Bloggers Preview Night: Harper Collins (Winter 2015)

Technically we don’t’ celebrate winter here in PH but when Sarah of HarperCollins International send invites for W’ 15 Preview Night I can’t help but get excited. The House of Starks motto, “Winter is Coming” suddenly become like an LSS before the actual event. We don’t usually get an event like this here in Manila, as of I know it is the first that an International Publisher held an event like this for bloggers and being part of the event is a privilege for me.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but meeting Sarah last Saturday during Claudia Gray and Madeline Roux book signing event in Makati makes me more excited for the Preview Night. Sarah is so friendly and nice. I think she’s my new favorite publicist. Love her!

Basically, the Preview Night is where we got the chance to get a sneak peak of what HarperCollins is brewing for the next season. We got to see the upcoming titles, play games, and discuss some of the books and authors we like. Sarah is very accommodating and enthusiastic. She answered all our questions and share her experience with us – from the books, the authors she met, her work as a publicist, and the publishing industry in general. It’s a light and fun event overall.

Here are the list of books presented with their expected publication date:

The Jewel Falling into Place Endgame A Thousand Pieces of You Transcendent

The Jewel by Amy Ewing (September 2, 2014)
Falling into Place by Amy Zhang (September 9, 2014)
Endgame: The Calling by James Frey (October 7, 2014)
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray (November 4, 2014)
Transcendent: A Starling Novel by Lesley Livingston (December 23, 2014)

Willowgrove Twisted Fate A Cold Legacy Playlist for the Dead Red Queen

Willowgrove (Hemlock #3) by Kathleen Peacock (January 6, 2015)
Twisted Fate by Norah Olson (January 20, 2015)
A Cold Legacy (The Madman’s Daughter #3) by Megan Shepherd (January 27, 2015)
Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff (January 27, 2015)
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (February 10, 2015)

My Heart and Other Black Holes he Last Time We Say Goodbye Better Than Perfect A Wicked Thing Vanishing Girls

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga (February 10, 2015)
The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand (February 10, 2015)
Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor (February 17, 2015)
A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas (February 24, 2015)
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (March 3, 2015)

The Queen & The Favorite The Orphan Queen Everything That Makes You Blackbird Fly The Wicked Will Rise

The Selection Stories by Kiera Cass: The Queen and The Favorite (March 3, 2015)
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows (March 10, 2015)
Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay (March 15, 2015)
Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly (March 24, 2015)
The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die #2) by Danielle Paige (March 31, 2015)

Lies I Told You The Pretty App Forged 99 Days

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink (April 7, 2015)
The Pretty App (App #2) by Katie Sise (April 14, 2015)
Forged (Taken #3) by Erin Bowman (April 14, 2015)
99 Days by Katie Cotugno (April 21, 2015)
The Secrets of Attraction by Robin Constantine (April 28, 2015)

Magonia The Heir

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley (April 28, 2015)
The Heir (The Selection #4) by Kiera Cass (May 5, 2015)
Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider (May 26, 2015)

What do you think of these books? Which of the above titles are you most excited to read?

And here are some photos during the preview night:

HarperCollins Winter 2015 Preview Night

Sarah & Me

Thank you so much HarperCollins International, and National Bookstore for arranging this event. And of course a huge thanks to Sarah for inviting us to the preview night. I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay here in Manila. We love to see you again.

Giveaway: Book-ish Swags!

I just feel like giving away these swags below. So who ever wants them just comment on this post and I will draw a winner next week. Good Luck!

The Giveaway:

What’s up for Grabs?

* All these Book-ish Swags

swags

*edited: I added few more swags from the original post so the photo changed :)

The Rules:

  • Open to everyone / international
  • Comment on this post to enter, one entry per person only
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be announced here on the post & contacted thru email
  • Winner should response with their details within 48 hours
  • Ends next week, October 21st, 2014

Good Luck!!!

Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick

Black Ice

“You never know what you’re going to have to face, so you’d better be prepared.”

Sometimes danger is hard to see… until it’s too late.

Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there… and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target.

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?

