Monthly Archives: February 2012

Review: Across The Universe by Beth Revis

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe # 1
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Pub. Year: 2011
Purchase: Amazon/ B&N /TBD

Blurb from Amazon:
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

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Cover Love: OMG, that is one fantastic cover. At first, I though they were mountains but no, they are faces. Sweet.

I really love this book. Two things did annoyed me but oh my god, it was a great read. It’s been awhile since I read a book where it takes entirely in space. Because it happen in a space ship, I kept thinking of Pandorum which is a fantastic movie and has nothing to do with this book.

The characters were fleshed out in a spectacular way. We have Amy the red-headed girl aboard a ship where everyone has similar skin, hair color, and same beliefs. She sorely stands out with her black and white ideology. There is Elder who is going to take over the ship when Eldest (the current leader) dies. He was interesting because he was acting like a rebel going against the orders of Eldest even though he is going to be the new leader eventually. He question Eldest about the plague and protected Amy from Eldest. Eldest is like a deranged Dumbledore; just an old man that hides the truth in order to maintain the peace aboard the ship. Harley was really a fantastic tortured artist. Calling Amy his little koi fish because of her vibrant red hair.

The inner workings of the story really kept me on the edge. There are just a quite a few twists that rocked your mind. I can’t spoil them because they are a great addiction to the book. I will spoil this because I did suspect it and if I suspect it, there is a good chance that other readers did too. My theory was that the ship was slowing down in reaching its destination and that’s what Eldest was trying to hide. It usually happens in certain science fiction novels so I sort of assume that. There are like three major twists that are just shocking and breath taking. Especially who woke Amy up. I wasn’t expecting that.

One of the elements I really liked from this novel was the slow progression of the romance between Amy and Elder. I would have been suspicious and dislike the novel if they had an instant love connection. Amy just woke up from being cryogenically frozen for 250 years; she is out of sort in this new environment and had a boyfriend on Sol-Earth as the original Earth is called. Elder, on the other hand, I don’t think has grasp what love is because there is no emphasis on love in the ship. There is no sex aboard the ship but there is mating for reproductive purposes. There is a great difference between that. It makes sense that he wouldn’t know how to properly act around Amy and Amy is still confused about her new “world” so adding an intense relationship would further complicate matters. I applaud Revis for taking the relationship at a realistic pace.

The two things that annoyed me was the fact that I suspected who was the one killing the frozen patients right away and how were all the patients connected. It took Elder and Amy more than a three-fourths of the book to figure this out when I figured it out during the second murder attempt. It was right there on the wall; Amy wrote it on the wall and no once could tell that it was *****. Sorry, no spoilers allowed in this post.

I mentioned Eldest is a deranged Dumbledore and he is because he is keeping secrets and lying about what is really going on but he is not as deranged as I made him out to be. Logically, Eldest had a valid point in keeping the truth hidden considering what happen during the Plague. The new life aboard the ship is a dystopia because there is no freedom to decide on anything. But at the same time Eldest’s regime wasn’t too oppressive. He made people into simple-minded people with no concern for philosophy or science but they were happy. Idiots but happy. There was some twistiness to saying that Lincoln and the US Civil War was about the elimination of a race; that’s why Hitler was a great leader because he attempted to establish one superior race. Amy was horrified at hearing that and so was I. There are certain moves that Eldest took that are part of the spoiler so I can’t give it away but I have to say that there is valid reasoning behind his logic. It’s a bit disappointing that Amy and Elder would not consider Eldest’s point of view. Even if they ended up rejecting the tactics employed by Eldest, it would have been intriguing to see them debate about moral issues instead of saying “It’s wrong and it’s over.”

Overall, I do love this novel and I’m looking forward to reading the second novel. I can’t wait to see what how the reality of the dire situation the ship faces affects everyone.

4.5 BB-Ready for capture, Total keeper

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13th book in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualify for: 1st in a Series, Dystopia, Science Fiction,

Review: Killing Faith by Eric Meyer

Title: Killing Faith
Author: Eric Meyer
Series: Gabriel De Sade # 1
Genre:  Crime Thriller
Source: Amazon
Format: E-book
Pub. Year: Sep. 21, 2011
Purchase:Smashword/ Amazon/ B&N/
I received this book free from Amazon in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Smashword:

When dismembered bodies turn up in New York City, the search for a serial killer begins. Leading the hunt is Afghanistan vet Gabriel de Sade, a Manhattan detective. What should be a simple murder investigation escalates as more bodies are found. The nightmare is just beginning for the Delta Force trained cop. The pursuit takes him to Moscow with his FBI partner, Special Agent Faith Ward.

