I always get nostalgic whenever I read stories about high school, given that it was such a fun time of my life. And th...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
I always get nostalgic whenever I read stories about high school, given that it was such a fun time of my life. And the collection of stories in Luna East Academy brought out a lot of warm, fuzzy feelings in me while I was reading. There really is a story for anyone and everyone who've ever been through the good and the bad times, the crazy ups and downs and the confusing, exhilirating time that was High School.
Short but meaningful, each of the stories will bring out a different feeling from the reader the moment they finish reading. I started off feeling 'kilig', immediately responding to that sweetness that started off the stories in Luna East. It gradually pulled me in with the myriad of characters I meet in each author's work, each becoming a little more interesting as I navigate through the world of high school cliques, the social hierarchies, and the common denominator that binds all of the stories inside: friendship and love.
I really think the idea behind Luna East is brilliant! I love how I get to read works from different authors with different themes and writing styles and you not only get to see the contrasts in their works, but you get to know the lives of those within the fictional Academy that is Luna East. You are bound to meet a character that you will like and dislike, read a story that will make your heart ache or jump with joy, one that will fascinate you a lot and make you think of it even after you've finished reading. I love getting that wonderful, happy feeling.
All of the stories were really good, but some of them stayed with me long after I finished reading the Kindle ebook and they are:
Sitting in a Tree by Chrissie Peria
I've read this first on the Luna East blog, and it didn't get less sweeter or cuter after my second time reading. It makes one miss school fairs and all those booths that serves as "bridges" for some of the students to express what they feel for other fellow students.
Fifty two weeks by Mina V. Esguerra
I had a big smile pasted on my face by the time I finished reading this story. Anything Mina writes always seem to get under my skin, leaving me with extreme feels.
Yours is the First Face that I Saw by Ronald S. Lim
This story surprised me completely. I've read a handful of stories with LGBT themes, but Ron's just made me fall in love with his story immediately after reading the first few paragraphs. It's delightfully interesting and was written really well. My only complain: why does it have to end there? More!
Something Real by Miles Tan
My first taste of sadness in the world of Luna East. Gigi's story took time for it to sink in! There was something about her and what she's been through that makes me want to just hug her. The poor girl... and that guy. I have no words to express what I feel about James. It was a mix of frustration and disbelief and a little bit of sadness thrown in the mix. I love how this story brought out complex feelings from me. One of my top favorites!
The Rumor About Me by Kristel S. Villar
This has got to be my most favorite story in this collection! I just love anything that involves a shy, timid girl who learns to stand up for herself along the way and the jock who was completely different from what everyone thinks he really was. I wish it didn't end. I wish there was more.
Senpai’s #1 Fan by Anne Plaza
I was sold the moment the words "Kaname" and "Danny Choo" were mentioned at the start of the story, and later "Quatre Raberba Winner". Anne Plaza gave the readers a sneak peek into the world of Otakus, enough to gave Jannie a good foundation for her character. If I was a character in Luna East's world I'd probably be hanging out with Jannie and her friends. I will thrive at anime conventions and fangirl over goods and cosplayers, and still be focused enough to notice someone like Adrian. I also love how it wasn't just about anime or mecha costumes, but the transition to music is a good addition too!
Wouldn’t Change a Thing by Jayen San Diego
"I am always the second best, and I hate it." After I've read that line I knew I was going to like this story. I love how stubborn Maan can be, and how that stubborn streak in her draws Nico helplessly closer. There's something good about getting inside Maan and Nico's head and knowing how they feel about those around them and each other, which made me love the point of view switching. And those sweet moments at the end? I had to re-read them over and over.
If you think of each story as a part of a world you've yet to fully see, you will find something worth exploring in Luna East. There's definitely a lot of room for new stories and characters to appear, all of them existing in a world where anything can happen. But more than that, these collection of stories urges everyone to come not just explore life in Luna East, but try to write their own story. Each and every single tale can inspire a reader to write something, anything, to contribute to the world of arts, music, money and sports. What a really lovely work this is! Kudos to each and every writer in this collection! You are all a talented bunch! (less)
What was it that was so good about this novel? Every single person I know who've read it has raved about Darrow in som...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
What was it that was so good about this novel? Every single person I know who've read it has raved about Darrow in some form and way. When I started Red Rising, I immediately knew it was going to be a difficult sort of book to get through. I never really liked Darrow at first and it's one of the reasons why I thought there was no point in reading further. Yes, he was a helldriver, a boy who had never seen the Sun and whose life was all about digging, because he thought he was a pioneer like everyone else, to make Mars a better place to live in and that's good enough for him. He wants a quiet life, peaceful, with his wife Eo and his family and even though life tends to be unfair in Lykos, because he's a Red, and the lowest kind at that, he bears with it because he doesn't want to end up like his father. I understand that, but I initially thought, is this the boy that will start a change? How? He was weak. I should have known better though, because Pierce Brown, you are one sinister writer. Everything changed when Eo died, but the pain and the hurt did not stop after that. There was more.
