I've heard good things about the Chronicles of Elantra series but I kept putting it off because I'm not a big fan of series that never seem to end. HoI've heard good things about the Chronicles of Elantra series but I kept putting it off because I'm not a big fan of series that never seem to end. However, the lovely Estara sent me a Kindle gift of the first three books after I blogged about this quote from the author. And I knew it was time to give the series a try since I already have copies.
I liked the characters and the worldbuilding and I didn't have any major issues about the story, but I found myself confused throughout most of the book. Like something would happen and I felt like I only understood half of the scene. I find it hard to explain why, maybe because I'm not that familiar with the world? Maybe this first book will be better as a reread. I'm still curious enough about the world to give the second book a try, maybe it will be easier to get into because I'm more familiar with the characters and the setting....more
I'm not much of a historical romance reader but I really enjoyed my first Tessa Dare! Thanks to my friend Kim for getting me a signed copy when TessaI'm not much of a historical romance reader but I really enjoyed my first Tessa Dare! Thanks to my friend Kim for getting me a signed copy when Tessa visited Manila for a book signing. I thought the banter between Ransom and Izzy was a lot of fun. I also liked Izzy's back story, and how rooted it is in stories of adventure. I'm interested in reading the rest of the books in the series but with lower expectations because I heard they aren't as good as this....more
Read this for the 2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge. Series review originally posted at Chachic's Book Nook.
The only book challenge that I signed uRead this for the 2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge. Series review originally posted at Chachic's Book Nook.
The only book challenge that I signed up for this year is the 2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge, and I went for the Modern Age level. This means I need to read and review at least one graphic novel per month. On the reading part, that's definitely not too difficult to accomplish! The reviewing part is more difficult. I received Vol. 1 of The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Illustrations), Matt Wilson (Colorist), Clayton Cowles last Christmas and I bought the next two installments right after. I read all three volumes together so I'm consolidating mini reviews of them in this post.
Vol. 1: The Faust Act - So many people were gushing about WicDiv and it kept being mentioned whenever I asked for graphic novel recommendations. I was excited to get started on Vol. 1 because I thought the concept for the series was brilliant. I was intrigued when I read the premise, and immediately wanted to find out more about these young men and women who turned into gods, and manifested their powers by performing concerts. They thrived on these performances, and the audience loved them. Kind of similar to how much influence rock stars and pop stars have in the real world, just a little bit more intense. I thought the artwork was gorgeous and reminded me a bit of Jem and the Holograms, one of my favorite animated shows when I was younger. Vol. 1 served as a quick introduction to the series, showing readers a wide range of characters. I enjoyed reading it but I was mostly confused by the time I reached the end. I felt like I couldn't get a clear grasp of the storyline. Good thing I already had a copy of Vol. 2 with me so I could dive right in.
Vol. 2: Fandemonium - Vol. 2 continues with the story that Vol. 1 started and introduced a few more of the gods. I went through Vol. 2 pretty quickly because I wanted to understand what was going on. And yes, I did get some of the answers that I wanted but even more questions were raised. Just when I thought I would finally see everything come together, BAM! Something else happens that I can't figure out. I know I'm being very vague here but I don't want to accidentally mention any spoilers. Similar to how I felt when I finished Vol. 1, I wanted the next installment ASAP. I was lucky I started reading these just as Vol. 3 was released.
Vol. 3: Commercial Suicide - I was so glad Vol. 3 was readily available in Kinokuniya Singapore. I didn't have to wait too long to find out what happens next. Going into Vol. 3, I had no clue that the illustrations would be different from the earlier two installments. Each chapter was illustrated by a different artist. While the idea may seem appealing to other readers, I really liked the original artwork and wanted the story to continue in that way. I found the abrupt changes jarring. On top of that, I still felt mostly confused even if I was already in the third book in the series. Sadly, it was a disappointing read for me. I just wasn't invested enough in the story or the characters.
