So soon after I finished reading The Raven Boys, I grabbed The Dream Thievesfrom my shelf and started reading, so, so thankful that Scholastic sent m...moreSo soon after I finished reading The Raven Boys, I grabbed The Dream Thievesfrom my shelf and started reading, so, so thankful that Scholastic sent me a review copy of this last Christmas. I really enjoyed the first book so much that I just have to read the next one. I couldn't get enough of Blue and Gansey and Adam and Ronan and Noah, and I needed to know what was going to happen next.
The Dream Thievesstarted with an even more whimsical tone than its predecessor - now with Ronan as the focus. Ronan dropped a bombshell in the last book, which followed that this book would be mostly Ronan's story. But there's more than Ronan's strangeness -- there's Adam dealing with what he did at the end of the first book, and Noah, still silent but moreso than usual. Then there's Gansey, still with his relentless search for Glendower the sleeping King, and Blue, who finds herself getting more and more entangled with these Aglionby boys.
There are more characters in this book, and all of them somehow shone on their own right. I loved how Maggie Stiefvater characterized Ronan's siblings, and the villains, particularly the Gray Man. I really love how his story developed, and in the end, I was kind of sure that he's one of my favorite villains now. Then there's more of Blue's family - all the psychic fun stuff, but also her loving relationship with her mom, Maura, who also played a bigger role in the story.
I think I kind of fell in love with Gansey here, but more because of him and Blue. While I was reading the first book, I wasn't sure which side to pick for Blue, but after this, I am pretty sure I am on Team Gansey. ♥ (I like him so much that I named my phone after him. Heh)
The Dream Thieves start out really slow, probably even slower than The Raven Boys, and I admit that I stopped reading it for a while because real life got in the way. But when I went back to reading, it was easy to slip back into the world of ley lines and sleeping kings, and you have to trust me on this - the build up is so worth it. :)
I can't remember the last time I was so excited to receive an email about a review request from the publisher until I got an email from Katz of Flipsi...moreI can't remember the last time I was so excited to receive an email about a review request from the publisher until I got an email from Katz of Flipside, about A.S. Santos' new book, Corpse in the Mirror. I really enjoyed Voices in the Theater from last year, and it was one of those books that I didn't think I would like but I ended up enjoying, so I was really looking forward to reading the next book. So imagine my joy when I received an email about this. I practically jumped in my seat (and I was having dinner with my family), and right after that, I started to reread the first book just so I can get ready for the second. (Oh, and I enjoyed reading the first book just as much as I did on the first time :D)
In the second book of the Student Paranormal Research Group (SPRG) series, Sam's powers are growing, and more than just hearing things, she starts seeing things. But that's not what really is taking a lot of her attention now, because her friend and fellow SPRG member, Richard, is being all too showy with her, almost like they're dating but they're not. When their next case brings them to Richard's apartment where weird things have been happening lately, Sam realizes just how much her powers have changed. Now someone they know is in trouble, and only she can help her.
Just like the first book in the series, Corpse in the Mirror is very readable. It's so easy to drop into Sam's world (although perhaps it's easier for me because the setting, again, was quite familiar) and be a quiet member of their group. The first few chapters of the book was equally creepy, so much that I realized I had to stop reading it when I realized I was reading it late at night, and I wanted to go to the bathroom to pee but there's a mirror, and who knows what I'll see there? :o But anyway, after the first initial creep-out part, it became more of a murder mystery with a supernatural twist, and it was quite interesting following the team in solving this mystery.
I think there's a little less of the angel aspect in this book. I mean sure, there was still a bit of it, but there were more interactions between Sam and the other characters in the group instead of Sam and the angels. I liked this, and it was interesting to see how their relationships grew here, both in the platonic and romantic sense. I think I especially liked the romance aspect in this novel -- it's not cheesy, but it's definitely a bit more complicated. But its complications felt grounded. A little spoiler: there's some sort of a love triangle, but it's not the usual triangle of the recent paranormal romance novels where one is the obvious choice. I liked how there were several voices of reason in the book when it came to the romance, and how the advice was sound and relevant. The lessons for the here were definitely something that everyone who's ever been confused with relationships and romance need to hear. (Well I know I sort of needed to read them at that time. ;) )
I also really liked how this one ended, even more so than the last one. In a way, you would need to suspend your disbelief at how things were resolved, but I thought it worked well with the story's universe. It reminded me a little bit of how the things worked in my favorite books, This Present Darkness, so I don't have much complaint over that. It's a bit of a cliffhanger, though, and now I can't help but wonder what could happen next to Sam and her group? I have a few predictions on the romantic side though, so I really, really hope it works out that way. :D
If you enjoyed Voices in the Theater, I definitely recommend that you pick this up. Corpse in the Mirror is a good blend of horror, suspense, faith and romance. I am definitely, definitely looking forward to the third book in the series. :)
When Eliza Victoria sent me an email about sending a review copy of her newest book, I couldn't say no. Note that I'm not really a fan of dark fiction, or horror or suspense, but this is Eliza, guys. I read her stuff and liked it, even if they're not the usual things I go for. I'm not really one for scaring myself, but I make certain exceptions especially when the author just writes really, really well.
Unseen Moonis Eliza's newest collection that contains several of her short stories, most of them never been published in print. They're part horror, lots of crime and suspense...and well, lots of dead bodies. Like her other works, the stories are well-written and I think they are exactly what she intended them to be -- dark. Sometimes, a bit too bloody. But definitely dark. Here's a mini-review of each of the stories, and my rating for them.
Needle Rain (3/5) - This is the story of Cleofe, Cedric, Brian and Emily, their friendship and the murder that happened in their town. For some reason, this story felt distinctly Filipino. The combination of the small town, hanging out with friends in the afternoon while eating, and the storms that raged in the story reminded me of my own younger years, where I would work on projects at home while a storm happened outside and it was only a matter of minutes before the house is plunged in darkness because the storm caused a power interruption. Of course, that's the only thing that I related to in this story. :P Needle Rain comes off as a murder mystery story at first, and then it spirals into something else. I was quite prepared to be scared at first, but in the end I felt more sad. If only the characters were wiser, then it wouldn't have turned out that way.
The Ghosts of Sinagtala (4/5) - This is a story of Ben and Emma, who inherited a mansion from their grandparents that had a dark history. Oh what a creepy, creepy story. Tricia was tweeting about this when she read it first, so I knew well enough to read this in broad daylight. And even then, I still got terribly creeped out. This is my favorite in the book, and I really liked the connection between the mansion's past to Ben and Emma. This is the story that successfully made me not want to go out of my room at night to get a glass of water because I was afraid to find a little girl crying in the darkness. O_o
Summer Evening (2/5) - Twins Amarilis and Carlos were left behind by their older brother, Nathan, to his ex-girlfriend, Alicia, because he had a job to do. The twins hate Alicia, so when two guys entered their house to do something to her, they turned their backs. I wasn't really a big fan of this because it felt too violent for me, and it kind of took me by surprise. That, and there was just something a little too disturbing with the characters -- perhaps I just refused to believe that they are capable of what they are doing in the story? It's still well-written, though, and the ending kind of made me want to wring one of the characters' necks, but this was one story that I kind of wanted to end quickly because the events made me just a bit queasy.
