Review: Kiss Me in Paris by Dmytry Karpov and Kimberly Kinrade

  Kiss Me in Paris (KIss Me, #1)
Title: Kiss Me in Paris
Author: Dmytry Karpov and Kimberly Kinrade
Release Date: July 2, 2013
No one knows my secret. Ever since high school, ever since I started living in fear, no one has known the true me. But then I met him, and I couldn't hide anymore.

He became my hero, saving me from the villain of my past. He became my friend, his smile a blanket of warmth. And he scared me. Because he, this beautiful man, he might become more. Then he'd see the real me, and I couldn't let that happen.

My name is Winter, and what I desire most I can't have.

Flashes of the night I was drugged rush back to me. His strong arms carrying me through the streets of Paris. The feel of his heart beating as my head rested against his chest. The soft press of his lips against my forehead when he thought I was asleep.

Oh shit. I'm falling for the cowboy. Cade.

But we can't be anything more. He has his own secrets. His own darkness he keeps hidden, like the letter he keeps with him everywhere he goes.

The letter he refuses to open.

Judging from the blurb alone, I expected this book to be one heck of an emotional read. Something about the way the blurb was written hinted that this isn't a book you would want to bring to the beach for a light read, but rather something you would want to read in the midst of a torrential downpour. I was initially a bit apprehensive to give Kiss Me in Paris a shot, simply because I am starting to tire of New Adult as a genre. The stories are getting repetitive, the characters stereotypical, and what annoys me the most is that some of these characters don't even experience personal growth. How on earth can you call your novel 'New Adult' when your characters don't even get to know themselves better, right? In the past two months alone I'm pretty sure I only liked two NA novels of the ten or more than I read!

But I digress. As I was saying...

I can't deny one thing, however - Karpov and Kinrade were able to successfully pique my interest with their cleverly-worded blurb (let's count how many times I mention the word blurb in this review...). Despite my aforementioned trepidation with NA nowadays, everything about the blurb - the tone most especially, intrigued me - and upon being asked, I ignored my initial hesitation and agreed to be part of the blog tour. It took me a while before I gathered enough courage to crack open this book (figuratively, folks - I was using my kindle) because I was never quite in the mood for dark tales these past few weeks, but one day, I finally did it and promptly discovered one thing:

This is not your average, depressing NA read about two main characters who are broken beyond relief. Nuh-uh, folks, not even close.

I honestly loved both main characters, Winter and Cade, because they were so realistically written. I'm not saying that they don't have difficult pasts (but then again, which of us don't?), but what I like is that instead of wallowing in the corner and sobbing pitifully about how unfair life is, they're actually living their lives - they are in no way stuck in the past. They're making something of themselves, and they're looking at the future with such positive (albeit still realistic - and I cannot laud both authors enough for this!) mindsets. I was really impressed with how Karpov and Kinrade managed to emphasize to their readers that while it is important to convince yourself to face your past, that doesn't mean that you have to stop living in the present, and that certainly doesn't mean that you should not think about your future.

I also enjoyed reading about Winter and Cade's adventures in a land far away from their own. Both authors did a fantastic job in making Paris come to life through the pages of a book (or the screen of a kindle.) As a matter of fact, I was soaking in the Paris culture through every part of the book - while Winter and Cade explore the city, or when they eat in the quaint restaurants... and I'm not going to lie, I really found myself vicariously living through these two characters. That's the beauty of reading, right? You get to explore the world without even leaving your room!

I like how Winter and Cade's relationship was developed, and ultimately explored. Nothing was rushed, and at the same time, it wasn't one of those 'true love upon first glance' type of things. Everything started from an undeniable attraction, and feelings grew from there, and I find that really believable because that happens in every nook and cranny of this world. They found out that they understand each other, and that they trust each other enough to talk about their past. And it is because of this trust that they actually plan their future... together.

While I did find the backstories a bit too dramatic and a tinge too unrealistic, that didn't distract me from enjoying the relateable characters, the poignant character growth, the setting, the hauntingly beautiful writing, and the overall plot and story. Ultimately, I never once thought that Kiss Me in Paris was about two characters escaping the incorrigible past- it was always a story about two characters, deadset on finally looking forward as opposed to looking back... and then finding out that the help and support of one another is what they've always needed to finally face the past.