After reading three volumes, my conclusion is that WicDiv isn't a series for me. There's too much violence, too many questions, and not enough answers. I wouldn't have minded the violence if I loved the story, but sadly, that wasn't the case here. As always, I'm glad I tried something new. But I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that I would have a better experience with my March graphic novel read....more
This is a freebie now until the 17th! It's the prequel to Mina's upcoming Chic Manila book, What You Wanted. While this short story is a freebie, I thought it would be the perfect time to write an equally short review for it. :)
As the title and the premise suggests, Wedding Night Stand is set during a wedding a few hours away from Manila. The happy couple who tied the knot? Julie and Anton from That Kind of Guy, another book from the author's Chic Manila series. I think it's pretty cute how these books are loosely connected. They're standalones but it feels like a treat whenever I see cameos of previous MCs. Also, it feels realistic because even though Metro Manila has a population of almost 12 million (according to Wikipedia), it still feels like such a small world sometimes.
I started reading Wedding Night Stand past midnight last Sunday. You might be wondering why I would start a book that late when I would have to wake up early the next day for work. That's because I was in denial that the weekend is over. Anyway, this was the perfect choice because I was able to finish it in one go. And I didn't have to give up that much sleeping time for it. It's short, flirty, and steamy with just the right amount of sexual tension for two attractive individuals who happened to be assigned seats next to each other. Can I just say that Damon's a really hot guy? Kulang na lang ng kanin. There's also a tiny bit of sweetness in there, when the two characters side with each other after learning about the other person's story. I picked this up, knowing that Damon and Andrea's romance would be continued in another book. But I think it can stand well enough on its own. So grab it while it's free!...more
I've had Rat Queens Volume 1 sitting in my bookshelf for a while now and I really don't know why it took me so long to pick it up. This was awesome! TI've had Rat Queens Volume 1 sitting in my bookshelf for a while now and I really don't know why it took me so long to pick it up. This was awesome! The four ladies who are part of the Rat Queens are all great - they're spunky, funny, and a little bit crazy in different ways. It's actually a little surprising how much there is about them in just one graphic novel volume (some things are just hinted at, of course, but it's fun to look forward to more revelations in the next installments). The artwork is gorgeous and goes very well with the story. An engaging start to the series. I'm going to add this to my best of 2015 pile, together with Nimona. Glad I don't have to wait for Volume 2 to be released, I'm planning to dive straight into it....more
Ever since I fell in love with the Kate Daniels series, Ilona and Gordon have been auto-buy authors for me. So of course, Burn for Me was one of my most anticipated releases this year. I’ve been eagerly waiting for it especially when Ilona mentioned that the set-up of the world is similar to their Kinsmen novellas, Silent Blade and Silver Shark (which I both loved). I did a book swap with my lovely friend Holly and she sent me her review copy of Burn for Me. I read it as soon as I opened the package. I would have devoured the whole thing in one sitting if I didn’t have to stop and get some sleep because I had to go to work the next day. It’s been a few weeks since I got the package and I’ve already reread the book – it was that good of a read for me.
First off, I want to highlight that Burn for Me is the first book in a trilogy that focuses on Nevada and Mad Rogan. For some reason, I thought it was a trilogy that would feature different couples in each book, similar to the Edge series by the same authors. The Hidden Legacy trilogy is more like the Kate Daniels series in the sense that it has a slow burn romance spanning several books. This is more than okay with me because I love a good romance that has a slow build up. Especially one that starts with both parties not trusting each other, as was the case with Rogan and Nevada. Rogan is rich, extremely powerful and used to getting his way. This doesn’t go so well with Nevada and they clash when they first meet. But they’re also insanely attracted to each other so there’s a lot of tension and banter. Some of the back and forth teasing made me laugh out loud. Nevada tries to ignore the attraction because she’s a sensible and practical person who doesn’t want complications in her life. She has enough on her plate as the main breadwinner for her eccentric family (grandma, mom, sisters and cousins). Nevada’s family is hilarious, basically a bunch of quirky characters who constantly argue but really love each other to death. Hijinks ensue when Nevada is forced to work together with Rogan to achieve a common goal. Her family also gets involved in all the fun.
