Wednesday, 30 July 2014

{Blog Tour Review} Between the Layers by Sarajean Panek

Between the Layers by Sarajean Panek
The Traveller Series #1

Published on 16 July 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Count: 179

Most fifteen year old girls are trying to figure out who they are; I’m trying to stay alive long enough to figure out what.

I’ve always been on the run. From my guilt about the things I couldn’t change, and from the voice in my head that won’t let me be normal. But yesterday Tommy and I were in a car accident on the way home from school. When I woke up, Tommy was gone, and so was the world I grew up in. Now I’m running less in a metaphorical way, and more in a “pick up the pace if you don’t want to die” way. Why? Because my eyes are blue, and I’m lost in a fantasy world where that means I’m different. It means I might not be human. It means I should already be extinct, and someone called “The Regent” is determined to make me that way.

I need to find the way home, and before I do that, I need to find Tommy. He’s only in this mess because of me. I can’t do it on my own, but it’s hard to know who to trust when everyone keeps trying to kill me.

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Disclosure: I received a review copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.

What really captured my attention about this book at first glance wasn't its cover. It was that first sentence in the blurb. I was immediately intrigued by the main character and the mystery behind her situation.

Between the Layers is a refreshing read about 15 years old Sera and how she woke up in a strange place after the car accident with her friend Tommy. Tommy was not with her when she woke up and she was immediately in a dangerous situation. I was thrown into a magical world and I personally felt that the world building was pretty well done.  The interactions among the characters gave me a realistic picture of the world in Between the Layers. Sera pretty much acted her age--a little dramatic and compulsive at times but still a character that's really worth reading. People are convinced that she is the rumoured blue-eyed Princess Serendipity who has came back to save them but is she really that lost Princess?

The story is fast-paced and packed with actions--from waking up in a strange place and escaping from some unknown dangerous creatures to being locked up and escaping again and more... Romance takes a secondary place in this book, with only a light hint of romantic prospect between Sera and one of the guys in there, that's all. I really appreciate that part of the book and makes the read more exciting. I  also like how the mystery unfold in phases throughout the book and how it leads to the end where one important part of the story is concluded. However, the story will continue in book 2 as there's more to the overall picture. Looking forward to book 2!

About the author
SaraJean Panek has loved books since before she could read. One of her earliest memories is of sitting with one of her two older brothers and following along the page as he read her “Rapunzel.” She’s been telling her own stories nearly as long. “Between the Layers” is SaraJean's debut novel. She travels at every opportunity, but currently lives in her hometown of Virginia Beach and spends most of her free time writing, the work she loves.

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Monday, 28 July 2014

{Weekly Wrap Up} 21-27 Jul 2014

Sunday Post is Hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and 
Stacking the Shelves is Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

Just baked 2 small Japanese Castella cake after finding a suitable recipe online. What is amazing about this cake is that there isn't any butter at all. Nil! It only involves 4 ingredients--bread flour, sugar, honey and eggs! If you are interested, there are some videos available from: Ochikeron (this is where I learnt the receipe for Shiroi Koibito biscuits) & Namiko Chen. I used the one from Namiko Chen (and halved the ingredients) because Ochikeron used milk as additional ingredient.

Castella Cake in progress:

Final Product
Made the mistake of flipping the top against the wire rack... But it still tastes good!

  • Review of Between the Layers by Between the Layers by Sarah Penek
  • Teaser Tuesday

Borrowed Audiobook to listen on the way to and from work.

Send me your links and I'll pop by to check them out! :)
Tuesday, 22 July 2014

{Teaser Tuesday} City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Just grab your current read, open to a random page and Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. Be careful not to include any spoilers. Hop around participating book blogs and have fun!

Published 27 May 2014

"Who's there?" he called, then frowned. "Of course," he added, addressing the darkness all around, "even I, as a Shadowhunter, have seen enough movies to know that anyone who wells 'Who's there?' is going to be instantly killed." (Page 442)

Send me your links and I'll be sure to check them out!
Monday, 21 July 2014

{Review} City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
The Mortal Instruments #6

Published on 27 May 2014
Genre: Paranormal
Page Count: 725

In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!

