Friday, November 22, 2013

Champion by Marie Lu Review

"The explosive finale to Marie Lu’s New York Times bestselling LEGEND trilogy—perfect for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT!

He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion? 

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion."

This is the perfect book to read if you are trying to recover from Allegiant.  

Champion is the last book of a long journey with June and Day. June is the Prodigy because she's the one who gets perfect everything. Trust? Not so much. She's smart, intelligent, and totally entertaining. And she takes the front stage of Champion. 

There's a quote that I heard in a movie I watched while I was reading Champion. "I'll like to see you go out as a champion." What if Day went out as a Champion? I mean, went out, like Tris Prior, as a champion. In that way, I mean death. Like Day died. 

Prodigy, the second book in the trilogy, leaves off with a stunning ending. Day turns out to have brain tumor in his head, for those you who can't figure out the location of a brain. Day doesn't take the spotlight. He's more of a silent character who ends up not remembering anything because of the little problem in his head. His brother, more like his helper because Day is getting worse and worse throughout the novel especially when the Colonies start attacking the Republic, takes a much bigger role. 

Champion's storyline gets crazy. And when I say crazy, it means there's bombs, death (not as much as Allegiant), and crazy people everywhere. Did I mention that friendship will form, people betrayed, and thoughts/allegiance questioned? 

I love all of Marie Lu's novels, especially Prodigy. But I feel like Champion is a little down, little worse than Prodigy. There's not enough excitement. The very same excitement she put in the first two books. 

The ending. That's the most beautiful part of the entire book. It's not anything too unhappy like Allegiant. But my friend once said that the ending was "similar to Allegiant." I asked her why and she said that one of the main character (in this case, Day) meets his/her mother. Although Tris' mother willingly lets her daughter follow her to the afterlife, Day's mother is totally different. And I won't say how she is different than Tris' mother. 

(I wish Champion had a part where June tells the their story, starting from Legend. She should start like this: "My mother thinks I'm dead." AKA the first sentence from Legend in Day's POV. Or maybe she should had said this: "I'm sitting in my Dean Secretary's office again." That is the first sentence from Legend in her POV). 

It's so sad to see a trilogy end. But it's nice to know what a sweet ending this is. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom Review

"There's a girl.
Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. That said, she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.

And there's a boy.
Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat, handle first.
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.

Then there's a ditch.
But when Justina is ditched, figuratively and literally, she must piece together--stain-by-stain on her thrift store dress--exactly how she ended up dateless...with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven.

To get the whole store, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her. Can losing out at her prom ultimately lead to finding true love?"

You know what this story reminds me of? How I Met Your Mother, but in a different fashion. It's How I Got Ditched By Your Possible Future Father. (Just kidding, the 'by your possible future father' part is totally untrue. It should be this: By My Possible Boyfriend.) 

(If you do watch How I Met Your Mother, I can tell you that this book is just like the Pineapple Incident, except with answers and a conclusion). 

Okay this is going to be fast, because I have a lot of work to do. 

Ditched is a novel with no sequels, prequels, or any types of 'quels'. (Okay, that is just a weird sentence). Ditched is a comedy novel that made me laugh every two pages or so. Even though the madness level is pretty much the same as How I Met Your Mother, Ditched is cuter than it. Without the ugly Seasons HIMYM has. (HIMYM is on Season 9, right?) 

The plot is amazing. I feel like I'm experiencing the Pineapple Incident all over again. Justinia has to figure out how she ended up ditched. She tells her story to two ladies at the local 7-Eleven, who have interesting comments to offer. I also love the 2D characters that were occasionally pop up in the book. For example there was a pasator who said something like, "A man is the reflection of how a women treats him." Something like that. You won't get it, because you need to read the book. 

Ditched isn't a sad story; it's a pretty damn happy one. But I won't say anything. 

The ending. Biggest memorable quote: "Kiss the scumbag!" Ha! I have to remember to say that at my cousin's wedding (My cousin is the bride). Hmm...but it's a pretty bad idea. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Poker Diaries by Liza Conrad Review

"From the author of Rock My World and High School Bites-a tale of a poker-playing teen whose two lives are about to collide. 

For a city girl, Lulu has the best of both worlds-uptown and downtown. Her mother teaches her about art and high society...then every other weekend she's with her dad, playing poker in the back room of her grandfather's bar. Mark, her downtown crush, is almost as good at the game as she is, but her uptown friends lose their shirts. So when her buddy Dack gets mixed up with the wrong crowd and loses a bit more than he should, it's up to Lulu to win it back for him. But things have become even more complicated- especially now that her mom is dating Mr. Toughon- Crime himself, the Mayor of New York City."

First thing I think of this book: Totally awesome. Lulu, the kicking and up Poker Player Girl, isn't exactly the best candidate for being the stepdaughter of the Mayor of NYC. And no, I'm not talking about this guy. He's married already, you see. 

