ARC Review: Ink by Amanda Sun

Title: Ink (The Paper Gods #1)
Author: Amanda Sun
Publication: June 25th 2013 by Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

I looked down at the paper, still touching the tip of my shoe. I reached for it, flipping the page over to look.

Scrawls of ink outlined a drawing of a girl lying on a bench.

A sick feeling started to twist in my stomach, like motion sickness.

And then the girl in the drawing turned her head, and her inky eyes glared straight into mine.

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

-- My Rating --

3.5 / 5 Oscars: Liked it...

-- My Thoughts --

     I have to admit, that first thing that popped into my mind when i saw this book, was the adorable cover then the synopsis. It was mainly the cover that intrigued me enough to read this. And I don't regret reading it.
     Katie Greene has just transferred to a japan after a hear-breaking event. Adjusting to the all-new surroundings, and the even stranger routines is not easy, but it gets harder when she meets Yuu Tomohiro. He is bad boy, to say it simply. But when they're together: Pens explode. papers scatter. ink drips. and drawings move.
     I LOVED learning about the Japanese culture. This is what I loved most about this book. I loved all the little details Amanda Sun has put into this book to make it race-free, but still so intriguing. I wanted to learn everything about these Japanese people! Since I am Asian, too, but we're so different from each other. Another thing I loved was the idea of the paper gods, I am not going to elaborate, but it was so new and unique that I finished this book in one setting.
     What I didn't like, though, was the characters. I hate it when two not-so-stupid characters fight off their feelings for each other. It is so frustrating and stupid. I didn't like Katie's decision making, she never learned anything from her mistakes. I liked the characters well enough, but I saw no character growth in any of them. I hope the author will explore that in her sequel of this series.
     This book was not the best. But it was unique and intriguing, I have to give it that. And I will be keeping my fingers crossed for the next book in the series. To see where Amanda Sun will take her bunch of characters!

ARC Review: The Truth About You And Me by Amanda Grace

Title: The Truth About You And Me
Author: Amanda Grace
Publication: September 8th 2013 by Flux
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher..

Smart girls aren't supposed to do stupid things.
Madelyn Hawkins is super smart. At sixteen, she's so gifted that she can attend college through a special program at her high school. On her first day, she meets Bennet. He's cute, funny, and kind. He understands Madelyn and what she's endured - and missed out on - in order to excel academically and please her parents. Now, for the first time in her life, she's falling in love.
There's only one problem. Bennet is Madelyn's college professor, and he thinks she's eighteen - because she hasn't told him the truth.
The story of their forbidden romance is told in letters that Madelyn writes to Bennet - both a heart-searing ode to their ill-fated love and an apology.

-- My Rating --
4/5 Oscars: Really liked it...

-- My Thoughts --
     Amanda Grace is an author I am always on the look-out for. Her dark contemporaries are always a guilty pleasure, and her unpredictable endings keep me on edge all the time. So, when I had the chance to read an ARC of this one, I jumped at it. It was worth it, though.
     Madelyn is a 16-year-old prodigy. She is smart, so smart that she has enrolled in college at the age of 16. her life is all planned-out, until she meets the biology teacher, Mr. Bennett Cartwright. He is initruing, sexy, and interested. Madelyn never thought that a single lie could complicate  matters this much.
     The first thing i liked about this book is the 16-year-old prodigy. Yes, she has enrolled in college. And it's almost like she has finished high school altogether. But Madelyn is far from a college student. She is flawed, insecure, unproductive, but lovely, adorable, and witty at the same time. She is a character you cannot help but fall for. Bennett is the same, although I wasn't that lucky of keeping the same idea about him towards the end. I almost didn't like him towards the end, which you might find strange, but read this and tell me what you think!
     The plot of such a taboo relationship kept me on the edge of my seat all the time. It's the idea of what might happen if somebody finds out that intrigued me that much. But it was also the lyrical prose and the tension-infusing style of Amanda Grace, too.
     Never expect a happy ending from Amanda Grace's books. But they are always hopeful endings. Not happy, but hopeful. Which I have come to expect from every book of Amanda Grace's.  She is a talented, straight-forward writer that has taken the contemporary world by storm. I will always be on the look-out for her, and she is definitely on my auto-read list!

ARC Review: Confessions of An Almost-Girlfriend by Louise Rozett

Title: Confessions of an almost-girlfriend (Confessions #2)
Author: Louise Rozett
Publication: June 18th 2013 by Harlequin
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

Rose Zarelli has big plans for sophomore year—everything is going to be different. This year, she’s going to be the talented singer with the killer voice, the fabulous girl with the fashionista best friend, the brainiac who refuses to let Jamie Forta jerk her around...

