Friday, January 31, 2014

Gamer Girl by Mari Mancusi Review

"After Maddy's parents divorce, she's stuck starting over at a new high school. Friendless and nicknamed Freak Girl, Manga-loving artist Maddy finds refuge in the interactive online game Fields of Fantasy. In that virtual world, she reinvents herself as Allora, a gorgeous elfin alter ego, and meets a true friend in Sir Leo. Maddy can't hide behind Allora forever, especially as a real-life crush begins edging in on her budding virtual romance. But would anyone pick the real Maddy, gamer girl and Manga freak, over the fantasy? This fresh, geeky/cool novel includes online chats and exciting gaming, and features Maddy's Mangastyle artwork."

Gamer Girl is awesome. I can't help but be awed by this story. It may be for younger teens, but you are never too old to read something as cute as this book. It's so sweet and beautiful, but also a huge fantasy book. There's no possible way this outcome (or plot) can even happen unless fate intervene. 

Other than defying fate and possibility, Gamer Girl is an amazing book to read. I loved every moment of it. From the downs of being forced by Grandmother to wear ugly clothes to the ups when Maddy's character finally overcome all the obstacles. It's great reading about every part of this book. The author didn't leave a single nasty or good detail. Of course, there are some loose ends, but I'll forgive the author because sometimes you can't remember everything you wrote. There's about two hundred and fifty pages, so it's pretty much impossible to remember what you wrote unless you are the Terminator. Or Google.

There's one loose end that I'm really concern about. Unless I wasn't paying attention, there's a loose end between Maddy and her father. I'm not sure if Maddy simply let go of her daddy issues, but I doubt it. I think there's still a big fight coming along. But it won't happen in this book. The author will probably have to release a novella for that tie up. 

The game. From what it says on the author's website, it looks like Fields of Fantasy is acutally based of WOW (World of Warcraft, in other words). WOW is one of the biggest games in the world. There's even a record on the number of users/gamers. Anyway, how Maddy describes the game, Fields of Fantasy, made me want to play a game just like hers. It sounds so awesome and amazing. I didn't know there were games like that (then again, I read books. I don't play games, because I think they are a waste of time). 

The plot is clean other than that loose end. Maddy's storyline is such a great read. I totally recommend this book to my fellow readers, because it is just that good. (If you like Cindy Ella, you'll like this book. It's quite similar to Cindy Ella if there isn't a Cinderella and missing high heel in that book). 

I love Maddy. She's not afraid to say what she wants to say (in her head). When she punched Billy, that was a big moment for us readers. I believed in that second she was going to be legendary in the history of her high school. She reminds me of Ginny Weasley. Oh, the way she makes mundane things sound like legendary casts and spells, especially when she's playing the character in Fields of Fantasy.

Rating: Four out of Five

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Endless Knight by Kresley Cole Review

"Evie has her full powers as the Tarot Empress, and Jack was there to see it all. Teens reincarnated as the Tarot are in the throes of an epic battle for mankind. She must trust new allies against other Arcana, Bagmen zombies, post-apocalyptic storms, and cannibals. But she's also drawn to Death, the Endless Knight, who shares history with the Empress. She can't remember; he can't forget."

Oh my goodness, this is gooooood. It's evoking a whole bunch of emotions. Emotions I can't and can name. Happiness, joy, and a whole lot of anger. Oh, how I love Poison Princess, the book before this one. It was awesome how Evie rose from weak to powerful. And terrifying to see it.

But I definitely love Endless Knight. It seems that Kresley Cole, the author, still has some tricks up her sleeve. Tricks like hidden cars and all that stuff. Anyway, if you hadn't read Poison Princess, I suggest you read it because it is so heart thrilling. When you read Endless Knight, you'll want to kill that same guy you were fawning over.

Seriously. It's so hilarious despite us, the readers, hating and hating the Cajun. There's this little feeling in my stomach when a good moment like when Death and Empress coze up. Jack and Empress? Screw it. It's no longer there, unless Death dies. But it seems like there's a fat chance of Jack dying instead. He's been taken by the Lovers. 

Let's see who's dead: 

-Justice (Spite), dead
-The Alchemist (Arthur), dead
-Temperance, dead
-Hierophant, dead
-The Devil, dead
-The Star, dead

If you didn't notice, I put 'dead' after their names, because I'm pretty sure some people wouldn't read the title of the list. Anyway, the Alchemist and Temperance were dead in Poison Princess. Justice was killed early in the game, probably by Mr. Reaper himself. So the number of kills in Endless Knight has totally been upped. Guess who killed most of these guys? Death, of course. Evie killed one. 

Some names were discovered, but I'm not going to mention them because there's twenty-two players of the Major Arcana and it's impossible to name almost all of them without making you guys bored. You have to admit it. The dead list is kind of interesting, right?

The plot and storyline was crazy. One second Evie was trying to get help from other players, the next she was running away from the Reaper. And the history between the Empress and Death was swoon-worthy. It's kind of tragic like Romeo and Juliet (dang it, I revealed too much). Anyway, everything is revealed in the end. And Evie's character changes only a little, but just enough to raise a few eyebrows. Especially those blond eyebrows of Lord Death. 

The romance between Death and Evie (Empress, in case you haven't notice) is much more steam and strong than Jack and Evie. I love watching them chase each other (Evie and Mr. Death. They are so adorable and so well suited. It's much better than Jack. This kitty approves. One warning: There's a lot of bad language/inappropriate stuff. Also, Lord Death is in his twenties while Evie is only sixteen/seventeen.

