Book in Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

22840182Title: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publishing Date: June 2nd 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: ARC
Rating: 5/5 stars


The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life. 

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .
Now where do I even begin with how absolutely gorgeous this book is?

I guess I could begin with the writing style. Good god, there's this amazing prose in this story that borders around perfection. I'm usually nitpicky about the writing of anything I read, but there isn't anything I found wrong in this at all. The language and the storytelling blew me away, that I felt so enchanted and intrigued of a story I would've normally considered a cliche. There is goddamn poetry in this novel and it's actually good and it will hit you hard in that tiny spot in your chest and make you cry fat ugly tears because you will realize how much it hits so close to home.

That's how I felt, and I connected with this book in a whole different level than I expected. I wanted to like this book because, like the MC I have a special connection with the ocean and would consider myself a mermaid chaser, however you may interpret that. But instead of liking it, I loved it. This book exceeded my expectations and oh my god, I can't stop rambling about how amazing this book is!

All the DNF and Below 2-Star Reviews Part 2

Since we weren't able to finish all those books we DNFed and books we gave a below 2-star rating 3 months ago, here is part 2!

Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian
Reviewed by: Kimi

I don't think this is the right book for me. Is this how a 17-year old boy thinks? Because if so, then I am honestly scared for myself, and for my future daughters (if I have any).
The writing is beautiful, the narrative honest and the story emotional and personal. However, I felt like the story lacks development, as well as the characters, as I'm still trying to rack my brain with what happened. 

I'm not sure what this book is trying to say. There is no development or even coming-of-age going on, or at least I did not feel it. And this is usually what I feel after reading realistic fiction, more so because there is an extreme lack of, how do i put it, plot. 'What is the point of this book?'is a question I have asked myself endlessly after reading it. Until now, I can't seem to answer this question.

Sean's sex addiction and his lack of purpose and drive are unexplained, as well as his other actions. A lot of plot points remain unresolved and, I was left confused in the end.

#LoveWins: LGBTQAI Releases of 2015

"Today's ruling from the Supreme Court affirms what millions across this country already know to be true in their hearts: Our Love is Equal. That the four words etched onto the front of the Supreme Court - equal justice under law - apply to us, too." 
-Jim Obergefell

Guess what?

Same-sex marriage is now legal in ALL 50 states of America!!!!

We're not American but we think this is a HUGE step for the whole world and we really hope that this level of acceptance will transcend towards Asia, and of course here in the Philippines. <3 

Since we're so happy about this news, we're rounding up all the LGBTQAI YA releases for 2015 - some we've already read and others we're looking forward to as well! Just click the cover of each book and it will redirect you to its Goodreads page.


GCQ Travels + Kimi's Life & Books + Feature Follow Friday

Hey guys, Kimi here! I haven't posted in a while and I just wanted to check in and let you guys know that I'm still alive (lol). I've been travelling, schooling, working, and basically doing all sorts of things this year, and I haven't been that active in the blogosphere because of all of these. So just some things I've been doing the past few months.

Last May, I went to Taiwan for the whole month, joining a tour with other Filipino Chinese young adults in the Philippines. There were 151 of us all in all, and it was such a blast! We traveled all over Taiwan, visited various provinces and cities, went to night markets, ate a lot of great food, saw beautiful sights and learned so much about the culture and the people. It was definitely a life changing experience for me, mostly because I was able to get more in touch with my Chinese roots and met a lot of great friends that are for keeps. 

Group 3! <3

Book in Review: Don't Call Me Kit Kat by K.J Farnham

Summary (via Goodreads)

Junior high is where things really start to happen. Cliques form and break apart. Couples are made and destroyed. And a reputation is solidified that you won’t ever be able to escape. Everything you do and say, and everyone you spend your time with, matters.

Katie Mills knows that. She gets it. That’s why she tried so hard to get in with the cool girls at school. And why she was so devastated when those efforts found her detained for shoplifting and laughed out of cheer squad tryouts.