The Hidden Legacy world is very similar to our own, with the exception of the discovery of a serum that activated people’s magical abilities. Power, instead of money, has become the measure of one’s worth in the world. Alliances and marriages are made based on magical prowess. Powerful magical families are the ones who control and govern cities and countries, kind of like magical mafias. The worldbuilding has echoes of the Kinsmen and Kate Daniels novels but still remains very much its own. I'm amazed at how Ilona and Gordon are able to create such interesting worlds for their books. Nevada’s personality also reminds me a bit of Kate Daniels because they’re both no-nonsense individuals who are working in similar fields – investigative work. Plus they both have magical abilities and are more than capable of defending themselves in a fight. Nevada is still in the process of coming into her powers and it would be interesting to see how that develops in the next books. Reading (and rereading) Burn for Me was a real pleasure for me and I wanted the sequel the moment I finished the book. I feel like Burn for Me is a good introduction to Ilona Andrews for anyone who hasn’t read their work because it’s the first in a new trilogy, which means it doesn’t require that much commitment from a reader. Also, I think it has all of the things that I enjoy in their books - solid worldbuilding, great characters, romance and banter. Recommended for fans of adult urban fantasy, Burn for Me has made it to my best of 2014 list. It’s going to be a long wait for next year’s releases for both Kate Daniels and Hidden Legacy. ...more
I think it’s pretty clear by now that I’m a Mina V. Esguerra fangirl. I grab copies of her novellas and short stories when theyOriginally posted here.
I think it’s pretty clear by now that I’m a Mina V. Esguerra fangirl. I grab copies of her novellas and short stories when they’re released and I try to read and review them as soon as I could. The early chapters of Welcome to Envy Park were uploaded to Wattpad so I was able to sample part of the story. I was really looking forward to reading this particular title because it’s about a Filipino lady in her mid-twenties who worked in Singapore for five years and is now back in Manila, trying to figure out what her next move is. I think Welcome to Envy Park’s cover looks pretty good. I like how bright and happy the colors are. I think it’s a great idea for Mina to partner with Filipino fashion bloggers for her book covers. I think the outfit that the girl is wearing is cute and girly although I don’t really picture Moira wearing something like that.
I’m glad that Mina gave us a character who has lived and worked abroad because that’s such a common occurrence for Filipinos. I’m proof of that. I think half of my friends are currently studying or working abroad and I’m not sure when they’re planning to go home or if they’d rather settle down outside the country. I could totally relate to Moira because of the similarities in our working experience and because we’re about the same age. Her descriptions of what her life was like in Singapore is pretty accurate, although I was hoping it included more details. I would have wanted to know what her hobbies were, where she hung out, what her favorite restaurants or dishes were, etc. But maybe I'm just curious about those things because I'm currently based in Singapore. I feel like I could be friends with Moira, we would have conversations about OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) life while trying out new restaurants. Once she's back in Manila, it was expected that she’d compare herself to her friends who stayed back home and here’s a section of the book that I really liked:
Maybe it was the tequila buzz, but I really did think that I had come out ahead. Surely the lessons in independence that leaving home provided a person counted for something. Counted for more, at least, in terms of emotional growth, and maturity, because those years were the most difficult and humbling of my life so far.
