Book Review: Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

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Adult Paranormal > Fantasy

He calls me his Queen of the Night. I’d die for him. I’d kill for him, too. When MacKayla Lane receives a torn page from her dead sister’s journal, she is stunned by Alina’s desperate words. And now MacKayla knows that her sister’s killer is close. But evil is closer. And suddenly the sidhe-seer is on the hunt: For answers. For revenge. And for an ancient book of dark magic so evil, it corrupts anyone who touches it.

Mac’s quest for the Sinsar Dubh takes her into the mean, shape-shifting streets of Dublin, with a suspicious cop on her tail. Forced into a dangerous triangle of alliance with V’lane, an insatiable Fae prince of lethally erotic tastes, and Jericho Barrons, a man of primal desires and untold secrets, Mac is soon locked in a battle for her body, mind, and soul.

As All Hallows’ Eve approaches and the city descends into chaos, as a shocking truth about the Dark Book is uncovered, not even Mac can prevent a deadly race of immortals from shattering the walls between worlds—with devastating consequences.…

Book 1: Darkfever review      Book 2: Bloodfever review

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I can finally admit that Karen Marie Moning got me to a fever. *shudders*

For the life of me, I cannot imagine that ending. So… brutal and merciless. I got to hand it to Karen Marie Moning, for only the loyal and absurdly addicted to the Fever series can contain (and grudgingly accept) Mac’s unfortunate event, if only until they can get their hands on Dreamfever… And I am one of them. *grins*

(praying that Mac would overcome this savage time of her life)

It occurred to me that while I see Mac and Barrons’ relationship barely progressed, the storyline is getting more and more daring and intriguing. Mac was being taunted with pages from her sister’s journal, frustrating her as she is nowhere close to catching the killer. Barrons is ever elusive, and V’lane, although showing hints of being human, cannot be trusted still. I am on book 3 already, and this is still the setting that we have.

Annoying, I know.
But how come I am still glued to this sh*t?

Because it’s very entertaining. After that mindf*ck of an ending, who knows why.

What I am trying to say is this: Stick with Mac and Barrons and V’lane. Sometimes they are freaking irritating – dancing around a bush every single banter – but other bunch of times, they are awesome. and funny. and darn sexy. 😀

I forgot that I should be tearing my hair off because of what happened to Mac in the end. But I think I have no choice but to put my faith in Moning. You better have some explosive comeback for Mac!

*stands up and picks up Dreamfever*

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FAEFEVER by Karen Marie Moning

Hardcover, 327 pages

Published September 16th 2008 by Delacorte Press
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4/5 stars

Book Review: Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

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Young Adult > Post-Apocalyptic > Dystopia

(Ashfall #2)

It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

Book 1: Ashfall review

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You want true and gritty post-apocalyptic? Pick this up.

Freakin’ Mike Mullin got be depressed, hopeless, and downright in despair. *sulks in a corner*

So this is what it felt like: dreading the chapters because every ending of each chapter got me wincing, palpitating, and yup, closing Illium the Kindle (because I cannot bear if Alex dies, or Darla); wishing that I don’t want to get transported to Alex’s post-apocalyptic world (because I don’t think I can survive it); and expecting the worst can happen to Alex’s loved ones (because really, no one is spared during times like this).

It’s time to pray for our survival.

I’ll have you know, that two weeks I was reading Ashen Winter? I was in a current state of sadness (I was so distressed!). That’s how nerve-wracking the story was. I was chanting a mantra just like Alex, please let it end, please let it end.

The scheme of things is even worse than Ashfall. It did not help that Alex is too willful, to the point of being stubborn (to look for his parents). Darla said this is not a good idea. Another scene played: Alex wanted to help someone, Darla said let’s not get ourselves killed. So I’m thinking: Alex just isn’t good in listening?

When Alex realized the consequence of his action, things went from worse to hell-if-i-still-want-to-live-longer-after-this worst. Even I don’t want to get caught up in Alex’s skirmish with the cannibals. *shudders*

The ending was.. hard to take. I thought my heart was already in pieces when I started this book. When I get to the end, it was breaking all over again. How is that possible? *sob*

Mike Mullin can truly write a terrifying story! Ashen Winter was believable. and scary. and incredible.

Thank you Netgalley and Tanglewood Press for granting my galley request.

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ASHEN WINTER by Mike Mullin

October 16th 2012 by Tanglewood Press

4.5/5 stars

Book Review: Countdown by Michelle Rowen

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Young Adult > Dystopia

3 seconds left to live. Once the countdown starts, it cannot be stopped.

2 pawns thrown into a brutal underground reality game.

Kira Jordan survived her family’s murder and months on plague-devastated city streets with hard-won savvy and a low-level psi ability. She figures she can handle anything. Until she wakes up in a barren room, chained next to the notorious Rogan Ellis.

