Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Teardrop by Lauren Kate Review

"Never, ever cry... Seventeen-year-old Eureka won't let anyone close enough to feel her pain. After her mother was killed in a freak accident, the things she used to love hold no meaning. She wants to escape, but one thing holds her back: Ander, the boy who is everywhere she goes, whose turquoise eyes are like the ocean. And then Eureka uncovers an ancient tale of romance and heartbreak, about a girl who cried an entire continent into the sea. Suddenly her mother's death and Ander's appearance seem connected, and her life takes on dark undercurrents that don't make sense. Can everything you love be washed away?"

Well, I can say one thing. And maybe a more than that. Anyway, I will never ever cry because of this book. It's just not cry-worthy. Totally not cry-worthy, because Teardrop isn't sad enough. I mean, I'm kind of tempted to raise an eyebrow and go "Oh, yeah. What book named Teardrop?" (Sorry, guys. Bad beginning. Then again, internet connections are slow so I'm grumbling). 

Now, on to the real review. Teardrop is a super long book, about four hundred pages. I know that it's annoying. Yes, it gets a bit boring. No, I won't tell you everything so you can write a book report off of my review. I don't do that. Although some reviewers do. (Okay, I'll stop ranting). Teardrop is quite interesting and unique. I saw one reviewer say that it's a mixture of Greek myths and some other legends and other stuff. 

Eureka has been told not to cry ever since she was eight years old by her dead mother (that's a bit harsh way of saying it, but it's the truth). She's kind of stupid (I kid you not) yet also intelligent (amazingly). I don't know why she fell in love with Ander (he's trying to kill her) and why he likes her back (he's suppose to kill her). Eureka is an annoying girl, with too many parts of her. I can't figure out whether she hates her best friend or likes her best friend. (And that's one of the many inner arguments I have on this book). 

The plot starts off with a bang. Or at least the first chapter. We see Ander's POV (a lunatic, because he was supposed to kill her). For the next twenty million chapters, we go to Eureka (isn't that also California's motto?) who is in emotional crisis. Overall, I think the book is perfectly paced even though it's four hundred pages. I finished it in a day (sorry guys. Big sign of my super overachieveing and fantastic brain). 

Lauren Kate's writing is as awesome as ever. So good you want to jump in and read. She uses flashbacks to tell Eureka's story. I don't really like the way Kate use the flashback, because I feel like it's not relevant to Eureka story (even though it is). It gets annoying when the flashbacks are in a little book called the Book of Love. Makes you want to gag, right?

Rating: Three out of Five

Monday, December 30, 2013

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales Review

"Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together."

I wouldn't say it's funny. (Sorry. This review is going to be fairly short, compared to my other ones). I say it's kind of serious, mixed with a girl who wants friends. I say suicide is a pretty serious subject. I wouldn't laugh it off as funny or hilarious. Sadly, there are idiots who would laugh it off like that. They would claim that the girl is an attention seeker, which is true. But she's lonely and can't find any friends. She nearly killed herself, before she step into world of DJing. 

This Song Will Save Your Life is not a story of an angry girl. It's a story of a girl, who is lonely and trying to find her path. She doesn't know where to go, but she does know that she has to keep looking. That part really stuck to me. Keep on looking, looking, and looking. Reminds me of the Sound of Music, when they sing "Climb every mountain." It took her some twist and turns before she realize she had to find a reason for herself. 

I like this book. You can't help but feel sorry for Elise. She gets kicked in the worse way possible. She's a scapegoat, er...scapegirl in high school. Remember high school? It's a breeding ground for bullies, victims, and everything in between. You get pushed around. You try to find your rhythm. You find your circle. There's rivalries with other circles. Then there's the pranks. 

The plot is really stable. Although, Elise travels frequently, you won't get lost. She has the sense to tell you where she is. (Hahaha). I don't really like the Char plot though. I mean, him pretending to be someone he's not. And then Pippa forgiving Elise? Yeah, that's not really a strong plot in that section, but I'm willing to over look it. 

The ending of This Song Will Save Your Life is totally amazing. I love the character development of Elise. She changes so much. (It's like: OMG! My little girl is growing up). She tries her best to be the best she can be. Then she just lets go and becomes herself. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Laney by Joann I. Martin Sowles Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"In a small college town in Northern California, Laney Alexander leads a regular, uneventful life-that is, until the charming and alluring Oliver Knight enters her world. Who is this gorgeous and mysterious stranger? Or, rather, what is he? As Laney's sophomore year of college begins, so does an unbelievable adventure-including a love she didn't know she longed for. She soon learns that Oliver is not ordinary, nor is the rest of his family, including a sister who openly hates her and a brother who will stop at nothing for revenge. As she fights for her life, and Oliver's love, Laney discovers that the fictional world of vampires isn't so fictional after all. Nobody is safe, especially Laney, Oliver's most important priority, and he will stop at nothing to protect her. With her mortality at risk, and a commitment revealed that she, without a doubt, knows she wants, Laney's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn..."

I wonder if this was intended to be a Twilight parody. There's a lot of similar characters (without the third side in the triangle) and parallel events (without James and his coven), but was it a Twilight parody? It still involves vampires, werewolves, and the entire rogue vampire plot. 

I say Laney has more meat in the book. There are better characters (remember Twilight? Only Jacob had the best character); there is a better plot (please, at least the plot doesn't start when 'James' come into the story); and there's better writing (I wouldn't call Meyer's writing writing). I know this book deserves a better rating than what I gave to Twilight. Problem is that I don't remember what rating I gave for Twilight (that's what Goodreads is good for). Oh, I see it's a one out of five. 