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What I will remember: The novel asks for the reader to suspend rationality

It was a fun read but not what I expected. This book promise me a serial killer instead I got a Russian mafiya lord who did ritualistic kill females but he also killed people who got in his way of controlling nuclear weapons. Basically, he’s a terrorist so it’s a little unfair to say he is just a serial killer. I don’t classify the Russian man as such.

There is no red herring in this book. Within 20 pages or so (It is an estimate since it is an e-book), the identity of the serial killer is revealed and he’s the only suspect that the FBI places major emphasis on. I’m not a fan of that but let’s move on.  Can an FBI agent really be on a mission in a foreign country? I know a CIA agent can but an FBI agent, I’m not so sure.

Gabriel de Sade is a very tough detective and likes to work outside the law. He has definitely committed some illegal acts that should land him in prison. Faith Ward is the FBI agent  assigned to Russia because there are no CIA operatives in Russia. Plus, Russian priests are badass; they are so tough and apparently wield a lot of power in Russia. Interesting.

I thought Faith was going to be a strong female character but instead, she ended up being bait most of the time. Faith had moments where she was a strong character and quite useful but she was captured twice by the enemy, raped, and later had a near hanging. While I don’t like what happen to her character, I thought Meyer did a decent job handling her rape. No details were given but she was still traumatized by the incident, she didn’t ignore that she was raped but she didn’t wallow in misery. She was actively trying to work through her emotions. Plus, Gabriel did acknowledged her situation and was actually respectful in not trying to push her to “talk” about it. Am I wrong here in saying that it was a good thing that Gabriel didn’t push Faith to talk about her rape? When bad situations happen to me, I know I don’t like talking about it until I’m ready to so I think the situation was handled right. Either way, Killing Faith is highly misogynistic.

There is a lot of action in the book so it was highly entertaining but it’s also highly unrealistic (in my opinion) that any of those events could happen under the radar. Or maybe they could and I have no idea. There is also grammar issues and typos so be forewarn in that department. It annoyed me to no end. It’s very misogynistic so it’s not about female empowerment. Just be aware that there is no strong females in this book. The final verdict on this book is 2.5 butterflies.

2.5 BB- Look for in the library

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12th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: First in a series, Self-Published, Ebook, Why buy the cow? and Where are you reading?-Russia.

Wishlist Wednesday # 5

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Pen to Paper. It is the place to showcase one book that has been on our wishlist. Click on the image if you feel like joining in on the fun.

On My Wishlist is: Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Every other day, Kali D’Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She’s human.

And then every day in between . . . She’s something else entirely.
Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism.

When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by
one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she’ll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends.

OMG, I love the timepiece. It’s amazing. I find it interesting that it is filled with blood instead of sand. Unfortunately, the first thing I thought was vampire book which is misleading since the book is actually about a demon hunter. Although, the blurb does state “other supernatural creatures” so maybe a vampire will appear. I do want to find out more about this “environmental terrorism” and exactly why it is considered terrorism to kill supernatural creatures. I’m wondering if the supernatural creatures are considered citizens or what is going on.

Either way, I want this book for the cover.

Review: Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Title: Glass Houses
Author: Rachel Caine
Series: Morganville Vampires # 1
Genre:  YA Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Source: Personal Purchase
Format: Paperback
Pub. Year: 2006
Purchase: Amazon/ B&N/ TBD

Blurb from Amazon
College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation, where the popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks in the school’s social scene: somewhere less than zero.

When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don’t show many signs of life. But they’ll have Claire’s back when the town’s deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.

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Thoughts to ponder on: Do I live in a vampire dominated university? Because every other month, there is a bloodmobile asking for blood and giving us free t-shirts.

Glass Houses wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I’m not sure what to think about it but let’s start with what I did like.  The characters are strong and a little extreme. Vampire politics are interesting as well.