But Katie has more to worry about than just fitting in. Her parents are divorced and always fighting. Her sister never has time for her. And her friends all seem to be drifting apart. Even worse? The boy she has a crush on is dating the mean girl at school.

Everything is a mess, and Katie doesn’t feel like she has control over any of it. Certainly not over her weight, which has always topped out at slightly pudgier than normal—at least, according to her mother.

So when she happens to catch one of the popular girls throwing up in the bathroom one day, it sparks an idea. A match that quickly engulfs her life in flames.

Is there any going back once she gets started down this path?

And would she even want to if she could?

At first, I thought this would just be an easy read containing some of the typical problems that teens undergo, but I was wrong. Don't Call Me Kit Kat is much more and much deeper . It tackles several difficult issues like smoking, drinking, bullying and eating disorders .

Katie, the main character struggles with the divorce of her parents and with trying to fit in. Like, what would it be like if she was part of the Orchard Hills clique? What would it be like if she just had the "perfect" body like her sister? These are some of the things she always thinks about and asks to herself, and I honestly can't blame her. 

Through the first person point of view, I was able to clearly understand what's going on and what Katie is undergoing. Most of the time, her reasons to binge are the small problems that when they're all together becomes a huge one. I was able to empathize with the main character simply because of K.J Farnham's writing style. It was just very smooth and uncomplicated  yet there's something in it that grasps you in every word.

I loved how the plot really focused on Katie, and how every character was there for a purpose. I also loved how organized and flawless the development was. When I was nearing the end of the book, I felt so relieved that Katie was able to speak out. Finally she was able to tell the people around what she was feeling all along. The beginning, the middle, and the ending worked great for me. It made me feel all kinds of emotions, but in the end, I was just happy that everything turned out that way.

I would definitely recommend this to all the teens out there. Especially if they're undergoing a similar thing with Katie. 


Don't Call Me Kit Kat by K.J Farnham
Publication Date: May 15th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: ARC

Waiting on Wednesdays: Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Title: Because You'll Never Meet Me
Author: Leah Thomas
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

In a stunning literary debut, two boys on opposite ends of the world begin an unlikely friendship that will change their lives forever.

Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.

A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine.

What are YOU waiting for this week? :)

Book Blitz: Holly Hearts Hollywood by Kenley Conrad with Giveaway #ReadSwoonRepeat


Holly Hearts Hollywood is the first book in a series.

Seventeen-year-old Holly Hart wants to be a star. She moves to Los Angeles from the small town of Cedar Junction, only to hear she’s too fat and ugly to be a famous singer.

But when Shell Shocked Records looks past Holly’s plus-size and less-than-graceful-personality to offer her a recording contract, Holly cannot believe her good fortune. On closer inspection, however, the the record execs want Holly to do all the singing, and a thinner and more beautiful girl, Lacey, would lip-sync and get all the credit. Holly goes for it because after all, she wanted to sing.

Contractually bound to secrecy, Holly is more than happy to sit backstage and write in her journal while Lacey shimmies in the limelight and basks in the fame. Before she knows it, Holly is friends with Serena, the pop-star daughter of a music-mogul, flirting with an intern, and developing a strange half-friendship with Lacey.

When Grayson Frost, the biggest country star in America, and coincidentally, a former school bully begins dating Lacey, Holly hopes that he won’t recognize or torment her.

Through a series of embarrassing and weird events, Holly gets to know Grayson and learns that he is much nicer and more mature than he was four years ago. Holly is horrified when she starts falling for him. When Grayson admits he fell for Lacey’s voice, what is a girl to do when she can’t legally tell the truth at the moment when the truth matters the most?

From the synopsis alone, I was already confident that I would like this book. The plot really interested me because it's something so very familiar that it's actually quite refreshing. The story is told in a diary/journal type way, and I think that this suited the overall sweet personality of the main character. 