And the ending? I don't like the way the author throws in the I-love-Jack plot. It feels quite awkward and weird. But there was a lot of buildup on the plot, so I guess I was simply ignoring it all because of how much I liked Lord Death.

Totally reading this book over and over again. I just wish I have a hardcover copy. Only an ecopy. :(

Rating: Four out of Five

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tunnel Vision by Susan Shaw Review

"On her way home one evening, Liza has to force her way through a group of men in a train underpass. She doesn’t think anything of it, but when her mom is shot dead moments later, Liza’s world turns upside down. Even worse, Liza was really the target. Only hours after her mother’s death, Liza is nearly killed again and she and her dad are placed in the witness protection program. Leaving everything she's ever known behind, Liza and her dad pick up and move, never staying in one place for long. It's too big of a risk--and Liza's worst fear is realized when she gets recognized. The would-be killer is still on their trail, so all Liza ad her dad can do is keep running. Unsure whom to trust and where to go, they're just trying to stay alive."

I should had abandoned this book. But I didn't. I was hoping it will get better, but it didn't.

Road Trip with a bunch of killers and a delusion girl and her dad. They are running for their lives, away from everyone including the FBI. 

Doesn't it sound awesome? I thought so too, until I was at the halfway mark of the book. Then I realized how boring and dry this book is. Tunnel Vision may seem promising, but fails to deliver a good and addiction story. I fell asleep for the second half of the book, so don't ask me what happened in that part. I will not remember it, even for my own life. I will make up an awesome plot, involving high speed chasing and all that stuff instead. 

It's probably why Tunnel Vision doesn't have a sequel. That's right, it doesn't have a sequel because of how horrible it is. Look at the fellow reviews and take a look if they agree with me. The plot is so mundane and there's no arguments. Well, Liza has arguments in her mind, but that doesn't really count. There's no arguments with her dad. No face-off with the gang, or at least with Liza and the gang (sorry, Dad v. the gang doesn't count. Most of the details of the fight was rather blurry). 

What's even crazier is that the gang is going after Liza for a witness to a murder she doesn't even remember. Yes, that's right. A murder she doesn't even remember. How stupid is that? Stab. Stab. That's something you would notice right? But not Liza. She doesn't even remember anything. Someone else had to tell her what exactly was going on.

The villain, or the true villain, never appears. Apparently, there's a boss behind all of this and he never even appeared. Never even appeared. There was no heart to heart talks with the bad guys or anything. I was sorely disappointed in the number of illusions Liza had. Basically everyone is the enemy in her eyes. She's very delusional. 

The ending made me slap a hand to my face. I just can't believe that book ended like that. We will continue living and surviving for the rest of our lives, with or without the help of the FBI. Safety matters more. I'm pretty sure that the FBI has to watch over them when they are in witness protection. Send in an agent or something like that. Maybe the FBI gave up on them too, after realizing how off Liza was.

Liza herself was a big yellow warning. I'm not sure why she didn't spend more time mourning, but she was running for her life. Less tears, more running. I guess that's the motto of Tunnel Vision.

Rating: One out of Five

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Sketchy Behavior by Erynn Mangum Review

"Drawing Conclusions or Drafting Disaster? Other than harboring a somewhat obsessive fondness for Crispix and completely swearing-off boys after a bad date (don't ask), sixteen-year-old Kate Carter is about as ordinary as they come, except for her two notable talents: art and sarcasm. After an introduction to forensic sketching in her elective art class, Kate discovers a third and most unexpected gift: criminal profiling. Her photo-quality sketch helps the police catch a wanted murderer and earns her celebrity status in South Woodhaven Falls. But when that murderer appears to be using his friends to exact revenge, Kate goes from local hero to possible target. Will she manage to survive? Will life ever be normal again? And will local news anchor Ted Deffle ever stop sending her flowers?"

 It's a total LOL story. Sketchy Behavior may be comedy and short (about two hundred pages or more), but it deals with a few serious stuff. Like if God exist and some other things. 

Sketchy Behavior is a pretty sketchy book, but it's mostly light and great after a hard week. I had a lot of laughs over this book. I love how the author mixed crime, witness protection, an assassination (gasp!), and a serial killer into a very funky and funny mix. It's amazing how some authors can put the right stuff together to make a very gooey and delicious trail mix. 

There's no trail mix. But there is a trail of sketches. The plot is a tiny bit shady because of the DJ plot. (I don't even know why that character is there. Other than to put a little tension in the plot and humor. It's strange). Mostly you have to buckle in and don't ask questions. Asking questions is terrible, because it ruins all the plot. If you stopped and think for a moment (along with peeking into the back), then you might had figured it out.

As I mentioned before, Sketchy Behavior should be a dark and scary book. But there's a few character who put the humor in funny. For example: DJ and Kate's dad. 

Kate is perhaps one of those silent characters. She doesn't reveal much of her emotions, but instead she reveals most of her nightmares. It's good that you have to interpret her emotions instead of you learning it because the author said it straight away. There's no romance between her and anyone. There's many candidates, but nothing too strong other than Justin. Possible boyfriend, but we will never know unless there's a sequel or another book in the same universe. And what's the chance of that?

Very small.

The ending of Sketchy Behavior reminds me of a person going to a job after successfully completing an interview. Of course, some of you guys don't know what I'm talking about. The interview is the witness protection. The job is sketching. That's as far as I would explain it. Nevertheless, Kate doing her job is a strong and suggestive ending.

