I have a twin, I am a twin myself so anything written that features twins will always be fascinating to me. How will t...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
I have a twin, I am a twin myself so anything written that features twins will always be fascinating to me. How will they put a different spin on the fact that they're two children, born on the same day, might not be on the same time and might also not be of the same gender? And yet in Imogen Howson's Linked, the concept of twins is foreign. Wrong. Abnormal. And that in itself is what made this book so interesting.
Elissa had a condition where she had nightmares, faints, feels pain and she didn't know what caused it. And so when a doctor finally came up with a solution for her ailment, she was willing to go under the knife to make it stop. But what happens when Elissa's hallucinations turn out to be real? I love how everything in this story is mysterious from the get go, and you'll start wondering from page one what was happening to Elissa. And when you finally make a connection, it doesn't stop there. Who is this other person who looks just like her? Why was she locked away?
The contrast between the twins is very obvious. Elissa pushes Lin and Lin needed Elissa to push her. Elissa leads on and Lin follows, but by no means is she weaker than her twin. Though I hate the fact that Lin had to feel inferior all her life because she's a spare, Elissa's reaction, worries and fear felt genuine. She felt confused, scared, pitied Lin, but I love how she tried to understand her. How she gradually accepted her. And how, in her eyes, Lin is just like her, a human who deserves to be treated rightly and with respect.
The world building is solid for Linked, and it's easy for me to imagine what kind of world Elissa lives in. Planets terraforming, with technologies far advanced than what we have, all of these were explained by the author in great detail. Imogen Howson, aside from the solid world building, managed to showcase what it's like to live in Sekoia. It might be a high tech world, but the way society reacted to Elissa's condition and Lin being a Spare, something people do not readily understand, is still the same as the present. Everyone thought Elissa was an attention seeker, and Lin was treated as nothing more than dirt, even by her own mother. No matter how much civilization has progressed, humanity can still be cruel and judgmental to the things that are foreign to them.
Imogen Howson managed to write a novel balanced with just the right amount of thrill, suspense and a shot of unexpected romance set in a highly developed world. I have to say, I wasn't expecting the surprise the twins found out inside Phoenix. I also liked how unusual Cadan and Elissa's relationship was. That underlying current of romance amidst their prejudice and initial judgment of each other. I like Cadan because he's not the type of male lead you'll immediately swoon over. I was mostly irritated with him until the last 80 pages of the book. But he, along with Lin and Elissa, grew up and changed for the better.
Unlikely bonds, sisterly love leading to unpredicted discoveries, untimely romance, unexpected allies, conspiracies and sinister experiments all wrapped up in a neatly, nicely paced story. I breezed through Linked in a matter of hours! What a page turner! I randomly picked this book up from my shelf and I am just pleasantly surprised. Now I am craving to read the sequel!(less)
This book, filled with a collection of fifty poems, had an author's note towards the end. And I was struck hard by the...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
This book, filled with a collection of fifty poems, had an author's note towards the end. And I was struck hard by the first sentence. "If you find the dividing line between fairy tales and reality, let me know." Can you? Christine Heppermann has uniquely spun fifty poems that tackle such complex, dark and heavy themes like sex, bullying, eating disorders, body image and our society's standards of beauty thrown in a dizzying mix of fairy tales and classic stories.
What's noticeable about this is that heady combination of make believe and fairy tales that always calls out to our childhood and the biting, dark charm of the truths peppered in each and every poem the book has. It's not something you usually read. It's not something that is usually written about. The author bravely talks about things that not everyone wants to talk about, and it cuts right through you with each poem you read.
Christine Heppermann managed to shed light to a lot of important issues prevalent in our world right now, and she presents it as it is: harsh, ugly, biting, stone cold truths for everyone to read tucked inside various retellings of classic fairy tales and stories we've all grown up with. There is bound to be at least one poem which will call out to a reader in this wonderful, hard hitting collection of poems. Imagine all of those carefully constructed words paired with exquisite imagery? It gives the book such a haunting quality.
I can't say anything else as you have to read the poems for yourself, but you have to stop and think what it means to you and how fitting it is in the world we live in right now. It's such a marvel how much impact such short compositions can give to a reader. And to that, I say bravo the author.
Not everyone might be comfortable with a poem or two in the book, some are so dark and gritty, others made me feel conflicted and most make me feel funny, conflicted and sad inside. My favorites are: Photoshopped Poem, Gingerbread and Nature Lesson.(less)
There are various reasons why I love this book, but I'm only listing two. One, obviously is because I have an older si...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
There are various reasons why I love this book, but I'm only listing two. One, obviously is because I have an older sister (and a twin brother) and I definitely know what it feels like to live in the shadow of someone who is just "more" than you think you'll ever be, and yet they're someone you virtually spend your life with. Nell grew up believing that she and Layla are the same, Nellayla. But as they grow older, Nell realized that they're not, and while Layla is the Golden sister everyone knows, and she'll always be "N. Golden", Nell still adored, looked up, idolized and believed in her older sister. But what if she's not what everyone thought she was?
