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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday [#9]: Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Eep! So this is my first Top Ten Tuesday post in forever. The last one I had was more than a year ago. I know, bad blogger. But I just can't pass up this week's topic: Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2015. I was actually planning to write a post about my favorite 2015 reads so far, but when I saw this week's TTT, I just decided to do this one here.

(Okay, so I haven't read those popular releases like All the Bright Places, A Court of Thorns and Roses, The Last Time We Say Goodbye, etc. I'll read them, I swear. Just not now because I'm still intimidated by all the hype surrounding them.)

In no particular order, here's my

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2015



Tunnel Vision by Susan Adrian - I didn't expect to enjoy this book so much because it's not my usual genre. But Tunnel Vision really surprised me. It's YA paranormal with a touch of sci-fi, and what a good combination it was!

When Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez - I can't stress enough how much I love diverse books and When Reason Breaks just oozes with diversity. It also tackles sensitive and difficult issues but is written beautifully. The author's prose and Emily Dickinson's poetry really blended well.

Never Sleep by Cady Vance - Another out-of-my-comfort-zone read! I rarely pick-up sci-fi, but I signed up for this tour because the blurb was just calling to me. Good decision, though. Never Sleep is fast-paced, action-packed and very engaging.

Die Once More by Amy Plum - I really love Amy Plum's Revenants series so when I saw there was a new novella, I immediately dived in! Die Once More is Jules' story, but Kate and Vincent and the others are also there. New characters, new romance. And there are swoony scenes! ^__^

Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen - Bullying is the main theme of this book, but with a twist because it's told from a bully's POV. Okay, ex-bully who turned into the school pariah. It conveys a strong and important message about bullying. I also liked the friendship and romance here. Absolutely no insta-love!

Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons - Ah, girl power! I love how feisty the main character is. It's also strong on family aspect and the ending's really good! I'm not sold on the romance, but I admit there are some swoony moments. :)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard - ASDFGFHJLKJL!!! I read this in April and even until now I still can't write a coherent review of Red Queen. It's just so awesome, I don't know how to describe it. And now the title and the blurb of the sequel have been released, but Glass Sword itself won't be out until February 9th, 2016. Ah, the torture of waiting!

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed -  Another diverse book that I dearly enjoyed. Set in Pakistan, Written in the Stars has characters that you will root for and easily sympathize with. This is an eye-opening YA debut that also conveys a strong message about the culture and traditions that bind many of us.

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone - Heartwarming and mindblowing. This book features a main character with Purely Obsessional OCD, but Every Last Word is written with such honesty and respect. This is not an easy read, but I adored it nonetheless.

The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace - The last but definitely not the least! This YA debut is one hell of a book. Totally amazing! I haven't written a review yet; it's just so overwhelming. Love it to bits! READ THIS BOOK NOW!

I'm hoping the second half of the year would be as fabulous as the first. More good books, please! ^__^
I'm a little late to the party, but I'm still curious to know what books made your list. Link me up, guys! 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Ultimate Book Tag! (in which I shamelessly tagged myself)

I saw Aimee @ Deadly Darlings do The Ultimate Book Tag and share her fabulousness for all the internet to see. And although I wasn't tagged, (*cough*No one ever tags me.*cough*) I figured this would be fun to do. ^__^ C'mon, it's totally fine to tag myself, right?

The Ultimate Book Tag

1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?

I don't read in the car. AT ALL. I've tried before, but it just makes me dizzy. Also, my eyesight's so bad as it is; I'm not planning to go blind anytime soon.

2. Which author's writing style is completely unique to you and why?

Matthew Quick. I've only read two of his works (The Silver Linings Playbook and Sorta Like A Rock Star), but as I've mentioned in my review of Sorta Like A Rock Star, I found his writing style unique and spontaneous. It's like this guy doesn't care much for commas. LOL

Thursday, June 18, 2015

[ARC REVIEW] Tangled Webs by Lee Bross

Tangled Webs

Author: Lee Bross
Genre: YA Historical Fiction, Romance
Expected Publication: June 23rd 2015 by Disney Hyperion
ARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Pre-order from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
London, 1725. Everybody has a secret. Lady A will keep yours—for a price. This sumptuous, scandalous YA novel is wickedly addictive.

Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets.

But leading a double life isn't easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London's slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, the infamous Thief Taker General who moves seamlessly between the city's criminal underworld and its most elite upper circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London.

Everything changes when she meets Graeden Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, has seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past? 

