Book Review: Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

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Genre: General Fiction > Mystery & Suspense > Thriller

(Hannibal Lecter #1)

Will Graham stands in a silent, empty house communing with a killer. An FBI instructor with a gift for hunting madmen, Graham knows what his murderer looks like, how he thinks, and what he did to his victims after they died. Now Graham must try to catch him. But to do it, he must feel the heat of a killer’s brain, draw on the macabre advice of a dangerous mental patient, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, and follow a trail of microscopic clues to the place where another family has already been chosen to die–and where an innocent woman has found the Dragon first.

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I hope the next books in the series are better.

Red Dragon. Ordinary. Interesting but not quite riveting for my taste. Or could I just be expecting more from the famous Thomas Harris? The story seemed so… normal. Heh. I’m beginning to think I am hard to please with this genre (because I love it so much).

Will Graham did not look particularly brilliant, but he’s a good observer. And Francis Dolarhyde was just as I suspected, predictable but not wholly appealing to me.

But… I watched the movie, and I can say that I liked it more than the book. That’s why I will continue reading this series. And Hannibal Lecter is calling my name, urging me to be a fan of his. And I think I will answer him when I read the sequel, The Silence of the Lambs. *grins*

I might have read too many serial-killing themed books, for Red Dragon was just another (almost) forgettable story among them.

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RED DRAGON by Thomas Harris

Mass Market Paperback, 454 pages

Published May 2nd 1990 by Dell

3/5 stars

Book Review: Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins

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Young Adult > Paranormal > Angels

(The Sweet Trilogy #3)

It’s time.

Evil is running rampant and sweet Anna Whitt is its target. Nobody knows when or how the Dukes will strike, but Anna and her Nephilim allies will do anything necessary to rid the earth of the demons and their oppressive ways.

The stakes are higher than ever, and Anna is determined that the love she feels will be her strength, not a liability. But trying to protect the ones she loves while running for her life and battling demonic forces proves to be perilous—especially as faces are changing and trust is fleeting. When the Duke of Lust sends Anna’s great love, Kaidan Rowe, to work against her, Anna must decide how much she’s prepared to risk.

In the most sensual and fast-paced installment yet, Sweet Reckoning brings all the beloved Neph together one last time to fight for their freedom.

Book 1: Sweet Evil review       Book 2: Sweet Peril review

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This is totally unexpected, but very entertaining! A few tears in the end. Wendy Higgins did good. :D

Sweet and gorgeous Kaidan Rowe. Strong and bold Anna Whitt. Fans of The Sweet Trilogy will not be disappointed! Obviously, that includes me. I would reread this series just for the romance alone, but the angel theme was not as flimsy as I thought (because you and I know there are few good angel books out there).

Anna is no longer the shy southern belle that Kaidan met in Sweet Evil. Family comes first, and I liked that the importance of that is heavy on this final book. It frustrates Anna that she cannot show affection to Patti, Jay, and Kai because demon whisperers might see them. It frustrates her even more that the love that was making her courageous is threatening to kill them all once found. Anna upped her game as a Neph, and it was nice and neat and hopeful. :)

Kaidan was another story. He was the source of everything that I raved about this book. He made my reading super enjoyable! He’s so cute with his relationship with Anna. A different side from the Son of Pharzuph, Duke of Lust. A side that only made him hot, hot, HOTTER in my eyes! Man, what I wouldn’t give to be in Anna’s place. That lucky daughter of Belial. :)

So, when the sh*t went down, it went quickly, but that’s fine. I mean, it is good versus evil, why drag it longer than it should? The casualties of war between the Dukes and the Nephilim are few, but I was heartbroken with one death. And another inevitable one at the epilogue. :( I’m so sorry, Jay.

I adore Belial, such a cool and doting father. And Blake was just amazingly funny!

Sweet Reckoning checklist: Romance. Sexy Scenes. Ending on a happy note. Check check check.

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for granting my galley request.

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SWEET RECKONING by Wendy Higgins

Kindle Edition, 464 pages

Published  April 29th 2014 by HarperTeen

5/5 stars

Book Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

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Young Adult > Fantasy

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

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I think I’m wicked enough to love a demon.

Vicious but oh-so-romantic . My kind of fairy tale. :D

I want my fairy tales to sweep me off my feet, and Cruel Beauty did just that… marvelously. And if the heroine is not a damsel a distress, but a bold, feisty, and suspicious bride to the demon, then by all means, count me in!

Nyx is not afraid to be hurt (and yeah, hurt in return) and admit her hate. Here is a girl who grew up longing for a father’s approval and love, while dreading the day she got offered as tithe to the demon who is the master of her town.