Rating: Four out of Five

Monday, January 27, 2014

Under Your Skin: A Novel by Sabine Durrant Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"Gaby Mortimer is the woman who has it all. But everything changes when she finds a body on the common near her home. She is shaken and haunted by the image of the lifeless young woman, and frightened that the killer, still at large, could strike again. 

Before long, the police have a lead. The evidence points to a very clear suspect. One Gaby never saw coming . . . 

Full of twists and turns, this is a dark and suspenseful psychological thriller that will make you second guess everything. Because you can never be too sure about anything, especially when it comes to murder."

I knew it!

Sorry, I can't explain fully what I just said, but I can explain that I suspected the killer halfway through the book. Oh, the number of suspects started to rise and red herrings started popping like flowers in springtime, but I managed to figure it out. (I had two suspects. Two, and only one is...)


Under Your Skin is definitely creepy. Not as creepy as a Ghost town during Halloween, but nearly as creepy. This book is probably inspired by American Psycho, or at least for some parts. Words like ax murderers made me slightly suspicious of a certain character. And no, I will not be telling you who that is. It's only January, far before the publication date, which is February 4, 2014. If you want to know who did it, read it off someone else's review, because I'm not saying a word. If I said a mere syllable, it will ruin everything. (But I might give you hints). 

The plot is strong, with a few convenient plot holes. Of course, everything will explain itself eventually. It will explain everything in the last few chapters. (Oh, I just told you where the identity of the murderer is discovered and confirmed). 

The murder of the body, which is the very same body Gaby found, is a crime of passion. Let's simply say it that way. This book and problems remind me of The False Prince, but with a murder instead of a missing prince. 

Gaby Mortimer isn't right in head. When she tells her POV, you know instantly that something is off about her. Maybe it's because she just discovered a dead body or maybe because she knows something even darker. (I know the truth, but I'm just talking this way on purpose). In an unhappy marriage and surviving a mundane job, she's thrust into the world of law and creepiness, without a warning. (Heh...without a warning). 

One character seems to be quite unusual. Jack Hayward? Or something like that, correct? Anyway, he threw me off the path. A very good trick created by the author. I was momentarily distracted by the red herring. But after careful evaluation, I manage to cross him off the list, leaving only two major suspects in the murder. Readers, who already read this book, probably can guess who are my top suspects. One is a man. One is wife.

The ending. Oooo! I want to know what will be the fate of the killer. I think karma will see a bit of action, but I don't know. The ending of Under Your Skin is throwing me into a loop.

Rating: Four out of Five

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia Review

"Supernatural meets The Da Vinci Code in this action-packed paranormal thriller, the first book in a new series from New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia. 

I never believed in ghosts. Until one tried to kill me.

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Suspense, romance, and the paranormal meet in this chilling urban fantasy, the first book in a new series from Kami Garcia, bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures novels."

I love Supernatural. Do you know that show? Sam, Dean, and Cas? Don't forget about the King of Hell, Crowley. Those four together, or at least the three amigos, is hot. They make a great team.

Jared, Lukas, Kennedy, Alara, and Priest are good but not good enough. It totally makes up for the three amigos, but the three amigos are the three amigos. And they are awesome. 

Now I know where the compelling side of Beautiful Creatures came from. Not Stohl. It's Garcia, who's the true storyteller of Beautiful Creatures. She's the better writer than Stohl, but then again, Unbreakable is an easier story to understand than Icons. Unbreakable's idea sells easily compared to Icons's idea. Icons is just...very strange. Unusual. 

Unbreakable is indeed a mixture of Supernatural and The Da Vinci Code. It's awesome, with an addicting conflict and fascinating world of Legion. I love how crazy it goes, from a warehouse to a prison. It's complicated, with each clue revealing something darker and even more sinister. It totally reminds me of City of Bones, back when Jace killed a member of paranormal species. But this time, it's one of the Lockhart brothers who kills the ghost. The plot is fast-paced, especially the fight scenes. 

Most annoying is the love triangle. It's quite obvious to my eyes that Kennedy is best paired with Jared than Lukas. Lukas is more like a bro she can cry on. Lukas is like her brand new BFF. You can't ignore the fact that Lukas is more friendlier while Jared is more rough. But Jared and Kennedy have more chemistry. Well, it's no Ethan and Lena. 

Kennedy herself is amazing, but not amazing as the twins. (Jared and Lukas Lockhart are twins, FYI). She's kind of insecure and unsure about herself. She brings herself down over and over again throughout the book. Towards the end, she becomes stronger and stronger. I don't like the fact that she's kind of like a damsel in distress, but I realized that she became a better person. Her character development is a wonder and a relief. It's not another Mary Sue. 

I want more character development on the twins, specifically Jared. The book hints Jared has a deep and complicated past. I hope Kami Garcia lives up to that expectation. Screw Lukas, I want Jared.

The ending of Unbreakable is open to discussion. There's an endless amount of possibilities and possible plotlines. Unfortunately the sequel to Unbreakable is not published yet so we can't see the new conflicts. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac Review

"Years ago, seventeen-year-old Apache hunter Lozen and her family lived in a world of haves and have-nots. There were the Ones—people so augmented with technology and genetic enhancements that they were barely human—and there was everyone else who served them.

Then the Cloud came, and everything changed. Tech stopped working. The world plunged back into a new steam age. The Ones’ pets—genetically engineered monsters—turned on them and are now loose on the world.