You got that right, sister. Living independently, away from the support system of family and friends, is definitely good for emotional maturity and growth but it’s damn hard. It’s the second most difficult experience of my life, the first was when my dad passed away. I can't believe that in the five years that she was away, Moira only came home for Christmas visits. I think I wouldn't last here if I didn't get to go home three or four times a year. I liked that Moira was also not sure about her career plans, that she was still trying to decide what to do next. I’m also at that stage in my life and I believe most of my friends are also like that – in the process of understanding in what direction our career should go or figuring out what our calling is. The one big difference between me and Moira is that’s she’s a doer and I’m more of a go with the flow type of person, which makes me more like Ethan in that regard. I didn’t really plan to move to Singapore, the opportunity presented itself and I knew it would be stupid not to take it. Anyway, I liked how Moira and Ethan got to know each other through their gym sessions and food trips. I always enjoy reading Mina's books because of the romance and while I have no complaints about how Moira and Ethan's relationship developed, I would have loved to see more swoon-worthy scenes. That's a minor quibble because I enjoyed it overall. What I really liked was that while Welcome to Envy Park is a light and fun romance, it still makes you think about life choices - why people choose to work abroad and why others would rather stay in the Philippines. I will definitely be recommending this title to my friends because I feel like they would be able to connect with the story, regardless of what their choices are. There's just something about Mina's novellas that make it easy for me to both read and review them. In my dashboard, there are several other drafts of reviews for other books that I've read but here I am talking about Welcome to Envy Park.
After reading The Chocolate Thief, the first book in the Amour et Chocolat series, Laura Florand earned a place in my auto-buy aOriginaly posted here.
After reading The Chocolate Thief, the first book in the Amour et Chocolat series, Laura Florand earned a place in my auto-buy author list. She was generous enough to send me the ebook for the novella Turning Up the Heat. This installment is different from the rest of her books because it's part of another series set in Provence called La Vie en Roses. The Chocolate Rose ties both the Amour et Chocolat and La Vie en Roses series together. Having said that, Turning Up the Heat is still very much about food, a theme that is consistent in all of Laura Florand's books. Daniel is a celebrity chef, one who manages a famous restaurant and has numerous TV engagements, while his wife Lea is his supportive manager. They fell in love as teenagers and got married soon after, the story is set after they've been married for more than ten years. I liked that this novella went in a different direction than usual - instead of giving us a couple about to start a relationship, Laura shows us how difficult marriage can get even though the love is obviously still there. Every marriage has its own problems and when husband and wife both lead busy lives, lack of communication is definitely an issue. After everything they've been through together, I was rooting for Daniel and Lea to figure things out so they can have a happy ending....more
Novel Gossip is a new feature that my good friend Michelle and I started a few months ago. Our inaugural post was The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand.Novel Gossip is a new feature that my good friend Michelle and I started a few months ago. Our inaugural post was The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand. We both loved Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (my review, Michelle's review) last year so Rose Under Fire was one of our most anticipated reads this year. Since it's a book set in a concentration camp, we were pretty sure that it would be heartbreaking and that it would be a good idea to read this together so we can provide moral support as we go along. Click here to read our thoughts about this historical fiction novel. While we did our best to refrain from putting in spoilers, it's pretty hard to have an in depth discussion without going into some of the things that happened within the book. If you'd rather go into Rose Under Fire without prior knowledge of its contents, then feel free to skip our discussion (although we hope you'd drop by after finishing the book)....more
Thank you so much to my friend Maggie of Young Adult Anonymous for giving me a signed copy of Amy Spalding's debut novel, The ROriginally posted here.
Thank you so much to my friend Maggie of Young Adult Anonymous for giving me a signed copy of Amy Spalding's debut novel, The Reece Malcolm List. I kept hearing good things about this contemporary YA novel so I was pretty excited to read it.
I felt like I read this book at just the right time. I just came back from L.A. when I read this more than a month ago and I was able to appreciate all the references to L.A. in the book. I got excited whenever I recognized any of the places or things mentioned - like having a burger from In N Out, which is something that I always make a point of having whenever I visit L.A. I'm a fan of musicals although I'm not as into the whole thing as Devan is - I mean I would like to be but I obviously don't have her talent. I just enjoy watching musicals and I try to watch as many as I can. I wish I was more familiar with Merrily We Roll Along because that was the musical featured in the book. I probably would have appreciated Devan's rehearsals more if I've seen Merrily We Roll Along on stage or if I knew the songs. I also love having karaoke sessions (we call it videoke back home in Manila) with my friends though because I like to sing even if I'm all heart and no talent. So I could totally relate to the karaoke scene in the book, I find it interesting that for a seriously talented singer like Devan, a fun karaoke session lets her unwind.
