Sunday, March 31, 2013

[Feature] The GFC Clarification

Lately, I've been seeing a swarm of posts regarding Google Friend Connect, and just to set the records straight once and for all: GFC is staying for Google site users (blogger/blogspot users).

Click HERE to read the official message about GFC.

For non-Google sites however, GFC has retired since March 1, 2012. Take note, 2012 - that's last year, so I don't get all these news about GFC going away just now when it's actually gone for non-blogger users since last year.

As an alternative, bloggers using different platforms can still gather followers or keep track of their favorite blogs by building a Google+ page, or through websites such as LinkyFollower and BlogLovin.

And that is all I have to say about that.

On a lighter note, Happy Easter Everyone~!

photo credits to julkusiowa from Deviantart.

Friday, March 29, 2013

[Linking Up] Feature & Follow #17

Q: Tell us about the most emotional scene you've 
ever read in a book - and how did you react?

Last night. The book was The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.  The very last part of the book, when Hazel Grace was reading Augustus' letter to Van Houten. 

The very last lines of the letter read: 
"You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers."

I'm still reeling from the book.
I still haven't quite recovered from the feels that I got from the book. I didn't really bawl my eyes out, but it was just the right amount of pain to feel like I've been punched in the gut and left for dead. Still though, I love their beautiful story. This is probably one of the reasons why I love reading YA.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

[Book Review] Paradise Hops

Title: Paradise Hops
Author: Liz Crowe
Date Published: October 15, 2012
Genre: Erotica, Romance, Adult Fiction
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 3/5


About the Book:

A brutal attack left Lori Brockton convinced she was damaged goods. By the time she emerges from hiding two years later, ready to run her family's famous brewery, she's determined to be independent--never rely on anyone ever again. Nearly a year of working in every corner of Brockton Brewing Company, from warehouse to pub, front office to kitchen, teaches her all she needs to know about the business. Then, she comes face-to-face with masculine perfection in a suit and her world is rocked in more ways than one. Garret Hunter is the new Brockton business manager who takes one look at the beautiful, sad young woman and his entire existence coalesces around winning her heart.

But standing between Garrett and what he believes is his true love, is a six-feet six-inch blond-haired bad boy brewer.
Eli Buchannan is a craft beer rock star, recently hired by Brockton to drag the company into the 21st century. He brings innovation and attitude plus a prima donna ladies’ man reputation. But he's sworn off anything resembling commitment, personal or professional, after getting burned at his last job on both fronts.

Garret Hunter is “The Perfect Man” -- handsome, successful, stable, eager to settle down. Eli Buchannan... is not. Compelling, smoking hot, creative and elusive, he represents everything Lori Brockton should avoid. But just as she makes a difficult choice, a drastic life-changing shift occurs, and nothing is ever the same again.

A heart-wrenching read for an erotic romance.

The Positive: 

The heroine, Lori Brockton, is convinced that no man would ever want her because she considers herself 'damaged'. Well, she's clearly wrong as she's torn between the perfect man, Garret Hunter, and the devilishly handsome beer brewer, Eli Buchannan.

First off, I'd say that the love triangle was effective as the heroine had chemistry with both Garret and Eli. Personally, I'm leaning more towards Garrett that's why the ending of the book tore my heart out into tiny little pieces.

Story-wise, nothing out of ordinary, but the storytelling was compelling enough for me to finish the book in one sitting.

Also, I appreciate Lori's back story because it gave her character more depth. It shows just how much strength she possessed in her even though she could be portrayed as frail and fragile. While the trauma left by her horrific past was evident, I love the fact that Lori picked up the pieces of herself and became an indispensable worker in her father's brewery.

Oh, and the ending was like a punch in the gut. As a reader, I didn't like the ending, but speaking as a reviewer, it was effective and it really affected much of the audience of the book.

The Negative:

The cheating. Cheating is cheating no matter how you justify it or rationalize it. I didn't like the fact that Lori still went behind Garret's back. It's like she couldn't even make up her mind between the two men. Sure, they're both gorgeous enough to make any woman torn in between them, but that doesn't mean that she should just sleep with both.

Also, the dream sequence. It threw me off and got me confused for a moment. I don't think it was necessary for the story to proceed so I didn't like how it was even in the book.

Overall, I give this book a three out of five rating because I'm pretty sure that readers who give this book a chance would surely feel the punch in the gut I'm talking about when they reach the end of the story.

Monday, March 25, 2013

[Book Review] The Stranger (Just One Night #1)

Title:  The Stranger (Just One Night #1)
Author: Kyra Davis
Date Published: January 1, 2013
Genre: Erotica Romance, Adult Fiction
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 2/5

Barnes & Noble

About the Book:
Kasie knows who she’s supposed to be. But one passionate night with a mysterious stranger will teach her who she wants to be. 
You should sleep with a stranger, her best friend whispers in her ear as they take to Vegas for one last pre-wedding fling. Despite her best intentions, when Kasie Fitzgerald enters the casino and sees him, a man whose tailored clothes belied a powerful, even dangerous, presence, she loses herself to the moment. Maybe it’s the dress, much shorter than she’d ever normally wear, or the Scotch, but something makes her give herself over to him more completely than she's ever done with a man before. 
It was supposed to be just one night. But right as she’s thinking she wants more, he shows up in her office with an agenda. As the billionaire CEO of a company that’s engaged her PR firm, his demands just became her reality...and he desires so much more than just some attention in the boardroom.

