It’s Monday! What are you reading? [15]

 

RECENTLY READ

1984 was the January read of Goodreads – The Filipino Group and i must say i really, really liked it!

Well, the ending was crappy. Still, it was a worthy read. =)

Review to come.

 Darkness Becomes Her is another good read for me.

It has flaws, yes, but I did not mind because Ari is so kick-*ss!

Review to come.

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READING NOW

Bean’s character is too good to be true here in Ender’s Shadow.

Although i’m on that part now where the nun is investigating his past and origin.

 I was so excited to read Crossed!

But then, I got to the part where Cassia starts mooning over Xavier. Eck.

So I need to stop for a moment.

 The Way We Fall is my NetGalley read for this week.

The first pages are told in diary entries, and i’m not liking that.

 It reminds me of Life As We Knew It and I did not like that book.

 Good Oil is my contemporary fix for the day.

It is fine so far; i hope it picks up.

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NEXT

It’s time to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo!

The Hollywood version will be shown in theaters here in the Philippines this week.

But I want to watch the Swedish (am i correct?) version after I read it.

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Whew! So what are your reading this week? 😉

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Young Adult Giveaway Hop: International

[This giveaway hop is hosted by I Am a Reader, Not A Writer and Down The Rabbit Hole.]

I will order one YA book (worth less than or equal to $10 from The Book Depository) of your choice!

RULES:

  • Must subscribe to this blog via Email or RSS feed (You will find the subscribe button on topmost left sidebar of my blog – click the SIGN ME UP! or FEEDBURNER COUNT button)

NOTES:

  • Giveaway will be done via Rafflecopter 
  • Opens Internationally, as long as The Book Depository ships to your country
  • You don’t have to own a blog site to enter
  • Contests ends February 1st, ONE winner will be drawn

Click HERE (Tip: Please open this link in NEW tab or NEW window so you can still view this blog post) to enter this fabulous giveaway!!!

Click HERE to hop away to other giveaways! List is at the bottom of the blog post.

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: Hex Hall #2: Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

RATING: StarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Paranormal | Fantasy

(Hex Hall #2)

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?

Book 1: Hex Hall review

*****

Demonglass bored me on its first half, frustrated me on its second half. I mean, just when things started to simmer… BAM! The End. See you in book 3. C’mon, Rachel Hawkins! I have yet to see some action in this sequel, then suddenly it’s all over. Crap. Now would you believe I still liked Demonglass despite the lack of action? It’s all because of Archer. Ha! *fangirl mode*

I have no qualms about the characters, but i’m a little miffed on how the story was delivered. It was so casual; should i blame it on the middle book syndrome? i don’t think so. Because when the truth unfolds, it still surprises me. And how i love the twists and turns! Although i raised my eyebrows on the love triangle. i like Cal, but his relationship with Sophie was not substantial enough to bring about the conflict in Sophie’s love life. Cal hardly registered in swoon-worthy moments! Or maybe, that’s just me. He did have more face time than Archer but when Archer was there, I kept smiling while reading. Now WHY is that?!!! Snarky, mean Archer and sweet, mushy Archer both left me tingling…! Ahem. 😉

Will Jenna ever be of some help to Sophie? It’s like her vampirism is just for display. And I was waiting for some kind of showdown between Sophie and one of her demon friends (the more dangerous one)… but no. There is none.

The disappointment i had with Demonglass was easy to overlook simply by Archer’s several appearances on the book. I definitely enjoyed his moments with Sophie.

So, who’s excited for the third book, Spellbound? 😉

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: Fracture by Megan Miranda

RATING: StarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Paranormal | Suspense

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine—despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she’s reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy’s motives aren’t quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

*****

FRAGMENTED.

Some things i love (like Decker). Some things i hate (like Delaney). I could not decide whether my love for Fracture can overcome the hate. Still, the plot is okay and the suspense is there, but it wasn’t enough for me. And there’s a lot of things that were predictable too.

When Delaney came back from the dead, she wasn’t sure who she was anymore. or her parents. or Decker. That’s where i was skeptical. If Decker’s devotion for her was not enough to make her feel blessed to be alive, then what will? Sigh. The push-and-pull between her and Decker was such a headache. I mean, just say what you feel, for goodness sake! But i love Decker. First pages in, I adored him already. Too bad his character was underdeveloped along side Delaney.

Troy‘s character is really good. Well i don’t really like him but i see the idea of what his character is implying. He is the other side of the equation – the other alternative to make the curse that was his and Delaney’s to carry seemingly bearable. That worked for me. Ultimately, it was Delaney’s decision if she will embrace her second life as a gift or as a burden.