I gave this 4 stars just because I didn't like how the story ended. I just want this book to end in a way where everything is resolved and won't leave me frustrated. Don't get me wrong, I like my plot twists and surprises and angst as much as the next reader, but this book that just felt really sweet and romantic had no business having that kind of ending. Even so, that was not a deal breaker and if there is a second book, which I hope there is, I would be glad to read it.

Kenley Conrad did a great job with constructing an emotional connection between the characters and readers.

In conclusion, this book was great! It's cute, light and swoony. What more can I ask, right? I would definitely recommend this to all YA lovers out there!

Holly Hearts Hollywood
by Kenley Conrad
Publication Date: September 2014
Publisher: Swoon Romance

From nine to five, Kenley is a home insurance agent. At all other hours of the day she is a young adult author, singer, dancer, cat lady, fangirl, wife, bookworm, and internet enthusiast. Her favorite pastimes include crying over really good books, riding with her husband on their motorcycle, and binge-watching seasons of television shows. When she’s not working or writing, she likes to perform in local community musical theatre productions.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Complete the Rafflecopter for a chance to win!

Giveaway Information: – Winner will be drawn June 17, 2015

·         One (1) winner will receive 2 eBooks of any previously published Swoon Romance books of their choice (INT)

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Direct Link:

Rarity From the Hollow by Robert Eggleton

Target Audience:
Piers Anthony found that my novel was “…not for the prudish.” Kevin Patrick Mahoney, editor of the once noteworthy site, Authortrek, found that it was, “…not for the faint hearted or easily offended….”   An early voice in the 1st chapter speaks about things that no child should know. It is that of a traumatized child – a voice most of us never listen to, or want to hear, but in real life is screaming. This passage is mild in comparison to some of the stuff that kids have said during actual group therapy sessions that I facilitated over the years. By child developmental stage, it is similar to the infamous early adolescent insult in E.T: “penis breath.” It is tame in comparison to the content of the popular T.V. series, South Park , which was devoured by millions of teens.  

Except for a scene involving domestic violence in the 3rd chapter, this early dialogue is the only mildly graphic content. There are no graphic sex scenes in the novel. The renewed romance between the protagonist’s parents does include sexual reference. The android coming of age during his pursuit of humanity is reality based. However, Lacy Dawn never lets the android get farther than to kiss her on the cheek. The android expresses no interest in sex – he falls in love, all consuming love by the middle of the story. The “F word” is used once, but there is no other profanity.

Rarity from the Hollow is A Children’s Story for Adults.

Lacy Dawn is a true daughter of Appalachia , and then some. She lives in a hollow with her worn-out mom, her Iraq War disabled dad, and her mutt Brownie, a dog who's very skilled at laying fiber optic cable. Lacy Dawn's android boyfriend, DotCom, has come to the hollow with a mission. His equipment includes infomercial videos of Earth's earliest proto-humans from millennia ago. DotCom has been sent by the Manager of the Mall on planet Shptiludrp: he must recruit Lacy Dawn to save the Universe in exchange for the designation of Earth as a planet which is eligible for continued existence within a universal economic structure that exploits underdeveloped planets for their mineral content. Lacy Dawn’s magic enables her to save the universe, Earth, and, most importantly, her own family.

Link for excerpt:

 The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in several years

Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton is the most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in several years. Who could think of an intergalactic handbook for entrepreneurs? Who could turn a tree-hugger into a paranormal event of death-defying significance? Who could create characters so believable, so funny, so astonishingly human (and not)?
Robert Eggleton, that’s who.
I put this book on my IPhone, and it followed me everywhere for several days. Strangers smiled politely at my unexpected laughter in the men’s room toilet stall. They looked away as I emerged, waving the IPhone at them as if it might explain something significant.
Oddly, the novel explains a great deal that has become significant in our society. Rarity from the Hollow is satire at its best and highest level. It is a psychological thriller, true to traits of mankind (and other species). It is an animal rights dissertation (you will laugh when you understand why I write that). It celebrates the vilest insect on earth (make that Universe).
The characters created by Robert Eggleton will bug your brain long after you smoke, uh, read the final page. Thanks for the laughs, the serious thoughts, the absolute wonder of your mind, Mr. Eggleton. A truly magnificent job.

by Temple Emmet Williams Author, former Reader’s Digest  Editor


A Universe On the Edge

RARITY FROM THE HOLLOW.  Robert Eggleton. Doghorn Publishing.  Published 2012. 