Although the Poker Diaries is a rather short book (hence the short review and because of the writing competition I'm in, starts with a 'n' and ends with an 'o'), it's actually quite awesome, because of 1) the main character, and 2) Lulu's dads, both of them, which is future dad and current dad. Guess who is which? I totally recommend this book to people who need to read a quick read and not be so dedicated/faithful to it, because The Poker Diaries is a cheesy read.

Cheesy doesn't even tell it all. 

The plot is crazy. I'll tell you the fast version of it. First, we meet Lulu's real dad, who happens to be on the wrong side of the law (very important part of the book). Then we meet the Mayor of NYC, who really is killing the numbers on crime. Two dads, on two sides of the law. Can it get any worse?

Oh, yes. Yes it can. 

Someone named Dack gets into the wrong crowd. Really bad crowd. Lulu ends up playing in a poker game to save Dack's butt. Then she gets blackmailed by someone, because they have a footage of her talking about illegal poker games and stuff like that. 

Yeah. It can really go far, especially when the police gets involve. 

But that's a little ahead of the story, which I will not talk about. Because that's spoilers. 

Rating: Three out of Five for being ridiculously Cheesy Cheesy.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Snowmelt River by Frank P. Ryan Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"Chance has brought together four young people in the small, historic Irish town of Clonmel. Alan is Irish-American, Kate Irish, and the adoptive brother and sister Mark and Mo are Londoners although Mo originally hails from Australia and has an exotic spiritual quality that suggests something strange, almost magical, about her. They discover that they share a terrible secret, one that cannot be coincidence, and it makes them wonder if it was fate, and not happenstance, that really brought them together, and which now binds them inseparably as friends. And then, over the long hot Irish summer, the enchantment begins... The Snowmelt River is the first of a four-volume epic fantasy series, with each book a separate adventure in itself. All four novels revolve around the coming of age, and power, of the central characters, Alan, Kate, Mark and Mo, each a very different personality, yet each making his or her personal contribution to an epic odyssey."

The Snowmelt River is a long book. And when I say long, I mean a seven-hundred and two page book. It's quite a long story that could lose some of its "fat." (Pages, not fat. But I think you get the point). 

It may be quite long, but it's quite interesting, if you have the patience and the understanding to go through it. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone with a busy schedule and a tendency to forget things. Because 1) Obviously you need a lot of time to read 702 pages, 2) there's a lot of information to absorb and even I, the girl who remembers everything (or pretty close to everything), had to look back to double check my memory. 

(If you ever read this book, I recommend that you write side notes because there's four POVs and endless number of chances of being lost. Also, you should always look back even though your pride prevents you from doing so. Believe me, it is better to be knowing where you are). 

What else about The Snowmelt River? 

Well, it's told from four children. Kate has the Second Power. Alan, the First Power. Mark, the Third Power. And Mo is special. Very special. Each of these characters have outstanding character traits. Like Mark, the extreme annoyance and crazy joke-making in inappropriate settings. Alan, his occasional sarcasm which is pure awesome when he does it. Mo, her sweet personality that sharply contrasts her adoptive brother. And Kate, well Kate seems to be a minor character to me, for most of the book. 

Anything else?

Hmm...The plot goes well, but I think that readers may (and I say may) have trouble following up with the story. The good thing is that the plot is mostly moving, but the beginning is a little slow. The beginning builds the background, so I guess it could be a little slow. 

The ending?

Can't tell you, but I can say it's quite interesting. And did I mention good?

Rating: Four out of Five

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Jinx by Meg Cabot Review

"It's not easy being Jinx.

The only thing Jean Honeychurch hates more than her boring name (not Jean Marie, or Jeanette, just...Jean) is her all-too-appropriate nickname, Jinx. Misfortune seems to follow her everywhere she goes—which is why she's thrilled to be moving in with her aunt and uncle in New York City. Maybe when she's halfway across the country, Jinx can finally outrun her bad luck. Or at least escape the havoc she's caused back in her small hometown.

But trouble has definitely followed Jinx to New York. And it's causing big problems for her cousin Tory, who is not happy to have the family black sheep around. Beautiful, glamorous Tory is hiding a dangerous secret—one that she's sure Jinx is going to reveal.
Jinx is beginning to realize it isn't just bad luck she's been running from. It's something far more sinister...and the curse Jinx has lived under since the day she was born might just be the only thing that can save her life."

Cute story. (It seems the older books written by authors are more favorable than the new ones. e.x. Divergent, Maximum Ride).

Jean Honeychurch is a girl with a lot of secrets. She withholds everythings until it is completely necessary to tell the readers. Oh did I mention that she's a witch? Now you know that she's a witch, you can probably figure out why she's halfway across the country. Maybe not yet because you don't know the true motives of Jinx, Jean, or whatever her name is. 

Jinx isn't exactly jinxed, but she's a witch so bad luck is guarantee to follow her for the rest of her poor life. I can't help but feel sorry for this poor girl. (For the second, I thought Jinx [the book] was going to turn out like Harry Potter or something).