Rating: 4 Stars

[Giveaway] I Don't Know About You But I'm Feeling 22

The title pretty much says it all, folks. It's September 23rd here in my neck of the woods and that means... HAPPY 22nd BIRTHDAY TO ME! *throws confetti* The previous year has been one heck of a ride, and I'm proud to say that not only am I older, I'm also much wiser (well... at least I like to think so!). Things have changed a lot in such a short amount of time - in the span of only 365 days, I launched this little ole blog, met SO MANY amazing fellow bloggers (Kate, Louisse, Kai, Precious, Dianne, Ge, Leslie, Kazhy, Tiff, Chyna, Alyanna, Dani, Michelle, Nicole and everyone else - I love you girlies so much!) as well as incredibly friendly authors... and I also started working, and met some more great people.

This birthday feels a bit more special than my past birthdays, so I thought I'd celebrate with all of you lovely readers. This blog has been up on the net for more or less 14 months now, and I consider that such an incredible feat. Sharing my passion for reading and helping promote books that I love to my peers has never felt like a chore, and quite frankly, I don't think it ever will.

Before I forget, here are the lovely people I'd like to thank for their generosity - Jennifer McGowan, Jennifer Smith, Jennifer Brown, Huntley Fitzpatrick, Monica Murphy, Bryony Pearce, Caroline Lambe, Katie McGarry Jen Doktorski, Kim Carr, Jennifer Comeaux, Faith Sullivan, Kate Evangelista, JA Huss, Jennifer Iacopelli, Lyla Payne, LM Augustine, Jennifer Castle, Amanda Sun, Liz Fichera, Elizabeth Richards, Rachel Harris, Wendy Higgins, Katie Sise and Tammara Webber - these giveaways will not be possible without you!

So here you all go... without further ado... the giveaways! (And yes, only 1 winner per giveaway, so 4 winners all in all!)

Giveaway 1 [Open to PH Residents]: Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan (signed); This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer Smith (signed); Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown (signed); My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick (signed); One Week Girlfriend by Monica Murphy (signed) and
(1) Bryony Pearce book + Swag Pack
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway 2 [Open INT]: Two books of your choice from TBD! (And I do mean ANY book of your choice!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway 3 [Open to US/CAN Residents]: Pushing the Limits OR Dare You To by Katie McGarry (signed); Famous Last Words by Jen Doktorski (signed) + 1 book of your choice from TBD + Swag Pack
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway 4 [Open INT]: (All Ebooks) Connected by Kim Karr; Life on the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux; Heartbeat, Come What May, Take Me Now and Unexpected by Faith Sullivan; Taste; Reaping Me Softly, Unreap My Heart and Romancing the Bookworm by Kate Evangelista; ebook from JA Huss; Game.Set.Match by Jennifer Iacopelli; Broken at Love, By Referral Only and Be My Downfall by Lyla Payne; and Two Roads by LM Augustine
a Rafflecopter giveaway

All Swag Packs contain swag (what else, LOL) from: Jennifer Castle, Jennifer McGowan, Jennifer Smith, Monica Murphy, Bryony Pearce, Amanda Sun, Liz Fichera, Elizabeth Richards, Rachel Harris, Wendy Higgins, Katie Sise, Katie McGarry and Tammara Webber

[Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway] A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers

A Little Too Far Blog Tour (1).png 
(Check out the rest of the tour stops HERE!)

 A Little Too Far (A Little Too Far, #1)
Title: A Little Too Far
Author: Lisa Desrochers
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Have you ever gone just a little too far?

Lexie Banks has.

Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it’s more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he’s been her best friend and confidant for the better part of the last few years … and is so off limits. It’s a good thing she’s leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome.

But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can’t seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt … and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional and right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy-on-the-eyes deacon … only eight months away from becoming a priest. Lexie and Alessandro grow closer, and when Alessandro’s signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn’t know what to think. She’s torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn’t want and the man she can’t have. And she isn’t sure how she can live with herself either way.

After reading the blurb for the first time, the first thought that came into mind was something about how the female MC probably crossed paths with dozens of black cats during her lifetime. Realizing you have feelings for your stepbrother is bad enough, but come on, having another realization that you just MIGHT love a priest (after you make a decision that you would fight said feelings you have for your stepbrother) is... um... well, I don't really have words for how darn unlucky our poor Lexie is. Talk about the universe dangling two things over your head that you know you shouldn't want (but still want anyway)!