Would i recommend Fracture? Hmm. Not really. But perhaps if you’re looking for a different take on the unexplained, then maybe this book will interests you.

Publisher: Bloomsbery Children’s Books

Imprint: Walker Books for Young Readers

Pub Date: 01/17/2012

Thank you NetGalley and Alona Fryman for granting my galley request.

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

RATING: StarStarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Paranormal | Fantasy

(Hex Hall #1)

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father–an elusive European warlock–only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

*****

Hex Hall is such a fun read! The story is somewhat unique once the twist was thrown in. Never mind the pop culture references or the shallowness of a boarding school (some of it, anyway). I really enjoyed my time reading this. =)

Sophie is very entertaining to read. She’s sassy, defiant, and downright sarcastic. Archer (man, i love that name) is my typical bad boy: arrogant and confident. It was refreshing to see how Hawkins build their relationship. You all know i am not a fan of love-at-first-sight stuff, right? So the gradual change of Sophie’s and Archer’s relationship from being frenemies to friends to what-am-i-to-him-? was so fun. And whatever happened to cellars being so scary? That cellar scene was hot!

The legend on how the Prodigium started was intriguing. There’s a lot of magic that’s wasted on petty quarrels so i didn’t like that. But when the time came for Sophie to be a dark witch (or whatever she was), she pulled if off flawlessly. Hello, there’s no hesitancy when she killed the demon. Very nice!

Hex Hall is exactly the light read i was in the mood for. The romance was okay, but the paranormal part was not bad, either. Try this out while i go on to read it’s sequel, Demonglass. =)

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Rating: StarStarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Contemporary | Romance

(Dairy Queen #1)

When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.

Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D. J. can’t help admitting, maybe he’s right.

When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.

Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn’t so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won’t even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league.

When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.

Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D. J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.

Literary Awards: Borders Original Voices Award for YA or Independent Reader (2006),South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2009), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2009)

*****

ENDEARING.

Dairy Queen is the kind of book that grows on you. It started out pretty much ordinary, but then as Murdock builds the story, it gets interesting after every turn of page. D.J. is some girl i probably won’t hang out with at first glance (her being the Dairy Queen, submissive, complacent and all that). But I got to know her; she ran deep and i really, really liked her. Admired her, even. Yes, D.J. has a awful lot of stuff to say. =)

D.J. took over their farm when her dad hurt his hip. She did (almost always) all the farm work; hence, the term Dairy Queen. Her dad grumpily cooks for her and Curtis while her mom works as a principal. With her dad’s bossiness, her mom’s absence, and her brother’s silence (he doesn’t like to talk), complaining about her hard work at the farm without recognition doesn’t seem to matter. So she says nothing. Enter Brian, rival quarterback who seems to have no future in football because of his laziness. Showing up in D.J.’s farm so he can train, Brian is the egotistic distraction D.J. doesn’t need. Suddenly, D.J. can’t help but speak up.

Murdock wrote a story that has no need for rush. I was acquainted with D.J.’s farm life and sports genius first before delving into the core of the story. i love the progress of D.J. and Brian’s friendship. Antagonistic at first, but unconsciously, they learn to know each other. Eventually, each other’s strength. Brian is perceptive. i liked how he’s straight with D.J., how he can get her to talk. It felt real. I understood completely why D.J. fell for him even when he’s so, SO out of her league. =) And those awkward moments with Brian? Hilarious!

Be patient when you pick up and read Dairy Queen. While i greatly enjoyed D.J. and Brian’s relationship, i also cherished D.J.’s raw conflicts with her family (strained and awkward, but they all worked out beautifully). Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, Dairy Queen surely had me rooting for the farm chick. =)

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

RATING: Star

Genre: Young Adult > Fantasy

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

*****

EXASPERATING.

The Scorpio Races tasted like bad milk for me (and i don’t even drink milk!). I was in a constant state of confusion 2/3 of the time i spent reading it. Right now i would like to apologize to Maggie Stiefvater’s fans because i have nothing good to say about her latest book.

Puck is petulant. Sean is too brooding. The legend of water horses was not explained until i was already reading more than half of the book. I just could not get into the story. If i were to describe the plot delivery as a person, i’d say it was scatter-brained. The story took too looong to materialize. It was hard to connect with the characters. Imagine me dreading to pick up where i left off because i felt it was a required summer read that i need to finish! It was that bad; the enjoyment in reading was not there. The only part that i read the chapters straight was the scene of the actual Scorpio Race. Other than that and Finn, this fantasy was a downer for me.