...but if she’s not careful, she’s also going to be the sister who misses the signals, the daughter who can only think about her own pain, the “good girl” who finds herself in mid-scandal again (because no good deed goes unpunished) and possibly worst of all...the almost-girlfriend.

When all else fails, stop looking for love and go find yourself.

-- My Rating --

4/5 Oscars: Really liked it...

-- My Thoughts --

The first book:

     I read the first book in the series, Confessions of An Angry Girl, a long time ago. in 2012. And I loved it. I loved Louise Rozett's writing style and Rose was such a unique character to behold. This did not disappoint, either.
     Minor Spoilers! Read at your own risk....
     Rose is done with her freshman year. And she is ready to rock this year. The Rose 2.0 is ready. And she doesn't take crap from anyone. Not from her brother who seems so far away. Not from her counsler who seems bent on changing her. Not from the bitchy girl at school who won't let her go. Not from her semi-boyfriends with the mixed signals. And she is definitely not going to be the almost-girlfriend.
     Rosie is one of the most unique characters I have ever met in a YA novel. Her snark, sarcasm, attitude, and anger management issues are so believable and so lovely. She is a fleshed-out character, and you instantly know that the author has spent a lot of time creating such a treasure.
     The plot of YA contemporaries, as usual, is never too unpredictable. It's  simple, sometimes I like that, sometimes I don't. Though, for this book, I loved the predictability  it never really decreased the book's quality for me. It just ranked the author higher, in my opinion. To have a predictable plot and make it so intriguing, it definitely needs work. Louise Rozett nailed it!
     The romance was not overdone. It was believable and you will wish that somehow, these two misfits will work out. The family relationships in this one were a soft focus, and the problems they faces were believable. And the way Rosie handled them was even better. 
     This series is a must-read for high schoolers. It teaches you the power of believing in yourself. In knowing that there is no one else you would wanna be, except yourself. It is cute, exhilarating, at times romantic, a real piece of art!

Blog Tour: Drowning In You by Rebecca Berto

Hey, guys! And welcome to my stop on the tour for Drowning In You, a passionate NA romance!

Title: Drowning In You
Author: Rebecca Berto
Publication: April 5th 2013
Genre: NA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind tour organizer

Secretly Crushing

Crushed by a tragedy

Charlee May’s been crushing on Dexter Hollingworth since she was fifteen. Five years later, a horrific skiing disaster at Mason’s Ski Lift Resort leaves her millionaire dad critically injured and her mom dead at the hands of Dexter operating the lifts. Charlee is suddenly the sole caretaker for her little brother while their world falls apart. 

Dexter couldn’t be more different from Charlee. He’s tattooed, avoids exclusive relationships and his Dad has a fair share of illegal dealings. With Dexter’s reputation, almost everyone believes he planned the Mason’s skiing disaster.

And after all these years he’s still crushing on Charlee May, the girl who’s too good for him.

When this cruel twist of fate ties Charlee’s family and Dexter’s reputation together, Charlee and Dexter wonder if their feelings are reciprocated, while Dexter discovers his dad is trying to steal the May’s millionaire fortune. 

But like an addiction, one look, one touch, one taste—they’re hooked no matter the consequences.

Disclaimer: Recommended for mature readers due to sexual content and crude language.

-- My Rating --

3.5 / 5 Oscars: Liked it...

-- My Thoughts --

    I am a huge fan of raw, contemporary reads. I love books that make me feel everything the characters feel, joy, sadness, love, hurt, everything. I thought this book would be like that.. And it was. But I think I set the bar too high, and the book couldn't jump hard enough. It is my fault, mostly.
     Charlee had always been in love with Dexter. Up until he caused her mother to die, and her father to be forever deformed.  Now, Charlee has to take care of her little brother and her father's work. But it's not that easy, specially when Dexter is lurking around every corner. Did he really do it? Can their love truly conquer it all? Is it really love at all?
     Well, I will first talk about the good sides of this book. The writing is typical. It is straight-forward and to-the-point. Nothing too fancy. Nothing too dull, either. I liked the characters, Charlee is such a fragile girl with a very tough exterior. I didn't like Dexter that much, he got on my nerves. He always took out everything on Charlee and that was disappointing for a male lead. I preferred Elliot much more. Actually, I LOVED Elliot and I would have been so happy if there was a love triangle with him in it, no such luck.
     The first half of this book was quick-paced and it kept me on edge. I liked that. But the second half of this book turned downhill really fast. It was very, very confusing. I couldn't keep track of the time. It felt like the editor, just copy and pasted different parts of the book in the wrong places. This really irritated me. The end was satisfying  though. It was good. I don't really know if there will be a sequel, but if there is, I want it to be about Elliot. he would make a much better male lead than Dex.

Rebecca Berto is the author or the dark contemporary/literary novella, PRECISE and the upcoming new adult contemporary romance novel, DROWNING IN YOU. She is also a freelance editor.