One of the main reasons why I wanted to give this book a shot is because of the plot itself. It's pretty obvious that Desrochers wanted to push the envelope and try something new, and I wanted to see how the story will pan out. No matter which way you look at it, there is just no easy way of tackling this story, and I was interested in how Desrochers will tell it. I'm not going to lie though - I couldn't help but be a little cynical - I was afraid that this book would only be about the shock value (given that two male interests pretty much spell taboo) and I really wanted to see for myself that the fuss (because I've been hearing about this book for a long time now) wasn't just about the forbidden themes, but maybe something else.

This was a pretty easy read - other than the setting (which I'll talk about later), I liked that it was apparent from the get go that there would be no mind-boggling twists (because let's face it - most of these are forced beyond relief). The story is straightforward - Lexie finds herself torn between two guys, both of whom are unattainable. That's it. No crazy parents or siblings, no mysterious past, no whackjob of an ex all set to ruin everything... and I honestly found this aspect to be really refreshing. Hey, you might say, the female MC is engaging in taboo relationships - that's as crazy as you can get! Honestly, I prefer to think of Lexie as a victim of circumstances, simply put. She didn't exactly choose to form close relationships with said guys - they just happened. Like any other couples out there, Lexie didn't get to choose who she fell in love with it. So yes, while A Little Too Far revolved around the forbidden relationships, the story touched on so much more than the taboo topics, and that made for a great read

I wasn't exactly able to connect with our female MC, Lexie, but that didn't distract me from the entire reading experience. While not exactly relateable, her voice is loud, strong, and you can't help but be enraptured with her story. Another thing I like about this story is that it wasn't just about the romance - Lexie also wanted to learn more about herself, and that she did. She was able to discern a path for herself that she wanted to take after college, and I love how Desrochers explored that. Also, I have mentioned earlier, Desrochers did such an amazing job writing about Rome. Only a few chapters occur in the US - most of the book is set in Rome, since Lexie spends a year studying there, and wow, I truly felt like I was there in Rome soaking in the culture with her!

I do have a gripe with this novel though - I felt that Desrochers didn't spend enough time showing exactly how Lexie and Trent, her stepbrother, realized that there was something more to the relationship. Throughout the novel, it was always 'tell' rather than 'show', and I didn't exactly enjoy that. Given that Lexie was in Rome almost all throughout the novel and Trent was in the US, we didn't get that many scenes of them together. What we got were minute flashbacks, text message exchanges... and yeah, that's pretty much it. Suffice to say I never felt like I got to know Trent, and all that I can do is believe Lexie when she talks about how great of a guy he is and how he is the person he trusts most in this world.

I loved how Desrochers explored Lexie and Alessandro's budding relationship. To those gasping in outrage (he's a priest!), I vaguely remember from my years of studying about Catholicism that deacons spend a few months living regular lives - this is essentially the time they can change their mind about their incoming ordination - and we meet Alessandro at this point in his life. We had a lot of scenes with Lexie and Alessandro just getting to know and trust each other. Nothing was rushed, it wasn't lust at first sight oir anything like that. I can say with no qualms whatsoever that the two are friends (and I can't really say the same for Trent and Lexie, even though Lexie tried to tell me so many times.) Also, I just adored that it was through each other's help that Lexie and Alessandro managed to learn more about themselves and about their future. Simply put, I loved Alessandro - LOVED him. There was a bit of religion in this book, given that Alessandro was only a few months away from priesthood, but I never felt like it was getting shoved down my throat, so that's definitely a plus.

Another qualm is the ending - now this was rushed. Everything was wrapped up too quickly, and I was kind of disappointed. A few more chapters would have been great, though a part of me can understand why Desrochers chose to end the story at this point (since Lexie did end up realizing who she really loved). I'd love to talk more about Lexie's choice, but I'm afraid I can't do so because I will end up inevitably posting spoilers. Believe me, I've tried  (And the most frustrating thing about this is I WANT TO TALK ABOUT LEXIE'S CHOICE OKAY. Whoops, sorry for the capslock!)

All in all, A Little Too Far surprised me. I was half expecting a read revolving too much about the taboo aspect of the novel, but that wasn't what I got. Instead, what I got was an engrossing read about a young woman struggling - just like any of us, I might add - with what the universe threw her way, and in the process, she finds out who she really is. After all the talk about this 'out of the box concepts' that her book has, I'm happy to note that this isn't a book which only aims to shock readers. Desrochers has truly impressed me with how she told Lexie's story, and I can't wait to read the next book in this story. (Oh, and PS, no cliffhanger!)

