It took me a long time to decide whether I should read What the Spell. Actually, I already started reading it a few weeks ago but put it down because Brooklyn just irritated me. But then I picked it up again two days ago and couldn't put it down since.
Admittedly, "Brookie" didn't endear herself to me. She was too self-absorbed and full of self-importance in the end. She wanted to join The Elite to be popular - to be noticed, but in the end she kept saying she wanted to do it to make a change. She was so full of believing she could make a change but I don't know why she thought that way, seeing as she started from the bottom rung of the "elite" group. It's like in the end, she was justifying her actions for joining The Elite, when it was repeatedly said that she wants to be noticed and to feel like she matters. And in the end, she decides that she's the perfect person to fill up the "leader" niche, and includes in her group the suck-ups of The Elite. In the first place, if she had leadership potential, then she should have been all agog in leading orgs or groups. What kind of school do they have that you have to be invited to orgs instead of just joining it? And she still sat in The Elite's elevated table. If she truly wanted to make a change, she should have petitioned it to be removed, or to not sit there. I was truly conflicted on the characterization of Brookie that until the very end, I didn't really like her.
Asher, on the other hand, was like too mature for his age (or for Brookie). He was so understanding, forgiving, and patient. But his leaving behind Brookie so suddenly was very surprising. He wasn't even able to text or call her prior to his hasty departure? He loves Brookie - so he says, but he leaves with no warning or even a paper note anywhere. However, the latter part of the book was so full of overshadowing, that I already felt like something is going on. In fact, I have an inkling, given his parents' strange behavior and approval of Brookie's "low magic practice" family. Also, he kept saying that Brookie wouldn't let him in to her life, and that no more secrets and he has to be able to trust her, but he doesn't let her in to his secrets and problems as well. He also kept saying that The Elite is bad, but he wouldn't tell Brookie what The Elite are supposed to have done, or why he refused to join the group in the first place.
Wow, "The Elite". They truly are a piece of work. Even the principal couldn't do much to them. I guess that's really the way it is with powerful, rich families. However, I noticed that the toilet paper incident wasn't even discussed after that chapter. The principal didn't accuse anyone, and The Elite didn't mention it again. I feel like the book would have been juicier if their secrets and misdeeds were discussed in detail, especially the grave ones; too bad those were just skimmed. Gigi was like the most terrible, although even I picked up on that. But then again, aren't the "leaders" usually the ones who are the worst in bad groups? After reading, I wondered what would happen to them since they were expelled. Are there schools who will take them? Are they budding sociopaths? Could they even reform?
Abby, Asher's younger sister, truly intrigues me. I feel like she knows so much, and that she has unmentioned secret powers. I hope she gets her own story arc, or she will be highlighted as an important secondary character in subsequent books.
Even though I didn't like Brooklyn, I still couldn't stop reading What the Spell, more because of the plot, and admittedly, The Elite. I wanted to see what would happen, if Brooklyn will be popular, if she will come to her senses, if she'll realize that she was going to be blackmailed with the tasks they keep asking her to do. The plot was fast-paced and I was just swept away into their world. The story arc was exciting; it was almost a typical teenage in high school plot, but with a twist since she's a witch. In other books, witches try to separate themselves from the popular girls, or try not to be noticed to keep their head down, but in What the Spell, Brookie does the opposite. I like seemingly typical plots with a twist - it makes reading so much more interesting! I do give props to the writer for at least making me feel something about the main character - even if it's not favorable. At least I was moved enough by the book for it to make an impression on me.
With that said, I am thinking of reading Life's a Witch, the second book in the series. Since it's a new character, I'm hoping I'll like her more than Brookie. I am a fan of the covers, especially the one for What the Spell. It's gorgeous! It's magical, full of sparks, and enticing. They sure do look great on bookshelves. :)(less)
One of the TV series I liked when I was younger was Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I really enjoy watching/reading about magic or witchcraft because I am so in awe of the idea of having powers and being able to fly or appearing wherever you want to appear. One of my favorite "spells" is that I can change my clothes at will (like Sabrina does!). But I wasn't such a fan that I collected all the Sabrina novelizations, until I saw the first book and thought, I just have to buy that. I actually don't know how Sabrina really started!
If you're a fan of the Sabrina series, I think Sabrina the Teenage Witch book 1 is a must-have. Here, we get to know Sabrina as a teenager and her personality and quirks. We discover that she really is nice, although she also has a naughty side. We get to know her family background. I must say, I found out a lot about her from this book!