As two people, Nell and Layla grow up experiencing life differently and Nell as the younger sister wanted to know everything about their sister. Nell is a complicated mix of emotions, envy, and always that nagging, lingering feeling inside her that asks 'why not her?' and 'why is it always Layla?'. I felt for her at that point, and I understand that feeling, sisterhood. You want to be there, and the way both of their feelings were portrayed were heartfelt and convincing. I was frustrated, worried, afraid and disappointed like Nell was, and surprisingly, like Kayla. This was written in Nell's point of view, but I loved how I was able to also take a peek in Layla's life, see what's behind that seemingly perfect facade. It was fascinating, interesting and somewhat terrifying.
My second reason: Dana Reinhardt's masterful writing style. When I first read The Summer I Learned to Fly, it took a lot for me not to cry. The way she was able to convey what Nell feels through everything just gets to you. You're not human if you don't feel anything while reading this book. She was able to craft Nell and Layla, two sisters seemingly inseparable, as similar characters and yet different in ways that matter. Dana Reinhardt made sure both sisters navigated through teenage life the way a teenager should: they make mistakes, fall in and out of love, get confused, get hurt, get frightened, get angry, desperate. It's a painful, but amazing experience in more ways than one.
Felix deserves a special mention in this book. He's this adorable, charming guy, the perfect example of that right person you're looking for all your life, but was there in front of you all along, loving you in the way he knew how. He's funny and sarcastic and caring, a boy who's all smiles but also vulnerable and afraid of the trials life is throwing his way.
We Are the Goldens is a memorable read for me. The concept of family, sisterhood and the lengths one must go to in order to keep a secret, to preserve the fragile bonds between two people growing up, experiencing life and love and what they're willing to do to keep everything 'perfect' was written in such a simple, mysterious way, the suspense holding you off the last minute. And you wait, and wait, and wait some more until it was time to reveal everything. Until you start to wonder, what happens next? One can only guess.
That familiar pinch to the heart, that lightning quick searing pain, the bittersweet emotions welling up, gone the moment you feel it and then you find yourself saying "Ah, yes... this is how it feels when I read a Dana Reinhardt book". I loved and hated the feelings her books always make me feel right after I finish reading them. This is a good one.(less)
So cute! Yokozawa must be the most insecure guy in the world! Hard to believe since he's a great salesman... and Kirishima is TOTALLY ADORABLE! ADORAB...moreSo cute! Yokozawa must be the most insecure guy in the world! Hard to believe since he's a great salesman... and Kirishima is TOTALLY ADORABLE! ADORABLE!(less)
A 19 year old who lived all her life in the forest, hidden, suddenly thrust into a world she has prepared for all her...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
A 19 year old who lived all her life in the forest, hidden, suddenly thrust into a world she has prepared for all her life but knew nothing of. Kelsey was raised strictly, in secret, and she was suddenly given a title she didn't want, a title that can get her killed as soon as she step out of the forest she grew up in. I immediately liked her. From the start it was established that Kelsey, at best, is a plain looking girl, and even though she had her own insecurities to deal with in terms of appearance, she's a girl vastly unlike her mother: witty, strong with a tough resolve and a kind heart. This is one of the books I've read in a while where the girl is not "pretty" or looking fabulous or stunningly beautiful and it's totally okay. Beauty is not an advantage for her, but what Kelsey lacks in physical appearance, her wit and intelligence makes up for. With her, you believe that appearance isn't everything. And in this book, it's not.
Queen of the Tearling had an ensemble of lively, supporting characters that helped drive the story forward and in good time. A good example is The Queen's Guard. Among them, The Mace, Lazarus, is one of my favorites. He's an unexpected ally that will make you think twice if it's alright to make him stay or let him go. He's fiercely loyal to Kelsey, and more than being a guard, he's like a mentor and adviser to her. The Mace is feared throughout Tearling, and even in Mortmesne, and with good reason. He's not the amiable, caring type. He's a fearsome warrior who has his own demons to battle with. but Lazarus had unexpected, surprise moments that endears him to a reader like me. He's the closest thing to a father Kelsey will ever have.
Another interesting character that caught my eye in this novel is The Fetch, for reasons the quite similar and still somewhat different to why I liked Lazarus. He's a very mysterious character, who warrants a close, second glance. His real age, heritage and character is unknown, whose alliance with Kelsey is still somewhat unclear and undefined. Is he a friend? A foe masquerading as a knight in shining armor? He might have saved her life, but will he be the one to kill her when she fails to help her Kingdom? The Fetch hopes for a good Queen to lead the Tearling, and he expects a lot from Kelsey. He's straightforward and vague, ruthless and playful, extremely clever, crafty and powerful. It's like he's born out of the assumptions and guesses of people, because there's nothing about him that seemed true. He reminds me of the Darkling! I'd also like to know what it means for Kelsey when it's time for the Fetch to get his due for saving her life. Is anyone also keeping an eye to Pen? Was it just me or is he also another potential love interest for the Queen?
I've always stressed how important world building is in a book, and sadly that is what Queen of the Tearling felt lacking for me. It's not that the author did not make an effort to build a world good enough to grasp, as the explanation of the "Crossing" helped, but the time references used added to the confusion instead of establishing it. A world where technology took a huge step backwards, where books are scarce and warfare and invading was the norm. The references to the present we have now (J.K. Rowling books, for example) didn't seem to fit the world of the Tearling, making it hard to put down the exact time the story takes place. What kind of age? Modernly backwards? Medieval? Were this Kingdoms isolated that whatever they lost (doctors, equipments, gunpowder and other modern amenities) cannot be recovered or remade? What kind of world really is it?