Anyway, Jinx (the book) is a well-written story about Jinx (read the first two paragraphs before this paragraph). It reminds me the humor and story-telling skills of Meg Cabot. It's been awhile since I read something like this from Meg Cabot. When I read the last of book of the Abandon series, I was sorely disappointed by Meg Cabot's book. Now Jinx tells me all the other books before Awaken (the book that made me so mad). 

The plot of the book is brilliant and somewhat annoying. It's nice that the main character is the one who is moving the plot forward, but I hate how she has to be the one who is mostly doing the work. 

The call and music of the book is very addicting. I can't help but speed-read through the book because of how much I wanted to read it. (Yep, I'm a lunatic with no logic. Then again, that is the definition of the word lunatic). 

The romance. Is adorable. I love every moment of it. But if you are a boy, I wouldn't know if you will like it. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Watersmeet by Ellen Jensen Abbott Review

"From her birth, Abisina has been outcast--for the color of her eyes and skin, and for her lack of a father. Only her mother's status as the village healer has kept her safe. But when a mythic leader arrives, Abisina's life is ripped apart. She escapes alone to try to find the father and the home she has never known. In a world of extremes, from the deepest prejudice to the greatest bonds of duty and loyalty, Abisina must find her own way and decide where her true hope lies."

Watersmeet is part of the reason why I'm now avoiding fantasy books for at least a few days, so I can erase this book from my mind. (Yes, I have the power to do that, because I'm just that awesome and I have superpowers). 

Watersmeet isn't the book that describes everything and fill everything in. It's the type of book that makes you find the true facts and remove the false hints. It kind of makes you become a detective of books, I guess. But it quickly makes you annoyed with having to look back and check details because these details are so small that you can barely notice them. 

The plot of Watersmeet is strongest part of the entire book. The authors truly does know what to do and what to write for the next part of the book. But I do wish that the author connects the dots a bit better because I'm frequently lost when the plot goes from one point to another point. It tends to get confusing and bewildering. 

What about the attractiveness of the writing? It's pretty ugly, that is what it is. There's no life (not really anyway), no sense of interesting. So what if she lost her little toe? So what if she lost her mentality? I feel like Watersmeet is missing a character that will bring more humor and laughter into the book. Watersmeet is indeed a dark and serious book. 

The characters are okay. Abisina is rather a mind changer, like me. She changes her mind frequently, never settling down until it's final. But Asisina looks as if she is being manipulated by the author for a few events in the story. Asisina, the rather intelligent and thoughtful (about hatred) young lady quite like Katniss Everdeen, acts so stupid in some occasion. 

The way the author display the prejudice and hate in Watersmeet is amazing. It's like the few years before the Civil War in the 1800s. 

Rating: Three out of Five

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle Review

"In 1837 London, young daughters of viscounts pined for handsome, titled husbands, not careers. And certainly not careers in magic. At least, most of them didn’t.

Shy, studious Persephone Leland would far rather devote herself to her secret magic studies than enter society and look for a suitable husband. But right as the inevitable season for "coming out" is about to begin, Persy and her twin sister discover that their governess in magic has been kidnapped as part of a plot to gain control of the soon-to-be Queen Victoria. Racing through Mayfair ballrooms and royal palaces, the sisters overcome bad millinery, shady royal spinsters, and a mysterious Irish wizard. And along the way, Persy learns that husband hunting isn’t such an odious task after all, if you can find the right quarry." 

(Okay, I'm sorry that this review is kind of short, but for those of you who don't know, I'm busy right now [for the entire month] so I got to cut the time down when I write reviews. Sorry guys, but I started on the 9th instead of the 1st of November so my schedule is kind of crazy).  

Bewitching Season is an adorable book, definitely for young adult readers. There's a lot of sweetness and cute surprises for the main character, Persephone. And boys, this book isn't for you, it's for young girls who are getting their first taste of literature. And yes, some older women can read this book, just to entertain themselves, like what I do. 

The conflict of the let's-control-Queen-Victoria is pretty strong. I like how the main characters don't mention it, but instead focus more on their kidnapped governess. So the plot pretty much slowly comes in and then sinks out when it's over. It comes and goes, in other words. 

The character actions and reactions don't always make sense. For example, when the governess is kidnapped, she doesn't fall in love with him, the kidnapper. Because whoever falls in love with the kidnapper definitely has a case of Stockholm syndrome, whether they are a witch or not. And I don't fall for that I'm-a-prisoner-like-you-act. That's looks like a plot for the governess to help the bad guy take down the good guys. And in the end, the governess marries the kidnapper. Wonderful. 

Persephone, on the other hand, appears to be the role model of all role models. She sticks to the path of witchcraft that is cut out for her. She never does anything inappropriate, but when she meets the dashing Lord Seton, she quickly falls in love with him and fall from her mountain. She ends up slightly drunk from punch (it must contain some alcohol in the first place; probably a nice word for vodka) and casts a love spell on Lord Seton. Things turn out quite hilarious as we go on, diving deeper and deeper into the book.

Wonderful ending. Funny and a true happily ever after, or at least for Persephone and the boy next door. (There's sequels). I love the last twist of the book; it's the greatest ever (but I'm not saying a word about it). 

