Book Review: Fallen #2: Torment by Lauren Kate

Rating: Star

Synopsis:

Hell on earth. That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel. It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts – immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students -Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something – something dangerous. What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else? The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies.

*****

Do I love him? Yes. But when the final battle comes, I’ll have to kill him. That’s just our reality. We both know exactly where we stand.

So very dissapointing 😦 this could’ve been good but the author just goes around in circles without a concrete plot. if you read the first book, then you’ll know there are a lot of unanswered questions left in the end. after reading book two, not only did the author NOT answer those questions from book one, but she piled another load on top of it. that is too much mystery, man! too much that there is no more left for me to go.

lucy – gosh, what an iritating spoiled brat. always pining for Daniel. always asking for the impossible. i never felt she grew up on this sequel. and she SHOULD grow up since the ending in book one left her to tatters.

daniel – getting tired of him being mysterious and evasive to lucy’s questions and yet insists he had her best interests at heart. he does not trust lucy at all to handle some of the truths about them.

miles – i love him! he is the only character worth reading.

fave scene – lucy and the messengers. wicked.

ending – bleh. i was just glad i finished the book for the sake of finishing it.

the verdict: i hate to say it… but i will read book three. i want to know how it will end. will the author redeem herself on the last book? i hope so because if not, there’s a lot of book bashing that i’m gonna do to her series.

if you read or currently reading book one, Fallen, enjoy it. but stop there.

Would he find her? Without question. Would he save her? Always.

.:maria:.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

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Book Review: Caster Chronicles #2: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Rating: StarStarStarStarStar

Synopsis:

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town’s tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.

*****

I didn’t want to choose one world. I wanted to be part of both. I didn’t want to see only one side of the sky. I wanted to see it all.

What a way to follow up the first book! It was amazing – their adventure to the underground passageways is mind blowing.

Ethan – is starting to get whiny and clingy. i want to knock him out cold.

Lena – oh my, the b*tch is coming out! i kinda liked here in book one, but here. ugh. i want to bury her underground. *make me the heroine instead!*

Link – should’ve made him the lead 😦 he is so funny, i love him! the way he treats Ridley despite his feelings for her – fantastic. i liked that the authors decided to have Link as Ethan’s companion in this book. if it was Lena, crap, i’ll chuck the book faster than you think.

Ridley – she is a very interesting character! complicated and yet easy to understand at the same time. makes sense? i am so looking forward to seeing here in book three!

Liv – hmm. i like her on the average. could this be a Team Liv vs Team Lena match? She definitely have more spunk than Lena, so i hope she stays longer with the love triangle.

ending – explosive! that’s the way to wrap up a paranormal book 🙂 but i have to say, i don’t want Lena’s family to be mine. nu-uh. too crazy.

the verdict: i am more hyped to read book three for the adventures than following Ethan’s and Lena’s love story. Link-Ridley? Now there’s something brewing hot!

We don’t get to chose what is true. We only get to choose what we do about it.

.:maria:.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Rating: StarStarStarStarStar

Synopsis:
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

*****

“It strikes me that perhaps this is part of what we are fighting to choose. Which pain we feel.”

*might contain spoilers*

 i am speechless. really. i consumed this book in less than two days! i could not put it down. not when i’m riding the mrt. not when i’m inside the van going home. i admit it. it left me breathless… well, by the time i reached the ending, i’m pretty much in my normal breathing state. Angel

i liked that it started with the Matching ritual immediately. from there, i can follow the story effortlessly.

Cassia Reyes. i believe how she can trust the Society her life. i really do. but her musings turned dangerous when she started truly seeing what the Society is doing to their lives. they have no choices. it was made for them. i liked how she chooses her battles on how to rebel. i liked her relationship with her grandfather. i really liked how she grows strong in character.

“Even though i know i’m falling for Ky it is impossible not to love Xander for everything he is and everything he does.”

did i say i really like Xander?… that was before i met Ky.

Ky Markham. oh wow. here is one strong character i can cheer on. street smart. vindictive. careful. whenever he exits a scene, i want him back again! and when the author did, i smile in contentment. He became my heroin of sorts.

“Our hands do not touch and i find myself wishing that they had.
What is wrong with me?”

the premise of the love story was heartwarming. and fresh too. the “getting-to-know-you” part before falling in love is a big YES for me. Cassia was just curious about Ky. She even felt sorry for him in the beginning. So how the hell did she ended up loving Ky? i really don’t know. one piece of Ky’s life at a time? the Poems?