Rating: 4 Stars

a Rafflecopter giveaway

[Guest Post by Jon S. Lewis] Grey Griffins: Night of Dragons (A Kickstarter Project)

Hey folks! Today I have the amazing Jon S. Lewis (author of the Grey Griffins series) on the blog, and he's here to talk about a project very close to his heart, and ultimately, a project that can save so many lives. Without further ado, please take the time to read this post!


Stephenie Meyer, Project Book Babe and Why I Want to Give Back
A couple years ago a friend found out that she had breast cancer. To compound the situation, she couldn’t afford the treatment. So I got mad and then I called and emailed some author friends and we went to work.

Faith happened to be the children’s book buyer at Changing Hands Bookstore and she not only helped launch my career, but she’s been an amazing champion for authors like Stephenie Meyer, Aprilynne Pike, Lisa McMann and quite a few others.

So I went to work with Stephenie, Brandon Mull, Shannon Hale, Laini Taylor and a few other authors to create an event called Project Book Babe. We were able to raise enough money for Faith to pay for her medical care and living expenses while she went through her treatment. And I’m happy to report that she’s alive and well, but there are also thousands of other women who aren’t getting the care they need.
A New Venture to Raise Money for Breast Cancer Research
As I write my next book (Grey Griffins: Night of Dragons), I enlisted some of author friends to write an anthology of short stories set in that same world. I can’t wait to read their stories, but the best part is that 100% of the profits from that anthology will go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation ( and Kids Need to Read (
And these aren’t just any authors … they’re some of the biggest names in the industry today:
  • Brandon Mull | NY Times Bestselling Author, Fablehaven
  • Aprilynne Pike | NY Times Bestselling Author, Wings
  • Frank Beddor | NY Times Bestselling Author, Looking Glass Wars
  • Michael Spradlin | NY Times Bestselling Author, Youngest Templar
  • Dean Lorey | Co-Executive Producer, Arrested Development
  • Shannon Messenger | Let the Sky Fall, Keeper of the Lost Cities
  • Tom Leveen | Party, manicpixiedreamgirl, Sick
  • Joseph Nassise | International Bestselling Author, Templar Chronicles
  • Matt Forbeck | Leverage: The Con Job based on the TNT television series
  • Janette Rallison | My Fair Godmother, Slayers

The One Drawback
Each short story in the Grey Griffins anthology will be professionally edited. It will also have its own professional cover painted by Scott Altmann ( But the one drawback when you publish your own book is that you need to come up with the money to cover all the expenses.
It’s why I’m running a Kickstarter campaign ( to help pay for the artwork and the editorial for the anthology as well as Grey Griffins: Night of Dragons.

Crowdsourcing a novel is basically a way for readers to make pre-order so we can invest the money into making the product. We tried to make it so there were pledge levels for every budget, which is why they start at only $1.

There are some fun rewards like custom Grey Griffins short stories, collectible character trading cards and sketches from the cover artist. For the writers out there, we’re even offering the chance for a query letter review, a partial manuscript review, and a Skype brainstorm session where I’ll help you come up with ideas for your story.
You Can Get Your Own Story Published in the Anthology
I love helping new writers break into the industry, so I’m also going to give people a chance to get a short story published in the anthology right alongside all of those New York Times bestselling authors. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in you can find the submission guidelines here:
Thank you
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your consideration to back the Kickstarter campaign. I’m going to need your help to make this project a reality, and I know that together we can do something incredible!

Replica by Jenna Black

Replica (Replica, #1)
Title: Replica
Author: Jenna Black
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Source: Review copy from publisher
Sixteen-year-old Nadia Lake comes from a high-class Executive family in the Corporate States. Her marriage has been arranged with the most powerful family in her state, which means she lives a life of privilege but also of public scrutiny, followed everywhere by photographers, every detail of her private life tabloid fodder. But her future is assured, as long as she can maintain her flawless public image — no easy feat when your betrothed is a notorious playboy.

Nathan Hayes is the heir of Paxco — controller of the former state of New York, and creator of human replication technology, science that every state and every country in the world would kill to have. Though Nadia and Nate aren’t in love, they’ve grown up close, and they (and the world) are happy enough with their match.

