[Review + Giveaway] Boomerang by Noelle August

Boomerang (Boomerang, #1)
Title: Boomerang
Author: Noelle August
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: July 14, 2014
Welcome to Boomerang.com, the dating site for the millennial gen with its no-fuss, no-commitments matchups, and where work is steamier than any random hook-up

Mia Galliano is an aspiring filmmaker. Ethan Vance has just played his last game as a collegiate soccer star. They’re sharp, hungry for success, and they share a secret.

Last night, Ethan and Mia met at a bar, and, well . . . one thing led to another, which led to them waking up the next morning—together. Things turned awkward in a hurry when they found themselves sharing a post hookup taxi . . . to the same place: Boomerang headquarters.

What began as a powerful connection between them is treated to a cold shower courtesy of two major complications. First, Boomerang has a strict policy against co-worker dating. And second, they’re now competitors for only one job at the end of summer.

As their internships come to an end, will they manage to keep their eyes on the future and their hands off each other, or will the pull of attraction put them right back where they started?

I love New Adult, and it has always been my go-to genre if ever there's a time I just want to read something that I know for sure that I'll enjoy. Granted I don't read as much New Adult as I did last 2012 and 2013, but in no way has my love for the genre diminished. It's just that at this point in my life, I've having a difficult time relating to most New Adult books I come across. I could be wrong, of course, but most New Adult books I see are always set in college, and as a genre that targets readers in their mid-twenties, I felt that my age and my currently lifestyle are under-represented. Where are all these New Adult novels that talk about careers, the work place, and 'real life' outside school? This is why I was so excited to read Boomerang - finally, here's a book under the New Adult genre that I feel like I can relate to!

Awkward is the first word that I can think of to describe Mia and Ethan's first meeting. (Well, it's not really their first, but given that they can't really remember all the shenanigans of the night before...) They wake up remembering only bits and pieces of what happened the previous night, realize that they are about to be late for their first day on the job, share a taxi to their respective workplaces (because Ethan discovers that he doesn't have enough money to get his own), and promptly find out that they're going to the same place. That they're going to be working together as interns... and ultimately, that only one of them will get a regular position after their internships. Like all of this isn't already awkward enough, Mia and Ethan are then informed that the company they work for, Boomerang, has a strict policy against co-workers dating. Never mind the apparent chemistry, or the connection... No. Dating. Allowed.

See, I told you - awkward.

Right off the bat, it was obvious to me that there is so much more to Boomerang than the romance angle and sex (unlike most New Adult books I see these days). It wasn't just about the 'do we or do we not give dating a try?' for both Mia and Ethan. This job is important to the both of them, and as a result, Boomerang revolved around the two of them busting their asses at their jobs... and I LOVED IT. A major plot point of the book focused on Mia and Ethan working on a project for the company, and it was so adamantly obvious just how driven they were to prove to the higher-ups just how deserving they were of the regular position. Ethan needs the money and views this job as his 'last chance', while Mia is desperate to prove to herself that she is so much more than her mother's, a renowned photographer, muse. They learn to navigate around the workplace, and given that they spend a lot of time together, they can't help but learn more about each other as well. While Mia and Ethan realize that they do want to give whatever it is that's going on between them a shot, things are never, ever that simple.

Boomerang has a little bit of everything about the workplace - it deals with office politics, how to work with people you're not really fond of, and the reality that there will always be competition in a working environment. However, Boomerang is not just about work, careers, competitions or whatnot - we're also treated to a very character-driven story. Not only do we see Mia and Ethan each come into their own as members of the work force, we also see them grow as characters. We see them interact with their co-workers, their families, their friends, and of course, each other. Also, given that this book is written in dual POVs, we also read Mia and Ethan's innermost thoughts and all that they're thinking about, and that in turn really fleshes out and gives depth to their characters. Boomerang also tackles Mia and Ethan facing the pasts that they have been running way from, and while they each lend a helping hand to each other, ultimately, they had to do the dirty work themselves, and that's something I really enjoyed reading.

As mentioned above, what I really loved about Boomerang is that it's a multifaceted story. It's not just about one thing - rather, it tackles so many subjects, and that it does relatively well. My only misgiving with this book is that it sometimes doesn't transition very well between chapters, but I was able to look past that because I was so invested with both the story and the main characters. I also liked how the authors took their time in building the relationship between Mia and Ethan - it never felt rushed or anything like that. You get to see just how much they cared about each other, and how the attraction developed to something more. The romance aspect was marvelously done, if I do say so myself!