“What will it feel like, his lips on mine? Like a secret told, a promise kept?”

this is one of those stories about falling in love by NOT gushing about how gorgeous or handsome the guy is. the author almost always only mentions Ky’s eyes and hair, but she never described him as beautiful or good looking. i can’t picture Ky’s face because of that. and yet, i was attracted to him, not to Xander (which the author painted with more specific physical qualities).

that is really something for me. without the superficial feel of physical attributes makes it all the more heartfelt, i just about melted everytime Cassia and KY are together. wee!

Dylan Thomas poem. i recognized it the second i read the first line. when i finished it, i remembered the movie Dangerous Minds which also feautured it. DO NOT GO GENTLE… RAGE, RAGE AGAINST THE DYING OF THE LIGHT! oh man, Dylan Thomas, you are so hot right now. *grins*

my ultimate high experience: everytime Cassia and Ky went hiking up until the last day of that activity, my heart is beating fast. palpitating. i couldn’t catch my breath. it was freakingly romantic!

favorite scene: up in the hills, when Cassia asked about Ky’s eye color. it stole my heart. *about to faint*

i realized after that scene that i am not a bystander to their love affair. I AM Cassia. i’ve fallen in love with Ky myself. who wouldn’t?

the villain: i will crush that female official with my bare hands! I will see you in book two, you hear me!

two things i don’t like:

first kiss – that was so disappointing. i was like, “that’s all you are going to give me?!” but then, the author backed up then gave me the first real kiss that i was hoping for. *sigh*

ending – i was shocked to see the “acknowledgements” page suddenly. that was the end? you call that an ending? sheesh. it was so bland that some readers might not bother to read the second book. but i will!

i read book 2 synopsis, and it was implied there that Xander have a chance with Cassia. oh hell no! i’d be sorely pissed if Team Xander win this out. No effin’ way!

the verdict: it is a strong book for the YA audience. i recommend it. you want to fall in love? then read it.

“But i’ve already broken the glass; I’ve given the green away; I’ve made my choice. I’m already dying without Ky here and now I have to make sure I live to find him.”

.:maria:.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Ramsey’s star at The Mind Musem

if you want to take part in building The Mind Museum, please donate by lighting a star (click the image below).

star364 in northern hemisphere

ever since i read Anton’s blog entry regarding his donation to The Mind Musem last October 2010, i knew i want to donate as well. Besides the fact that i love science (and planetariums), i really want to do something for ramsey that will be concrete proof of how much i want him to discover this world so as he too, will do anything in the future to save it.

i had trouble donating via credit card. i contacted hsbc and the mind museum too but it seems they couldn’t help me. Mastercard is rejecting my card details for some reason. so i tried again last December to donate. no luck. comes January. still encountering an error. sigh. it was such a waste of time.

last week, i was searching for the official site of the nat geo run when i came across with TMM site again. they had a partnership with nat geo run. light a star by donating 1K (which i’ve been trying to do since October) and register online for nat geo run and they’ll give a limited edition of a bandanna (i have a thing with freebies, ha!). just like that, i was interested again to try and donate. after all, my plastic was just renewed, so perhaps it will work this time.

and it did! wow. imagine me making a fist pump for my victory. i was all smiles.

ramsey's star near his zodiac (Leo)

when ramsey will be old enough to read, i will take him to TMM, and show him his name on the gallery. i hope he will be proud that his mom took her time to donate for such a cause.

Book Review: Septimus Heap #1: Magyk by Angie Sage

Rating: StarStarStarStar

Synopsis:
The seventh son of the seventh son, aptly named Septimus Heap, is stolen the night he is born by a midwife who pronounces him dead. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across a bundle in the snow containing a new born girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take this helpless newborn into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus?

