Book Review: Exit Kingdom by Alden Bell


Young Adult > Post-Apocalyptic

(Reapers #2)

In a world where the undead outnumber the living, Moses Todd roams the post-apocalyptic plains of America. His reprobate brother, Abraham – his only companion – has known little else.

Together, they journey because they have to; because they have nowhere to go, and no one to answer to other than themselves.

Travelling the bloody wastelands of this ruined world, Moses is looking for a kernel of truth, and a reason to keep going.

And a chance encounter presents him with the Vestal Amata, a beguiling and mysterious woman who may hold the key to salvation.

But he is not the only one seeking the Vestal. For the Vestal has a gift: a gift that might help save what is left of humanity. And it may take everything he has to free her from the clutches of those who most desire her.

Book 1: The Reapers Are The Angels review


For the pursuit of good is a constant labour, and he ain’t always got the strength in his heart.

Such decadent writing! It is a talent for an author to turned a zombie-infested world into this warm, fuzzy, and feel-good post-apocalytic place through his incredible storytelling. So I salute you, Mr. Bell. I am such a fan!

I should hate Moses Todd. His relentless pursuit of my favorite heroine Temple is an abomination in my eyes. But, but… he made me believe. In things that are no longer there. In his hopeless existence. In people that are no longer worth fighting for, worth living for.

He says something like, ‘there’s must be something wrong with me, if I always spill my thoughts to a stranger, much less thoughts on why I was still here, alive, and protecting a brother who is more worth dead than alive.’

The absolute conviction Moses have in keeping his brother, Abraham alive at all costs, it was admirable! This is what gripped me the most in Exit Kingdom. This, and the quick snippets of a girl who was more than a woman that she was given credit for. 🙂 Yay, Temple!

This Reapers series is underrated, and I am surprised why only few readers have managed to unearth it. C’mon people, read about Temple and Moses!

That’s a shame, though. Because if truth be told, the most magnificent stories come from the tales of zombie survivors.


EXIT KINGDOM by Alden Bell

Ebook, 320 pages

Published November 8th 2012 by Tor

4/5 stars

Book Review: What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver


General Fiction > Short Stories

In his second collection of stories, as in his first, Carver’s characters are peripheral people–people without education, insight or prospects, people too unimaginative to even give up. Carver celebrates these men and women.


Ah, the beauty of short stories 🙂

It’s a good thing I am introduced to gems like these, once in a while. If only to help pass the time while riding a bus. Or fill up the loss of having left Illium the Kindle at home. Heh.

The stories depict ordinary lives of ordinary people. The uniqueness of this book being special lies at the tone of Carver’s writing, at the mood evoked from me through the exchange of emotions. But the stories did not linger with me, not that much. Well okay, the only vivid memory I had is about The Bath. The rest? Fragments in minute proportions.

Perhaps my unfamiliarity with reading short stories are to blame for my dissatisfaction. The ability to construct the story without the obvious storytelling was abnormally absent when I was reading this. 😦 Because Carver’s talent is in the “reading between the lines”. At least I got that, yeah? =) Carver’s writing initially appeared simple, but upon closer inspection on his stories, he tells a lot more.


I wish I could retain more of what occurred in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, because I believe it is something special. Only I missed it.

Perhaps, a reread is in order? 😉



Paperback, 164 pages

Published June 18th 1989 by Vintage

3/5 stars

Book Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson


Young Adult > Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth.

Literary Awards: National Book Award Nominee for Young People’s Literature (1999), Golden Kite Award for Fiction (1999), BCCB Blue Ribbon Book (1999), Edgar Award Nominee for Best Young Adult (2000), Printz Honor (2000), South Carolina Book Award for Young Adult Book Award (2002), Horn Book Fanfare (2000), ALA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults (2000), Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2005)


…even Gumball will find this boring. :/

I have this utter dislike to Speak‘s main character Melinda. It’s not because she’s so dull, weak, and bully-material, but because she let herself be a victim after the “incident” happened. In her mind, she lost the battle already. Fighting back (even if only by moving on) was not Melinda’s strongest suits, and I have no sympathy for people like that.

I cannot see why not speaking up will help Melinda’s cause. It only triggered a series of bullying when she should’ve prevented it by talking about happened at the party, even if people won’t listen, but so what? The point is not to fight a battle like this by yourself!

Sheesh. Now I feel myself getting worked up.

I understood the need to be silent because something terrible happened, but time spent on not talking was too long. I say, fight back, even if it’s a lost cause, always fight back. Because that’s the only thing your enemies cannot take away from you: the will to stand up and fight back.

When Melinda finally speaks, it was already anti-climactic. How can I root for someone like her, someone who refused to rise up after such a debacle?