December (3/5) - Gabriel makes an unlikely friend in an orphan named December, who has her own issues with the people around her. A dead body in an abandoned mansion, a dead body in the lake and lots of music form the core of this story. This one sort of reminds me of Summer Evening, but it was less violent and a little more melancholic than the previous story. In some ways it was a little bit disturbing, but I was able to sympathize with the two main characters in the story more than I did for the previous story.
The Viewless Dark (4/5) - I read this back in October 2012 and I really liked it. I didn't exactly reread all of it when I read this book again. I still read parts of it, though, and felt the same chill I had when I first read it, and felt the same attachment to the characters, both dead and alive. I think this is a good story to end this collection.
Overall, Unseen Moonis another good collection of Eliza's stories. It's not as scary as I expected (except for The Ghosts of Sinagtala - remembering several scenes still gives me the creeps), but it was really quite dark. This collection is a little bit more similar to Lower Myths than A Bottle of Storm Clouds, sans the paranormal aspect. If you want to get to know Eliza's works but you're not a huge fan of anything that is out of the normal world, then Unseen Moonmight be the right Eliza book for you. If you've read Eliza's other works and you want more, then you won't want to miss this one. :)(less)
It's the summer before Clara and Angela goes to Stanford, and they spend it in Italy. What a summer vacation, right? B...moreOriginal post from One More Page
It's the summer before Clara and Angela goes to Stanford, and they spend it in Italy. What a summer vacation, right? But Clara was desperate to get away from everything that has happened to her and her family just recently, and Angela just wanted to discover more of their angel stuff...or so Clara thought.
I thought I didn't have to read Radiantbefore I get to read Boundless, but I'm glad I had some sense to get this because I wouldn't have understood the final book in the Unearthly series if I didn't. Radiant alternates from Angela to Clara, and for the first time since Unearthly, we get to see Angela's side in things. Is she evil? Is there something about her that will harm Clara and make us hate her? This novella sort of answers that, and we see Angela's side -- the little of it anyway. It makes you wonder if this book will mean something in the end, if the events here would lead to something.
So is Angela evil? I will leave it up to you to find out. Radiantis enjoyable, but it left me a bit wary of Angela and the repercussions of her actions here. I think one can still understand the next book without really reading this, but if you're a fan of the series, you'll want to read this one, anyway. :)(less)
The first time I heard about The Raven Boys, I wasn't really that curious. I read some of Maggie Stiefvater's boo...more* Also posted at I Like It Dog-Eared
The first time I heard about The Raven Boys, I wasn't really that curious. I read some of Maggie Stiefvater's books, but I wasn't a super duper fan unlike others. I received the book as a gift, but I let it sit in my TBR for a long time, and every time I see it (just like when I see other books on my TBR, actually), I tell myself that I will read it, one day. One day. That day finally came when I realized that I've been reading too much on Hannah the Kindle and I wanted to feel pages in my fingers, so I picked a book randomly from my TBR pile. I picked The Raven Boys, scanned through the first chapter and decided to read it.
Blue Sargeant belongs to a family of psychics, but she's not one. She couldn't see or hear or predict anything, but she comes along with them because she could amplify their powers. Every year, on St. Mark's Eve, Blue goes with her mother in the church yard where they watch and get the names of all the soon-to-be-dead as they walk along the corpse road. That night, instead of Blue's mother, her aunt Neeve comes in her stead, and for the first time ever, Blue sees someone, and this soon-to-be-dead boy speaks to her. The thing is, Blue has always been told that she would kill her true love with a kiss, so seeing this boy and speaking to him made her even more determined to stay far away from him. But her path crosses with this boy, Gansey, warm and alive and also an Aglionby boy, one of the rich ones from the private school nearby. Even if she vowed to stay away, she finds herself drawn to him, and to his three friends Adam, Ronan, and Noah, in their quest to find a magical line and a supposedly long-dead Welsh king.
People told me that the book starts out slow, and I need to be patient, so I thought it was going to be a slow read. Lo and behold, I was finished after two days. It was that good, my friends. (Or, I just really needed a breather from all the "heavier" books I've been reading.)
One thing I really loved about Maggie Stiefvater's books is the writing, in all her beautifully descriptive, mood-setting prose. That is still present in The Raven Boys,but instead of it setting the scene like in The Scorpio Races, most of the words were used to describe the characters, the real stars of the book. I loved how each character came alive soon after they were introduced in the book. Their voices were clear and unique, and you knew exactly who she was referring to and who was speaking in the entire text. I loved how there were more points of view here, and I read how one character saw another -- even if most of the POVs switch from Blue to Gansey to Adam. I didn't exactly feel like I was one of them when I read this; it was more like I was given a chance to see and observe them privately, hovering around the corners and seeing how they interact with one another.
And I loved it. I loved all the characters, from Blue to her family and to the boys and their own complicated lives. I remember not being able to choose between Gansey and Adam, and hardly paying attention to the other two boys but later they grew on me, and I loved them fiercely as Blue did (although she wouldn't really admit that yet). I liked their friendship - how the boys all look out for each other and are solidly on each other's side especially when others threatened one of them. I think everyone's made this comparison already, but the boys really reminded me of the boys in the movie The Covenant, and my friend Kai and I even tried to match each of the Raven Boys to the Witches of Ipswich. :D
I was surprised at how fast I read The Raven Boys, but I wasn't really surprised with how much I liked it. I think halfway through the book, I was already convinced that I would like it, anyway. And I was so, so glad that I had its sequel, The Dream Thieves, on my TBR when I was done reading. Gimme more, please. :)(less)
When was the last time I read a paranormal YA novel? I cannot remember anymore. That was my main hesitation when I was o...moreOriginal post at One More Page
When was the last time I read a paranormal YA novel? I cannot remember anymore. That was my main hesitation when I was offered a review copy of Voices in the Theaterby A.S. Santos. Other than being categorized as paranormal, the story seemed more on the horror side and I also don't do horror stories. So what made me read this, then? A friend telling me she thinks there's a fit. I honestly doubted it, then, but I was craving for more local fiction so I said yes. When I found myself suddenly in a place where I can't open my paperback and just start reading, I found myself starting this book, since it was the only new one in my phone's e-reader.
I was wary about it, being paranormal and having that horror factor and all, but you know what got me really interested? Early in the book, I had a feeling the setting was familiar, and then 11% into it, it was confirmed:
De La Salle University: the place where I felt like a freak...