Rating

My thoughts

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

Tangled Webs has a really interesting blurb that promises secrets, deceit and betrayal. I got all that and more but in the end, I was mildly underwhelmed. I mean, yeah I liked it, but I was kinda expecting more.

A lot of readers got the impression that this book contains a love triangle. Look at that blurb! I would have probably thought so too if I read the entire blurb. But I just skimmed the book description before hitting the request button in Netgalley. I'd still say it was a lucky shot, though. (Also, the cover's pretty.)

Friday, June 12, 2015

[ARC REVIEW] Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Every Last Word

Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Genre: YA Contemporary
Expected Publication: June 16th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion
ARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Pre-order from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

Rating

My thoughts

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

Every Last Word is one of the highly anticipated releases in June, and because of this, my expectations for this book were sky-high. Not to mention that the author has already established her name and has two successful books under her belt. The first time I saw this on Netgalley, I just knew I would fell in love with it. This book had me at "Purely-Obsessional OCD" and if you don't know already, contemporaries with tough issues are my thing. Every Last Word DID NOT DISAPPOINT. This book is so beautiful in so many levels.

I liked how the different relationships in the book are portrayed. First, Samantha's interaction with Shrink Sue. I mean, I've never read a book before where the character actually enjoys and looks forward to talking to her psychiatrist. Every Last Word is a breath of fresh air in this aspect. And then the friendship between Sam and Caroline. It's such a beautiful thing. Caroline brings out the better side of Samantha when they're together – the side that only a few people see. With Caroline, Samantha can be just Sam. And their friendship opened up a lot of doors for Samantha. The same with her relationship with AJ. The romance was a bit rushed although I must admit that it's sweet and swoony. What I would have wanted to see more was Samantha's relationship with her family. The book began with a pretty intense scene and Sam's mother was there to help her. I liked that she has a really supportive family, but aside from a few interactions, I didn't see the family dynamics that I admired at the start of the book.

Friday, June 5, 2015

[BLOG TOUR: Excerpt + Giveaway] The Violet Hour by Brynn Chapman

Welcome to the last day of The Violet Hour Book Tour hosted by YA Bound Book Tours! I have here for you today a short excerpt from the book. The tour is coming to an end, but it's still not too late to visit the other stops for reviews and more promo posts. You can check out the full schedule here. Enjoy reading the excerpt below and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post. ^__^

The Violet Hour

Author: Brynn Chapman
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Published: April 11th, 2015
Purchase from: Amazon 
Secrets.

Allegra Teagarden, a musical prodigy, flees her father’s dominance and abuse while touring in pre-civil war Charleston, South Carolina. Plagued by depression over her mother’s suicide during their previous visit, she escapes in an effort to piece together the details behind her mother’s mysterious demise.

Secrets.

Down to her final coin, Allegra happens on Charleston’s Fancy, the first southern amusement park, which is searching for musicians for its orchestra. At first, the park seems her salvation; but she quickly realizes she has traded the dominance of her father, for the even more terrifying madness of the owner, Silas.

And more secrets.

Allegra meets the dashing Brighton LeFroy, Fancy’s engineer and pyrotechnics master. His shabby clothing cannot conceal the brilliant mind beneath. The musician’s whisper he is a witch, is obsessed with storms, and is rumored...to fly. And despite the danger, despite her own misgivings, Allegra is inexplicably drawn to him.

She ventures to his reclusive home on Fire Isle during a thunderstorm and together they seek to unravel an ancient mystery.

Excerpt

Silas turns to face Plimpton, giving him a rare audience. The conductor squirms under his scrutinizing gaze.

“So you are telling me, Plimpton, Miss Teagarden reads the score once, and plays it from memory?”

“Yes, sir. She can play all the parts, from one look. She plays every instrument.”

“Balderdash,” Jonesy says. His face is still and smooth but I recognize the terror in his eyes.

“Jones, have you ever seen such ability? You are close with Miss Teagarden?” I add, trying to dissuade the greedy glint in Silas’s gaze.

“She is a gifted cellist, yes. But this ability you claim…” Jones hedges.

“I have witnessed it with my own eyes!” Plimpton is red-faced and sweating as he blots it with his handkerchief, his own piggy-terrified-eyes never leaving Silas.

“Calm yourself, Jakob. I believe you. But I shall have to see for myself. This makes Miss Teagarden even more valuable. Indispensable, even.” Silas paces, rubbing his hands, undoubtedly seeing the coins spin out from her cello as was Rumplestiltskin’s spun gold.

