Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Seven Minutes in Heaven by Sara Shepard Review

"My sister wants the truth.

But sometimes the truth hurts.

For months, my long-lost twin, Emma, has been living my life and trying to solve my murder. She's unearthed dark secrets about my friends, my family, and my tangled past. But when it comes to finding my killer, she keeps running into dead ends.

Until my body shows up in Sabino Canyon. Suddenly everyone knows there are two girls who look like Sutton Mercer—and that one of them is dead. At first the police assume the body is Emma's. But as questions and accusations start flying, it's harder than ever for Emma to keep playing me. The truth is bound to come out eventually. And when it does, Emma will be suspect number one in my murder investigation. If she can't find my killer before time runs out, she'll end up behind bars . . . or worse."

Out of all the books in The Lying Game series, Seven Minutes in Heaven (you're reading this review) and Cross My Heart, Hope to Die (review available) are the best of the best. After all those wonderful years of patience, twiddling thumbs, and guessing, I'm sad to say goodbye in every language I know. It's been a wonderful journey with the twins-- Emma Paxton and Sutton Mercer. To see the ups and downs. To be guessing. To almost get killed a million times over and over again. 

Seven Minutes in Heaven is an emotional rollercoaster. For us and for Emma and for Sutton the ghost that narrates. We all thought that Sutton Mercer might be alive or in a coma or something like that. No. She was at the bottom of Sabino Canyon in a deep stage of decomposition. Sutton Mercer's body was found by a freshman of a relatively close universtiy. Now an ongoing police investigation threatens Emma's investigation of her dead twin.  

The plot is brilliant. I love it! Like its sister books, Seven Minutes in Heaven has a similar MO. Killer threatens someone then Emma guess somebody which happens to be Garrett. (I'm not going to tell you the killer's name. Not yet anyway. Scroll to Characters of my review if you're just here for his/her name.) We'll see the final battle in Sabino Canyon. 

The ending is so gorgeous. I almost (almost) got teary at the end, but it isn't sad enough. (Sorry Sara Shepard, we know you tried.) I screamed so much at the end. WHY? WHY? I can't believe Sara Shepard (the author) choose him/her as the killer. OF ALL PEOPLE! OMG! WHY? I love that character so much and it's so sad to see him/her fall from Emma's and our grace. (Still not saying anything yet.) The killer's identity isn't very surprising, but it is still a shock. 

Characters: (Finally!)

Emma Paxton is an idiot. I swear, she's an idiot. Just because you like a guy, doesn't mean... Oh, wait I'm getting ahead of myself. Emma is... I have no other words to describe Emma Paxton. The best word is 'idiot' and any synonyms of 'idiot.' I swear this series could have ended in like the first book or maybe second or third. It doesn't matter anymore. It's over now. 

Sutton Mercer is awesome. I like her a whole lot more than Emma. She is the smart twin, the better twin, and the crazier twin. She's wise for her age, most likely because of the fact that she died. I like her fate at the end of the book. 

Now I'm on the killer's identity. Thank you for your patience. Charged with kidnapping, 2 counts of murder (Nisha and Sutton), attempted murder (Emma), and theft, ETHAN LANDRY is finally behind bars. Ethan is really intelligent, although slightly insecure. He's has a dangerous issue with anger along with his violent side. When he was eight years old, ETHAN LANDRY murdered a young girl by strangling her. He pretended to be accidentally murdering her but when he is interviewed by a shrink, Ethan admitted that he purposely murdered her because she should've had only one friend. And guess who's that. 

Farewell, The Lying Game.

Rating: Four out of Five

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Recalled To Life by Dan Burns Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"Chicago architect Peter O’Hara had a plan, a blueprint, for how he wanted to build his life. He had goals and ambitions and his path was clear. He had a loving wife and son, career success, and his final career goal was close within reach. The opportunity to become a partner in his firm was there for the taking. He almost had it all.

But life and fate do not consider such plans. An unbelievable and unplanned event sets off a domino effect of repercussions that turn Peter’s life upside down, pushing him to his limits and causing him to re-evaluate everything he thought was important."

I wouldn't say that Peter's life was turned too upside down. Instead I would say Peter's life was turned a ninety degrees. (Okay, I'll stop it with the math, algebra, trigonometry and geometry. I swear.) 

Recalled To Life forces Peter O'Hara to change everything he once thought was wrong or right. Recalled to Life is brilliant, completed with strong characters, an amazing young child, and a remarkable addicting conflict/situation. The plot is beautiful with plenty of twist and turns. Recalled To Life, for me, isn't a too bad for a book. It's good; it's above average. For most readers, Recalled To Life is one of those books that you read only because you're "bored and there's nothing else to do" or "reading it because your mother thinks you don't read enough books."

I totally and wholeheartedly recommended Recalled to Life only to people who want to make a change in their life and people who want to have a little piece of hope and joy. The book is like a really muddy reflection of Michael Jackson's song Man in the Mirror. (Muddy, remember, it's a muddy reflection of the song.)

I hate the POVs. I wish it sticks only to Peter O'Hara instead of wavering to Jack, Peter's father, or even to Jake, Peter's son. It becomes quite annoying, plus the book doesn't tell you who exactly is narrating/speaking/thinking. Instead, readers have to figure it out by location, speaking ways, and thinking ways. Sometimes the name is mentioned, but never boldly printed before the POV starts. 


Peter O'Hara's life is perfect. He has it all--the woman he loves, the son who makes him smile, the successful career, and a nice home. When a huge change in his life took place, Peter is forced to set his priorities in order. Should he put his career above all? Or should he pay more attention to family like his father, Jack O'Hara? Or maybe his son, Jake O'Hara? Choices, choices, choices. 

Jack O'Hara, Peter's family, is ill. He can't talk and is mentally and physically disabled until a great miracle took place. His fight with his son and his mentality is a major aspect of Recalled to Life. 