BLACK ICE is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick’s riveting romantic thriller set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Falling in love should never be this dangerous…

Book Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads | National Book Store

Black Ice Blog Tour Banner

Personal Thoughts:

I have read Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush Hush saga (yes all four books of them) which we all know are paranormal books about fallen angels. Though I already know long ago that Becca is writing a psychological thriller I didn’t expect Black Ice to be that different. I mean, there are mystery and thrill in Hush, Hush but in Black Ice they are way better, more real and more dangerous. I think I like to see Bacca write more on this genre than the paranormal one.

The story is about Britt Pfeiffer who is set to backpacking the Teton Range with her best friend Korbie. Britt had been preparing for this trip for months, from organizing the things they need, researching the weather and the road maps, up to training herself to hike by hiking small distance. They are supposed to spend their few days getaway in Korbie’s family’s lodge in the mountain. Calvin, Korbie’s brother and Britt’s ex-boyfriend will be meeting them there too. On their way to the mountain, the girls encounter unexpected snow storms which leave them no choice but to find a nearest shelter to stay for a while. After more or less an hour of walking they stumbled across a cabin and inside are two men, Mason and Shawn. These two guys seem harmless but then they took Britt and Korbie hostage.

The opening prologue is my favorite part of this book. It tells the story of one of the three murders that happened before Britt’s own story. It is intense and engaging which perfectly set the tone of the book.

Becca Fitzpatrick writing definitely matured compare to her previous books. I love how she plotted this whole messy story of murder and mystery which makes the pacing easily engaging and flowing. It’s not the massive kind of whodunit as I easily figure out the suspect but it is still engaging nonetheless.

As for the characters, well the narrator isn’t perfect, she has flaws and did some things that irritate me but I like how determined and brave she is. I like that in-spite of the heavy situation she still manage to think things through. Her character development from a dependent girl to being a survivor is very well written.

Then we have Mason, another dangerous bad boy created by Becca Fitzpatrick. I think Becca has a real knock with this kind of characters. Just like Patch of Hush, Hush, Mason is mysterious and intriguing which will surely make readers drawn to him in every way possible.

Black Ice is not perfect though. It is good and entertaining read that keep me on the edge of my seat because I want to know if my theories are correct but in the end I didn’t like the all wrap up ending. I’m not against with the happily ever after kind of ending but Black Ice is too neatly wrap up for my taste – complete with a bow and all. I wish the story end differently. That at least Mason was held accountable for some of the bad things he had done, or that the killer doesn’t end up like it did. It so easy and less unrealistic in my opinion.

With suspense, mystery, drama, and romance Black Ice is a thrilling read. It is tense and well written. A successful transition from paranormal to psychological genre for Becca Fitzpatrick.

The Mission (The Unknown Assassin #2) by Allen Zadoff

The Misson

“The difference between a hero and a villain is a very thin line.”

He was the perfect assassin.

Boy Nobody: No name. No past. No remorse. At least until he began to ask questions and challenge his orders — until he fell in love with his target. Now The Program is worried that its valuable soldier has become a liability.

Boy Nobody, haunted by the outcome of his last assignment, is given a new mission. A test of sorts. A chance to show his loyalty.

Book Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads | National Book Store | Publisher

Personal Thoughts:

Also known as I Am The Mission in US or The Lost Mission in UK, this second installment of Allen Zadoff’s The Unknown Assassin series is not only an entertaining read like the first book but also more action packed, more thrilling, and full of twist and turns that will surely keep readers on the edge of their seats.

If you have read my review for the first book, The Hit (first published as Boy Nobody) you know that I’m all praises for that book. I love everything about it that I’ve written a longer and more detail review than usual. I also developed high expectations from Allen Zadoff, I don’t know how he will do it but I’m certain he can top the first installment, and top he did. He not only deliver a thrilling story but also surpass the first installment with this book, The Mission.

In here, Nobody’s mission is much bigger, the risk is definitely much higher, tension is shooting up, and the danger is more real.

New mission, new name and new background for Nobody. For this mission he is going under the name of Daniel, a regular kid who was sent by his father to join a recruiting event for a teenagers’ camp. The camp called Camp Liberty is owned and managed by a former US military officer, Eugene Moore – Daniel’s new target. Daniel isn’t the first assassin sent by The Program to do the task. He is deployed to complete a lost mission with one specific condition set by The Program – he must not enter Camp Liberty.