Rating: Four out of Five

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Glamorous Life 2: All That Glitters Isn't Gold by Nikki Turner Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"From New York Times bestselling author Nikki Turner comes the long awaited sequel to Glamorous Life

At the top of her game, Bambi built EventsRUS, from the ground up, doing high end events for anybody who was somebody. Bambi’s main goal was to stack more than enough money to ensure that her husband, Lynx, would never have to distribute illegal narcotics another day in his life.

But once Lynx is released from prison, all her high hopes and dreams turn into a horrible nightmare. She sadly learns that Lynx has an insatiable love and growing appetite, for his mistress: gambling, that threatens to bring both of them to ruin.

Caught between the venture capitalist bankers, the underground financers and having loyalty and love to her man, Bambi has to make life changing decisions and deceptions. And the wrong move could cost her everything."

The synopsis on the Goodreads page of this book doesn't match the book's plot. I only include the synopsis (If you're looking at my blog) on here as proof.

Anyway, I pretty sure that some of you guys notice that my reviews are getting shorter. Well, the truth is that I'm competing in a competition that is going to take the majority of my time and focus. Even though my school is crazy already (tons of classes, more than other people, don't ask), I decided to do some extra stuff, like doing competition. I'm not doing this to win. I'm doing this for myself, because I want to improve upon myself, make me a better analyser, a better speller (you guys probably wouldn't notice thanks to abc spell check), and a better writer (yeah, the competition has something to do with English, unfortunately [Yay! says my mother]). The competition will be over by the end of November.

Okay, back to the book. I'm sorry if I wasted any moment of your life by writing that previous paragraph. It was unintentional, but it needed.

All That Glitters Isn't Gold (let's just call it The Glamorous Life 2) stars not Bambi, but the mistress of Lynx. We learn all the mistress' misfortunes and near deaths. We see what she lost and what she gain before finally meeting Lynx (kind of like how she met Lynx book, instead of Lynx telling the story of how he met their mother to his little boy).

The mistress is pretty much a hypocrite, although she is awesome and amazing in her own way. After being nearly raped along with arrested, and etc., she became a dancer (at a strip club) and tried to prevent her brother from dealing drugs. Her brothers wants the opposite. Of course, that doesn't work out because dancing is a legal profession while dealing drugs is an illegal profession. The drug dealer may be murdered by a junkie. And yes, that drug dealer does get murdered.

But why is she a hypocrite? Now we got to go back to her mother. Her mother. A character that is pretty much 2D and only out there in the world for only one person. Herself. Lynx's mistress once said that she doesn't want to be like her mother. She's not like her mother, or so she thinks. There she is, depending on a man, trying to carve a living for herself.

The plot of The Glamorous Life 2 is pretty straight forward and relies on other characters to move it forward. What a shame. I thought if the mistress or Bambi was more interactive, the book might be much more interesting.

And the ending. *Raises eyebrows*

Rating: Three out of Five

Monday, November 11, 2013

Avielle Of Rhia by Dia Calhoun Review

"With her silver skin and silver hair, fifteen-year-old Princess Avielle of Rhia resembles her Dredonian great-great grandmother who practiced evil magic. Everyone in Rhia expects Avielle to turn evil, too. Shunned by those around her, she feels unloved and unable to love others. In addition, she fears that Rhia will go to war with Dredonia, which suffers under the rule of evil wizard-priests: the Brethren of the Black Cloaks. They have placed impossible demands upon Rhia, but the king and queen have refused to acquiesce. One terrible night, the Brethren attack, killing the royal family and hundreds of others. Only Avielle escapes. She must keep her identity secret to avoid death from the enemy. While hiding among the common people, she learns that she has a magical gift for weaving. But will this gift, rooted in her Dredonian blood, lead Avielle to the same evil that possessed her great-great grandmother? Or will it help her free her people from further attacks?"

Yes, I do agree with you. The cover is totally weird. That girl's nose. Ugh! Okay, I'll stop talking about odd and random stuff now.

Avielle of Rhia starts off wonderfully. A princess. A kingdom that hates her. Her evil prince brother who beats her up with words whenever he likes. Only one person says he loves her, who is Avielle's five year old brother.

I feel the I-Don't-Want-to-be-my-evil-grandmother plot is weak. Avielle mentions it once in awhile, but there's no feeling behind it. She screams, she yells, she thinks that thought, but the plot isn't very strong. I don't feel like Avielle really cares about her grandmother. I think there should be more details and thoughts on that matter.

Avielle herself is a great character. She is kind of selfish, but selfless towards the end of the book. She has great characteristics that greatly reminds me of myself. Avielle is high in society, but after meeting the poorer people, she realizes that every life is worth something. Avielle's personality between going to good or evil clashes together in the end. Her choice will determine the fate of the kingdom. But the ending is heavily flawed.

What kind of ending was it? An ending that horribly reminds me of the last book in Blue Bloods series with vampire/angels. It is quickly written, as if the author didn't take the time to write a well-written ending to Avielle of Rhia. It's a quick ending and a quick epilogue that takes the place of about the last two chapters. Really short, isn't it?

