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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

NICOLE'S REVIEW + Novel Nails #25 : A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Title: A Little Something Different
Author: Sandy Hall
Format Acquired: Paperback
Publication Date: August 26 2014
Publishing House:  Swoon Reads
ISBN: 97812500161454
Source of Copy: Gifted


Lea and Gabe are in the same writing class. They get the same culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is a little aloof, Gabe is shy, and it looks like they are never going to work things out.

But something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at the local Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV series. The bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes Lea and GAbe were meant to be together.

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


Seriously, guys, I have not read anything as cute as this book. It's told in fourteen different points of view, none of them in our lead characters' voices. You would think that it would be incredibly confusing, but it's not. This book was an absolute blessing, I was craving a light, fluffy contemporary to read -because it was almost Valentine's Day - when this fell into my lap. It had been collecting dust on my bookshelf for some time and I thought I'd save it from its misery. 

I find that I need to repeat that this book so disgustingly cute. We get to see Gabe and Lea's love story through the eyes of the different people they come across in their everyday life. Friends, teachers, the bus driver, the baristas at Starbucks and even a squirrel and a bench. How fun is that? Gabe in particular is crazy adorable, and so awkward it made my heart melt. I loved his conversations with his friends and the way he pined over Lea and got so flustered when they engaged in conversations. I just wanted to smush their faces together. 

You know what's unfair though? That this did not happen to me in the four years I was in college. I bounced from clique to clique because I'm picky with my friends, met a lot of new people which was fun, but not once did I meet a guy who gave me the butterflies. Obviously, I was meant for greater things like fictional boys. 

Anyway, another thing that I like is that despite being awkwardly cute characters, Lea and Gabe don't fit into any pre-designed molds. Gabe is an athlete, a sort of jock, and he has his own issues - like the trauma he suffered from his car crash. Lea is not your average bookish, good girl type, she parties and has a penchant for stalking Gabe. (I feel for her, I used to do this in college too) They are the recipe for ultimate cuteness. It's insane! I couldn't put this book down mainly because I couldn't wait for them to get together and every time something got in their way it was just SO. FRUSTRATING. Just kiss already!

In a nutshell, this book is basically the epitome of CUTE. Really, the next time someone asks me to gift them something cutesy I am so giving them this book. Read this if you're looking for something light and fluffy and oh so very romantic with a different writing style. For an added bonus, it has the POVs of a bench and a squirrel.



"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.

Here's a set inspired by this insanely adorable book. For more details and the materials used head on over to my nail art blog. Enjoy guys!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

[GIVEAWAY] NICOLE'S REVIEW + Novel Nails #24: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

Title: Falling into Place
Author: Amy Zhang
Format Acquired: Paperback
Publication Date: September 9 2014
Publishing House:  Greenwillow Books
ISBN: 978006236788
Source of Copy: Fully Booked


Inertia, force, mass, gravity, velocity, acceleration...cause and effect. Liz Emerson doesn't understand any of it. But I do. I understand how we fall. Where we fall. Why we fall. I understand her sadness and loneliness and silence, her shattered heart. It doesn't have to be this way, does it? It wasn't always this way was it?

Stay alive, Liz Emerson, stay alive.

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


I never really expected to like this book, I don’t really do well with books tackling suicide but I have to give credit where it’s due. Amy Zhang’s Falling into Place is an incredibly heartfelt and poignant story written in a nonlinear fashion that tells the story of one Liz Emerson’s life - the small seemingly inconsequential instances and the heartbreaking events that led to her decision to kill herself.

There is no doubt that I love this book despite the fact that I am not a fan of the main character. Which is surprising because Liz Emerson is NOT in the least bit likable. I get that she’s got her issues and she’s got a lot to deal with, depression is no laughing matter, but I never really understood her. I never really GOT her. I felt for her, I really did but she was just really unlikable and mean and a general b-word I just couldn’t! It was hard because she was a terrible person who was doing crappy things to people and ruining lives and bullying, bullying, and bullying. But she continued to do what she did despite the fact that she admitted to being a horrible human being and continued feeling sorry for herself. Rinse, lather repeat.

I may not like Liz Emerson but I have to admit that Amy Zhang crafts incredibly realistic characters. And Liz, despite all her negative points had the potential to be something more. Julia and Kennie were also very strong secondary characters and it was fascinating to see how they affected and influenced Liz and vice versa. Then there’s the boy who’s been crushing on Liz from afar, Liam. His story was quite surprising since he was a victim of Liz’s scheming and yet he managed to find it in himself to forgive her, to understand her.