But things doesn’t always go as plan and Daniel was left with no other choice than to continue the mission even without the help of The Program. Without communication and assurance from his superiors Daniel must rely on his own to complete the task while deciphering who is really the good guy and the bad guy.

Going back to Nobody’s (now Daniel) head is always a welcome experience. His isolated and succinct voice is perfect to his personal background as an assassin trained by The Program. His process of thought and his ideas are interesting and even thought-provoking.

“Everyone in the world is a follower. They follow an agenda, whether it’s set by school, parents, a job, society. The only question is who or what they choose to follow. Most people don’t even realize there’s a choice to make, so they end up stumbling blindly through their lives, wondering why they’re so unhappy when they’re doing everything right.”

Daniel approached every situation with his assassin’s skills and trained mind, mostly for The Program’s benefits, until he uncover some of the secrets and the lies. From there emerge a more raw and more human like version of Daniel as he starts to questions the authority, his mission, and his role in all that is happening. He finally shows some real feelings and emotions, and all those happen gradually with believable reasons to back it all up which simply prove a well handled character development by Allen Zadoff.

In the first book, Boy Nobody, Daniel (Ben/Nobody) is a solo soldier, no real friends, no real family. No one to trust or care of. But in this installment he is finally learning to trust other people. He is willing to hand his life and security to a friend, someone we already met in the previous book of this series.

“If you don’t feel fear, you don’t feel joy or love. Not in any real way. Without the fear, the risk is gone. And without risk, rewards don’t matter. You’re left with nothing much at all. You’re numb.”

The first person narrative is perfect. It so easy to understand and feel every emotions of Daniel even with his machine like personality. Every little emotion he shows is bursting into million pieces, every cut and every scraps he get feels like my own wounds, every questions and doubts are same questions running in my own head. Everything is raw, powerful, and real.

How Daniel battle between his loyalty and his personal responsibility is well written. It keeps the story more engaging, more interesting, and more thrilling. As Daniel uncover some of the secrets and started to question The Program and his missions, I find myself rooting for him while dreading some of the revelations that is coming.

The story line about the military camp is very believable. It can happen or maybe it is happening somewhere, and that alone makes the story more compelling and even frightening. It also provides a perfect opponent for Daniel. The place is like a mine field waiting to explode and the people inside the camp are like assassins like him. One wrong move or miscalculated step my favorite assassin is gone. It really gives a risky and frigthening feel, add the action-packed scenes, the killings, secrets, and lies I am literally holding my breath in most of the scenes.

Overall, The Mission is a solid riveting sequel to The Unknown Assassin series. With its believable and interesting premise, complex characters, and action packed story line, Allen Zadoff successfully delivered a thought-provoking, pulse-pounding, and smart novel once again. Will surely be reading the next/final installment of this series.

*This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Hodder Children’s Books, an imprint of Hachette Children’s Books UK in exchange of honest opinion.

Love Story

LOVE STORY

Too late to pretend
Too late to ignore
Your blind eyes doesn’t work
‘Coz everyone already knows

I’m giving you time
I’m giving you space
But those doesn’t mean
That I’m giving you up

No matter how hard you push or
How many times you sent me away
I will keep coming back
Like the ocean waves

I’m your shadow
Forever will be
I’m stick to you, tied
And stuck like a glue

So stop fighting, stop pretending
We all know you’re hurting too
Just give this a chance
A love story of me and you

* this poem is inspired by the novel, Before He Was Famous by Becky Wicks

Love Is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Love Is The Drug

“Why go high tech when low tech causes just as much damage?”

Emily Bird was raised not to ask questions. She has perfect hair, the perfect boyfriend, and a perfect Ivy-League future. But a chance meeting with Roosevelt David, a homeland security agent, at a party for Washington DC’s elite leads to Bird waking up in a hospital, days later, with no memory of the end of the night.

Meanwhile, the world has fallen apart: A deadly flu virus is sweeping the nation, forcing quarantines, curfews, even martial law. And Roosevelt is certain that Bird knows something. Something about the virus–something about her parents’ top secret scientific work–something she shouldn’t know.

The only one Bird can trust is Coffee, a quiet, outsider genius who deals drugs to their classmates and is a firm believer in conspiracy theories. And he believes in Bird. But as Bird and Coffee dig deeper into what really happened that night, Bird finds that she might know more than she remembers. And what she knows could unleash the biggest government scandal in US history.

