Book Haul: Ebooks Galore

I haven’t done a book haul post in months, my last one was in June. I thought it would be a good idea to put up a blog update on books that I’ve acquired since then. I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten more ebooks than physical books recently but let’s start with two packages that I’ve received:

A Corner of White package

I won a giveaway that my friend Brandy hosted on her blog. I chose A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty because I’m excited to read it. I’ve been hearing good things about this book and I like that it has a whimsical cover. I have the NetGalley edition of this but the formatting is a bit off so I would prefer reading the hardcover.

The Chocolate Touch package

I can’t get over how generous Laura Florand is, she was nice enough to send me a signed copy of The Chocolate Touch! It’s been weeks (or has it been months?) since I finished reading the galley of this and I still need to work on a review. Let me just say that I loved it – the Amour et Chocolat series really is one of my favorite discoveries this year.

Moving on to ebooks. I bought a couple of titles based on several recommendations:
Protecting Whats HisHis Risk to TakeOfficer Off LimitsConfidence Tricks
Protecting What’s His by Tessa Bailey
His Risk to Take by Tessa Bailey
Officer Off Limits by Tessa Bailey
Confidence Tricks by Tamara Morgan

Wowza, how smexy are those Tessa Bailey covers? Her Line of Duty series was recommended by both Mandi of Smexy Books and Mina V. Esguerra. I’ve read all three and I liked Officer Off Limits the best. I’m so behind on reviews so I’m not sure if I’ll ever get the chance to review these. Confidence Tricks was recommended by Laura Florand – the premise reminds me a little of Fate’s Edge.

These two titles were available for free on Amazon so I grabbed them as soon as I could:
Her Favorite TemptationThe Other Side of Us
Her Favorite Temptation by Sarah Mayberry
The Other Side of Us by Sarah Mayberry

Some galleys that I received for review / got approval on NetGalley for:
Snow-KissedWell-PlayedThe Corrupt ComteStay With MeWild ChildThe Heiress EffectLife in Outer SpaceMaking It Last
Snow-Kissed by Laura Florand
Well-Played by Katrina Ramos Atienza
The Corrupt Comte by Edie Harris
Stay With Me by Elyssa Patrick
Wild Child by Molly O’Keefe
The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan
Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil
Making It Last by Ruthie Knox

Last but not the least, even my current read is in ebook format:
The Distance Between Us
That’s a lot of ebooks! And most of them are romances. I think that says something about the kind of reading mood that I’ve been in. I do want to read more fantasy but it’s just that it’s so easy to get into contemporary romances. Anyway, Sunday is almost over in my part of the world. How was your weekend? What are the books that you’ve bought or received lately?

Want Books: A Corner of White

Want Books? is a weekly meme hosted here at Chachic’s Book Nook and features released books that you want but you can’t have for some reason. It can be because it’s not available in your country, in your library or you don’t have the money for it right now. Everyone is free to join, just grab the image above. Leave a comment with a link to your post so I can do a roundup with each post.

I enjoyed reading Jaclyn Moriarty’s epistolary young adult novels so I was immediately curious when I first heard about her latest novel, A Corner of White. It has such an intriguing premise, it looks like fantasy mixed with contemporary because it’s set in two worlds. It reminds me a little of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, which is one of my favorite fantasy trilogies. I believe A Corner of White was released in Australia late last year (lucky Aussies) but I haven’t been able to find a way to get it. I think a US edition will be released in April so it might be easier for me to grab a copy then.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

A Corner of WhiteMadeleine Tully lives in Cambridge, England, the World – a city of spires, Isaac Newton and Auntie’s Tea Shop.

Elliot Baranski lives in Bonfire, the Farms, the Kingdom of Cello – where seasons roam, the Butterfly Child sleeps in a glass jar, and bells warn of attacks from dangerous Colours.

They are worlds apart – until a crack opens up between them; a corner of white – the slim seam of a letter.

A mesmerising story of two worlds; the cracks between them, the science that binds them and the colours that infuse them.

Looks interesting, right? What about you, what book is at the top of your wishlist?

The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty

The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie is the third installment in the Ashbury series by Jaclyn Moriarty although the books are just loosely connected and they can be read out of order. I’ve read and liked the first two Ashbury books – Feeling Sorry for Celia and The Year of Secret Assignments. I decided to pick this one up since it’s available in Fully Booked for P420.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Bindy Mackenzie believes herself to be the smartest, kindest girl at Ashbury High. Unfortunately, she is alone in that belief.

