June 2014 Wrap Up

You want to know why I haven’t posted anything for four weeks?

Two words.

KATE DANIELS.

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There’s no stopping because it was impossible. I just need to keep reading. Kind of like when I read Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series last year. I had no social life for two weeks back then, so now with Kate Daniels, it was for a month!

I breezed through books 1-5. I also went through Curran’s POV collection (I think there was 5-7 e-novellas). There’s also 2 other e-novellas that I read, Magic Mourns and Magic Dreams. I was so out of there, in magic-filled Atlanta!

So yeah. It was not about me being lazy to blog, I just did not bother to even think of reviewing my finished books. There’s only reading, and reading for me. Ah, Curran. =)

I am on page 50-ish in Gone by Michael Grant. I think I need to sit that one down for one hour or two, so I can finish it. And soon.

Kate Daniels is one badass chick! Have you tried this Urban Fantasy series?

Book Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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Genre: Young Adult > Fantasy

(The Grisha #2)

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Book 1: Shadow and Bone review

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“You know, for two people with a love eternal, you’re awfully insecure,” Nikolai said.

I gave this a try. I really did. But nope. Still not working.

How Leigh Bardugo can create an interesting story, yet leave her main characters dismal, dull and altogether annoying, is beyond me.

I just couldn’t get past the irate main characters. No matter how intriguing Darkling was, or how amusing Sturmhond was, Alina and Mal will always be the ugly reasons on why I will never, ever be a fan of this series.

I admit that when I picked up Siege and Storm, I steamrolled the pages. By the time I put it down I was already at 28%. Sadly, the momentum of these first few chapters waned, leaving me struggling to finish the book, one chapter a day. I was having a good time then! Darkling showing up so early, the adventure with the sea whip, Sturmhond! But the relief that this might be a good sequel was short lived.

The story was rich, unique even. The religious-zealots element was a plus for me. But freakin’ Alina and Mal could not straighten their drama so the plot can get moving! Horrible, horrible characters, Leigh Bardugo. An unlikeable heroine (weak weak weak), and an equally dull love interest to save all of Ravka? Puh-lease.

Darkling‘s appearance was just bits and pieces after the sea whip scenes. F*cking unfair.

And Sturmhond (maybe) being another possible leading man just irritates the crap out of me.

Siege & Storm. An intimidating title that did not fit an ineffective, fickle Alina.

(I will not fall again for this kind of ornate trap, Janus! lol)

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SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo

Ebook, 448 pages

Published June 4th 2013 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

2/5 stars

Book Review: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

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Genre: General Fiction > Mystery & Suspense > Thriller

“I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ.”

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club… and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

Literary Awards: Black Quill Award for Dark Genre Novel of the Year (2010)The Crime Writers’ Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Nominee (2010)

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Trust Gillian Flynn to twist even the most sacred of all relationships. :))

To rank her novels according to my brand of creepy awesomeness:
1. Gone Girl
2. Sharp Objects
3. Dark Places

Paper clips should not be bought, among other things, according to Libby Day (and I love this about her). This kind of quirky thinking only solidify her already hardened character, that can only come from Gillian Flynn!

Add to that, Libby likes to lift things. As mundane as salt & pepper shakers, paperweight. Curious and curiouser, right? The complexity of her personality was amusing to discover. Libby is not likeable as a person, mind you. But she draws me in, with these little knacks that surfaced when reading her POV.

I daydream about dying.

Patty Day has very disturbing thoughts for a mother. Can you see it?! That line alone was so fucked up to think of, when you wake up and start your day, to take care of your four kids (and you can barely get by). Patty’s chapters are the most compelling, it drove me insane! (Could I think like her, if I were in her shoes? That is what I thought while I read her POVs.)

Ben Day‘s state of mind is disturbing, too dark for a fifteen-year-old. Annihilation. The first time that word burst from his mind, I got goosebumps.. it made me ecstatic! Right then and there, I knew it’s going to be a horrifying read for me. I have no love for Ben though. The bastard was spineless and a cowardly schmuck. Libby on her bad days has bigger balls than him.

When that fateful day (the Days were killed) was finally recounted, the tone of the novel went to downright nasty. It was difficult not to get emotionally attached to Patty =( My insides were in turmoil, but at the same time, I was so keyed up, excited to know who the killer was…

And that fucker.