Let's say that Laney isn't as creepy as Twilight. At least Olivier Knight isn't a stalker who sneaks into teenager's bedrooms and watch them sleep (cause that is just disgusting; may I throw up now?). Without the creepiness (well, most of it), Laney should be ogled by people instead of Twilight. Thank goodness, Twilight died down (sort of) after Hunger Games came out. 

Laney, the character, isn't a damsel in distress. She has friends. Heck, Bella doesn't even have anyone, other than that sparkly vampire. Laney has some characteristics and some habits, like eating a lot of sugar (seriously, does this girl has diabetes yet?) Honestly, I can't think of a talent Laney has. (Author definitely has to work on that part to prevent Twilight syndrome). Anyway, Laney has some expressions, unlike the infamous sulky Miss. Swan. She's no robot, neither an old jealous hag. She's neither creepy, or boring.

The writing of Sowles (sorry, if I got the title or name wrong. I'm sleepy right now) is much better than Meyer. Laney's writing shows that two sentences can be together. It might not teach the future generation anything, but thankfully it's better. I know I will be reading this rather than that other sparkly vampire book, with mismatched (and/or misplaced) covers. (Seriously, a ribbon? Where is a ribbon mentioned in that book? Or the White King? May be symbolic, but doesn't make sense to me).

Last of all, Laney is not a "me, me, me" book. It doesn't focus entirely on Laney and Oliver, but I wish it would pay a tiny bit more attention to Laney's good friends. One more thing: Nice build up on character background, but not enough to make a strong conclusion (for me talk about and praise/criticized). 

Rating: Three out of Five

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Review

"Everybody thinks Syrah is the golden girl. After all, her father is Ethan Cheng, billionaire, and she has everything any kid could possibly desire: a waterfront mansion, jet plane, and custom-designed snowboards. But most of what glitters in her life is fool's gold. Her half-siblings hate her, her best friend's girlfriend is ruining their friendship, and her own so-called boyfriend is only after her for her father's name. When her broken heart results in a snowboarding accident that exiles her from the mountains-the one place where she feels free and accepted for who she is, not what she has-can Syrah rehab both her busted-up knee, "and" her broken heart? 
Justina Chen Headley writes with an engaging wit and a powerful, distinct voice. Her first novel, "Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies) "was a Border's Original Voices nominee, a Book Sense pick, and received a starred review from "Publisher's Weekly: ""Headley makes an impressive debut with this witty, intimate novel.""""""

I love those quotation marks at the end of the synopsis. Totally LOL moment.

Okay. Girl Overboard sounds like a book rich heiress should read. But really, it's a book most people should read. Or maybe not, because it's a four hundred page book that is sort of boring. Okay, I'll admit it. It's boring in the middle part of the book. There's a lot of good stuff in the book (I mean good lessons), but it can be overwhelming to the point of them just giving you an old man's advice on his death bed.

Of course, there wasn't any character that died in the book.

I hate how slow the book went. It was already enough for a book to be four hundred pages, but to have the story go slow? That's too much. It's like "Someone please kill me now" or "I'm going to cheat on this book by reading something else."

On to other subjects of the book. Most of us probably don't know about snowboarding. I know I don't, partially because I live in the area where no one knows how to snowboard. Maybe some of us know, but the majority definitely don't know. And that's another reason to not read this book: Weird words/terminology used by people who snowboard. (Let me think about what I just said). Also people who know some things about snowboarding. It would had been helpful if the author conveniently placed a glossary in the front of the book. (I don't look at the back unless I want to read the acknowledgements).

Bringing in references to people. I wish the author written in some real people, because there's a lot of fake people and that annoys me like crazy. It would be awesome if NPH or Ryan Gosling somehow appeared into the story. Or the snowboarding experts like Shawn...Shawn...er...I don't remember his last name. I think it's White, but I'm too lazy to check. Beside, interent connections is down.

The Chinese words blending in with the English. I can easily understand pingyin (basically the cheat-cheat on pronunciation for lazy Americans). Sometimes it gets irritating because there's a bunch of Chinese words which can be mistakenly taken for one another. (Pingyin gets confusing when it's without the accent marks. Xi and Xi may be referring to a whole bunch of words, like four or death).

The lesson learned at the end of Girl Overboard is adorable, but I don't think it's necessary to mention it, telling the readers (a summary of) what they learned from the story. Heck, I should had skipped to the end and read that part instead of reading the entire story. Would had saved a lot of time.

Syrah is definitely a smart golden girl. She's caring and cautious. She's a unique girl, with a heart of gold. I love how she changes throughout the story, but she has something I'll call dry humor. Humor that exist, but isn't funny. 

Rating: Three out of Five

Friday, December 27, 2013

Some Quiet Place by Kelsey Sutton Review

"I can’t feel sadness, anger, or fear. I can’t feel anything. I’ve grown talented at pretending.

Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions . . . she sees them in human form. Longing hovers around the shy, adoring boy at school. Courage materializes beside her dying friend. Fury and Resentment visit her abusive home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, except beautiful Fear, who sometimes torments her and other times plays her compassionate savior. He’s obsessed with finding the answer to one question: What happened to Elizabeth to make her this way?

They both sense that the key to Elizabeth’s condition is somehow connected to the paintings of her dreams, which show visions of death and grief that raise more questions than answers. But as a shadowy menace begins to stalk her, Elizabeth’s very survival depends on discovering the truth about herself. When it matters most, she may not be able to rely on Fear to save her."

Whoa! I did not see this conclusion! (Short review coming up. Sorry, guys. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year [I wrote this review on Christmas Eve]). 

Some Quiet Place is a book without emotion. *Thinks for a few seconds* On second thought, the book is mostly without emotion. It's like a book narrated by a robot which sudden got a new emotional brain/heart in the middle of the book.  Some Quiet Place is a superb book. It's unique; I believe it is also original. I mean, seriously? Who ever thought of emotions having a face? Or a body? Or a unique personality?