The writing is mostly good. I like how it reel me in. I was absolutely absorbed into this book. My nose was stuck within the pages from beginning to end.

Rating: Three out of Five

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White Review

"Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all."

Remember Rick Riordan's books about the Kane children and all of that? Well, Chaos of the Stars is slightly different. For instance, all of the family are actually Egyptian gods, who are related to Isadora.

The true difference between The Chaos of the Stars and The Kane Chronicles is that the godly form is different and the way the authors tell the story. For example, Kiersten White chooses to use more profanity than Rick Riordan. (Examples include "whore-us" among others. Parents, keep your young children away from this book.)

The Chaos of Stars is a rather short book, ranging from two hundred to the low three hundred pages. It's not that bad. 

Isadora's voice is actually pretty damn hilarious. Even though she complains about her family (cheating on everyone to incest to disgusting and gross information I rather not know), it's clear that she loves them and adores them, and she always says otherwise. Her true feelings appear towards the end of the book. (Great time for feelings!)

The plot is superb. I love how Isadora goes to chase everything and question her "divine heritage." The villain's plot is cunning and sly. With two bad guys and one of Isadora, how will she ever save her mother Isis? 

That brings us to Greek Boy, Orion. AKA the love interest of Isadora. Orion's parent's real name is Aphrodite and Hephaestus. Coincidence or not? Yep, Orion's real family is the Greek Gods of Greece who probably migrated to the US. Unfortunately that's a spoiler detail and I told you guys. Sorry. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington Review

"It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”

Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before. 

Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her.

A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn't want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden…"

And some more lies and broken promises. Wow, I'm on a roll with the angel books. Er...Half-angel book since Violet and her friends are mostly half-angels. Violet is like three-quarters from the hints and clues about her mother.

Romance. Certainly there's romance. After all the synopsis said, "...guy she thought she could fall in love with ..." and yah-yah-yah. Here I am again. I'm cheering for the bad boy (I mean really bad bad bad boy). And I shouldn't be, but he has that irresistible charm that will get Violet into trouble. (So does Warner from Unravel Me, but Warner has charm unlike this dude).

As I read every book (or what it feels like) about angel, I feel as if I see more from different views. One book sees angels as bad. Embrace sees angels as good, fallen angels as bad, and demons as really, really you-are-going-to-die bad. It's fascinating to see each fantasy world as it is. Embrace's world isn't that bad. The angels give their powers to a recently born child whose mother has died within a certain time after the baby's birth. The angel's opinions will not be transferred to the baby, but its powers will be. Not too hard to understand, right?

The plot goes up and then goes down. I'm horribly reminded of Hush, Hush and its plot at every turn Embrace's plot makes. The writing is not as good as Hush, Hush, but many of the characters remind me of Hush, Hush.

For instance, "the guy she thought she could fall in love with" happens to be quite similar to Scott. Then Phoenix reminds me of Patch without the nice guy act. Violet seems to be similar to Nora Grey, who sometimes becomes this clueless bimbo (not blond) because the author pretty much made her that way. (Mary Sue, look it up. Actually, don't. You'll be seeing them everywhere if you do. Typically every written character is a Mary Sue).

And the ending. We meet fallen angels that aren't as hot as Patch. And that's all I'm going to say.

Rating: Two out of Five

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Sweet Dead Life by Joy Preble Review

“I found out two things today. One, I think I’m dying. And two, my brother is a perv.”

So begins the diary of 14-year-old Jenna Samuels, who is having a very bad eighth-grade year. Her single mother spends all day in bed. Dad vanished when she was eight. Her 16-year-old brother, Casey, tries to hold together what’s left of the family by working two after-school jobs— difficult, as he’s stoned all the time. To make matters worse, Jenna is sick. When she collapses one day, Casey tries to race her to the hospital in their beat-up Prius and crashes instead.

Jenna wakes up in the ER to find Casey beside her. Beatified. Literally. The flab and zits? Gone. Before long, Jenna figures out that Casey didn’t survive the accident at all. He’s an “A-word.” (She can’t bring herself to utter the truth.) Soon they discover that Jenna isn’t just dying: she’s being poisoned. And Casey has been sent back to help solve the mystery that not only holds the key to her survival, but also to their mother’s mysterious depression and father’s disappearance."

And I'm lying some more. It's yet another book with angels, this time Casey is the angel with wings but no halo.  

The Sweet Dead Life may raise some eyebrows because of this question: Who wants to kill Jenna Samuels? And why? She's only a young girl, with a father who has abandoned her and a mother who can't remember anything. She looks like a normal girl from a sad, yet also tragically normal family. But she's being poisoned by a snake's venom. It's definitely not the works of Voldemort's snake. 

After a car accident, Casey dies and becomes holy like an angel. (Even though he doesn't have the characteristics of an angel). It turns out he's Jenna's guardian a-word. (BTW, the next book's title is The A-Word, according to recent news. Definitely referring to Jenna's way of calling angels, angels. She hates saying angels, but instead calls them "a-word" or by their names). 