But Queen of the Tearling had a good mix of intrigue and conflict, and vile villains you'd loathe in an instant. The author took time to dive into the perspectives of these characters as well. The Red Queen, ambitious, evil and heartless, with her own agendas and problems to solve in a Kingdom powerful enough to destroy everything in its path. Arlen Thorne, the scumbag with a black soul who treats the people of the Tearling as nothing but mere commodity, a tool to get rich, to name a few. The story also touched based with slavery, cruelty, the never ending struggle for power in a Kingdom slowly deteriorating, a Kingdom left to rot under incompetent hands. Even Kelsey's struggle to accept the fact that what she knew wasn't true, and that certain truths about her mother, her guardians, their roles in her life, were sometimes tough and hard to slowly, but she knew she had to move forward and strive for the best for the sake of her Kingdom.
There's a lot in this book that I loved, hated and got confused of, but it made my reading experience rich, memorable and enjoyable. From page one, I found myself being swept along by the pace and what the story has to offer. What existed for me is just the story of a girl, one filled with magic, trials and a constant battle for a Kingdom left to ruin and fall into the hands of a tyrant. How can one girl change the fate of a Kingdom that is doomed to be subservient? You have to read this book to find out how a nineteen year old girl starts her journey to become the only hope for a Kingdom she didn't know how to lead, how she grows up and becomes a force to recon with in such a delightful, fast paced, character driven story.
Still, it's obvious how much effort it took to give birth to this novel. A great start for a debut author! (less)
The sound effects you'll hear if you were sitting beside me while I was writing this review was the sound of me bashin...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
The sound effects you'll hear if you were sitting beside me while I was writing this review was the sound of me bashing up the keys on my laptop.
The events in The Hunt immediately follows what happened after Ariane and Zane escaped GTX. Now they're on the run, trying to get as far away as they could from the company that made Ariane who she is: half-human and half-extra terrestrial. With the rival corporations hot on her heels to eliminate a "superior specimen", was running enough for Ariane to gain the freedom she wants to have and be normal? Or can she stand up and fight for herself once and for all?
There were so many things going on at once that I felt like I was in over my head even at the start of the book.The dynamics in Zane and Ariane's relationship were shifting wildly while they were on the run. While Ariane is torn between leaving Zane behind for his safety, Zane was mulling over the potential repercussions of him being there. Ariane was, in all ways superior than he will ever be. That struggle in Zane's part was what made his interactions with Ariane so enjoyable for me. Oftentimes you'll see the guy always taking charge, always the one with the solution, but Zane finds himself powerless more times than he can count, and he knows it. The gap that the fact that he's human and Ariane was partially not was bigger than what I expected, what with the way Ariane was treated and seen in the eyes of outsiders. At one point I felt as frustrated as Zane with everyone, seeing Ariane treated the way she was: an experiment, an abomination, inhuman. Why can't she be treated better?
The story was pushed forward in a good pace with the actions Ariane took in solving her current dilemma. Her persistence to end the sick kind of competition the tech corporations were having was admirable, though a bit irritating at times, but it just goes to show that she too was human. She makes mistakes, is rash and sometimes ruled over by her emotions. She was "more" in this novel, more responsive, more emotional, stronger, more in conflict with herself. You get the sense that something was happening, that she was trying to do something. The addition of Ford, Carter and Nixon to the story is an interesting twist that moved the story further. Ford is an interesting character. Her motives were questionable, but she was someone worth taking a closer look at, so much like Ariane and not like her at the same time. Just a piece of advice: never get attached to any new character you come across.
The Hunt has a wonderful combination of being a thriller with romance and all the sci-fi elements that had all the action packed, catch your breath type of scenes that was lacking in the first book. I loved how I get more out of this novel than the first one! Peppered with scenes alternating from cute to hot, giving us more answers, and more amazing developments in the story that made this such an occupying read that will make you realize you're near the end and you still wish there are twenty more pages just so it doesn't end at once. But it did, and the cliffhanger was the killer moment of this book. Just when you thought there was more to it, that you have more seconds to enjoy it and soak in the adrenaline rush, there was none. It ends there, and the rush of feelings catches up with you and you sit there stunned, trying to process what happened and wonder why it ended there.
Stacey Kade masterfully captures a reader's attention with this amazing follow up to The Rule, and you wouldn't want to let go even when you reach the last page. What an intense, roller coaster ride! And what a clever, evil way to end it! But then the realization comes that there at least is a third book to look forward to. If you're looking for a fast paced read which you can breeze through in a flourish, pick up a copy of this book, will you? With the way The Hunt ended, I am desperate more than ever to find out how this deadly game of hide and seek ends, and what's left to look forward to in Ariane's story.
Zane! The one star removal was my frustration for the rest of the characters in the story. I often find myself saying "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?" and "Are you seriously human!?". With Zane's mom, the doctors, Zane's dad and sometimes even Ford, Nixon and Carter. Can't Ariane catch a break? Can't Zane catch a break?(less)
If I were to describe this book using just a word, it's going to be: Roth. Which is pretty much synonymous to the word...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
If I were to describe this book using just a word, it's going to be: Roth. Which is pretty much synonymous to the word HOT. Scorching hot.