Dark Places. Gory fun. Typical Gillian Flynn insanity.

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DARK PLACES by Gillian Flynn

Paperback, 538 pages

Published May 2010 by Crown

4/5 stars

Book Review: Horde by Ann Aguirre

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Young Adult > Science Fiction | Post Apocalyptic

(Razorland #3)

The horde is coming.

Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they’re not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn’t run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade’s love.

Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn’t been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them.

This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity.

Book 1: Enclave review       Book 2: Outpost review

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Awesome finale, you guys!

*whispers* Thank you, Ann Aguirre. Thank you.

I couldn’t resist pushing, just a little. “So it won’t bother you if I find someone else?”

His jaw clenched, and I saw the muscle move before he got it under control. “I thought you said you’d fight for me.”

“And you said it’s too late.” I offered him a faint smile along with his watch. “So it’s a good thing I don’t intend to listen to you.”

Out all the 2013 final book releases that I’ve read (Reached, Boundless, Champion, Requiem, Allegiant), Horde can actually stake a claim as the best and most amazing finale! It can sing loud and clear: Shine bright like a diamond. This is how a series should be wrapped up, people! The inevitable war (that actually happened!), the bloodshed (of characters I love and hate), and the love that survives (even if one was broken). It is truly an outstanding final book from one of my favorite authors, Ann Aguirre. Woot!

I was hesitant when Deuce was tagged as humanity’s best hope agains the Freaks. I mean, she’s just a teenage girl, a Huntress yes, but still in her teens. But Ann Aguirre laid out the development of her character solidly, that I began to hope. Gone was the Huntress who had nothing but her skills to kill. Now, she is a Huntress who will fight to the death (because of Fade and her new family), and if she was to die, she will take as many Freaks as possible with her. ;) Deuce was so badass!

Fade is a complicated one, but coming from Outpost, I have to accommodate his insecurities. And here lies Deuce’s strength – for no matter how hard, or how cruel Fade was in pushing her away, she shoves back, with her unrelenting love, unbent faithfulness for him. So many swoon with these two!!! I love how their relationship was built, and forged to withstand the despair of their world. *fist pump*

The war was awful, gory, and with casualties (everything I savor in battles!). My emotions were running high during that part, for fear that Ann Aguirre will break, break my heart. But I approve, Ann Aguirre. What a fantastic way to end Razorland series!

Destruction and desolation, that has always been the theme of Deuce’s world. But amidst the chaos and fear, she learned how to be a friend, a family, a partner. Most of all, she learned to hope.

Deuce and Fade FTW… always. :D

I get it. You’d rather have him, broken, than me whole. If that didn’t clarify my chances with you, nothing would.

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HORDE by Ann Aguirre

Ebook, 432 pages

Published October 29th 2013 by Feiwel & Friends
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5/5 stars

Book Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

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Young Adult > Contemporary

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of twelve thousand people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game; he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

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Without a doubt, Lauren Oliver is a great writer. But I think she should stick with romance, and stay out of any plot involving action, suspense, and pretty much anything that would suggest there could be an adventure in her book.

Because her weakness is poor execution.

Add to that the characters she wrote here are unlikeable, unrelatable, bordering on despicable. Always a pity-party for Heather, playing both sides for Nat, all puppy-dog eyes for Bishop, and nothing but angst (and endless infatuation) for Dodge.

Heather, Nat, and Dodge have different reasons in joining Panic. Heather’s? Dumb. Nat’s? Money. Dodge’s? Revenge. Heather’s reason was really, really dumb.

The mechanics of the game Panic was absurd. It was being portrayed as something other than what it really was: teenagers who really just had nothing to do, doing stunts, risking their lives for $67,000. And it has been going on for so long, and yet, when the police started interrupting, the game instantly went to a standstill. The structure of the game should be sturdier than that, right? Pathetic.

Terrible characters. Even terrible story plot and execution.

I love Lauren Oliver for Delirium and Before I Fall. It ends there.

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins/HarperTeen for granting my galley request.