The story starts with, "You should sleep with a stranger". It was a harmless enough advice from a friend who wants her friend to have a little fun before she gets married. Who knew that a little fun could spiral out of control and change a person's life?

Following the sure-fire formula in erotic romances, Kyra Davis introduces the charismatic billionaire, Mr. Robert Dade, to the safe bet and conservative Kasie. Their one-night stand was supposed to be just that - a one-night stand. However, things quickly get sticky when Mr. Dade turns out to be Kasie's new client.

I usually don't rate a story below three stars, but I guess, everybody has a first time. This story is mine.

The plot and story-line has been used so many times that it kinda drove me nuts. The story-telling was nothing out of the ordinary, and the narration was borderline purple prose. Also, the ending left me hanging.

As for the story itself, I'm going to say outright that I didn't like it. Sure, there are women out there who fantasize about having a billionaire lover behind their boyfriends' backs, but that doesn't mean that it's okay to do it. (Well, in this story that is.)

Kasie had so many chances to tell Dave that she was starting to fall out of love for him, but she didn't. And that really irked me because cheating is cheating no matter how much you justify and rationalize reasons for it.

Secondly, I don't know what Mr. Dade's deal is. He's a billionaire. That fact alone could probably get him more girls than he could handle. So why come after a girl who's already engaged to another man? As I read through the story, a single question kept bugging me: what's his motivation in going after Kasie? I mean, sure, she could have been great during their one night stand. Big deal. He, of all people, should know the rules of having a one-night stand. You don't build connections later on. And he just had to go after her, which leads me to my third point...

I don't know if it's just me, but chemistry or attraction does not translate to love. You don't ditch someone you've been with for the last six years of your life for someone you just met because you had one night with them.

Also, at the ending, I would have preferred it if Dave just walked away. He deserves someone much, much better. I really don't want him turning out to be the bad guy in this series because he didn't do anything wrong. He wasn't the one who cheated.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

[Book Review] Fairy Tale Fail

Title: Fairy Tale Fail
Author: Mina V. Esguerra
Date Published: April 17, 2010
Genre: Romance, Chick-Lit
Source: Purchased Paperback Copy
Rating: 3/5


About the Book:
Ellie thought she knew what she wanted in a guy: someone dependable, and someone she could bring home to her parents. In other words, a good guy to complete her happily-ever-after fairy tale. But when her good guy boyfriend all of a sudden dumps her in the place she least expected -- saying that she is "a failure at relationships" -- Ellie feels she has to fight harder to make her fairy tale come true. 
But when Lucas, whom Ellie secretly calls Rock Star, enters her life and starts challenging everything she believes in, she has to face the truth about her goals and dreams. Will Ellie find the fairy tale she's always dreamed of? And more importantly, who will fill the swashbuckling shoes of Prince Charming to give her story the happy ending she so deserves?

Fairy Tale Fail is a very relatable story of being blinded by love, being heartbroken and finally being able to move on and become a better person.

The story is nothing out of the ordinary, but that’s not always a bad thing. Truth be told, though this story has nothing majorly ground-breaking in it, the simple fact that it reflects reality is exactly what makes it so special.

Every little girl has probably dreamed of meeting her own prince charming one day – that one guy who would sweep her off her feet and give her the happy-ever after that she so deserves. We can pin all the blame on those Disney movies that gave us such unrealistic views of love, but seriously, I think that deep inside every grown woman lies that little girl who yearns for her perfect happy ending.

In Fairy Tale Fail, we hear the voice of Ellie, a twenty-something single woman whose life is centered on having her own happy ever after. She’s got her stable job, her perfect boyfriend and the only thing that’s missing is marriage. However, the thing is, no matter how perfect you think something is, life sometimes throws you in a pinch and you end up realizing that it’s not so perfect at all.

Overall, I like Ellie. There were some moments when I wanted to smack her with a broomstick, but overall, she did nothing majorly off-putting for me to want to do some serious damage if I ever meet her. Also, I loved the fact that aside from the romance aspect of the book, it was Ellie’s transformation that was the center-piece of the story.

What I didn’t like, however, was when she took the initiative and slept with Lucas. It’s just that this move on her part was something that I didn’t expect for her to do. Right from the start of the story, Ellie is portrayed as this dependable and level-headed woman. Sure, she can be a romantic, but that’s normal for women because of estrogen, right? I mean, she took her time with Don. And suddenly, on an impulse, she sleeps with a guy who’s not even her boyfriend. Granted, they had chemistry and sparks going on, and she suddenly had this eureka moment about her feelings for Lucas, but I just find it out-of-character for her to do. Maybe it’s just me. I don’t know.

