Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Starters" by Lissa Price

Starters (Starters, #1)

I received "Starters" from Netgalley to review. I've got to say that I loved this book and definitely recommend it to lovers of the dystopian genre. The novel is 368 pages long, which made me think that it would take me a while to finish it. Truth is, it was a breeze. It was light, quick-paced and extremely entertaining. I gave it 4 stars only because some of the events seemed to happen out of nowhere. Otherwise, it was definitely worth my time.

"Starters" talks about the United States after a war waged in the Pacific Ocean. The US was attacked with a biological weapon that killed all the population that wasn't vaccinated against the deadly spores. Ironically, the vaccinated were only teens and the elderly. No one seemed to care that the middle aged generation died away leaving kids unprotected on the streets. Some elderly, called Enders, didn't care about their grandchildren, didn't claim them and they were left to take care of themselves in abandoned buildings or in the institutions.

One question that I never got answered was about the Enders. How come some of them were 200 years old? Perhaps I've missed a turn somewhere, but I never figured it out, so it's a mystery to me.

I didn't like the way the Enders treated the young generation. Sure, not all were like that, but most Enders seemed to despise the Starters. The kids weren't treated like they were the future. Rather, they were ridiculed, distrusted and toyed around. Many Starters died from starvation, or in street fights or in the hands of the law enforcing marshals. And no one cared.

What I liked about this book the most was the unpredictability. I never knew what will come out of where and accomplish what sort of change in events. It was well written, any clues were well covered, and I really enjoyed it. And the ending was a fabulous cliffhanger.

The characters:

*Callie - I could feel her desperation through the pages, her pain of knowing that she can do nothing to improve her brother's life. Little Tyler is all she's got, and she's ready to do anything to have him live in a real home. Which is why she signs up for the donor program. Not that she knew what she was getting herself into. But I think that was brave of her. And after all that she'd been through - the hunger, the insecurities, the life on the street - I was happy for her when that ray of sun shone in the end of the dark tunnel.

*Helena - that woman was something! She was fierce and ready to fight whoever came her way. True, she was right to feel the way she did, but she was a bit too rash. Spicy Ender! I loved her.

*Sara - she was by far my favorite character here. The hope she had of escape from the institution, the selflessness she showed.. it really moved me. She moved me. Little, fragile, undernourished, but brave and protective. That's true character.

The male characters were so confusing. None was who I thought they were, and I don't want to give out any spoilers, so I won't stop to analyze the boys. You'll know what I'm talking about when you read the book yourself :)) Have fun!!!

My rating for "Starters" is

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Pure" by Julianna Baggott

Pure (Pure, #1)

I received this book for review from Netgalley upon request. When I started reading it however, I wasn't very thrilled with it. I figured the reasons were two:
1. Because of the narration voice. It's third person PRESENT tense. I have never read a novel written from this perspective and it sounded distant. As if I was listening to a National Geographic film on the lives of antelopes and baboons. It just made me feel like I was miles away from the action, looking at the characters from binoculars as a silent spectator and nothing more. It was only after I finished reading the book that I figured the importance of this distance. It gives perspective of the characters that the close narration may otherwise obscure. I looked at Partridge, Pressia and Bradwell from afar, but I think I got to know them on a deeper level that I thought I would. It was as if the characters revealed themselves on their own, without the help of the narrator. And in my opinion, that was superb work.
2. The world-building wasn't what you usually see in a dystopan novel. The books of this genre that I've read always talk about perfect people. Yeah, they suffer through hunger and government control, but otherwise there's nothing wrong with them. They're beautiful, strong and unaltered in any way. "Pure" is the first novel I read that actually describes damage. It's grotesque, it's scary, it's really totally sad, but it feels true. After a war, there are casualties, though we never usually see them. There are maimed people, dead people, damaged people. Here, the majority of the population is suffering from the Detonations that almost ended the world. We see the casualties, we see the sick, we see the fused. It's tragic. At times it's too much, because it makes you think that it feels real. Too real.

There were lots of twists and turns, unpredicted most of the time, which was great because nowadays it's really easy to guess what's going on. Here, there was suspense and I really liked that. I loved the story, even though the beginning felt kind of burdensome. After the 10% though that changed. I started seeing the point of all the hiding, the action, the scheming. It was interesting and entertaining.

