March 30, 2016

Review ~ The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacy #3)

The Rise of Nine cover


In Pittacus Lore’s The Rise of Nine, third in the New York Times bestselling I Am Number Four series, the stakes are higher than ever as John, Six, and Seven try desperately to find the rest of the Garde before it’s too late.

The Mogadorians who destroyed the planet Lorien continue to hunt down the Garde, the small group of Loric survivors who have taken refuge on Earth. The Garde must come together. They are Lorien and Earth’s only hope.

During the dangerous mission at the Mogadorian base in West Virginia, John found and rescued Nine. But even with their combined powers, special abilities known as Legacies, the pair barely escaped with their lives—and they lost Sam in the process.

In order to save our world and their own, John and Nine must join forces with Six and Seven who have been battling the Mogadorians in Spain, and who are now trying to locate Number Eight in India.

Power in numbers will save us all.

Purchase links:
Amazon | B&N | iTunes | kobo | book depository


Action. More action.

What The Rise of Nine lacks in plot development, it makes up in action. This book could have easily been a five-star read if not for the slow development of the plot. Sure, we get more action in this book, which is highly entertaining, but a book cannot live in action alone. It needs a strong plot.

As for the characters, I can say that they have developed a little in this book. John seemed to be less smitten with Sarah (or his lovesick thoughts about her had lessened, at least), which is making me very happy. It's no secret that I'm not fond of these two. I am starting to really like Nine's character, even though he could be an asshole sometimes. Six is surprisingly arrogant--I never expected that. She just sounded confident in the past books. There's a fine line between confident and arrogant, and Six is apparently the latter. I'm starting to dislike her, especially in one particular scene. Ugh.

The most interesting character we have here is Eight. He's adorable, and he's quickly becoming my favorite character. It's like the author divided all the good traits into different characters, but Eight got them all. I would like to read more of him and his adventures in the past.

I'm not impressed with the different POVs so far. Most times they all sound alike, especially Six and John.

So far, I have gotten more invested in this series. However, I wish we get a move on in the plot soon. The action is all good, but I am impatient to know how the war will happen.

~ Zee

March 29, 2016

Review ~ The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies #2)

The Power of Six cover


I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I'm ready to fight.

Purchase links:


John Smith/Four/whatever-you-want-to-call-him needs to get laid. Srsly.

The Power of Six is much better than its prequel, yet also much worse. Just when I thought I'd be able to completely lose myself in the midst of trouble that these heroes have gotten themselves into, leading to an action-packed story, John/Four/Whatever decides to dampen my enthusiasm by dwelling on his lovesick thoughts about two girls that he's liking in all the wrong reasons. It's thoroughly annoying to be inside his head. Everytime his thoughts turn to the girls, I wish Sam is the hero, not him. I don't even understand the fascination with Sarah; this girl has no character depth at all. She's just very, very beautiful in John/Four's eyes.

I enjoyed this book better than I Am Number Four, and I'm happy to see that the story is getting somewhere. I like the introduction of the new characters, and Marina/Seven surprisingly sounds more. . .real than the other characters. This is the kind of protagonist I want to read about; the kind that evokes my empathy. She's got her priorities straight, unlike John/Four (shall I start to call him He-Who-Needs-To-Get-Laid?).

The thing I don't understand the most is why the authors feel the need to throw in a love triangle--or love square, if we count Sam. This love triangle/square is empty; there doesn't seem to be genuine feelings. I'm so disappointed that Six and Sam is involved in it. This girl has a potential. I hope the authors didn't feel the need to ruin her character just for the sake of having a love triangle/square (which, might I add, doesn't have any significance in the story at all).

Some of my question are still not answered in this book, which makes me wonder if they ever will. How does the Garde-Cepan tandem really work? Why are there two races? Why aren't the Cepans trained to be soldiers, but they are the ones training the Gardes? If Cepans have kids, will the kids be Cepans also? Does it work the same with the Garde? I have so many other questions, and I really, really hope they get answered. I don't like unexplained things.

All in all, the only thing that really dampened my enthusiasm in this book is John/Four and his stupidity. I hope he gets laid soon and stop with the ridiculous lovesick whining. It's getting on my nerves.

~ Zee

March 28, 2016

Review ~ I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1)

I Am Number Four cover


Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books--but we are real. Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. We have lived among you without you knowing. But they know. They caught Number One in Malaysia.Number Two in England.And Number Three in Kenya.They killed them all. I am Number Four. I am next.