It's not the freak part that got me, but the school -- this book is set in my alma mater! :D How exciting is that? Talk about anchoring it in real life things.
Voices in the Theater is the first book in A.S. Santos' Student Paranormal Research Group series. We meet Samantha Davidson, a Filipina-American who has a special ability: she can hear people's thoughts. After her grandmother died, she and her family moved to the Philippines and she tried to live a normal life, except she joined the new org in school that dabbled in the paranormal. For their first project, they investigate on the rumored haunting in the school's theater, where Sam hears not just the voices of the dead, but other spirits, too. With these hauntings confirmed, Sam realizes that there was more to it, and there could be someone close to her that these spirits are targeting. Sam has to act fast, but she realizes that there are many supernatural powers at play that knows her past, and she's not sure if she can summon enough faith to do what she needs to do.
I was surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. Well, being set in DLSU is already a big thing for me, so I knew I would like it, but I was really surprised at how much I really liked this! Voices in the Theater reminded me of those ghost stories that my college friends and I talked about around school, the Ghost Hunters TV show with the scientific paraphernalia, that old Spirits TV show where the characters had some kind of supernatural powers, and even a bit of my favorite Peretti novels with the angels and demons talk. I know this is a lot, but they just worked together really well and I didn't feel the least bit bored with the story. The book kept me at the edge of my seat, and there were several times that I had to stop myself from reading because I was seriously getting creeped out. But I still wanted to read because I wanted to know what happens next.
Like I said, my enjoyment factor was upped because of the familiarity, and I was really thrilled when I read my old college org there, too! I liked how Voices in the Theater didn't just deal with the paranormal but also touched a bit on faith, and what role it plays in spiritual warfare. And it's really that -- the meat of this book is spiritual warfare. I wished there was a bit more praying in the characters, but it might be asking too much. But I was glad there were praying characters there.
The only thing that I probably didn't like was the romance aspect. It might just be me, but I was almost begging the book to not have that paranormal romance aspect because...well, because I didn't like it. I even formed my own OTP among the characters (SAM + MIGS FOREVER!). Haha. But seriously, I could do without that romance. Please don't let it go that way? At least it was tastefully written and there's some sort of healthy realism to it. It didn't have that insta-love/I can't live without you type of romance that I've grown to really dislike. Female heroine with sense FTW!
But overall, I thought Voices in the Theaterby A.S. Santos was a really, really good book. Plus points to the ending, where I can really visualize where the final scene was happening. :D And more plus points because there was a certain part of the book that reminded me of the feeling I had right after I finished reading Mina V. Esguerra'sInterim Goddess of Love. I can't describe it exactly, but it's the kind of feeling that makes you want to start telling others about the book you just read. BecauseI am definitely recommending this book to anyone who's looking for good Filipino paranormal YA (and to anyone who studied in DLSU!).
I can't wait to read the next installment in the Student Paranormal Research Group series (what a mouthful!). :) Please come out soon! Thanks to the publisher for the review copy!(less)
I can't exactly say I'm a huge, huge fan of David Levithan's books, although I admit that I like reading his stuff. I...moreOriginal post from One More Page
I can't exactly say I'm a huge, huge fan of David Levithan's books, although I admit that I like reading his stuff. I mean, I enjoyed The Lover's Dictionary immensely and I am rather charmed by Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, but it doesn't make me feel like I would go out and read everything he ever wrote. For Mr. Levithan, I still rely a bit on reviews before I actually get one of his new books again.
And that is why I got myself a copy of Every Day. Truth be told, the summary isn't enough to get to me -- I tend to avoid paranormal things unless I'm watching the series or I strike a particular mood, and Every Day's synopsis kind of reminds me of those insta-love things that I don't really like. Granted, it seems more sci-fi than paranormal, but it wasn't until I read Wendy's review of the book that kind of sealed the deal for me.
So A is a...being. Something. He wakes up in a different body everyday, and he has no attachments, no nothing. He cannot afford to have them because nothing is permanent in his world anyway. Until one morning, when he wakes up in the body of Justin and meets his girlfriend, Rhiannon. Suddenly, there's something that makes him want to stay -- and it's Rhiannon.
We don't get explanations why A jumps from one body to another, so we pretty much have to accept what he can do at the start. It was a bit hard for me to swallow, especially when my mind gets confused when A is in a female body but in my mind he is still a male. Then I recount his/her interactions with Rhiannon, and it gets even more confusing. There's a lot to question, and if you're sci-fi buff, you'd wish for an explanation, and that was never really provided in the book.
However, there is something about the way Levithan writes. Just like Dash in Dash and Lily and that unnamed narrator in The Lover's Dictionary, Levithan's words captured me and made me dog-ear so many pages in the book. Case in point:
What is it about the moment you fall in love? How can such a small measure of time contain such enormity?...The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations - all of them rearranging themselves so that this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In your heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is you feel that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are just now arriving at the place you were always meant to be. (p. 23)
This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it's just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be. (p. 175)
Every Day had the right amount of angst and hope and sentimentality to make me sigh at the early parts of February. Some book club friends and I had a readalong for it, and we had a very interesting discussion about love, about A and if there's anything selfish about falling in love. I honestly felt sad for A because he cannot afford to have memories, and so he clings so hard to Rhiannon because she seems to be the only good thing that he can hold on to.
It's sad, and somehow you knew it was a doomed thing from the start. I wondered how Levithan would end it, and I was really pleased with what he did with the ending. It seemed the most right thing to do. It wasn't the easiest decision, but perhaps it was the best for the both of them. It doesn't make it less sad, though.
But...that's love. More than being a decision, love is choosing what's best for the other person, even if it is at the cost of your own happiness. I read this article sometime last year that hits this right on the head (emphasis mine): How do you truly know whether you are committed to this person and that you truly love him or her? Here’s how you know: Your love is directly proportional to your willingness to act unselfishly, to even let the person think less of you, if in doing so you are serving their spiritual advancement.
Every Day isn't the kind of book that will give you all the warm fuzzies, but I think it's a pretty good one even so. And while I still can't say I'm a huge David Levithan fan after this, I will still be on the look out for his books, if only to read passages such as the ones above and one like this:
When first love ends, most people eventually know there will be more to come. They are not through with love. Love is not through with them. It will never be the same as the first, but it will be better in different ways.
So I read The Viewless Darkaround October, because it was supposed to be a horror novel and the best time to read a hor...moreOriginal post at One More Page
So I read The Viewless Darkaround October, because it was supposed to be a horror novel and the best time to read a horror story is during Halloween, right? I was kind of wary, though, because I'm not a fan of anything scary, so I made sure I read this in broad daylight.
The Viewless Darkis about Anthony's friend, Flo, who was found dead in the university library. He knew his friend's death had something to do with Mary, who committed suicide some time ago, and whose death Anthony and Flo were investigating. Here we see what really happened, and what Anthony knew about Flo that no one else knew and what exactly Flo had been going through the night before she died.