Rating: Three Point Five out of Five. Rounded to a Four. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Outin by Brandt Legg Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"Time and dimensions collide as Outin, Book two of the Inner Movement trilogy, takes off from the last page of Outview. Nate, relentlessly pursued, faces impossible choices that transcend life and death. Aided by more mystics, he struggles to find understanding on a breathless quest through extraordinary realms. If Nate can keep his friends alive, avoid Lightyear, unravel crucial mysteries from the past then the Movement just might have a chance to change everything. The journey continues . . .

Outin, where truth is hidden within time, time is misunderstood, and understanding is not always knowing the truth."

Outin is certainly an improvement from the last book, Outview (review available! yay!). In fact, I actually enjoy Outin much more than Outview. But if you just want to read Outin and not Outview, think twice. Unfortunately Outin doesn't do recaps or summarizing from the previous book, Outview (Inner Movement Trilogy #1). (Outview has a review!) 

Outin's plot is full of twist and turns. Poor Nate has to fight/avoid Lightyear to prevent himself and others from getting killed. The conflict's clear. It's majorly good versus evil. But to fight evil, the plot and book gets a little complicated. As in complicated as the Millenium Prize Problems. Okay, not that complicated, but I think you get the picture, right?

I have to make sure readers understand this: The Outin/Outview World is sort of difficult to understand. It will be best if readers take notes to remember what exactly is going on. (I didn't but I have a really, really good and impressive memory.) There's a lot of events going around, not to mentioned the facts and odd people.

The ending is so "are you kidding me?" Yeah, it's basically like that. Nate went through all the sacrifices and hardships so he can find out that ohhh! I can't believe that. He may have destroyed ______ but he now has to destroy _________. That's not a nice ending. It's a rude cliffhanger that will rip readers from the mind and soul.

Every time I think of Outin, I start to imagine these movies: Back to the Future and Terminator. Yes, Outin involves some serious kicking and time traveling. Without the fancy and scientific machines/cars or crazy Arnold Schwarzenegger robots programmed to kill John Connor. Too bad there isn't some nice cars or robots.


Nate: I sometimes think Nate is so arrogant and irritating. He has a good heart, but he's sometimes too thick. Nate has flaws, which makes him an interesting character. One flaw is the ability/tendency to blame others for faults. He doesn't think before he acts. He is the type who "attacks first, then ask questions/investigate suspicious persons."

Rating: Four out of Five

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole Review

"She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side…."

Warning: Tarot cards are involved. 

The Major Arcana and their real names: 

  1. The Fool: Matthew
  2. The Magician: Finn
  3. The High Priestess: Unknown
  4. The Empress: Evie
  5. The Emperor: Unknown
  6. The Hierophant: Unknown
  7. The Lovers: Unknown
  8. The Chariot: Unknown
  9. Strength: Unknown
  10. The Hermit: Arthur*
  11. Wheel of Fortune: Unknown
  12. Justice: Unknown
  13. The Hanged Man: Unknown
  14. Death: Unknown
  15. Temperance: Calanthe*
  16. The Devil: Ogen
  17. The Tower: Joules
  18. The Star: Unknown
  19. The Moon: Selena
  20. Judgement: Gabriel 
  21. The Sun: Unknown
  22. World: Unknown


Poison Princess is an amazing book. I really liked it, but will advise readers to wait until the second book is out. Then you don't have to be tortured by the ending like me. (See, I do care for you.) Poison Princess is recommended to children (thirteen years old) and up. There isn't much of inappropriate happenings, but it almost happened. There's a lot of mentions of kissing, hugging, wanting, lust, longing, etc. So parents, you guys might have to step the age up one level or two.    

With a twisty plot, Poison Princess is entertaining and a ride through the rough, the heavy, the dirty, and the worse experience ever. The writing is attractive and addicting. Set in the distant future (A.F. aka after a flash/solar flare changed the entire world), Poison Princess is an interesting twist for fans who love witches/tarot cards, paranormal books, zombies, and creepy end of the worlds. 

The ending is surprising. I truly didn't think that that was going to happen in the end. The ending is amazing and stunning. I had to reread the ending to make sure that the ending is really the ending. 

Told from two POVs (Evie's and Arthur's), Poison Princess is entertaining with Arthur's disgusting scientific fascination with dangerous poisons and Evie's innocent good girl personality. Evie's POV dominates Arthur's POV whose POV only takes over a little more than three chapters of the entire book. 


Arthur is gross. Every time I read his narrating of a chapter, I always want to puke and always think of some of the serial killers in Criminal Minds. He's mostly driven by cold logic and an insane thinking of scientific "research." He's the classic Bluebeard, but without the wives and bloody murders. Oh, remember that Bluebeard had that one room full of his victims? Well, you don't want to know what's in his dungeon.

Evie, a better character compared to Arthur. She's a normal teenager, if you ignore the fact that she's been in therapy for her crazy dreams/nightmares. She has been on drugs and medications after deemed crazy/insane by her mother because she hears these voices. Evie is a little too slow for my taste. There were times where I wanted to scream "OMG The answer is right there" at here. I like Evie a lot more towards the end of Poison Princess, especially the part involving Arthur and his dungeon. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Daybreakers by Louis L'Amour Review

"Tyrel Sackett was born to trouble, but vowed to justice. After having to kill a man in Tennessee, he hit the trail west with his brother Orrin. Those were the years when decent men and women lived in fear of Indians, rustlers, and killers, but the Sackett brothers worked to make the West a place where people could raise their children in peace. Orrin brought law and order from Santa Fe to Montana, and his brother Tye backed him up every step of the way. Till the day the job was done, Tye Sackett was the fastest gun alive."

You know there's a book where everybody says, "It's a good book. Read it, girl!" and you read it because of peer pressure and think it's a horrible book? Well, that's what I feel about The Daybreakers. I even liked the synopsis, but no matter how hard I tried to like it, I couldn't. When I read The Daybreakers, I feel like those "kinda dumb" kids in math class who can't understand simple algebra problems like x+3x+2=0. (It's x=-2, x=-1. I'm really good at math, so don't try to message me and yell, using Cap lock, at me for getting the problem "wrong." That happens a lot.)

The Daybreakers is also one of those books that I "can read, but can't absorb." As I read every word, I can't help but seemingly skim over the words, listening to the words, yet not truly taking it into my memory storage. I, however, did manage to absorb the basic details and plot. 

