Book Review: The Night Season by Chelsea Cain

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Genre: General Fiction > Mystery & Suspense > Thriller

(Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell #4)

Heavy rains have burst the banks of the Willamette River; several people have died in the furiously rising waters…but the latest victim didn’t drown. She was killed before she went into the water. Soon, other victims are found, and Police Detective Archie Sheridan realises that Portland has a new serial killer on its hands.

Reporter Susan Ward is on the story, but she’s got other leads to chase, and some secrets can be frightening for prying eyes. With Archie following a bizarre trail of evidence, and Susan close behind, the pair must unearth the identity of a vicious murderer, and uncover the truth behind a mystery more than sixty years old…

Book 1: Heartsick review     Book 2: Sweetheart review       Book 3: Evil at Heart review

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The flood was more terrifying than the killings.

Gretchen Lowell is nowhere to be found in The Night Season. Well, up until the last minute. And as minute her appearance was, it made me excited for the next installment of this series.

Philippines has always been an ‘unwilling home’ to typhoons, which almost always result in floods. I guess you could say it is nothing but a common occurence to us Filipinos. When the city of Portland was submerged in a flood they haven’t seen in ages, I understood it, how scared they were. And the terror was doubled when Archie Sheridan realized someone is using the deluge to get away with murders.

I saw little of Henry Sobol (I actually liked this guy), but got compensated with Susan Ward‘s maturing character, and increasing weirdness (she constantly mouths useless trivia, and I found it entertaining). As for Archie, I am starting to warm to him again. His defiance to not let Gretchen control his life was getting stronger. Just a bit more, and I believe he can defeat The Beauty Killer in her own twisted game.

Looking forward to the next book, Kill You Twice!

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THE NIGHT SEASON by Chelsea Cain

Paperback, 388 pages

Published 2011 by Pan Books

4/5 stars

Book Review: Rogue by Gina Damico

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Young Adult > Paranormal

(Croak #3)

Lex is a teenage Grim Reaper with the power to Damn souls, and it’s getting out of control. Her boyfriend, Driggs, is dead . . . sort of. She’s a fugitive, on the run from the maniacal new mayor of Croak and the townspeople who want to see her pay the price for her misdeeds. Uncle Mort rounds up the Junior Grims to flee Croak once again, but this time they’re joined by Grotton, the most powerful Grim of all time. Their new mission is clear: Fix his mistakes, or the Afterlife will cease to exist, along with all the souls in it.  The gang heads for Necropolis, the labyrinth-like capital city of the Grimsphere. There, they discover that the Grimsphere needs a reboot. To do that, the portals to the Afterlife must be destroyed . . . but even that may not be enough to fix the damage. Things go from bad to worse, and when at last the fate of the Afterlife and all the souls of the Damned hang in the balance, it falls to Lex and her friends to make one final, impossible choice.

Book 1: Croak review       Book 2: Scorch review

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I hate this book. Made me cry twice (or thrice?) while riding the bus, no less.

Uncle Mort!
Lex!
DRIGGS!

Gina Damico you cruel, cruel woman. Give me back my happiness!!!

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Have you read Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins? Rogue ended up just like Spell Bound: both finales are heartbreaking, it’s as if all the laughter and humor that launched both series stopped in the middle of their second books. I had high hopes for Rogue! But it gave me more sadness than joy. =(

Lex always feels guilty. Guilty that she cannot save the sister she loves the most, the best (boy)friend she loves the most. Now, she cannot save the future she wants for herself. I love Lex, and I always will. But the heroic acts Gina Damico imposed on her young character is too much for me to bear. I thought that her transition from being a problematic teenager to a world-saving Grimm is too quick to give her due credit.