Lozen was not one of the lucky ones pre-C, but fate has given her a unique set of survival skills and magical abilities. She hunts monsters for the Ones who survived the apocalyptic events of the Cloud, which ensures the safety of her kidnapped family. But with every monster she takes down, Lozen’s powers grow, and she connects those powers to an ancient legend of her people. It soon becomes clear to Lozen that she is not just a hired gun.

As the legendary Killer of Enemies was in the ancient days of the Apache people, Lozen is meant to be a more than a hunter. Lozen is meant to be a hero."

What a strange odd book. It totally reminds me of the Hunger Games, before Katniss was forced into the Hunger Games. It's a strange mixture of pre-Hunger Games Katniss and the Selection's caste numbers. Throw in the Hunger Game's Mutant Animals and the Native American's legends, and you get the Killer of Enemies.

I think that's an awesome way of summarizing this book. Of course, I'm slightly off.

Okay, I lied. I'm really off because I can't think of anyone who is like Lozen or a book which is like Killer of Enemies. Maybe I need to think a little more.

Anyway, the plot is hard to swallow. There's a few plot holes, but none were too big of a deal. I trotted along the pace of the book easily. Flashbacks and telepathy made the plot confusing. What's even worse was the freaky mutant birds. Apparently, Lozen, the main character, can also hear their thoughts, which makes the book even weirder.

It gets stranger.

Apparently, there's a freaky stalker who is stalking Lozen in her mind. I repeat, IN HER MIND. It's already creepy enough when someone is stalking you physically. But mentally? That makes this book seriously insane.

The caste system's details are slowly picked up. Lozen didn't really spend a lot of time glossing over the details of society. Instead, she focused much more on hunting and killer freaky mutant birds and animals, while her family is held as leverage. Lozen, who is a trained hunter, rarely thought about her family. She's more focus on her life, which seems to be just perfect for her character. 

Lozen, as I said before, is a skilled hunter, who lost her father and uncle. She is a prisoner to a society, which forces her to go out and hunt dangerous animals. For most of the book, she's a frozen robot, never moving in expression and more boring than possible. Even with her flashbacks and thoughts for her family, she's quite dull and dry. She doesn't have a lot of humor and is quite serious when it comes to practically everything. She even makes mutant birds seem boring, even though they talk in her head. It's something about the way she talks, which makes everything so boring. (And today isn't depressing Monday). 

The ending weirds me out. I have a strange and particular feeling that the Killer of Enemies plot was thrown in randomly. It comes in at the last minute, obviously a little late for the party. Too bad most of the drinks are gone.

Rating: Three out of Five 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Royally Jacked by Niki Burnham Review

"Valerie's life is pretty good. While she's not the most popular girl in school, she does have decent grades, great friends, and a potential boyfriend. All a girl could want.
Then her mother announces that (1) she's gay, and (2) she's leaving Valerie's dad for her girlfriend. Not what Valerie envisioned for her future. And just when Valerie is getting over this bombshell, her father tells her he's gotten a new job as protocol chief for the royal family of some obscure European country.
Valerie's world has come unglued. She can either stay in Virginia with her mom and her über-organized, veggie-burger-eating girlfriend, or go with her dad, leaving everything she knows for some place she's never heard of. Valerie opts to go, and quickly discovers that it was a mistake -- until she meets the prince, and all bets are off!"

Royally Jacked totally reminds me of The Princess Diaries. It does star a Royal, but not a Princess Mia. Instead, there's a prince named Georg or something like that and it's pronounced in an odd way. Royally Jacked is hilarious, silly, and seemingly immature. That's probably why preteens are allow to read it. 

It's a very short book, with only about two hundred pages. Even though it's amazingly short, it's quite annoying, thanks to the immature, or usually whiny, main character/narrator. I'll explain more of her character later. Anyway, the book's plot is really quick and it's fairly easy to read. Most of the words in the book aren't SAT standards. In fact, nothing about this book even makes it to the SAT standards. SAT never stars fairy tales. 

There's a lot of references to the media. One includes A Knight's Tale, which stars some knights and ladies and everyone else. I had to look that movie up on Wikipedia, because I have no idea what that movie was about. It turns out I did watch it long, long ago, but I don't remember it. I do recall hating the movie.

Overused words stagger across the pages. Frequently used words like 'shallow' and...I can't think of any right now. But I think you get the point. There was quite a lot of 'shallow's, which annoyed me like crazy. 

The main character, Valerie, suffers from serious self-doubt and whiner's syndrome, among some other things. I don't get why she whines about all the stupid problems in her life. And moving on isn't the theme of this book! (I'm never giving this book to a teen. I will never recommend it to anyone). Valerie is endlessly hopeless and a shallow lady herself. I hate how she summarize everything, instead of letting the reader figure things out for themselves. 

The ending made absolutely no sense. It felt like a last minute touch-up by the author. The author was probably trying to give all of her characters a 3D personality. Didn't work really well. It only taught teenagers that it's okay to smoke.

Thank goodness this is a fantasy book. If it was labeled realistic, I would have a heart attack and a stroke in a frenzied combination. 

Rating: Two out of Five 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wake: A Novel by Anna Hope Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"A brilliant debut for readers of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, in which three women must deal with the aftershocks of WWI and its impact on the men in their lives-a son, a brother and a lover. Their tragic connection is slowly revealed as the book unfolds.

Wake: 1) Emerge or cause to emerge from sleep 2) Ritual for the dead 3) Consequence or aftermath.