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PANIC by Lauren Oliver

Kindle Edition, 416 pages

Published March 4th 2014 by HarperCollins
2/5 stars

Book Review: To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

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General Fiction > Literature | Classics

The novel that established Virginia Woolf as a leading writer of the twentieth century, To the Lighthouse is made up of three powerfully charged visions into the life of one family living in a summer house off the rocky coast of Scotland. As time winds its way through their lives, the Ramsays face, alone and simultaneously, the greatest of human challenges and it greatest triumph–the human capacity for change. A moving portrait in miniature of family life, it also has profoundly universal implications, giving language to the silent space that separates people and the space that they transgress to reach each other.

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Nothing on earth can equal this happiness.


I have to be honest: Reading To the Lighthouse for the first time: I got to 1% before I fell asleep. I have to change tactics if I were to finish it, that’s why I resorted to an audiobook. Thank heavens for it! If I was easily deterred by the boredom I encountered reading the ebook, I would’ve missed one of the most beautifully written novels there is.

…love that never attempted to clutch its object, but like the love which mathematicians bear their symbols, or poets their phrases.

Mesmerizing, isn’t it? :)

To the Lighthouse reminded me of Gilead, with the family theme, questions about life and happiness. Mrs. Ramsay likes to ponder about things, and people. Matchmaking seems a hobby for people in the early times! Her relationship to James early in the novel was stamped on me, searing and immovable.

She transferred to him what she felt for her husband.


James‘ POV was equally powerful, relentlessly brutal for a kid his age. Violent thoughts against his father swirled to his mind. But what pushes him to think the way he did? I found the answer in the end.

Chapter 19 is the core of To the Lighthouse. Its ending, so blindingly heart-clenching.

But then Virginia Woolf breaks my heart in the next part. She depicted life vividly, unconsciously real. And to compare a life in ruins to that of a dilapidating summer house? Dramatic yet effective.

To the Lighthouse is now a favorite.

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TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf

Audiobook

4/5 stars

Book Review: A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

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General Fiction > Fantasy

(A Song of Ice and Fire #5)

n the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance — beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has thousands of enemies, and many have set out to find her. As they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

Fleeing from Westeros with a price on his head, Tyrion Lannister, too, is making his way to Daenerys. But his newest allies in this quest are not the rag-tag band they seem, and at their heart lies one who could undo Daenerys’s claim to Westeros forever.

Meanwhile, to the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone — a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

From all corners, bitter conflicts reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all.

Literary Awards: Hugo Award Nominee for Best Novel (2001), Nebula Award Nominee (2002), Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel (2001), Geffen Award for Best Translated Fantasy Book (2002), Ignotus (2006)

Book 1: A Game of Thrones review

Book 2: A Clash of Kings review

Book 3: A Storm of Swords review

Book 4: A Feast for Crows review

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I might be one of the minority who thinks that A Feast for Crows is better than A Dance with Dragons.

Jon Snow started strong in this installment. A show of strength and terror from the bastard to his fellow Brothers was remarkable.

Reek, Reek. My name is Reek, it rhymes with sneak.

My most favorite character! Oh, how tables have turned. And how cruelly fitting for a traitor like him.

Davos Seaworth‘s POV is like a seesaw, but always interesting. Either his actions are totally helping Stannis‘ cause, or ruining it. The way George R.R. Martin takes this secondary character to new heights, making Davos’ importance in line with those of the main, was awesome.

And what to make of Tyrion? A tiresome adventure for the Imp, but overall rewarding to fans like me. How far will his wits keep him alive? It is his chapters that made me nervous!

Jaime‘s chapter gave me hope. Seeing the character I came to love in A Feast for Crows was quite a relief. :)

Arya‘s chapters were not enough. It left me craving, craving for more. Her loneliness and despair is starting to get to me. Sigh.

Jon Snow‘s last chapter was the bomb. This is the reason why I cannot sit still for The Winds of Winter. I need to know where Jon Snow’s story will lead. The heartbreak is killing me. :(

Daenerys? I hate her. What has become of the queen of dragons?!!! I am so indignant with the way she’s acted here. *exhales deeply*

A Dance with Dragons gave more frustration than satisfaction. And so the wait for The Winds of Winter begins. :))

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A DANCE WITH DRAGONS by George R.R. Martin

Paperback, Part 1: 690 pages | Part 2: 560 pages

Published March 15th 2012 by Harper Voyager
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4/5 stars