1 reason Kira will never, ever trust Rogan. Even though both their lives depend on it.

Their every move is controlled and televised for a vicious exclusive audience. And as Kira’s psi skill unexpectedly grows and Rogan’s secrets prove evermore deadly, Kira’s only chance of survival is to risk trusting him as much as her instincts. Even if that means running head-on into the one trap she can’t escape.

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So even if there are several holes in the plot, Countdown was enjoyable nonetheless. I especially liked chapter 1 — reminded me of the opening scene of The Saw movie. 😀

This is a quick read.

Yes, the challenges are not that hard to accomplish, and yes, the romance seemed too quick to develop, but the fast pace drove me into sticking with the characters. Rooting for them to win (and maybe hope that Kira and Rogan ended up together). As hurried as the relationship was between them, I admit that those little hot scenes are definite swoon material. *ahem*

The best parts are last few chapters. Made me think that Michelle Rowen will disappoint me, considering all I had going through the book is the romance. But she pulled through. Good twist and good outcome, I say.

If you are looking for a quick dystopian fix, try Countdown. I don’t think you’ll mind the loose ends, and thank goodness this is a standalone.

Thank you Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for granting my galley request.

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COUNTDOWN by Michelle Rowen

Published September 24th 2013 by Harlequin Teen

3.5/5 stars

Book Review: Champion by Marie Lu

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Young Adult > Dystopia

(Legend #3)

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the p
eople of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has.

Book 1: Legend review       Book 2: Prodigy review

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*sob*

How do you move on from an ending like that? =( Oh, don’t get me wrong, because Marie Lu wrapped up Legend series pretty neat. It’s just that.. too little time to say what should have been said, simultaneously time was too long to have the wounds and hurt be healed.

I am nitpicking, because I am so attached to the characters! So emotional with Day and June. My heart still bleeds, I tell you. The letting go broke my heart more than the giving up did.

Day is battling to stay alive every day, while protecting his brother Eden from the Republic’s dangerous intentions. When June’s life was threatened, Day was backed up against a wall with no options… I will always admire Day’s casual arrogance to masked the suffering he experienced (caused by the Republic), but I think June should be called Champion.

June is caught between serving the Elector, and staying by Day’s side because she believed he has suffered enough. When the ‘big elephant’ in the room between her and Day becomes apparent and utterly unavoidable, June must choose: break her heart, or Day’s?

Last five chapters are the bomb, with June’s last POV making me a mumbling, emotional wreck. She was so brave, I am in awe of her. *eyes shining brightly*

and that Epilogue.. while hopeful, still left me wondering: is this really how they ended??? It was really a good and realistic ending, but since I am heavily emotionally invested in this series, I am wanting more.. of Daniel and June. So very much wanting more. *sniffs*

The war is full mode in Champion. June’s involvement in the plague’s cure was a bit of a stretch for me. And that one time that June exhibited her prowess in military training, she got her *ss whipped. Understandable, since her opponent is older and more experienced, but still.

Nitpicking again. Sorry.

This conclusion was the right blend of rage, loss, and despair. I think Champion truly revealed the answer to the question: Can love ever truly forgive?

(Thank you, Marie Lu for a finale worth a good cry, for a day or two.)

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CHAMPION by Marie Lu

Paperback, 353 pages

Published November 5th 2013 by Penguin

4/5 stars

[Waterfell Blog Tour] Book Review: Waterfell by Amalie Howard

My blog is Amalie Howard‘s WATERFELL Blog Tour stop this Nov 2nd! Read on for my review, and see for yourself if you would like to pick it up soon. 😀

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Young Adult > Paranormal

(The Aquarathi #1)

Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright—the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon—until her father’s betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa’s upcoming birthday—the day she comes of age.

Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa’s mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?

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Amalie Howard‘s lore on sea creatures was fascinating. The plot was easy to follow, but I had trouble engaging with Nerissa’s human life (except for Jenna). Riss’ sometimes-abrasive romantic relationship with Lo raised my eyebrows a bunch of times. No goosebumps from me, for the swoon intended to please readers only managed to irked me with its ineffectual dialogue.

Nerissa is living with humans as part of her training as the royal heir to Waterfell. But she wants it to be permanent, because she’s coward enough to run from the responsibility. Because she’s scared enough of Ehmora to want to live a normal human life. Let Ehmora rule Waterfell since she never wanted to be a princess/queen in the first place.

When Riss learned the truth about her mother, the rules of the game changed. Suddenly, Riss wants to accepts Ehmora’s challenge for the throne. and Riss is more determined than ever to know his dead father’s secrets.

The story left the paranormal theme when the origin of Riss’ people, the Aquarathi, was revealed. The twists were also surprising, and well handled. The last three chapters were the most interesting. It gave the viciousness that I was looking for in sea creatures.