Hettie, a dance instructress at the Palais, lives at home with her mother and her brother, mute and lost after his return from the war. One night, at work, she meets a wealthy, educated man and has reason to think he is as smitten with her as she is with him. Still there is something distracted about him, something she cannot reach...Evelyn works at the Pensions Exchange through which thousands of men have claimed benefits from wounds or debilitating distress. Embittered by her own loss, more and more estranged from her posh parents, she looks for solace in her adored brother who has not been the same since he returned from the front...Ada is beset by visions of her son on every street, convinced he is still alive. Helpless, her loving husband of 25 years has withdrawn from her. Then one day a young man appears at her door with notions to peddle, like hundreds of out of work veterans. But when he shows signs of being seriously disturbed-she recognizes the symptoms of "shell shock"-and utters the name of her son she is jolted to the core...

The lives of these three women are braided together, their stories gathering tremendous power as the ties that bind them become clear, and the body of the unknown soldier moves closer and closer to its final resting place."

First thing I must say: This copy I was reading is an ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy). And I'm severely distracted by all the grammar errors like missing punctuation and extreme plot holes/knowledge characters shouldn't have. Also, I was kind of distracted by the trio of POVs. It gets quite confusing and hard to keep track of everyone. (I'll explain it even further in a few paragraphs). 

Wake has no supernatural, paranormal, etc. stuff. It's set in World War I, for some parts, and after World War I (Forgive me if I ever put World War I like this: War World I. It's one of my horrible mistakes). It's sort of Maybe I'll build a pros and cons list?

Pro: It's a mystery book, which forces you to think. Who is... Dang it! I can't tell you because this book isn't out yet. Anyway, let this pro become a mystery.

Pro: One character, Ada, eventually has a huge character development even though she's a lunatic. She eventually is able to...(spoiler alert)...move on with life. Or at least make a small step towards mourning...(end spoiler). It's always nice to see a character move on with life (like Tobias) even though we wish he/she wouldn't.  

Pro: It's a good plot, with a lot of intrigue and hidden messages. I like how it's based around WWI and crazy people. It's great and wonderful that the author build an understanding of why soldiers are a miserable bunch. I did love how all the three stories combine into one towards the end of the book. 

Pro: There's no fairy tale element/ending. I'm so sick of fairy tale endings even though they are usually so beautiful. Imagine if Disney wrote every book you ever read. That would be a nightmare because Voldemort and Harry Potter would had been BFFs and beyond. Or maybe Twilight would had been even creepier... No, that's not possible.

Con: No humor. There's no chance to laugh unless you like laughing at self-tortured characters. No humor, no laughs, no jokes. Actually, one joke, but that's not very funny. Battle jokes about death aren't very funny, especially if they are before death.

Con: Creepy guys/soldiers. Some of them seem malevolent and downright insane. It's, however, an excellent picture of broken/PTSD soldiers. 

Con: Too many characters/POVs. I can't keep track of all of them because there is just too many. Too many characters and not organized enough plot. Maybe for the finished copy, it will change? 

Rating: Three point five out of Five; rounded to three 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan Review

"In the tradition of Out of My MindWonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family. 

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life... until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read."

You'll probably like Counting by 7s if you were autistic. The words in the book simply trip over one another as they try, try to tell the story of this strange girl named Willow Chance. Willow Chance obviously has something like high-function autism or maybe something along the lines. But the point is that she isn't a very good narrator. Perhaps that's why the author sometimes slip off into other character's POV, such as Willow's parents' pitying last moments, her new foster family's mind, and the school counselor's nasty and interesting thoughts.

Need more different sentences! Counting by 7s often include simple sentences, even fewer are complicated sentences. The sentences get rather boring.

-Simple Sentence: The cat walks.
-More complicated sentence: Looking left and right, the cat walks carefully, as if inspecting the street. 

Basically, there's a lot of simple sentences. Like the example I'd given for simple sentence, the sentences in Counting by 7s often include little details other than the subject and the action verb/passive verb. 

There's a few words I can say for the plot and pretty is not one of them. Boring and dull and dry and empty are a few descriptive adjectives I can use. The plot includes other people's POV and flash forwards, but it doesn't get be very interested in Counting by 7s. Other than some small hilarious moments, it doesn't get any better. 

Willow Chance is an orphan who seems practically perfect in every way. Other than the fact that she likes 7s and gardening, can finish the state exam in under twenty minutes, is pretty much Albert Einstein-level prodigy, and is very lucky, Willow Chance seems to be a normal girl living in a normal world with unfortunate events. But Willow Chance isn't a normal girl, which makes Counting by 7s very unique. 

The ending of Counting by 7s isn't going to tear you up. Pretty much every situation, except death, is thoroughly solved, usually with a somewhat small intervention by Willow Chance. Characters change, because they are touched by her. And this sounds very similar to a red-haired girl named Anne Shirley. 

One Last Note: The main character doesn't always count by sevens.

Rating: Three out of Five 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader Review

"Since the age of ten, Mia has lived under the iron fist of the fundamentalist preacher who lured her mother away to join his fanatical family of followers. In Edenton, a supposed “Garden of Eden” deep in the South American jungle, everyone follows the Reverend’s strict but arbitrary rules—even the mandate of whom they can marry. Now sixteen, Mia dreams of slipping away from the armed guards who keep the faithful in, and the curious out. When the rebellious and sexy Gabriel, a new boy, arrives with his family, Mia sees a chance to escape. 

But the scandalous secrets the two discover beyond the compound’s façade are more shocking than anything they ever imagined. While Gabriel has his own terrible secrets, he and Mia bond together, more than friends and freedom fighters. But is there time to think of each other as they race to stop the Reverend’s paranoid plan to free his flock from the corrupt world? Can two teenagers crush a criminal mastermind? And who will die in the fight to save the ones they love from a madman who’s only concerned about his own secrets?"