She writes stories that are a bit sexy, and straddle the line between Literary and Tear Your Heart Out. She gets a thrill when her readers are emotional reading her stories, and gets even more of a kick when they tell her so. She’s strangely imaginative, spends too much time on her computer, and is certifiably crazy when she works on her fiction.

Rebecca Berto lives in Melbourne, Australia with her boyfriend and their doggy.

Review: Truth or Dare by Ella Monroe

Title: Truth or Dare (Captial Girls #3)
Author: Ella Monroe
Publication: April 23rd 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Provided by the kind publisher...

Jackie, Lettie, and Laura Beth barely survived the holidays . . . literally.  Jackie's on lockdown while the hunt is on for her stalker, who somehow got into the White House and left her an ominous note. Laura Beth and Sol are finally back together after a scandal almost tore them apart, and Lettie, who’s forced to live with Whitney and her gossip-mongering mom, has let down her guard enough to fall in love with Daniel.  For the Capital Girls life is always complicated, especially when they're under 24-hour media scrutiny. But that won’t stop the three friends from making their senior year the most amazing ever—even as the mystery deepens over Taylor Cane's death and First Son Andrew Price’s role in it.

-- My Rating --

3.5 / 5 Oscars: Liked it...

-- My Thoughts --

     I read the second book in the series, a while ago, but I have never read the first book. But I don't feel left out at all. Actually, I was thrust back into Jackie, Laura Beth, and Lettie's life like I hadn't even left.
Minor spoilers if you have not read The Capital Girls (#1)
     Jackie's relationship with Andrew is crumbling to pieces. But the perfect TV relationship should not break. So, they are keeping it a secret. Laura Beth hates to rival with her best friend, but she wants a ticket to the White House, too. Lettie is all but happy to have her parents go away, but she moves on. And might even find the romance she needs.
     The one thing that interests me the most in this series, is the high-profile lifestyle. Jackie is always on TV, tabloids, gossip magazines, and it feels believable. I never thought I would say that a book about some teenage girls in the spotlight of politics would be believable, but it is. The characters, the three girls are strong-willed and relate-able. You can feel the energy pulsing off of them. But the other characters are not as fleshed out, which was disappointing.
     The plot of this book was predictable, more predictable than the second book, which was sad, too. But it still had its moments, and it  kept me satisfied and interested. So, it deserves the four stars it gets. The ending was lovely, and expected. I am not sure if there is a fourth book or not, because I want to know what happens to the girls. But even if there isn't, Ella Monroe left me perfectly satisfied and i wouldn't mind, at all.

Review: In Too Deep by Amanda Grace

Name of book: In Too Deep
Author: Amanda Grace
Publication:  February 8th 2012 by Flux
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: Owned

Carter didn't rape me. People at school think he did. Suddenly, new friends are rushing to my side, telling me that Carter hurt them, too. They say he's getting what he deserves.

Maybe I don't want to fix this.

"Honest and constantly refreshing."--Kirkus Reviews

Sam is in love with her best friend Nick, but she can't seem to tell him. So she decides to flirt with golden-boy Carter Wellesley, hoping Nick will see it and finally realize his true feelings for her.

On Monday, everyone at school is saying that Carter raped Sam. He didn't, but Sam can't find the words to tell the truth. Worst of all, she's afraid she'll lose Nick if he finds out what really happened.

As graduation approaches, Sam discovers that living the lie isn't as easy as her new friends make it sound--and telling the truth might be even worse.

-- My Rating --

3/5 Oscars: Liked it...

-- My Thoughts --

     I have read one book of Amanda Grace and it was amazingly heart-breaking and real. I loved what I felt through that book and I guess I put too much expectations into this one. It didn't disappoint but it was lacking in many aspects.
     Sam is just the average-looking, normal teenage girl. She has a huge crush on her best friend, Nick and she would do anything to get his attention. Even if it means throwing herself at the most popular playboy at school. But her actions have their consequences and Sam might not be able to ever get back to her normal life.
     This plot had a lot of potential. There were many aspects that were studied: alchohol use, bullying, rape, and many others. I liked the plot very much but what fell short for me was the charcaters. No matter what I did, I couldn't connect with Sam. Maybe a little on the level of loving her best friend, but otherwise, she was too much a drama queen for me. I felt like she cared too much about what other people thought of her. But Nick is adorable, cute, and smart. He reminds me of someone close to me and I loved him for it. He truely cares about Sam, and God! I was glad there is no love triangle
      Do not expect to be happy after reading any of Amanda Grace's books. They are raw and real, and they show you what happens when you walk down the wrong road. Even though I knew this, I did not expect the ending. At all. But I liked it and it teaches you a lesson, indeed. I would recommend this, but will not read it again.