I had only one Literature class for college, which made me just a little bit sad because it was one of my favorite oneOriginal post from One More Page
I had only one Literature class for college, which made me just a little bit sad because it was one of my favorite ones, and I could use a bit more lit reading in my academic life. Anyway, we were assigned novels to read in that class, and I was really, really hoping that our group would get Smaller and Smaller Circlesby FH Batacan because I loved the premise: a Pinoy detective novel? Serial killers? "The first of its kind" (at least, back in that time years ago)? I want it.
Anyway, our group didn't get it, and I ended up borrowing my roommate's copy, but not before I got spoiled with the ending because of the group who reported on the novel. But even so, I enjoyed reading it and was kind of glad that I had a chance to read it again for our book club's discussion last May.
Did I like it on my second read, years after I read it the first time? Yes, I still did. I am a fan of crime procedural shows, so reading something similar gives me the same thrill of watching. The book reminded me of that tiny, tiny dream of being a forensic specialist that I sometimes get, if only I don't get so queasy over blood. Smaller and Smaller Circlesis still as engaging as when I first read it, and I still felt the thrill over the chase and the satisfaction on the ending. Granted, it wasn't perfect and some of it weren't that believable, but I still enjoyed reading it the second time around....more
When Eliza Victoria sent me an email about sending a review copy of her newest book, I couldn't say no. Note that I'mOriginal post from One More Page
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. :)...more
It's been a while since I read a Camy book, and honestly, I didn't even know she had another book in the Grant sisters'Original post at One More Page
It's been a while since I read a Camy book, and honestly, I didn't even know she had another book in the Grant sisters' stories. It wasn't until after I finished reading Protection for Hire that I found out, and I immediately got the book for my Kindle.
In the third installment of Camy Tang's Love Inspired series, Stalker in the Shadows, we meet the third Grant sister, Monica, a nurse with a heart for social work. She plans to open a free children's clinic in their town, and she knows it wouldn't be easy but it shouldn't bethat hard either. Until she starts receiving threatening letters and "gifts" from someone who tells her that if she doesn't stop her plans, she would end up dead too. Scared out of her wits, Monica seeks help from Shaun O'Neill, who believes that the same person threatening Monica was the one who caused his sister's death. As the threats come and the stakes get higher, Monica wonders if maybe she should quit, while Shaun is constantly haunted by the thought of failing to protect Monica the way he felt he failed to protect his sister.
I haven't read a lot of suspense or mystery novels lately so it took me a while to get inside Camy's world in Stalker in the Shadows. I liked Monica right from the start, maybe even more than how I liked Rachel or Naomi. She was a level-headed and determined character, always putting someone else first before herself -- her father, her investors, and even the children who will benefit with the clinic. I also liked her dynamics with Shaun, and I liked how Camy wrote him as a "heart-guarding man". It's not often we find heroes like that in fiction. :) There wasn't much surprises in the romance (except, as always, for the first kiss!), but it wasn't too predictable, either.
This book is probably the least preachy of all - and by that, I mean that the Christian aspect was shown more instead of being told. There were some God talk, of course...I don't know how exactly to describe it, but it felt more natural when Monica realized things and Shaun realized things and they felt God more in their own realizations and with the things that happened to them. The climax felt a little bit too CSI-esque, but it was exciting enough for me to really fear for the main characters.
The mystery was pretty...well, mysterious, for the lack of better terms. I had several hunches about the culprit, and even one hunch that I was so sure was correct...and it wasn't. Oh well. But that makes for a good mystery, don't you think? Overall, Stalker in the Shadowsis a very good installment to the Grant sisters' stories, and I was glad at where Monica (and Shaun) ended up. :)...more
What do you get when you cross the niece of the head of the Japanese mafia with a Southern belle in need of protection aOriginal post at One More Page
What do you get when you cross the niece of the head of the Japanese mafia with a Southern belle in need of protection and a straight-edge lawyer who hates the said mafia? Tessa Lancaster is the niece of Teruo Ota, the head of the San Francisco yakuza. Left by her dad when she was young and living with a difficult relationship with her mom and sister, she becomes some sort of mercenary to her uncle's mafia, working as an enforcer for her mafia cousins. She was doing fine just like that until she decided to take the fall for her cousin Fred's careless murder of his girlfriend, landing her in prison. Seven years later, Tessa is out, and she's turning over a new leaf, after meeting Christ in prison. But her reputation precedes her that everyone's still afraid of her, making it hard for her to live a normal life. Until she meets Elizabeth St. Amant with her three-year-old son on the run from her husband who's trying to kill her. Elizabeth hires Tessa to be her bodyguard, which would be a fine job if not for Elizabeth's lawyer, Charles Britton. Unbeknownst to Tessa, Charles was the reason why Tessa served extra years in prison, and Charles does not trust her...but he can't deny the attraction that he feels for her. Throw in Tessa's Uncle wanting her to work for him again, her mom, her sister and her new found faith, and...well, God only knows what could happen.