At the end of Scorch, I was hoping against hope that Lex and Driggs will have a happy ending. If Rogue‘s ending is a happy one based on Gina Damico‘s standards, I don’t think I would want to read any more of her stories. It is just too depressing. *cries again*

It’s times like these when I get too attached to characters that, no matter how unique the world-building was, or how neat the story was wrapped up, the reading just felt heavy for me. And from the (humorous) impression I got from reading the first book, Croak, the morose ending of the series was not palpable for my taste.

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ROGUE by Gina Damico

Ebook, 384 pages

Published September 10th 2013 by Graphia

3/5 stars

Official Blog Tour: The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco

My blog is the pit stop for The Girl from the Well Official Blog Tour on September 29th!

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The Girl from The Well  ●  Author: Rin Chupeco

Sourcebooks Fire ● August 5, 2014 ● ISBN: 9781402292187

Hardcover/$16.99 U.S. ● Ages 14+

Okiku has wandered the world for hundreds of years, setting free the spirits of murdered children. Wherever there’s a monster hurting a child, her spirit is there to deliver punishment. Such is her existence, until the day she discovers a troubled American teenager named Tark and the dangerous demon that writhes beneath his skin, trapped by a series of intricate tattoos. Tark needs to be freed, but there is one problem—if the demon dies, so does its host.

With the vigilante spirit Okiku as his guide, Tark is drawn deep into a dark world of sinister doll rituals and Shinto exorcisms that will take him far from American suburbia to the remote valleys and shrines of Japan. Can Okiku protect him from the demon within or will her presence bring more harm? The answer lies in the depths of a long-forgotten well.

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Praise for The Girl From the Well:

“[A] Stephen King–like horror story…A chilling, bloody ghost story that resonates.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Chupeco makes a powerful debut with this unsettling ghost story…told in a marvelously disjointed fashion from Okiku’s numbers-obsessed point of view, this story unfolds with creepy imagery and an intimate appreciation for Japanese horror, myth, and legend.” –Publishers WeeklySTARRED

“The Girl from the Well is part The Ring, part The Grudge and part The Exorcist…A fantastically creepy story sure to keep readers up at night… Okiku is one of the most interesting YA characters to date.” RT Book Reviews,4 ½ STARS-TOP PICK!

“A dark novel that will appeal to horror fans, lovers of Elizabeth Scott’s ‘Living Dead Girl.’” –School Library Journal

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About the Author:

rinDespite uncanny resemblances to Japanese revenants, Rin Chupeco has always maintained her sense of humor. Raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. She’s been a technical writer and travel blogger, but now makes things up for a living.The Girl from the Well is her debut novel. Connect with Rin at www.rinchupeco.com.

maria

July 2014 Wrap Up

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It’s been a fantastic reading month!

  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (5/5) – this is beyond words. My 2014 best read so far *2 thumbs up*
  • Ruins by Dan Wells (4/5) – satisfying finale for one of my favourite sci-fi/post apocalyptic YA series
  • Lola and the Boy next Door by Stephanie Perkins (3/5) – different from Anna and the French Kiss, but cute
  • The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (5/5) – a gem! The writing was just mesmerizing =)
  • Un Lun Dun by China Mieville (5/5) – fun and entertaining from beginning to end!

(Ebooks, not included in image above)

  • Deception by C.J. Redwine (4/5) – intense. surprisingly emotional. I’d go as far to say that this sequel is one of the most mature YA reads out there
  • Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews (3/5) – my Kate Daniels fever kind of tapered down a bit after this one. I love the myth, though
  • The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade (4/5) – something light and funny. Right up my alley!
  • On Her Watch by Rie Warren (4/5) – I liked Liz Grant’s POV better than Cannon from In His Command

 

The thing I love the most about my books last July is this: It was a mix of genres (YA and others) and a mix of book formats (printed and ebooks). It only means that seven months after I made my reading resolution, I am adhering to it without any effort at all. =) Aja!

It’s already August 2nd here in Manila, and of course, my daily thought is that, it’s one more month until the “ber” months. Heh. I’m such a kid. Getting excited for Christmas as early as now.

Happy weekend, everyone!

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