The difference between the Domed world and the world outside was clear cut. There was a solid line between the two which made it obvious that what was inside, what was pure and protected, hid evil, coldness and corruption. While the outside world, though it was grotesque, obliterated and sick, hid beauty, life and virtue. I liked that. One particular quote stuck to my mind. It goes like this "Beauty, you can find it here if you look hard enough."

Each of the characters started out on a mission of his or her own. One wanted to hide, another to escape. Each one only cared for themselves. They had their vision on the world in and the world out. Whether right or wrong, they didn't know, but they planned to explore it. In the end, they weren't separate people anymore. They were together, working for a common cause. Because they knew that one can't do much, but when there are more, anything could be accomplished.

The characters:
*Partridge - I never got the feeling that he was a spoiled child. He acted mature from the very beginning. True, he didn't see some obvious things, but not everyone can. I loved how close he kept the memory of his mother. It felt intimate and precious.

*Pressia - she was a just a girl. Yet, she was also strong, stubborn and self-dependent. She wanted to be normal, pure, beautiful. And who could blame her? Don't we all want that? She wanted to live in a nice house, with her parents around, to have a pet and to go to school. All things that we have and never pay attention to. It's when we lose them that they start to matter.

*Bradwell - I think he was my favorite from the beginning. I loved his passion, loved his birds, loved his toughness. He was a guy with a spirit of survival. He was dead, so he could live.

*El Capitan and Helmud - I kept on thinking that Helmud isn't just a moron, and was pleasantly surprised to see him think on his own.

Even the minor characters were important, and I hope that I'll see more of them in the next novel.
All I can say is that it's a great read, intense and full of sadness. It's dark and deep and real. If you have a weak heart, it isn't for you. It's for strong people who realize the importance of life, sympathy and love.

I thought of giving this book a 4 star rating, but it's worth more. It's worth

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Solitary" by Travis Thrasher


I received this book to review from Netgalley. I loved every sentence of it, every word, every letter. It took me on a journey full of grotesque secrets, unbelievable mysteries and fear that cannot be described properly with words. It showed me that nothing is accomplished easily in life, not the bad, and certainly not the good. It taught me that even if evil does win a battle, love is always there to shine through it; that even in the darkest of times, hope comes around for those who have faith in God.

"Solitary" is the story of a small town in the middle of nowhere, South Carolina. The people are kind of friendly, but once you start asking questions or looking at them with more than curiosity, they take the offensive. They watch you and wait for you to make a mistake. They warn you to stay away from them, because if you don't - people you love would get hurt. And they do.

Because Solitary isn't just a regular small town. It's a small town with evil energy and dark secrets. A town where people disappear never to be found again. A town where you can get marked and that would mean the end of you.

If you're a 16 year old teenager, who just happens to fall in love with a marked girl, what do you do? Do you try to save her? Or do you back away, wishing you'd never stumbled upon her at all? Do you put at stake your family - or at least what's left of it - for the sake of a girl who might not survive past Christmas?

I never believed that a Christian-themed horror/thriller/mystery book would interest me so much, but I take my words back. Not only was I interested, I would've read it in one breath if it were humanly possible. 400 pages blew past me like nothing at all. And I"m hungry and thirsty for more. Because the story isn't over. Indeed, it has just begun.

The story was developed on many levels. Firstly, there was the journey toward knowing oneself. You go through a bunch of obstacles just to learn who you really are, what you're capable of. To learn that you can be brave, and stupid, and impatient. To learn that to protect sometimes means to hurt; that to trust sometimes means to doubt.
Then there was the emotional journey, where you figure out that beating machine that lives inside your rib cage can bring you lots of trouble. That is, it could make you fall in love. So hard, so deep that there's no getting out of it. You look silly, you sound dumb but there's nothing you can do about it.
And last, there was the spiritual journey that stretched from not believing in God, to being indifferent, to asking Him why He's doing what He's doing. The most frightening and most comforting thing is realizing He's a;ways there to watch over us. That he sees both the good and the bad. That He will let us suffer so we get to grow up and learn to trust him.

I felt like every time there was cursive font, it wasn't Chris's thoughts I was reading, but the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. It fit so well, and felt so reassuring.