And then this quote appeared, and I know Darrow's journey is about to start, and that it's going to be the harrowing kind. From then on, I started to look at him in a different perspective.
"Personally, I do not want to make you a man. Men are so very frail. Men break. Men die. No, I've always wished to make a god. So why not carve you to be the god of war?"
Red Rising has that deceptive kind of pace that makes you wonder where the story was going at first. it took me a while to get through the first 20% of the book, but then I see Darrow after his devastating loss and suddenly I find myself gritting my teeth and clutching a pillow. Reading about Darrow's eventual transformation was also one of the hardest things I had to get through in this book. It's not because it was boring or long, but because you feel every single emotion swirling inside of Darrow as it happens. White hot rage for the lies fed to him and his people, and the enormous pain of losing his love, the injustice in his life. A slave repeatedly dealt with unfair hands by the society's hierarchy that was prevalent in the world he lives in, Darrow's eventual transformation from being a young Helldriver to the Reaper was equally stunning and terrifying. Pierce Brown took his time shaping Darrow's character while building a world, a universe even, filled with unrest, ruled by colors, strength and power. He went through repeated changes, forged by hell and fire. And he was that very foolish boy at first, rash, short tempered, easily ruled by emotions. He's not the clever, calculating sort. He makes mistakes that has devastating consequences. He has moments he was unsure of, bitter, afraid, irrational, torn between his loyalty to his people and the truths he sees as a Gold. I had to remind myself that he's a boy, only just a boy, and yet he goes through test after test of not just his wit, his courage, but also tests of will and emotions. Until he becomes stronger, smarter, calmer, more powerful, methodical.
This story is grim and gruesome. Do not expect some laughable, fluffy moments to appear. There are none. Red Rising will overwhelm people with a powerful combination of cruelty, violence, bloody battles. Savagery. Gore. Mutilation. Death. This was all written in great detail, and Pierce Brown never holds back. Mars, the Red planet, sets a grisly stage for Darrow. But do not expect the plot to unravel just like that. It's a merciless world Darrow lives in, and he gradually discovered that through the first step of his journey, when he tries to become one of them. The Golds, the best of the best, the ruling class, the one with the power, wealth, money and influence. But you know what's fascinating in this set-up? The Golds are not what they seem to be. They lived in a world as brutal as the Reds, relentless, competitive, playing a high level game of politics and tactics, whose aim is to drive home lessons they must not forget. If they wanted to control the world, they should first learn to control themselves. And control comes in a hefty price. Sometimes you make friends, most of the time you need to kill them. Sometimes you're the leader, until you are betrayed in the worst way. It makes you wonder how wrong this world is, how unjust it can be, and not just for the under privileged, but also for those who are deemed to be at the top.
I was prepared to see a full scale rebellion, but Red Rising plunged me in an even dizzying world of war, a simulation that was all too real, a game that was a small scale version of what is to happen if Darrow was to achieve his purpose. There were secrets everywhere, clever exercises, alliances made and broken, tactics established, challenges issued, battles lost and won, unlikely friendships and untimely, budding and unexpected romance. Romance was the least bit of my concern in this book, because Darrow's heart will always be with Eo, but seeing Mustang changes things a little bit. Mercifully, Pierce Brown threw a little bit of positivity in the mix, because as you read, you'll start thinking whether Darrow's misery will ever end. And then when all things were said and done, I take a look at Darrow and I feel two things: I marvel at the boy he has become, and I become afraid for the person he was set to be.
Red Rising has set the bar high for a debut dystopia - science fiction book. It feels a little bit weird to think of it as a debut with how well Pierce Brown crafted this story. It was nothing short of brilliant. It was badass. It was gory. It was amazing. It was intense, heartrending, harrowing and agonizing. I have no idea where Pierce Brown got his inspiration and ideas for a story like this, but it's such an incredible story. Here's a boy broken and put back together, with nothing but hatred and pain, thrown into the wolves' den in a body that wasn't his to begin with, with the fate of an entire world in his hands. How does Pierce Brown do this? Red Rising is a kind of book I have never, ever, read of before. One of the best tales of revenge and vengeance ever told, and it's only the beginning.
To those with delicate conditions and are weak hearted, this book is not for you. There are countless moments that will be hard to digest in Red Rising, and you need a formidable resolve to get through most of them. But at the end of the book, you will see that it's all worth it.(less)
It was the chance of a lifetime. When Five got an invite to travel for free and explore Macau in exchange for writing...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
It was the chance of a lifetime. When Five got an invite to travel for free and explore Macau in exchange for writing a blog post about the experience, she was beyond excited. A seasoned traveler, Five wouldn't pass up such an opportunity. The trip was supposed to be enjoyable, except for the arrogant jerk who rubbed Five the wrong way from the moment they first saw each other. And as it turns out, they were to be travel buddies. Will her trip to Macau be as enjoyable as she hoped? What adventure will she be in and will she ever change her opinion of her jerk of a travel buddy?
