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Thursday, October 23, 2014

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan

Title: The Dolls
Author: Kiki Sullivan
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Publishing House: Harper Teen
ISBN: 9780062281487
Source of Copy: Edelweiss


Eveny Cheval just moved back to Louisiana after spending her childhood in New York with her aunt Bea. Eveny hasn't seen her hometown since her mother's suicide fourteen years ago, and her memories couldn't have prepared her for what she encounters. Because pristine, perfectly manicured Carrefour has a dark side full of intrigue, betrayal, and lies - and Eveny quickly finds herself at the center of it all.

Enter Peregrine Marceau, Chloe St. Pierre, and their group of rich, sexy friends known as the Dolls. From sipping champagne at lunch to hooking up with the hottest boys, Peregrine and Chloe have everything - including an explanation for what's going on in Carrefour. And Eveny doesn't trust them one bit.

But after murder strikes and Eveny discovers that everything she believes about herself, her family, and her life is a lie, she must turn to the Dolls for answers. Something's wrong in paradise, and it's up to Eveny, Chloe, and Peregrine to save Carrefour and make it right.

(Image, summary and information courtesy of Goodreads)


I could never resist a book with a gorgeous cover, much less a cover with a killer (Ha, pun, HA!) shoe. Cover aside though, the synopsis also zeroed in on another perennial favorite of mine: a setting in the South! And then there's voodoo, magic, what everyone and their nana surmises as the uber rich girls' version of Mean Girls, and you got me praying relentlessly to the Edelweiss deities that they have this up for download soon.

Eveny Cheval finds herself back in her mother's hometown, and something is just a teeny bit off. Maybe it's because people need keys to get inside Carrefour, or maybe because everyone creepily knows everything about each other. Well, almost everything. After all, no one can deny that there is something at work in Louisiana just like no one can deny the power of the Dolls, who are in the all too corporeal form of self-entitled teenage fashionista brats. Despite having the Dolls interested in her however, Eveny isn't buying it, but it's only a matter of time before she finds herself just one little lost sheep that's finally come home... and changes everything.

The Dolls kept on losing me because champagne and caviar everyday for lunch sounds terribly boring  I could just not keep up with their "reality". How any authority figure could allow a reptile running amok in the school because chihuahuas and terriers are so Paris Hilton and are "not hot" is beyond me. I can only imagine how the Peregrine vs High School Principal smackdown went down about the snake:

High School Principal (HSP): Peregrine, why is there a snake in your bag? 
Peregrine (P): Don't you like Audowido? I think he adds a certain je ne sais quoi. See, look at this outfit. Then look at my outfit again with my snake wrapped around my neck. Hold on.. 
HSP: *aghast* It's a SNAKE, Peregrine! Get it off before it kills you!!!
P: *winds Audowido around her neck* Nope, because this is not actually a snake. See, it's a gorgeous boa. *snickers* It's actually all the rage in Paris right now.
HSP: *entranced* Of course, you're right. It must have been a trick of the light...
P: *blows HSP a kiss* Merci beacoup! *flounces off to luxurious lunch with entourage of hot boys*
HSP: *snorts* Huh, snake! Maybe I should get one of those myself...
Some books are downright unreal, but then there will always be a voice inside your head - Oh, just me then? - that cannot be reasoned with and will be screaming come hell and high water that, "NO, THIS IS FINE! THIS IS OKAY! COMMENCE READING, HUMAN!" The Dolls just didn't give off that same vibe for me. Neither was it fun as some of the most out there books could be, nor thought-provoking enough to make me scratch my hairless chin.

Moving on: I love fashion, and I devour fashion magazines so getting to read about designer clothes was fun for me. Those Mary Janes? Holler, I was thisclose to Tweeting the author and asking if they were Miu Mius. (Speaking of, anyone here a fan of the abruptly discontinued Poseur books? I LOVED THOSE! They were quelle amusant!And for a town like Carrefour being filled with so many secrets AND being set in Louisiana at the same time, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested in whether they do sport the big hair to match as well.

The Dolls kind of reminded me of the Sirens from Amanda Hocking's Watersong books - only that those girls were more interested in which human they were having for dinner, and these ones were much more inclined to have a serious debate whether they were stopping by either Saks or Barney's after school. But my beef with The Dolls is that this isn't a book about girls who needed to shop to induce magic. I felt like the book was taking too much detail with the clothes and their status symbols to truly focus on anything else. I needed less reminders that someone's stunning Dolce and Gabbana brocade t-strap pumps got dirt on them, and more of "I'm in Louisiana and there are terrible things happening and something must be done, but oh no Eveny watch out!" sorts of things.