The mystery behind the The Sweet Dead Life nearly cause me to hit the roof. I was like, really? Did that...? It turns out that the mystery isn't as impressive as what you'll think. And Voldemort is not, in any way, involved with the poisoning of Jenna. (Sorry about the Voldemort and his snake references. I've been rereading Harry Potter lately.) There's three things (I think and I hope I name them correctly) that motivates the villain: fear, desperation, and sadness. Readers who already read The Sweet Dead Life, I ask you this question: did I get them all?

The Sweet Dead Life is an above average book, but not too flashy or anything. I was like (beginning expression) eh, (middle of the book feeling) okay, and (end of the book feeling) what in the world!?! To me, this book was pretty dramatic, when you look at the growth of my feelings and thoughts. 

And the ending. Let's not go there, because I'm pretty sure that I will talking (and repeating) about how the book didn't make an ending with huge drama. 

Rating: Three out of Five

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This Wicked Game by Michelle Zink Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"Claire Kincaid’s family has been in business for over fifty years.

The voodoo business.

Part of the International Guild of High Priests and Priestesses, a secret society that have practiced voodoo for generations, the Kincaid’s run an underground supply house for authentic voodoo supplies. Claire plays along, filling orders for powders, oils and other bizarre ingredients in the family store, but she has a secret.

She doesn’t believe.

Struggling to reconcile her modern sensibilities with a completely unscientific craft based on suspicion, Claire can’t wait to escape New Orleans – and voodoo – when she goes to college, a desire that creates almost constant conflict in her secret affair with Xander Toussaint, son of the Guild’s powerful founding family.

But when a mysterious customer places an order for a deadly ingredient, Claire begins to realize that there’s more to voodoo – and the families that make up the Guild – than meets the eye.

Including her own.

As she bands together with the other firstborns of the Guild, she comes face to face with a deadly enemy – and the disbelief that may very well kill her."

Voodoo? I haven't read that in awhile. Before reading, I had a good feeling that This Wicked Game is going to get really interesting.

And interesting it was.

I have a lot of mixed thoughts on This Wicked Game, some good and some bad, like all normal books. Anything not like that, I will consider it to be from another universe. Anyway, This Wicked Game is overall good, because, not only how crazy it is, but also the intrigue weaved into the book. (Raise your hand, if you don't understand that last sentence. Yeah, me either). English version: This Wicked Game is good and crazy and mysterious. How's that for translations? You won't be lost in translation here.

Claire always reminds me of Clary from City of Bones. They have similiar names. They are both terribly nosy people. They solve mysteries. They both have a hunky, not to mention hot and hallelujah! boyfriend (come on, Jace was totally digging her in the first book). They are connected to a strange world, only they can understand. They have unique powers. Very similar people. Coincidence or not? I strongly suspect the latter. Too many coincidence.

The writing of This Wicked Game is not exactly hilarious, but brings a good (and healthy) among of questions to the world of possible magic and all of that stuff. Told from third person view that always keep Claire in view, the book will be odd because you almost expect a first person view. I'm not kidding. If the author changes all of Claire's pronouns (she, them) and her name into first person POV, then the book is a perfectly written first person POV.

The ending killed me so much! This Wicked Game could had been simply a novel rather than a series if...if... Of course, I won't be telling you, but this should be a major hint.

Rating: Four out of Five

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson Review

"Given the chance to train as a squire, kitchen servant Achan Cham hopes to pull himself out of his pitiful life and become a Kingsguard Knight. When Achan's owner learns of his training, he forces Achan to spar with the Crown Prince--more of a death sentence than an honor. Meanwhile, strange voices in Achan's head cause him to fear he's going mad. While escorting the prince to a council presentation, their convoy is attacked. Achan is wounded and arrested, but escapes from prison--only to discover a secret about himself he never believed possible."

By Darkness Hid is a great book. A tad longer than needed, but great whatsoever. (It's like five hundred pages or more? It's a thick book, with something 'round the middle). It is told by two people, Vrell Sparrow and Achan Cham.

The book doesn't have a good background info page on the setting, unfortunately. I was pretty much clueless about the constantly referred "Darkness" and word usage by many of the characters. (A quick Author's note would had been helpful.) The fantasy realm that is barely described by the author makes the entire book lost and confusing. I quickly imagine a world of medieval knights and ladies to at least find some good footing before I dig myself into a deeper hole. From what the author says, it looks to be set in the medieval times, although there's some odd things like "bloodvoicing" and all that good stuff, which confuses everything for the first parts (of the book) or so. I got settled in by the third part.

Achan Cham is in love with Glen, a person higher than him. She's richer and own more fancy attires than Achan. Achan is a stray whose true identity remains to be uncover. (Hint, hint. The book is going to turn out something similar to The False Prince. That should be enough said for most of you). He meets a knight who offers the chance to become a Kingsguard Knight, and quickly accepts it. (Who wouldn't? Chance to fight and die. Awesome!) Achan goes through more emotional things than Vrell Sparrow, who would probably be overloaded in the next book. I like how Achan goes through everything and, in the end, still has the ability to come out fighting with sword in one hand and power in the mind.