I was barely 5% in the novel but I knew I was gonna love it. Five is such a fun character to read of! Even her name makes one very curious of her. I like getting inside her very organized, very workaholic head. And I couldn't blame her for thinking ill of Jesse because the guy had it coming. I didn't think I'd like Jesse because his attitude rubbed me the wrong way as well, but who knew he can be such a charming person underneath?
It all started from a misunderstanding. They were enemies who became friends, who bonded over things they didn't expect to have in common. I love the romance build-up between Five and Jesse. The moments they shared together were nothing overly dramatic or grand, but you feel the transformation with every scene. That budding feeling of something good between a guy and a girl, uncertain, questionable. That moment when you realize that maybe, it's love. And ultimately, the moment when you realize that maybe it's not. That you're the only one feeling that way. Five's pain at thinking it was nothing but a ploy to be a better blogger twisted my insides. It was such a bittersweet experience for her, and I could very well relate through all the motions she went through to face what happened. I liked Jesse for being man enough to say sorry, for bridging that gap to end the misunderstanding. They seriously both need to work on communicating with each other better.
I have never been to Macau before, but this story just makes me want to pack my bags and take a flight straight to Macau and start exploring. I miss the thrill of going through a journey to a new place outside of my own country. I wanted to explore all the places Five and Jesse explored, taste the food they ate, conquer my fear of heights and do bungee jumping and just capture the beauty of a foreign place with so much to offer.
Novellas like this one are hard to come by, because despite being short and sweet, it gives you complete satisfaction, that feeling of completeness, that even though it is short, you know that the story has been written thoroughly and very well, that that shortness is enough for a reader to fully enjoy the story and that not a lot of words are needed to create such a sweet love story. All's Fair in Blog and War is such a cute, endearing romance that will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside when you finish reading. I loved every moment of it!(less)
Those were the words inside Taylor's head as Anubis tries to capture her. Coinc...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
Retribution, vengeance, justice, death.
Those were the words inside Taylor's head as Anubis tries to capture her. Coincidentally, these four words also describes a lot of what The Weight of Souls is all about. And those words made the story so very, very interesting.
Taylor see dead people, but it doesn't end there. They pass along a mark, and Taylor needs to find the killer and pass the mark or else the Darkness will come after her. She's a freak in school and has almost no friends and her dad believes she's having hallucinations, just like her mum. She's also a target of bullies, led by Justin Hargreaves who wants to make her life hell. But then Justin died, and suddenly she's the only one who can help him move on.
Taylor strikes me as a person who was forced to face a destiny she wasn't ready for very early in her life. She had a hard life, and people who don't understand what it's like, to be in contact with something unexplained every day, just judge her. There were moments where I pitied her for being so misunderstood and lacking in so many ways, but I admire her for trying, accepting a destiny forced upon her by an ancestor and trying to make a father understand that she needed to do what she's doing and by no means is it easy.
Justin did not immediately register on my list of potential love interest for Taylor. I told my friend in a conversation over Twitter a few minutes ago that he was a bona fide prick, and I think he was. He was an insufferable person who kept Taylor in an emotional rollercoaster. Does he hate her? Yes? Why? But as I read about him, my perception of his character changed. I love it when someone gets a chance to redeem himself, grabs that and turn into someone likable, like Justin.
Some might say that Taylor and Justin's relationship needed a lot more building to become a little more convincing, but I firmly believe that it only takes a single moment to change things between friends and foes. Justin and Taylor had enough moments to change their perception of each other in the story, and I do believe there were a lot of hints that signified that they had interest in each other long before Justin became a part of Taylor's unusual life. And Taylor deserves that kind of ending! I was so absorbed with the tale of Oh-Fa and the frequent switch between Taylor's life and her ancestor provides a solid anchor and foundation to the story that made it believable.
Reading Bryony's first novel, Angel's Fury, has made me familiar with the peculiar mix of themes, a play on the psychological and the supernatural nature of things and now with The Weight of Souls, Bryony Pearce introduced yet again an odd, interesting mix of Egyptian myth and an opposing scientific nature in an attempt to explain a girl's encounter with the undead. She has a way of writing a story with something you wouldn't expect to work and yet she convinces the readers that it's possible. And then there's more. The Weight of Souls touches base with things such as bullying, the power of cliques, what people perceive as mental illness when encountering the unexplainable and a romance with such an awkward start.
The Weight of Souls greets you with a dark, heart thumping start that transforms into something more complicated involving something ancient. There's no shortage of romance in this book and it provides a good breather in between Taylor's search to uncover the truth of a boy's death. Another great story from Bryony Pearce which I thoroughly enjoyed! With a thrilling storyline, an unlikely heroine, a breath taking, sometimes exasperating ghost of a love interest, it's a novel that made me swoon, anticipate and ultimately fall in love with Bryony Pearce's writing once more. Did I enjoy it? Yes, definitely! Do I want you to give this a try? Yes, please!(less)
I can just imagine the first scene happening inside my head as if it was real. Alex and her twin brother Marcel, stand...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
I can just imagine the first scene happening inside my head as if it was real. Alex and her twin brother Marcel, standing in front of the destruction left by the fire that stole their parents away from them. The horror evident on both child's faces as they realized what awaits them as orphans in the kingdom of Antion. At that moment I decided that I will read this book through the very end.