The Dolls already had the basic components for anyone to devour - a dash of magic, intrigue, suspense, clothes that would make any fashion-loving girl die. Sadly and regretfully, it didn't measure up to its premise.

The Dolls could potentially appeal to reluctant readers who can nonchalantly quote Mean Girls and readers who aren't looking for anything entirely too time-consuming or something to lose sleep over. For the reader who is already heavily invested in YA lit however, I can't imagine this title possibly working out. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

[Blog Tour] NICOLE'S REVIEW + Novel Nails #18: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Title: A Thousand Pieces of You
Author: Claudia Gray
Format Acquired: Paperback
Publication Date: November 4 2014
Publishing House:  HarperTeen
ISBN: 0062278967
Source of Copy: Purchased from National Bookstore


As the daughter of two brilliant physicists, Marguerite Caine grew up surrounded by wild scientific theories, always encouraged to imagine the improbable or even the impossible. But when her father is murdered, Marguerite's life is turned upside down. All the evidence points to one person - Paul, her parents' handsome, enigmatic protege. Before the law can touch him, though, Paul uses Marguerite's mother's latest invention - a device called the Firebird, which allows people to leap into alternate dimensions - to escape.

With the help of another physics student, Theo, Marguerite chases Paul through various dimensions, determined to avenge her father. Her parents theorized that people who have met in one reality will be likely to meet in another...that key moments will happen over and over, in different ways. But when Marguerite leaps into each new world, she meets another version of Paul that has her doubting his guild and questioning her heart. Before long she realizes that what happened to her father may be more complex, and more sinister, than she ever dreamed.

        (Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


A Thousand Pieces of You was released earlier in the Philippines because of the signing that happened on the 21st of October. 

Marguerite's life has been turned upside down thanks to the murder of her father by the hands of someone she has always trusted - Paul. Before authorities can apprehend him, Paul nabs her mother's latest invention, the Firebird, and leaps to another dimension. When Theo, another of her parents' brilliant students offers Marguerite a chance to chase after Paul she jumps at the idea of vengeance but leaping into different dimensions and meeting different versions of Paul has her doubting his guilt and she's quick to realize that what happened to her father wasn't as clear cut as it seemed.

Before I start the review can I just say that this has to be one of the most beautiful covers out there. And despite giving the book a three rainbows, how could I NOT do nail art for this pretty? Probably one of the most detailed nail art sets I've ever done too. I especially love the watercolor background for the Russian skyline.

Gray managed to make inter-dimension travel easy to understand which is a total relief. No convoluted plot lines and hard to understand talk of equations and math and physics. And it just so happens that those are the subjects I'm really bad at so I feel for Marguerite. Her characters are decently written and I didn't find myself overly irritated by the love triangle plus it helps that the world building was really well done. I love how Gray managed to give each dimension it's own personality and identity despite similarities.

But you see, I expected a chase across dimensions for a killer and I was really into the bok the first hundred pages until I hit page 107. You see that page is when my rating started to slowly decrease. That was when the book asked me to suspend a ridiculous amount of belief because how can she go from suspecting someone from being a killer, even if he was like family, to not? I mean all the evidence was there and Marguerite is refuting that based on the emotions she claims to see in someone else's eyes? I couldn't wrap my mind around that but I suspended belief and went on with the book.

Speaking of hunting killers, the story went from that to a forbidden romance set in Russia. Oh yes and after a few chapters, boy and girl were proclaiming their undying love for each other and it was so weird because it was like a little bit of insta love but at the same time it wasn't since we're dealing with different versions of one character. Leaping across dimensions must be tough on a girl's love life.

Overall I can't say I was impressed. I mean I didn't hate the book but it's not exactly something I'd recommend my friends either. But despite that, having met Claudia during the blogger's forum I can definitely say that she's really nice and super funny. I might pick up the second book because I'm interested to see where the story will go.


"Novel Nails" is a feature of the blog that showcases nail art inspired by books and their covers. Nail art will be created by either Michelle or Nicole and will be featured alongside their reviews.

A Thousand Pieces of You has an amazing cover and I had to do a set inspired by it. This set is more detailed than the previous nail art I've been doing since I tried to get both cityscapes right. I tried. 

Nail polish used:
China Glaze White on White

The book.

I started off with a white base before adding the watercolor detail.

After that came the cityscapes. They were so tiny I had to really bend over and use a super thin brush to do the buildings.

They turned out good enough.

Here they are in another position.

Nails with the book.

Thumb. I like the buildings on my thumb.