All in all, I was surprised at just how much I liked Boomerang. It had its fair share of humor, just enough romance and drama, an interesting storyline, but most of all, it had characters I can relate to. I really, really hope that there would be more New Adult books like Boomerang in the future!

Boomerang is available in Fully Booked.

Rating: 4 Stars

I'm giving away 2 copies of Boomerang, and as long as you live in the Philippines, you're eligible to join. Thank you so much to Fully Booked for sponsoring this giveaway!

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[Speak Now...] #TheComebackYear

Speak Now (or forever hold your peace) is a new feature here in Defiantly Deviant. Basically, I'll be talking about absolutely anything book-related... and anything under the sun, really!


Maybe a lot of you thinking that this post may be a few weeks too late, because, seriously, a resolutions post a month after the year has started? Talk about late, huh? Well, I have something to say to that - one of my resolutions this year is actually to make it a point to never be afraid to try something new, no matter what day of the year it is.

2014 wasn't exactly the greatest year. Granted, I was able to travel, try new things, and meet a lot of authors, but 2014 was also the year of change. If you know me, you would know just how much I shy away from change, and what happened last year was just insane. It was just change, left and right. I can only handle change one at a time, and when given the time to absorb fully just what is happening, and then more time to adjust. But nope, that did not happen. As a result, 2014 was basically me floundering about, hoping against hope that I get to breathe soon. Not only were there a plethora of change career and job-wise, 2014 was also the year wherein I finally understood that people leave.

People leave, and I can never be okay with that.

But I have to be.

Because of all these changes, I barely read and barely blogged last year, and a part of me hated myself for it. It was almost as if I lost my passion for both reading and blogging, and just looking at my (empty) blog made me sad. This year, however, I'm making an effort to turn things around. Instead of avoiding my books and my blog whenever I'm upset, instead, I'll turn to these that I love, and these that I'm passionate about.

So with that in mind, here are my bookish resolutions for 2015:

1. Read, read, read. This is pretty simple, really. It's only the first month of the year, and I'm happy to say that I've already finished 7 books. I already feel happier (and more invested in book characters than I can remember, but let's save this for another blog post...), and I cannot wait to read more. I've forgotten just how therapeutic reading can be, but I'm so glad that I rediscovered it!

2. Blog schedule. 2014 was supposed to be the 'comeback year' after 2013 (aka the year of getting a job and adjusting to the work environment), but that did not happen. 2014 was hell, and as a result, the blog wasn't exactly 'hopping' last year. Don't fret, though, because that's about to change. I've spent the past few weeks drafting a schedule for the blog which I hope to religiously follow moving forward. Basically, starting on February, I hope to have at least three to four new posts on the blog every week - two reviews, and one or two feature posts. Wish me luck! ;)

3. New features. I've been wanting to have new features on the blog for YEARS (nope, no exaggerations here), and finally, I have two!!! *throws confetti* You're looking at the first one, Speak Now (or forever hold your peace), and I'll be unveiling the second one next month. I hope to partner up with some of my blogger buds for other features, so hopefully I can make that happen!

4. New blog design. Here's something that I can actually slash off my list, because I finally jumped the gun and had the amazing Hazel redesign my blog! It's not yet 100% done, but I'm already in love with it! Also, one of my closest blogger buds, Nicole, did my banners (including the one I'm using right now) for me as well!

5. Start joining blog tours again. Definitely not as much as I did my first year of blogging, but I'll join blog tours of the books that I'm really excited about. Most will probably be interviews or guest posts.

6. Comment, comment, comment. I miss the community, and I miss reading all sorts of reviews. I just came off of a commenting spree, and I can honestly say that I missed leaving comments here and there. Blogging is all about communicating, after all!

7. Cool it with the (physical) ARC requests. 8 months ago, I stopped sending emails requesting review copies from publishers I have yet to establish a relationship with. This in turn eased up the pressure I used to always associate with blogging, and I had more time to read the books I actually bought. I'll be refraining from requesting ARCs for another 6 - 8 months from these aforementioned publishers, and I'll instead be focusing on reviewing my eARCs, the review copies sent by the publishers I'm currently working with, and the books I bought myself.

Last, and definitely not the least...