The summary was deceiving, readers are not shoved head on to battle at once, but into a world of careful re-imagining and building by Sara Larson. We see Alexa years after she had lost her parents as she lived her life as a boy with her twin brother, Marcel. She was the best guard, the captain if only she wasn't so young. With Marcel by her side and friends like Rylan and comrades like Deron, her job becomes bearable, that is if the Prince wasn't being the stubborn, pampered Royal he always was.
I loved Alexa, the way her character was built, through death, destruction, the loss and sacrifice of the ones she loved, and it has made her a strong, tough person. The life she was leading wasn't easy, having to hide her true identity, lie and deceive people, all the while serving a man who has done unspeakable horrors to her fellow citizens. I cannot imagine how it was like to be in her shoes, aside from being forced to masquerade as someone she's never going to be (a male) if she wanted to live, she was given such daunting tasks one after another. Her struggle to hide her identity as a woman intrigued me at first, and that was what kept me going through most parts of this book, always anticipating that moment when she was discovered. That, and her electrifying, tension-filled interactions with Price Damian.
Cliche as it might look, I was caught in the emotions Sara Larson was able to weave in each and every encounter Alexa had with Damian. He comes off as a spoiled Prince who throws tantrums in the most irrational way, but Damian's just as deceiving as Alex was, and his infuriating, smart way of exchanging words and banter with Alex was such a delight to read. He was, in a sense, swoon worthy, especially when more of his character was revealed when he was abducted! I have to say that the secrets he was keeping gave way for a lot of confusion and questions, because while we wait for each secret to be revealed, readers also wait to see what his character as a whole has to offer. Was there more to him than the flowery words and magnetic charm? There was, and I'm glad that his past was revealed because it gave him the needed backbone for his story, a reason for why he was acting the way he was. It was frustrating, however, how he and Alexa always seem to tease each other, but when they get too close, they pull back without warning.
Like Alexa, I seem to have been torn between Damian and Rylan. While Damian's title definitely adds to his charm, Rylan, as a Royal Guard, only has that to compare against Damian. But I did feel like Rylan's character was a lot more stable and consistent than Damian was. Granted, he might be a little to kind and a martyr, having been that guy who decided to give way and wait for a girl who he knew doesn't love him, but Rylan had his own charms. In a perfect setting, he would be better suited for Alexa, and at times I felt just that. I felt bad for him quite often. Maybe good guys do finish last, but his supportive attitude, understanding and acceptance of Alexa should have earned him a little more credit for her. He was suffering there, watching as Alexa's and Damian's story happen right before his eyes and he can't do anything about it. I hope he becomes more assertive in the next book. Fight for what you want, Rylan!
I give Sara Larson a salute for creating an interesting world for Defy. This might be her debut novel, but I loved how she painted such a convincing world for her story. Antion, Osgard, Dansii, the inner workings for each kingdom, the Royalty, its citizens, the state of their lives and how they are all connected gave the book a solid setting that served as a great backdrop for Alex, Rylan and Damian's story to unfold. Though it was largely a story of a girl keeping her true identity a secret, it was also that of a war torn world, the terrors that comes along with it and the struggle to make it a better place for everyone. The motivations behind Damian's actions, the force that drives Alex to keep her secret and protect her people, all of it contributed to a solid, entertaining read.(less)
Before this review is written, let it be known that I have read the entire series several times in one go.
It gets much better each time I finish reading.
Also, I pledge allegiance to the Sun God, Quin Apolinario.
So while I'm grasping for clues and more clues straight from the mouth of the Gods and Goddesses in this book, Icon of the Indecisive still had some surprises in store for avid followers and ardent readers like me. It's time to choose for our Interim Goddess, and it's not just a matter of becoming the new Goddess of Love. Hannah's heart is also on the line.
Hannah's got more than she bargained for as the day for her to fully assume the role as the Goddess of Love nears. And though she made me sad, irritated me a lot, I know all of that was important for her to complete her journey as the Interim Goddess of Love. Hannah has always been a helpful, kind person, selfless even as evident in the first two books but I wanted her to focus on herself too, to live and experience love for herself because how can she be a Goddess of Love if she hasn't experienced it even once?! And I'm glad that she did, even a little, in this book. I'm glad that she was confused, she was hurt, she was in the denial, that she made a decision for herself and stood by it. I couldn't be more proud of her.
My frustration with Quin's behavior has been building up in the past two books and I am glad, so so glad that it finally made sense in this book. The Sun God has remained mysterious all throughout the series and in Icon of the Indecisive, Quin's presence is more palpable, and his moments with Hannah, short and sweet as always, were a lot more satisfying and romantic. He's "more" in this book. You see him more, you feel him more and you understand him more. I've always been a Quin fan, but Robbie just made me smile often in this book. The more frustrating Quin's character became, the more adorable and lovable Robbie was. He does the things I thought Quin would do, in a sense. At least Robbie had the guts to tell Hannah how he feels and do things to express those feelings, unlike the Sun God, with his roundabout ways of doing things. Whatever happened to Diego? Even the God of the Sea deserves a happy ending too! I still believe that he was a strong, yet unusual contender for Hannah's heart.