There’s an air of suspense to this book, like as if at any given moment everything could come crashing down. Zhang’s book is a definite recommend although if you’re in the market for something light and fun this isn’t it. Falling into Place is like a slap to the face, a reminder of how the littlest of actions can cause a ripple that results in a tidal wave and because of this book I feel like I should be better. Could be better. Will be better.


"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.

Here's a set inspired by the book. For more pictures and details on the mani visit my nail art blog HERE.


It's giveaway time! Good luck to everyone joining and I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did! Thank you also to the awesome people over at Fully Booked for making this happen. 

Terms and Conditions:

1. The contest is open to Philippine residents only and will be shipped by Nicole via Xend. Likewise, The Twins Read will not be held liable for any lost / damaged packages.

2. You must be 13 years old and above to join. Please ask your parent/guardian to join the giveaway for you, if you aren't.

3. If you only use ONE account to do all these tasks and enter under different names, they will still only constitute as ONE entry. 

4. If the winner does not respond to messages via Facebook, or e-mail within 48 hours, The Twins Read has the right to choose another legible winner.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

NICOLE'S REVIEW + Novel Nails #23: Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Title: Storm Siren
Author: Mary Weber
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: August 19 2014
Publishing House:  Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins
ISBN: 9781401690342
Source of Copy: Purchased from Fully Booked


As a slave in the war-weary kingdom of Faelen, seventeen-year-old Nym isn't merely devoid of rights, her Elemental kind are only born male and always killed at birth - meaning, she shouldn't even exist.

Standing on the auction block beneath smoke-drenched mountains. Nym faces her fifteenth sell. But when her hood is removed and her storm-summoning killing curse revealed, Nym is snatched up by a court adivser and given a choice: be trained as the weapon Faelen needs to win the war or be killed.

Choosing the former, Nym is unleashed into a world of politics, bizarre parties, and rumors of an evil more sinister than she's being prepared to fight...not to mention the trainer whose dark secrets lie behind a mysterious ability to calm every lightning strike she summons.

But what if she doesn't want to be the weapon they've all been looking for?

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


Nym is a slave facing her fifteenth auction. Technically, she shouldn't even be alive since she's an Elemental and her kind are usually killed at birth - and are usually male. She's kind of an anomaly of sorts. But a slip-up at the latest auction has her catching the eye of a court adviser who seeks to hone her into a weapon to use in the war and Nym isn't sure if she can, or wants, to be the weapon they need.

I love this book. I like Nym and how she's, basically, a tortured girl who's got powers she can't control and carries around a whole lot of guilt in her heart. She copes through self-harm and I like how Weber tackled this subject in the book. I also like how Nym treats her disfigurement - she doesn't go around throwing pity parties for herself but accepts that that's what she has and just goes with it. I mean what's a disfigured hand compared to her powers which have killed people? Some tell her she's special but she just doesn't buy it, doesn't believe she is and wishes she weren't. 

I loved the romance too. How could I not? Eogan was just about perfect and I loved his relationship with Nym - kudos to the author for not letting the romance take over the story. Even if I wish there were more kissy scenes, I'm perfectly okay with the way Weber wrote this. 

Another reason I enjoyed the book was the prose. Weber's writing was so beautiful and lyrical, I couldn't help myself, I had to keep on reading. The world she built was amazing too with the magic and the steampunk-like elements in the story and the way she doesn't gloss over the hard stuff like slavery and Nym's self harm.

But the most amazing thing about this book? The way I got blindsided. You know how you're near the end of the book and everything's coming to a close and it all points towards a happy ending? Yeah. Then when you get to the end it's like BAM IN YO FACE. I never expected it an I had to reread a few times just to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. I'm not even kidding, I even checked to see if my book had missing pages. It was incredibly painful and I stared it it for a few seconds in open mouthed shock before cussing it out and rereading again.

Safe to say I am looking forward to the next book because I have this desperate, all consuming need to know what happened. WHAT HAPPENED???! And every time I see my copy of Storm Siren I end up feeling so frustrated so I legit need the next book. Looking for your next fantasy read? This. You need to pick Storm Siren.


"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.

Just a quick announcement! I have finally caved and created a blog dedicated solely to my nail art. You'll find more pictures for the nail art set over there plus a list of all the book manicures I've ever done. Some don't get published on this blog. 

Hope you like this! Link to the nail blog below.

I drew out Nym on my nail by the way. It was tough but I did it.

More pics on my nail art blog. Novel Nails Designs.