Of course I ended up reading this at night, anyway, because I need something to lull me to sleep. And even if I read this in broad daylight, I still felt creeped out every now and then with the story. I liked how the story unfolded from the death of Flo and into flashbacks that pointed just to how exactly Flo ended up that way to what happened to Anthony's family. I liked how vivid the setting was and how sufficiently creepy the "possession" they set up, until the final twist in the end which undid everything I thought I knew. And then Eliza wraps it up in a different way, giving it a poignant, almost hopeful ending.
I'm pretty sure I'm just chicken, and other friends might not think that this is as scary as I thought it was. But even so, I have a very good feeling that some of my friends will like this book just as much as I did. :)(less)
Series finales are a tricky thing, I think. A finale can make or break a series, especially in the paranormal romance...moreOriginal post from One More Page
Series finales are a tricky thing, I think. A finale can make or break a series, especially in the paranormal romance genre, and ones with love triangles. Not that I know a lot, except for those that I've already read, but there were several finales that just sucked that I wished I never read them because it ruined the entire series for me. However, I had faith in Cynthia Hand, that she would end the only angel series I liked well, and when good reviews started popping up Goodreads as the release date neared, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the book.
Many things have happened since the end of Hallowed,including the things that happened in Radiant.Now Clara is a college student in Stanford, with no clear direction except that she wanted to protect Tucker from the dangers of her angel life, even if it means breaking both their hearts. Clara tries to make a home in Stanford, but it's not so easy: she finds Samjeeza, the Black Wing, following her everywhere, her visions are still bleak and scary, and her dad has come to prepare her and Christian for an upcoming battle. Christian remains to be the perfect gentleman that he is and one of her closest friends, but Clara can't help but think of Tucker even if she knew she made the right decision. With all this happening in her life, is Clara ready to face the the things she's been seeing in her vision? And why is Angela acting so weird again?
So, Boundless. I went in this book, ready to get my heart broken for some reason, and for tears to come. Interestingly enough, I didn't get much of those two expectations, but there were so many things in this book that I had a hard time putting it down. I liked how the story revolved a lot around Clara's growth in Stanford -- her classes, her friendship with Angela and Christian and the new people she meets in college -- and not just the angel stuff. We see Clara (and Angela and Christian) grow more in this book, face their choices and follow through. I liked that they don't always have to face their choices alone, and how they all managed to pull through for each other up to the very end. There's also so much family in this book, both in the good and bad side, and I liked how they were weaved together (even if some of them felt a little bit too convenient in the end). I liked how they never let go of that concept and how it all tied them together.
The book felt just a little bit long somewhere in the middle, and I kept wanting to get to the action, to get to the battle and to finally find out who Clara would choose (of course, we all want to know that, right?). I was honestly a bit teary-eyed at a certain point, and then...things happened. I liked how things were handled, although I'm not quite sure until now how I feel about that last part which changed things for one character. (I am trying to be as cryptic as I can, promise!)
Overall, though, Boundlessis a very satisfying ending for a fan of the series like me. I'm quite happy with the ending and this is one of those books where I am pretty happy with everything and I can close the book without needing any more answers or wishing that things were different. I'm quite happy that I decided to take a chance on Unearthlyyears ago, because if I hadn't, I wouldn't have discovered one of the two (the other is Angelfall, but the second book won't be out until late this year) angel series that I really, really like. :)(less)
I'm a fan of Mira Grant, but I have never read any of her other novels that she wrote as Seanan McGuire. Or, rather, I...moreOriginal post from One More Page
I'm a fan of Mira Grant, but I have never read any of her other novels that she wrote as Seanan McGuire. Or, rather, I liked Seanan McGuire's books that she wrote as Mira Grant. But anyway, I haven't read the October Daye series only because there are already a lot of books in the series and I kind of felt that if I started it and I liked it, I would have that compulsion to complete it, too. So when I heard that she had a new series coming out, I set my sights on it and eventually ordered it from Book Depository.
Verity Price comes from a long line of cryptozoologists, someone who studies and protects various kinds of ghouls, monsters and beasts (aka cryptids) from humanity and protect humanity from them. But all Verity wanted to do was dance. Given her interesting family history, however, she had to make a compromise -- she stays in Manhattan to do her job as a Price, and she gets to dance under a completely different persona. It was a good enough deal, until she runs into one of her family's enemies, a member of the Covenant of St. George. What's more, local cryptids are starting to disappear, and there's news of a dragon sleeping somewhere...how will Verity ever dance, now?
From the first page of Discount Armageddon,I knew I was going to have fun. There's a lot of wit in the books reminiscent of what I read in the Newsflesh universe, but also a bit leveled-up because Verity seems to drip sarcasm all the time. I loved the banter between her and her family, her and her work mates, her and the cryptids in Manhattan and especially with the Covenant boy. I loved the quotes that start off each chapter, because it gives the story more depth and it makes me want to get to know their entire family history, too. Verity is the kind of heroine you'd definitely want to be on your side, and I like how loyal she is to her family and to her causes. She doesn't have much issues, save for her need to dance, and that makes me like her just as much as I liked Kate Daniels.
The universe is also well-written. I loved all the cryptids that appeared in the book, and how each has their own personalities. It was a little confusing keeping track of them, but since this is the start of a series, it is pretty forgivable. There was just a time when I felt that the story was dragging too long, like the action should have been here but it happened a few pages later. The climax was action-packed and fun. I kind of predicted how things will unfold, but even so, I liked how things were wrapped up.
Discount Armageddonis a fun book, and urban fantasy lovers will get a kick out of this new universe. I'm not quite entirely sure if I want to read the rest of the series just yet, because that means I would have to wait a while to read the next ones. So maybe I should wait. Except that I heard that there's a manananggal in the second book. Eee.
Everyone who knows me in real life (and even online) know that I am a great big chicken. I don't like anything scary, bo...moreOriginal post at One More Page
Everyone who knows me in real life (and even online) know that I am a great big chicken. I don't like anything scary, both in movies, TV or books. Oh, I used to like them when I was younger, but I always, always scare myself silly that I end up not being able to sleep peacefully or go to the comfort room for a week or so because my imagination kept bringing up all the scary things I heard/read/talked about. I know there's a delicious feeling to being scared, but when you keep on running in and out of the comfort room to pee for a week, it's not fun.
That's one of the reasons why I delayed reading Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake until know. I borrowed this from Maria after our Quezon trip with other Goodreads friends but I never picked it up. I always put it off because I said I had no time, and then I said I won't read it yet because it's Christmas and I don't want to be scared, and then I said I won't read it yet because I don't have any company at home and God knows what happens when I'm scared at night and alone. This week, though, I got my brave face and finally, finally picked it up, hoping that my parents' presence at home would make me less frightened.
Like I said: I'm a big chicken.