I did like the plot. With its western world and western drawl, I can't help but enjoy the book in this aspect. (I don't like all aspects, of course.) The writing is good and I greatly enjoyed imitating the character's western accent. Anyway, the Wild West needs to be tamed! And who can do it? These boys, the brothers, Orrin and Tyrel Sackett. In The Daybreakers, readers will discover the misadventures and witty mind of the troublesome young man, Tyrel Sackett. Told from his point of view, we, the readers, will see the years of fights, friendships, and, of course, the western style of shooting. 

For any high schoolers reading my review, they should know that, in around Junior/Senior year, they'll be required to read The Daybreakers, unfortunately. It isn't a pleasant reading experience for me. And to any high schoolers trying to understand The Daybreakers, I will tell them this: Try marking the text. It's a good strategy if you're trying to obtain the theme/setting/plot/characters/conflicts from the reading. Good Luck!


Tyrel Sackett is one of those boys that is on the wrong side of the road. He's the one mothers tell to their daughters "stay away from him. He's trouble and I know it." In a shorter version, Tyrel Sackett is a bad boy. Quick with his gun and hands, Tyrel is the one to be feared out of the two brothers. With little to say and more to do, Tyrel will be doing most of the heavy lifting in The Daybreakers. His strengths lies in knowledge, wit, and speed.

Orrin Sackett is on the good side, as one can call it. He's a true boy scout. A good sheriff, who doesn't take crap and excuses for an answer. He's more of a speaker than Tyrel and his strength lies more in force and some wit. 

Rating: Two out of Five

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze Review

"A series of natural disasters has decimated the earth. Cut off from the rest of the world, England is a dark place. The sun rarely shines, food is scarce, and groups of criminals roam the woods, searching for prey. The people are growing restless. When a ruthless revolutionary sets out to overthrow the crown, he makes the royal family his first target. Blood is shed in Buckingham Palace, and only sixteen-year old Princess Eliza manages to escape. Determined to kill the man who destroyed her family, Eliza joins the enemy forces in disguise. She has nothing left to live for but revenge, until she meets someone who helps her remember how to hope-and love-once more.Now she must risk everything to ensure that she does not become... The Last Princess."

Moment of my random wonder: Did anyone else wonder if Eliza is short for Elizabeth? Because if that's true, then wouldn't Eliza might become Queen Elizabeth the Third of England? Assuming that no Elizabeths had been named queen from now and the future. 

^Ignore that paragraph. It's evidence of my endless dreaming.^

The Last Princess is a brilliant and interesting book. I thought there's some loose/gray areas in the book, but overall I liked it. The plot's good and full of twist and horrible events. (Blood included. Not suitable for children under thirteen.) The conflict between Princess Eliza/British Royal Family and Cornelius H. is okay, but sounds similar to Katniss Everdeen and President Snow's conflict. Except for the fact that Cornelius is more ruthless and and ugly in personality. If you like the Hunger Games, you'll like The Last Princess and perhaps the books after it.

Now the gray area: I don't get it. Even though the synopsis says, "Cut off from the rest of the world," I can't help but wonder what really happen to the rest of the world. It isn't fully discussed in The Last Princess, but I just can't help wondering what the heck is going on in the rest of the world, especially the American and Asian countries. Are they alive? Are they dead? Are there zombies roaming around? And how the heck is England shut off from the rest of the world? I need more details to understand the background, so I started the series off with the wrong foot. 

For those of you, readers, who are curious about the sign of Cornelius H. (the British reincarnation of President Snow), it's a small silver star. That's the symbol he uses when he kills people. President Snow uses white roses with a pungent perfume, remember?

I love how the author, Galaxy Craze, uses real places/settings to tell the book. Although I'm not sure how Buckingham Palace is still standing, it's a pretty good place for the Royals to be at. Warning: There will be Poisons and Assassinations.

Ooo! I really want to see the POV of the love interest. What does he truly see in her? What doesn't he like about her? Is he seriously that native towards her or he know how dangerous Eliza is truly? I want a POV of the love interest in the next book. Oh! I need a flashback or novella, in his POV, involving his dark, dangerous father, the lunatic and King-wannabe. 


Eliza is brave and thirsty for revenge. She's intelligent and usually reckless, when it comes to her family. Like many characters of the dystopian world, she doesn't think of her actions until it's too late. 

I like the love interest. I wonder what's he going to be like when he appears in the second novel. Everything about his seems to be so right and not so wrong. He's off on a good foot, for now.

Rating: Four out of Five

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Cold King by Amber Jaeger Review

"… Not every Beast is a prince charming at heart and not every Beauty is a maiden just waiting for love…

Calia Thorn has lived her entire life in a small town sheltered by the Cold King’s mountain. Working day and night to care for her younger siblings, complete her unending chores and please her selfish, lazy mother has left her with few dreams for her own future.

But then even those meager hopes are taken from her when the Cold King comes down from his mountain to demand a new servant. Ungraceful, unladylike, undesired and unwanted by even her own family, Calia is chosen to be sent to the palace.

The Cold King has lived for three hundred years under a curse imposed by his own father. With no hope of ever breaking it, he settles for keeping his heart frozen against any pain— or hope.

When his new servant arrives, she challenges him in ways no one ever has and sparks fly. But not every Beast is a prince charming at heart and not every beauty is a maiden just waiting for love.

Sometimes happily ever after isn’t so easy…"

Whoa! Now this is a huge eye opener. I guess I did get what I wanted: death and a little more action. A much better retelling of Beauty and the Beast, than the Beauty and the Beast I read a few months ago. I definitely will recommended The Cold King to readers inappropriate scenes...ah, yes! I recommended this book to readers around thirteen or older. Older than thirteen for sure, no one younger than that age should read The Cold King.

The Cold King is full of twist and turns. Reading the plot is like being on an hour long rollercoaster. It truly is a rollercoaster, readers. You think it's going to end, but NOOO it's not the end, yet. The conflict is great! I'm totally into and invested in The Cold King, a Young Adult novel. 