Book Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads |  Scholastic Press

Love is the Drug Book Tour

Personal Thoughts:

After attending an elite party in Washington D.C., Emily Bird find herself in a hospital with no memory of what happened that night in the party. She spends a lot of time trying to figure out what happened to her that night and find answers to all her questions. Coffee a fellow student might know something about it but he’s gone into hiding. Meanwhile, the world around her is suffering from a deadly flu epidemic. Cities are quarantined, curfews are forced, and people are dying. What if what happened that night is the key to all the crazy things that are happening around Emily.

What I really love about this book is how it celebrates cultural differences. I can’t remember when was the last time I encounter something like this in YA fictions but it was really a welcome addition. I like that the characters are mixed of black and white, and that the story shows and accepts their differences.

Another thing to love in this book is the characters relationships. I particularly like how the mother-daughter relationship was tackle. The complicated affair of parents maneuvering their child/ren life is well handle.

Emily Bird is fiery and determined – an easily likable heroine in most part of the novel. Her struggle to find her real strength and identity while trying to cope up with the crazy world around her is an interesting read. She’s isn’t really trying to save the world unlike the usual main characters in dystopian novels I have read, which makes her story a bit different that usual. In this book, Emily Bird is an unlikely heroine who just want to find her real self and her strength amidst all the expectations from her.

I got a hardtime liking Coffee and it has nothing to do with his name but more on his involvement to drugs. Unfortunately, even his talent and his genius mind cannot lessen the fact that he is a drug dealer and that is something I never applause.

Another thing that got confusing for me is the general idea that the novel want to discuss — there’s just too much topics and not enough resolutions. There is bio-terrorism, political conflicts, medical and scientific informations, social and racial conflicts, but in the end not everything were resolved or at least discuss with more dept and details.

Overall, Love is the Drug though suffers from too much topic it wants to discuss is still an enjoyable read. With its interesting premise and thought-provoking ideas this new novel from Alaya Dawn Johnson is a frightening glimpse of a possible future.

*This review is based on a copy I received courtesy of the publisher, Scholastic Press Philippines in exchange for an honest opinion.

Before He Was Famous by Becky Wicks (Review & Giveaway)

Before He Was Famous

“A guy and a girl can just be friends, but at one point or another they will fall for each other, maybe temporarily, maybe at the wrong time, maybe too late, or maybe forever.”

One guy, one girl. One in the spotlight. One in the shadows.

Falling in love with your best friend isn’t always a great idea, especially when he’s Noah Lockton – the sexiest, most famous new talent on the planet. When 21-year-old small-town photographer Chloe Campbell is offered the chance of a lifetime – to join her celebrity childhood friend Noah on tour as an exclusive blogger for a New York magazine – she’s certain both have put what happened four years ago behind them. But his eyes still burn; his voice is still a jackhammer to her heartstrings; all his songs are about her. Is it possible that that night still haunts them both?

The music industry is a machine, spinning hype and rumors as much as his records. It’s not just Noah’s girlfriends who’ve got it in for Chloe (there’s no stopping the Twitter-obsessed, cat-loving pop-star Courtney Lentini for starters). Pretty soon, the jealousy and media frenzy surrounding these so-called-friends takes a life-changing turn and it seems making love means making enemies at every turn. When tragedy threatens to pull the final curtain on their relationship, both Chloe and Noah must make a choice. As much as this world leaves them starstruck, is living their dream really worth living without each other?

A story of lifelong friendships, love and hope, set in a world of celebrity, fame and social media gone very, very wrong.

From International Bestselling HarperCollins Author, Becky Wicks, comes a new adult romance that will leave you starstruck.

***Warning: this book contains graphic language, sex, and mature situations. Not intended for young adult readers.***

Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Before He Was Famous Tour Banner

Personal Thoughts:

Before He Was Famous is a savior for me! If you haven’t notice it yet, I’ve been MIA for more than a month now in blogging. I haven’t done much reading and writing lately not only because I’m super busy with work and real life stuffs but also because I’m stuck with reading slump stage for quite a while. Every attempt to start to read books from my TBR pile fails. ‘Till this novel come my way. I’m so glad that Precious introduced this one to PBT which gives me chance to join the tour and read the book. It’s my first foray to Becky Wicks’ works and I’m surprised how good her book is.

