Blog Tour: The Young Elites by Marie Lu [EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY!]

Hi guys! Here's our stop of The Young Elites Blog Tour, hosted by Pinoy Book Tours!

Something snapped inside me. My lips curled into a snarl.
A rush of energy, a gathering of blinding light and darkest wind. Suddenly I could see everything – my father motionless before me, his snarling face a hairsbreadth away from my own, our surroundings illuminated by moonlight so brilliant that it washed the world of color, turning everything black and white. Water droplets hung in the air. A million glistening threads connected everything to everything else.
Something deep within me told me to pull on the threads. The world around us froze, and then, as if my mind had crept out of my body and into the ground, an illusion of towering black shapes surged up from the earth, their bodies crooked and jolting, their eyes bloody and fixed straight on my father, their fanged mouths so wide that they stretched all across their silhouetted faces, splitting their heads in two. My father’s eyes widened, then darted in bewilderment at the phantoms staggering toward him. He released me. I fell to the ground and crawled away from him as fast as I could. The black, ghostly shapes continued to lurch forward. I cowered in the midst of them, both helpless and powerful, looking on as they passed me by.I am Adelina Amouteru, the phantoms whispered to my father, speaking my most frightening thoughts in a chorus of voices, dripping with hatred. My hatred. I belong to no one. On this night, I swear to you that I will rise above everything you’ve ever taught me. I will become a force that this world has never known. I will come into such power that none will dare hurt me again.
They gathered closer to him. Wait, I wanted to cry out, even as a strange exhilaration flowed through me. Wait, stop. But the phantoms ignored me. My father screamed, swatting desperately at their bony, outstretched fingers, and then he turned around and ran. Blindly. He smashed into his horse and fell backward into the mud. The horse shrieked, the whites of its eyes rolling. It reared on its mighty legs, pawing for an instant at the air –
And then came down its hooves. Onto my father’s chest. My father’s screams cut off abruptly. His body convulsed. The phantoms vanished instantly, as if they were never there in the first place. The rain suddenly grew heavy again, lightning streaked across the sky, and thunder shook my bones.

About the book:
The Young Elites-Marie Lu cover
Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Publication date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 355
Purchase the book: Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store
I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.
Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.
Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.
Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.
Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.
It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

We are giving a Signed Paperback Copy of The Young Elites by Marie Lu 
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Book in Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After


Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publication Date: August 14th, 2014
Publisher: Dutton
Rating: 2/5 stars

I've waited for this book for months and I'm pretty disappointed with how it turned out. I'm not exactly sure where to start and how to disclose my feelings without giving out spoilers, but I'll try! This is more of a rant/rambling rather than a formal review so please bear with the feelings.

What a waste of setting

In Anna and the French Kiss, Paris plays an important role to the story. It's a whole character on its own and it contributes a lot to Anna and Etienne's love story. Point Zero, Notredame... Everything serves a purpose! In Lola and the Boy Next Door, we are then transported to San Francisco, where everything is so colorful and diverse. Though the setting is a bit weaker here, it still works and the atmosphere is still wonderful! Unfortunately in Isla, I felt like the beauty of Paris was not emphasized enough in pushing the story. And the change of settings didn't exactly work for me either. Let's go to Paris! Let's go to New York! Let's go to Barcelona! All of these places are incredible and beautiful, yet, honestly? They weren't properly utilized for the sake of the plot, and the story could've happened ANYWHERE.

Overly dramatic and fast love story

So Isla has been in love with Josh since freshman year and Josh has kinda liked her but thought she was spoken for and he got with Rashmi so it was kind of bad timing but now they broke up so it gives way for Isla and Josh to be together. Okay, fine. When finally, they properly meet and have a decent conversation for the first time ever, their story begins. But it all gets too fast from there! They go on a date, then make out, and then ensues a whole month of being overly happy and perfect. They fall in love after about 5 pages and then they go on trips to Barcelona, and yes, then they have sex too. I don't really have problems with it being that fast paced; it's more like I can't seem to get the reason why they love each other. Isla is obviously obsessed with Josh since 1st year, and Josh kind of liked her too - but I don't understand WHY. I don't understand what is with this love they feel that will justify this whirlwind of romance in one chapter! The pacing is pretty off, because the fastness doesn't make sense to me.

And then well, nothing happens for a while until we get to the middle part when the drama unfolds and Josh has to go somewhere. Okay, Isla, you're going to see Josh in a month or so, it's not like he's going to die or anything!

"We were only given five minutes to say goodbye. I cried again. He used his favourite pen to ink the four letters L-O-V-E onto my fingers. He held my face with both hands. "I love you", he said. "I love you. I love you."I could hardly see him through my tears. "I love you." I said. "I love you. I love you."

PLEASE! This is a BIG BIG insult to teenage romances! It is a fact that teenage couples are intense and a bit dramatic, but teenagers are not shallow and stupid and we are better than this.

Their relationship is just plain unhealthy, and this is the first time in a Stephanie Perkins book that I didn't want them to end up together in the end! It's funny because I really liked the opening and ending scene of this book, but only as standalone scenes. Overall, the love story is messy and could've been justified IF they didn't get together in the end. I would've liked it better that way.

Isla & Josh - who are they really?