Jones and I exchange a significant glance. A single muscle twitches beneath his eye.

“Bring her to me,” Silas commands.

“She is ill,” Jonesy spits, too fast.

Silas’s eyebrows disappear beneath his blue-black hair. “Well, then I shall fetch a physician. I must see this for myself.” He turns to me. “LeFroy, is your new symphony and accompanying celestial star-show complete?”

I thrust the papers into his hand.

His eyes scan the music, and he flips it to Plimpton. “Copy this, and distribute it—it’s your new production. One week.”

Plimpton dabs his head once again, his mutton sideburns quivering. “Yes, sir.” He lumbers from the study.

“I shall send for the doctor,” Silas says, turning to leave the room.

Jones and I follow without needing a word. This is all my doing. My gut clenches with guilt and a fierce protective surge lights in my chest.

I must get Allegra away from here. This instant.

Meet the Author

Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.

Author Links:

Giveaway

$10 Amazon GC (INT)

This book tour is organized by:

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

[ARC REVIEW] Where You End by Anna Pellicioli

Where You End

Author: Anna Pellicioli
Genre: YA Contemporary
Expected Publication: June 8th 2015 by Flux
ARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Pre-order from: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Miriam Feldman was always attracted to the artists, the musicians, the boys who wore broken-down cardigans. Boys like Elliot. Their relationship was intense, passionate, all consuming. When they were together, Miriam knew who she was, in the way you can only know when you're deeply in love. But then it ended, and Miriam had to move on. Even after Elliot started seeing someone else. Even after she impulsively destroyed a priceless work of art. Even after she was blackmailed by the mystery girl who saw her do it. After all this, Miriam had to go on with her life. If only she knew how.


Rating

My Thoughts

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

Where You End has a prose so beautiful and poignant that immediately hooked me in. It is a story about first love and first heartbreak, of mistakes and forgiveness, of letting go and moving on, of family and friendships. Excellent writing really, but I can't say I fell in love.

For starters, I really loved the main character's voice. So strong and real. Pellicioli did a great job of creating a teenage character suffering from her first heartbreak and making impulsive decisions and stupid mistakes. She really nailed that part. Where You End is especially relatable to me because I've been there. I was once a hormone-driven teenager who thought it's the end of the world just because she got heartbroken. And it's a really difficult phase to be in, so I kinda understand where the main character is coming from.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Flavor of the Month: June 2015

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

Summer break's officially over! It's June and the start of another school year. Although I hate school, I'm actually excited to go back to uni on the 16th. I'm a third year college student now, so wish me luck, guys! ^__^

Here comes the rain! And with it comes new books!

June 2015 New Releases

(Book titles are linked to Goodreads)

June 2nd

Dancing with Molly by Lena Horowitz
Deadly Design by Debra Dockter
Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilgy #2) by Danielle L. Jensen
Joyride by Anna Banks
Like It Never Happened by Emily Adrian
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen
Spelled by Betsy Schow
Sweet by Emmy Laybourne
The Devil You Know by Trish Doller
The Edge of Forever by Melissa E. Hurst
The Good Girls (The Perfectionists #2) by Sara Shepard
The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

June 4th

Endgame (Night School #5) by C.J. Daugherty

June 9th

Alive by Chandler Baker
Crash (The Game #3) by Eve Silver
Even When You Lie to Me by Jessica Alcott
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout
Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca
Mindwalker (Mindwalker #1) by A.J. Steiger
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent
Those Girls by Lauren Saft
To Hold the Bridge by Garth Nix

June 16th

After Hours by Claire Kennedy
Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat
Deadfall (Blackbird Duology #2) by Anna Carey
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Get Dirty (Don't Get Mad #2) by Gretchen McNeil
The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen

June 23rd

A Book of Spirits and Thieves (Spirits and Thieves #1) by Morgan Rhodes
Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
Tangled Webs (Tangled Webs #1) by Lee Bross
The Leveller (The Leveller #1) by Julia Durango

June 30th

Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel
Faking Perfect by Rebecca Phillips
Storm (Paper Gods #3) by Amanda Sun
Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2) by Dahlia Adler

Purchase your books from:

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

I'm sure I still missed a lot so feel free to share other June releases in the comments! I have my eyes on More Happy Than Not and Hello, I Love You. I'm currently reading Every Last Word and liking it so far, so expect my review sometime next week. ^__^ What are you excited about this June?

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

^