Can I throw up yet? Maybe I need to explain this a little.

Escape from Eden is a religious book about an isolated world with lunatics. In fact, everyone is a lunatic at some point in the story, especially Gabriel. This is not a book about angels and demons, meaning paranormal stuff. It's about a place named Edenton in the distant future, where Mia is a prisoner and more than longing to escape. It all becomes a reality when Gabriel comes into her life, giving her some fire in the mouth.

The plot is a crazy rollercoaster. It's even worse than Silver Bullet at Knott's Berry Farm. It goes more than up and down, side to side. It goes upside down and off the tracks. Escape from Eden stars a crazy car scene along with bloody battles to awkward situations. Awkward situations like a lady, who happens to be Mia's mom, stripping down to naked lady.

Yeah, the ball goes pretty far. Physics is amazing.

The story is pretty amazing. I wouldn't had thought about a world with religion and evilness, located in South America and in the future times. I would had thought about something similar, but with real angels. (Okay, I'm getting off track). 

Mia is a smart and talkback girl, with no push. Gabriel was the one who had to give that tiny push that will take her off the edge and into a strange new place. (Is this going to be a series? Goodreads doesn't say anything about it). Mia is kind of admirable and a lunatic towards the middle part of the book. Sometimes there are parts where you wish for her to kill off the Reverend, because you are so sick of the evilness in Edenton. But she doesn't until...

Gabriel is perhaps the most confusing character I'd ever met. Then again, I can't see to remember confusing characters because Mr. Darcy is the father of all confusing characters and...Ahh! I'm getting off topic again. Please ignore my rantings. *Sighs* Gabriel is no archangel. He's a true bad boy, who puts the bad in bad boy. Someone tell me that he has multi-personality disorder. He was nice, then he was mean and distant. Then he was nice again and so, so friendly. Then...well, I guess you got the point. 

The ending is going to make me throw up and hurl. Gabriel said: "I'm so happy you're not my sister." That's right before he kissed her! Please tell me I'm delusional! This is...ugh! Gabriel is one confusing and insane person!

Rating: Four out of Five

Monday, January 20, 2014

Steel by Carrie Vaughn Review

"It was a slender length of rusted steel, tapered to a point at one end and jagged at the other, as if it had broken. A thousand people would step over it and think it trash, but not her.

This was the tip of a rapier.
Sixteen-year-old Jill has fought in dozens of fencing tournaments, but she has never held a sharpened blade. When she finds a corroded sword piece on a Caribbean beach, she is instantly intrigued and pockets it as her own personal treasure.

The broken tip holds secrets, though, and it transports Jill through time to the deck of a pirate ship. Stranded in the past and surrounded by strangers, she is forced to sign on as crew. But a pirate's life is bloody and brief, and as Jill learns about the dark magic that brought her there, she forms a desperate scheme to get home—one that risks everything in a duel to the death with a villainous pirate captain.

Time travel, swordplay, and romance combine in an original high-seas adventure from New York Times bestseller Carrie Vaughn."

Steel is a time traveling book, with tons of pirates like Mary Read and Blackbeard. Simply imagine this book to be the Pirates of the Caribbean without Johnny Depp and his infamous eyeliner. Then add in some female captains along with a few murderous people and a modern teenage girl. Don't forget the 'ahoy.'

Do you see it yet? Maybe not.

Steel is pretty much the oddest book I'd ever read. I don't even know why I bother to read it. It's not horrible. It's just dry and flakey. The plot isn't very tasty. Everything feels dry and boring, even in the face of danger. 

Let's break it down. Steel's plot is so forgettable that even after an hour I nearly forgotten everything about this book. Truth be told, I can't remember much about this book even though I'm the queen of memory. It's very sad. Usually I can remember a plot and the summary of this book for around a week and up to forever. But this book? No, I can't remember a single thing, other than pirates and the lack of Johnny Depp. 

That's a lie. I still remember some details. 

There's no romance. The subtitle of Steel said something like pirates and romance and some other thing. Well, there's barely romance. I wouldn't even call it romance unless a one-way admiration between a rapier and a girl counts as romance. True story. 

Jill is pretty much a lost girl trying to find her way home for most of the book. It annoys me somewhat, because she keeps on whining and whining until she's put to work. Sometimes I wish she wouldn't complain so much. Maybe a little duct tape...

The swordplay between Jill and other characters was questionable. I'm not sure how she can fight a pirate and survive even though she spends most of the time scrubbing decks instead of practicing. Hmm...maybe time traveling has its perks?

Rating: One out of Five

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Surviving High School by M. Doty Review

"What's the secret to surviving your freshman year of high school?

Emily Kessler thinks she has it all figured out. She eats, sleeps and trains for competitive swimming. All she has to do is keep her grades high and swim times short -- short enough to live up to her sister Sara's. But walking the crowded maze of unfamiliar high school hallways is like diving headfirst into shark-infested waters. Shark #1: Dominique, her biggest competition on the swim team and all-around mean girl. Shark #2: The adorable and popular Ben Kale... Emily can't resist his smile no matter how hard she tries. When the pressure builds to the point where Emily isn't sure she can stay afloat, she begins to question the strict path her life has always followed.
Maybe there is more to life than studying and swimming. Maybe the secret to surviving high school is just to have a little fun.

The hit mobile game Surviving High School comes to life in an original novel about perfection, failure, and following your dreams."

