I end up with mascara down my face and all over my clothes. No. Not at all. I guess it's the fact that I read to escape the daily grind and to feel good. Just like when you choose to go on a holiday to have a break from your reality. Let's not pretend how much it would suck if you spent your entire vacation blubbering like a baby ;) So this brings me to When It Rains. Prepare yourself. It. Is. A. Tearjerker. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

[MINI-REVIEWS] Queen of the Clueless + Icon of the Indecisive by Mina V. Esguerra

*These reviews may contain spoilers for book 1, Interim Goddess of Love.*

Queen of the Clueless

Author: Mina V. Esguerra
Series: Book 2, Interim Goddess of Love trilogy
Genre: YA/NA Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy
Published: February 6th 2013 by Bright Girl Books
Purchase from: Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads

My thoughts

Just like the first book, Interim Goddess of Love, I really enjoyed reading Queen of the Clueless. But don't let the title fool you because our substitute goddess Hannah is not as clueless as before. :) She's slowly getting the hang of her powers, and that mind reading thing is so awesome. Me really likes! In this book, we get to know the characters more and a deeper background of the gods and goddesses is revealed. I also liked how Hannah's relationship with Robbie progressed. It's so cuuuute! I still can't get over the fact that Robbie is such a gentleman and a really nice guy. Kindness is always a turn on, girls. Quin is still his same sensible self, but now I understand his actions better. There's also a new character that affects everyone's lives, most especially Hannah's. When I was reading this, I wasn't sure if she would be an ally or an enemy. Oohh so mysterious. And Diego! ASKDJFHAKLDJ!!! Why must you play with my mind, you unpredictable piece of cake, why?!

Monday, September 14, 2015

[ARC REVIEW] Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

Blood and Salt

Author: Kim Liggett
Genre: YA Horror, Paranormal, Romance
Series: Book 1, Blood and Salt duology
ARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Expected publication: September 22nd 2015 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Pre-order from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.

“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.


My thoughts

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

I've been seeing a lot of shining reviews of this book, and I feel like mine is going to be an unpopular opinion. It's not that I didn't like Blood and Salt; I just wasn't blown by it.

For starters, it wasn't horror-scary. It was creepy, yes, (crows and a dead girl hanging upside down are creepy *shudders*) but I wasn't really scared. I can't say I'm desensitized because I don't even read a lot of horror/thrillers. So yeah, I was kinda disappointed with the scare factor. Or lack thereof, rather.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Weekend Rambling [#6]: My Life Lately: Smule, #PLF2015 and College!

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

So it's been a while since I posted a personal post here. I missed you, loves! I'm practically buried under real life stuff, ya know. Things have been kinda crazy, hence the inconsistent posts. Anyway, I'd just like to share with you guys what's been happening in Julie-verse lately. ^__^  

  • Smule. I recently discovered this music-making app through a local celebrity I've been following online. It's really fun to sing duets with other people all over the world. I have a terrible singing voice so I'm not going to share my recordings (haha!), but I don't care; I just sing my heart out. ^__^ I'm somewhat addicted to Smule now. #noregrets
  • College. Me complaining about school is nothing new. It seems like I'm always neck-deep in schoolwork that I rarely have time to read and blog lately. As of this writing, it's midterm exams week, what am I doing here? I should be studying! we have a stage play I have to write a script for, and demo teaching I have to prepare for. AAAHHH I need a timeturner!!

Friday, September 4, 2015

[ARC MINI-REVIEW] The Boy Meets Girl Massacre (Annotated) by Ainslie Hogarth

The Boy Meets Girl Massacre (Annotated)

Author: Ainslie Hogarth
Genre: YA Horror, Mystery
Expected Publication: September 8th 2015 by Flux
ARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Noelle takes a summer nightshift job at the infamous Boy Meets Girl Inn, even though she's well aware of the grisly murders that happened there decades ago. That's why she has a diary—to write down everything she experiences in case things go bump in the night. But the inexplicable freezing drafts, the migrating rotten-flesh smell, and the misplaced personal items don't really scare her. Noelle has bigger problems: her father's ailing health, her friend Alfred's inappropriate crush, and the sore spot on the back of her head that keeps getting worse.

When a party commemorating the anniversary of the original killings ends in a ghoulish bloodbath, Noelle's diary becomes the key piece of evidence for investigators. But the cryptic and often incoherent entries suggest there is more to the bizarre case than can be rationally explained...


My thoughts

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

It was weird. And freaky. And gross. It's graphic and gruesome and please don't read it if you have high-strung gag reflex. (Also, when you're eating.) Honestly, I was expecting a horror story that will make my hairs stand on end, not this gory tale of I'm-not-sure-what.
The format is unique, but I don't think it works well in digital format. I think it would be better read in a physical copy. But I liked the diary and annotated style.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

[ARC REVIEW] The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis

The One Thing

Author: Marci Lyn Curtis
Genre: YA Contemporary
Expected Publication: September 8th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion
ARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Purchase from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won't invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie's rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.

Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn't interested in rehabilitation, not when she's still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.

Then Maggie's whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she's ever met.Ben's life isn't easy, but he doesn't see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn't have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she's currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the infuriatingly attractive lead singer of Maggie's new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben's brother.

But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future...before she loses everything she has grown to love.


My thoughts

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

I've already read a book with deaf characters and one with a female protagonist who doesn't speak. Now, here's a book with a visually-impaired female MC. I'd say my reading horizon is constantly expanding, especially on books with physically-challenged characters. And hear me, dear readers, because YOU NEED THIS BOOK IN YOUR LIFE! The One Thing is a heartfelt, hilarious, and hopeful debut novel. Marci Lyn Curtis is a new author to watch out for.

The One Thing started off really strong. Maggie's personality – with all her glorious snark and wit – was all over the place, you wouldn't miss it. The pacing is really good because the author doesn't drag us through unnecessary chapters. By chapter two, there's Ben already, bringing fresh character and getting the plot rolling. And the story's really interesting! It's contemporary, but there's a supernatural(?) touch to it, owing to the fact that Maggie is blind but suddenly could see one person.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Flavor of the Month: September 2015

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

Howdy, friends! It's the end of the summer for you in the US, right? I hope you all had a good summer break! ^__^ It's finally the start of '-ber' months and you know what it means? Colder days! Yasss!

Anyway, as usual, here's our list of new releases this month. Feel free to drool and prepare for your TBRs to explode, bookies! ^__^

September 2015 New Releases

(Book titles are linked to Goodreads)

September 1st

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell (Read my review here)
Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius
Catacomb (Asylum #3) by Madeleine Roux
Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian
Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Firewalker (The Worldwalker Trilogy #2) by Josephine Angelini
Hunter (Hunter #1) by Mercedes Lackey (Read my review here)
Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler
Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas
The Body Institute by Carol Riggs
The Copper Gauntlet (Magisterium #2) by Holly Black, Cassandra Clare
The Fate of Ten (Lorien Legacies #6) by Pittacus Lore
The Fix by Natasha Sinel
The Wanderers by Kate Ormand
Truest by Jackie Lea Sommers
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

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