*****

Reading this book is a roller coaster ride. it started with anticipation, then trudged on to boredom for sitting so long while waiting for it to begin. but when the ride actually starts, the excitement is back! it builds momentum, although it really takes time to get to the top. From there, the rush is unstoppable.

i loved how the author began with the unlikely hero 🙂 i liked how even the adults bicker in such a childish way. i really liked how the reader’s POV shift from one character to another. one minute it was Jenna, suddenly it was Boy 412. Even the message rat gets his share!

this is wizard world in its simplified form. cast a spell by just saying it: SPEAK! or FREEZE! something like that. i love it!

simon heap. one interesting character. he reminds me of Percy, Harry Potter’s brother. the prefect. i’m watching you, simon. *evil grin*

and septimus heap. wow. building his character as the chapter moved along was amazing. from strict life, to suspicion, to loneliness, to acceptance, to faith. and finally to confidence. i am really looking forward for him to grow up.

i really enjoyed the last part where all those unanswered questions you had at the back of your mind were answered. no need to wait for book 2!

the verdict: i will complete this series! could’ve given in 5 stars but then i delayed my reading when i reached the middle of the book. it couldn’t hold my attention on that part. but i’m glad i finished it!

.:maria:.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Wildly Anticipated: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Out on 05 Apr 2011

one week to go! come on, man. april 5th couldn’t come fast enough! i know simon is the main focus of this book, but i can’t help to expect there’s still BIG bits of Jace there. Ha!

i already reserved a copy at Powerbooks Shangri-la branch. this is going to be my first book splurge of the year. woot woot!

can’t wait. can’t wait. CAN’T WAIT!

Starting on my Haruki Murakami Reads

i’ve been reading about Murakami in my Goodreads (GR) Filipinos group for quite some time now. i brushed it aside in the past since i don’t want to read serious books.

yesterday, there it was again. Murakami recommendations on a thread. So, while killing time waiting for the van to fill up with passengers, i opened my kindle’s wifi and searched for his books. my first hit was The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. i read the synopsis. interesting!

In a Tokyo suburb a young man named Toru Okada searches for his wife’s missing cat. Soon he finds himself looking for his wife as well in a netherworld that lies beneath the placid surface of Tokyo. As these searches intersect, Okada encounters a bizarre group of allies and antagonists: a psychic prostitute; a malevolent yet mediagenic politician; a cheerfully morbid sixteen-year-old-girl; and an aging war veteran who has been permanently changed by the hideous things he witnessed during Japan’s forgotten campaign in Manchuria.

i browsed for more. in the end, i focused on Murakami’s three works and promised myself to start reading them. soon. i want to know what the fuss is all about. can Murakami make a fan out of me?

.:maria:.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Run for Hope 2011

Venue: The Venice Piazza at McKinley Hills, Taguig

Time: 5.15am

Beneficiary: Pediatric Cancer Patients (Cardinal Santos Medical Center)

things to do this year: join a fun run for fun’s sake – check!

i was already running even before i got pregnant. but imagine almost a year later, i started running again – pure torture. i was not friendly to rapid breathing, and a wildly thumping heart. but i kept moving. i kept running for 20-30mins every night. when the day of the actual event came, i was ready. well, sort of.

me and my officemates all signed up for the 5K event (i initially signed up for 3K but found no one with me so, there). i let them run ahead of me coz i want to run at my own pace (translation: i can’t keep up with them. ha!). so there i was, running upward, then left. go right, then down. imagine my envy when the organizers shouted, “3K runners, U-turn!” i was like, what?!?!  how about 5K runners?… oh well. i trudged on. when i thought i’m burning up, running out of oxygen, i hear something. “turn right na po, malapit na po ang finish line.” it’s about time!

i finished at 48 minutes for a 5K run. not bad for a first timer, huh? i was done, by the time i came home. slept for 6 hours straight.

it was a good experience, all in all. besides, if it’s for charity, i’m in.

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Rating: StarStarStarStarStar

Synopsis:
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love — the deliria — blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

*****

“I said that without love, there could also be no hate: without hate, no violence. Hate isn’t the most dangerous thing, he’d said. Indifference is.”

I know that when I’ve read a good book, I refused to read a new one. There’s something that makes me want to pause, look back and rewind all those scenes I’ve just read with such clarity. With Delirium, I did not read anything over the weekend! And that says a lot.

Love is a disease. Singing, dancing is not allowed. Any form of emotional expression is restricted. No hugging or kissing even with friends! This could be real, I thought. No war, no pain, no nothing. There’s also no happiness. Or love. Harsh world, right? and it’s about to get harsher.