Vrell Sparrow has a secret. He's, or should I say she's? Anyway, she's a she. She, like Achan, has a strong ability to bloodvoice (meaning talking to other bloodvoicers only in the mind). There's not much going on with her, but let's just say, she has some problems of her own. For example, she's engaged to be married to the Crown Prince, who is a fat pig, without the fat. Unfortunately.

The writing of By Darkness Hid is very compelling. Why else would I read a very long book? Just to bore myself to death? Self-torture isn't my tactic to kill myself. Sorry guys, I'm getting off-topic. Even though the background of the book isn't developed, the writing is the complete opposite of that. It's wonderful to read a book different than many others. (By Darkness Hid was published in 2008. I don't just read the new books, I read the old ones too. It keeps things interesting, just as long it's not Homer).

Rating: Four out of Five

Monday, November 4, 2013

Chase and the Fallen Angel by R.J. Castro Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads. 

"Chase, an uninspired twenty-three year old, trudges through his uneventful life taking for granted the everyday privileges of his human existence. He does not realize how great life is until he is killed in a tragic, freak accident and unwillingly transformed into a guardian angel. Ripped away from his life and loved ones, he now finds himself living in an unfamiliar world where fantasy becomes a reality. He must carry the heavy responsibilities of protecting his Delicate (mortal) from dangers unseen to the human eye. With the help of his two new guardian angel friends, Trevor and Rachel, Chase is taking his first steps on the long journey to eternal peace by becoming a dedicated guardian angel. But the road to eternal happiness is far from easy when Chase has to find his inner strength and courage to battle malicious demons, a deranged priest and a merciless fallen angel."

First of all, even though I once said I will stop reading books about angels, I lied. This book was on my reading list so I had to read it.  

Anyway, Chase and the Fallen Angel is a so-so book. I don't find it bad or good. I find it...ordinary. It's a book that can be hidden on my bookshelves, never to be found again. I wouldn't even notice it gone. Even though it goes beyond life/nature, it's still ordinary to me. 

Chase, a bored-out-of-his-mind twenty something years old, dies in an accident. He meets his guardian angels and quickly decides that he must stay on earth because of his family. He suddenly gets a dim light in his lightbulb, but of course realizes that life is precious when it was too late (because he's dead). When he was alive, he was an unsuccessful actor (depending on the way you look at it) who was uninspired, mundane, and quite like everyone else. Now he's a guardian angel who must protect his protectee. Although he died recently, the angels didn't seem fit to give him a quick 101 How To Be A Guardian Angel Crash Course.  

And what do I think about him? Eh...he's seems like any other normal person that exist in the world. Normal including me. I'm probably the most uninspired alive person in the world. 

The plot and writing of Chase and The Fallen Angels is okay, but I'm more concern about the writing than the plot. The writing is a little bit interesting in the beginning. And in the end, it felt like the author simply gave up on the book, especially by the rate the author was telling the book. 

The beginning is amazing. It correctly describes the boringness of Chase's life well. I was actually eager to read the book for the first few chapters. 

The ending is messed up. I had no idea what really happen in the end. Point A: Chase was here in Block One trying to fight someone. Point B: Someone died...? The point is that I was really lost. I tried to reread the last few chapters and quickly gave up. 

Rating: Three out of Five

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry Review

"This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance.
On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena’s father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears."

Wow. The Peculiars is set in the 1800s with odd machines and strange beings. It's quite annoying to read The Peculiars (reason why this review is considered short).

To start this review off, The Peculiars seem interesting when describe by the synopsis. Interesting and fun, right? Well, it turns out this is misleading and overconfident. (The synopsis, not the book. I'll get to the book soon enough.) It's such a pity; the synopsis' awesomeness should be tone down a bit.

The writing of The Peculiars felt dry and dull and troll. I couldn't but help my mind wander around going from wings to butterflies, and butterflies to I Am Legend the movie. In other words, The Peculiars isn't exactly the addicting and fun type.

The characters are bad; Lena Mattacascar may have the biggest character development but the author didn't make it stand out so much. Jimson Quiggley is an innocent and sweet about-to-be librarian, who has the hots for Lena. Thomas Saltre is hunting Lena Mattacascar. It may look like she has a love triangle, but don't be fool. One of the three characters (Lena Mattacascar, Thomas Saltre, and Jimson Quiggley) have unrequited love.

The world of the Peculiars: Apparently this is no work of a mad scientist. This is a work of Mother Nature--the wings, the goblinism, and other stuff. (Eh...I have no hard feelings towards it.) It's a shame Mr. Beasley isn't the villain in the story; The Peculiars could have been quite interesting. Anyway, the government blames all the crime on the Peculiars, making the public and The Peculiars think that Peculiars are bad, foul, and evil beings.

Rating: One out of Five

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Angel by L.A. Weatherly Review

"Angels are all around us: beautiful, awe-inspiring, irresistible.