Reading Gifted Little Creatures helped me piece together important clues but it was so fulfilling to finally have my suspicions and guesses confirmed in Icon of the Indecisive. Maybe I was as blind as Hannah was at first, but the clues were there, just like how it was for her to finally understand what she stands to gain and lose when she makes her decision. My heart ached so much for Hannah at times. Here she was, supposedly the Goddess of Love and even she couldn't escape the setbacks, the heartaches and heartbreaks of having that feeling. Though I might not agree with how things worked out in the end, it was the logical thing to do. I love how that decision of Hannah lend a bit of 'reality' to the situation they were in. It's not a matter of having someone by her side just because he's there and free, but it's about trying to live the kind of love she wants to have right then and there.
So what makes Mina Esguerra my favorite author? Aside from bringing this one of a kind story to life, it's the way she told Hannah's story and the things that happens to her which I can somewhat relate to. The Interim Goddess of Love series had its mythological side to it, but knowing, reading and understanding the inner workings of the mind and the heart of each character in it is what made this such a lovely series to read. Thank you for the heart thumping romance that made my heart race countless of times, the laughter, the headaches, sadness, the pain of love and the fun reading Hannah's adventures in life and love. Thank you, Mina! This series will always be one of my favorites!
Note: Shaved off .5 star for my initial confusion of Hannah's decision and why she chose that. It's hard to understand it at first, to seize the moment and live, love, now. Also, the frustration for Quin in the first two books! (That's quite a lot.)(less)
I should not be surprised of the unexpected twists and turns a Julie Kagawa book presents, but it still gets to me, e...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
I should not be surprised of the unexpected twists and turns a Julie Kagawa book presents, but it still gets to me, every single time. In this action packed sequel, Allison is on a race against time to save her sire, Kanin. Trapped in the hands of a psychotic vampire named Sarren who will do anything to inflict the same pain he has felt when Kanin betrayed their race, Allison is on a desperate search to find him, but she won't be able to do it without enlisting the help of an unexpected ally. As they track Sarren, Allison comes face to face with something much worse than the Red Lung virus, and it's infecting everyone, including vampires. Now Allison had the seemingly impossible task of finding Kanin, and stopping the virus before it kills everyone.
I've said this before and I will say this again: Allison Sekimoto might be small, petite to some, but she's never to be underestimated. She's got a heart bigger than anyone, and she's not afraid to do anything in order to protect the ones she loved. Her struggle to not become the monster she fears will drive away the people she had learned to care about is the main conflict for her in this book, and my admiration for her just grows. I agree with what Jackal and Kanin says: it takes a certain strength to become a creature of the night, and Allison got through it. There's a lot going on inside her head as she was wondering if embracing who she has become was the right thing to do, and what does becoming a vampire has in store for her in the future. What about her and Zeke?
Am I crazy, or am I just reading too much into Kanin and Allison's relationship? I never, not once, did I feel, that his actions were fatherly towards her. Not once. Granted he might be her sire, but I felt there were moments where they were just connected in a way Zeke and Allison will never be, and it's not just the call of blood. There was one particular moment where I still wonder if it was punishment and cruelty that Kanin wants to show or was it something leaning towards something more. This part of my review just confirms how I secretly will not object if Kanin and Allison will ever have that 'something'.
Trust Julie Kagawa to mess with my mind as I struggle to make sense of Jackal's true character. Even after the end of this novel I am uncertain if he's one who hides under the facade of evil but has something inside of him that might make him a little good, or if it's the reverse. Some of his intentions were good, and according to Kanin he's lost, but can someone who lost his way be redeemed? Jackal is a fun vampire to read, and though I hated him in Immortal Rules, he's showed sides to him in The Eternity Cure that can't be overlooked. Also, Jackal took over the limelight and stole it away from Zeke. Although Zeke's character tends to fade in the background a little bit because of his kind nature, he's shown flashes of strength and leadership that gives his character room for potential growth. I just hope he's able to withstand whatever the story throws his way especially with the trials he went through in this book.
The plot is nothing short of brilliant! I've always had high praises for Julie Kagawa for being such an imaginative writer and The Eternity Cure just takes me into a world unlike anything I've read of before. If you think Immortal Rules was a high octane read, The Eternity Cure was filled to the brim with action scenes one after another. Be prepared to plunge in to the fast paced story from page one because it doesn't stop until the end. And the best part is? You'll want more even after you're finished reading. It's a dark, bloody world and Julie Kagawa did a great job building it and creating characters who can kick butt and still manage to be complicated and deep at the same time. If you think the story ends when the race to find Kanin comes to a close, you have a new type of plague, Bleeders, deranged vampires and the potential threat of all life on earth ending to keep you going. An explosive story with rapid pace, highly volatile characters and unexpected plot twists, Julie Kagawa had the recipe for an amazing follow up down a tee in The Eternity Cure. I cannot get enough of this series!