Purchase links:
Amazon | B&N | iTunes | kobo | book depository


I Am Number Four is. . .surprisingly mushy for a Children's/Sci-Fi Book, not to mention having been written by a male author. *grimaces*

I don't dislike romance--I love it. However, this book has taken me completely by surprise with how mushy it is. I totally didn't expect that. The worse thing is, it's not even sweet. It's awfully corny. Ack. I about puked at all of Sarah and John's interactions. Romance is clearly far from Pittacus Lore's (or whoever he is) forte, if this book is any indication. I hope the next books are better than this, because I am definitely going to read the rest of the series.

Putting the author's failed attempt at romantic chemistry between his characters aside, I enjoyed this book. I'd say I like the plot, but it's mostly made up of Sarah and John's interactions as they fall in love, so. . .yeah. I like the the premise, though, no matter how common it is. I would have liked to see more action than what I got, like in the movie. The movie is definitely more action-packed than the book. The characters need a little more work; they lack character. (Is that what you call an irony?) There are a lot of details missing , which is vital to the plot, that caused confusion, but I hope I'll see them in the next books as the story and characters develop.

Despite the failed attempt at romance, I Am Number Four is very reader-friendly. The narration is very simple, so it's easy to adapt.

~ Zee

March 14, 2016

Event Recap ~ Sarah J. Maas in PH

You guys, we met Sarah J. Maas! *fangirl butt shake* *confetti*

So SJM is touring Asia, and Manila is one of her tour stops. This book signing event happened yesterday, March 13th. A lot of Filipino readers were very enthusiastic when her Manila signing was first announced, but then that enthusiastic crowd slowly dwindled when National Book Store (who was the host of her Manila tour) published the signing guidelines.

SJM book signing mechanics

There had been a lot of outbursts and complaints all over Twitter about this. When NBS hosts a book signing, there's usually two events: one in Cebu and one in Manila. In this instance, though, the signing was only in Manila and none and Cebu. A lot of Cebuano and other Filipino readers in the Visayas and (probably) Mindanao region were very sad about this because they wouldn't get to meet their favorite author.

Not everyone in Manila was very happy, either. I mean, 350 signing slots? 350? My first thought when I saw this was You've got to be kidding me. There'll be something akin to Hunger Games for slots. I have read a lot of dismayed tweets for that particular guideline. Sarah J. Maas doesn't have just 350 readers, folks. She's got thousands here in the Philippines alone. However, we learned that it wasn't NBS's call--it was SJM's team who decided the mechanics.

In the end, many readers decided not to come to the signing at all, thinking they wouldn't be able to make it to 350 slots. Some readers--very dedicated ones, I must add--started waiting in line for registration as early as Saturday (March 12th) morning. They camped out outside the book store all night just so they could hold their slots. The others, like the three of us who had to work on Saturdays, just went way too early (like 3am) the day of the signing.

Allyn and I were monitoring the tweets Saturday night, gathering information on how many readers were already in line. We panicked every time the count would rise and wondered if we'd make it. We originally planned to be at the venue at 6am, but then my mother urged us to go earlier so we'd make it to 350. So we woke up at 3am and asked my parents to drop us off in the book store at 4am. We endured almost 5 hours in line waiting for the registration to open, then endured another 7 hours waiting to actually meet and greet SJM. Because many readers decided not to come, the 350 slots didn't fill out until around 9am.

In the end, it was totally worth it.

This is what the venue looked like after registration. The signing didn't start until 2pm.
This place would have been bursting to the roof had all of SJM's readers attended.

Allyn was 168th in line, I was 170th, and Djan was 171st. A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) was Djan's, and Allyn and I had the same books: Throne of Glass (TOG) and Crown of Midnight (COM).

There are always readers who dress up as their favorite character in every book signing. They are one of the reasons why I have fun in book signings. They entertain other readers while waiting for the event to start.

I haven't read ACOTAR, so I have no idea who the other two in the right are. But there's Celaena Sardothien and Sam Cortland--who, by the way, had been mistaken for Chaol Westfall a lot of times. It was hot, even inside the (air-conditioned) book store, so he didn't always have his mask and hood up. I must admit he did look like Chaol without the hood and mask. Even SJM thought he was Chaol because she saw him without the mask and hood at the time.

Sam Cortland (left), Allyn (middle), and Celaena Sardothien (right)
The one cosplaying Celaena just wouldn't shut up even as I'm taking pictures. That's why I captured her with her eyes closed. LOL. She's so funny.

Oh, and yes, she's wearing Celaena's gown in the back cover of COM. :)

Dorian Havilliard (right), Z (middle), and Sam Cortland slash Chaol Westfall (right)
There I am with the Crown Prince and Assassin Extraordinaire (I totally made that title up).