The plot of Some Quiet Place is not very quiet, nor stars a quiet place. It goes up and down, right and left, especially with a new enemy hanging around. Or a very old enemy. 

Even though there's little emotions hanging around the mind of Elizabeth Caldwell, the book is good because of Kelsey Sutton's irresistible writing. I love how the writing describes Elizabeth as this cold block of ice. I love how she made Fear complicated and Courage, Fear's brother, in a similar pattern. Most of the emotions are complicated, mixed with hidden feelings and motivations. 

The ending/conclusion is really surprising. The truth about Elizabeth's ability to not feel anything will be revealed. (I guess mostly right. I was wrong about who Elizabeth really was, right about the heritage of her father). 

Elizabeth Caldwell may be a stone talking about her life, but she's not a stone. She's a human being who can't express herself through expressions. Through her voice and POV, there's small emotions expressing themselves. And I like how the author uses them to reveal a darker and more mysterious side of Elizabeth.

Rating: Four out of Five

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Transparent by Natalie Whipple Review

"Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl."

Yes, never underestimate an invisible girl. Oh, also never underestimate the number of peeping Toms out there. (I know most of you guys probably don't know what I'm talking about. Please be warned that there is a lot more spoilers in this review than usual).

I have to go straight to the questionable romance. First of all, I'm seriously disgusted by Fiona and her boyfriend (or crush/enemy at that time). That guy, who happens to be a math wiz, can see Fiona, even though she has the ability to be invisible.

Okay, that may not seem to be a big deal though until you remember Violet from the Incredibles. (Here I go again). Violet can be completely invisible with her suit because her suit can become invisible, but her clothes can't. Right? You got that so far? Anyway, it's the same thing for Fiona, except she doesn't have a suit. And she's invisible ever since she was born. So to be completely invisible, she has to take all her clothes off. In other words, she has to walk around stark-naked.

Oh, isn't that interesting? Public indecency is what I'll say to it. Only problem is that no one can see her except for that boy. And I mean, he can see everything. Every little detail on her invisible body. Isn't that sick?

And even though she knows about that, she still dates/loves him. If a guy looked at naked me, I'll kill him before he says a peep to other Peeping Toms.

Okay, moving on, because I'm ranting.

The plot of Transparent is reasonable, I guess. The only part of the story that doesn't makes sense is the ending. The ending was too fast; I bet the author only spend a few hours writing it, then a few hours editing it. I think she wanted the book to be over or something like that. It was too fast and too rushed.

The writing of Natalie Whipple totally sucks you into the story. You can't help but feel a bit of pity and sympathy for Fiona, even though she's in love with that guy. (Err! That guy! I don't get why she likes him. He never told her about his ability until the end of the book).

And Fiona herself. She's an idiot. I know that I already told you why, but I have to say it again. She's an idiot. 

Rating: Three out of Five

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Circle of Silence by Carol M. Tanzman Review

"The biggest story of my life could be how it ends

It’s my turn to run a Campus News crew, and I’ve put together a team that can break stories wide open. And Washington Irving High has a truly great one to cover, if only we can find a lead.

A secret society has formed in our school. It announced its presence with pranks: underwear on the flagpole, a toilet in the hallway, cryptic notes. A circle of silence keeps the society a mystery. No one knows its members, agenda or initiation secrets—until a student lands in the hospital under strange circumstances.

will blow this story wide open and stop others from being hurt... …or worse. And while my ex, Jagger, might want to help, I don’t trust him yet. (And, no, not because of our past together. That is not important to this story.)

But whether you find me, Valerie Gaines, reporting in front of the camera, or a victim in the top story of the newscast…be sure to watch Campus News at 9:00 a.m. this Friday."

Circle of Silence (Why do I think it's Circle of Secrets?) is a mystery book. If you don't know what a mystery book is, please go back to junior high, or whatever school that teaches what-is-a-mystery-book. Okay, I'm getting off tracks. I'll admit it. 

Circle of Silence is a short book, around a good two hundred pages. It's not that bad for a paperback book, or at least in my mind. (And I'm sure there's some hardcovers hanging around, but I haven't seen them yet). Anyway, Circle of Silence is an okay book. Neutral. Maybe a bit above neutral? Let me take a look at the goods and bads before I give my last conclusion.

The way the book is layered out gives Circle of Silence a sense of organization and cleanness, despite the things within the pages. For example, there's a part with the bad guy narrating whatever the MP was doing. For example, he or she writes a log about the activities and pranks of the MP. It's quite interesting to see the POV of a bad guy or girl.

The plot is crazy. Most of the time, Valerie Gaines is trying to figure out the MP members. Valerie and her team spend a lot of time chasing the MP, going from one story to another like crazy paparazzi. It's get quite annoying before become deadly and dangerous when MP started to hunt, nearly killing one of its members. Circle of Silence is quite a ride to read.

The romance/chemistry between Valerie and her ex-boyfriend isn't there. I mean, it's there in words, but there's no emotion behind it. Well, there is. Only a tiny bit, but not enough for it to send your stomach into tingles. Remember that kind of romance? The one Warner and Julitte has. The one Four and Tris had. That tiny feeling that feels so good, creeping up your toes and reaching into your heart. It's a beautiful feeling, but it isn't here. You can't find it here.

Valerie herself isn't a bad character. I think she's in the wrong situation, but she learns from her experience (what we read) well. I like what she said at the end about the different kinds of masks we wear and the roles we play. It blended really well with the book, which is actually pretty nice, because some books are so random that you have no idea what it's referring to unless you read ten times. 