I love this retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It's so perfect and breathtaking. There are no plot holes, no loose endings, and no odd characters, who mysteriously appears only in time of great need. Of course, there are some differences. For example, in the tale, Beauty's father is alive and a merchant. In the Cold King, Beauty's father is dead. Calia's background story is very much like Cinderella's pitiful one. Unlike Cinderella, Calia's mother is the one tormenting her, not a evil stepmother--a wicked mother. 

The Cold King isn't cursed by a hateful witch. No, no. The Cold King is cursed by his own father three hundred years ago. (Harsh isn't it?) Reader's sympathy will grow until the Cold King's past is finally revealed.'s up to Calia's (and reader's) decision whether or not hate him or love him. Know this: He did some pretty bad things when he was much, much younger. Like three hundred years younger. 

I only have one request for the author, Amber Jaeger. Please, please, please, and more please have more scenes of POV of His Royal Irritating Iciness Valanka, The Cold King. I really want to see him closely, in his view and thoughts. 

There isn't much chemistry between Valanka and Calia. Hell, a piece of velcro and it's pair has more chemistry than them. I don't really know how to explain it, but the chemistry just felt too...cold. (No Joke. And please don't laugh, I'm being serious.)


Valanka, the Cold King, is a good king. Cold, yes, but a good king. He wears scary and creepy mask that covers his face, hiding his...well, I'm not going to reveal the dirty secrets. Underneath all those layers of coldness, iciness, and armor, he's a good soul. He's scarred by his past, both literally and figuratively. He's lost, but controls what little he has. He's the beast of this cold, cold, and beautiful tale.

Calia Thorn or Little Thorn is the Beauty in this story. I like her better than many other characters. She's clever and loyal to those who don't deserved her loyalty. (I hate her mother very much.) Calia is somewhat innocent in The Cold King, yet that trait starts to fade as we travel along with her horrible experiences, missteps, dreadful past, and emotional thoughts. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Rumplestiltskin by Jenni James Review

"A young prince crippled by a witch—

When Fredrico watches his cruel family mourn his false death and announce to the kingdom their cursed prince has died, is the day he truly embraces his new life and new name Rumplestiltskin. How could he be known by anything else? —His skin is completely rumpled and stilted now. He hides away from the king and queen and grows up as a crippled servant in the castle.

Years later, his younger brother, Marcus, becomes king and humors Aubrynn’s father when he boasts that his daughter can turn straw into gold. Intrigued Marcus locks the distraught maiden in a tower and declares to the kingdom that if she can transform the straw, he will marry her, but if she cannot he will kill her father.

Rumplestiltskin is determined to help Aubrynn save her father and marry the king. Now, if only he can remember to keep his real identity a secret and not fall in love with her himself…"

Okay... I have a problem with fairy tales. Not because of the characters. Not because of the annoying and evil stepsisters. No, it's because of loose endings and odd moves by characters, who seem to have no motivations.  

Take Cinderella, for example. Why did the prince fall in love with her that fast? He doesn't know her, but falls immediately in love with her beauty. It's a plot hole and don't give me that "true love at first sight" shit. What about Red Riding Hood? Why Grandmother is living alone? In these fairy tales, loopholes, plot holes, and loose endings are annoying, taunting, and irritating. That's why I read fairy tale retellings. BUT! What makes me really upset is that there's a freaking no-motivation move by one of our beloved character! Why would he rescue her? Why? I don't see the reasoning behind that. It's making me so agitated. 

Rumplestiltskin, the book, reminds me of the television show, Once Upon A Time. (Oh, how much I love that show. I love Rumple and Belle, so much!) Of course, there are some differences. Unlike Rumple, Fredrico is wasted away with an ugly hunch in his back and memories of his favorite dead maid in a castle that is wrongfully taken away from him by his family, the Royals including his little brother King Marcus. Like Rumple, Fredrico is able to cast spells, but only with the help of magical stones, unlike Rumple. I don't know if Rumple has beautiful eyes or not, but apparently, from Aubrynn's POV, Fredrico has these gorgeous soulful eyes. (Does that thought make anyone else want to throw up? I know I want to.)

Let's get to the girl. Aubrynn's father is ruined by drinks and spells of alcohol. (Apparently bad parents or evil siblings is a style of Jenni James.) The family's mill is sinking deeper and deeper into to debt, thanks to King Marcus's high taxes and Aubrynn's father's reckless and careless drinking. At a meeting involving something, most likely taxes and golden money, Aubrynn's father drunkenly takes the stage and brags how Aubrynn can spin straw into gold. Obviously, the amused King Marcus appeals to gold, so he decides to lock Aubrynn in a room of straw and forces her to spin straw into gold or else.  

Blah, blah, blah. I don't care about that. All I care about is the cheesy ending (and chemistry but we'll get to that). Are you serious, Jenni James? Can any ending surpass this in its cheesiness? *Sigh* I wish these books, written by Jenni James, has a little more action and death. So disappointed. 

The chemisty. I'm getting sick of this. Anyone noticed that after peeling off the names and slightly different conflicts, the chemistry is basically the same. Yeah. I don't have anything against recycling, but these books of the Faerie Collections are really pushing my limits and mental defenses. Reading like three of these books is pushing MY, MY, MY limits. If I have a printed copy of this book, I'll toss it to the nearest working fireplace and stomp on the black papers, grinning with every moment.  


Fredrico is this dashing, remembered yet forgotten, living prince. (Aren't they always dashing?) He's smart and intelligent. He knows his limits and has a strong sense of self-preservation. Fredrico however, is slightly disappointing. He should have spent more time plotting to overthrow the false King and reclaim his rightful place on his throne. Alas, no, he squandered most of his years as a servant! (I am saying this in Draco's voice, from the Harry Potter movies.)

Aubrynn is pretty much reckless and useless. I'm sorry for saying this, but this is what I truly think of her. She basically had Fredrico doing the heavy lifting.

Rating: Two out of Five

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cinderella by Jenni James Review

"A girl with a secret and a prince on a mission

When Prince Anthony spies Eleanoria Woodston outside her family home dressed as a servant, he knows something is amiss. Pretending to be John, his cousin’s outrider, he decides to take matters into his own hands and figure out why Ella hasn't been seen at court. And more importantly why the daughter of one of the wealthiest families in the kingdom dresses like a pauper.

