Book Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

 Rating: StarStarStarStarStar

‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanour and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down again.

*****

SMASHING.

Saving June is a lot of things, and most of them are really good! The hype surrounding this book? Oh, so worth it! It deals about death and grief, but i think i laughed and fell in love more than i mourned. Seems crazy, i know, but when you read it (and i hope you do!), you’ll get fired up with life. Harrington’s writing is exquisitely beautiful. Every other page I found a quote I wanna write down! Darn right, I’m raving. Though i found little issues (the rating is actually a 4.5), and maybe i’m just nitpicking, but Saving June is a must read for all contemporary YA lovers out there.

Harper‘s character is very relatable: teenage angst, insecurity, mistrust, rebellion backed up with black nail polish and pink slips. I admire her strength, different it may be, so I get Harper’s feelings on how to deal with June’s death. You’d think that this is a Christian book when Harper began to question God and His existence. Well, who wouldn’t question your faith and everything when your sister committed suicide? With all the cursing and the smoking, for sure this is not a religious book. You’d also think it was a music junkie book, with the Mick Jagger/ABBA/Jimi Hendrix songs. I have to admit half of the music was vague to me, but i didn’t care. Harper and Jake used music to communicate, survive each other and learn things about each themselves. I started to frown when Harper reminded me of Bianca from The DUFF – despite Jake’s obvious good intentions, she twists it into something hurtful. Jake is cool. In fact, i liked him a lot! A teeny bit problem i have with him is that in the end, he acted like he’s the one who’s sixteen when he’s with Harper.

Saving June confused me at first: i mean, why would a dead girl need saving? But Harrington wrapped up the answer as subtle as possible and it worked for me. The road trip was fun, and there a lot of spine-tingling Harper-Jake moments. *sigh* So you better read it. Why? Well, perhaps you’ll find the soundtrack of your life between the pages.

Publisher: Harlequin

Imprint: Harlequin Teen

Publishing Date: 11/29/2011

Thank you NetGalley and Lisa Wray for granting my galley request.

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

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COVERed: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

(The Seven Kingdoms #3)

Book Release: 05/01/2012

Book 1: Graceling

Book 2: Fire

Bitterblue is a companion book to both Graceling and Fire and takes place in the seven kingdoms eight years after Graceling. This third book will tie all three books together in some way. Bitterblue is the sixteen-year-old protagonist, and Katsa, Po, Giddon, Helda, and other characters from Graceling will be part of the fabric of the book.

*****

Well, I am a sucker or anything violet so i am digging this cover!

Bitterblue is a likeable character in Graceling, that’s why I am praying Cashore builds her up in this book beautifully. Fire is a disappointment but i simply love Graceling. =) Because of that tie, I am giving Cashore’s third book a chance.

Ok, then. Here’s to an amazing story to follow up such an enticing book cover!

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

It’s Monday! What are you reading? [10]

RECENTLY READ

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

I liked it, but it’s just average compared to the other books in the series.

READING NOW

 

So now, Mead introduces the alchemists (which is the lead role on her new series, Bloodlines).

And what really happened to Dmitri? I’m about to find out. =)

NEXT

I got this from NetGalley. A few pages in and i’m hooked with Harrington’s writing. 🙂

LATER

Finally, I’m about to meet… Stargirl.

Whew! So what are your reading this week? 😉

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

Rating: StarStarStarStar

Thomas Mackee wants oblivion. Wants to forget parents who leave and friends he used to care about and a string of one-night stands, and favourite uncles being blown to smithereens on their way to work on the other side of the world.

But when his flatmates turn him out of the house, Tom moves in with his single, pregnant aunt, Georgie. And starts working at the Union pub with his former friends. And winds up living with his grieving father again. And remembers how he abandoned Tara Finke two years ago, after his uncle’s death.

And in a year when everything’s broken, Tom realises that his family and friends need him to help put the pieces back together as much as he needs them.

Literary Awards: New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards Nominee for Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature (2011), Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards Nominee for Older Readers Book of the Year (2011), Prime Minister’s Literary Awards Nominee for Young Adult Fiction (2011), Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2010)

*****

 PROMISING.

The Piper’s Son burned me out a number of times (with its ever down-in-the-dumps atmosphere) but Marchetta always brought me alive again with the hopefulness of Tom’s story. This is not my fave among Marchetta’s works, but Tom is definitely on my top 10 book boyfriend list. 🙂 His character is that good.