Did you love The Scorpio Races? If yes, please leave a comment and tell me which part(s) of the book that made you love it.

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: Unearthly #2: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

RATING: StarStarStarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Urban Fantasy | Supernatural

(Unearthly #2)

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

Book 1: Unearthly review

*****

ABSOLUTE.

Hallowed left my heart in tatters. While reading, I experienced a lot of heartbreak and loss in more ways than one. Could it be that Unearthly‘s sucess be succinctly followed? I dare say YES. Despite my misgivings on minor inconsistencies in the story, this is a superb sequel. SO not a middle book, you guys. Apart from Angelfall, Unearthly is one of the best YA angel series there is for me. Hallowed cemented that belief.

I really, really like Clara. She’s funny, sarcastic, and honest to a fault. Her defining trait? Unwillingness to submit and depend her life on fate. Her conviction is unbelievable! Christian is so hard to hate, me being Team Tucker and all. He’s the perfect friend and ally. His character is flawed, but still Cynthia Hand wrote him with such delicate trust that readers like me will like him in spite of the love triangle. Tucker… man, I miss him. Not a lot of scenes here but if he’s present, i felt him vibrant and alive. i remembered Clara falling in love with him, fighting for him in the previous book. In the end, he was so mature that i applauded him. Now there’s a man who really knows how to love. *sigh*

Clara’s angelic heritage seems too good to be true. The similarities between her and Christian to fully capture their “we belong together” drama is a stretch for me. I found an inconsistency between the Intangere and Black Wings that made me raise an eyebrow…? Oh, well.

Hallowed is a heartwrenching read, romance-wise and family wise. Many times Cynthia Hand tempted me to spill my tears. Believe me, the tightness in my chest is there. That ending is too sad. Crap, i think i’ll sulk for a while. *walks out*

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

It’s Monday! What are you reading? [14]

 

Okay, so who’s fired up on reading this January?

I do! I do!

I read 5 books in 9 days. Man, i love this job! Err, hobby. 😉

RECENTLY READ

Dairy Queen is a nice surprise.

It is not what i expected but heartwarming nonetheless.

Review to come. 😉

READING NOW

Is this worth the read?

I’m 3 chapters in but still not getting the whole water-horses thing.

NEXT

I think it’s time for a light read!

Would you agree that Hex Hall would be light to me?

LATER

 Hopefully i can squeeze these two to pack up my coming weekend!

*fingers crossed*

Whew! So what are your reading this week? 😉

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”

Book Review: Witch & Wizard #3: The Fire by James Patterson

RATING: StarStar

Genre: Young Adult > Paranormal | Fantasy

(Witch & Wizard #3)

Whit and Wisty Allgood have sacrificed everything to lead the resistance against the merciless totalitarian regime that governs their world. Its supreme leader, The One Who Is The One, has banned everything they hold dear: books, music, art, and imagination. But the growing strength of the siblings’ magic hasn’t been enough to stop the One’s evil rampage, and now he’s executed the only family they had left.

Wisty knows that the time has finally come for her to face The One. But her fight and her fire only channel more power to this already invincible being. How can she and Whit possibly prepare for their imminent showdown with the ruthless villain that devastated their world-before he can truly become all-powerful?

In this stunning third installment of the epic Witch & Wizard series, the stakes have never been higher–and the consequences will changee verything.

Literary Awards: A Children’s Choice Author of the Year, Nominated for the 2011 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards (2011)

*****

James Patterson ran out of fuel. The Fire started out great, but Whit & Wisty STILL could not figure out their Magic. For goodness sake, it’s the third book already! Surely, they thought of something by now on how to defeat The One Who Is The One. *sigh* No. still not there… until the last few pages. What a disappointing final book (i hope it’s the last one) for one of my fave series.

Whit was so indecisive. A lot of things he wanted to do. Kiss Janine (the cute revolutionary)? Save Celia (his dead girlfriend)? Save Wisty? Save his parents? It was very tiring. Wisty is hot and cold all time. Kill The One Who Is The One. But I’m afraid. Kill The One Who Is The One. But I’m terrified. Kill The One Who Is The One. But I don’t know how to use my Gift! Wait, what is my Gift again??? Sheesh. My head ached for the all the going in circles of the story.

I really liked Witch & Wizard and The Gift. Unfortunately, The Fire is a failure in so many ways. The only thing i liked about it is Byron. Hey, Weasel!

Have you started this series yet? If yes, then don’t bother reading The Fire. Leave me a message, then I will summarize it up for you. I want to spare you the burden, that’s all. 😉

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.: maria :.

“giving up is the ultimate tragedy.”