The characters:

*Chris, the main character is just an ordinary 16 year old boy, nothing special about him. But he's the new kid in town and the bad news is that the towns folk don't like outsiders. Especially when the outsiders try to mess up plans crafted ahead of time. But he's stubborn and besides, love can do miracles to a person. It could transform the careless boy to a brave man. I felt his pain over the divorce of his parents, over the lack of life, over the God who never seemed to be there. At times I laughed with him, then I wanted to strangle him for being an idiot. But truly, I liked him.

*Jocelyn.. all her secrets are overbearing. Like they could swallow you whole, and you'd never see a bright day again. She's difficult to decipher, to understand, to know, but not to love. She's a tormented soul, as Chris calls her. But she's also found the hope to believe, that life would somehow get better. If not here, then after it's all over.

The other characters that intrigued me were Newt - the geek boy who always got picked on, and was also the only one willing to talk to Chris about the weirdness happening around Solitary; Oli - was he a bully or an ally? Poe - because what was her deal? And for some reason I kept on thinking that Chris should've talked to his dad about everything. And oh yeah that flash drive he never checked out...what was on it???

My rating:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"My Enchanted Life" by Laura Eno

My Enchanted Life

I received this book to review from a Goodreads group as part of the R2R event. It was a really nice, fast, light read. After the serious mysteries I'd been plunging into the past couple of weeks, "My Enchanted Life" proved to be the distraction my brains needed.
It was intriguing though I can't say it swept me off my feet. I enjoyed it though, so it earned its 3 stars with no question.
There were problems with it however. For example, there was so much telling rather than showing, that I caught myself rolling my eyes on a number of occasions. Conversations were retold instead of written out as they should've been. Many descriptions were cliched rather than thought out exclusively. It was a nice imaginary world, but there was nothing original about it.
Also, the main character, Emma, was constantly talking to herself in what were supposed to be witty little remarks. Yet, instead of sounding witty, they were rather dull.
What annoyed me the most was that every other chapter someone would say something, Emma would look at them wide-eyed and they'll ask her "What? Nobody told you?" Seriously, by the second time I read that, I was already in the know that she had no idea what was happening and the repetition was getting old.
The falling in love was awfully quick and not exactly to my taste.
There was hardly any intrigue, but I guess that made it so light in the first place.

My favorite character was the dragon Cussard. He was funny and friendly and can I say pretty?

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to breeze through something to clear their mind of any difficult/heavy novels.

My rating:

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Bleed for me" by Michael Robotham

Bleed for Me (Joseph O'Loughlin, #4)

I requested this book from Netgalley to read and review. Shortly afterward I noticed that it was part of a series. For some reason Netgalley doesn't ever mention if a book is part of a series or not, so I had no idea. So I thought, well, if this is book four, then perhaps I should just decline it, since I haven't read the previous installments. But then I re-read the summary and was left with the impression that the plot of the story wouldn't depend on previous events.
Fortunately for me, that held to be true.
I was glad I made the decision to read it, because even though the book was lengthy, it proved to be entertaining and really good. It didn't lose my attention throughout the whole time. The mystery and suspense were on a really high level that kept me wanting to turn the page again and again.

"Bleed for me" is not a murder story, although there are more than a couple of corpses for investigation. It isn't the story of a psychopath who lures nothing suspecting girls into his schemes, though there's plenty of that. Nor is it the story of racial inequality in the UK.

"Bleed for me" is rather the story of Joe O'Loughlin - a college professor in psychology - post the time when he and his wife got separated and moved out to live in a village near Bristol. He's suffering the Parkinson's disease, taking medications that seem to become less and less efficient. Still, Joe keeps his sense of humor, dark it may be, and jokingly refers to his illness as Mr. Parkinson.

He's also passionate about knowing people in the depth of their psyche. And he's really good at it. It doesn't take him long to cut and paste a personality from just a couple of encounters and he's admirably accurate in his patient profiles. That's why he's well respected and sought after by the police.

I was pleasantly surprised by all the effort Joe put into his work. He'd go to any lengths to prove a person innocent or guilty. Sometimes he puts his own life at stake and others suffer for it. But in the end, no criminal or victim could escape his eagle eye.

The loyalty of his friends was striking. For who would ever mortgage their house just to pay a friend's bail? Surely, the candidates aren't many. Still, even one is enough when it's the right person.