The premise is simple, get cured or you will be forced to be cured. If you are too much trouble, you are simply eliminated. The story is fast paced, the author introduces you into this world without sounding preachy. I love action packed novels, but in this book, the lack of it (or maybe there’s one or two action scenes), made it more pliable. Believable. Why? Because the terror of getting caught past curfew (9pm!), the helplessness of forgetting everyone you cared about after the cure, the reality that there’s no other option but to live the life given by the government is enough. I can feel them while reading, creeping between the lines and crippling me. Being scared all the time while doing the most mundane things (hanging out on a beach with a boy, for one), is there. Almost all the time I am reading this book, I can feel the tension. I’m quite terrified of the consequences the characters could face when caught. Whenever Lena or Hana or Alex sneaked out (for a party, or just hang out), I fought myself not to scream “c’mon, man, you’re gonna get caught past your curfew! Chop. Chop. Time to go home!”

I like Lena. The obedience to do what is right by the government clashes wildly with her natural need to rebel. Defiance is her key to unlocking her freedom. And she did, at the end of the book, Lena stood her ground. No more lies, she said. It’s time to live my life. My happy life. By my rules.

Alex is likeable. Although the author could’ve picked up a more subtle or unusual name for a hero in a dystopian world. It seems so common. Anyway, he is more human than most heroes I’ve encountered in YA. Confused and not confident at times. He is actually pretty normal, I guess. I don’t love Alex, but I don’t hate him either. and it is just right, that he admitted to liking Lena instead of loving her suddenly. they relationship started with mistrust and suspicion. and then their friendship grows, and that gradually blossoms into love. super likey!

am not that gaga over Lena’s and Alex’s romance. it makes me want to fall in love, but not with alex specifically 🙂 Maybe it is just slow to build in my taste. Still, i’m hooked – it is heartbreaking. I wanted them to be together, against all odds!

The author writes in a way that she paints Lena’s world in such vivid pictures I can understand how’s it like to live there. She reminds me of C.Clare’s writing of the mortal instruments. I can relate to Lena. I already stepped in her world. The Regulators. The Wilds. The Crypts. And man, oh man, I don’t want to get stuck there!

the ending was like a BEP song: boom boom pow! the author stepped it up BIG time. although i was left hanging, i didn’t mind since i know this is a part of a trilogy. reading towards the end of the book is simply exhilirating.

The verdict: I can’t wait for book 2. I hope I won’t stay in a state of delirium waiting for it. Haha.

“I know that life isn’t life if you just float through it. I know that the whole point—the only point—is to find the things that matter, and hold on to them, and fight for them, and refuse to let them go.”


.:maria:.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Movie Review: Sucker Punch Sucks!

Rating: StarStar

Synopsis:

“Sucker Punch” is an epic action fantasy that takes us into the vivid imagination of a young girl whose dream world provides the ultimate escape from her darker reality. Unrestrained by the boundaries of time and place, she is free to go where her mind takes her, and her incredible adventures blur the lines between what’s real and what is imaginary. She has been locked away against her will, but Babydoll (Emily Browning) has not lost her will to survive. Determined to fight for her freedom, she urges four other young girls -the outspoken Rocket (Jena Malone), the street-smart Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), the fiercely loyal Amber (Jamie Chung) and the reluctant Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) -to band together and try to escape their terrible fate at the hands of their captors, Blue (Oscar Isaac), Madam Gorski (Carla Gugino) and the High Roller (Jon Hamm). Led by Babydoll, the girls engage in fantastical warfare against everything from samurais to serpents, with a virtual arsenal at their disposal. Together, they must decide what they are willing to sacrifice in order to stay alive. But with the help of a Wise Man (Scott Glenn), their unbelievable journey – if they succeed – will set them free.

*****

Okay, so i admit i was blown away by the preview of this movie (which i saw when hubby and i watched I Am Number Four). Looking for a way to kill time on a Saturday before hanging out with girlfriends, we watched it. it was a choice between Red Riding Hood and Sucker Punch. naturally, i was inclined for the action-packed one since hubby is with me. boy, i was so wrong! this is one of those types who invested tons of money in producing a shiny poster and a slam dunk movie preview to lure viewers in a somewhat horrible fate of finishing this wretched film. the opening was good, and i loved the haunting “These Dreams” background music. The first escape of baby doll from reality was my fave part. After that, it was one nonsense scene after another. The concept was promising, but it did not deliver.

.:maria:.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”