Ella has had her own bout of trials, including losing her beloved father and facing the wrath and jealousy of her stepmother and stepsisters. Becoming a servant doesn’t seem all that bad until the handsome John comes into her life, now he appears to be upsetting everything. Never before has she been so unsettled. Just his presence is making her dream of a life beyond this one.

When John invites Ella to the ball and she grudgingly accepts, he wonders if he’s truly losing his mind. How would he ever pull off pretending to be John while obviously hosting the ball as Anthony? Especially when the stubborn girl has made it quite obvious she would never attend a ball with a snobbish prince."

Wow! I love this retelling of Cinderella better than any other. (Except for Cinder (Cinder #1) by Marissa Meyer) (Read that book if you don't know what I'm talking about). Cinderella (and Cinder) are absolutely delightful. Cinderella is recommended to readers who are at least eleven years old.

The plot isn't twisty or anything, but everything is pretty well written and fitted together. Every word flows and nothing is too wrong or anything. I like the conflict of the story, but it isn't too big of a deal, especially because I know what will happen in the end. We always do know what happens in fairy tale retellings. Usually.

The ending is so "Happily Ever After." It's a nice change after reading bloody endings and cliffhangers. I'm so sick of them and authors who love, just love, to torture readers like you and me. There should be a law that states "All books must and always not have cliffhangers or loose endings."

I like how the author uses switching POVs to tell the Cinderella story. From the hilarious Prince to the 'stubborn' girl, we see the world of Cinderella. I wish, simply wish, for a POV from one of the stepsisters. Or maybe not. I wouldn't want to listen to the rantings and selfish thoughts of the evil stepsister. 


Eleanoria Woodston, or what we and the prince call her, Ella, is a wonderful character. She's a little too ignorant and thick for my liking, but is still above the range of my hatred. The only reason I like is because this girl has guts to stand up. After all that abuse, insults, she rises against her bullies (stepmother and stepsister). Which is what every bullied kid or person should do.

Prince Anthony is so dashing. I can't help but fall in love in his character and sweet charming words. His little reactions to the hilarious pushings and tauntings of his mother are funny and innocent. He likes Eleanoria, but won't admit it to his mother, no matter what his mother says or do. (We have to love the mother). 

Rating: Three out of Five

Monday, July 22, 2013

Emeralds of the Alhambra by John D. Cressler Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"For hundreds of years, Christians, Muslims and Jews lived together in peace, sharing languages and customs, and embracing a level of tolerance and mutual respect unheard of today. Working together, these three peoples spawned one of the great intellectual and cultural flowerings of history in medieval Spain. 

Historical novel Emeralds of the Alhambra reawakens this remarkable era via the relationship between William Chandon, a wounded Christian knight brought to the Sultan’s court in Granada, and the strong-willed Layla al-Khatib, who is on a quest to become the first female Sufi Muslim mystic in a male-dominated society. As Chandon’s influence at court grows, he becomes trapped between his forbidden love for Layla, his Christian heritage, the demands of chivalry, and political expediency. Chandon must make a choice between love and honor, war and peace, life and death, a choice which ultimately will seal Granada’s fate as the last surviving stronghold of Muslim Spain."

Okay, The Emeralds of the Alhambra is an okay book. No... Scratch that, The Emeralds of the Alhambra is an above average book. 

The Emeralds of the Alhambra is set hundreds of years ago, where the people of the book lived and roamed freely. Specifically in Granada. Anyway, the plot is creative and twisty, but isn't anything too shocking or stunning. It's has a nice beginning and went off on the right foot. The writing is really descriptive and sometime repetitive, but in a way that reminds readers of the tiny details in the book. 

The switching POVs are a little helpful in expanding the reader's knowledge of the setting and people (traitors). It changes between William Chandon, Layla Al-Khatib, and some other minor characters like the assassin. (No more further details from me). 

The ending almost, almost made me teary eyed. It's bittersweet and I thought that the ending would be a more "happily ever after" than this one. But after pondering the ending, I thought, "Wow. It's a pretty cool ending that isn't like any other." Or maybe there is other endings like this one. I don't know. I can't possibly read every book in the world. (Goodreads can help me remember them all, but it can't keep track of all the books I'd read.) (I read about fourteen hundred books, including the books on Goodreads.)


Layla al-Khatib is a girl like no other girl at that time. She's bold and unafraid of the consequences. She's determined and stubborn to reach her goal, no matter what. She's an excellent, leading, female character of The Emeralds of the Alhambra. 

William Chandon is a Christian knight. As he falls in love with Layla, he realize that there's only one way he can be with her. As a person with a Christian background, he will become a target to the Christians if he turns his back on his religion. Brave, humbled, and young William Chandon is the main narrator in the book.

Rating: Three out of Five

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Frog Prince by Jenni James Review

"A prince disguises himself to find true love—

Prince Nolan has had enough of Princess Blythe—the woman to whom he has been betrothed since infancy—and her simpering letters. Does the princess truly not have a brain in her head? Never before has he communicated with someone who seemed so childish and spoiled. It was time he met her for himself, to decide if he could actually follow through with this marriage. But to do it right, she must not see how handsome he is. He needs a disguise—something that would show him her true nature.

Nolan asks an old herb woman to transform him into a creature that is disgusting to any female—a frog. The spell will last thirty days unless the princess does the impossible and kisses him. Now the true test begins. Will Blythe prove to be as monstrously annoying as he believes she is, or will he learn to see past his judgments and find a loving princess waiting for him?"

This retelling of The Frog Prince is more reasonable than the original tale of "The Frog Prince." Now we understand why frog prince is cursed. It's not because "the mother of the prince insulted..."or "the father says..." or "the witch hated the mother so she..." or "the prince insulted..." Instead it's because of his dimwitted betrothed Princess Blythe, the girl who writes all these boring, shallow letters.