Character-wise, I did generally like the characters. Claire is 16, almost 17, years old and going to college so she graduated early.  She is being bully by Monica who is really extreme with her bullying. Monica should be in jail for attempted murder, kidnapping, arson, murder and I can’t wait to see what other crimes she has on her sleeve. Claire, in order to stop the bulling, moves out of the college dorms and into the Glass House where she meets Eve, Shane, and Michael. All three grew up in town and know all about the vampires.  Eve who is gothic and bubbly. Shane who left town and came back, (he is a slacker). Michael who owns the house and has a secret that I find very interesting. In terms of vampires, we have Oliver and Amelie who both have great power in the town. Amelie is the founder and I like her in general. She is very cold but intriguing.

One of the things I did like was the whole concept of a vampire dominated town where the outside forces don’t acknowledge it but the residents do. It’s like a private island dedicated to vampires. At the same time, I just can’t believe that Eve would reveal all that information to Claire right off the bat. It’s not a secret if people are just babbling to everyone they meet. Not only did Eve place Claire in great peril for telling her so but she place herself in danger for revealing the secret.

Since Claire is really smart, her brain places her in danger in this new town. It’s not really her brain though, it’s much more of her making Monica look like an idiot and Monica having a vendetta against her. None of the events would have happened if Claire wasn’t trying to save herself from Monica. Vampire politics did not move the story forward in the beginning.

I do like Claire but at the same time, I find her to be an idiot. She stayed in town after being pushed down the stairs and possibly having a minor concussion. She got kidnapped and she still stayed in town. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that someone truly wants her death and the best decision is to leave town. I know I would and I don’t need an acceptance from MIT to tell me that. If someone was trying to kill me, school would be the last thing on my brain and I happen to love school. That being said, I do like the fact that Claire is science major but I wish Caine wouldn’t give Claire flack for that. There is nothing wrong with liking the sciences and (I personally feel that) it showcases a strong female character who is brain smart instead of being focused on looks.

I wasn’t completely wowed away by the plot. I found to be quite to be quite boring in certain parts. What I did like was the slow development of the romance between Shane and Claire. It wasn’t instant love, more like she had a crush on him. He developed a crush on her slowly as well. It was sweet and romantic.

I’m giving it 3.5 butterflies because Claire’s idiocy at staying knocks it down half a butterfly; add a not-so stellar plotline it suffers a lost of a half butterfly. And the last half butterfly for the vampires not being as present as the should have been in a vampire-dominated town. The vampires are present but I wanted more vampire politics. The little taste that was given wasn’t enough. At the same time, it was a good book so the rating will be a mix of both. I’ll give it 3.5 or 4 butterflies. I can’t decide.

3.5-Pretty to look at, maybe capture

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11th book in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: 1st in a Series, Morganville Series, Where are you reading?- Texas

Review: XXXHolic Vol. 1 by Clamp

Title: XXXHolic
Author: Clamp
Series: XXXHolic Vol. 1
Genre: Fantasy manga
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal purchase
Pub. Year: 2004
Purchase: Amazon/ B&N/ TBD

Blurb from Amazon:
Watanuki Kimihiro is haunted by visions of ghosts and spirits. Seemingly by chance, he encounters a mysterious witch named Yuuko, who claims she can help. In desperation, he accepts, but realizes that he’s just been tricked into working for Yuuko in order to pay off the cost of her services. Soon he’s employed in her little shop—a job which turns out to be nothing like his previous work experience!

Most of Yuuko’s customers live in Japan, but Yuuko and Watanuki are about to have some unusual visitors named Sakura and Syaoran from a land called Clow. . .

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Cover Love: It’s so pretty. I love it.

I love this manga. The characters are fantastic and the artwork is beyond superb. Plus, the cover and the inside of the manga have beautiful butterflies.

Let’s meet our main characters. Watanuki can see ghosts, it’s a family tradition, but he no longer wishes to. In order for his wish to be fulfill, he has to work for Yuko until the cost of the wish equals the act of not seeing ghosts. I liked him right from the start. Not only does he wear glasses but he acts so serious in comparison to Yuko that it just makes it funny to see what Yuko is going to put him through. We don’t delve too much into his background but we do get to see that he is believing in and trying to understand what Yuko is telling him about the world he has stumble upon. His crush, Himawari Kunogi, also makes an appearance. Not too much on her but she is cute.