I'm not just saying this because Camy is one of my favorite authors, but really, Protection for Hire was such a fun book. This book is reminiscent of her Sushi series with all the wackiness and hijinks that the characters get into. But because Tessa had such a shady past and a heavy responsibility on her shoulders, there were more risks involved for Tessa. Tessa reminds me a bit of Venus, my favorite Sushi sister, but a bit more vulnerable especially since she's been trying to live her faith. Her vulnerability is what made Tessa so endearing, and I rooted for her from the start up to the end.
The other characters surrounding Tessa were a hoot, too. Camy's characters are one of my favorite things to read in her novels. They always feel so real, and I felt like I could easily be friends with them. In Protection for Hire, I loved Charles' family, especially his mom and his brother! Such a darling family, and I don't care if Charles' mom cooks all the random food. Plus, she was a breath of fresh air from Tessa's annoying (yet, well meaning...most of the time, anyway) mother. As always, there's the heroine's crazy family, which seemed to be a staple in Camy's stories. I thought Tessa's immediate family would be similar to the Sushi sisters' clans, but I was glad that it turned out to be different, and dare I say, more entertaining to read. The Japanese mafia aspect was very interesting too. It was the first time I've read about the yakuza, and while it wasn't really discussed in detail here, I liked the overall mafia/The Godfather-like feel that the story had.
Now, I wouldn't have liked this so much if the plot wasn't as good as the characters. There's lots of action, funny moments and yes, romance, in Protection for Hire, enough to keep me glued to the pages. There were moments of shock, too -- the good kind, the one that made me sigh and smile with delight when it happened. :) There was enough suspense in the story to have me guessing about what exactly were they up against. It almost came to a point where I was a bit overwhelmed with all the plot twists but in the end, I think it still paid off well. The wrap up at the end felt just a teensy bit rushed for me, but I guess it was still in character given Tessa's family.
Protection for Hire is a fun, action-packed and romantic book that will definitely satisfy those who crave for that kind of stuff. If you're wary of the faith aspect of the novel (being that it is a Christian novel), don't worry -- it's never preachy or in-your-face. If you've ever been one who has tried to move on and make up from past mistakes and yet still find yourself under a microscope and slapped with your mistakes on the face over and over again, then you will be able to relate to Tessa. Throw in the a cast of hilarious, gripping plot and good writing, and...well, you have yourself a really awesome book. :)...more
I've been reading a lot of fantasy and dystopia lately so I decided to take a bit of a break and go for a light and flufOriginal post at One More Page
I've been reading a lot of fantasy and dystopia lately so I decided to take a bit of a break and go for a light and fluffy book just to cleanse the palate. I recently got Camy Tang's Formula for Danger through my Kindle, and I missed reading Camy's work, so I thought this would be a perfect in-between book.
Well, I think I may have chosen the wrong book! I'm not saying that because it's a bad book, but because Formula for Danger is anything but fluffy. Of course, I should have picked up from the title already, but who knew this book would be such a non-stop suspense ride all the way to the end?
Formula for Danger wastes no time with the action as I was dropped immediately in the middle of it right from the start. Rachel Grant, the protagonist, is assaulted just as she goes out of her lab at the family owned Joy Luck Spa. From here bad luck just seemed to follow Rachel, but this luck is not coincidental but planned as someone really wants her dead! Every chapter in Formula for Danger is brimming with suspense and action, and I found myself getting breathless as every threat comes to Rachel's (and the love interest, Edward's) life.
It was easy to immerse myself into the Grants' world again as I'm already familiar with it after reading Deadly Intent, the story of Rachel's sister, Naomi. This isn't really a sequel, so you don't have to read the first book before reading this, although I feel like it may be helpful. Formula for Danger brings in the action quick that there is no time to really get to know and appreciate Rachel's family with all that's happening in the novel. Perhaps it was just me, since I haven't read books in this genre for a while, so I felt like I would be a bit frustrated with reading this and diving right into the action without pausing long enough to know about the surroundings.