I got to love the plot. The hilarious twists and turns will always delight readers. I have to admit, some of the twists simply leaves me a simple headed, mental, laughing, and cheery Harley Quinn, the girlfriend of the archenemy of Batman. (Archenemy is the Joker. Who else would be the archenemy of Batman?)

I wish the author expand a little more on the time and setting. There isn't a lot of details on when did this book take place and where did this book take place. (And don't say it's in a kingdom that existed "once upon a time.")

The ending is a true "Happily Ever After." I can't help but love the beautiful yet also cheesy ending, even though happy endings don't exist in the real world. Younger readers (around 10-12) will enjoy it and devour the words and sentences, paragraphs and the tiny last chapter/epilogue.

To make it more interesting, the author probably added switching POVs between Princess Blythe and Prince Nolan. It's a nice touch to The Frog Prince and it's nice to see the events and occurrences in the eyes of the two Royals.


Princess Blythe is smarter than Prince Nolan, I think. She's more active and funnier than Prince Nolan, too. She has the classic sweet heart of Cinderella. She is clever, yet sometimes a little slow on times in the book.

Prince Nolan is dashing, alright. I don't like him as much as Princess Blythe, though. I thought he is too arrogant, bold, and headstrong. 

Rating: Four out of Five.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry Review

"When Lucinda Chapdelaine was a small child, her parents left for the royal ball and never returned. Ever since, Lucinda has been stuck in perpetual servitude at her evil aunt’s jewelry store. Then, on the very same day, a mysterious visitor and an even more bizarre piece of jewelry both enter the shop, setting in motion a string of twists and turns that will forever alter Lucinda’s path. In this magical story filled with delightful surprises, Lucinda will dance at the royal ball, fall under the Amaranth Witch’s spell, avenge her parents’ death, and maybe—just maybe—capture the heart of a prince."

Okay, I started The Amaranth Enchantment last year, thinking it will be a good book. After the not-so-catchy beginning, I ditch the book and read some other thing.

After days turn to weeks, weeks turn to months, and months turn to years, I finally found the time to finish The Amaranth Enchantment. I... Oh great, now I'm ranting.

The Amaranth Enchantment isn't too shiny or attractive by the plot or setting. It does, however, have a fantastic cover. I found the plot too dry and boring despite the excellent start. It has the "Cinderella" touch, but without the evil stepsisters or stepmother. (There's an evil aunt, though). The Amaranth Enchantment is only recommended to fans who loves Cinderella books. (And are bored).

I didn't like the ending. I thought the pairing is off and weird. I constantly thought the other boy and Lucinda had more chemistry than the one she's paired with. Nevertheless, the ending is as it is. Unless the author writes another book as a sequel, of course.


Peter, the thief. He's one of the two love interest in The Amaranth Enchantment. When I first read about him, I thought "Wow this is a good love interest." He has chemistry, the charms, and the luck. He's simply dashing, despite all that law breaking and bad boy attitude. He's a fool for letting go and giving up _________.

Lucinda is the narrator and main character of The Amaranth Enchantment. I like Lucinda. She's a good character, but tends to be reckless. She doesn't realize her consequences until she sees the reactions of other characters.

Rating: Two out of Five.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart by Leanna Renee Hieber

"I'm coming for you.

The whispers haunt her dreams and fill her waking hours with dread. Something odd is happening. Something...unnatural.

Possession of the living. Resurrection of the dead. And Natalie Stewart is caught right in the middle. Jonathon, the one person she thought she could trust, has become a double agent for the dark side. But he plays the part so well, Natalie has to wonder just how much he's really acting.

She can't even see what it is she's fighting. But the cost of losing her heart, her sanity...her soul."

Ahhh! I can't wait for the next book. All these questions will drive me crazy. I will lose my sanity and my soul if I have to wait two years! 

Okay... In my opinion, The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart is much better than Darker Still. I love the darkness and paranormal events. I have a fond love for gothic, grimly, and bloody scenes. (Very violent for a girl, huh?) The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart is recommended to any reader who loves the following genres: paranormal, Young Adult, supernatural, demons, goth, possession, and suspense.

The plot is brilliant! I love it, however there isn't much progress on Natalie's personal problems with Jonathan's demon. Furthermore, the twists and turns of this book are rather interesting and sly. I love these references that remind me that this book isn't in the modern times. This book's setting is in the old, old times. (I wish the author went a little beyond on the details and descriptions of NYC.)

The ending is so... ahhh! I can't it anymore. I have to know what happens after. What will happen to Natalie? What will happen to Jonathan? What will happen to that demon? All these questions make a killing cliffhanger.


Natalie Stewart is a little interesting. Although most of my focus is on Jonathan, I paid a little attention to this talking wonder. Natalie Stewart is kind of quiet and not really open about her personal problems. (Probably from her non-speaking history.) I like her caring and kind side, though. However, Natalie is starting to get on my nerves.

Oh Jonathan, Jonathan. Let down your golden... I'm just kidding. Like Romeo, he remains quite dashing and ever so dreamy. He's quick to think, quick to speak, and quick to act. As a double agent, he risk his life to uncover the deception in front of him. He's so thoughtful and has every trait a girl could ever want from a guy.

Rating: Four out of Five

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Wild Orchid: A Retelling of "The Ballad of Mulan" by Cameron Dokey

"Wielding a sword as deftly as an embroidery needle, Mulan is unlike any other girl in China. When the emperor summons a great army, each family must send a male to fight, tom-boyish Mulan is determined to spare her aging father and bring her family honor, so she disguises herself and answers the call.

But Mulan never expects to find a friend, let alone a soul mate, in the commander of her division, Prince Jian. For all of Mulan's courage with a bow and arrow, is she brave enough to share her true identity and feelings with Prince Jian?"

Wow! The Wild Orchid is brilliant! As a person who easily understands Chinese/Mandarin, I can quickly adjust to the crazy names and words. The Wild Orchid is recommended to anyone who loves the Disney movie Mulan and Mulan 2. As a more realistic version of Mulan, the Wild Orchid will delight readers everywhere. 