The writing of Carol Tanzman is okay. I don't see anything wrong with it. Oh, there's also a book before Circle of Silence. You don't have to read the first book, which is what I did. (I didn't read it, because my library doesn't carry that book). You'll still be able to understand Circle of Silence without reading the first book, which is great.

Rating: It's definitely better than neutral. Three point five out of five, rounded to four out of five.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Witch Fire by Laura Powell Review

"Lucas and Glory are hard at work in WICA (Witchkind Intelligence and Covert Affairs). As part of their training, they learn more about the witch-terrorist organization Endor. It is believed that Endor has infiltrated a boarding school for young witches in Switzerland, so WICA sends their two youngest agents—Lucas and Glory—to the school undercover. There, they learn more about an experimental brain implant that blocks the power of the fae. It’s a dangerous procedure . . . more so than they could ever have imagined."

I didn't expect much from the sequel of Burn Mark. In fact, I wasn't expecting much of anything because of the low standards Burn Mark set.

But Witch Fire totally blew me away. I was amazed by how much the book improved. I loved it so much I reread it, savoring most of the pages. There's a lot of reasons why this book is the new and improved. (I'm going to do this by list, because I'm into listopias at this moment). 

1) The romance. I love it. The pairing that we had always been waiting for happened! Finally, we see these two lovebirds come together. It's so cute that they are doubting each other, confused and lost. I can't wait for them to appear in the next book.

2) The plot. Now everything is so much clearer. Everything makes sense. Everything opens to reveal new beginnings, new expectations, and new possibilities for the sequel. And yes, there's a great chance that there will be a sequel. I'm definitely going to read the next book when it's, or if it will ever come out. Oh yeah, btw, the book goes a bit faster than last time.

3) The characters. They act and react to one another so well. I love how Lucas knows Glory very much. (Notice I said knows, not like. Cause some of you guys love to mistakenly misread words). Lucas plays the part of a smart, intelligent, and handsome young man while Glory plays a girl who doesn't care about anything in life. But put those guys together in the bushes and you get a full out war, especially if they are undercover on an assignment. 

4) Laura Powell's writing significantly improved. It's very attractive and gives Witch Fire the appearance of a well-written book. 

With all these new standards and expectations, the sequel to Witch Fire needs to be even better than Witch Fire and Burn Mark. I really hope Powell doesn't screw up on the next book.

Rating: Four out of Five

Monday, December 23, 2013

Flicker & Burn by T.M. Goeglein Review

"Sara Jane Rispoli is still searching for her missing family, but instead of fighting off a turncoat uncle and crooked cops, this time she finds herself on the run from creepy beings with red, pulsing eyes and pale white skin chasing her through the streets in ice cream trucks; they can only be described as Ice Cream Creatures. They're terrifying and hell bent on killing her, but they're also a link to her family, a clue to where they might be and who has them. While she battles these new pursuers, she's also discovering more about her own cold fury and more about the Chicago Outfit, how the past misdeeds--old murders and vendettas--might just be connected to her present and the disappearance of her family. But connecting the dots is tough and time-consuming and may finally be the undoing of her relationship with the handsome Max--who's now her boyfriend. But for his own safety, Sara Jane may have to end this relationship before it even really starts. Her pursuers who've shown her her mother's amputated finger and the head of the Chicago Outfit who's just whistled her in for a sit-down make a romance unthinkable. The only thing that matters is finding her family and keeping everyone she loves alive."

Cold Fury's sequel. First thing I want to say about this book is how cold it is. Well, it's not that cold, but it's colder than many books. There's a lot of action in this book, involving kills and war and death and everything else in between.

Flicker & Burn is obviously a mafia book (not as good as the chocolate books like All The Thing I'd Done), with a whole bunch of insane people. Sara Jane Rispoli herself is one. *Ponders for a minute, rethinking what I just said.* Yeah, she's definitely insane. I don't know who she can act in so many ways without being the same person. It's like an actress who's playing ten roles of Sara Jane Rispoli. (Does she have PMS? Because it would totally explain the entire craziness). 

Flicker & Burn evoke a mostly neutral expression from me, even though it was insane. It failed in giving good surprises (mostly because the synopsis is huge spoiler). 

As I said before, the character of Sara Jane Rispoli. For one second, it seems like she wants to end it all by... Then she wants to keep on fighting. She's torn from all sides, from her friends to her family to the monsters. She's...lost. That's the easiest way of saying it. And the word "insane" can be used to describe her correctly. Sara Jane Rispoli is totally not a family person even though she's after her family. Totally ironic. 

Cold Fury ended off on a interesting note, giving us a lot of questions to ask. Flicker & Burn did its best and succeed for the most part. It failed epically in the romance section, passing in the action with creepy stalkers and undying friendship. Oh, it failed in romance? Poor book, but most importantly: Why did it fail? 

Max and Sara practically have zero chemistry yet the author sets them together. Sara is pretty much always lying her...off while Max has been straight and truthful. Max accidentally cheated on Sara (read the book if you want to know Max's side). Wait, he didn't cheat. They broke up before that incident. Never mind. And Sara? She's pretty much heartbroken but there's virtually no trust between her and Max. There's no hope for Mara (or Sax? No, definitely Mara). Unless Sara changes her ways and learn to love Max. I don't see that happening in the future.

Rating: Three out of Five

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey Review

"On Wilde Island, there is no peace between dragons, fairies, and humans.

Wilde Island is in an uproar over the recent death of its king. As the uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans begins to fray, the royal witch hunter with a hidden agenda begins a vengeful quest to burn girls suspected of witchcraft before a new king is crowned.