We are also introduced to the funny Spellman aunts - Hilda and Zelda. They really are quite adorable, funny, and fantastic. They remind me of my sister and I - although we're not over 600 years old and we don't have powers. They're funny, they constantly tease each other, and one is more "responsible" than the other, but they both enjoy each other's company anyway.
Harvey is cute, but I hope his character really develops! I don't like men who can't say no and can't say what's on their mind. But then again, he's just sixteen here :p Of course, we can't forget Salem, who is always adorable and quirky, with his constant take-over-the-world schemes and mutterings. Libby is your typical high school cheerleader villain - but she's just a stereotype. I loved Jenny, though! She stands out, although I think she just chooses to be that way because people reject her.
I think Sabrina the Teenage Witch is set in a stereotypical teenage plot, with a witch thrown in for a plot "twist". But oh well, it worked for me. Sometimes, I just want an uncomplicated book with no people dying, and where the story is resolved by the end. Or maybe that's just because I really enjoy witch books! (less)
You know how sometimes, you just need a light book to pass away the time, and to just read something that's not o...moreOriginally posted in My Book Musings.
You know how sometimes, you just need a light book to pass away the time, and to just read something that's not overly dramatic or too serious and make you feel emotionally heavy? Well, Picture Perfect was just what I needed after a long week. It was relaxing, easy to read, with the story just flowing from page to page. I found myself not thinking about any other book, clinging to the easy vibes I was getting from this.
Emily is a high school senior, about to attend college come September. She usually takes vacations with her family and her parents' group of friends, who all went to Linden. She is great friends with the children of her parents' friends, Heather, Adam, and Spencer. I love that there was no unnecessary drama and conflict among the four of them, barring the romantic feelings Emily has been feeling for Spencer. I think it's great that Catherine Clark wrote them as good friends instead of making them out as enemies.
I felt like the story was a coming-of-age story of Emily, as she slowly sheds her parents' expectations to do ballet and explore what she actually wants to do, and how dating is like. It was really refreshing to see someone so clueless about flirting and so shy about it, as lately all the girls in the books seem quite bold and upfront. Plus, she was so gutsy, finding the balls to admit to Spencer she likes him...twice.
One of the things I liked about reading Picture Perfect is I'm reminded and feel involved in other love stories, without getting my heart broken. Haha sorry, who ever enjoyed having their heart broken? Plus, I'm happy I got a happy ending. Although sometimes I do wish the characters wouldn't end up together, just so the story would be different and stand out. Is it just me who feels this way or are there other readers out there who wishes the same thing?
I think the best character I like in the story though is not Emily, but Heather. I admire her strength, especially facing her father's friends like that. It must have been quite painful for her seeing all her dad's buddies having fun and being reminded of her dad when he was alive. However, despite her strength, she shows her human side when she cries. I'm glad she's also brave enough to cry, and that Adam and Spencer were real nice to her when she did. Some guys just feel so helpless and act like jerks instead, or flee, at the sight of a woman's tears.
Not much can be said about Adam, he was not as active in the story as Spencer and Heather. He is portrayed as quite the athlete, with a smoking bod and seems to be protective and nice. I do wonder why he and Heather were not made into a couple, but maybe that would just be so cliche?
Spencer is bookish. Your type of guy, ladies? He brings along a book almost everywhere and he volunteered to rebuild houses. He also seems to be protective, as evidenced when he keeps coming to Emily's rescue. He also displays his sensitive side as he opens up to Emily about his past heartbreak, his other secrets, and the letter he writes to her. I like that he finally "manned" up in the end. I understand how awkward that would have been. I sure hope they didn't break up in the end. Wait, they're not real characters, but every character I read makes me think that they're real and I can't help but fantasize that they all lived their happily-ever-afters. Am I alone in this one?
Fans of light reads, chick lit YA, or those just looking for something to pass the time pleasurably, just might enjoy Picture Perfect. I have to admit the cover didn't really interest me, I just needed something to read, and I chose something from Catherine Clark because I enjoyed The Day I Met Him, the book she wrote for the Love Stories series (remember that one? I still collect those!) but I have no regrets about choosing this one!
It took me quite a while to finish Shadow of Time, not because it was not enjoyable or entertaining; it was simply because it was my first time to read about the Navajo Nation and I am unfamiliar with their ways and history. I took the time to thoroughly read and understand the interaction between the characters and the history and practices of the Diné people.
