Book Review: Croak by Gina Damico

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Young Adult > Paranormal

(Croak #1)

Fed up with her wild behavior, sixteen-year-old Lex’s parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape.

But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can’t stop her desire for justice – or is it vengeance? – whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again.

Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

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…shucks. that ending. so sad. ūüė¶

Croak¬†is definitely a fun read. That’s why I was shocked with the ending. I feel for Lex because it was so devastating. *sad, sad sigh*

Lex has her moments. Her violent streak was somehow hilarious, especially when it was intended to Uncle Mort and Driggs! And I did get her fury towards something she cannot do while having the power to do so. Oh, I so agree with you there, Lex. Why is life so sucky like that?

I apologize if my thoughts seemed incoherent at the moment. Two days after finishingCroak and I still cannot get over that senseless death, as Lex put it. I did not saw it coming. O_o

The “Nancy Drew” scenes were a riot, what with the predictable dialogues and outrageous reactions from Lex’s friends regarding their¬†investigation¬†on the killings.

Croak¬†managed to make a paranormal theme notorious and somber at the same time, and that’s what made it special. Now, I am moving to the sequel,¬†Scorch.¬†But no more heartbreak please,¬†Gina Damico.

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CROAK by Gina Damico

Ebook, 311 pages

Published March 20th 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

4/5 stars

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Book Review: Lux #3: Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Young Adult > Science Fiction > Urban Fantasy

(Lux #3)

No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn‚Äôt fooling around. Doubting him isn‚Äôt something I‚Äôll do again, and now that we‚Äôve made it through the rough patches, well… There‚Äôs a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I‚Äôm no longer the same Katy. I‚Äôm different… And I‚Äôm not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I‚Äôm capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won‚Äôt turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we‚Äôre stronger… and they know it.

Book 1: Obsidian review     Book 2: Onyx review

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…Ah, sh*t. Lotsa romance, little action. Not that I’m complaining, but… oh, well.

Daemon, from this moment on, you can never do wrong to me. You are my hot alien. Lemme be your Kitten!

*ahem*

Okay, then. I wouldn’t have mind the¬†Katy-Daemon¬†lovefest, but it was very clear that¬†Opal¬†was all about the lovey-dovey. And the progress of the story went right out the window. Whoosh!

While I did enjoy seeing more of¬†Daemon, I was skittish on why there hasn’t been anygood¬†action at all. Or is it just me? I love this series, and it brought a frown on my face when¬†Opal¬†failed to deliver the right amount of maturity to the plot.

I guess the imbalance between the romance and sci-fi theme¬†imbalanced¬†me. Knowing full well that Katy’s and Daemon’s story is just getting good, I had a feeling that this third book was going to be explosive! Well, a slight bomb if you may, on the last few pages. My heart went to Daemon, but it’s partly his fault things went awry. Him and his friends should’ve had a back up plan. Plan A-Z! Well, hello.¬†Blake‘s there, wasn’t he? So surely, things were bound to get dirty.

Origin¬†seems to far away. But I can sit still waiting for it.¬†Daemon, you better be packing up some heat because I’m expecting you to blast one particular hybrid to pieces.

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OPAL by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Ebook, 315 pages

Published December 11th 2012 by Entangled Teen

3/5 stars

Elated (or not): Hate is easy

emma_weheartit

image from we heart it

I was quick to be pissed off this week.

I got irritated when a reader made some “colorful” remarks on a book series that I loved when I was still in my teens.

I got miffed when another reader commented that I keep my mouth shut on my own blog.

?!?

What is it with people nowadays?

It’s not enough that we judge each other inside our own heads. We still need to say hurtful things when we can choose our words carefully and still manage to say what we feel.

*blows hair from my face*

hannah_weheartit

image from we heart it

I am brutally honest to a fault. It was my greatest flaw during high school (I think). Back then, I was not afraid to hurt my friends when I speak my mind. But now, I’ve mellowed out. My friends teased me that I’ve gone soft. Marriage tempered my mouth. Maybe. Or maybe, I just grew up.

Don’t get me wrong. I am still frank. Although I now speak when the heat of the moment has passed. I run the lines that I am about to say in my mind a hundred times before saying them out loud. And I choose not-too-harsh words to deliver.

Curving my patience is such a chore, but it got easy when I slip into the new roles in my life. Breadwinner. Wife. Mother.

But sometimes, I slipped to my old self. And I ask myself, is that so bad?

*grunts*

Book Review: The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams

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Young Adult > Paranormal

(Incarnation #1)

Seraphina has been alive since the Middle Ages, when her boyfriend, Cyrus, managed to perfect a method of alchemy that lets them swap bodies with any human being. Sera ran away from Cyrus years ago, when she realized that what they were doing‚ÄĒtaking the lives of innocent people‚ÄĒwas wrong. Yet she doesn‚Äôt want to die, so she finds young people who are on the brink of death, and inhabits their bodies.