Layla sees souls and tags demons. It's the only thing she can do to stop herself from thinking too much about how she's unwanted, not accepted and not really either of the two species she's from: Warden and Demon. The Wardens, shifters with pure souls who turn into Gargoyles, keep the human world safe and the Demons do a little mischief to keep the balance of the world between Good and Evil. That is, until Layla finds herself being hunted by creatures from Hell with a very powerful demon as her protector. Hell wants her for a reason, but her family, The Wardens, aren't telling her anything. Why is a scorching hot demon helping her and why is her being a Half Demon Half Warden suddenly very important?
I had issues with Layla. Admittedly, I didn't like her at the start. She's the sort of girl that I do not like, the type who cries easily, whiny and demanding, who pities herself all day long and it took a while for me to warm up to her. She's not the typical kick-ass girl I see in most of Jennifer Armentrout's novels, she's that girl who's always sad and lost. Layla earned my sympathy at one point with the struggles she was facing and the trials she had to go through, trying to show the world that she's good when the rest of it thinks she's nothing but evil. I came to like her when she showed signs that she's changing for the better, slowly growing a backbone, and the gradual snark and fierceness she showed brought to life her character.
I can give you a pretty long list why I love Roth from the bottom of my very girly and all too romantic, giggly heart. He makes me swoon with the mere mention of his name. He's the perfect representation of all that is naughty and not so nice in a Demon. Every single word that comes out of his mouth was designed to make a girl do very, very bad things. What I liked about him is that beneath all that haughty, playful persona lies something more. He doesn't claim to be someone he's not, and he's not lying when he said he's not really nice. But beneath it all is a heart, though tainted, has the capacity to feel. And who says demons cannot fall in love?
This is also one of those times where I totally feel nothing for the other love interest. Zayne was automatically typecasted as the older brother in my book. He can't be anyone else. He's too good, and that goodness pales in comparison compared to Roth's deviousness. He is, however, swoon worthy in his own right.
Also, who wants to own a pet like Bambi? Or Fury, Nitro and Thor?
When I first read the plot, I find it intriguing how gargoyles, demons and angels can mix in a novel, and oddly enough, Jennifer Armentrout made it work. It was, admittedly, a very unusual combination, but the way Jennifer Armentrout spins such a tale made it sound so epic and believable. Zombies? Seeker demons? Giant snakes? It's fascinating how she was able to bring to life such a world without even sounding boring or preachy as it also touches base with words like free will, what is good and what is evil.
Jennifer Armentrout brings the HOT in White Hot Kiss. She has this uncanny ability to write such breath taking, heart racing scenes that you gradually get addicted to as you read. Entertaining, fascinating and over all a thrill of a read. To be able to craft such lively characters and a world filled with secrets and intrigue... where does she get inspiration to write stories like this? It's not just all about the sexual tension between Roth and Layla, it's about a girl's struggle to accept herself for who and what she is, and to be able to tough it out and see through what it's like to be in between. It's about seeing people for more than what they are and what they look like. Amidst the heart stopping action scenes, twisty developments and unexpected surprises left and right, there's that parting kick in the gut moments that just made the story all the more loveable. I was so engrossed in the novel that I almost ripped out the last few pages, hoping that there's more for me to read. Can I please have the sequel now?(less)
All the fears. All the gasping. All the screaming. All the frustration. (And most...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
I can proudly say this: I HAVE SURVIVED.
All the fears. All the gasping. All the screaming. All the frustration. (And mostly me hitting my mattress repeatedly.) All the feels.
Every single blow Tahereh Mafi can give to her readers in this final installment of her wonderful, wonderful series.
I have survived them all, and still I wish it didn't end.
Before I started reading Ignite Me, I have this really irrational fear of plunging to the novel head on and finding out everyone ends up dead at the end. I felt like I had to prepare myself for any possible thing that might blindside me. But the funny thing was, the moment I've read that first line? The fear just became a really strong desire to see the story to the very end, no matter what happens.
I've said this before, and I will say this again: Tahereh Mafi is a brilliant writer. What fascinated me with the entire series was more than just the plot, but Tahereh's ability to get into your head with her writing, those disconnected sentences without punctuation marks? The striked out words? She has this ability to make you unable to breathe just by writing. One moment you are happily soaking those warm fuzzy feelings and the next you want to hit your mattress repeatedly because of frustration.
A lot of things changed in this novel. I think Ignite Me is story of change, for everyone but ultimately for Juliette. I tend to think of her as this whiny, emotional girl in the first two books and I loved how in this book, she admitted her faults, looked deep inside and accepted the things she was lacking, the good and the bad. She thought of things in life and love, sorted them out even though it's hard and painful and opened herself to the change. She examined her feelings carefully and made decisions for herself. Juliette grew up, and she grew stronger by embracing her faults and putting the effort to make herself better. That moment of self-realization, of finally letting go and breaking free from the walls she'd put up herself and not letting anyone stop her from doing so is one of the most satisfying points for me in the story.