The story is interesting, although a bit predictable. Thankfully, we are entertained by likeable protagonists Hannah and Josh and secondary characters Ben and Emily, and by the truly interesting story about the Diné people. Part of why I love reading books is because of the new things I learn; I know these are fiction so what I tend to do is research up on the new things I learn so I'll know what is factual and not.
Hannah and Josh were quite adorable, and Minkman's characterization of how they are as a couple is so life-like. Do you still remember how you were in the initial throes of your relationship with your main squeeze? I think the description of Hannah and Josh's actions around each other were described to a T. And while some may call it too cheesy, I actually enjoyed reminiscing about my own relationship. However, I do have to say that I was a bit turned off at the start because Hannah liked Josh because he was so cute...and then she starts saying she's in love with him. And he's in love with her too. Honestly, if the book didn't end up the way it did, I'd be quite lamenting about it instead. I'm really not the type who likes the one-look-I'm-in-love story.
There were times I just felt frustrated with both of them because of the secrets they keep on hiding from each other. But then again, Minkman presents logical arguments for each side, and you can't help but agree. I felt like one of their friends who just wanted to shout at them for all the unnecessary drama between them!
Ben was genuinely nice, although it surprised me because I think this is the first book I've read where the brother-sister relationship is genuinely amiable. They get along so well, and Ben doesn't even give Hannah a hard time! I've never had a brother myself, so I can't really relate, but I'm just thinking about all the other brother-sister relationships I've read in other books and can't help but think how different Ben is. Also, props to him for not cheating on his girlfriend who's touring in Europe, even with the other girls around him.
However, there were times when I felt the story was going on too long unnecessarily. Moreover, the "battle", truly disappointed me! I was all riled up and ready to read how Josh could defeat the witches but sadly, I was thwarted.
Still, I did enjoy the book, and I think fans of supernatural and paranormal, with slightly pacifist themes would enjoy the book :)
Sarah MacLean, one of my favorite historical romance authors, is back with One Good Earl Deserves a Lover,...moreReview originally posted at My Book Musings.
Sarah MacLean, one of my favorite historical romance authors, is back with One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, and it was well worth the wait!
As with other Sarah MacLean novels, this one had me staying up until 4am because the story was too enthralling to put down. I was super kilig.
"Kilig" (pronounced as as in English) is a Filipino term, and I'm not really sure how to best translate it to English, but I'll try my best. Have you ever felt thrilled up to your toes, like you're feeling giddy because of a romantic story? Or you just saw your crush and he talked to you or smiled at you and you feel like bouncing or jumping around? That's basically what kilig means. I hope you learned something new today!
Moving on, I had happy, good vibes all throughout the book, and I felt relaxed. The plot was a little different from the usual historical romance books, and the book was just littered with mostly pleasant characters!
While I cannot relate to Pippa (I am not good with science), I still liked her attitude and her honesty policy in life. I have enjoyed her arguments with Cross, pitting logic against logic, brains against brains. She perfectly depicted the slightly naive, innocent, charming single woman of those times.
Cross, on the other hand, is said to be not exactly handsome. I suppose I'll describe him as having "arresting" looks, with a mysterious air that draws women to him like bees to honey. He's purportedly a rake, with numerous conquests throughout the years, but he has actually been celibate for six years, since he became "Cross". Still, he has been a rake before becoming this oh-so-attractive Mr. Cross. He's one of those book characters that you wish could just be real.
The tension between Pippa and Cross was just delicious, with Pippa striving to become knowledgeable about coitus so she could be a good wife to Lord Castleton, her fiancee. She approaches Cross, her brother-in-law's co-owner of the gambling den, The Fallen Angel, but he refuses. However, due to the numerous scrapes that Pippa gets herself into (and manipulation of several other characters), all in the name of science of course, he finally ends up giving in to become her "teacher". Of course, the sexual tug-o-war between Pippa and Cross was a bit drawn out, thrilling me to no end. My toed curled up in excitement, and all thoughts of sleep was banished from my brain by 2 in the morning.
Of course, there was the issue of Pippa being engaged already, and Cross being manipulated into getting engaged to another woman. Thankfully, Lord Castleton was actually very nice throughout the whole ordeal, and not at all the dunderhead that everyone thinks he is; though compared to Pippa, he does not really have much in the looks department. I like their relationship - no fuss, no dramatics, on both parts actually. It was quite refreshing from the usual emotionally-charged romance books, where everyone is just weepy or screaming. I'd love to say more about him but I'm trying to avoid giving any spoilers. I'm glad the whole business of Pippa's and Cross' engagement to other people was tied up nicely by Sarah MacLean.