Yuko is the wish-granting witch who has serious moments of philosophy and turns around with a funny comment. She walks the fine line of being a mentor and being a comedy relief. She is really funny with her childish antics and remarks; I couldn’t wait to see what her conversations would turn out to be. She is definitely a complex person who hides her past behind an aloofness about life. She is really beautiful but the beauty carries in a mix of power as well. She is not just a pretty face.

The first volume takes place during the course of two jobs that Yuko takes on which have to deal with bad habits. I love the philosophy that she spouts. Bad habits can only be broken by the person committing bad habits and only if they are doing it for themselves. Or else the person doesn’t really quit their bad habits. The consequences for not dealing with bad habits can be quite severe and damaging. I did like the moral compass of the manga even as Yuko left one of her clients to fend for herself. Yuko can’t provide much help if her clients are just going to sidestep her.

The artwork is the best feature of manga. The clothes are wonderfully detailed and I envy the long legs of Yuko (and her wardrobe). The shading allows for dark images that give the manga a gothic look. The manga has gothic elements such as the mysterious witch that Yuko is, mysterious and strange events happening, the blurring of established lines, and all of it happening at a mysterious home.

It’s an interesting quirk that Clamp references it’s previous work in the manga such Cardcapter Sakura with the mentioning of Clow Reed and having Sakura show up at Yuko’s place. I’m looking forward to seeing what type of relationship did Yuko have with Clow Reed, after all, she did call him a “creep.”

It gets 5 black butterflies from me.

5 BB- Total Keeper

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10th book in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: 1st in a Series, Witches and Witchcraft, M/GN/VG, Where are you reading?-Japan

Review: Fury by Elizabeth Miles

Title: Fury
Author: Elizabeth Miles
Series: The Fury # 1
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Pub. Year: August 30, 2011
Purchase: Amazon / B & N

Blurb from Amazon:
It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems…

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better–the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel…something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen.

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Cover Love: Gorgeous, Flaming, Red Hair. Do not fall into the trap.

I know it’s label as a paranormal fantasy novel but it feels like a contemporary novel with a quick dash of paranormal elements thrown in for good measure. Fury works so much better as a contemporary novel than a paranormal one because the paranormal elements are missing. If I didn’t know Greek mythology, it would have taken forever for the concept of the Furies to sink in.

The novel focuses of Emily’s naivety when it comes to relationships and her lust for her best friend’s boyfriend, Zach. The majority of the drama comes from Emily’s emotions about betraying her best friend, Gabby, and hoping she will understand that Zach is better off with Emily than with Gabby. Talk about naïve. It’s very improbable that two best friends will say “He is better off with you. It doesn’t matter that both of you were dating behind my back and while I was still with him.”  This contemporary element of the novel  which is the realization of a girl understanding the consequences for lusting after a forbidden man and finally understanding what true love is even if the liaison was bittersweet could have carried the book alone. The Furies going after her because she is naïve in her thinking is a little bit harsh. Surely, they are worse people than Emily that deserve bad karma.

Chase was the one character that I did liked. He wasn’t a good guy but at first, he didn’t seem like a bad guy. It’s only after a certain incident that we learned that he pulled a terrible prank. It was bad and he probably deserved what he got in the end…maybe. (I have never been “an eye for eye” person). I initially did like him because he was the only one who appeared to be truly sympathetic about what happened to Sasha whereas everyone else was being fake in their concerned about Sasha. Plus, he was being tormented by his own friends, so yeah, I sided with him. Both, Emily and Chase, are painfully blind when it comes to their love interests.

The Furies element didn’t feel explained to me. Why Emily? She fell into the trap. Why not Zach who purposely knew what he was doing and had done it before to other girls? The target of the Furies felt misplaced and we didn’t get to know the three furies as individual characters. They were just as beautiful as they were creepy. I guess the problem was that Miles did not create her world properly or didn’t bother to explain the mythology behind the furies. Not everyone knows they are seekers of vengeance or that Furies come in three. From the way the Furies were being portrayed in the novel, they could have been seeking justice on behalf of the people that Emily and Chase hurt. Miles also chose Fury names similar to the ones Virgil named such as Ty is Tisiphone, Meg is Megaera, and Ali is Alecto. I had to memorize their names for the Greek mythology class I took. The point is the names are a nod to Virgil but it’s not obvious because Virgil is never mention. He is the one who said Furies comes in three because he named three of them. Other Greek authors have five or one or twenty but most people agree that there is three since three is a powerful number. I’m one of them and Miles is another since she has three Furies.