Sera has just landed in the body of a girl named Kailey who was about to die in a car accident. For the first time, Sera falls in love with the life of the person she‚Äôs inhabiting. Sera also falls for the boy next door, Noah. And soon it‚Äôs clear the feelings are returned. But she can never kiss Noah, because for her to touch lips with a human would mean the human‚Äôs death. And she has even more to worry about: Cyrus is chasing her. If she stays in one place for long, she puts herself‚ÄĒand the people she‚Äôs grown to care for‚ÄĒin great danger. Will Sera have to give up the one thing that‚Äôs eluded her for centuries: true love?

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…hate to say it, but it was only interesting at the start. So¬†The Alchemy of Forever¬†was forgettable for me.

The first part was exciting. How¬†Sera¬†was enchanted with this beautiful boy. How she thought everything was so magical when you’re fifteen (or was she sixteen?). How she unknowingly became an Incarnate. But my interest stopped when Cyrus and the gang were showed in present time. I just felt so detached when the story went from there.

To think that Sera was around for hundreds of years, she would know how to be smart about what they do. I think she was too sheltered being an Incarnate when she should’ve been learning anything and everything like Cyrus. So when the time came that she wanted out of¬†Cyrus‘ world, she will do it right. Sadly, Sera reacted like a ditz with her amateur plans. I mean, really?

I like reincarnation stories. They bring me fantasies of being anyone I want back to those ages when everything was so different. But¬†The Alchemy of Forever¬†was one of them. I’d say it was 2/3 contemporary, 1/3 paranormal. And that was not good enough.

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THE ALCHEMY OF FOREVER by Avery Williams

Paperback, 256 pages

Published April 26th 2012 by Simon & Schuster UK

2/5 stars

Book Review: (Anna #2): Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

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Young Adult > Paranormal > Ghosts

(Anna #2)

It’s been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can’t move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live‚ÄĒnot walk around half dead. He knows they’re right, but in Cas’s eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he’s seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong…these aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.

Book 1: Anna Dressed in Blood review

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…The last few chapters were the juiciest. But other than that, I found¬†Girl of Nightmares¬†mediocre. The horror wasn’t half of that of¬†Anna Dressed in Blood, that’s why I am sorely miffed.

Cas was pining over Ana. Thomas and Carmel were dancing around in circles. Ana was haunting Cas. That pretty much was the story. With the exception on how Cas went and battled an evil in some hell, the story was dragging. I was yawning with boredom! Because here I thought I was in for more gore and crippling horror. But no. *defeated sigh*

I was surprised by the ending, though. I mean, with all of Cas declaring his undying love for the ghost, I welcome some sort of cheesy and unrealistic ending for the not-quite-normal lovers. But my prediction was premature. I think it was very well executed. That was the ending I’m hoping for before starting the book, and when I got that, it was painful and has this “reality bites” vibe.¬†Sucks to be you, Cas!

Girl of Nightmares¬†could have been better. The terror was just not there for me. and that sucks because¬†that¬†cover invites a terrifying hell like you wouldn’t believe. Right?

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GIRL OF NIGHTMARES by Kendare Blake

Published August 7th 2012 by Tor Teen

3/5 stars

Book Review: Under the Never Sky #2: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

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Young Adult > Dystopia

(Under the Never Sky #2)

It’s been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don’t take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe’s precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

Book 1: Under the Never Sky review

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…done and done. ūüėĬ†Veronica Rossi¬†messed me up¬†big¬†time.

While it was not as stunning as I thought it would be (based on the glowing reviews I saw), I think it is one of the best middle books to ever come out in a YA dystopian series. Rossi strengthened the characters, developed more the (previously) vague dystopian world in Under the Never Sky, and while the loss was not minimal, Rossi left hope and joy that are enough to leave readers (almost) fully compensated.

If I were to base my rating on the story advancement alone, I’d say it was really good, maybe even deserving a 5-star rating if I was being generous. But… I was so emotionally invested with the characters that I can’t help but get cranky if things don’t go Aria’s way, or Perry’s.

From being a Dweller to becoming a warrior,¬†Aria¬†was intimidating. I didn’t expect her to be this ready for her next goal in the Outside. She was no longer a burden. She was now Perry’s equal. I really liked her character’s development. Aria came out mature, responsible, and not self-centered anymore, compared to the first installment. Oh, and she’s not whiny anymore, hooray!