I've long since pledged my allegiance to Warner. From the very first book, there's something about that sinister, stoic facade that intrigued me, and I wanted to see who that broken, struggling boy behind the cold, seemingly merciless persona really was. Find out more about himself, the things that make him laugh and cry, his habits. And it was so hard to see him break even more. If he did so in Unravel Me, he bared himself more in Ignite Me. You see a different side of him, see the pain, the hurt, the doubts plaguing him, the uncertainty, his love for Juliette and the intensity of it, what he's willing to sacrifice for it. And I loved how I got to see more of his vulnerability, that human side, that unapologetic attitude, that acceptance of who he was and what he has done, that brilliance. Every so often I just go "Warner, oh Warner." and sigh. Because he is, by no means, perfect. But his imperfections are the things that made readers like me love him.
Surprisingly, I find myself agreeing with the way the other characters changed in the novel. Reading Fracture Me somehow prepared me of the potential direction the story is headed, especially with Adam. I understand him, and sometimes I don't. Maybe because I loved the way Warner thinks, and it was drastically different from the way Adam does. The way he responded to a lot of things that happened in this book made me analyze his character as a whole, from the first book up to this one. And though he too is imperfect, I find that his imperfections are what actually made him unlovable at times. Also, if there's any other character in this book that I loved, it is, without a doubt, Kenji Kishimoto. He wasn't just the funny, happy go lucky Kenji that he was. He was a leader, a friend and a brother all at once. He had this ability to just make the most unbearable of times bearable for everyone. Those one liners, that strong personality. He was amazing and terribly funny!
People died, secrets were revealed, a new version of selves emerged, evil was defeated, things were destroyed to pave the way for a new beginning. Tahereh Mafi just went ahead and put together an amazing final book in a beloved series. I loved how everything just came together in a really good way in the end, and not just because I got the ending that I wanted, but because it was an ending that was satisfying and it made sense. Just when you thought you can't get enough of the romance, intense action scenes and sequences that will make you hold your breath appears and then moments where you just want to fan yourself pop up. I have never laughed, cried out of frustration and blushed as much as I did while reading this book. I was in a perpetual state of happiness long after I've flipped to the end and then I wondered "was all of it real?". It was like a dream. A very good dream I would gladly dream over and over.
And so I say thank you, Tahereh Mafi, for writing this series. Thank you for bringing to life such a wonderful world and a diverse set of characters. Thank you for the laughter, the tears, those evil moments when you don't know what's gonna happen anymore. It was hard to part with the characters I have loved, and bidding farewell to this world is a bittersweet experience.
But as much as I hate him right at this moment, I'm thinking... so is this finally the way the story's heading? Is Adam gradual...moreWell Adam, you douche.
But as much as I hate him right at this moment, I'm thinking... so is this finally the way the story's heading? Is Adam gradually pulling away from Juliette? And what the hell brought about this sudden change?
I get it, Adam loves James. I really do, I know that. But that change of heart? All of a sudden?
I guess it's time to find out and read Ignite Me.(less)
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 to expect when you know you're reading a book that sounds frightful? Be scared, of course. But the thing is, The...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
What to expect when you know you're reading a book that sounds frightful? Be scared, of course. But the thing is, The Girl from the Well will not bombard you at the get go with gruesome, gory scenes. Instead it introduces you to a girl who has spent hundreds of years in the dark, quietly watching, waiting for the right time to strike, making sure that the children, kidnapped and killed, will be avenged. Her name is Okiku, and she is the girl from the well.
Rin Chupeco convinced me to look closer into the story behind this infamous ghost, and Okiku convinced me to look closer into who she was before she became known as that spiteful spirit. Both combined made me enjoyed the story tenfold. Okiku is a ghost unlike any other. It's fascinating to see the story unfold on her perspective, because that's what was most interesting to me: it's the thoughts of a ghost, mingling with what she sees and occasionally blending with bits and pieces of her life before she died and what happened after. Rin Chupeco has given Okiku a smart, catching voice in the story, but still managed to stay true to what she is supposed to be: a vengeful ghost.
Tarq and Callie are two other characters in the story that are worth looking at. Their dynamics as cousins are enjoyable to see, and the mystery surrounding Tarq's condition is something one would want to discover. Why the tattooes? I viewed Tarq not as a potential love interest at first, but as a child who needs protection, like Okiku does. Children are her domain after all. And the unusual fascination sustained the intrigue for me. Why this particular boy?
And then Rin Chupeco masterfully weaves in Japanese folklore and legend into the story, Shinto rituals and exorcisms, mikos, shrines and dolls, creating a dark, unsettling effect and gradually upping the creepy factor to a breaking point. There are things that are quite scary in this book, and bit by bit it turns into the chilling, horror story you expect it to be. I was gasping quite a few times, the hairs at the back of my neck stood up on quite a few scenes, but it just added fuel to my reading fire, to know what happens next. What little romance this book has was also catching in it's unusualness, and the way it ended was something you rarely expect. A tormented boy and a ghost, what a strange combination, but the author made it work.