The only point where the mythology felt strong was in the end. The Furies were using their power to torment Emily and her geeky neighbor. I felt bad for the geek most of the time. It’s the only time in the book where it was quite obvious that the Furies were something paranormal. Half of the time, the reader could have thought of them as figment of either character’s imagination or stalkers.

To me, the biggest question that remain unresolved was why did Sasha break off her online friendship with Chase. Sasha and Chase were connecting emotionally and she just went cold turkey on him for no apparent reason or reason that I can see easily. I’m really curious as to what set her off.

In the end, Fury is a complete miss to me. The mythology felt weak to me because there wasn’t enough emphasis on the Furies and what they are. It’s not great writing when the main character doesn’t know what she did wrong or who the hell the Furies are. Think of it this way, it’s like a vampire book where “what a vampire is” is a foreign topic to the main character. “What a vampire is/ What a Fury is” is vital to understanding the book yet it is not there.  Perhaps there is no background history on the Furies because it’s going to be explained in the second book but I don’t think I’m going to pick up the second book because I was reading this book for the mythological elements which are severely missing. Emily is not what I was interested in. She is secondary to me. Maybe I will pick it up if the cover manages to deceive me again.

2.5 BB- Look for in the library

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9th book in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: First in a series, YA Mythology, Where are you reading?-Ascension, Maine

January Wrap-Up Post or a late Monday News Flash # 3

January was a slow month in reading. I only read 8 books for the entire month. And they are:

  1. Cameron’s Law– Mia Darien
  2. Trouble Brewing– Edward Winslow
  3. Hollowland-Amanda Hocking
  4. Wandering StarsMarlon Pierre-Antoine
  5. Guy LangmanJosh Berk
  6. Anna Dressed in BloodKendare Blake
  7. DeadtownNancy Holzner
  8. The Lightning Thief– Rick Riordan

I hosted my first giveaway and the winner is # 89-Veronika.
(She has been contacted already)

OMG, the Winchester brothers are super popular with the people who enter the contest. I really love some of your responses to the question of who would you take ghost hunting with you.

supernatural12
Next giveaway is the Random Acts of Kindness on Feb 17-Feb. 21

For February, I’m participating in two blog tours.
-Finding Alice on Feb. 17
-Farsighted on Feb. 28

Tomorrow’s book review is the Fury by Elizabeth Miles.

Other random books that will have reviews in February are The Glass House by Rachel Caine, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, Of Sun and Moon by Bryna Butler, Vampyre Kisses by Elizabeth J. Kolodziej, Destined by Jessica Harell, Vampire Knight Vol. 2 and Death Note Vol. 1. Of course, there will be more but for now. I know these books are for certain.

In Hetalia News, I did a post comparing Hetalia America (Alfred F.Jones) to me and we are quite similar. Germany and England are up next but I’m not sure who is first. Feel free to cast a vote.

Well, that is it for now. Enjoy your day.

Wishlist Wednesday # 4

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Pen to Paper. It is the place to showcase one book that has been on our wishlist. Click on the image if you feel like joining in on the fun.

On My Wishlist is: Bewitched by Alex Flinn

Bewitching

Bewitching can be a beast. . . .

Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn’t.

I go to a new school now—one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I’m not still here because I’m stupid; I just don’t age.

You see, I’m immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years—except for when to take my powers and butt out.

I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the Titanic lifeboat? I don’t even want to think about it.

Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn’t get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl—and it isn’t an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start . . . bewitching.

I love this cover. How pretty is that dress, I want it. I’m usually not a fan of one-shoulder dresses but it is fantastic. The blurb makes me want to read this book because it sounds like a good, clumsy witch who just can’t get the right story to work. It looks like a Cinderella re-telling so I’m looking forward to a new version of this fairy tale.