Tom is lost and he’s pretty much in deep sh*t. As much as i hate what became of him after Year Eleven, i couldn’t help but hope that things would work out for him. It’s like life is out to get him, given his circumstances. But what I love about Marchetta’s writing is how she still managed to make me laugh and fall in love despite Tom’s family drama. His correspondence with Tara is what I craved the most. It’s antagonistic, funny, and swoon-worthy at the same time. I remembered Tom saying ‘What. A. B*tch.’ after Tara emailed him back, not to reply to his email, but to ask him to tell Frankie and Justine that she’s out of phone credits. 😀 Payback! There’s also this idea there about Tom and Frankie that caught me off-guard, and i was like, what the..?!! But if you ask me, I will choose Thomas Finch Mackee anytime of the day over Will Trombal. That’s a fact.

The Piper’s Son is a laborious read for me. It was good, but the drama was too depressing. Still, if I ever wanna hook up with Tom’s one-and-a-half night stand story, I would find myself reading this book again. =)

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

RATING: StarStarStar

(The Faerie Ring #1)

The year is 1871, and Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. For the ring belongs to Queen Victoria, and it binds the rulers of England and the realm of Faerie to peace. With the ring missing, a rebel group of faeries hopes to break the treaty with dark magic and blood—Tiki’s blood.

Unbeknownst to Tiki, she is being watched—and protected—by Rieker, a fellow thief who suspects she is involved in the disappearance of the ring. Rieker has secrets of his own, and Tiki is not all that she appears to be. Her very existence haunts Prince Leopold, the Queen’s son, who is driven to know more about the mysterious mark that encircles her wrist.

Prince, pauper, and thief—all must work together to secure the treaty…

*****

HISTORICAL.

The Faerie Ring is historical fiction tinged with a faint urban fantasy theme. It has the goods, don’t get me wrong, but the fey touch was so subtle, short. The coming books in the series could be great, but I just liked (not loved) this first book.

Tiki has the heroine complex when it comes to orphans (she being one herself). She’s likeable enough, and her resolve to sold the ring so her new family can rise from poverty is venerable. However, her clashing with Rieker isnot I what i had in mind. Oh, they are quite a pair. The stubborness from her is just a little irritating. Rieker is… mysterious! I love his aloof character. I wanna see Hamilton develop him fully in the series.

I had problems with Hamilton’s writing style. The story has a London setting, but I noticed (without meaning to) that it was written by an American author. The English (European?) terms/connotations/idioms/expressions barely registered. Did you get my drift? It was difficult to remember London when most of what I encountered are words I’d normally read in an american setting. Oh, well. Maybe that’s just me.

The Faerie Ring is an okay read. The fey element only bursts through in the last pages. I expected more fantasy, but what I got is a story from Victorian era.

Publisher: Macmillan

Imprint: Tor Teen

Pub Date: 09/27/2011

Many Thanks to Kai and Precious of Pinoy Book Tours for the chance to read their ARC copy!

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Random Act of Kindness (RAK), October Closing – November Wishlist

Click on the image to know what RAK is all about.

This post is way overdue so my apologies… AGAIN!

I got a RAK last October – my birthday month!

October Closing

Thank you very much, Monique @ Asian Cocoa’s Secret Garden!

Enjoy this book, Lisa @ Lisa Loves Literature!

November Wishlist

How about you click [here] to know which books I absolutely would love to have right now?

To give you an idea of what kind of books i usually read, below are my top 3 most coveted.

*winks* Thank you!

 

Note: Lets’s keep our International bloggers in mind and in our hearts.
Remember, there’s always the Book Depository and they offer FREE shipping!

Thank you to Isalys and Vanessa for hosting this wonderful feature!

Did you join RAK this month?

If yes, leave a comment with your wishlist link so i can check it out! 😀

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Forgive me Reader, for I have sinned…

It’s been two weeks since my last blog entry.

That’s because i’ve been too sleepy to read and write reviews. =(

Why? Because hubby and I went to Singapore!

Books Actually, Singapore

Thank you Tricia, for pointing out this bookstore to me!

It was a fun-filled week 🙂 and I can’t imagine I did not read for 5 WHOLE days.