Cas Lowood is a ghost hunter -- not the ones you see on TV but someone who puts ghosts who harm living people to sleep. When his father died, he took over the "business" with his white witch mom and their pet cat, and they moved from one place to another, killing these ghosts. Cas and his mom arrives in a town where the famous ghost called Anna Dressed in Blood haunts a house. Anna was killed fifty years ago, her throat cut open spilling over the white of her dress, making her look like she was dressed in actual blood. Cas was just expecting to kill her and move on, but he finds it extremely difficult to do so -- Anna was not an ordinary ghost, and for someone who's full of rage and kills anyone who enters her house, she shows mercy and spares Cas' life.
Anna Dressed in Blood was one of those books that made it to many people's Best of 2011 lists, too, and I promise, if it wasn't a scary novel, I would have read it earlier. I managed to read the book in broad daylight most of the time and I realized soon after that it wasn't as scary as it was. It was scary, but it wasn't like Paranormal Activity 3 scary because the setting was very different from where I live and stay. I had a general impression of watching a Supernatural episode while I was reading Anna, but with less of the hot brothers. ;) It stopped being that scary after that particular part at the first visit to Anna's house, and then everything just felt like a big mystery until the twist comes. I had to breathe a sigh of relief when I felt more comfortable with the story without having the need to close the book and get my nerves together. :D
It's a surprisingly fast read and I found myself devouring the story. At its core, Anna Dressed in Blood is more of a paranomal novel than horror, but it isn't the usual one with a whiny heroine and a brooding hero. True, Cas has some kind of arrogance with the way he does his work but he grew on me, and his brooding periods didn't really have that much screen time. Anna was a mystery even up to the end, and I feel like there is still more to her than what was revealed in the story. Their relationship was...well, kind of cute, and I know how odd that sounds in a horror story. Let's just say it was one of those pairings that was very interesting to read.
I love the supporting cast in this one: Thomas, Carmel, Cas' mom and especially the cat, Tybalt. Novels with animals are a huge plus for me. I like Thomas' stubbornness and Carmel's courage in the face of the unknown. Cas' mom reminds me of someone who would offer tea and cookies to her son's friends and amaze them with stories. Anna Dressed in Blood's characters feel like a well-rounded sort of bunch, and it was a pleasure to read them.
Reading Anna Dressed in Blood felt like I was watching a Supernatural episode, sans the brothers and the car and the shooting. I really enjoyed reading this book. This book didn't change my aversion to anything scary, and I still won't go read the real horror novels or go watch scary movies anytime soon (maybe ever). But I think I am most definitely reading the sequel, Girl of Nightmares, when it comes out this year.
But I will probably read it in broad daylight again.(less)
I decided to finally pick Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater from my TBR pile because of recommendations of some book bloggers...moreOriginal post at One More Page
I decided to finally pick Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater from my TBR pile because of recommendations of some book bloggers who said that this book is a good Christmas winter read. Fine, winter isn't really a thing here in the Philippines, but it's been strangely hot lately when the weather is supposed to be cool, and I wanted something that would make me feel a little bit cooler, even if it is just fiction.
When Grace was 11 years old, she was one of the victims of a wolf attack. How she survived was one thing, and this should have made her wary of the wolves that lived by the woods in their back yard, but instead this has pushed her into an obsession. She can't stop thinking about the yellow-eyed wolf, the wolf that "saved" her. Sam lives two lives, but he's never stopped observing Grace, the girl he loves. He never talked to her, until one shooting accident somehow changes him back to human and Grace had to save her. Now that they have talked, and spent some time together, they cannot deny the attraction. But Sam feels that this may be his last time being human, and he and Grace have to fight for their love even if it meant opening up ghosts of their past and dealing with the things that threaten to tear them apart in the present.
I was surprised with Shiver. I don't read a lot of paranormal romance books anymore, much less books about werewolves. I could read about vampires and angels but werewolves aren't my thing -- the last time I read an exclusively werewolf book was in 2010, and I didn't really like it. I thought Shiver would be sort of like mindless reading that isn't really fluff and I felt that I needed that during the holidays. However...I was pretty surprised at how much I ended up liking it. This is my first Stiefvater book, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. My friends have said that she has this way of writing that's very atmospheric, and they were right. There is an ease in her words that make it so easy to sink into, making it easy to accept the world of Mercy Falls and mingle with the different characters. Shiver's prose is both sad and lyrical, which makes some room for some very nice quotable parts. For example, I thought this description of the insides of the bookstore they went to was lovely:
As the hours crept by, the afternoon sunlight bleached all the books on the shelves to pale, gilded versions of themselves and warmed the paper and ink inside the covers so that the smell of unread words hung in the air.
The romance factor was pretty sweet and a lot intense, and I'm not sure if I should classify this as instalove. It seems like it, but also it doesn't feel like it is, if that makes sense. I liked how it unfolded though, with all the shivering romantic tension and kisses and moments spent together. Of course I'm not particularly fond of how they were always left alone, although I liked how they noticed the absence of Grace's parents in the narrative, even if I wished there was some change to that in the end. The he said/she said form was a good move IMHO, and I really liked reading about Sam's struggle between his wolf and human self.
There's an overall sad tone in the book that makes it not really fit for Christmas. It was kind of a slow read, too. Part of it was my savoring of the words, but the other part just kind of made me wonder where the story was going, because there's no real sense of immediate danger for Sam and Grace, just the sense of an ending for what they just started having. I almost gave up on it somewhere when I was 2/3 in, but I'm glad I didn't because I really liked how it ended. I'd like to think of my own possibilities at where their story is going after the last page. But since I have a copy of Linger on my TBR, I may as well read it sometime. But if you ask me, I thought the ending was really enough.
So yeah, I was pleasantly surprised with Shiver. I liked it. I'm going to let Linger ...well, linger on my shelf a little longer, and I will also try to acquire a copy of The Scorpio Races since all my blogger friends have raved about it. But one thing is for sure: this won't be my last Stiefvater book. :)(less)
One of the books that absolutely surprised me last year was Cynthia Hand's Unearthly. I can't keep stressing it enough,...moreOriginal post at One More Page
One of the books that absolutely surprised me last year was Cynthia Hand's Unearthly. I can't keep stressing it enough, but you know, when a book surprised you, you would have the tendency not to stop talking about it. And this is for a paranormal romance novel friends. That is really something. With that premise in this review, it was obvious that I was one of the squealing readers who well...squealed, when I saw that the next book, Hallowed was available in Netgalley. I was supposed to read it as a reward for finishing NaNoWriMo, but resistance was futile and I ended up reading it even as I was writing.
Spoiler warning for Unearthly in the next few paragraphs -- stay away if you haven't read it yet.