“Love isn’t all sparks and firecrackers. Sometimes it’s more subtle than that.”

The story grab my interest right at the first page. The reality singing competition brings not only a unique plot but also a very good background for the characters to dance around their stories. Noah and Chloe are best friends since they are kids. Chloe is Noah’s shadow. Always there behind him, supporting every endeavor he takes. When Noah join a reality singing competition, Chloe is all support for her bestfriend, she’s is his number one fan. Noah is also very supportive of Chloe. Encouraging her to do great things and things she love. Being in the competition brings fame to Noah and it change a lot of things between them. Fame has that capability – altering life and reality. Things becomes more complicated between them add the past event that they never talk about, these two has lot of things to sort out in order to stay together as friends or maybe more.

Love Noah to bits! Not only because he is a rockstar like Adam Wilde and oozing with talent but mostly because of how he handle his bestfriend Chloe. All the patience, loyalty, understanding and all. His love for Chloe is undeniable. He will do anything for the girl and not the creepy kind ok. He just always mean well for Chloe. He isn’t perfect, he made mistakes – a lot of it, but those imperfection and mistakes humanized him. It makes him more reachable and real in-spite of his celebrity status.

Chloe is stubborn, indenial and sometimes a bit stupid but I still love her in-spite of everything. Because inspite of all her shortcomings she is a good person and just wants the best for everyone. She tested my patience a lot of times, especially in the way she handle her relationships – not just with Noah but even with her ex-boyfriend and her co-worker. There are times that I just want to give her a shake in the shoulder so that she’ll see what really is going on in her surroundings. She is too naive and innocent, something that won’t survive into the world of the famous where the media and paparazzi are everywhere, waiting for her and her bestfriend to make a mistake. I feel sorry for her a lot of times, the things that happened to her in the world of show-business is not only sad but also horrifying.

The other characters are also well written, I like Noah’s brother Jack who even not present in the majority of the story still carry a big role in the plot. I love Madeline with her clever words, and even Denzel with his juggling talk which somehow mirror the crazy world of celebrities.

“You have to be the ocean. You have to fight to stay on the shore, no matter how many times it pushes you away.”

Noah and Chloe’s journey is not only bumpy for the two characters but also to the readers. It requires patience and all. But with Becky Wicks addicting writing style I’m sure everyone will get hooked from start to end like me. I don’t know how Becky do it, but this novel is both adorable and crazy. My emotions running in all directions while reading. All the tensions makes my heart melt, my knees weak, my body hot. I also feel giddy and happy with Noah and Chloe’s sweet moments. It’s really a crazy ride of emotions.

And can I just say that I love the song lyrics inside this book?! Seriously love them all. The lyrics are alive and carry stories itself. A very powerful narrative on its own. I can imagine how Noah sings those songs – his looks while singing, the rhythm, the emotions and all the feels those songs can deliver to its audience. I did wish while reading that the book has it playing soundtrack with it. I want to hear all those songs live!

It’s almost an us
It’s almost a we
It’s almost an end to the solo you and solo me
It’s almost a yes
It’s almost a dream
It’s the start of a brand new
Almost love story…

The Peter Pan references with all the childhood memories are clever. Ok, maybe I’m biased here since I love Peter Pan, but every time Noah and Chloe called each other “Peter” and “Pan” I was all, awww. It’s just adorable especially since it was justified by their childhood experience. There are reasons for those nicknames and not just because the author want the characters to have it.

I’m bound to my shadow
I’m stitched and tied and stuck like glue
This Peter Pan is all grown up
But I’ll never grow out of you

Overall, Before He Was Famous is an intense, emotional and beautiful love story. With Becky Wicks addicting writing, unique and timely plot background, a little touch of mystery, and palpable romance this book is a must read in the long list of self-published novels out there. Highly recommended to YA/NA contemporary readers. Will definitely read the next book of Becky Wick’s Startruck series, Before He Was Gone.

The Giveaway:

The giveaway is provided by the author, Becky Wicks

What’s up for Grabs?

3 eBook copies of Before He Was Famous & Before He Was Gone novels

The Rules:

  • Open to everyone
  • Winner will be chosen by rafflecopter

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!