It’s hard not to judge¬†Perry¬†on his decisions because it was no longer about him and Aria alone. There’s the tribe to think about, the supporters of Vale who has not yet fully accepted Perry, the worsening Aether that’s threatening to obliterate his home. But. but. I wanted more display of his hunting and fighting skills. and I just wished he got to spend more time with Aria in this sequel, that’s all. I adored Roar, but he’s not Perry for Aria. you know? haha!

Sable‘s character reminded me of De Malo from¬†Rebel Heart, at first. and I actually liked¬†Soren! I found him funny. But I cannot wait for him to try getting back at Perry. He’s in for a surprise.¬†Pound him to pieces, Savage!

Through the Ever Night will take you to a roller coaster ride. The romance angle is played very well, and the dangerous world of Aria and Perry will leave you an unsatiable taste of their desire to survive.

Cinder!

#6 Off-the-Shelf Challenge 2013

#4 Dystopia Challenge 2013

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THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT by Veronica Rossi

Paperback, 352 pages

Published January 8th 2013 by HarperCollins

4.5/5 stars

Book Review: Sky Chasers #2: Spark by Amy Kathleen Ryan

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Young Adult > Dystopia > Science Fiction

(Sky Chasers #2)

Waverly and Kieran are finally reunited on the Empyrean. Kieran has led the boys safely up to this point, and now that the girls are back, their mission seems slightly less impossible: to chase down the New Horizon, and save their parents from the enemy ship. But nothing is truly as it seems‚ĶKieran‚Äôs leadership methods have raised Seth‚Äôs hackles‚ÄĒ and Waverly‚Äôs suspicions. Is this really her fianc√©? The handsome, loving boy she was torn from just a short time before? More and more, she finds her thoughts aligned with Seth‚Äôs. But if Seth is Kieran‚Äôs Enemy No. 1, what does that make her?

In one night, a strange explosion rocks the Empyrean‚ÄĒshooting them off course and delaying their pursuit of the New Horizon‚ÄĒand Seth is mysteriously released from the brig. Seth is the most obvious suspect for the explosion, and Waverly the most obvious suspect for releasing him. As the tension reaches a boiling point, will Seth be able to find the true culprit before Kieran locks them both away‚ÄĒor worse? Will Waverly follow her heart, even if it puts lives at risk? With the balance of power precarious and the clock ticking, every decision counts‚Ķ every step brings them closer to a new beginning, or a sudden end…

Book 1: Glow review

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…define¬†awesome?¬†Amy Kathleen Ryan.

Spark is sinister. From the plot to the main characters Kieran, Waverly and Seth, it was just so nerve-wracking sinister. And I looove it!

Kieran is still giving me the creeps. His sermons and utter belief that God is talking to him? It made him crazy dangerous. But I cannot hate him 100% because he really believes that he is a special one Рthe chosen among the hundred kids living in the Empyrean to deliver them from evil called Seth and Ann Mather. haha! so brilliant.

Waverly¬†was the surprise. Whatever happened to her in the New Horizon, it changed her drastically. She’s aloof, suspicious and already considered a recluse. The terrible emotional damage that Anne Mather did to her was very apparent in one of the brig scenes. Her excitement to conducting violence is so disturbing.. but it excited me, too! Surely, Waverly is not in for a fairy tale. But she’s not going down without a fight. I regard her character with respect, blatant flows and all.

Seth… I’m still on his team. *beams* For a guy who realized his mistakes in the past, redemption seemed futile. And yet, he risked his life time and again to save whatever life is possible inside the Empyrean. He’s so smart! Angry, hurting and brash, but still smart. ūüôā Finally,¬†finally¬†something good happened to him. Woohoo! Can’t wait to see you again in¬†Flame. =P

I don’t know what nebula¬†Amy Kathleen Ryan¬†got her diabolical ideas for her series, but I am¬†so¬†into it. Many readers might find this series malignant (with the dak theme), but I rejoice in it!

Spark is not your typical YA sci-fi, dystopian book. So you better pack up lots of sunshine with you if you intend to board the Empyrean or New Horizon.

#5 Off-the-Shelf Challenge 2013

#3 Dystopia Challenge 2013

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SPARK by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Published July 17th 2012 by St. Martin’s Griffin

5/5 stars

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

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Young Adult > Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.

Literary Awards: Printz Honor (2007), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2010)

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…after 3 John Green books,¬†Paper Towns¬†is still my favorite.

The humor I found in¬†An Abundance of Katherines¬†is.. forced? corny? not really that funny? I keep pysching myself up that, this is it, I will laugh in this chapter already. maybe in the next one? No, but keep going.. ūüė¶ Until I reached the final chapter and it just wasn’t that enjoyable per my JG standard.

I do like¬†Colin‘s penchant for anagrams. I think I have the same pastime, but with car plates. ūüôā I also like when he remembered his past relationships with the Katherines. Sometimes it made me smile, other times it made me wistful. I want to hug Colin for the disasters in his lovelife! Not that drastic, but I know it was equally painful on his part. and I think his parents are awesome.