Strong-willed Tess, a blacksmith’s daughter from a tiny hamlet, wants more for herself than a husband and a house to keep. But in times like these wanting more can be dangerous. Accused of witchery, Tess and her two friends are forced to flee the violent witch hunter. As their pursuer draws ever closer they find shelter with a huntsman in the outskirts of the forbidden Dragonswood sanctuary. But staying with the mysterious huntsman poses risks of its own: Tess does not know how to handle the attraction she feels for him—or resist the elusive call that draws her deeper onto the heart of Dragonswood."

Finally! The sequel to Dragon's Keep. I wonder if the author wants her fans to die while waiting for the sequel. (Joke, but three, four years of waiting?)

Anyway, I totally think Dragonwood is better than Dragon's Keep. Dragonswood is more mature and different from Dragon's Keep. Of course, there's a huge span of time between the books so it's different. Dragonswood has a lot of things going on at once. When it's the end, everything comes together and it will be a big OH! 

The storyline is good. I mean, really good. Finally, there's someone who is trying to find a piece of safety. Finally, there's someone who can look after herself. Finally, there's someone who wants and is independent. And there's a good looking dude who is just around the corner and can't seem to understand Tess. It's so adorable. Better than Dragon's Keep. 

I love how Tess narrates her story. I feel much better than the princess' voice from Dragon's Keep. Less whiny and spoiled, Tess is much more mature and much stronger, after years of putting up with abuse and hatred. Well, mostly mature. She hasn't learned forgiveness yet, by the end of the book though (sorry, if that's a spoiler to some of you). 

Garth, that guy, goes by many names, but can capture all our hearts. I bet he's going to be in the next book (the sequel) along with his... The romance between Tess and Garth is so adorable (gah! I use adorable too frequently). 

What else? What else? What else? More thoughts on what I think for Dragonswood? (Yeah, let's do that.)

Dragonswood is a fun book. You don't have to read Dragon's Keep, but it will help if you do read it because it will expand what you know on the Dragon's Keep universe. I recommend this book to pretty much younger teens and under (but not too young. There's some weird parts in the book, aka I'm going to have a heart attack scenes because they have so much chemistry). 

Rating: Four out of Five

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Morning Star by Robin Bridges Review

"St. Petersburg, Russia, 1890

Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, wants to be known as a doctor, not a necromancer. But Tsar Alexander III forbids women to attend medical school; his interest in Katerina extends only to her ability to raise the dead. Twice now, Katerina has helped him by using her power to thwart the forces of darkness—vampires bent on resurrecting the lich tsar Konstantin Pavlovich so that he can take what he sees as his rightful place on the throne. Katerina thought she had bound Konstantin to the Greylands, the realm of the dead, but he has found a way out. Now he is searching for the Morning Star, a sword that will allow him to command a legion of supernatural warriors.

Katerina must find the sword before Konstantin does—and she must travel to Egypt to do so. Along the way, she puts up with unwanted attention from her former fiancé, the nefarious Prince Danilo, and struggles with her feelings for her true love, George Alexandrovich. But with the looming threat from Konstantin, Katerina's focus remains on the sword. Russia's fate will be determined by whoever wields the Morning Star—and delivers the final blow."

The end of the series. Wahhhh!

I wish The Morning Star... Let's not start there, on second thought. Let's start in the background of the story. Once upon a time, there was a girl named Katerina Alexandrovna, who had the ability to bring things back from the dead. She was torn between so many choices. Love and dreams. Duty and love. Dreams and duty. Each and every book was always starring a war within Katerina Alexandrovna along with the war between someone.

Okay, that clears up a lot of the issues. The Morning Star is an okay book. Disappointing, because its predecessors fared so much better like The Unfailing Light and The Gathering Storm. The Morning Star, compared to the last two, didn't go into many details and wasn't as good. 

The plot went by very quickly. Sometimes, in the middle of the book when I was reading it, I wished that the author would slow down a bit because everything went by a little too quickly. Like she was here, then there. And whoa! How did she get there? It's something like that along the lines. Crazy. Fast-paced. And insane, but overall landed on my positive thoughts. But disappointing was one of the negative thoughts on The Morning Star. 

I like how the author did little recaps here and there, but I wish she expanded on them, because I can't remember everything about the last two books. Hello? That book was about two hundred, or four hundred books ago. It might as well be eons. 

The ending. This is me for the entire ending: (O.O) Yes, that's correct. That face right there. For the entire ending, I was shocked, shocked, shocked. Then I was, what the heck did I just read. But of course, I'm not telling you anything, but it is worth reading the last part because it is just that good. And I'm left thinking that Robin Bridges should write some more of this series.

Katerina Alexandrovna never was and never will be my fav heroine. I never found her as interesting as Katniss Everdeen, or June Iparis. She wasn't as broken; she was like a perfect doll. Sorry, Katerina, but your sob story doesn't sell. 

Rating: Three out of Five

Friday, December 20, 2013

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow Review

"Marcus aka “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, his injured best friend Darryl does not come out. The city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: "M1k3y" will take down the DHS himself."

I'm reading this book in 2013. The first thing I think of is whether or not Edward Snowden has read this book. Which is good, because that means I'm paying more attention to the news instead of reading three books a day. (And less books to review. Three books a day is nutcase's reading speed according to my classmates. What I think? I think it's my average in 2011 or 2010 or something like that).

Enough of Snowden (I have a feeling that was probably one of his fav books). I'm reading too much about one subject and not focusing on another. I'm moving on to more a bigger issue in front of us. This book, Little Brother.

For those of you who hate four hundred page books, this is not for you. It requires patience, love faith... I'm joking. I'm simply reciting what is needed for a strong marriage. No, Little Brother requires patience, yes, and a lot of will. I would have dropped the book, if I didn't have those two. I wanted to, yes, but I didn't drop the book. (So now, I'm writing a review, instead of an abandoning memo).