Hallowed picks up from where Unearthly left off, where Clara was still reeling from the events that happened in the fire and how she messed up her purpose by saving Tucker instead of Christian. There was also that fact that Christian was actually an angel, and how she can't deny the attraction between them, even if her heart belongs to Tucker. But there are other things that require her more immediate attention, like her angel training with her friend and the fact that the Black Wing could return, and finally, there was her dream. Her dream that tells her that someone important to her is going to die, soon. And there is only so much she can do without falling apart.
This book was...well, it's a lot to digest. On one hand, there's Clara, who's still a very entertaining character. Her voice still sounds authentic despite the different challenges she had to face, and she never wavered one bit. Her relationship with Tucker was still as sweet as ever, and sometimes I kind of want to stop reading because they got too sweet. :P The great addition in this book, IMHO, was Christian. Love triangles are kind of an old thing in YA, particularly in paranormal romance, but I think the love triangle in Hallowed was exceptionally done. I liked how there was never really a clear answer on who Clara would and should choose, and how the two guys seem to have equal footing in her life. I'm still a huge fan of Tucker, though, but I would like to see how Clara having Christian in her life would play out.
I also really loved that there were more revelations to Clara's angel heritage, and her powers as well. The high points in the book is really with knowing all these things like Clara's powers and the rest of her family. The revelation is done gradually so we never get too much information, and there were some truly surprising parts. As with Unearthly, I thought the mythology here was also well done, and yet there still seemed to be more that could be revealed in the later books.
But you see, Hallowed isn't really a book that is centered on the romance, or even on Clara's angel powers. This book is really about family and loved ones and yes, loss. Saying anything more would be spoilery, but it's probably the thing that could make or break the novel for other people (although I use the term "break" loosely). Hallowed has the capacity to punch you in the gut -- hard -- and leave you reeling with different emotions. That is what makes this book so different. And good.
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand will be available by January 17. Thanks to Netgalley for the review copy!(less)
I can't remember the last time I willingly read a paranormal romance novel. I really can't anymore. I am not denying tha...moreOriginal post at One More Page
I can't remember the last time I willingly read a paranormal romance novel. I really can't anymore. I am not denying that I used to like the genre, but after finding out that there seemed to be nothing new there, I just wandered off to other genres. So when rave reviews of Unearthly by Cynthia Hand popped up among book bloggers, I didn't pay attention. To me, it's just another angel novel that I will probably wonder why I even bothered after I finish.
And then even people who I know don't really read much paranormal started giving it glowing reviews. This got my attention. I only pay attention to some people when it comes to paranormal romances, so when they give a good review on a book that I normally wouldn't read and I know they normally wouldn't read either, I know I'd have to keep an eye on it. After reading one contemporary novel after the other last month, I gave myself a break from real life stuff and finally picked up Unearthly, wondering if I will like it as much as the others did.
Clara Gardner has angel blood -- she's 3/4 human, 1/4 angel, but that 1/4 makes all the difference in her world. She's different, and she has a purpose in this world. This purpose makes her and her family move to a new town after a series of visions. There she meets Christian Prescott, the boy in her visions that she somehow has to save. Clara and Christian had an instant connection and Clara wonders if it's not just her angel side that's attracted. But there's a catch: Christian has a girlfriend. And there's another catch: Clara also seems to be attracted to her best friend's twin, Tucker. Torn between her angel side and her human side, Clara has to make a choice between what she wants and her destiny as an angel.
It sounds like your everyday paranormal romance novel, right? I thought so too. But friends, believe me when I tell you this: it is so much more. I was very surprised with how good Unearthly is. Normally, I hate instant connections, I dislike love triangles, and I don't like supernatural creatures falling in love with humans, but this one is different. Clara is a believable heroine despite her powers. She's angel, all right, but even if she's angelic, she's also very human. I liked that there was a balance between her human and angel side and she's *gasp!* not a Mary Sue! She's awkward, she gets shy, she rebels from her mom and even if she's an angel, she has no idea what to do with her life. She's a refreshing heroine from all that I can remember of the paranormal romance genre, and I liked it.
The boys? Well, there's really no question who I'm rooting for, right? :) I found Christian a little too perfect, but it was actually in all good reason once you get to the end. Tucker, oh Tucker. I loved him. :) I loved how his character developed, I loved how he got into Clara's life. I liked that he wasn't perfect, and I liked that he's just...well, human. The description in the blurb says he appeals to Clara's non-angelic side, and it's easy to think that he's, well, evil, but he's not. The more accurate description should be, he appeals to Clara's human side, and that made him very adorable for me. The romance in Unearthly is *another gasp!* quite healthy, too. Lots of banter, conversations and time spent together -- none of those "I saw him and fell in love" thing. Yes, even the instant connection with Christian was toned down with conversations and whatnot. And it was definitely refreshing.
The angel mythology was probably my favorite of all in this book -- very well done, not too religious and not blasphemous, too. I liked how it seemed respectful of how angels are known, and it seemed very well-researched. I loved the idea of Glory, or the wing color, and how angels were given a purpose. This played very well within the story, and it also opened up a very, very surprising twist in the end that really shocked me. And that ending? OMG THAT ENDING! It's not really a big cliffhanger but it would definitely leave you wanting for more. More, I tell you. WANT! But the next book, Hallowed, isn't coming out until 2012. Long wait is long! :(
So, if it isn't obvious, I really liked Unearthly. Definitely one of those books that I am glad I picked up, and one of those books that I am considering getting in print form since my copy is an e-galley (it helps that the cover is very pretty, too) just so I can go back to it again when the next book is out. If you're planning to pick up a paranormal romance novel soon, or if you want something to surprise you, then definitely get this book. Take it from someone who's given up on paranormal romance -- this is one of the good ones. ;)(less)
I was one of those kids who believed in wishing on stars. My earliest memory of making a wish was when my brother told me abou...moreFull review at Pinoy Pop
I was one of those kids who believed in wishing on stars. My earliest memory of making a wish was when my brother told me about the North Star, and I wished that I'd dream about Cinderella that night (I was pretty young then). Years later, my friends and I would wait for the first star to appear so we could make a wish before going home, but as time went by, I found it harder and harder to make a simple wish. I'd end up using my wishes (even birthday wishes) for some beauty pageant greater good, you know, like world peace. It's a part of growing up I guess, or a fear that I'd wish for the wrong thing and then it would come true. I needed to be sure that if my wish did come true, it would be one I wouldn't regret.