I liked reading about the characters and how Devan slowly got to know them - her theater friends, her love interests, her mom and even her mom's boyfriend. There were interesting characters and dynamics within the novel. I really, really enjoyed reading this book and I felt like I would have fallen in love with it if it just had a little more emotional depth. I felt like there was enough room to draw upon the characters' feelings - maybe more grief or anger from Devan over all the bad things that have happened in her life. I guess I was expecting something like that since her father passed away and she suddenly has to move in with a mom she has never met. I think that this novel is a very good debut and I'm definitely curious about Amy Spalding's next book - it's just that I wanted more than the overall lighthearted tone presented in The Reece Malcolm List. If you're a fan of contemporary YA, then you should definitely check this one out. I'm not surprised that I've seen so many rave reviews for it because it's a really fun read....more
I have been hearing good things about Andrea K. Höst's books for a while now. I’ve been curious about And All the Stars, particOriginally posted here.
I have been hearing good things about Andrea K. Höst's books for a while now. I’ve been curious about And All the Stars, particularly, because it’s a standalone. My friend Estara was generous enough to send me a Kindle edition as a gift a few months ago and I downloaded it right away. Now I’m not a big fan of science fiction – I rarely venture into that genre and would only do so if a book comes highly recommended by someone I know. I don’t know why but I tend to get confused by the details in sci-fi (while I don't have that kind of problem with fantasy novels). I was in the mood for something different so I decided to give And All the Stars a try last week.
It would be very difficult to talk about And All the Stars without giving away minor spoilers but I’ll do the best that I can. I really enjoyed reading this because of the surprising twists and turns so I wouldn’t want to ruin other readers’ experience by bringing up spoilery details. The story is set in present day (or not too far into the future) Sydney, where strange spires suddenly shoot up in the middle of well-populated cities all over the world. The spires spray an unknown dust-like substance that produces a cloud of haze. No one knows what the effect of the dust is on living things and I was wondering right along with the characters. Thankfully, I didn't have to wait long as the story unfolded quickly. I have to be honest, I did have a hard time getting into And All the Stars at the start - I found it a bit difficult to picture the opening scene. I had to pause and try to figure out what was being portrayed. And that happened several times throughout the book, I would be thrown out of the story for a short while because of difficulties in imagining the scene. I didn't let it bother me all that much and I would like to be clear that I ended up really enjoying the book as a whole. It may be a minor thing but I really liked that Manila was mentioned in this one because that rarely happens:
Other major cities were mentioned as well, emphasizing that what's happening in Sydney is also taking place on a global scale. Aside from that, there's also a pretty diverse set of characters within the story. I could relate to that because of where I live now (Singapore), which can be considered a cultural melting pot. Madeleine is a likable heroine, so devoted to her art that everything else fades away while she's drawing or painting. While I've never had that kind of artistic talent, I enjoyed reading about it. Another aspect of the story that I enjoyed was how at its core, And All the Stars is about friendship and people getting together to help each other in the midst of a crisis. Of course, I'm also a big fan of stories that surprise me and this one did. There was a scene that made me stop and say, "Wait, what?" and then I just wanted to finish reading this as soon as I could. Plus there was a slow burn romance that I could totally root for, one that is much more complicated that I initially expected, making it all the more swoon-worthy. I also liked that this is a short standalone (the paperback edition says it has 204 pages) and is a perfect sample of the author's writing. Can't wait to try the rest of her novels. Highly recommended for fans of unusual YA. Like I said, I'm not a big sci-fi reader so you don't have to be one to appreciate And All the Stars....more