8. Never forget the reason why I started blogging in the first place. Blogging has always been about meeting people who share the same interests as I do, and finding people I can gush about books with. I've met so many amazing bloggers and authors, and I've read so many life-changing books that I probably wouldn't have had encountered if it weren't for the blog. These are what I love about blogging. Blogging is not about ARCs, free books, stats, or 'collecting followers'. While I won't deny that review copies are a perk, that's what they are - perks. They are not the reason why I should be blogging, and I should never, ever forget that.

There you go, folks! Starting this very minute, 2015 is officially #TheComebackYear of Defiantly Deviant! Here's to an excellent year full of laughter, adventures... and books! ;)

[Blog Tour: Review + Q&A] Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy, #1)
Title: Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: February, 10 2015
Goodreads | Read the first seven chapters
Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

Beautiful cover? Check. Intriguing blurb that piques your curiosity? Check. Hype? Check. Friends left and right recommending that you read this book? Check.

See, like almost everyone on the blogosphere, I've been wanting to read Red Queen for months now, and this is mainly because of the monstrous hype surrounding it.. Almost a year before its release, there were already talk about how it was going to be YA's next big thing. I remember downloading it off edelweiss on the existence of my friends and fellow bloggers (*waves at Kai and Leslie*), and the when I finally had the time to sit down and start reading, I was instantly hooked. Like, let me finish reading instead of sleeping because who really needs sleep anyway hooked. So yes, I bet you guys can just imagine how excited I was when I was asked to be part of the blog tour!

The main premise of Red Queen explores the relationship of the red-blooded - those deemed of low status and without magical capabilities - and the silver blooded who can do magic and are considered the most important members of society. Simply put, who you are and what you do in life is decided by the color of your blood. The Reds serve the Silvers, and while there is unrest at how unjustly the Reds are often treated, no one can really do anything about it because of the silvers' powers. All this changes, however, once seventeen-year-old Mare discovers that she has magic of her own... despite being red-blooded. To avoid political mayhem, the king and queen decide that Mare is to pretend to be a Silver, and is subsequently engaged to Prince Maven, second-in-line to the throne.

Those who know me know that I don't usually like fantasy and that dystopia is most often a miss rather than a hit for me, but what I really liked about Red Queen is that it straddles the line between the two genres. As a result, no aspect about each genre is too heavy - there aren't too many headache-inducing concepts, and since the book didn't just focus on the government and political unrest, it was easier as a whole to just.. go with the story, if you get what I mean. There were no moments wherein I had to turn back a page a or two because I could not for the life of me understand what was going on - instead, we have a book that is easy to lose yourself into.

Moreover, Mare, our heroine, is undoubtedly one of the best aspects of Red Queen. I love her determination, her sense of justice, her undying desire to right all the wrong she sees, and her unwavering love for her family. Things were never easy for Mare, but never did I get the sense that she was close to giving up and throwing all her dreams away. She knew that she was her people's only shot for a peaceful life without servitude, and that's something that was in the forefront of her mind with every decision that she made. She fought tooth and nail (and damn she fought hard) to achieve all that she she had set out to do. Mare's grit and persistence remained constant throughout the book, and that's something I really like. As a matter of fact, some of my favorite parts in Red Queen were the parts wherein she was being taught how to harness her magic properly, and how to be a fighter, simply because it was here where Mare's strength and firm resolve were showcased excessively.

I also loved seeing the story unfold through Mare's eyes. Here we have Mare, while possessing a secret that has the potential to topple the current political standing thrust into this world of power struggles and deceit. I loved how were privy to Mare's innnermost thoughts while she danced around the members of the royal household and all the elite families, attempting to find just who it is who she can trust. It was also a treat to see how Mare's relationships with Prince Maven, her betrothed, and Prince Cal, heir apparent and someone who has saved Mare in the past, evolved. Who can she trust between the two brothers - strong Cal who is already more than capable to lead the country, or kind Maven, who has always been in the shadow of his older brother?

Full of action and with its fair share of lies, deceit, and betrayal, Red Queen is a tale that will keep you guessing until the very end. There will be points in the book wherein you will think that you know the characters and what they're capable of, but trust me when I say that you don't. All in all an engrossing read that will make you want more, I can't recommend Red Queen enough!

Rating: 5 Stars

Here's an exclusive Q&A with Victoria for all of you as well!