If you're up for checking out more bookish manicures you won't find on the blog visit 
Novel Nails Designs or follow my nail art Instagram HERE.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

[BLOG TOUR] NICOLE'S REVIEW: Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Title: Love is the Drug
Author: Alaya Dawn Johnson
Format Acquired: ARC
Publication Date: September 30 2014
Publishing House:  Arthur A. Levine Books
ISBN: 0545417813
Source of Copy: Pinoy Book Tours


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

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

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

        (Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


I've been meaning to get into the Summer Prince ever since I purchased a copy last year but I could never bring myself to read it. I don't know why. Lucky for me, PBT was planning on touring Love is the Drug and I thought, why not? 

Emily strives to be the perfect daughter the way her mother raised her. Everything was routinary until she woke up after a party with her memory in fragments and the world in shambles. A deadly virus is spreading and it's all quarantines and curfews and martial law and this creeper named David Roosevelt who insists Bird knows more than she lets on about her parents and their top secret government work. The only one she can trust is Coffee, drug dealer, genius chemist and the guy who calls her out on her bull and rips blinders off her eyes. But as Bird and Coffee try to unravel the events of that fateful night, they both start to realize that those conspiracy theories Coffee believes in might not be theories at all.

Truthfully, Love is the Drug is incredibly hard to rate. I'm fluctuating between a 3 and a 3.5 as I type. I mean I enjoyed this book, seeing as how my co-blogger and I are fans of conspiracy theories. And Johnson wrote this in such a way that it was actually believable and I really wouldn't be surprised if this happens. 

Aside from that, Love is the Drug focuses on Bird and the relationships she has with the people around her. How she's constantly trying to prove herself to her parents, to figure out her way in life. She doesn't want to disappoint them but that means giving up on what she wants because anything worth doing should not be done in half measures. She's trying to make sense of these in between trying to regain her memories and figuring out what the creepy Roosevelt wants from her. 

Bird is a likable heroine. She's not the best and yeah, she let herself get dragged around like a good little girl by her parents and her jerk ex-boyfriend, and she's constantly fighting herself over who she wants to be and who she's supposed to be but when she managed to find her backbone and decided to just be Bird, it was a moment to behold. I mean it's not exactly the easiest thing in the world to navigate through all the angst and drama of high school when the world threatens to crumble around you and succumb to a deadly virus.

The book's overall pacing was good. A little slow and slightly confusing when it started but easily overcome once you've reached the scene where Bird wakes up from her drug-induced coma. Some parts were a little predictable but that didn't take anything away from my enjoyment of the story.

The book is a standalone, the ending was wrapped up a little too nicely. All the T's crossed and the I's dotted but that was okay too. Now I'm off to dust off my copy of The Summer Prince because Johnson's writing has me intrigued.



Friday, October 3, 2014

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: One Two Three by Elodie Nowodazkij

Title: One Two Three
Author: Elodie Nowodazkij
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Publishing House: Elodie Nowodazkij
ISBN: 9781495319617
Source of Copy: Requested from publisher via NetGalley


Last year, Natalya was attending the School of Performing Arts in New York City. Last year, she was well on her way to becoming a professional ballerina. Last year, her father was still alive.

But a car crash changed all that - and Natalya can't stop blaming herself. Now, she goes to a regular high school in New Jersey; lives with her onetime prima ballerina, now alcoholic mother; and has no hope of a dance career.

However, sexy soccer player Antonio sees a brighter future for Natalya, or at least a more pleasant present, and his patient charms eventually draw her out of her shell. But when upsetting secrets come to light, Natalya quickly shuts down again, this time turning to alcohol herself.

Can Natalya learn to trust Antonio before she loses him - and destroys herself?

        (Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary courtesy of NetGalley)


Natalya was on the track to becoming a professional ballerina, when a car crash not only affects her career, but also her family. Her full-time mom has become a full-time alcoholic, and Natalya is pretty much left to her own devices most of the time. Now that her leg's busted, Natalya can't dance... but that doesn't mean she can't live.

This book was being promoted as a Perfect Chemistry meets Save the Last Dance book, and because I do so love the Perfect Chemistry series, I had to request it. Only, it's not as Perfect Chemistry-y as I would like.

I desperately tried to get Natalya, because actually liking her was bordering a bit on the difficult side. Her POV was pretty childlike, so just reading through them and getting to understand things from her standpoint was a bit unsettling. I really had a hard time trying to remind myself that this girl was old enough to get a few unsettling kisses of her own.

The secrets that unfolded weren't much to talk about either. It's feasible, sure, but the way the drama unloaded was anti-climatic, and to me, felt more like a cop-out to the readers who are already on to it from the get-go.

One Two Three is one of those books you pick up all the while knowing how it's going to end. I usually pick up these kinds of novels with a tiny, tiny hope that something new and fresh would grip me, or that I might just -fingers crossed! - be helplessly entertained by the story. 

Unfortunately, One Two Three is only one of the many books that offers nothing new to the already standard, generic formula.