The threat in Rachel's life felt very real, and the suspense in finding out who the culprit was drawn out for so long that I found myself wondering the same thing that the main characters did: when will it end? However, I wasn't really that surprised when the reveal was made and I'm not sure if it's because I figured it out beforehand or because it's really just not that surprising. Compared to Deadly Intent, there seemed to be less red herrings thrown here, so the mystery seemed a bit linear, and the chase to save Rachel's life took a higher precedence compared to finding out who was behind everything.
I liked the romantic and Christian aspect of the novel, though, more than the suspense. I liked that Camy focused on how Rachel learned that God is in control of everything even in the chaos. I also liked it a lot that Camy gave Edward, the love interest somewhat of a superhero complex and how he was humbled in the end. This is a Christian novel, so expect prayers from the characters and phrases such as "Praise God" and such. I don't think it's preachy, but if you're not used to reading characters do this, well, I'll leave it up to you if you'd pick it up. Personally, I'd still push this book to others, because the message is good, and well, because I'm a Christian. :D
As a whole, Formula for Danger is a quick and suspenseful read, with a strong Christian foundation. If you would ask me, though, I still liked Deadly Intent better, but it may be because I could relate more to Naomi than Rachel. Nevertheless, this is a good addition to my Camy Tang collection, and I can't wait to read what she writes next. :)...more
He is called BoneMan and he is a father in search for a perfect daughter. He takes innocent teen girls and tries to makeOriginal post at One More Page
He is called BoneMan and he is a father in search for a perfect daughter. He takes innocent teen girls and tries to make them love him and when they fail to be the daughter he wants, he breaks their bones without breaking their skin. On the other side of the world, Ryan Evans thinks of himself as a failure of a father -- after an especially harrowing abduction in the Middle East, Ryan comes home only to find that his wife and daughter had written him out of their lives. Then the BoneMan abducts his daughter, Bethany, and Ryan goes after him. Instead of helping him, though, the FBI finds evidence that points to Ryan as the BoneMan, and he becomes a hunted man. Desperate, Ryan Evans set out to go through hell just to save his daughter.
I've been a fan of Ted Dekker since I read Thr3e, which I think is also one of the first books I reviewed on my old blog. I liked the fact that he wrote Christian suspense and back then, I was having a hard time looking for books with the same themes. I meant to read more of his books but he writes and comes out with new books faster than I can get my hands on them and read them. I've had BoneMan's Daughters for a while now but I never got around to reading it. I'm not sure why, maybe it's because I was concentrating more on YA and chick lit instead of suspense. I did kind of look forward to reading this, thinking that it would be nice to go back to Dekker's world.
True to form, BoneMan's Daughters has everything that Dekker offers in his other books. Not that it's repetitive, but it's exactly what you'd expect in a Dekker book. There's the psycho serial killer whose point of view we get a glimpse of every now and then, the father who would do everything to save his daughter, and the police who are willing to help but don't really know what to do. In a way, it's almost like reading a CSI episode -- I can easily imagine Mac Taylor/Gary Sinise as Ryan Evans. Dekker is also still very descriptive, but not too much that it gets gross -- just a tad disturbing, enough to make you look over your shoulder or wonder at the things that bump at night, or develop an aversion to Noxzema, in the case of BoneMan's Daughters. It's still very well-written and you know in the end that the good guys will still prevail.
That being said, however, I felt that this wasn't really at par with the other Dekker novels I've read. I thought some parts were a bit repetitive and I wanted to skim some parts that felt a little unimportant to me. The ending wasn't as satisfying as I thought it would be, either -- and I felt that there wasn't much change in the characters as there should be. The Christian concept wasn't fully explored, too, IMHO, and you'd need to read the author's afterword to know why he wrote the novel (that story, I loved). As good as the details were done in the emotional and brutal scenes, the overall story kind of lacked. In the end, I was just happy I finished reading it, not because it was such a good story.
I'm kind of sad that this latest Dekker read is kind of disappointing compared to his other books that I really liked. I will still read his other books, of course, and I'm hoping one of them will be as good (or even better) as Thr3e or the Circle series. ...more