Scenes between Riss and Lo were.. frustrating. The banter came across as corny for me. It did not help the Riss’ attitude is unbearable at times. Her best friend’s Jenna’s observations about her character was exactly what I have in mind.

Waterfell and the Aquarathi people captured my imagination. A little more developed characters, and more underwater action scenes might make the following installments better.

Thank you Samantha Lien of JKS Communications – Literary Publicity for the review copy.

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WATERFELL by Amalie Howard

Ebook, 360 pages

Published October 29th 2013 by Harlequin Teen

3.5/5 stars

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amaliehowardAMALIE HOWARD grew up on a small Caribbean island where she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or being a tomboy running around barefoot, shimmying up mango trees and dreaming of adventure. Traveling the globe, she has worked as a research assistant, marketing representative, teen speaker and global sales executive. In between writing novels and indulging her love of reading, Amalie is also a books review editor for TheLoopNY, and blogs at amaliehoward.com. She is represented by the Liza Royce Agency.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

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Young Adult > Dystopia

(Divergent #3)

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Book 1: Divergent review       Book 2: Insurgent review

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*slams my brand new copy of Allegiant on the floor*

Pointless. So utterly pointless.
(and I will not contain my grief.)

Here I thought Delirium series has a disgruntling ending. Congratulations to Divergent series for having the most illogical, senseless, and f*cked up ending to date.

*throws knives instead of confetti*

When Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ended, I was choking with tears. When The Reapers Are the Angels ended, I was ten times inconsolable. At least the grief for these two books was warranted. The deaths were not necessary, but it somehow embodied that the loss of life will contribute more on the lives of the people they left behind.

That was so not the case for Allegiant. My buckets of tears were from anger, disbelief and outright dubiousness of a death that was obviously contrived just so this sacrifice can be as tangible as it gets for the readers.

Well, f*ck sacrifice. F*ck selflessness.

Are these two traits only measurable by death?
Heroism only identified when life is offered willingly?

I don’t think so!

I did not mind that the plot is ridden with holes, or the story is outlandishly veering off from the dystopian theme (and straight to a sci-fi one), or characters did not leave the same hard imprint that the story implied (Who is Edward again? Or Tori? I cannot even remember George Wu!). I no longer cared as much about these elements, so long as Tris and Four get the fruits of their triumphs, whatever they maybe.

But I was denied that. Fully, truly denied of that.

Without it, I asked myself: “WTF am I reading this for?!!!”

It’s been two days since I finished Allegiant, and I think it would take more days for my anger to subside. The madness brought about by its ending is nowhere near dissipating.

I remembered I hated that time when GRRM killed a main character after building him so succinctly in A Game of Thrones. I finished three books already in ASoIaF series, and I still question that death. I still question, and yet I understand more now of why it is necessary.

Veronica Roth killing one of her characters in Allegiant is a far cry from that. Not even a whimper.

The term Allegiant was just a décor. Because when Tris and her friends went outside for the first time, there is a new uprising waiting for them that they can join. But now, it is between genetically pure (GPs) or genetically damaged (GDs). The conflict between the factions and factionless is still spiking, but Roth has to introduce another set of conflict for Tris. Gah, it never ends.

So when the war between the factions and factionless reached its peak, the people watching from the outside (Department of Genetic Welfare) decided to act. But it was an abominable plan to Tris. But wait… in order to prevent them, Tris thought to do that same horrific deed (she abhorred) to the originators of the plan. What?! How’s that for a solution?!! The morality that Tris was asking for was so two-faced, even Four called her on that. But Tris told him, “let’s choose the lesser evil.” And Four reluctantly agreed. WTF.

Looking back, I realized that Four’s POV being present in Allegiant was a letdown. I did not see the Dauntless legend, the stern and disciplined Dauntless instructor who can whip his initiates into submission. Peter even manhandled him for a while in this finale! Four was insecure, unstable, and still reeling from hurt because he cannot have the love from either of his parents. *sigh* It was sad, really. But I love you, Four. Always have, always will.

Tris is stronger, wiser, and better equipped to deal with issues than Four. Her character was still developing, progressing into this heroine worthy from a dystopian world. The stupid twist in her fate was incomprehensible, incorrigible, un-f*cking-believable in the truest sense of these words.

The buildup of the story poorly supported the necessity of death of one of the characters. Not to mention that this character declared in this book, that s/he truly valued her life now, s/he very much wanted to live! So WTF is he/she doing sacrificing his/her life?!?!
Where is the f*cking sense in that, please tell me.

One choice death to define you – puh-lease. Divergent is not as good as The Hunger Games. Allegiant failed where Mockingjay succeeded. Success in a series finale is not always linked to a death, to any death for that matter. So I wish the comparison between these two dystopian series will stop.

Forget the Epilogue. Why write one when you already killed…?!!!!!

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ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth

Paperback, 526 pages

Published October 22nd 2013 by Katherine Tegen books

1/5 stars