Little Brother is actually pretty amazing. Even though it has a large portion of useless information. No, the information is not useless. The information is just background for those people who aren't hackers. People like you and me. But background information can be kind of boring. If the character hacks, please simply say he hacks instead of giving us the every details of hacking. Well, not every details. More like sugar-details. 

The plot is sloooowwww. I kid you not. When I say slow, I say slow. I feel so bored throughout the middle parts of the book. 

The ending. Hmm... I actually think the acknowledgements and author's note is worth more than the entire book put together. The morals of the book is pretty much summarized in the last few pages. Thank you very much for putting that in there.

Rating: Three out of Five

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger Review

"Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.

Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her stepbrother...at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Filled with authenticity and raw emotion, Whitley is Kody Keplinger's most compelling character to date: a cynical Holden Caulfield-esque girl you will wholly care about."

Side Effects Warning: Sudden anger towards family members, wanting to reread the book, and mood swings. 

Yep, that's the possible side effects of what happens after reading this book. I'm not going to tell you the full story of my fight with my people or my mood swings (and no, I don't have PMS). I can tell you that I really liked this book, so much that I kept on rereading it like crazy. 

A Midsummer's Nightmare is totally a pun of A Midnight Summer's Dream, but it has pretty much nothing in common except for the first two syllables in the title. It's a story of high school drama. It's a story of a girl, who is broken inside. The only way to heal herself is to drink, party, and drink some more. She doesn't see anything that's good, only the bad (and to tell you the truth, that kind of thinking can be transmitted to the reader, like a disease). 

It's a total LOL story. Serendipity in a way. One night stand that's going to become your future brother. Then there's the father problem, who is no longer Whitley's father. Totally LOL story, along with a touch of fate. Adorable and cute in every way (but the chance of happening is pretty much nada). 

The plot is crazy. I have no idea how many times did Whitley go out and party. Or how many times Whitley shamed her family. Or how many times when I wanted to go into the book and help myself with a little bit of Whitley's one night stand. (Yeah, he's really hot and cute. The way the author describes him makes me swoon! Someone give me a fan! Oompa loompa over there! Get me a glass of water!)

Anyway, this is pretty much the book that stars an angry girl.

The ending is perhaps the most beautiful part of the story. When Whitley finally...oh wait, I can't talk about that yet. But the ending is pretty amazing. (You: One spoiler, please? Me: Okay, it has something to do with the title). 

The romance is to die for. If I had a guy that make me feel that way...I would bang him in a heartbeat. And I don't care if he's going to be my future stepbrother. All I'm thinking is, hello! He's not my stepbrother yet! Better take advantage now! I don't know how Whitley can stand it, but she's got good looking guts. Maybe ugly ones, especially with that amount of alcohol she drinks. 

Whitley. Whitley. Whitley. She's awesome when she's not drunk. Don't drink guys. XD

Rating: Five out of Five

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Annie, Between the States by L. M. Elliott Review

"Annie's home and heart are divided by the Civil War.

Annie Sinclair's Virginia home is in the battle path of the Civil War. Her brothers, Laurence and Jamie, fight to defend the South, while Annie and her mother tend to wounded soldiers. When she develops a romantic connection with a Union Army lieutenant, Annie's view of the war broadens. Then an accusation calls her loyalty into question. A nation and a heart divided force Annie to choose her own course."

Annie, Between the States is actually a great name for this book. Annie, who is a Virginian, lives between the war-torn country. But, like what the author suggest, the title has more than one meaning. Each person will see a different meaning. What I just said a few sentence ago is one of the many ways I see the title.
Anyway, the book itself is quite long. I recommend that you clear up your schedule if you are a slow reader. I manage to finish this four hundred page book in a night and a few periods of school. Not exactly a bright idea for me, because I was reading during lectures. 

Annie, Between the States is a wonderfully written book. It does not make your stomach flip, but it does give you a good lesson on the Civil War. Any student studying the Civil War should read this. It will help because there's several real life events along with some ogling moments. I mean, read over and over and over again moments. Ogling (thank you, Dragonswood for putting that word in my vocabulary). 

The perfect blend of war and romance is totally my cup of tea. I don't always enjoy historical fiction, because authors always mess it up in some ways. Like that marriage never happen. Or that assassination attempt failed. Or maybe a poisoning never happen and the King live much longer than the years on his grave. But this book is mostly true. Just edit out the characters the author made up (thank you, author, for putting which characters are fake and real in the Author's note. I hate it when authors don't do that. Then I have to research everything). 

The plot maybe a little bit confusing to some readers. The time moves by quickly, spanning over a couple years of the Civil War. Timelines and notes are usually helpful, but if you have a great memory (like me) then you'll be fine. 

Annie is a brave girl, living in the right time. In the right moment. She first meets Thomas Walker, (the future ______). Then Jeb Stuart. Now, the history freaks of the Civil War would know who this man is. Just look him up in wikipedia if you don't know. Anyway, I fell in love with Annie (does that sound wrong to you guys? Because I'm a girl...) and Thomas (hottie right there; warning: he loves Keats). But I won't tell you anymore, or else this book will sound like...

The Civil War is portrayed as a war between brothers. Instead of having the issue of slavery being the major part of the book, the author makes family the star of the book. A war between family. A war between brothers. A war between sisters. A war between the states. It's nice to see a different issue take the front page. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Shadow Mirror by Richie Tankersley Cusick Review

"Unsettling. There's no better word to describe Miranda Barnes's ability to hear the cries of the dead, feel the wind move her hair when they run by, and - dare she look into a mirror - see the reflection of a ghostly woman behind her. There's only one person to turn to for support: Etienne. As sexy as he is mysterious, Miranda can't help but be drawn to him. He believes her; he wants to help her. But there's a secret in Etienne's past, something Miranda's on the verge of discovering. As paranormal activity escalates, passion grows, and soon Miranda is caught up in both love . . . and tragedy."