We even met Louisse Ang, the incredible lady behind the @SarahJMaasPH twitter page.

Allyn (left), Louisse (middle), and Z (right)
Alright, let's get to the exciting part! Here's SJM as she was entering the book store. I was very lucky to have found a place near the entrance and watch her entrance.

SJM getting out of the car

SJM entering the book store

SJM right in front of me

There's her husband behind her. :D

While SJM and her team were on the stage, a lady stood beside me and called Sarah's name. SJM looked at her and smiled and walked closer until she stood RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. *swoon*

She looks like Jennifer Lawrence!

If I remember correctly, the lady she was talking to is from Fiction Press. SJM WAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! *fans self*

When everyone had toned down their excitement, SJM and the host took their seats on the stage and she was interviewed for a bit. She talked about her books and her journey while writing it. She started TOG when she was 16, and it took her ten years to write the first three books of her first series.

Allyn and I are both writers, and hearing SJM talk about her journey while writing what became a very successful series today is very encouraging and inspiring. SJM is very humble, too, thanking those authors before her who paved the way into the success of YA literature today.

SJM talking about her books before the actual signing.

Sarah J. Maas

After answering some questions from readers, the host announced the commencement of the actual signing. Everyone went back to watching her and fangirling among themselves.

SJM's husband posing with both the author and reader.
Her husband is so sweet. And cool. Readers requested that he pose with them, too, and eventually a line formed for him and he did a signing of his own. It was so funny. He's such a great guy for entertaining the readers while waiting to have their turn to meet his wife.

It was a long wait before our numbers were called, but finally!

Allyn with SJM.
Allyn told me her conversation with SJM, and we both couldn't stop fangirling. Upon hearing that Allyn is also a writer, SJM told her, "I hope someday you'll be the one in this chair."

I do hope so, too! It would be so fun when I could finally brag that Allyn is my friend and she wrote your favorite book. *wink*

SJM signing my books.
There I am fidgeting with the book mark that Loiusse gave to the first 200 in line. When SJM saw it, she took it from me and also signed it.

SJM signing my books

I had a whole conversation rehearsed in my head, but then she asked how to pronounce my name and I told her and she said, "That's such a pretty name!" so genuinely. All the words went out of my head and all I could utter was, "Thank you."

So I tried again while she was busy signing, but my stomach was fangirling. My voice ended up sounding shaky and I was stammering because my heart was fluttering. I told her that I was an inspiring writer and how hearing her talk about her journey and experience in writing TOG encouraged and inspired me. I also told her that my parents had to wake up at 3am so they could drop me off outside the book store. 😂😂 She thanked me for coming, and I told her it was worth it.

She squeezed my hand in hers as she told me not to give up.

She was so genuine. She held my hand and squeezed it as she told me, "Never give up. Never give up. You'll make it. Just never give up on your dreams."

My cheeks--it hurts.

SJM and I still holding hands as we have our picture taken.
Her smile, though! I couldn't stop screaming when I saw her smile. I'm so happy to have met her. Let's take a closer look:

Alright, alright. Fine. You've seen enough SJM and me. 😂 Sorry. I just couldn't stop fangirling!

SJM and Djan
There's Djan with SJM. This is not his first book signing event, but this is the first where he actually had a book to be signed. Congrats on your first signed book, Djan! *confetti*

We left after we had our books signed because we had another friend meet us for drinks, but we went back to the book store before we go home to discover that the signing wasn't done yet. It was almost 7pm when SJM signed the last book. The funny thing is, she was done signing but there was still a line on her husband's side. When she saw it, she wondered what was going on and she had just realized that he was signing her books, too!

Papa Maas signing books even after his wife was finished.
And this is SJM's reaction upon seeing her husband doing that:

SJM looking cute while laughing when she realized what her husband was doing.
SJM with the NBS Team as the event wraps up.
Some readers lingered in the book store until the event ended to wish SJM a happy and safe trip. She again thanked all of us who came before finally making her exit.

Z (left) and Allyn (right) after the signing event.
Our cheeks hurt from smiling so much. This day was such a blast. We didn't expect SJM to scribble a personal message for us, but there you go. 😁

. . .and that's a wrap. Thank you so much for reading this (long) blog post. I'm still not done fangirling, but yeah. I'll stop this post now before it gets out of hand. 😂

~ Zee

March 05, 2016

Review ~ The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

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Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? 