Sixteen-year-old Viola faces the same problem in Jackson Pearce’s novel, As You Wish. Viola has been feeling invisible ever since her best friend and boyfriend, Lawrence, broke up with her after confessing he was gay. His coming out of the closet catapulted him to popularity, and Viola’s heartbreak pushed her to the sidelines. For the next seven months, she spends most of her days observing the people around her, trying to figure out how they belong to their own groups and wishing that she could simply belong, like they did. Viola’s desperate wish summons a young and handsome genie with no name, bearing (what else?) three wishes. The genie is anxious to return to his home world (he ages in the human world) but the only way for him to go back is for his master to use up her wishes. However, Viola is terrified of making the wrong wish, so she asks for time, much to the genie’s chagrin. Refusing to treat the genie as a slave, Viola gives him a name, Jinn, and forces him to call her by her name instead of Master. And that's when things get complicated…Click here to read the rest of the review.(less)
Unicorns: everyone knows about them. This mythical creature is often described as a horse with a single horn protruding from...moreOriginal post at Pinoy Pop
Unicorns: everyone knows about them. This mythical creature is often described as a horse with a single horn protruding from its forehead, often pure white in color. A unicorn is often portrayed as a beautiful, majestic creature that is gentle, yet fierce, and not born out of human fears (Marianna Mayer, The Unicorn and the Lake, quoted from Wikipedia). Their horns are known to neutralize poison, and in Harry Potter, anyone who drinks unicorn blood will gain eternal – albeit cursed – life. Even contemporary, non-speculative, literature uses unicorns as a symbol of goodness: in Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley Twins series, the most popular girls in middle school were all a part of The Unicorn Club.
Unicorns: sweet, cuddly, and totally harmless mythological creatures, right?
Not in Astrid Llewelyn’s world. Diana Peterfreund tells us to forget everything we know about unicorns in the first book of her Killer Unicorns series, Rampant. Sixteen-year-old Astrid grew up believing that unicorns were venomous, man-eating beasts that only virgin descendants of Alexander the Great could hunt and kill, all thanks to her eccentric mother. Astrid tolerates all the unicorn talk just to entertain her mom’s whims, until her boyfriend is attacked by a rogue unicorn and is saved by her mom with a leftover unicorn antidote called The Remedy. Astrid’s life turns upside-down as Lilith, her mother, immediately sends her to Rome, to claim her birthright as a unicorn hunter. Resistance is futile for Astrid, and she arrives at the re-opened Cloisters of Ctesias with almost zero hunting knowledge and a desire to come back home. But as the training goes on, Astrid finds out that she not only has to learn how to kill a unicorn, but also to figure out the agenda of the other hunters and find out why the cloisters’ financial sponsor, Gordian, is acting suspicious, all while dealing with her growing attraction to an art student… and this last might be the most dangerous issue of all.
Because, you know, to hunt a unicorn, one must be a virgin.
I’m going to be flat-out honest: I knew Rampant would be a great read the moment I read the words “Killer Unicorns.” We’ve had vampires, werewolves, angels, fairies and zombies, but killer unicorns? Man-eating, venomous unicorns? This is a first, and I can’t believe I almost passed this one up.
I was one of the people who loved Twilight at the start of its hype. I’m not really embarrassed to admit it...more**spoiler alert** Full review at Pinoy Pop
I was one of the people who loved Twilight at the start of its hype. I’m not really embarrassed to admit it – curiosity got me to check it out after reading a post by a blogger friend raving about the saga. I found it in a bookstore near where I work, bought it, and devoured it over a weekend. I admit to also falling in love with Edward Cullen and the romance, and then falling for Jacob and all his wolfish charms by the second book. I was never a rabid fan, but I liked the saga up until I read the last book. After Breaking Dawn, I turned my back on Stephenie Meyer for making an ending like that.
I won’t go into detail why I stopped liking the saga, but whenever I run into other supernatural romances, I can’t help but compare them to Twilight. Wait, a correction: whenever I come across any supernatural romances with vampires or werewolves, I can’t help but compare them to Twilight, probably because it’s the first book I read on that genre. I also blame it on all the hype the Twilight Saga gets.
So when I came across Bree Despain’s debut work, The Dark Divine, I wondered if it would be another Twilight-like novel.
Grace Divine is the daughter of the local pastor, and by default, she is considered one of the town’s perfect girls, blessed with a perfect family. But Grace’s family hides a secret that even she doesn’t know: something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared, the same night they found her brother Jude covered in his own blood on their porch. No one in their family talks about Daniel, not until he suddenly comes back into Grace’s life three years later. Grace promises to stay away for the sake of her brother, but she can’t deny that she finds Daniel and that strange hungry glint in his eye irresistible. Despite her promise, she gets closer to Daniel, and this unleashes a chain of events that only she can undo.
Let’s see. Pretty and dark cover – check. Ordinary girl and a guy with a secret – check. Danger and love all at the same time – you got it. So is it the same?
Not entirely. First of all, The Dark Divine has quite an unusual – albeit imperfect – cast of characters. Grace Divine is not exactly the best or most sympathetic protagonist I’ve ever seen, with inconsistent intentions almost all throughout the novel. Being a pastor’s daughter, she’s expected to be the nice girl. Daniel’s presence in the story gives her the conflict that she needs in her life, with her family being the opposition. Unfortunately, in her struggle between Daniel’s affections and her family’s rules, she comes off as self-righteous and selfish. Click here to read the rest of the review.(less)
Katrina lived most of her life in her grandmother's coffee shop, helping her maintain the place with another friend Irmg...moreOriginal post at One More Page
Katrina lived most of her life in her grandmother's coffee shop, helping her maintain the place with another friend Irmgaard, who has been helping them out without a word because of her vow of silence. Business for their coffee shop was dying because of the next door coffee shop Java Heaven, which is more modern than theirs, and naturally attracts more customers. Katrina generally keeps to herself, happy with her two best friends Vincent and Elizabeth, but deep inside, she's sad because she doesn't know what she's good at, unlike them.
One day, Katrina chances upon a homeless guy sleeping in the alley, and despite her fears about him, she leaves him some food to tide his hunger over. Little did she know that this little act will change her life.
In this time of teen girls falling in love with boys who have supernatural roots, it's easy to get jaded over the entire concept already. That's because everything pretty much has the same storyline: girl meets mysterious guy, tries to stay away but is very attracted, ends up spending time with him, learning his dangerous secret, but still falling in love regardless of the possible consequences. It gets tiring, really, and one can only use so many creatures to fall in love with.
Coffeehouse Angel was a fresh twist on that storyline. In a way, it may not even be the same storyline because the romance part wasn't the sole focus of this novel, but mainly Katrina, and finding out what she is passionate about. Malcolm, the angel, was more of a catalyst than a main character or a love interest, for that matter. I had fun reading this because all the characters were well developed, from the old men who hang out at Katrina's coffee shop to Ratcatcher the cat. The conflict felt real, and I felt especially sympathetic to Katrina when she started to lose Vincent when he started dating someone.
The story wasn't shallow either -- a lot of things were revealed as the story progressed, and I would never have guessed why Irmgaard was quiet all the time, or why Heidi, Katrina's "rival" was doing what she was doing. Important lessons were imparted in the book as well, such as being the better person by not blackmailing your enemy, living life, finding your passion and forgiveness.