Speak is a short read, but I found myself thinking I wasted my time reading it.


SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson

Paperback, 208 pages

Published April 1st 2001 by Puffin

2/5 stars

Book Review: World After by Susan Ee

world afterStarStarStarStarStar

Young Adult > Post-Apocalyptic

(Penryn & The End of Days #2)

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what’s left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels’ secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can’t rejoin the angels, can’t take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

Book 1: Angelfall review


Was that you, Pooky Bear?

I just let Susan Ee lead me, to wherever she wanted me to go with her story. I was a puppy on a leash, eager and excited and happy that my master is taking me to some awesome place. And how awesome it really was!

True, I have my expectations, but I trust Susan Ee to give me something that I do not know that I want, and she more than delivered. She excelled in providing one of the most fascinating sequels I read this year. Thumbs up!

I gotta admire Penryn. With a crazy mother and a misunderstood sister in a post-apocalyptic world, it was difficult to keep them safe from nasty angels, judgmental humans, and even from themselves. Penryn held it together, especially when her mom is in one of her moods. Their relationship is one interesting element of this series that I really like, and as eerie as it was, I can’t help but feel for Penryn and her mom. So much hardship!

While the absence of Raffe was a bit of a sore thumb during the first half, Pooky Bear more than satisfied my cravings for the archangel. I mean, she’s sentient, and the weird bond she has with Penryn was very entertaining. 🙂 The flashbacks was more than what I wished for, and I was oh, so satisfied!

The thing I love about Susan Ee‘s writing was that as much as I want Raffe to be this dashing hero of Penryn, he was still this arrogant, impassive, and darkly humored archangel I came to know from Angelfall. But a little swoon here and there, and oh my. *blushes* Peanut butter, anyone? Eek!

Paige was the surprise. I thought the Stockholm Syndrome will push through, and I was afraid of that. Good thing Susan Ee got a taste for blood, gore, and violence. *fist pump*

Well, I did notice one itsy bitsy inconsistency during the last Raffe-Beliel meeting, so anyone who knows what I am talking about, talk to me please.

World After. It might not be what I had in mind, but glory, what I got was such an amazing, bloody sight.



Paperback, 315 pages

Published November 19th 2013 by Skyscape

5/5 stars

Book Review: The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey


Young Adult > Horror 

(The Monstrumologist #2)

While Dr. Warthrop is attempting to disprove that Homo vampiris, the vampire, could exist, his former fiancée asks him to rescue her husband, who has been captured by a Wendigo—a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh. Although Dr. Warthrop considers the Wendigo to be fictitious, he relents and performs the rescue—and then sees the man transform into a Wendigo. Can the doctor and Will Henry hunt down the ultimate predator, who, like the legendary vampire, is neither living nor dead, and whose hunger for human flesh is never satisfied?

Book 1: The Monstrumologist review


… so was it really a Wendigo or not? *lost*Okay. So either I didn’t get it, or I just took the horror of monsters too literally. Ha! Well, I thought I was into another (gleeful) nightmare similar to the Anthropophagi from The Monstrumologist. Wrong expectations from my side. I admit the nightmare here in The Curse of the Wendigo is still as horrifying as it comes from Yancey’s standards, but I was looking for more tangible and honest-to-goodness monsters that will scare the crap out of me!

The part I liked the most is when Dr. Warthrop, Will and their guide were traversing the Canadian Wilderness. There’s something about that place that made it creepier, darker, and scarier just by having night talks about the Wendigo. Despite the doctor’s warning that it is nothing but a myth, Will cannot helped but be doubtful, because why is there a pair of red eyes following him? The most palpipating scene ever: Dr. Warthrop and Will on the run for their lives, with an unconscious John Chanler in tow. *shivers*

Now I am starting to doubt if I did read anything that suggested of the existence of the Wendigo. Heh.

Although I got to know Dr. Warthrop’s history, and how he came to be what he was with Will. The relationship between them was a toxic one, but Will cannot deny that beyond the doctor’s brusqueness, inconsideration, and abruptness with him, he realized that the monstrumologist was the only family he had. And this boy will sacrifice himself for the sake of his master. The catch: The doctor felt protective of Will Henry, despite his decision to be alone.

The Curse of the Wendigo delves deeper on the personal lives of Dr. Warthrop and Will. I don’t mind that, I really don’t, but maybe more of the monsters I’m used to from The Monstrumologist are present here. Not gonna happen? Oh, well.



Paperback, 424 pages

Published September 13th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

3/5 stars

Book Review: The Assassin’s Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke


Young Adult > Fantasy

(The Assassin’s Curse #1)

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to another pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. When Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn’t really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together.