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

Purchase links:
Amazon | B&N | iTunes | kobo | book depository

The Beginning of Everything is a story to be slowly enjoyed over a relaxing afternoon with a cup of coffee, or when you just want a change of pace on your action/thriller genre. 

I didn't realize how much I needed to slowdown, having read too many heart-stopping, mind gripping novels lately until I read this book. Some would get bored from the slow start, but I assure you it is quite worth it to finish until the end. Because that is how the story will progress: slow but steady.

Ezra is a guy that is easy to like. A regular, popular guy who has everything set for him. Prom king, ace tennis player, the most popular girl in school as his girl. What could go wrong? 

Plenty, as it is. Robyn Schneider set it that a great tragedy will occur in this poor, young man' (in Ezra's perspective that is) life. A tragedy that changes everything. He sees how it is with his fickle life, his fickle friends and his even more fickler girlfriend. He realizes that when a tragedy occurs to person, a lot of people will either jump ship or pretend everything has never change but you will get your eyes forcefully opened. 

And he hated that. He started to close off himself, to resign to himself to life. But along comes Cassidy, weird, crazy, smart, beautiful Cassidy, who made him realize maybe there's something out more out there. 

This is not a book about love, nor is it a book about a a young man trying to heroically piece himself back together. This is a book about real life. About how even if everything suddenly changes, life goes on. The clock still runs, you'll meet new people or re-meet old friends.

Schneider's characters have depth, from our young, likable protagonist, to the perfect best friend Toby, and even Luke (with which the image of Draco Malfoy will stay forever). They feel real. That what has kept me going, until the end.

I would have loved it even more if the author added more dialogues, and not just stayed stuck on Ezra's head. Quips between Ezra and Co. would be really appreciated and would have made the story more colorfully entertaining. 

Would I recommend this book? Definitely. Would I read another of Robyn Schneider's work? Absolutely. Would I still love it? I would only wait and see.

~ Djan

March 03, 2016

Bookish Diary ~ 7 Signs You Are Reading a Dystopian Novel

There's been a lot of books based on dystopian-ish type of setting. For those who doesn't know, a dystopian novel is a story where all matter of things are wrong, from the society, to the government. Usually this is a vision of the future where everything is worse. Dystopian novels are very popular these days what with the movie adaptations of the Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner

photo from:

There's something about a world where all manner of evil is acceptable and where a hero comes along to make a stand against all odds that seem to intrigue readers. Me, I just like how the characters kick ass.

If you're unaware that what you're reading is a dystopian, then here are some elements that are consistent in this genre.

1. Ruins. Old buildings. Torn down or weathered with age. Sometimes there's a whole abandoned city where the hero must go or investigate. Sometimes he or she comes from that said place, surviving on the trash that society has forgotten. These ruins are usually destroyed by war, famine, or just cordoned by the government (labeling it as 'dangerous') where the hero is usually the only guy stupid enough to go there.

2. Zombies or other mutants. Usually dystopians that are set after a world-wide catastrophe have a few of these one way or the other. Zombies are common trend like with Rot and Ruin Jonathan Maberry or World War Zwhich had been turned into a movie starring Brad Pitt. Mutants and monsters are fun things to throw at the hero, who usually by this time has either learned serious ninja moves, has a bad-ass sidekick or a tank. 

3. Robots. I would have put this in the zombie and mutant categories but I think they deserve to have a part on their on. Robots aren't often use in a dystopian novel primarily because they are super tough bastards that often has too many upgrades. Read The 5th Wave, although they aren't the kind of robots like in The Terminator, those drones are something the main character should look out for.

4. Missing Adults. What is it with dystopian and adults? Either they are the enemy, (turned into zombies, mutant eating children) or they have an almost non-existent role. More often than not, they are the bad guys to be avoided. If you read Unwind by Neal Shusterman, you'll be terrified of a world where your parents can get rid of you for eating one cookie too many. 

5. Evil Governments. If it's a dystopian, rest assured that the government is ruled by one evil dude who for some reason has it real bad for the main character. President Snow is an example of this.

6. Advanced Tech or Stone Age setting. Usually dystopian falls into two categories: a real advance world where futuristic technology is in everyday use OR a world where survival lies on how hard you can punch the next guy.

7. Weapons. Whether it is a makeshift axe, or a sub-machine gun, a good ole', dystopian isn't complete without weapons. The larger variety, the better. From assault rifles, hand grenades, rocket launcher, and hand gun to swords, throwing stars, or even a plain old baseball bat weapons are the core, the reason, the main stars of every dystopian ever.

~ Djan