Until Nate turns up dead, and as far as everyone knows, Nadia was the last person to see him alive.

When the new Nate wakes up in the replication tanks, he knows he must have died, but with a memory that only reaches to his last memory backup, he doesn’t know what killed him. Together, Nadia and Nate must discover what really happened without revealing the secrets that those who run their world would kill to protect.

So... how on earth am I going to do justice to this book with my review? I honestly have no idea how - and I probably won't be able to do, because you can only add so much 'awesome' and 'amazing' in your reviews before your readers roll their eyes and move on to the next blog, and I want other people to read this review because I want them to know the mind-blowing awesomeness that is Replica! (Oh god just writing this incredibly long sentence masquerading as a paragraph makes me want to groan.)

Replica introduces us to Nate and Nadia, children of very powerful families, and soon to be engaged to be married and the pair that would rule Paxco in the not-so-distant future. From the first chapter alone, a lot of things about this society they live in, as well as Nate and Nadia's relationship was obvious. While very progressive, Paxco still adheres to age-old rules of how people must act in front of those high up in society, as not to tarnish their reputations. Also, it was apparent that all rules and regulations are to be followed, else repercussions (as well as endless gossip) will befall you. In line with this, while Nate and Nadia are in all technicalities engaged, Nadia is still very careful in how they act around other people. (So yes, no PDA or anything like that.)

Black also managed to successfully convey that though Nate and Nadia cared for each other, they didn't exactly love each other per se. As a matter of fact, Nate's taste lies elsewhere, and he's also in love with somebody else. Nadia is resigned to the fact that she will be marrying someone who will never be faithful to her, and she's supportive of Nate's choices. The creeping sadness that she won't be married to someone who loves her is there, of course, but Nadia chooses to ignore this line of thinking for the meantime. (At this point I thought Nadia would be a doormat of a character, but let me talk about that later.) Things get messy when Nate is murdered, and the last people to see him alive are Nadia and his boyfriend, Kurt. Nate is brought back to life through a replica - replica Nate is essentially the same person as murdered Nate... except that his memories only date back to two weeks before the murder. Since Kurt disappeared after the murder, Nadia must face the line of fire alone - only she has a semblance of information of what happened that night. Needless to say I was pulled in pretty early on in the novel.

This is how a dystopian novel is supposed to be written, folks. I'm trying to look back and think if I have any misgivings with the writing, but nope, nothing comes to mind. The world-building was present - I got to learn everything I needed to know, yet nothing was shoved down my throat. There were no pages upon pages of info dump or long winded-explanations. This novel was written in such a way that every aspect of this new world, this Corporate States, is not the least bit difficult to understand. The concept of replicas was easy to grasp as well. My eternal complaint against dystopia as a genre as whole always has to do with the writing - sometimes it feels like I'm reading a very thorough encyclopedia instead of fast-paced Young Adult novel, and I didn't get that feeling while reading Replica. AT ALL.

Black did a great job with her characters - they were quite complex and in no way one-dimensional. Sure, there were a lot of times wherein their actions made me want to bang my head against wall, but hey, it's so much better to feel this way than to just roll my eyes and fervently hope that the characters just go ahead and vanish without warning. I wasn't exactly pleased with Nate in the beginning - I found him selfish and too reckless in his ways. Of course I understood his desire to find Kurt, but I hated how he treated Nadia so callously as a result. He knew how deep in trouble Nadia was after the murder, but Nate only thought of himself and no one else. Nate did win me over with his undying love for Kurt, and when he finally FINALLY realized that the world didn't revolve around him.

I have previously mentioned that I thought that Nadia was a weak character and wow - I couldn't be more wrong! The lengths Nadia went through to protect her family were just immense, and she never ever put her welfare first. Nadia's family meant the world to her and she was willing to do anything to save them... even if that meant betraying the one other person she loves most in the world - Nate. The guilt that Nadia suffers through as a result, as well as her strong character, were enough to make me sympathize with her and all the life-changing decisions she had to make. I also laud how she finally stood up to Nate, who hasn't been treating her like she deserves to be treated. Nadia's character has so much depth, has so many layers and facets, and she just grows a lot in this book - I love how Black wrote about such a strong, calm and level-headed heroine!