That moment gave me goosebumps and I was very scared for a minute. And then I realiz...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
"Your last card was Death, Poppy."
That moment gave me goosebumps and I was very scared for a minute. And then I realized how good Sharon Jones was because with a single line, she made me feel fear. Is this book good? Based on that and a whole lot more, I will wholeheartedly say YES.
Poppy doesn't share the same Pagan beliefs like her mother does, but when her paths cross with a girl who ended up dead in the lake the next morning and she's starting to see people that aren't really alive, it's time for Poppy to think carefully of what she believes in. Having had a close encounter with Death herself, Poppy knows there's something more than the drowning everyone seems to think happened to Beth, and as Poppy tries her hardest to prove that it's nothing but that, her scientific, logical mind is put to test by the mystical and the unexplained she's starting to encounter.
I love Poppy. She's naturally inquisitive and once she's curious about something, she'll never rest until she finds out the mystery surrounding it. She might get on some people's nerves once in a while, especially with her best friend who she was secretly in love with, but it was all for a good cause. She's a typical teenager who's going through all the motions and dilemmas a teenager goes through, that is until the accident that almost took her life and the unexplainable things suddenly surrounding her. I understand her need to find a reason and explanation for things, because the very thought of them happening without a reason or being supernatural is what oftentimes scares the wits out of people.
I find the romance set-up for Dead Jealous very familiar yet unusual at the same time. The Knight and The King, an older guy and the best friend. This is one of the very few times where I wholeheartedly am rooting not the best friend, but the other guy. Michael, the very reason for Poppy's heartache, comes off as a very undesirable character for me. He's the guy who becomes your bestfriend, hides the fact that he's in love with you, gets a girlfriend, realizes that he still loves you but loves the other girl too and immerses himself in a dilemma that was all too cliche. The guy plays safe, and I hate how he had to agonize over his feelings for Poppy when one moment he was saying that he'd love her since he was little and then shift to being afraid of letting his girlfriend go. Despite some questionable things in his life, Tariq felt right. He's the type of guy you'll be comfortable with for being funny and familiar and a little flirty but he's there for Poppy when she needs it. I like him not because he's more mature and experienced, but I felt like he'll understand Poppy more.
Dead Jealous starts off at a deceptively steady pace with a quirky girl as the protagonist and then suddenly, as you read further and further, drawn by something hypnotic and good in the way the author wrote it, you encounter moments and scenes that will make you jump and wide eyed in the most unexpected moments. It became an addictive waiting game for me when I started to anticipate and guess when Poppy will have a brush with the supernatural. It became a very good guessing game when I started to try and figure out the mystery behind Beth's death and the reasons why it was done. If the title isn't enough to give you a clue on what kind of read this is, then brace yourself for a story filled with mystery, Pagan rituals and a lot of things that will make you think if they're real or from your imagination. It's Nancy Drew for teens with a dark twist. It gives you that nostalgic feeling when you were still gobbling up Nancy Drew novels and yet you find that Sharon Jones still has something fresh and new to offer in the way she writes.
What a very thrilling read! If the mystery surrounding one girl's death isn't enough to attract your attention, then Poppy's wonderfully dizzying life as it starts to unravel alongside the clues, the bits and pieces that makes up the events that happened that one, cold night will definitely draw you in. Death, heartbreaks, secrets, lies and deception, all wrapped up in one YA novel. Dead Jealous is the kind of novel you read that will make you think of it as ordinary but completely becomes something very interesting that will hook you in further until you find yourself breathless and reeling when everything finally falls into place. And despite my dislike of Michael, I think the ending was very romantic. See despite that dark, thrilling, put you on the edge of your seat kind of story, Dead Jealous ultimately still gives you that warm fuzzy feeling at the end and I loved that.(less)
There was an archaeologist, an airman, a painter, a ghost, a vampire and a Viking, but it all started with a journali...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
There was an archaeologist, an airman, a painter, a ghost, a vampire and a Viking, but it all started with a journalist sent on a mysterious island for a story. These people all had their own stories of horror, tragedy and love told, but how are they all connected?
Markus Sedgwick's story telling filled me with awe. When I first started reading this book all I ever felt was confusion, and for the next three stories that feeling stayed with me. But then time rewinds itself, and where the horror started for a journalist named Erik, stories from Winter, Harvest to Blood Moons featuring different characters presented itself and the reader like me was left to wonder if everything will make sense in the end.
I had felt different feelings as I read through all seven of the stories. The first was utter confusion, the second provided hints but muddled the story a bit, the third made me feel skeptical, the fourth broke my heart a little bit, the fifth left me wide-eyed, the sixth made me feel afraid, and the seventh was just utterly tragic and that was what tied the other six together and gave way to such a great story in such a roundabout but surprisingly neat way. I rarely read nor have the patience to pick up subtle clues and connect one story to another but just when I was about to give up trying to put everything together for this book, by the time I was reading the sixth story, the author gave away hints that just opened up the story and widened my understanding of it and I suddenly realized how differently the way this story has been told and I felt really impressed.