I was really sad about Joe's circumstances. Not only because of his illness, but also because of his family situation. He missed his children and his wife, spent hours outside their house just to watch them and make sure they were alright. And he got nothing in return. I got the feeling that his wife abandoned him because he got sick. Aren't wedding vows sacred? Don't they state "in sickness and health"? And still she decided to protect herself from the pain it would cause her to lose him, rather than have him by her side for as long as he's alive. That's just plain wrong. She really, truly irritated me. Playing all saintly and caring, when it was herself that she wanted to protect. It was selfish and despicable. And truth is, he still loved her.

My favorite character had to be Vincent Ruiz. The friend in need, who really is a friend indeed (in deed as well). A retired cop, he's still got his mojo. A brilliant detective with a knack of things, he's definitely someone to want to be on the good side of. He's gentle and passionate, but can be ruthless as well. I loved him. Especially when I saw how caring he was towards a murder victim's parents.

Sienna was a broken little thing. I bled with her as she retold her story. A 13 year old, abused at home, then a teacher takes full advantage of her weakened mind. That was beyond anything I'd read so far, and it really stirred me. I wonder, how many children suffer things like that? How many enter life emotionally broken and dysfunctional? What if a child next door is one of them???

This was a happy end story, though through it all, does the death of one murderer, or the jail sentence of another, really mean a happy end for the victims? Some are dead, some are damaged for life. So, where is the happy end?

My rating is a definite

Just a note: this is definitely an ADULT read. So, keep that in mind.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"The New Death and others" by James Hutchings

The New Death and others

Umm, okay. I got this book - a collection of short stories and poems - from the author in return for an honest review. I hope he doesn't change his mind when he reads what I have to say about his work. LOL
Anyway, just a side note here - I didn't read the poems. Sorry, but I'm not a poetry person.

Let me start off by saying that the stories are all dark humor, dark fantasy, dead on sarcastic and super thought provoking. The author addresses very important issues in each story, though they are so well masked, that if you don't use your brains, you'd be left gaping at the page wondering "what the hell did I just read?"

Each story is thought provoking, deep on a shallow level and so out there that it's really brilliant. They're all written in a creative, sarcastic and totally new way that made me laugh hysterically.

I can categorize it either as insanely mad or totally brilliant, and nothing in between. And I can definitely say that this isn't a book for just a random read. It's light and heavy at the same time; pointless and intrusive; moralistic in a very odd kind of way. I recommend it to people who like to have a good laugh when they encounter the truth revealed in the most bizarre ways. Like through talking cats or the like.

I really liked the following stories (though the list isn't full, since I didn't record the titles after the 50% threshold):
*The end
*Everlasting fire
*The New Death
*The New God

Monday, February 13, 2012

"Taken" by Charlotte Abel


I should say that "Taken" was better than the previous one - "Enchantment". The characters have grown and with them the author's skills. The beginning was a little slow, and kind of made me want to slap Channie and Josh for being such crybabies. It felt like the only thing Josh wanted to do was have sex and that's it. It was so annoying.
I was so glad about that encounter with the two trackers, that you wouldn't believe it!! Finally everyone was rushing to do something meaningful! Something other than argue over a pot of stew or killing mice or making cornbread. But, all that annoyingly normal stuff was kind of insightful of the characters' thoughts and feelings. And I liked how this time there were multiple points of view. It was nice to hear Josh's thoughts for a change.
This novel seemed to take the story to a whole new plane. There was action, lots of running away from things and people, strong emotions and of course - every decision came with its consequences. Towards the end, everything was so intense, I was having hard time breathing. It was really an exhilarating ride.

The characters:
*Channie - Oh goodness, this girl irritated me so much with her weird decisions! Protecting Josh would've been much better if she'd actually listened to him. Besides, how could an Empty protect a powerful mage? She brought more trouble than anything else.

*Josh/Valor - I can't wait for him to actually step into his real shoes. Josh is a boy, while Valor is a man, and I really want to see the man. He's been peeking out from time to time both with resolution and cold-blooded decisions. Too bad nobody listens to him half the time. I guess though that this is what keeps the story going. I mean, if everything got solved right away, then there would be no story, so I get it :)

*Hunter - omg, Hunter was hilarious. And the new job he got - it cracked me up!!! I can honestly not imagine him doing those things. His accent was amazingly well portrayed.