No part of the novel bored me - the mystery of Nate's murder intrigued me from start to finish, and the growth of both Nate and Nadia's characters captivated me. Moreover, I usually try to predict plot twists and the like but this book surprised me at every turn, so again, Black was amazing on that front. Also, Replica was written in dual POVs, and this setting allowed the readers to connect with Nate and Nadia and for Black to explore both characters thoroughly as well. I'm serious in saying that I loved every aspect of this novel - the plot, the characters, the writing, and even the fact that this book is first in a series! This is a world that I would love to read more about, and these are characters whom I've grown to care for - all in all, an amazing read!

Rating: 5 Stars

[Author Interview + Giveaway] Chaos by Christine O'Neill

Blogger Button.jpg 

CHAOS (Kardia Chronicles, #1)
Title: Chaos
Author: Christine O'Neill
Release Date: August 19, 2013
My name is Maggie Raynard. After sixteen years being just plain me, suddenly, when I lose my temper, my fingers become weapons of mass destruction. Turns out I'm a semi-god, descended from Aphrodite. Sounds cool in theory, but when I accidentally put my ex-boyfriend in a coma, things go downhill pretty fast.

Now some new guy named Mac Finnegan has made it his mission in life to continually piss me off. I'm stuck learning how to use my new powers while also dealing with regular high school problems, and with this annoying—and super-hot—guy all up in my business, I'm about to flip out.

But it gets worse. I just learned there's this watchdog council of semis who keeps an eye out for any bad apples. They think I'm the baddest of the bunch and want to take me out before I do any more damage. My nemesis Mac might turn out to be my salvation, only he's got secrets of his own...and they may just kill us both.

Describe CHAOS in 5 words.
Tense. Romantic. Funny. Action-packed. Boy-crush.
Where did you come up the idea for CHAOS?
This book was actually a collaboration between me and my editor and publisher at Entangled, Liz Pelletier. She was looking for someone to write a book based on an idea she had and put out a call to authors, asking them to write and submit a sample chapter in their best YA voice. Then, she planned to pick one of the authors to work with on her story concept. 156 of us sent in writing samples, and a week later, she called me, SUPER excited about the scene I sent her. She loved it so much, she wanted to contract my story immediately. So we took the little kernel of an idea I had written, and sat on the phone until around 2 a.m. brainstorming and world building around that scene. What we ended up was a loose outline for Chaos (and the rest of the Kardia Chronicles series). It was literally one of the most exciting and fun creative experiences of my life!
Tell us more about CHAOS - how is it different from other YA novels that are loosely based on mythology?
Chaos is about a girl who comes to find out that she’s a semi-god (a descendant of Aphrodite, but not a demigod, because she’s a distant descendant rather than the child of a god). She realizes very quickly that she has almost no control over her powers. I think the biggest thing that makes Chaos different is that it’s not steeped in one type of lore or one country’s mythology. Semi-gods can descend from Greek gods, Egyptian gods, Roman gods and on and on. Mac explains it like this: “If you look at the cultures around the world, a lot of the gods are similar. Zeus, Jupiter, Odin, Indra…the details are flat-out wrong sometimes, but at the heart of most mythology is a core truth. No one culture was totally wrong or totally right." So the concept allows me to pull from so many different places, and sort of turn mythology on its ear a little, which is super fun!
Did you have to do a lot of research to write this novel?
I did! Although I re-imagined a lot of the details, I wanted to make sure that I had a good base of knowledge going in.
Maggie seems like such a kickass female heroine - did writing about her come naturally?
It’s so weird, because that’s exactly what happened. It came so naturally, it was scary. I never felt more at home writing than I did when I was writing in Maggie’s voice. It just poured onto the page. 
Say you were related to a god or goddess... who would that god or goddess be?
I think I’d go with Poseidon. I love the ocean and think it would be super badass to be able to control the waves and tides and maybe, like, chill with mermaids or whatever he does during his down time.
Any message to your readers?
YES! THANK YOU for reading my books!!! *blows sloppy kisses* And please, hit me up on Twitter at coneilYA. I love chatting with readers, talking about books, movies, TV shows and music.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle

You Look Different in Real Life

Title: You Look Different in Real Life
Author: Jennifer Castle
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Source: ARC from the publisher

For the rest of the world, the movies are entertainment. For Justine, they're real life.

The premise was simple: five kids, just living their lives. There'd be a new movie about them every five years, starting in kindergarten. But no one could have predicted what the cameras would capture. And no one could have predicted that Justine would be the star.