Unsettling isn't what I'll call this book. Boring, dull, and dry are better words for describing this book. Because it truly is boring. Shadow Mirror fails where Walk of the Spirits passed. 

And why does the sequel suck? No excitement. That's the easiest answer I can give. And it's probably the very same reason why there's no sequel to this book. 

Shadow Mirror's plot is slow. That's a good way of putting it. Slow as a snail. Slow as a turtle. Slow as Internet Explorer. The book starts picking up speed towards the end, because Miranda couldn't figure out the sad story of the ghost lady and her kids. (No, that's not a spoiler. I think). And then, when it was the ending, it was over.

Shadow Mirror is more like a social book than the paranormal book it was in the first book. Social, in ways of Miranda and her friends. The relationships are more developed, but I guess Miranda should had spend more time on solving mysteries of the past than the craziness of the future. Her friends and her drama. Oh, Ashley has drama...yawn. Etienne and his 'cousin' are fighting over Miranda...yawn. Maybe if it was a life or death situation, the book could had been more interesting. Like Peeves (or a ghost like Peeves from Harry Potter) being in the book. 

Ghosts can make a book quite interesting. 

The ghost story. The tragedy of the ghost lady and her children is totally yawn, yawn, yawn. (And it's nighttime at this moment. Well, I'm writing this review at night. That's better). (I'm a bit sleepy). Okay, yellow fever. Very tragic. I'm sorry that I'm emotionless, but I'm not sorry to say that this ghost story is nothing compared to the last one. (Because the last book was totally awesome. So Romeo and Juliet). 

(It's nighttime so I'm going to zoom by with the characters). All the characters progressed in some way. Annoyingly and slowly, depending on which character you are asking. Peter probably had the best chance of being expanded upon along with Etienne. Ashley is still a bit blond; her sister is still gothic and vampireish. 

Rating: One out of Five

Monday, December 16, 2013

Allegra by Shelley Hrdlitschka Review

"Allegra thinks being at a performing-arts high school will change her life and make her a better dancer. But high school is still high school, complete with cliques, competition and cruelty. Allegra's refuge comes in the form of a class she doesn't want to take--music theory, taught by a very young, very attractive male teacher. Soon all Allegra can think about is music composition--and Mr. Rochelli. But has she misunderstood his attention, or is he really her soul mate?"

Well, this certainly isn't my relationship with a teacher. Love relationship. Student and teacher. We all have heard these stories on the internet, on the news, on tv, etc.

Now there's a book on it. A fiction book, right under the shelf Fiction.

First of all, all readers should understand the following things: 1) The teacher is very young, 2) Allegra is almost an adult in the eyes of the law, and 3) This book is FICTION. Although the book is indeed fiction, it does hit some factors of a student-teacher relationship (Don't ask why I know).

Allegra likes him because he's more mature, he understands her better, and he cares out of everyone in the world. (Is this turning into a freaky review for you? Sorry, guys but this is the truths of the book. Allegra even list them out). Not to mention that hawt young music teacher is very attractive, which is why Allegra likes him.

Okay. Onto the book. Allegra is actually a pretty good book, once you let all of the factors go. Even though I'll probably never see my teachers the same way before I read this book, it's still a pretty damn good book. (I'm just kidding. I don't see my teachers in a different way after reading this. I think). Allegra is like music. Stunningly beautiful, with deep dark and light emotions. Like all music when played with the heart.

What more can you think about when there's a hot teacher that's making Allegra blush furiously? Well, apparently Allegra is still going on and thinking about how horrible her life is. Boo-hoo, we all have terrible lives. Because we are biased, opinionated people. We only care for ourselves until we realize that there's someone out there worth more than you. And in this book, it happens. 

The ending is driving me crazy. I wish, wish, wish, and wish the author (I don't know how to pronounced the last name) would write a short chapter or epilogue. I don't like it when stand-alone books leave off without a solid conclusion. Yes, as you guess, this book is one of those "Maybe this, maybe that" books. 

And Allegra? She's a learner. But I won't tell her characteristics. Many of them are already listed in the synopsis. I'm not joking. 

Rating; Four out of Five

Sunday, December 15, 2013

This Strange and Familiar Place by Rachel Carter Review

"These are the things of which Lydia is now certain:

The Montauk Project has been experimenting with time travel for years.

The Project's subjects are "recruits" from across time, recruits like Wes, Lydia's ally, friend, and love.

The Project is now responsible for the disappearance of two members of her family...

The conspiracy theorists were right about the Montauk Project all along. In this sequel to So Close to You, they're coming for Lydia next..."

Wow. It's been a long time since I am completely excited about a sequel. (Perhaps ever since I read Unravel Me and completed it?) 

This Strange and Familiar Place is an amazing book that enchanted me from the very beginning. I thought I was going to hate this book (because of my particular dislike for time traveling books and multiple timelines). Instead, This Strange and Familiar Place (what a mouthful of words and title) went back to So Close To You and did a short recap whenever necessary. Furthermore, This Strange and Familiar Place rarely caused any confusion for me. (It's a nice change for once. To not be confused in a book). 

The plot is crazy. Insane like The Blessed. And it goes by a lot faster than The Blessed, which is written is a shocking three to four hundred pages. And this book is only written in about two hundred and a half. It goes nuts and haywire. And I love how fast the plot went, yet also how perfectly paced it was. Perfectly paced enough for me to not get lost. 