Cross' friends, Temple and Chase, intrigue me so much I can't wait for the next books to be out! I'm so glad that Temple's story is next (No Good Duke Goes Unpunished) as he fascinates me. The plot teaser is already making me curious and that one is definitely part of my books to read this year.
Another part of the plot that I truly enjoyed is that it wasn't too complicated or too heavy on the drama. The story didn't have unnecessary twists and turns just to make it more complicated or prolong the story. One Good Earl Deserves a Lover was so good, that even days after reading it, it still makes me smile, and that feeling of having read a good book has not faded. I am so excited for the next book to come out,
I also have to give props to the cover! I usually am not such a fan of covers, I'm too in a hurry to get to the plot goodies, but starting this year, I have paid more attention to them. I love the dress, and just the whole cover is tasteful.
Fans of both historical romance novels, and Sarah MacLean, would surely enjoy One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, so go grab your copy now :)(less)
Originally posted in My Book Musings. Do visit my blog for the 8-question interview with Liesel K. Hill!
*Copy was provided by the author for an honest...moreOriginally posted in My Book Musings. Do visit my blog for the 8-question interview with Liesel K. Hill!
*Copy was provided by the author for an honest review.
There are some books that I just cannot finish (i.e. The Shack), and I thought Persistence of Vision would be one of them. In fact, after three chapters I put the book down because I did not enjoy it, but I persisted and started to enjoy the book by the fourth chapter or so. I’m actually feeling a little put out that it ended so abruptly, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the Interchron series.
There were several things I did not like about the book. For the first few chapters, I did not like the storytelling. It felt so raw and untried, showing signs that this is the first book of the author. And there was this mention of “rainbow of hazel”, I think in reference to someone’s eyes, which I truly do not understand. Is this like a monochromatic hazel hue? Second, by the third chapter, there was still no mention of Maggie’s whole name. In fact, in the whole book there was no reference to her whole name. I think knowing someone’s whole name is important, as it is part of her identity. And that is not something she has lost or forgotten. (For the record, it’s Harper. The detective referred to Jonah as Mr. Harper, but Maggie was never called Ms. Harper or Maggie Harper anywhere else in the book, aside from the book flap). Third, a major character was only revealed in the end. I mean sure, he was referred to around the middle of the story, but his name was only stated at the end.
By the end of Persistence of Vision, there were several questions still unanswered, such as what happened to Jonah for him to get all those terrible scars on his leg? Where did Maggie get her power boost? There was no mention of what happened to her family the first time she left, how long she was gone in her own time, what explanation she came up with. I’m hoping these are questions that will be answered in the next book/s!
There were also some mistakes in the punctuation and grammar. There is one part in the story where the statement of one character lacked a closing punctuation mark. Also, there was a grammatical error (i.e. “And when they’re abilities fail…”) which the editor should have spotted. I do not hold it against them though. Being a copy editor myself, I know how it is to make a minor error after reading so many pages day in, day out.
You might be wondering why I still finished the book and why I still gave it four stars. When I finished Persistence of Vision, I knew it was deserving of such a rating. Now here is why you should give this book a chance.
After my initial difficulties in reading the book, I found that the plot is actually very fresh, which is something that I’ve been looking for the past year. I think this is my first dystopian novel, so reading the book was quite a revelation for me. The plot had interesting twists and turns, and I am looking forward to its development in the next book or so. The idea of pitting collectivism and individualism in fiction was new to me. Those are very strong themes in the book; heck, the plot revolves around the whole battle between the two. I like the viewpoints from each side, which Liesel thankfully provides. In fact, I find myself, while not lured towards collectivism, at least sympathetic of how others can be attracted towards it. Escapism, after all, is not unfamiliar to me.
I truly enjoyed the book because it felt researched, despite it being fiction and fantasy. There were explanations for the scientific concepts mentioned. (Do check out the 8 Qs with Liesel for more info about this!) I even looked up whether the concept persistence of vision truly exists (for the record, it does).
The characters are quite likeable. Marcus is my favorite because while reading I kept envisioning him like Michael (Shane West) in the TV show Nikita. Doc makes me think of an old man with white hair...kind of like Einstein crossed with Lenard from Big Bang Theory, I suppose. I am so psyched to know why in the world that particular line chilled him. But I'm thinking it relates to B. There is so much more about these characters to be explored!