Remember the movie The Ice Princess? Well, it turns out Surviving High School is just like it. A boy, a swimming competition, and grades. It sounds really similar to The Ice Princess, eh?

Anyway, Surviving High School is a really good and short book (and this will be a short review too. Probably one of my worst because of my late owl habits). It's only two hundred to three hundred pages long, starring the Ice Princess plot without the ice. For those of you who don't know the movie The Ice Princess, let me explain. Or if you don't want me to explain, then you should read the wikipedia article for that movie. Last time I read it, it was kind of weird.


Maybe you should read my quick summary of the plot. The Ice Princess: The girl wanted to do something awesome for her physics project. Girl studies ice skating and falls in love with it. Girl competes in competition and nearly loses. Girl struggles with parents and enemies. Girl wins. She competes and makes it to a new stage. She's on her way to success. Hip, hip, hooray.

Yeah, that's pretty much it. However, I didn't include the plot with the boy. The boy is pretty much a distraction from the true plot, like what's happening in this book. (But the boy, Ben Kale, is actually pretty awesome even though Emily seems to be the cheating type).

Of course, there's some notable differences. Like Emily being a swimmer from early in her life while the girl recently started ice skating. And Emily has a dead sister unlike the girl.

But it's easily said that the plot is virtually the same if you break it down. I can this: If you like the Ice Princess, then you will like Surviving High School.

Emily doesn't seem so sad to lose Sara. It's kind of as if she's suppressing those emotions. It's there, but it's subtle. The ending is very sweet and touching. I love how...oh wait, that's spoilers again. Let's just say that there was a little touch of the supernatural.

Rating: Four out of Five

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Meet Me at the River by Nina de Gramont Review

"We can’t choose who we love…but can we choose to let go?

Stepsiblings Tressa and Luke have been close since they were little…and when they become teenagers, they slip from being best friends to being something more. Their relationship makes everyone around them uncomfortable, but they can’t—won’t—deny their connection. Nothing can keep them apart.

Not even death. Luke is killed in a horrible, tragic accident, and Tressa is suddenly and desperately alone. Unable to outrun the waves of grief and guilt and longing, she is haunted by thoughts of suicide. And then she is haunted by Luke himself.

He visits only at night. But when he’s with her, it’s almost like the accident never happened. Oh, there are reminders, from the way she can only feel him when he touches the scars on her wrist, to how she can’t seem to tell him about life since he’s been gone. As long as they’re together, though, the rest…it fades away.

But during the day it is Tressa who can’t grasp hold of the people around her. The same people who never wanted her and Luke together in the first place are determined to help her move on. Determined to help her heal. They just don’t understand—one misstep, one inch forward, could leave Luke behind forever.

Nina de Gramont, author of Gossip of the Starlings and Every Little Thing in the World, writes of love that is beautiful and poetic, forbidden and radical—and utterly irresistible."

Meet Me at the River is perfectly cryable. (Note: cryable is not a word. Please don't use it in your college essays or writings or anything like that). It's about a story of a ghost, Luke, and a girl who can't let go of him, Tressa. It totally reminds me of the movie...Ahhh! There's too many movies like this book. Too many to remember. 

If you break the book down, Meet Me at the River is pretty much about moving on with life, rather than stay behind in the past. That's the biggest theme in this book, although another theme: Don't be stupid. Just kidding, that's not the theme. It's this: You can't control what happened in the past, but you can stick around for the future. How's that? Yeah, it's pretty much the same thing as moving on with life. I can't think of any other themes than that and "Fight your demons." 

I love it. Meet Me at the River is totally Thirteen Reasons Why, without the tapes and blackmail. It's a ghost story, incorporated into YA fantasy and YA freaky paranormal stuff. Meet Me at the River is a story of becoming stronger and realizing that there's more to life. Yes, it's beautiful, forbidden, and radical, and utterly irresistible. But I'm not sure about poetic. might be something I skimmed over. 

The plot of Meet Me at the River is kind of shaky in the beginning. A soft wind from the West can easily push the book over. It's on a broken bridge. My entire mind was thinking about how easily I can lose myself and become confused in the beginning. It gets stronger and stronger towards the end, which is perfect. Considering the fact that Tressa is weaker in the beginning and stronger towards the end, I think it's quite perfect for the plot to be confusing and strange. But it still doesn't explains Luke's odd thoughts in the beginning. 

Tressa takes the center of the stage despite sharing POVs with Luke. Tressa is a dynamic character, changing from a negative girl to a hopeful one. Tressa is the one on the road to getting better, trying to overcome her doubts and fears. She makes slow progress, but slowly becomes better and better, with the help of H.J. No thanks to Luke, for the most parts. Luke, on the other hand, eventually follows the theme, like Tressa after Tressa was the one to make the first move. I guess he really loves her, even though everyone was trying to tear them apart. 

The ending of Meet Me at the River was sweet. It's bittersweet, but remains hopeful and strong. It's a solid ending for a stand-alone novel. 

Rating: Four out of Five

Friday, January 17, 2014

Deception by C.J. Redwine Review

"Baalboden has been ravaged. The brutal Commander's whereabouts are unknown. And Rachel, grief stricken over her father's death, needs Logan more than ever. With their ragged group of survivors struggling to forge a future, it's up to Logan to become the leader they need—with Rachel by his side. Under constant threat from rival Carrington's army, who is after the device that controls the Cursed One, the group decides to abandon the ruins of their home and take their chances in the Wasteland.