The story was just incredible, full of love and hate, and the thin line between them was indiscernible. This was not the fairy tale I expected. It was so much more!

The love triangle is easy to neglect, knowing that each chapter, Rosamund Hodge excites me with new bickering brimming with hatred coming from Nyx, towards Ignifex. The demon rises up to Nyx’s spite, and I love it! And when she warms to the idea of Ignifex (and his nature), things starts to get swoony and sweet, and just plain fairy tale-ish. :D

The kiss-on-the-first-meeting was a tick, but I let that slide. This is supposed to be a fairy tale after all. Other than that, I just glided through the pages.

Nyx and Ignifex’s tale will leave you marvelling with their truly one-of-a-kind love story. The almost-impossible romance between them was darkly funny yet warmly romantic, too. IMO, Cruel Beauty was the perfect valentine read. :)

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins / Balzer + Bray for granting my galley request.

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CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge

Kindle edition, 336 pages

Published January 28th 2014 by Balzer + Bray

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5/5 stars

Book Review: Secret by Brigid Kemmerer

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Young Adult > Fantasy > Paranormal

(Elementals #4)

EARTH. FIRE. AIR. WATER.

Nick Merrick is stretched to breaking point. He’s trying to keep his grades sky-high or he won’t get in to college. He’s trying to keep his brother’s business afloat or the Merricks will be out on the street. He’s trying to keep the secret of where he’s going in the evenings from his twin brother Gabriel – or he fears he’ll lose his family. And he’s trying to keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who is his ‘girlfriend’s’ partner.

And then Quinn takes to hanging around his sworn enemy, and an Elemental Guide is counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. Storms are brewing. On all sides.

SECRETS IN THE WIND. DANGER IN THE AIR.

Book 1: Storm review       Book 2: Spark review       Book 3: Spirit review

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Okay, so I like Hunter now. and Michael’s cool (as always). but Chris? The coolest of them all. *grins*

Secret is all about Nick. He wishes for many things, but being the responsible Merrick that he is, anything and everything that he wants will just need to take a backseat, because family comes first.

Nick‘s nerdiness was adorable! I like that he’s responsible, and takes family matters very seriously. I hate it when he thinks he needed to hide his true self because of his fear to be judged, and to get it from his own twin brother, no less! He deserved more than he got from Gabriel.

Nick’s elemental power? So cool! It’s like a science geek fantasy coming true. Heh. I thought it was awesome. :D

Quinn was okay. I expected her to be more annoying than usual, but she did good for Nick and the Merrick brothers. That foe-turned-ally twist? I liked that, too.

Michael is such an amazing brother, and Chris as well (he’s still my favorite Merrick). The maturity that went with these two, in terms of helping Nick with his secret, it was really sweet.

Secret was emotionally intense. I’m kinda off with Nick’s resentment to Gabriel (his twin not knowing his problem, and yet he resented him for not knowing), but other than that, this is a definite must read for Elementals fan like me.

P.S. Swoon-worthy scenes are not lacking for Nick! *ahem*

Thank you NetGalley and Kensington Teen for granting my galley request.

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SECRET by Brigid Kimmerer

Kindle edition, 336 pages

Published January 28th 2014 by Kensington Teen

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4/5 stars

Book Review: The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

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Young Adult > Fantasy

(Seven Realms #3)

Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he’s concerned, the princess’s family as good as killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen.

Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it—he’s saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive—and even that might not be enough.

The Gray Wolf Throne is an epic tale of fierce loyalty, unbearable sacrifice, and the heartless hand of fate.

Book 1: The Demon King review     Book 2: The Exiled Queen review

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I did not think that Han Alister can get any sexier but, oh my. He did. He really did. *happy dance*

The Gray Wolf Throne is my favorite installment so far. Contrary to the first two books, it is fast-paced, brimming with revelations, and progressing with its impressive plot and maturing characters. What’s not to love?!

Raisa’s ascension to the throne has many dangers. There are too many close calls. The most life-threatening sent Han Alister to desperation. But when he realized the deception, his heart was crushed. Han wondered if she’s worth the heartache, worth the trouble with the bluebloods and the clan.