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Disclosure: I had to be put on long waiting list through my public library.

I was so looking forward to the release of this book to know how the how series will end. We all know the bad guys will be defeated but it is a matter of how that I am more interested in. 

Sebastian is still out there and his army is growing at the expense of the Shadohunters. This is a really bad situation. There are just so many things that are happening in the book and it really kept me occupied and eager to know what's next. The book is thick--over 600 pages in the hardcover edition--and yet the whole journey still felt quite fast for me. I never want it to end. I want to know what happened after everything is settled. I want MORE. 

I still enjoy the author's writing style--engaging, entertaining and smooth. The feelings of the characters are distinct. It isn't an easy feat to be able to maintain such a wide cast of characters and yet the author managed to do it. The ending was quite... interesting--in a good way of course. In fact, I find it a little touching. I love how the author manage to incorporate the previous series into this series. It still feel so amazing to read all about it and marvel at all the linkages. 

I'm really looking forward to the next piece of the author's work!

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Sunday, 20 July 2014

{Review} Her Secret, His Surprise by Paula Altenburg

Her Secret, His Surprise by Paula Altenburg

Published on 14 July 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 166

Conflict of interest is an understatement…

Since being disowned by her strict father, Cass Stone has spent her adulthood trying to prove him wrong. Her drive has led to more success than her family ever thought she’d achieve, and life is looking great. Not even an incredible and mysterious one night stand that leaves her a single mom can trip her up...until the father of her baby stumbles back into her life, as sexy and unreliable as ever.

Logan Alexander hasn’t forgotten the night he spent with Cass two years ago, but he never expects to end up undercover as her assistant. His job saves lives—like it should have saved his brother—and he can’t afford complications. It’s difficult enough to maintain his cover as a carefree wanderer when he realizes his attraction to Cass hasn’t faded...and then he meets Cass’s daughter.

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Kindle, B&N, Kobo Books


Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Mature content. No suitable for readers below 18.

The idea of the secret baby and the undercover male character in this book got me curious about how the story will unfold. The story started with how Cass and Logan met in the bar and their attraction led to one night with Logan and everything changed for Cass. A baby was coming on board but she couldn't contact Logan, who seem to disappear. The staff at the bar didn't know anyone by his name. How shocking! Two years later, they met again under some shocking situation--he's her new assistant. Another surprise--he's actually the grandson of her kind neighbour!

Paula Altenburg creates relateable characters. I can understand how Cass emotions through the words, about her protectiveness towards her daughter Olivia and her wariness of Logan. Although I understand Logan's need for secrecy at times, it frustrates me to read that he's keeping a barrier when it's kind of obvious how she felt about him and him with Olivia. Logan's grandmother is a darling! I was touched that she was actually keeping a lookout for Cass!

Overall, this was a cute read for me! Olivia is adorable and so are Logan's reactions to seeing and interacting with her. Looking forward to reading other works by the author.

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{Weekly Wrap Up} 14 - 20 Jul 2014

Sunday Post is Hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer and 
Stacking the Shelves is Hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

It's movie weekend again! Went to watch Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and my Mom really likes it. I can't help but feeling that there will be a 3rd installment for the series after watching the end. 

I've also re-launched my book exchange website, Books Go Round, this weekend. Now, anyone can actually list their books for exchange! It's actually a combination of local and international platform for readers to list their books for exchange. Hope the book exchange website will be useful to readers! (Pssh! There's a giveaway going on for free Listing Packages!

  • Chancing on You by Melinda Ellen
  • City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
  • Teaser Tuesday

No new books in my mail box though I did order 4 physical books despite my book buying ban. *laughs* It's impossible to follow through the book buying ban with so many books and tempting book discounts!

Send me your links and I'll pop by to check them out! :)
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