But soon their problems intensify tenfold: someone—possibly inside their ranks—is sabotaging the survivors, picking them off one by one. The chaos and uncertainty of each day puts unbearable strain on Rachel and Logan, and it isn't long before they feel their love splintering. Even worse, as it becomes clear that the Commander will stop at nothing to destroy them, the band of survivors begins to question whether the price of freedom may be too great—and whether, hunted by their enemies and the murderous traitor in their midst, they can make it out of the Wasteland alive. 

In this daring sequel to Defiance, with the world they once loved forever destroyed, Rachel and Logan must decide between a life on the run and standing their ground to fight."

Oh, so you want me to talk about Deception? Well, deception is the act of hiding or avoiding someone. That's one meaning of it, right? Don't know for sure; internet is down.  

Deception, for me, is one boring book. It's a deception from Defiance and the entire series. It's a huge circle. It's...well, there's many ways of saying it. And I did see the praising reviews of other people, and I don't care what they say. I speak from heart. Deception sure was good in the beginning and ending. It's the middle where Redwine loses me. I start to faze over the middle part, just in time to read the buildup to the climax. 

Finding the traitor among them is kind of like a guessing game. Traitors are usually the white sheep among the white sheep. They plant evidence against the black sheep, turn people against one another, and hurt people until they get what they want. And that's exactly what the traitor did. The author didn't hide it very well, because, if I guess correctly, that means the bad guy/villain wasn't hidden very well. I'm very bad at guessing evil motives behind people. Take Code Name Komiko, for one example. I guessed Crowbar (who is not the villain) of all people. I don't know why, but looking back, I don't even understand my reasons and steps. And I graduated top of the class in Geometry! 

Wait...There's just one problem. Human emotions are not like theorems and postulates. So it's kind of understandable. 

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let's move on. 

The plot is an emotional coaster, without evoking emotion from me. I was pretty much heartless for most of the book. On the last page of Deception, I was like relieved. Sorry to say, but I was kind of happy that I was going to be free of Deception. I could had abandoned it, but instead I decided to stick around and hope for the best. And now I see how it turns out. It's even worse then Defiance. Deception has all the right parts to a thrilling story, but it isn't place in the correct order. 

The chemistry between Logan and Rachel is placed in the back seat, which is reasonable. When you are on the run for your life, you can't stop and kiss your girl while ten thousands soldiers are screaming at you with swords in their hands. Sometimes, I just wish it takes the stage, but it's shy now. It rarely appears and when it does, nothing explosive happens. No bomb goes off, nothing. It's like Rachel and Logan are an old married couple. 

The characters are remarkably strong and show all the traits (the human spirit, in general) of survival. They fall and rise, especially Rachel, and question themselves about the morals of killing, murdering, controlling, and keeping secrets. Sometimes they make horrible choices. So horrible that you want to reach into the pages and strangle their little necks. And then you'll continue on, hoping for the day or second when the old girl/boy pops into the POV again. 

The ending make me raise my eyebrow. It's questionable and open to discussion. Please don't post your comments on my review. Thank you very much and have a good day.

(Deception has all the right moves (for the most part), but it is not the one for me. I'm just not interested in it). 

Rating: Two out of Five

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Passionaries by Tonya Hurley Review

I won a copy from Goodreads First Reads.

"Agnes, Cecelia, and Lucy watched as Sebastian sacrificed himself for what he believed in. Will the girls trust that their destiny as saints and martyrs and perform the miracles as Sebastian instructed? Or lose faith in themselves and each other in his absence? Time is running out for them to make a decision, and the fate of the world lies in the balance."

Passionaries has strip down to creepiness. Officially. (Please excuse me, if I misspelled the title. It's quite interesting. Passionaries. Long, but full of...passion?) 

Anyway, Passionaires is a horror story, without the horror. Eh...sort of like that. There's still horror, but not as much as ghost stories. Possession is just down right scary. I will never read a ghost story in oh...a few months. I'm not kidding. I'll be back to ghost stories in a few months. Look for a future review on my blog about a ghost story. It's bound to pop up. So Passionaries is about the rebirth of three saints, Lucy, Agnes, and Cecelia. Three girls, one a star, another a girl of sorrow, and last a musician. They are all saints. Saint Lucy, Saint Agnes, and Saint Cecelia. 

In the last book, Sebastian died because...well, he was a saint. Moving on, let's talk about the creepiness of sharing one guy with three girls. 

On the second thought, let's not. It's too weird.

Passionaires' plot is even crazier than the last book, Precious Blood. In Precious Blood, we are introduced to the mad doctor. Now we meet the rest of the bunch and witness the evil power of the bunch. They are quite powerful, from the police to music. Senators, billionaires, priests, and who knows what else. Despite all that roller coaster locomotion, I love how Passionaires takes me to places I never been. From the regular streets of Brooklyn to the heart of Sebastian. Er...Saint Sebastian, since he's a saint. 

The writing of Tonya Hurley made me desperate for more. I love her use of foreshadowing and little hints. It's an old style, but it's one nice to see. 

Lucy the brightest star in Passionaires. I love how her character changes. From a rude, talk back girl to a loyal and true friend, never the one to burn the bridge. She may had burn out early (and so soon after Saint Sebastian's death), but she's a shining star. An inspiration. The brightest. Even the Vatican calls her "Saint Lucia." And I think you know what this means, if you read the first book. And still remember the details. 

Agnes and Cecelia isn't that big. Their characters didn't expand as much as Lucy's.

The! The ending is going to kill me eventually. I want to know what will happen to Agnes and Cecelia. It's a perfect mixture of good things happening and bad things happening.

Rating: Five out of Five