The most arresting element of The Gray Wolf Throne is the positive development of Han’s and Raisa’s characters. I am in awe of Han. Despite the politicking and mistrust with the people around him, he’s undeterred with his decisions. So when he finally decided to take that big step into winning Raisa, I am mad with glee and pride with my boy. I always liked that Han knows what he wants, and finds ways to get it. Now, that trait is magnified, and revealed in marvelous execution. I am so in love with you, Han! *ahem*

Gone is the stubborn princess who ran away from the castle, who despises her mother’s tyranny over her life. Her relationship with Marianna was built with tough love, and I admire that Raisa is mature enough for forgiveness and acceptance. The determination to claim her rightful throne was strong; the courage to love Han (despite his faults) was even stronger. I loved how Raisa grew up and took responsibility for her actions, and her duties as the queen.

I am happy to report that scenes between Raisa and Han are… tender, sexy, and swoon-worthy. Woot!

Dancer’s father was a surprise, but it fell into place neatly. Amon’s betrothal came across as melancholic, with an air of despair. =(

A couple of questions that lingered: What happened to Crow? To Gavan Bayar? Is the Clan’s motive any different from the Wizard’s?

Gray Wolf Throne sets the stage with impossible consequences for all the major players. Will Han fight for his chance with Raisa? Will she choose duty over love?

(I want a HEA, Cinda Williams Chima. Please?)

*stands and picks up The Crimson Crown*

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THE GRAY WOLF THRONE by Cinda Williams Chima

Paperback, 544 pages

Published August 7th 2012 by Disney Hyperion
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5/5 stars

Book Review: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

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Young Adult > Dystopia | Paranormal

(Shatter Me #3)

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she’ll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

Book 1: Shatter Me review       Book 2: Unravel Me review

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3 books later, I only realized that this is more romance than dystopian (silly me :/). But I am soo glad I am done with Juliette’s idiotic, dramatic tendencies.

Warner? It was nice meeting you. *winks*

Is it too early to declare that Ignite Me is the worst finale for this year? Seriously, it came this close to usurping Allegiant in my list. Tahereh Mafi , what have you done with this series? With Adam? I’m not even Team Adam and yet I despised how his character was massacred utterly and complete in order to give way to the other obvious ending. /wrist

To hell with Juliette. To hell with the abysmal plot. I read this series for Warner, and even that was slightly ruined for me.

Remember Juliette who was whiny and wimpy in Shatter Me? She was all over Adam then. But in Ignite Me, wow. She’s giving him the coldest of the cold shoulder that I have ever seen. Where’s the love, girl? She was panting for Adam in the first book and yet, and yet,

I don’t even know what this is, Kenji. That’s the problem. I don’t know how to explain it, and I’m not sure I understand the depth of it yet. All I know is that whatever this is, I never felt it with Adam.

Adam is a good guy. He really is. But just because he’s a good guy doesn’t make him the right guy for me.

She keeps on saying it’s over between them, but every time he’s not around, she keeps looking for him, and asking Kenji, “where is he? is he okay?” You are selfish, Juliette! Just cut your ties with Adam, damn it. You can’t have Warner, and keep Adam as a friend on a leash. You want everyone to love you, care for you, but that’s just BS. *shouting maniacally* You don’t deserve Warner or Adam, not even Kenji! Fool.

Not that Adam’s character is any better. But I pity him. The way Tahereh Mafi reduced his character to this illogical, irrational, super-mad love-sick puppy was despicable. Way to go, TM. There was not a shred of that Adam from Shatter Me. Not one bit. And he didn’t even showcase his power during the battle. Pathetic turn of events for him who I thought was pegged as the hero.

No – I wanted you. That’s all I wanted. From the very beginning, Juliette. You were it. You were all I wanted.

I love Warner, period. I don’t need Tahereh Mafi  to make all these flimsy excuses on his character. He’s a stronger character if he’s just this unrepentant psychopath. Why, oh why, did Tahereh Mafi  felt to justify all his cruel past actions?!! He did unspeakable acts, just leave it be! It was so obvious that Warner was being set up as this torturous hero, when really, he did all those things, because he needed to survived. And didn’t Adam have a hard life, too? So why is Warner’s character be any different?

Kenji is the most decent, (and James, too). How come Juliette did not end up with him? His character is so energetic and more lovable than Adam and Warner combined. And he truly knows Juliette. Not Adam. Not Warner. It is Kenji who understood that sorry excuse of a heroine.

Ending was surprise! – so ridiculous. Juliette, stepping up as a leader for Anderson’s army? Puh-lease. She cannot even handle two guys without hurting them, she’s still as messed up, and I am expected to believe that she can sustain the revolution. Let me repeat: ridiculous!

Ignite Me? No, thank you. I am ready to forget this series, fuck you very much.

(My copies of Shatter Me and Unravel Me are now for sale. LOL)

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Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Kindle Edition, 352 pages

Published February 4th 2014 by HarperCollins
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2/5 stars