John Green wrote superbly as usual. For other authors, it would take them to have a dual POV in order for me to peek at the MC’s love interest’s thinking. In here, I don’t need¬†Lindsey‘s POV to understand her side. I can picture her mind (and her heart) completely just by how she talked and connected to Colin.

Overall, An Abundance of Katherines is an average JG book for me. Minimal highlights compared to Paper Towns, even Looking for Alaska.

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AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by John Green

Published August 14th 2008 by Speak

3/5 stars

Book Review: Lorien Legacies #3: The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore

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Young Adult > Science Fiction > Fantasy

(Lorien Legacies #3)

Until the day I met John Smith, Number Four, I’d been on the run alone, hiding and fighting to stay alive.

Together, we are much more powerful. But it could only last so long before we had to separate to find the others. . . .

I went to Spain to find Seven, and I found even more, including a tenth member of the Garde who escaped from Lorien alive. Ella is younger than the rest of us, but just as brave. Now we’re looking for the others–including John.

But so are they.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They caught me in New York–but I escaped.
I am Number Six.
They want to finish what they started.
But they’ll have to fight us first.

Book 1: I Am Number Four review     Book 2: The Power of Six review

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…Eh. Cliffhanger my *ss.

I think I’m getting tired of this series. Number¬†Four¬†is grating on my nerves. and the cliffhanger ending after cliffhanger ending is starting to be a habit for the author.

The Rise of Nine¬†did not display Number¬†Nine¬†as I thought he was: like this awesome, more experienced Lorien than Four. If there’s anything,¬†Six¬†is the star of this installment! It is still action-packed, but there is nothing new to the story that was different from the first two books. New legacies are introduced, awakened, and used. And yet these Loriens are nowhere near in defeating the Mogadorians.

I miss Sam. I never realized I liked his character until he was not in the scenes.Marina and Ella are forgettable. Eight is weird.

I read quickly, turning page after page until I reached the ending, and it was frustrating! The action scenes were repetitive: search for the missing Lorien, thwarted by the Mogs along the way, someone getting hurt. and then back to square one at the end, which was, they still don’t don’t how to defeat the Mogs. I’m not sure¬†we¬†are getting saved by the Loriens anytime now. *insert sarcasm here*

I used to love Four’s adventures, but now? I myself am exhausted from all the running from the Mogs. It seemed like it’s never going to end.

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THE RISE OF NINE by Pittacus Lore

Ebook, 271 pages

Published August 21st 2012 by HarperCollins

3/5 stars

Book Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

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Young Adult > Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret

Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast‚ÄĒand nearly got someone killed.

Now Chelsea has taken a vow of silence‚ÄĒto learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she‚Äôs ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there‚Äôs strength in silence, and in the new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way‚ÄĒpeople she never noticed before; a boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she‚Äôs done. If only she can forgive herself.

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…took me a while to get reacquainted with Harrington’s writing. But it’s worth it! While¬†Saving June¬†is still my favorite,¬†Speechless¬†still managed to render me smiling and happy by the time I finished it. =)

I was delighted with¬†Chelsea‘s hot and cold persona. She can be a witch sometimes, but she can be human, too. She can be cowering from shame and despair with the bullying, but she can be a total awestruck ditz when she sees Brendon..! It was funny to me, I don’t know why. At least shes’ not that depressing even if Chelsea thinks that her life is so over.

I rarely like nice guys. But I have one from¬†Geek Girl, and that’s Trevor. He’s such a sweetie! and now I have another one in here…¬†Sam. =) He skateboards, he cooks, and he’s…¬†good¬†good. You know? He’s¬†Noah‘s best friend and I was expecting he will be this very, very angry kid towards Chelsea. Well, he’s not overjoyed, but he’s not hostile to her, either. It raised my eyebrows a little, but it was nice. ūüôā

But my favorite character is definitely¬†Andy. Cute, chain-smoking, angsty, angry, gay Andy! *beams* He’s not the MC, but I felt that he’s role is so big, and perfectly tuned to the theme of the story.

Speechless¬†did not display Harrington’s remarkable writing as compared to Saving June. But the depth of emotions and the strong chemistry between characters is still amazing as ever. I may start reading Harrington’s work with the blues, but I always finished it with the warm fuzzies. *grins excitedly*

One more thing:¬†Kristen¬†should meet Lindsay of¬†Before I Fall. I’d like a showdown of these mean girls. Oh yeah.

Thank you Netgalley and Harlequin for granting my galley request.

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SPEECHLESS by Hannah Harrington

Published August 28th 2012 by Harlequin Teen

4/5 stars