Lacy Dawn is a little girl who lives in a magical forest where all the trees love her and she has a space alien friend who adores her and wants to make her queen of the universe. What’s more, all the boys admire her for her beauty and brains. Mommy is very beautiful and Daddy is very smart, and Daddy’s boss loves them all.
Lacy Dawn, the eleven year old protagonist, perches precariously between the psychosis of childhood and the multiple neuroses of adolescence, buffeted by powerful gusts of budding sexuality and infused with a yearning to escape the grim and brutal life of a rural Appalachian existence. In this world, Daddy is a drunk with severe PTSD, and Mommy is an insecure wraith. The boss is a dodgy lecher, not above leering at the flat chest of an eleven-year-old girl.
Yes, all in one book.
Rarity From The Hollow is written in a simple declarative style that’s well- suited to the imaginary diary of a desperate but intelligent eleven-year-old – the story bumping joyfully between the extraordinary and the banal.
The central planet of the universe is a vast shopping mall, and Lacy Dawn must save her world from a menace that arrives in the form of a cockroach infestation. Look again and the space alien has made Daddy smart and happy – or at least an eleven year old girl’s notion of what a smart and happy man should be. He has also made Mommy beautiful, giving her false teeth and getting the food stamp lady off her back.
About the only thing in the book that is believable is the nature of the narrative voice, and it is utterly compelling. You find yourself convinced that “Hollow” was written as a diary-based autobiography by a young girl and the banal stems from the limits of her environment, the extraordinary from her megalomania. And that’s what gives Rarity From The Hollow a chilling, engaging verisimilitude that deftly feeds on both the utter absurdity of the characters’ motivations and on the progression of the plot.
Indeed, there are moments of utter darkness: In one sequence, Lacy Dawn remarks matter-of-factly that a classmate was whipped to death, and notes that the assailant, the girl’s father, had to change his underpants afterward because they were soiled with semen. Odd, and often chilling notes, abound.
As I was reading it, I remembered when I first read Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle” at the age of 14. A veteran of Swift, Heller, and Frederick Brown, I understood absurdist humour in satire, but Vonnegut took that understanding and turned it on its ear.
In the spirit of Vonnegut, Eggleton (a psychotherapist focused on the adolescent patient) takes the genre and gives it another quarter turn. A lot of people hated Vonnegut, saying he didn’t know the rules of good writing. But that wasn’t true. Vonnegut knew the rules quite well, he just chose to ignore them, and that is what is happening in Eggleton’s novel, as well.
Not everyone will like Rarity From The Hollow. Nonetheless, it should not be ignored.

by Bryan Zepp Jamieson

Unfortunately, we were unable to read this book because we think that it isn't for us. BUT, we would really like to broadcast this to others because we think that for people who are into this genre, this book might actually be a book to remember, and some of the author proceeds goes to a charity for child abuse prevention program in his home state. This post is really important to us because we want to help out even in just a simple way like this. We hope you guys give this book a try, and if you do leave a review anywhere you can whether it's in your blog or Goodreads, Amazon, etc. However, if you think that this book is not right for you, or you simply don't have the time then you can also help out by just spreading the word, maybe a post like this or even just a tweet about it.

A little effort goes a long way.

Have a great day everyone! x

*This post is not sponsored in any way.

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2015 Reading Challenge

2015 Reading Challenge
Kimi has read 3 books toward her goal of 100 books.