Ordinary mortals yearn to catch a glimpse of one of these stunning beings and thousands flock to The Church of Angels to feel their healing touch.
But what if their potent magnetism isn't what it seems?
Willow knows she's different from other girls. And not just because she loves tinkering around with cars.
Willow has a gift. She can look into people's futures, know their dreams, their hopes and their regrets, just by touching them. But she has no idea where she gets this power from.

Until she meets Alex…
Alex is one of the few who know the truth about angels. He knows Willow's secret and is on a mission to stop her.
The dark forces within Willow make her dangerous – and irresistible.
In spite of himself, Alex finds he is falling in love with his sworn enemy."

What did I just read!?! I love angels very much, but what was this?

I don't know when did angels become bad because some of the timeline wasn't revealed by the author, but I do know this. Angels were good. Then they became greedy and started feeding on the happiness/life of people. Got that so far? 

It took awhile for me to figure that out because angels are typically good, but in this story, angels are demons and demons are... They don't exist. Not yet. And then there's Willow who is apparently a half angel who has the power to destroy the angels. 

One of the biggest issues in Angel is the romance between Willow and Alex. I don't know much about teenage love, but I don't really feel that this is romance. I feel like the author is just shoving words and thoughts into the character's head. They tell each other and themselves that they love the other person, but they sure aren't convincing me. 

Easy to say, Angel isn't my piece of cake. The genre is but the book isn't. There's a lot of questions I ask and I find myself wondering why am I reading this book. I never did thought of abandoning this book, because I thought: Maybe I can make it to the end. And yes, I did make it to the end. Not shaking. But bored and momentary thought of not reading the "Angel" genre for quite some time.  

I like the conflict and see what the author is doing, but she didn't deliver enough. I wanted more, needed more because I was trying to avoid my math homework, which was frustrating me like crazy. (I'll stop here.) 

Alex is a mystery. I don't know he acts like this. And he's the mystery cat! Sorry, I listened to Macavity: The Mystery Cat song all day long, so I have that beat stuck in my head. (Macavity, Macavity, defies gravity). Anyway, Alex is strange. He's sworn to kill all angels and he's freaked out by this one job. I don't what wrong with him. Most assassins will take one look and bam! He works for Project Angel Division of CIA, but apparently one half-angel without a halo scares the thought out of him. 

Rating: Two out of Five

Friday, November 1, 2013

Soulbound by Heather Brewer Review

"Tril is a world where Barrons and Healers are Bound to each other: Barrons fight and Healers cure their Barrons' wounds in the ongoing war with the evil Graplar King. Seventeen-year-old Kaya was born a Healer, but she wants to fight. In Tril, and at Shadow Academy, where she is sent to learn to heal, it is against Protocol for Healers to fight. So Kaya must learn in secret. Enter two young men: One charming, rule-following Barron who becomes Bound to Kaya and whose life she must protect at all costs. And one with a mysterious past who seems bent on making Kaya's life as difficult as possible. Kaya asks both to train her, but only one will, and the consequences will change their lives forever."

There's five words I really want to say. This. Book. Is. So. Awesome. Six words: I am Soulbound (pun, intended) to this book.

Okay, Heather Brewer is the author well known for the Vlad Todd books, like Ninth Grade Something and Tenth Grade Something. Needless to say, I don't remember the title, but remember that the Ninth Grade Something has a mention of blood somewhere in that title. It's been two years, twenty or more essays written, ten or more short stories written, hundreds of sleepless nights, hundreds of late night snacks, and five hundred books read since I read that book. Whatever. Now the Vlad Todd (it's two "d"s in Todd, right?) gradually gets weirder and more hated by me as it goes on. (Then again, I don't really like vampires after the Twilight affair).

Surprisingly I have a pretty good feeling about this book. I decided that if Soulbroken (the next book) comes out by 2014, then I'll be a fangirl to this new series. Allegiant is amazing, but it's over so I need a new book to obsessed with. Soulbound is the perfect candidate. 

Soulbound is an addicting book, coming from Heather Brewer. It's even better than the Vald Todd and The Slayers Chronicles put together. I love how unexpected and awesome it is. Tril is a fantasy world, based on Japanese society I think? Anyway, I love how awesome and cool Tril is. Two types of gifted people: Barrons and Healers. Then there's the nongifted people: the unskilled who don't have any powers at all. Barrons fight. Healers heal their connected Barron. Easy peasy. A simple world that eases readers into it is one sign of a good book. 

Kaya, the Healer, wasn't born among the unskilled. She's the daughter of two Barrons, a marriage that's considered illegal by the people who made the laws. She questions everything. Every law ever created. Every teacher who hates her especially the one with a mysterious past who seems bent on making her life as difficult as possible. 

And the hottie, aka the guy with a mysterious past who seems bent on making her life as difficult as possible? The "unskilled" teacher in the Shadow Academy. I guarantee he's going to be legendary in this book. He makes a fine debut. 

Soulbound's ending got me. That cliffhanger killed me! 

Rating: Five out of Five