Even though this is a 'retelling of the Ballad of Mulan,' it's more like a retelling of the Disney movie. Without our favorite dragon, Mushu. Or our cricket. Or the proud, proud scribe, Chi Fu. Or the friendly hilarious trio soldiers. 

Fa Mulan is replaced by Hua Mulan. General/Captain Li Shang is replaced by Prince Jian, the third son of the emperor of China and the commander of Mulan's division. Some events are adjusted.

The plot and writing is good on the scale, but isn't my main concern. I'm unsatisfied with the battle scene. Remember that scene of the Huns attacking the army? Well, in the book, it feels as if the author, Cameron Dokey, rush things quickly. That scene lasted about a chapter or two. That is some chapter. 


Mulan. Now that's a more real character. It's impossible for the movie Mulan to actually be that strong within that amount of time. This Mulan has been training ever since she was young. She knows archery, sword fighting, and other manly skills. Instead of using the alias 'Ping,' she uses 'Hua Gong-shi' which literally means 'flower bow and arrow.' Hua meaning flower. Gong-shi meaning bow and arrow. She's unafraid to protect those she love. She is intelligent and understands true danger.

Prince Jian. He's similar in ways to Captain Li Shang. However, he's more skilled in archery than Li Shang. I never seem Li Shang shoot more than one arrow in the movie. 

Rating: Four out of five.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross Review

"In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling-or dangerous Finley Jayne and her "straynge band of mysfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper from the clutches of a devious criminal demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him...for the life of the girl Jasper loves. One false move from Jasper, and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens and tightens. From the rough streets of lower Manhattan to elegant Fifth Avenue, the motley crew of teens follows Jasper's elusive trail. And they're about to discover how far they'll go for friendship. More than ever, Finley must rely on powerful English duke Griffin King to balance her dark magic with her good side. Yet Griffin is at war with himself over his secret attraction to Finley...and will risk his life and reputation to save her. Now, to help those she's come to care for so deeply, Finley must infiltrate the criminal gang. Only problem is, she might like the dark side a little too much...."

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar is as unique as The Girl in a Steel Corset. It's strange. It's beautiful. It's one of a kind. I enjoyed it greatly. It's an amazing rollercoaster that will take readers up and down, down and up to the very last page. It doesn't rest frequently, but when it does, don't breathe in relief. Breathe with suspicions and fears. I see no faults.

The plot is twisty and amazing. If you read the first book, you'll understand. But The Girl in the Clockwork Collar is twice as badass as The Girl in a Steel Corset. The Steampunk Chronicles is a must, must read, people!

One amazing feature I adore is the author's ability to bring us back to the eighteen hundreds. I feel as if I'm there, fighting with Finley or struggling with Griffin. The wording and style is so wonderful and so eighteen hundreds-ish. But then, of course it has to be.

The ending of The Girl in the Clockwork Collar is driving me crazy! Do you, Kady Cross, have to do that to us? I recommend readers to read this book after the release of the final book. The Girl With the Iron Touch is rumored to not be the last. (How wonderful!...kidding, it's a freaking long wait...maybe another year or so until the last?)


Griffin King is seriously going to be kissed in the mouth by me. If he doesn't stop to do that lovable magic, I swear I'll punch Finley and claim him myself. If Finley chooses Jack, he's mine. Okay, that's a small fangirl moment. Sorry guys. Griffin King is so charming and dashing. He's every bit of a fairy tale prince with imperfections. He has his own problems, but they attract girls like a charm! Don't worry ladies, he's not dead yet, but neither is Finley.

Finley Jayne is a remarkable character. She's strong, tough, and smart. Everything I want to be. I can't help but admire her. She's so amazing and unmistakable. Other than the fact that her two personalities are coming together, she's still similar to the girl we met in the beginning. She's just a little stronger. She's a little smarter. She's a little more wild.

Rating: Five out of Five

Monday, July 15, 2013

So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins

"Though Japanese, eleven-year-old Yoko has lived with her family in northern Korea near the border with China all her life. But when the Second World War comes to an end, Japanese on the Korean peninsula are suddenly in terrible danger; the Korean people want control of their homeland and they want to punish the Japanese, who have occupied their nation for many years. Yoko, her mother and sister are forced to flee from their beautiful house with its peaceful bamboo grove. Their journey is terrifying -- and remarkable. It's a true story of courage and survival."

So Far From the Bamboo Grove is a true, courageous, old, and unbelievable story. I didn't it is true, despite the synopsis and author's name, until I looked it up on the internet. It's recommended to young readers, who love history and are interested in the survivor's story of the war.

The plot is amazing! It's so real and luckily not very graphic, which makes it perfect for younger readers but not too young. (Around twelve or older) Even if you aren't a kid, So Far From the Bamboo Grove is still a good book. It's a quick book to read. (I finish this book in about half an hour.)

The ending is so sweet! No further comment on the ending, though. 


Yoko, a young girl, is caught in a war. Her innocent personality and fearless attitude pops out in the worst and best times. She doesn't understand what is truly going on. Truthfully, I find that characteristic refreshing. It always make me seem smarter and more intelligent. Yoko's experiences constantly remind me of the time when children, young, young children, are caught in a bloody war. They have to quickly adapt and learn or they won't survive and live to see the next sunrise. 

Yoko's sister is extremely intelligent. She finds solutions when there doesn't seem to be any. She is one of those children, a sixteen year old one, who can quickly adapt to any situation. Her strong love for her sister makes the story much, much more unique. Despite that hard and tough shell she has surrounding her, her inner personality reveals a more beautiful, kind, sweet, and gentle soul. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Family for the War by Anne C. Voorhoeve Review

"Escaping Nazi Germany on the kindertransport changes one girl's life forever

At the start of World War II, ten-year-old Franziska Mangold is torn from her family when she boards the kindertransport in Berlin, the train that secretly took nearly 10,000 children out of Nazi territory to safety in England. Taken in by strangers who soon become more like family than her real parents, Frances (as she is now known) courageously pieces together a new life for herself because she doesn't know when or if she'll see her true family again. Against the backdrop of war-torn London, Frances struggles with questions of identity, family, and love, and these experiences shape her into a dauntless, charming young woman." 