The only thing that didn't really sit well on me was, surprisingly, the love angle. I didn't really feel that much chemistry between Katrina and Malcolm, except that she was annoyed at him first, but as they got to know each other, he just had this "warm" aura that everybody loves. It was clear that they liked each other, but it was kind of hard for me to really believe it. I probably would have believed it more if Katrina fell for Vincent or something like that. Nevertheless, the ending was quite good, too, and it didn't mean losing one's mortality, or going totally crazy over each other that they lose their identity.
It's a good story, one of substance, and one that I would definitely recommend over the other YA supernatural romance novels out there. :)
I end this review with this quote from the book.:
Was I really going to the Solstice Festival with an angel? How do you wrap your head around something like that? There are so many stories about girls dating vampires and fairy kings but those are dark stories, dangerous where the simple act of falling puts the girl's life at risk. Malcolm didn't seem one bit dangerous. Angels are supposed to be pure and sinless, so it would be a pure and sinless date. I didn't have a problem with that. It was kind of a relief that I wouldn't have to fend off blood-sucking or an enchantment on our first date.
Hm. Could this be pointing to what I think it's pointing? ;) (less)
I guess I really can’t stop comparing this book with Twilight because they have the same elements inside: girl gets attracted to a guy who has a “bad”...moreI guess I really can’t stop comparing this book with Twilight because they have the same elements inside: girl gets attracted to a guy who has a “bad” side, and everyone’s telling them not to get together. Still the girl gets together with the guy, who turns out to be supernatural, and more or less wants to kill the main character. Then there’s the climax, and then more stuff happens and the guy and the girl end up together. It’s basically the same.
Here are the main differences I saw in this novel from Twilight:
1. The main character is not weak, or totally helpless or stupid. Sure, Nora made a lot of wrong moves in the story, but at least she had a personality. Bella Swan irritated me from the start, but Nora Grey had more spunk than Bella. She had her own looks, her own personality and she actually resisted Patch almost all throughout the novel until the end. Plus, Nora had actual, normal friends, who are not another supernatural creature. :P
2. The main guy is not really that attractive. Well, at least for me. I admit to liking Edward Cullen on Twilight…but Patch is different. There is something seemingly sexy about him, but I wasn’t attracted. Of course we know what he is from the start, based from the cover, but that’s it. It’s not that I don’t like him; I just don’t feel him that much. He is kind of stalker-ish, but I really didn’t get to know him that well in the story, except on how Nora described him. But at least he didn’t have “marble arms.”
3. The story had a climax. Well, at least some kind of climax. I found myself holding my breath on the high part of the story. The thing with having a first person story is that when the narrator blacks out, all we can see is what happens after. But at least this one had a lot of action on the climax, which I really appreciated.
It’s actually a lot better than Twilight, although the ending felt a bit anticlimactic. But the concept is good, and I was in the dark until the last part of the story when the reveal is done — I actually thought it was the best friend for a while. It’s not my favorite book, but I’m not sorry I read it. And I’m curious to know what the sequel, Crescendo will be about.(less)
I hardly ever start reading a book without first having some idea of what it is about. More often than not, the book’s c...moreOriginally posted at Pinoy Pop
I hardly ever start reading a book without first having some idea of what it is about. More often than not, the book’s cover and title do a good job of that, and if they don’t, the blurb at the back definitely will, and these factors determine whether or not I buy a book. That wasn’t the case for Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (first book of the Caster Chronicles). I’ve been seeing this book around but I didn’t pick it up because I couldn’t figure out what it was about. It was always shelved beside the other vampire young adult (YA) romance books, and I wasn’t in the mood to read another Twilight. The cover was beautiful, like its title, but neither told me what those "creatures" were. The blurb wasn’t enticing either – it still sounded too much like the other supernatural YA romances out there. I only picked it up when I heard that a sequel was coming (with an equally beautiful cover) and when I saw that almost all of the book blogs I followed were excited about it. I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
Beautiful Creatures is narrated by Ethan Wate, who hails from Gatlin, a small Southern town where everyone knows everyone. His mom’s death caused his father to become a recluse who left him under the care of their superstitious housekeeper, Amma. Unknown to Amma, Ethan had been having strange dreams about a girl he had never met, dreams which left physical evidence even when he woke up – dirt on his bed, water around him, and even a song on his iPod. When Lena Duchannes moves into town, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her, even when all his friends were ostracizing her. Despite Lena’s attempts to push him away, Ethan presses on, determined to find out the connection between him and Lena, and maybe help her blend in. But in the town of Gatlin, it’s never easy to fit in, especially if you have a secret as big as Lena’s.
Vague, I know, but after I finished reading the book, I understood why the book’s summary wasn't any more detailed: revealing any more would spoil the story. Beautiful Creatures has an excellent plot, one that even some of the most critical book bloggers praised. At first glance, the book seems like it’s the typical boy meets girl--with an added dose of superpowers--but it's much more than that. While the romance is an integral part of the story, it wasn’t there just for the sake of having the characters fall in love, as it connected Ethan and Lena to their pasts. Underneath the romance is an intricate web of details: the social groups and hierarchy of the town, the history of the curse that links Ethan and Lena, and most of all, the supernatural world that lies under the unsuspecting eyes of Gatlin residents. Aiding the plot significantly was the setting: Gatlin is a living, breathing setting that almost felt like another character – and perhaps it was. Garcia and Stohl definitely took time to build this small town, complete with histories, eccentricities and secrets. It was almost as if the residents of Gatlin (save for Ethan, Lena and her family) were one entity being represented by different personas, united in one purpose: to drive away anything that tries to shake things up. Click here to read the rest of the review. (less)
My teammates and I saw this book while browsing around Fully Booked and the concept of the book got me hooked immediately. After vampires comes angels...moreMy teammates and I saw this book while browsing around Fully Booked and the concept of the book got me hooked immediately. After vampires comes angels and I think angels are more interesting than vamps, right? (Feel free to disagree haha)
So when I finally got a copy of this book, I was excited to read it. The first few pages were really interesting, as Meridian tried to explain the deaths around her and why she was always alone. It was a very captivating start for a novel, good enough to get me hooked and try to find out what was up with Meridian.
But that was it. It was a good start, but as the story went on, it wasn't that good anymore. I felt like I wasn't really into the story, like I was watching it from the sidelines. I liked the idea of the Fenestras and the Alternocti and the Sangre, but there wasn't enough explanation on the background of things. I just know that the Fenestras are good and the Alternocti are bad and that was it. There were some references to religion and a possible background or mythology of why they were that way, but it still lacked.
I liked Meridian as a character, but I wished there was more depth shown to her. Tens as a protector is a good character too, but his background wasn't explored either. He was called a prophet, but there wasn't much of him being a prophet in the story except for his dreams. And the romance between Meridian and Tens? Sorry, didn't work for me.
I still liked the concept of the story, though, and I hope it gets explored more if there is a companion novel coming out.