To prove her likeability, Bindy decides to document her life in transcripts, essays, and e-mails. What this reveals is a girl who’s funny, passionate, hilariously self-righteous… and in danger.

Someone wants to kill Bindy Mackenzie. The clues are in the documents. The detectives are the very students who hate her most. And time is running out.

This one is different from the other two because it doesn’t concentrate on the “Joy of the Envelope” letter exchange program between the two schools, Ashbury and Brookefield. Instead, the story is told from Bindy’s point of view through her diary entries, reports about her Friendship and Development (FAD) sessions and her random musings. Bindy is the type of character that you’d either really love or really hate. At the start of the book, she’s pretty easy to dislike because she’s so full of herself. However, I found her funny because she’s such a character! If you don’t take her seriously, I think you’ll see that she’s hilarious. She’s puzzled most of the time because she doesn’t understand other people. She lacks social skills so she doesn’t have friends and she’s totally focused on school work. The first part was pretty slow for me but things started to pick up in the second half of the book and by the time I reached the last few chapters, I knew I had to stick with it until the end – meaning I had to stay up until past 1am even though I wake up at 5am for work.

As with the other two Jaclyn Moriartys that I’ve read, this one is about friendship. I like how the three books deal with different kinds of friendship. In Feeling Sorry for Celia, it was all about best friends. In The Year of Secret Assignments, it was about the loyalty of a small group of three friends. In this one, it’s about forming friendships with a whole group. Like I said, Bindy doesn’t really have any friends and she thinks the FAD sessions are a waste of valuable time because she’d rather study. This book is all about Bindy and how she learns more about herself by reaching out to her fellow classmates. Another humorous installment in Jaclyn Moriarty’s Ashbury series. What’s good about this one is that it gives glimpses of the main characters in the first two books – Elizabeth from Feeling Sorry for Celia and Emily from The Year of Secret Assignments.

Other reviews: (manually generated)
The Book Smugglers
Attack of the Book
Vulpes Libris
Becky’s Book Reviews
Young Adult Book Reviews

Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty

Feeling Sorry for Celia is the first installment in Jaclyn Moriarty’s Ashbury books but the series can be read out of order. I read and liked The Year of Secret Assignments a couple of days ago. This one is also available in Fully Booked for P539.

Here’s the summary from Jaclyn Moriarty’s website:

Life is pretty complicated for Elizabeth Clarry. Her best friend Celia keeps disappearing, her absent father suddenly reappears, and her communication with her mother consists entirely of wacky notes left on the fridge. On top of everything else, because her English teacher wants to rekindle the “Joy of the Envelope,” a Complete and Utter Stranger knows more about Elizabeth than anyone else.

But Elizabeth is on the verge of some major changes. She may lose her best friend, find a wonderful new friend, kiss the sexiest guy alive, and run in a marathon. So much can happen in the time it takes to write a letter…

After reading The Year of Secret Assignments, I knew that all of Jaclyn Moriarty’s other novels would be just as funny and I wasn’t disappointed with Feeling Sorry for Celia. This book is written entirely through letters. Epistolary novels are such fun! More so if the characters lead such unusual lives. Actually, both Elizabeth and Christina are trying to live normal lives as Aussie teenagers. Their best friends, Celia and Maddie, are the outrageously wild ones. Both of them keep running away from home without leaving word of where they’ll go. Also, Elizabeth’s parents are pretty zany too. Her mother talks to her mostly in notes left on the fridge. Her dad, who left them when she was a baby, suddenly appears and wants to make it up to her by taking her out to dinner in fancy restaurants and making her smell and drink wine (which she doesn’t like).

I was happy for both Elizabeth and Christina when they were assigned to exchange letters because they understand each other so well. Like The Year of Secret Assignments, this book focuses on friendship and the romance aspect of the novel takes a backseat. The book deals with Elizabeth and Christina’s teenage trials and tribulations and how they can both relate to each other even though they only communicate through letters. It was amazing to watch a friendship bloom based on letter-writing because in this day and age, it isn’t that common anymore. And to think that they were only writing letters because it’s a requirement for English class.