My Family For the War's subject is one of my favorites. I don't know why, but I love books involving the World War II like Someone Named Eva. Someone Named Eva is an excellent book if you like My Family For the War. 

My Family For the War is beautiful and based on the kindertransport. Yes, kindertransports do exist in the second World War, for those of you who don't know/remember the history of the sad and terrible war after the Great Depression. 

The plot isn't twisty, until the mark at the middle of the book. Then the bombs drop, literally. Everything goes crazy, mostly the people in the war. The setting is mostly in devastated England of World War II. 

The ending is wonderful. It is so unexpected. I thought Franziska would end up with... but then she choose something much, much different. It's an surprising ending for a change. Something you can't guess. Something you can't imagine. 


Franziska "Frances" Mangold is the narrator and star of My Family For the War. In My Family For the War, we see a dramatic metamorphosis of her. From a little young, lost innocent child to the sad yet understanding, amazing, and gorgeous young lady, full of so many possibilities. She becomes an intelligent, sharp-witted girl.

The Shepards are the nice family that took in Franziska. With little thought to the young girl lost in the world of chaos, they seek a boy to adopted. Lucky for Ziska, the young handsome Gary sees her and persuaded his father to adopted Ziska. It's kind of like Anne and Green Gables, except for the war. 

Walter Lightfoot: Wow, I totally didn't expect that. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Cross My Heart, Hope To Die by Sara Shepard Review

"When I died two months ago, my killer told my twin sister to become me—or else. Now Emma has it down to a T. She tosses her hair with the signature Sutton Mercer flip and can lead a Lying Game prank with the best of them. She’s even repairing my relationship with my adoptive family. The only thing she hasn’t done is solve my murder.

Then our birth mother, the woman who abandoned us, showed up in Tucson. Emma hasn’t seen Becky in twelve years, but Becky recognizes Emma immediately—as Emma. Is it a mother’s intuition . . . or does Becky know I’m already gone?"

Confession: I'm reading Cross My Heart, Hope to Die only because I just want some clues hinting the identity of Sutton Mercer's killer. 

Cross My Heart, Hope to Die seem to have the same M.O. as the previous books. Emma finds a suspect, the suspect is snooped on, then the suspect is cleared. Usually, after this a hint, hint from the killer is passed to Emma. We find fragments of the mystery, but don't actually know who killed Sutton. (Unfortunately.)

The Current Suspects: Ethan Landry, Mr. Vega, Mr. Chamberlain, and Garrett, and anyone who hasn't been crossed out by Emma and has some knowledge of computer technology and lives in the city. 

The plot, as usual, is full of twist and turns. One major twist, mentioned in the synopsis, is the reappearance of Emma's and Sutton's strange mom. Consequently, she ends up on Emma's possible suspects list. And the setting, as always, is the city and school. 

Told from Sutton's point of view, Cross My Heart, Hope to Die isn't a thrilling as other books in The Lying Game series, but we and Emma are one step closer to find Sutton's killer. One book, Seven Minutes in Heaven, to go. 

The writing is beautiful and appeals to readers, especially readers with love for mystery books and lying characters. Cross My Heart, Hope to Die is recommended for readers who don't want a book to end and a fan of books by Kate Brian. If you like books involving high schools, The Lying Game will work for you.


Emma: I don't understand how she can't even consider Ethan a suspect. I mean, this guy is like a huge red flag. Other than that I don't have a lot of problems with Emma, although I wish she'll find the killer faster. Emma is a talented actress, playing and acting as the stand in of Sutton Mercer. 

Ethan: He seems way more shady in this book. Will Seven Minutes In Heaven seek Ethan Landry as a possible murder suspect?

Rating: Three out of Five 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Of Triton by Anna Banks Review

"In this sequel to OF POSEIDON, Emma has just learned that her mother is a long-lost Poseidon princess, and now struggles with an identity crisis: As a Half-Breed, she’s a freak in the human world and an abomination in the Syrena realm below. Syrena law states that all Half- Breeds should be put to death.

As if that’s not bad enough, her mother’s reappearance among the Syrena turns the two kingdoms—Poseidon and Triton—against one another. Which leaves Emma with a decision to make: Should she comply with Galen’s request to keep herself safe and just hope for the best? Or should she risk it all and reveal herself—and her Gift—to save a people she’s never known?"

After long days, weeks, and months of unwavering patience, I am horribly disappointed by Of Triton. It's a highly anticipated sequel to Of Poseidon, the first book in the series. Of Poseidon started off beautifully. Every word, every sentence, every page, every chapter fits perfectly like a puzzle. 

Of Triton isn't as good. I'll explain why. 

The plot is good. Everything is perfectly paced and perfectly worded. I loved it. The setting, mostly involving or in the sea, is beautiful. I can feel as if I am there with Emma and Galen, fighting the evil and dark forces like Poseidon imposter's father. (I forgot what's her name.) Of Triton whispers many themes. I'm not going to mention the loudest of them all, however. It'll ruin the book.

The conflicts between the law and Emma, Of Poseidon and Of Triton against the law, and the long-lost Poseidon Princess versus most of the court are interesting, but not exactly entertaining. Yes, there's some good, enchanting pulse to it, but it isn't as strong as Of Poseidon's conflicts.

The ending is beautiful. From what I see, it looks like Of Poseidon and Of Triton will be the only books in the Of Poseidon Series. However, rumor has it that the third book, Of Neptune, will be released in 2014. I don't understand how is that possible. One possibility is there is going to be a fight/debate involving humans and Syrena. 

Now I will explain why Of Triton isn't as good as Of Poseidon. I don't really know how to explain this but Of Poseidon has that inner flame. Its tone, maybe wording or plot, appealed strongly to me. Of Triton? Sure, there's some siren calling, but not as strong. What happen? Of Triton lost its voice? Ursula stole it?


Note: Please give a moment of silence for one of our beloved characters who died in the battlefields. We will always miss you. 

Emma and Galen are two peas not exactly in a pod. They are adorable together. Unfortunately they don't have a lot of moments together. I need more Emma/Galen moments. 

Rating: Three out of Five