To break the spell, Ananna and the assassin must complete three impossible tasks–all while grappling with evil wizards, floating islands, haughty manticores, runaway nobility, strange magic…and the growing romantic tension between them.


… this was really fun 😀

I believe if you want to just read, and you know, want to get entertained, The Assassin’s Curse could be good for you.

The pirate world was easy to get into, and Ananna‘s actions were just hilarious to me. I liked that part where she’s so oblivious to her feelings. Ananna didn’t know she was falling in love, and together with her obsession on owning a pirate ship no matter what… yeah, it was fun. 🙂

Naji was like a robot, but I like him =) He’s adorable when he gets confused. Supposedly he was supposed to kill Ananna, but that blasted curse was preventing him. And when the warring emotions becomes apparent on his face, you’d know, he’s falling in love with her as well (C’mon, admit it, Naji). Woot!

I’m getting carried away here.

Anyway, the story was entertaining. It’s a fast read, so I did not make myself think much. I just read and read, until I found myself wishing that the pair would just realize the truth about how they feel!

There’s not a lot of YA with pirate themes, yes? So, I’m guessing starting with The Assassin’s Curse is a good move. The adventures of Ananna and Naji are often dangerous, and almost always a riot. =)


THE ASSASSIN’S CURSE by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Ebook, 416 pages

Published October 2nd 2012 by Strange Chemistry

4/5 stars

Book Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill


Young Adult > Science Fiction | Time Travel

Em is locked in a bare, cold cell with no comforts. Finn is in the cell next door. The Doctor is keeping them there until they tell him what he wants to know. Trouble is, what he wants to know hasn’t happened yet.

Em and Finn have a shared past, but no future unless they can find a way out. The present is torture – being kept apart, overhearing each other’s anguish as the Doctor relentlessly seeks answers. There’s no way back from here, to what they used to be, the world they used to know. Then Em finds a note in her cell which changes everything. It’s from her future self and contains some simple but very clear instructions. Em must travel back in time to avert a tragedy that’s about to unfold. Worse, she has to pursue and kill the boy she loves to change the future . . .


… took long enough to get to the confrontation, but neat ending.

I did not appreciate the predictability of the story, nor the twists. Could it be that I am so used to crime and thriller suspense that when I turn out to be right in guessing who’s who and what’s what, I don’t feel victorious? I was annoyed. It was so easy guess where things will lead me.

But I love Finn. The knowledge that he was already in love with her way before Cassandra happens, it was heartbreaking. I was crushed by that last scene with her – that by saving the world, they might not fall in love, because it was Cassandra that brought them together – wow. He was brave, my Finn. So brave.

Em was right to be confused. She failed too many times. And yet she still loves him, despite everything. Are there really no option but to kill him? It’s sad, really. I think the last scene after the inevitable went down, it was too hard for her. *sigh*

Let’s not talk about Marina, I do not like her.

Compared to TempestAll Our Yesterdays is actually pretty good. The time travel element was easy to digest and follow.

If this was a standalone, I’d say, very nice wrap-up. Some loose ends, but with the grief going around, I think no one will mind. Since there will be a sequel, it better not include Finn being dead. *shakes fist*

Thank you Netgalley and Bloomsbury for granting my galley request.


ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill

Published August 1st 2013 by Bloomsbury Publishing Inc (UK & ANZ)

3/5 stars

Book Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner


Young Adult > Science Fiction

It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.


.. and the awesomeness was just unexpected. 😀

Hey Santa? This is what I want for Christmas!

The stunning cover of These Broken Stars more than reflects the fantastic story it holds – it blatantly sums it up!

This is Love at First Sight Gone Wrong. Ha! (Sorry, Tarver.)

It is easier to judge Lilac with her heiress status, or Tarver with his rigid military training. The interaction between the two started from cute to hostile to disdain. More than once did these two dance around the mistrust of being with the only person in the planet. That annoyed me during the first half, but I think it was setup that way so that I’ll feel the feels more than I should when things get very creepy. 😀

So there they are, in some unknown planet, forced to be civilized with each other because really now, what does Lilac know about survival? And what does Tarver know about abandoned stations in a terraformed planet?

Surprisingly, Lilac is not dumb for a socialite. She reminds me of Tori from Quicksilver. And Tarver, what can I say? If ever I get stuck with no food to eat, or no shelter to salvage, let me be stuck with him. Pretty please? *bats eyelashes*

You might mistake this as a romance disguised as a science fiction. The swoon (and there are lots of them!) is a major plus to a horrifying story about a sick ambition of the most powerful man in the universe, across hyperspace and other dimensions. It was cruel, but kindness was shown to the end. And Lilac and Tarver will never be the same again.