Now sixteen, Justine doesn't feel like a star anymore. In fact, when she hears the crew has gotten the green light to film Five at Sixteen, all she feels is dread. The kids who shared the same table in kindergarten have become teenagers who hardly know one another. And Justine, who was so funny and edgy in the first two movies, feels like a disappointment.

But these teens have a bond that goes deeper than what's on film. They've all shared the painful details of their lives with countless viewers. They all know how it feels to have fans as well as friends. So when this latest movie gives them the chance to reunite, Justine and her costars are going to take it. Because sometimes, the only way to see yourself is through someone else's eyes.

After finishing You Look Different in Real Life, I remember just sitting in my bed (never mind that I had work in a few hours), marveling at how truly enthralling of a read this book was. I don't think I've ever loved a stand-alone so completely! Before this book, I was in a bit of a reading slump (and I remember swearing off anything contemporary for at least a few weeks), and wow - if you're looking for a book to make you rediscover your love for reading, this is it. It took me no time at all to finish reading this book, despite of the fact that I spent the previous weeks struggling to finish any book, and what I read, I loved. Needless to say, I was ultimately satisfied with what I read and what this book had to offer.

The idea behind this You Look Different in Real Life is sheer genius, given the fact that so many shows in our TVs today revolve around reality shows one way or another and a peek into how these shows are shot is sure to pique the interest of so many people. (Come one, it piqued mine, didn't it?) Moreover, the main backdrop of the story - three documentaries in every five years focusing on a group of five - is wholly fascinating and gripping. I don't think I've ever read a book in any age group or genre with a similar plot, and the blurb alone had me transfixed. I've been waiting for this book for quite some time now and I can say with no qualms whatsoever that it didn't disappoint me in any way.

I was particularly impressed with Castle's strong writing - the first chapter in and I already had a grasp on Justine, our narrator, as a character. The words on this novel's pages perfectly reflected all of Justine's misgivings about herself and all those that happened to her on the silver screen, as well as her qualms about shooting a third film now that everyone is sixteen... and not exactly the best of friends. I also found it incredible that here we have a novel of average length spanning the lives five main characters, and despite of the fact that the novel was told mainly from only Justine's POV, Castle was able to showcase growth from all characters through Justine's eyes.

I feel like the novel took place at an important point in the lives of our five main characters, Justine, Nate, Felix, Keira, and Rory. Because of the documentaries, they're unsure of who they are, most especially after they have shared some of the most important moments of their lives to millions of viewers. The most poignant moments of their lives, including the most painful ones, are now considered entertainment by the majority. Also, at this very delicate time in their lives - they're in their teens, searching for their identities, and yet they have to film a new documentary about who they are today. Add in the fact that not everyone is exactly friends with each other and you have a recipe for disaster. Furthermore, I found it incredibly refreshing to read a book that delves into so many blurred lines, but most especially the blurred line between reality and entertainment.

Moreover, this point of their lives depicts perfectly that nothing in life is permanent - nothing is forever - and Castle managed to get this point across to her readers. Appearances change. Fame is fleeting. You may be popular today, and yet the bottom of the social barrel tomorrow. Most importantly, even those relationships and friendships that you assumed to be for forever... some of them aren't. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't fight for those important to you, though. At the same time, Castle was also able to aptly elaborate on the notion that it's impossible for someone to run from his or her past, and that it's better to face whatever it is one's hiding from head on.

Most contemporaries today focus on romance, but this didn't. Instead, it focused on something more vital - identity. I don't think this will be a book that I'll be forgetting anytime soon.

Rating: 5 Stars

National Book Store Cut-Price Sale: Up to 70& off on Books!

Hey, my amazing PH book lovers! It's the weekend (just after a payday too!), and you know what that means... shopping!*throws confetti* So if you have the time, why not stop by at a nearby National Book Store branch? I know I will! I've been frequenting NBS' cut-price sales for the past few years and I always come home with great finds - I'm sure you will too! (Excuse all the exclamation points. I'm obviously ridiculously excited.) 

National Book Store’s biggest book sale of the year is here! Get up to 70% off on your favorite books in National Book Store’s Cut Price Book Sale. Enjoy huge discounts on bestsellers, sequels and new releases from August 30 to September 8, 2013 in all National Book Store and Bestsellers branches. Read more and spend less in the Cut Price Book Sale. See posters for details. Per DTI-NCR Permit No. 8368 Series of 2013. Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert) for updates on events, promos and contests.