Such blasphemy!

bought these pencils as souvenirs

But fun’s over. I have reviews to write. 😉

The Faerie Ring, Kiki Hamilton – 3 stars

The Piper’s Son, Melina Marchetta – 4 stars

Did you have a great time these past weeks?

I know i did!

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: Black Dagger Brotherhood #3: Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

Rating: StarStarStarStarStar

(Black Dagger Brotherhood #3)

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her…

Book 1: Dark Lover review | Book 2: Lover Eternal review

*****

DARK. SENSOUS. LIBERATING.

Lover Awakened proved me right when I picked up Zhadist as my favorite among the Brotherhood (back when I was still reading Dark Lover). Man, I could not put this down! Zhadist and Bella sucked me in to their story – original and refreshing, brutal and honest to the core. Hands down it is one of the best vamp stories i’ve read. I demand more, J.R. Ward!

Zhadist is complicated but one thing is clear: he relishes the fear he incites to everyone, even his Brothers. I love how he reacts to things: instantaneous and powerful. I love how he covers his emotions from Phury and Bella that his only way to show it is to be distant and aloof. Most of all, I love how he finally he came to terms with his past, tried his very best to improve his life at present, so he can have a wonderful future with Bella. Oh, Z is not perfect. But his struggle to overcome the ugliness of his past and the hard-sought victory that came in the end – such a joy to read. I guess i have a thing for tortured guys who eventually triumphs. =)

Bella is extraordinary! She goes for what she wants (which is Z) and she fights for it. Finally, a heroine who is strong enough to pursue her happiness even if the object of that happiness does not know joy, or love, for that matter. She is smart, too. The way he handled that lesser was amazing. Yep, the power of a woman and persuasion!

I had to include Phury in this, because even though this is not yet his time, i feel for him. The irony of it all is devastating to him and it made me sad. Still, Z is the lead so yes, I’d take even Phury as a casualty. 😦

Lover Awakened is about redemption. It took me to a journey so dark and hurtful, i thought there could be no happy ending for a tortured soul like Zhadist. But there is! Z, after claiming love and life, was rewarded with the blessings he thought was impossible for him. *hugs Z* i love you, vampire.

#22 Off-the-shelf Reading Challenge 2011

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: Black Dagger Brotherhood #2: Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Rating: StarStarStar

(Black Dagger Brotherhood #2)

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Owned by this dark side, Rhage fears the time when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.

Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant to Rhage’s protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. She lost her faith in miracles years ago. But when Rhage’s intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves…

Book 1: Dark Lover review

*****

“I will not fall in love with you,” she said. “I can’t let myself. I won’t.”

“That’s all right. I’ll love you enough for the both of us.”

DRAMATIC.

Lover Eternal is one step better than Dark Lover. I expected more from Rhage because i adored him on the first book, but I was turned off when he got emotional. Mary Luce is not that special. The main reason i liked this book is because this is where Zhadist and Bella’s story began. =)

Rhage is THE force among the Brotherhood. Nobody can take him especially when the Beast is unleashed. I really, really like him because despite the strength within him, he’s afraid of himself. Mary Luce is an innocent bystander – her meeting the Brothers accidentally brought her to Rhage’s attention. I am really not a fan of her. I hate the way she treated Rhage, like she’s the only one hurting. Rhage deserves better. Well… there is this one time where Mary stood her ground against the brothers when Rhage was seriously hurt. You do not read everyday a female (much more a human!) reprimanding the Brothers’ lack of care to Rhage.

Rhage’s and Mary’s story was so buried when Ward begins to build Zhadist’s and Bella’s story. I was pumped up when they started to show up in the scenes! Thank goodness the third book is about them, else i wouldn’t finish this book that fast. =P

Lover Eternal is just an okay book for me. Moving on, i already started Lover Awakened. 😉

#21 Off-the-shelf Reading Challenge 2011

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop Winner!

[This giveaway hop is hosted by I Am a Reader, Not A Writer and The Diary of a Bookworm.]

Thank you so much to everyone who entered my giveaway!

Without further ado, the lucky winner is…
CONGRATULATIONS!

As the winner, pick a book from the list and I will order it from The Book Depository for you.

A separate email will be sent to you so please acknowledge receipt.
COMING SOON!
Thanks again and I hope you keep visiting my blog, reading my reviews, and raving with me about my book obsessions. ;-)

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”