These Broken Stars: the title alone is poetic enough. Haunting yet beautiful, Lilac and Tarver’s story will make you feel strengthened, hopeful, loved.

Did I mention there are scary scavenging scenes in a corpse-filled crashed spaceship? *wiggles eyebrows*

Thank you Netgalley and Disney Hyperion for granting my galley request.


THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

Published December 10th 2013 by Disney Hyperion

4.5/5 stars

Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell


Young Adult > Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.


‘Did I ruin everything?’

Oh, man. 🙂

Was it really like this? First love? *sigh* I must be old then, because Eleanor and Park‘s charm was fresh to me. Truth be told, I breezed through the pages. I didn’t mind the kind-of abrupt shift of Park’s feelings towards Eleanor. I didn’t care that Eleanor’s issues at home were only bits and pieces, not really explaining this or that. I am unaware of these faults, because while I was reading, I was entranced – I was in love!

*clears throat*

The bullying portrayed in Eleanor & Park were vivid, so real I can almost reach and give endless pain to this bunch of lowlifes. And yet how can they erase the colour of Eleanor, or the bravery of Park? It was amazingly hopeful, to fall in love beyond the hurt, and humiliation brought about by choosing to be different.

I thought the writing was beautiful. It mesmerizes, it jolts you to be emotional on what Eleanor and Park are going through! Rainbow Rowell totally captured the raw feelings during that age, that time. Whether Eleanor’s feeling stupid, or Park’s feeling defiant, the effect was always jarring.

The ending was kinda off for me though. I thought Eleanor just ran. She was strong, in ways she did not know, and she. just. ran.

Park will always be a favorite character from now on 🙂 The ability to see past of what his eyes can see was astounding. What I would not give to have this boy at my side. Whisper to me those sweet words, Park. I am so in love with you. *blushes*


This is only my first affair with Rainbow Rowell‘s books. Now, I am dying to fall in love again. *winks*


ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell

Published February 26th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press

4/5 stars

Book Review: Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning


Adult Paranormal > Fantasy

He has stolen her past, but MacKayla will never allow her sister’s murderer to take her future. Yet even the uniquely gifted sidhe-seer is no match for the Lord Master, who has unleashed an insatiable sexual craving that consumes Mac’s every thought—and thrusts her into the seductive realm of two very dangerous men, both of whom she desires but dares not trust.

As the enigmatic Jericho Barrons and the sensual Fae prince V’lane vie for her body and soul, as cryptic entries from her sister’s diary mysteriously appear and the power of the Dark Book weaves its annihilating path through the city, Mac’s greatest enemy delivers a final challenge.…

It’s an invitation Mac cannot refuse, one that sends her racing home to Georgia, where an even darker threat awaits. With her parents missing and the lives of her loved ones under siege, Mac is about to come face-to-face with a soul-shattering truth—about herself and her sister, about Jericho Barrons…and about the world she thought she knew.

Book 1: Darkfever review      Book 2: Bloodfever review      Book 3: Faefever review


“What the fuck?” V’lane exploded.

My sentiments exactly.

*deep, deep breath*

What a wild and crazy ride. I can barely hear myself think! But oh, Jericho Barrons. *fans self* Feel free to take me away, and lock me up, and use me however and whenever you want to. (It would not hurt if you admit you have feelings for me).Ha! *ahem*

Mac. Would I even trade places with you?

The reality of what hit Mac after the wall crumbled was devastating. Her very fear coming to life, and without Barrons (even V’lane) to rescue her, was too much. And the fae power was too much as well, for she succumbed to the very thing she detested, a slave to a Fae when she’d rather kill them all.

But of course, the chapters when Mac was in a dream-like state were awesome (Barrons!). It was so uncharacteristic of her to behave that way, so uninhibited, untamed, and undisciplined, that Barrons was afraid even he cannot roused her to live once more. It was not everyday that I get to see Barrons wistful, regretful even. For the things he did, he knows Mac will never, ever forgive him (even if he’s getting the Old Mac back).

Dani was a cool addition to the cast. Funny girl, that one (cannot decide between Barrons or V’lane, she’ll take one or the other, so long as she’s sated, lol). And Rowena, goodness how I hated that sidhe-seer.

When the “IYD” call went through, I went to a stupor. There’s no putting down the book, for I will not be left hanging on things that are about to happen…! Crazy, I tell you. CRAZY! and that includes the ending. If my heart could break more right now, I’d let it. 😦 Not this way, I thought. Not this way.

If Faefever was the stake, Deamfever was the force that drove it in.

If you’d just fight like you fuck, you’d’ve walked out of this room the day I carried you in.


DREAMFEVER by Karen Marie Moning

Hardcover, 400 pages

Published August 18th 2009 by Delacorte Press
5/5 stars