With my love for anything Japanese quite big, my expectations for this book is high and I am impressed. The Girl from the Well is quite good in its unusual set-up, the charm stemming from the fact that it was a one of a kind take on a Japanese story we are all quite familiar of. Rin Chupeco's style of writing gave life to a fascinating ghost. The suspense and mystery was sustained throughout the story, and the ending will just make you feel torn and conflicted. Was it good or not?(less)
Emerald Green immediately picks up from the cliff hanger in Sapphire Blue. While Gwyneth is suffering a broken heart f...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
Emerald Green immediately picks up from the cliff hanger in Sapphire Blue. While Gwyneth is suffering a broken heart from Gideon's revelation in the previous book, they are a step closer to uncovering the mystery surrounding the Circle of Twelve and how it is tied to Gwyneth's fate.
I will say this: Gideon, you bastard. I didn't like him all that much in the first book, and just when I was liking him in Sapphire Blue, he unleashes a bomb against Gwen at the end of the book. And poor innocent Gwenny believed all of it. I liked Gwyneth, and her self-wallowing wasn't made boring by the way she was getting through Gideon's deception. Gwen's got this no nonsense attitude where she thinks too much but she wasn't the annoying type at all. I liked how Kerstin Gier wrote her, bubbly and funny and innocent at times, admitting to her own faults but certainly not letting it transform her into a lesser person. It was getting tiring to be constantly compared to Charlotte, and Gwen knew she can never be like her cousin, but still she doesn't harbor ill feeling against her cousin.
The romance in this book was plenty, as Gideon and Gwen's feelings for each other was finally out in the open, and there were a lot of really sweet moments that will satisfy everyone who has waited for the both of them to be together. There was also no shortage of laughter as Xemerius provided the needed comic relief with his sarcastic remarks and outrageous recaps of Gwen's life. Although I don't see much of a point for his character, he was like the sidekick that was just there to be funny, he's provided good support for Gwen. Also, Gwen has the best friend anyone could have. Lesley was such an interesting supporting character. She's that quirky, supportive BFF that isn't quick to judge, very good at research and has a good head for helping solve the mysteries surrounding the Count, the time travelers prophecy and sometimes, even Gwen's love problems.
Emerald Green was, admittedly, a long story. And while I sometimes stop and ask myself when will the story finally move forward, I was having fun being immersed in the story and seeing Gwen and Lesley and Gideon and Raphael putting their heads together, trying to solve this seemingly complex puzzle for all time travelers. The exciting, entertaining content definitely made up for the slow approach to the climax. And while I was busy swooning over Gwen and her love-hate relationship with Gideon, it was really enjoyable to go through all the layers of time traveling, history, secrets and truths that surround Gwen, her birth, her ability to time travel, the Guardians and the rest of the characters.
I can't say that the ending was unpredictable or something out of this world, but it's a neat finish for a trilogy that will leave the readers generally satisfied and happy, tying loose ends and wrapping up cliffhangers. There was no dramatic conclusion, but it was the type that retained the calmness and gave the story a clean closing.
Here's to me hoping Lesley and Raphael have their own sort of spin-off soon. Their chemistry is up to the roof and it made me giggle a couple of times!
If you like books about time travel with a funny, clumsy heroine whose life is entangled hopelessly with her family and a prophecy that might or might not bring about a drastic change in the world, a French speaking hero who can be so infuriating most of the time but can be charming if he wants to, a funny demon sidekick who eats annoying ghosts and a one of a kind best friend who does not bat an eyelash in the face of all the craziness in Gwen's family, this book is for you. Highly entertaining though long and sometimes slow paced, Emerald Green and the Ruby Red trilogy is still a good series for those who want to give books and stories about time traveling a try.(less)
A couple of the poems gets through you like a shot in the heart. I'd have give this a five if only I didn't feel a disconnect with some of the poem. B...moreA couple of the poems gets through you like a shot in the heart. I'd have give this a five if only I didn't feel a disconnect with some of the poem. But what a lovely collection of poems this is. I'd read my favorites over and over!(less)
I have to admit, my knowledge of the story of Bloody Mary isn't a lot, so I went into reading this novel very hungry t...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
I have to admit, my knowledge of the story of Bloody Mary isn't a lot, so I went into reading this novel very hungry to know more and curious as to what I can get out of the story. And you know what? I was thoroughly entertained, slightly frightened and hooked to the story. Come to think of it, the word I will use to describe this book isn't really that it was "scary", but "creepy". Sure there were moments that felt like it was straight out of a horror movie, but it was more of the kind where you just hold your breath and wait for things to happen and spook yourself a little in the process.
When I first read the first five pages of the book, I felt like I was transported inside a horror movie at once, and by then I knew I was going to love it. You feel that impending sense of doom right from the start, which set the tone of the novel quite easily. I never liked gore, and slasher flicks and horror stories are the enemy of my overly active imagination but I devoured Say Her Name in one sitting. Somehow the chill factor was bearable and my easily scared self enjoyed the experience instead of being scared out of my pants.
Say Her Name had an interesting mix of characters, and like when you are watching a horror movie, they were the type of characters you bring in, let them live the story out by doing foolish things you do not want them to do, watch and wait who gets to die first. Bobbie was smart, she loves to write and that made it easier for me to identify and somewhat connect with her. In a horror movie setting, she's the main female lead and her roommate Naya is the friend who'd probably get killed somewhere along the way, while Caine is the unexpected and awkward love interest that injects a little romance in the story, which is a set-up that worked perfectly.