It's sad because it is so on point how Isla is described as a blank canvass. I seriously don't know anything about her except that she is obsessed with Josh. Okay, so we know she has this sister who she doesn't get along with, another sister who is lesbian and cool, and a guy best friend who she sleeps with in the same bed but it's way platonic so don't jump to conclusions (wtf how screwed up is that),  but other than that she doesn't feel like a real character. I don't know anything about her hobbies, her passions, her fears, her insecurities - minus the ones that are Josh-related. It makes me sad because I liked her a lot in Anna and the French Kiss even if it was just a page or two of her there. And then Josh - theoretically this is a character that I would have loved. His artistic prowess and dreams of creating a graphic novel memoir sound pretty amazing to me, but I couldn't seem to see him as a distinct and whole character. In fact I kind of thought he seemed inconsistent to the Josh we first met in Anna - and frankly, I loved him more there as well.

Honestly? I think both of them need some maturing to do. These two characters are really screwed up with their own issues - Isla with her unhealthy obsession with Josh, and Josh with his constant need to break the rules and get the attention of his super uptight Senator Dad and mom that I feel like them getting together in the first place is built on interdependence - which is SO WRONG AND UNHEALTHY! Really. So going back to what I said about how I wished they didn't end up together at all. They need to fix their own lives first, and come to terms with who they really are as their own person.

Your privilege is showing

The fact that these characters are obviously rich having afforded to study in Paris and expensive impromptu out of country trips, plus applying to universities like Dartmouth or Columbia without ever considering the ridiculous amount of tuition because these kids have never known what it felt like to be poor, is irritating on so many levels when they start to complain about the smallest things about their love lives. It's just intolerable and whiny and very very superficial! And there is nothing said about the money-  they don't consider it, they don't care and it's just annoying because there is a lack of awareness for these two teenagers, where they choose to make these decisions from of their own selfish reasons.

Stupid cameos

I love Anna and Etienne and I love Lola and Cricket, but the cameos are just UGH. Especially the Anna & Etienne ones which I already had a problem with in Lola. I just can't deal with it when they keep shoving into our faces how perfect a couple they are - um, no they are not perfect, they are just two mature people who know how to deal with their problems and put an effort to make their relationship work. Plus, don't overlook the fact that it took Etienne a freaking year to finally get with Anna and dump his girlfriend Ellie, and yeah he kinda cheated on Ellie with Anna but it's fine because they're meant to be and it's true love! Sheesh. They are NOT perfect! And it's not a guarantee that they'll end up together and stay together forever just because it's true love! No, no and no! 

And I don't want to spoil anyone, but the Anna and Etienne thing that happened at the end was just unnecessary and ridiculous and wasn't even cute or swoony at all!

Overall, I didn't like this book and it is way below my expectations. Giving this 2 stars anyway, because it started out okay for me, and I liked some scenes, particularly the ending, the Josh drawing on the Treehouse scene, the "Why does she wear it everyday?" necklace scene, and just basically the artsiyness of the whole book.

Blog Tour: Fall Like Rain by Ana Tejano [REVIEW + GIVEAWAY!]

Hi guys! Kimi here! Welcome to my stop at the Fall Like Rain blog tour, hosted by Pinoy Book Tours!

Ana Tejano

Book information:

 Rain De Castro has been in love with her best friend, Mark Velasco, for almost the entire time she has known him, but she’s clearly in the friend zone because he’s happily in a relationship. Or so she thought, until the news of his break-up reaches her. Now that Mark’s single again, she decides that it’s time to get out of the zone. But when her cousin Lissa comes into the picture and sets her eyes on Mark, Rain feels troubled when he gets a little too friendly with her. Rain is determined to fight for what she feels this time, but is it worth the effort if it's a losing battle from the start? Will she back off to give way for her best friend's happiness, even if it means losing him to someone else again?

Book Links:

My Review:

Fall Like Rain is a light and breezy read, that at the same time will tug at your heartstrings and give you all those hugot feels. I'm a huge sucker for best friend romances so I really enjoyed reading this book. I'm the type of person who believes that the best kind of romance is one that starts with friendship, so Rain and Mark's love story is one that I definitely rooted for.

While reading the book, I couldn't believe how much I could relate to the story - not just because of how Pinoy it is in the culture and nuances, with the extended family ties, the birthday "surprise" being planned by the cousins for the grandfather, and YES even the crazy traffic and flooding. I also found Rain a very relatable protagonist. How she struggles with her feelings, and interpreting Mark's actions is so on point. A friend once told me that it is never good for a girl to assume, and I definitely agree with Rain on that matter, when she refuses to believe that Mark could like her back despite his obvious feelings shown through his actions. It is a struggle for most girls who do not want to assume and get hurt, and would just play safe. I definitely understand this problem and I'm glad Rain finally stands strong with her feelings and goes for what she wants in the end. 

There were some parts which I found a bit cheesy, especially in terms of dialogue, but I think these can be overlooked. There were also some moments wherein I found Mark a bit problematic, because it seemed like he is leading Rain on and playing safe with his feelings, but in the end it all ties up perfectly. I don't want to give out any more details as I might spoil everyone. Let me just say this: If you love best friend romances and cute, sweet guys who are willing to brave the flood to help you, then this book is a must read!

RATING: 3.5/5

Author Profile:

Ana Tejano has been in love with words and writing ever since she met Elizabeth Wakefield when she was in Grade 3. She has contributed several non-fiction pieces in print and online publications, and has been blogging for years. When she’s not writing, she works as a marketing lead for a multinational company by day, manages a book club, and serves in her church community in every other time that she doesn’t spend reading or sleeping. She lives in Metro Manila and is also known by another name in her other circles (but it’s not a secret identity, really).

3 copies of Fall Like Rain ebook (International)

1 signed copy of Fall Like Rain paperback (PH)
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Kimi has read 3 books toward her goal of 100 books.