Midwinterblood showcased a wide range of seemingly unrelated stories, filled with seemingly unrelated characters and even though they share the same names, or a variety of it, it will still make the readers wonder what the point is of showing stories all tackling the same topic: love in its various forms and the sacrifices one is willing to make to obtain it, if not now, maybe in another place, in another time. There was an odd sense of melancholic beauty in all the tragedies, deaths and horrors each and every character has encountered, and the readers brave and patient enough to march into the story further and further will get to experience the magic of Markus Sedgwick's writing. Different, but lovely. It's my first Markus Sedgwick book and I am just happy that my first had to be a unique story like this. Unexpected read, but I am delightfully surprised!
I wish I can describe the individual stories and the characters a little more, but giving general opinions about the book is the safest way to tackle this as anything else I say will give the whole story away. This, however, is a book that must be read in the daylight, especially if you are someone whose rich imagination runs wild at first and scary the next. It takes a while to get used to the feeling of confusion as you try to anticipate how the next story is connected to the previous one, but I promise you, the last 60 pages will be what makes this story such a worthwhile read. Is this recommended? Yes, definitely! (less)
Fascination. There was a deep, deep fascination from inside of me that made me want to read this novel. It sounds mo...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
Fascination. There was a deep, deep fascination from inside of me that made me want to read this novel. It sounds moving, deep, even sad. But this novel, in the end just left me feeling so conflicted.
Does Maggie really have this uncanny trait of letting people open up to her without her doing anything? Can it even be considered as something special? If she can make people talk, why couldn't she find it in herself to talk as well? It's a little bit unnerving to be able to hear the things you don't want to and the things you don't usually ask about come out freely, because you feel it, and you think about it once you hear them. At that point, I understand why Maggie is such a recluse. However, I do not feel any sympathy for her especially with the way she handled her romantic relationships. If she was a smart girl, she will believe it when the only friend she has who knows her better than herself, Julie, tells her to stay away from someone. But in her quest to find love, she willingly, stubbornly threw away her chance with that one person who liked her for who she is. Nathan was the one thing that felt right, but then what do you expect in a relationship that started purely because of Maggie's desire to lose her virginity and prepare herself for another guy? Even that sounded so shallow and ridiculous to me.
It's a different story when it comes to seeing how the tragedy that set Maggie towards the path she was taking, unravel before her eyes. Losing her older sister had killed something inside of her, and I am not saying that it's an enough of a reason to explain why Maggie became the person that she was, but the wounds that the five year old Maggie had never had a chance to heal, the secrets she held back then couldn't get out and they're surfacing one by one as she gets older, as she starts thinking of ways to cope with her brush with romance, with complicated friendships, because her older sister was supposed to be by her side to help her through it all and yet she's not. Who will she turn to when her family is crumbling because of the pain and bitterness that built up years after her sister's death? How can Maggie, who blames herself for what happened to her sister, forgive herself? This particular parts of the story is what made me hold on it a little bit more, the sadness, loneliness and that feeling of being lost is something I want to read, what made me connect to Maggie somehow and understand her a little bit more.
Somewhat moving, somehow sad, a little bit deep, Surfacing might be a moving, emotional read depending on how one approaches the issues discussed in this book. It wasn't something that I responded greatly to, given the negative emotions several of Maggie's issues had made me feel, and they were things I do not agree well with, but there were moments and elements in the story that made me think that it had a potential to be a more worthwhile read. It could have been written in a way that presented Maggie in a more positive light instead of being a girl so desperate to receive love from some guy who's only after the sex when there's this one person who loves her willingly and she chose to destroy all of that.
If you ever decide to give this a try, tell me if you liked it or not.(less)
May's going through a confusing time of her life. Decisions need to be made and she must deal with the fact that her p...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
May's going through a confusing time of her life. Decisions need to be made and she must deal with the fact that her parents are getting a divorce. Instead, May chose to escape to a trip to Florence with her best friend, Liam and his mother Gwen, to take her mind off things and put off the inevitable. But in Florence, where every corner, every stone has a history, May met Cristofana, a ghost from 14th century Florence, at the time where the Black Plague was expected to hit and kill almost everyone. Cristofana wants to explore May's world, and May wants to know more about the mysterious painter she met, but is that enough reason for them to exist in a world and time that aren't their own?
I was very much curious of May's character. She was in the midst of a family falling apart, needing to choose whether to stay with her mom or dad after they divorce and she needed time to come into terms that her family is going to be broken up. A lost girl who got lost, literally, in another time. May had a chance to escape in another place, another time, but will she take it? It's what got me more curious of her. Despite sharing a face with Cristofana, May is her exact opposite: kind and level headed, and maybe a little bit dense. Her intense attraction to the painter, Marco, was something I wanted to see, though I was a bit disappointed on that part.