I love how the story gradually upped the creepy, chilling factor as each day passes. When Day Five came, I'm at my own limit and I'm just there reading the story, bracing myself for any more surprises that might pop out and waiting for the puzzle pieces to make sense. Synchronized nosebleeds I can take, but once Mary started appearing on mirrors and began crawling out of puddles, I felt my eyes going wide as saucers and I am somehow hyperventilating. It's odd, but I find Mary's character to be a lot more interesting than Bobbie, Naya and Caine combined. Maybe it's because the three characters weren't scared enough, or worried enough, it felt like they were investigating something with a time limit that will ultimately lead to their disappearance. As for Mary, I was always switching between pitying her and getting scared of her and trying to deconstruct her character. A malevolent spirit who was misunderstood and mistreated when she was living, but were the things done to her really unwarranted? Doesn't she have that tendency to do "dark" things even when she was still alive? I was torn up to the end.
Say Her Name had this almost conversational style of storytelling that was funny and steady and smooth and it just made reading a horror story an enjoyable experience. I didn't think that was possible! It has a little bit of everything, a dash of romance, funny scenes injected in the right times, sassy characters with investigative tendencies, and an awkward, untimely romance all wrapped around an urban legend. One thing is for sure: I will not be looking into a mirror too closely anytime soon. And even though I had some minor issues with the book, this won't be the last James Dawson book I will read.(less)
The premise of the story was: "What if Hitler won World War II?". History used to be one of my favorite subjects back...moreReview posted on Amaterasu Reads
The premise of the story was: "What if Hitler won World War II?". History used to be one of my favorite subjects back in high school, so this book immediately piqued my interest. What if THAT is our reality? Can you imagine a world where the Axis Powers took control of what's left of the world after they destroyed the Allies?
Zara lives in a world ruled by the German Empire. Life is hard for those left after the war has ended, it's even harder for Zara who is half-English but has half of Japanese blood running through her veins. She's a lesser person because she's a half, and the rest of the populace scorn and torment her for being a daughter of an Axis soldier. But Zara's mother died fighting for freedom which was still beyond reach, and she too wants to be free. It's easy for me to sympathize with Zara, for how she's treated and for what she sees in the world she lives in. I never once pitied her though, because right from the start you'll see a girl who wants to fight and use her abilities however she can to help achieve her dream of a free world, and be treated equally, no matter how dire the circumstances were for her.
I genuinely liked Bastian. It's quite a novelty to see him, a shy, awkward and awfully kind German boy, the son of a powerful military official, because he's the total opposite of how the world thinks he should be. He betrays expectations, and for good reason. I like how contrary he is, and with the way this novel is painted, he's such a welcome contrast. It's like he's the perfect representation of a small hope that not everyone is unkind. Though I would have liked him to be a bit more of a fighter, Bastian does good in saving Zara in his own way.
Caroline Tung Richmond immediately plunged me into a world permanently scarred by the war, torn into strategic lands ruled by the winners. The Germans rule, and they're a vicious master. You see the disparity of the life between the upper class and the Untermensch, the Mischlings. The world is built upon the cruelty of the German rule and their relentless, savage treatment of the populace. And then there's also the political unrest amidst the rulers themselves. It's a very grim world, and it was equal parts fascinating and terrifying to see the world reduced to that point.
There are characters in this book that you will immediately love, and I did, and the author just managed to break my heart for doing things to them. The short bursts of chaos turning into a full scale rebellion made my heart race and I enjoyed every minute as everything escalates into something big. Caroline Tung Richmond managed to inject just the right amount of suspense, tension and intrigue to an action packed storyline!
One of the biggest reasons why I love this book, aside from the solid re-imagining of an alternative world, is the romance. I must admit, I find myself wanting more than what transpired towards the end. Hopeful, yes, but I was thinking that both Bastian and Zara deserved something better than what they had. But maybe that's just one of the realities of war, a touch of realness added even towards the end. The fight for freedom will not end just because they were both in love.
Caroline Tung Richmond fashioned a convincing, fascinating history of her own in The Only Thing to Fear. Zara's tale is an engrossing read from page one! She doesn't disappoint. What a strong debut for Caroline! I will definitely be on the look out for her new books!(less)
There was something in the premise that struck me as interesting. Call it a morbid fascination, or it might just be me...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
There was something in the premise that struck me as interesting. Call it a morbid fascination, or it might just be me looking for a read that will rouse a powerful emotion, but I know what kind of read this was supposed to be. What else would you expect?
I was, however, initially apathetic. 10% in and I was wondering if the story was really supposed to start that way. It was an ordinary day, where Cleo was hating on the fact that she's stuck in the dormitory during vacation. That was it. It was normal. But then the threat of the Spanish Influenza was spreading like wildfire in the United States until it reaches her hometown, and Cleo, who was just a girl not liking the fact that she's spending her free time without her older brother and her sister in law, became something else in my eyes. Someone that I admire. Who better would understand what it's like to lose a loved one, to have no one come to your aid when you need it than Cleo, who've experienced it all as a child? Those moments of doubt, thinking of her safety and if she had what it takes to do the job. I liked that side of her. Better that she doubt, because that made her human and real for me. She was not doing it because she was bored, alone in her house with nothing better to do.