I wish I had a high school teacher who wanted to resurrect the “Joy of the Envelope” because I think I would’ve loved to have a pen friend. Although when I was in high school, email was still a pretty new thing so people still wrote a lot of letters. Recommended for fans of epistolary novels and anyone up for a funny YA contemporary read. It’s no surprise that several book bloggers have been talking about Jaclyn Moriarty lately.

Other reviews: (manually generated)
See Michelle Read
Steph Su Reads
The Book Smugglers
Cherry Banana Split

The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty

I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Jaclyn Moriarty lately. I think I first heard about her when Michelle of See Michelle Read reviewed The Ghosts of Ashbury High. Ever since then, Michelle has been trying to convince me to read at least one of Jaclyn Moriarty’s books. Also, I saw that Ana of The Book Smugglers raved about all of Jaclyn Moriarty’s books in this post. The last time Ana did this was when she found out about MWT’s Queen’s Thief series and you all know how much I love that series. I wanted to read The Ghosts of Ashbury High but it’s not available here. Thankfully, The Year of Secret Assignments (published as Finding Cassie Crazy in Australia) is available in Fully Booked for P378. Yay for awesome local bookstores!

Here’s the summary from Jaclyn Moriarty’s website:

When Lydia, Emily, and Cassie are assigned pen pals among the thugs at Brookfield High, they respond in characteristic style:

Cassie: “I always think it’s funny when a teacher tries to be cool. I want to sit them down and say ‘It’s okay, you’re a grown-up, you’re allowed to be a nerd,’ and they will look up at me confused but also relieved and teary-eyed.”

Lydia: “I am a fish. You wouldn’t think so to look at me, what with my uniform and the hair on top of my head and all that. But it’s true. I am a fish.”

Emily: “Don’t get me started about chocolate! My nickname might be ‘Em,’ but sometimes it’s also Toblerone! I think this is an angiogram of Thompson, which is my last name.”

And their pen-pals? Sebastian is an artist, a black belt in Tae Kwan Do, and a major hottie. Charlie is utterly gullible, a car expert/occasional thief, and a really sweet guy. But Matthew is… well, he’s either a psychopath or a figment of Cassie’s imagination, neither of which is a good sign. And what starts out as a simple letter exchange leads to secret assignments, false alarms, lock picking, legal drama, mistaken identities, Dates with Girls, and all-out war between the schools… the biggest challenge Lydia, Cass, and Emily’s friendship has ever faced.

I think this is the second book in Jaclyn Moriarty’s series and I was worried that I’ll be lost because I haven’t read the first one but it seems like they’re all just loosely connected and you can start with any of her books. The Year of Secret Assignments is written in a variety of formats, it’s like a scrapbook of sorts. The story unfolds through notebook and diary entries and the exchanged letters of three Ashbury students and three Brookefield students. At first, it was a bit confusing because you have to deal with so many points of view but I didn’t mind because there were a lot of hilarious moments even early on. Plus, I love writing and receiving letters. When we were in high school, my friends and I exchanged letters all the time. I don’t even know why we did that because we could have just talked in person. I still have most of those letters in shoe boxes stored in one of my cabinets.

This book was a lot of fun to read! The characters were so quirky, each crazy in his or her own way and I loved them. In Mr. Botherit’s intention to resurrect “The Joy of the Envelope,” these characters’ personalities shine forth through their letters. I must say that Cassie is my favorite character in this one because although she’s not as exuberant as Emily or Lydia, her personality is just as distinct. She’s funny in her own subtle way. There’s a bit of romance it this book but overall, I think it’s refreshing to read a YA book that’s more about friendship than anything else – the kind of friendship that starts in primary school and would probably last for a lifetime and those unexpected ones that bloom through letter-writing, secret assignments, tutorials about how to date girls and whatnot. Cass, Em and Lyd are so very different from each other but they are steadfast and loyal when it comes to helping out one another.

If you’re interested in something light and funny with a dash of insanity thrown in for good measure, then I recommend this book. I was laughing out loud in several sections of this book and I can’t wait to read Jaclyn Moriarty’s other books. I’m especially curious about Bindy because of her incredible typing skills. She has only one scene in the book but I think that’s one of my favorites.

Other reviews: (manually generated)
See Michelle Read
The Book Smugglers
Where the Moon Shines
Not Enough Bookshelves
In Which a Girl Reads