I highly appreciate the nitty-gritty realism that the author has painstakingly placed into the story. The post-break-up drama and the ends that a scorned woman does, as well as her effect on the people around her was quite realistic. I never really got a chance to experience doing everything that Ellie did, but I saw some of it happening on my friends. It’s quite accurate. Heh.

What I didn’t like was the length of the story. Understandably, this is a novella and not a full-length novel, but still, I would have loved to read more.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

[Linking Up] Feature & Follow #16

Q: What is your guilty pleasure as far as reading? 

Is it a genre, or is it a certain type of book? 

The odd thing is, I don't have a guilty pleasure when it comes to books.
I never feel guilty about the stuff I read... Why should I? Hmmm...

[Personal Update] She bleeds on empty canvass

...but she lives!

(c) Dia Pelaez 2013

I am finally able to get a break from law school and post some of the long-overdue reviews of the story I've read these past few weeks. You cannot imagine how much I've longed for some time to rest and do some reading.

Finally, all papers are done. I've got two exams left to take, but I'd rather not dwell on those. I want to focus on what's positive right now.

My review of Mina V. Esguerra's Fairy Tale Fail will be posted tomorrow! 

On a side note, thank you parents, for getting me a Samsung tablet. Now, I've got a handy-dandy library for my voracious reading appetite! ^___^

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

[Book Review] Exposure

Title: Exposure (Book 2 of the Twisted Lit Series)
Author(s): Amy Helmes & Kim Askew
Date Published: January 18, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Source: ARC from Author
Rating: 4/5

Barnes & Noble

About the Book:
Double, double, toil and trouble. Sometimes, the quest for high school royalty can be deadly! In this emotionally-charged twist on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, a self-conscious shutterbug named Skye Kingston navigates a treacherous school year in Alaska fraught with unspoken secrets and tragic twists of fate. Along the way she encounters three strangely prophetic BFFs; one social-climbing, sociopathic cheerleader; and a heart-stopping hottie named Craig McKenzie: the man who would be Prom King. Can Skye save the boy she loves — and herself — before they get caught in the crosshairs?

Exposure is an engaging young adult story about self-discovery and courage to own up to one’s mistakes.

This is book 2 of the Twisted Lit series by Amy Helmes and Kim Askew, and is actually a modern take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. However, you don’t really need to have read Macbeth beforehand to understand the whole story. Just imagine Macbeth being set in a modern high school setting and you pretty much get Exposure.

This is the second book from the Twisted Lit series that I’ve read and I’m pretty much a happy camper of the series already. Although I would have to say that I liked the first book better than this one. This could be attributed to the fact that this book has a slightly darker theme than the first one.

Now, unto the story…

The female lead, Skye Kingston, is a shy and quiet girl who minds her own business and keeps to herself. It would be safe to say that she’s an introvert and would rather witness a scene rather than partake in it.

I love the fact that there was contrast between the Skye at the beginning of the story and the Skye at the end. I think that she really did turn over a new leaf and became a better person. She learned to put herself out there and actually experience the things that she just witnessed before.

Also, I loved Skye’s photography exhibit at the end of the story. It signified her transformation into a new person. She went from being the girl behind the camera to being the girl in front of the camera, being brave enough to go and be herself.

As for Craig, well, at first I really was hesitant about liking him because he seemed the sort of person who can’t even distinguish what is it that he really wanted. Personally, I don’t like people who are indecisive and Craig was a little bit like that when it came to Skye and his popular friends.

Basically, he’s torn between his popularity and his real self, which only comes out when he’s with Skye. At first, I didn’t understand the indecisiveness, but as the story progressed, there was a justification why Craig was like that. And really, you can’t blame the guy.

Also, I love the fact that even though he could have walked away from it all and be with Skye without telling the truth, he chose to own up to his mistake and take responsibility. I would have hated him if he didn’t tell the truth just for the sake of having a happy ending with Skye, but he did, and I really think that his choice made a better happy ending for the story.

Then, there’s Beth, the super villainess that cuts everything down her path. She’s got serious issues all on her own. However, at the heart of it all, I think she just wants someone who can love her for who she really is. And maybe she mistook popularity as love and acceptance so everything went downhill from there.

Aside from the young adult aspect, this story has enough mystery and drama that kept me reading. It’s well-written, well-planned and each of the character has their distinct personality that it wasn’t hard to imagine them inside my head as I read.

For fans of Shakespeare who are looking to read new twists to his classic works, I highly recommend reading the Twisted Lit Series by Amy Helmes and Kim Askew.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

[Personal Update] Choking on Internship and Papers

<--- That is me trying to reach for a SCRA index in the library of the law firm where I work as an intern. The library is dark, musky, dirty and dusty, but oddly enough, it's where I feel the most at ease.

Lately, I have been stuck in my internship with tons of papers to work on since it's the last leg of the semester before the final exams come.

All those books in there contain cases decided by the Supreme Court. It's the same books we access everyday when the bosses need to look up jurisprudence for the cases they handle.

And yep, these are the reasons why I haven't been posting book reviews in a while. I've read a couple of books already but I haven't had any chance to sit quietly and write a review.

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