It's always a surprise when a book with the theme like this manage to inserts something else to look forward to, like the untimely, budding romance between Edward and Cleo. Edward had his own share of loss and reasons why a very young capable soldier like him was helping the Red Cross. He was this rock Cleo can lean on to when the deaths and the unexpected losses were to much to take. My admiration for him was as strong as with Cleo. He's tough, and the second chance he got in life he used to help others. He's one half of a pair of characters that will stuck themselves close to your heart because of the way they are. In a time of chaos and worry, they're kind and understanding.
Makiia Lucier's painted a grim story with stark clarity that gave me goosebumps throughout. You never get used to the deaths, because you see how the disease takes away people, and you see it happen through the eyes of these heroic people who chose to help when no one else wanted to, who risks their own lives so that others might live. It makes one realize just how short life is, that it can be taken away in a blink of an eye. What made me like A Death-Struck Year wasn't the romance between Cleo and Edward, it was what they've done, the selflessness and beneath that, the underlying fear that maybe they're just tempting fate, because they are. That constant emotional nudge the author gives as the Spanish Influenza gradually changes Cleo's life and everyone else around her was what made this book a memorable read. Makiia Lucier crafted a solid, riveting story that's equal parts sad and bittersweet.
You can tell how well researched this novel is by the way Makiia Lucier captured the setting, the latter part of the 1910's, perfectly. That nagging feeling of when and if Cleo gets sick sticks to you and wrap you in a bubble of tension, waiting, as the story gets grimmer and hopeless makes this book lives up to what it's supposed to be about.(less)
The Earth is in perpetual sunset. It has also stopped spinning. The Moon has been split in half. Only thirteen states...moreReview posted at Amaterasu Reads
The Earth is in perpetual sunset. It has also stopped spinning. The Moon has been split in half. Only thirteen states remain. All of these happened during the Visitation, and Visitors have come to the planet masquerading as humans. Megan was born in this kind of world, with a dead mother and a father (who might be Earth's hope for salvation) presumed dead, she lives in a place near the Zone, a place where time and space is distorted. But Megan believes her father isn't dead, and to find him, she has to travel to the Zone.
The whole book has this unusual vibe from the first page, so I had a hard time figuring out how to connect with Megan. She's got a stubborn streak, which works in her favor sometimes, plus she's also serious and quiet. Sometimes she has this single minded desire to get through the Zone which clouds her decisions. It takes her a while to trust people and at first, I didn't know how her relationship will work out with Luis and Kelly. Kelly, admittedly, annoyed me. I don't know how friendship eventually formed between the three of them, as Kelly makes bad decisions one after another in the story. For a potential love interest, I forget Luis half of the time as he's barely felt in the story. He had his own struggles and motivations, but they paled in comparison to Megan's.
Sci-fi books tend to introduce concepts and ideas that are new to the readers, often to liven up the story and the plot and ultimately make it more fascinating and interesting, and for Where the Rock Splits the Sky it's the existence of the Zone. But when not done right, it can create confusion than help move the story in an interesting place. For the most part, I had to re-read the concept behind the Visitors, taking over bodies, and being a tracker. They're aliens? Body snatchers? Also, the concept of setting up "perimeters" using your mind? Being pushed to do things and go a certain way by the Zone? How does that work? There are a lot of intangibles in this novel that needed stronger descriptions. What really is the Zone? What is it for? I can't form an idea on what it really is, and most of the story relies on this Zone's existence, so I had a hard time forming a concrete view of the world inside my head.
I do, however, like how this is fast paced from the very start. Megan was in a chase immediately when the story opened and that instantly makes the reader focus on the story. Guns blazing, shooting, running, and that gets the story going most of the time. One thing that I also liked was despite my struggle to build a solid world, there are fascinating and equally frightening places Philip Webb managed to insert into the story that gives the reader an idea on how Earth looked like when it stopped spinning. The people, the dire situations they are facing, and the kind of miserable, hopeless life they have been dealt with by the Visitation was narrated in good detail.
What gets weird for me, was the secret behind Megan's very existence, and the very reason why she was looking for her father. Yes, it was an unexpected twist in the story, but I couldn't fathom how the story came to that conclusion. Again, how?! I felt like it needed more explanation which wasn't really given and it didn't clear much of the questions that arose throughout the story.
Interesting concept for a book, but a bit lacking in execution. It's a bit disappointing for me as it fell short on the criteria that could've made this one heck of a read. I wish I could connect more with the characters. I wish they were more likable. I wish those places Megan, Kelly and Luis visited added more intrigue to the story instead of making it weirder and more confusing by each turn of the page. I wish there was more explanation on why it had to be Megan. Overall, this needed more of impact and more emotion.
Anyway, this book had its good points, and someone more into sci-fi might enjoy this better than I did, so if you ever get to read this book, let me know what your thoughts are!(less)
Why did it have to end there? Darn it... It's my fault for not checking if this was a series or not, but still. Really, Hallie? The Kieran Scott book...moreWhy did it have to end there? Darn it... It's my fault for not checking if this was a series or not, but still. Really, Hallie? The Kieran Scott book vibe really is strong with this one and I enjoyed it a lot.(less)