The writing improves as the book progresses, making it easier for me to get lost in the story and for my imagination to get fired up and be right where they are. Well, behind Maggie as she blows up crates. I love it when the author can create a picture enough for me to visualize it as I read along. I think Liesel would soon be giving us fantastic sequels, and I'll be right there with you reading them.
You know how I felt when I read the last word in the book? I was in disbelief. I couldn’t quite believe that’s the last page. I kept flicking the page in my Nook tablet, but no, that was it. I am so glad that this is a series, so there is more to look forward to! And I do want to get my hands on the next books. I’m feeling slightly giddy in anticipation already.(less)
*Copy provided by launch event organizer for an honest review.
Anak Bathala: Kalem is the first book in a five-book graphic novel series, revolving around mythology of the old times. The first book is about Kalem's search for why he is called "Anak Bathala" (demi-god). The language in the book has a mixture of English and Filipino terms, with Baybayin and Surat Mangyan scripts written in some parts of the book.
A brief overview of the whole series from their Facebook page:
Anak Bathala is the epic adventure of Kalem that showcases rich Filipino mythology and culture. It exhibits native Filipino beliefs and folk work intertwined with values. The other books included in the series collection are: Yamal, Arau, Yesha and Anak Bathala. Each character embodies intrinsic Filipino traits like admirable virtues of courage, determination, self-discipline, prudence, camaraderie and leadership. Their stories also uncover the deceiving sphere of glorious power. The elven persona of Yesha exudes the remarkable attributes of womanhood that represents Filipino women. Anak Bathala pays homage to the golden age of comic makers with its ground of artistic and detailed illustrations.
The final book of Anak Bathala juxtaposes the revolving characters of books 1-4 and how they will join together to overcome the evil transgression of Haring Nannum and Bathala Karimlan in the Land of Mystical Mindoro.
The story is fast-paced and interesting, but the story was too short for me to truly grasp Kalem's character. But from what I have read so far, he seems nice, responsible, and brave. I thought he was going to have a love interest with his childhood friend, but reading on, I was thinking that it would be slightly hard for him to have a human relationship, especially if he has to go off into a battle.
I'm the type of reader who likes learning new things, whether they be fact or fiction. At first, I did not like the scripts used because I kept having to translate them myself. I was on page nine before I discovered that there are Filipino and English translations on pages 122 to 123. Gah. Silly me! I must say, though, that the scripts are easy to understand after a couple of pages of going back and forth. If you're fluent in Filipino, I suggest you enjoy the scripts and translate them yourself. I think it's part of the whole enjoying-the-graphic-novel process.
My primary beef with the graphic novel is that it is too dark to see the illustrations. I'm sure the illustrations are very nice, but too often, I had to strain my eyes to see the outlines. It made it hard for me to read and appreciate the graphic novel as a whole. The cover is nice, though. While the background is very dark, Kalem stands out, which I think is the whole point as he is the focus of book 1.
One thing that I did notice though is that Kalem seemed to grow older as the story progressed. I actually liked it, because I felt like the strain of the battle, the pain of losing Ba' was showing on his face. I felt the weight of their expectations upon him, and it was nice that these were reflected on his face. I don't know if that was the intent of the creators, but it sure was a nice touch.
One part that confused me is the presence of the woman at the start of the novel. Though by the end of the book I pretty much knew, but it still would have been nice to know her, because I was confused as to why there is a woman there, amidst death and war. Also, by the end of the book, I wondered what happened to the mutia that Ba' Magiting got. Remember that? I don't think it was mentioned in the story that Kalem has it, or what it is for.
Other things I noticed is that there are some errors such as in the line "The panganay left Kalualhatian". I think it lacks the word "for" in between left and Kalualhatian, because the idea is that he joined Bathala in Kalualhatian, leaving this world behind. Another is that there was a misplaced apostrophe in "Detinos' reached further..."
I'm hoping the next books would have more dialogue and explanations, as well as clearer images. There's an excerpt of Kalem in their website and the graphics are gorgeous! I hope they'll publish that edition. I'm not sure if it was just with my copy, but mine already had a few loose pages. I'm hoping that's just in my case!
Am I going to get the next book? Probably! Because my attention was already grabbed by Anak Bathala: Kalem and I started to get curious as to what happens, and how he came to be on earth. Being a demi god, isn't he supposed to be uh...somewhere else? So I'm really curious as to how his journey as and what his role is in the big picture.
If you're a fan of mythology, Filipino fiction, looking for something new, a little bit of history mixed with fantasy, do be sure to check this out. Anak Bathala: Kalem is available at Fully Booked branches nationwide. (less)