The wording of This Strange and Familiar Place definitely helped me keep up. Names and titles and obvious references were a great help when it comes to time traveling. I tip my gray and worn hat to Rachel Carter, who did a much better job in this book than So Close to You (aka and, in case you didn't pick up the hint, the first book in this series). Good planning.

The ending is beautiful. Beautiful. I loved it and I want to know... Oh, I just want to tell you all and reveal everything. Unfortunately, (if you haven't read this book) you are going to hate me. So much that you'll send me to coldest pits. 

Lydia is awesome in this book. I love how her character is starting to show the tougher side of herself. I love how her naiveness (is this even a word?) is starting to wear off. She's getting better and better with each book.

And Wes...oh...I love this guy. I love this guy. I love this guy. And I'm not going to tell you why because...oh...too many spoilers.

Rating: Five out of Five

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Blessed by Tonya Hurley Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

 "From the author of the New York Times bestselling ghostgirl series, the start to a dark and thrilling trilogy about three girls who become entangled with an enigmatic boy. Previously published as The Blessed.
What if martyrs and saints lived among us? And what if you were told you were one of them?

Meet Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy. Three lost girls, each searching for something. But what they find is Beyond Belief."

I don't care what you think, but I think this book is good. (Now all you guys who hate this book are going to hate me too. I don't care).  

The Blessed is insane. Insane, and as bad as the Spanish Inquisition and the Witch Trials put together. I change my mind. It's even worse (crazy) than that. But it is good. And I do mean goooood. (The title of this book isn't Precious Blood, btw. That's in case you didn't read the title of this review, which I know some of you guys don't).

The romance is crazy along with the entire notation of the book. Agnes, Cecilia, and Lucy are all fighting for the love of one lucky son of a ding-dong. (Ding-dongs as in the delicious and mouthwatering cakes made by the same company that makes the seemingly immortal food). Whoa, did I just say what I just said? Yep, all three girls are fighting for the love of Sebastian, who is apparently a Saint. 

(Can this book get any weirder? As mention in the synopsis, all three girls are also saints. Saint Agnes. Saint Cecilia. Saint Lucy. Look them up. Maybe they are real; maybe they are not). 

The plot is insane like the book. (Insane plot, insane book. No traces of sanity in the middle of the book). Lots of blood and gory events, shall I warn. 

Lucy. Saint Lucy of the blind. It's ironic that she's blind herself. (I'm not going to tell you in what way, thought). She's the it-girl of the celebrity blogs. She's beautiful. She's cunning. She's sly. And she gets things her way. But it all falls down beautifully.

Agnes. The smart girl. Saint Agnes. Saint of virgins and other holy people. (Not trying to be insulting, if that insulted you). 

Cecilia. Saint Cecilia of musicians. (Don't remember much about her other than the fact that she's nearly perfect). 

Sebastian. Sebastian of athletes and other sporty/warrior people. Oh, how this ladies' man captured the hearts of three girls. (And he turn out to be a young man from the insanity ward). 

Rating: Four out of Five

Friday, December 13, 2013

Hidden by Marianne Curley Review

"For as long as Ebony can remember, she's been sheltered. Confined to her home in a secluded valley, home-schooled by her protective parents, and limited to a small circle of close friends. It's as if she's being hidden. But something is changing in Ebony. Something that can't be concealed. She's growing more beautiful by the day, she's freakishly strong, and then there's the fact that she's glowing

On one fateful night, Ebony meets Jordan and she's intensely drawn to him. It's as if something explodes inside of her--something that can be seen from the heavens. Ebony still doesn't know that she's a stolen angel, but now that the heavens have found her, they want her back."

Crestfallen. That's what I feel after I read this book.

Hidden sounds awesome, right? Well, truth be told, it isn't. Now let's move and talk about why. (Great I sound like one of those ladies who talk about a subject and make it boring. 'Number one. Please do this problem on a separate sheet of paper.') 

Overall, Hidden is boring. That's right. It's boring. Dull. Dry...and any other words like boring. (synonyms as one would call it). It's really good in the beginning, but my interest totally dropped by the time I was in the middle of the book. I mean, dropped. Gone. Nada. I was thinking about abandoning the book about halfway, but then I thought about how good some books were even though they dropped me in the middle.

Too bad Hidden didn't pick me up before the end of it. (I was so bored out of my mind.)

The writing of Marianne Curley is what hooked me into this book. (Unfortunately, I couldn't stop reading and abandoning). 

What about the love triangle? As mention on the cover of the book. (or implied, not mention).

Yawn. There's so much potential, but I'm afraid nothing was interesting. Yeah, Jordan and Ebony together makes a good looking couple. Thane and Ebony? Hm...Ebony and Thane are in love. And Jordan is the one without a stick. (Because Ebony really loves Thane). Unrequited love in a book that is told from the perspective of a girl who loves Thane (aka someone else) and a boy who loves that girl makes the book really stupid. I want two POVs of characters who love each other. Because listening to unrequited love whining are not my style. It's as bad as listening to my girlfriends complain about their nonexistent love life (or love life with a celebrity who has no idea that my girlfriends exist). 

Ebony is annoying (I hate her POV). Hidden practically has Jordan suffering every minute. (Does the author hates guys or something?) And Ebony escapes all that. Sure, sure, sure. Her parents have been taken by the devil. (Yes, real devil. The most beautiful evil angel of them all). Ebony doesn't seem to care, especially with her 'new family.' But Jordan...poor Jordan. He's a lost soul. That is about to be taken by the devil. 

If Ebony and the devil end up together, I'll be much better in personality. That's how much I hate her. Send her to the doorsteps of her worse enemy!

Rating: Two out of Five