One of the reasons why I had a hard time reading this book was my constant dislike of Cristofana. Her spiteful attitude was a big turn off for me. Granted, she had seen and experience a lot of horrible things and terrible hardships in life being a daughter of a pirate and a whore, but I couldn't understand her motivations most of the time. Something in her strange personality further makes my understanding of her character a lot more blurry. She's the unusual kind that comes off sinister. I wasn't even surprised that she's capable of threatening May. She knows how to use her beauty to survive but it wasn't always necessarily used for good.
Another reason was I had a hard time digesting all of the facts relating to the time travel aspect of the story. The way it was written made the story heavy with explanations and there were fewer conversations, this format presents the readers with a lot that takes time to make sense. The explanations make you want to believe that a mirror image of May exists in another time, maybe another alternate reality, but somewhere along the way one might get confused with how it was stated to convince a reader like it did to me.
The sensual aspect, as mentioned in the blurb, was handled very subtly. How May eventually went through losing her virginity was written in a very good way, there was passion and intense emotions accompanying the experience and on the other hand, the way Cristofana faced the very same issue in a more modern time and setting felt a lot more realistic to me. There was talk about sex briefly in some parts, but that wasn't really enough for this book to be very sensual. The contrast between Cristofana's sexual experience as compared to May was presented in a nice way as well. I was somewhat expecting it to be a little more explicit but I liked that it was written the way it was.
There's something in Florence that makes it such a great backdrop for May's unusual tale. There's something magnetic in the somber, mellow face Florence seems to present, something appealing in the tragedy ravaging the town and the way of life of the people facing such a devastating crisis, at least in this story. It's one aspect that I liked. You can feel every gruesome, tiring emotion the people of Fourteenth century Florence had through Cristofana's eyes. Though a bit confusing, and a little bit under developed, the romance in Cristofana's and May's life was also an interesting piece to read. The slow pace of the story matches the overall feel the book gives but depending on the reader, it might add or decrease the appeal of the book. There are bits and pieces of friendship and family also woven in the story that gave it more life.(less)
Once popular girl turned geek Audrey McCarthy is smarter than most kids her age. Like hack into a security system kin...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
Once popular girl turned geek Audrey McCarthy is smarter than most kids her age. Like hack into a security system kind of smart. After a painful falling out with her bestfriend Blake and the death of her father, Audrey just wants to live under the radar, happy creating programs and hanging out with her friends Mindy, Nigit and the very cute Aidan, who she secretly likes. But Blake is now out to hurt Audrey for a betrayal she didn't even do. Audrey's on her senior year, desperate to do anything to get into a prestigious college she deserves, but with no money to do so Audrey's out of options. And then the opportunity of a lifetime came, create an app and win $200,000. So Audrey created an app, one that someone like her would want, and need, and thus the Boyfriend App came into existence. But can the app really help Audrey solve her problems or create more of them?
I am very partial to this book because it just calls out to the geek in me. As an IT professional, the lines of programming code and the time Audrey takes to explain the intricacies of building an app and making it work makes the inner techy in me rejoice, because I can easily understand it. It's like Audrey was speaking to me in code and my brain just translate it naturally. The author definitely knows what she's talking about in terms of how technical building apps can get and words it in a way that even someone who has not tried cracking a code all his/her life can understand.
Audrey is one smart girl, and her creativity and quickwittedness was what made her such a fun character to read. She's had it tough ever since she lost her father, her friends shunned her and they can barely make ends meet. But what I admired about her was her perseverance to reach her goal of getting into a good school for college a reality. Although there were times where I felt she was so desperate to make her app work that it makes her so irrational, it was all for a good reason. And despite being so smart, Audrey can be so stupid and unsure when it comes to checking if the boy she's pining for likes her back. Come on, Auds!
The Boyfriend App's main conflict was the consequences such an app can give if one should exist. I do believe that love cannot be forced, but the author makes such a convincing case with such a well thought of plot that you will think that it might just work. So what happens if you can manipulate the brain to trick you into falling in love by using a certain sound? The wonders technology can make, but then you start to think, are the feelings you have then real or not? Would it be possible without the help of an app? Will you leave it to an app to create a happily ever after just for you? Readers would have to evaluate for themselves if the pros far outweighs the cons of the app Audrey made. And then you also have to question how it was made, because even in programming, certain ethics must be upheld and rules must not be broken. The story gets complicated because of that and it's this complexity that makes me love the story even more.
The world Audrey lives mirrors ours, where technology has taken over our lives in bigger ways than we thought possible. The Boyfriend App certainly is a timely novel where a lot of the teens today can learn a lesson or two from. Add a few bytes of fun, a couple of MBs of romance and teenage angst and a few chunks of overall geeky awesomeness and techy talk, The Boyfriend App is a delightfully cute, fast read that will appeal to a lot of people, techy or not, geeky or not, teenager or not. Funny, romantic with a little bit of a bite in the heart, it's one enjoyable read!(less)