*Daddy turned out to be not-so-selfish after all. I felt really bad for him when his wife turned psycho.

*Momma - urgh, just URGH!!! Magic here was like drugs in our world. The woman got seriously addicted and it turned her all Wicked Witch of the West. I really wanted to just see her dead. Harsh, but true. Sorry.

The ending was really powerful. It made me all emotional, but I didn't cry. I was just angry. Such a cliffhanger, Charlotte!!! You're playing dirty!!! LOL
Love it :) Really a great read!! It deserved those

"Trick or Treat" by Richie Tankersley Cusick

Trick or Treat

This book was an awesome horror/mystery/thriller. I know it was first published way back in 1989, when the teen horror genre was first getting serious interest on the market, but I just found it out in January of this year when Netgalley put it on their list. I was instantly drawn to it, so naturally I requested it.
I'm happy I did it, because "Trick or Treat" was an adrenaline-rush ride that really got me sweating. Not that I'm much of a horror reader - in fact, after I read the first chapter, I found myself turning off my kindle and just leaving the book as if it was cursed. But it made such a strong impact on me, that even through the biting of my nails I still stuck to it and read on.
The story wasn't all that original - haunted house, murder story, creepy new town with creepy people who look at you like you just returned from the dead - but the familiar was good for my psyche because otherwise I would've freaked out on a much greater scale. The abundance of twists and turns made me wonder who was making the phone calls, who was creeping in the house, who was watching Martha from so close yet so far. It wasn't until I was 75% through that a sudden idea took over me! And I couldn't believe that I'd solved the mystery on my own!!! I'd figured out the murderer with no help. I was so proud of myself when the ending confirmed it, I almost danced a happy dance!

The characters:
*Martha - well, she was a bit whiny, but I think that I'd be at least as much whiny as her if I ever found myself in a haunted house that neighbored a cemetery. I didn't like how she always accused Conor of everything, when all he did was try to protect her. But she did gain my respect towards the end.

*Conor - he's mysterious, smart and highly perceptive to things that aren't quite normal. He mostly kept to himself, but I have the feeling that if Martha had opened up to him, he'd really show all his potential.

*Blake - oh, Blake! Swoon worthy, always winner Blake!! He was on my list of murder suspects right away. He looked too good to be true, too surreal, and yet he was all he said he was. His Halloween costume kind of freaked me out, but it was good for building up the tension.

*Wynn - that girl played her role so well, I can't even describe it. When they say total makeover... well she's the queen of it.

*The parents - UGHH!!! I hate it when parents never consider their kids' feelings and opinions. It's just wrong. And who leaves their teenage kids all alone in a new town, at a new spooky house for weeks without even calling to check on them??

Anyway, the book was worth my time and I recommend it to anyone who loves some thrill and isn't scared of ghostly houses and the like.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"The Stuttering Tattoo" by Greg Logsted

The Stuttering Tattoo

Oh my goodness!!! I finished it!!! And I'm stunned beyond reason! I haven't felt like this ever since I read "Shatter Me" a couple of months ago. "The Stuttering Tattoo" was a phenomenon all on its own. I LOVED IT.

First and foremost, it was grammar friendly. That is, it was typo-clean. Well, I did notice one recurring typo that kind of bugged me: in several places the author said "worst" instead of "worse", but I'm not going to be that picky. I've 5-starred books with much more grammar problems just because they were freaking awesome. And this one is on the same rack with the awesome books.
Second point I want to make is that not a single word was out of place. Not a single sentence was too much. Nothing was overdone, everything was measured and the story was very well built. So well in fact that not a single clue was given outside of it's place and time. This bugged be big time, because it urged me to read on and on until I was at the last page!!! But that's something every book should have - the ability to make the readers turn the page.
The mystery was thrilling to the point that I almost bit my nails off. I was like a ball of wound up nerves waiting to be released out of the ever growing tension. And omg, the tension!!!! It was amazing how well it was built! Ever increasing, and always intriguing. I was impressed at how one page could be absolutely hilarious, and the next one could make me pull my hair out one by one.
At times I felt frustrated that I didn't know what the main character, Steven was doing, what plans he was making, but that only made it better when I was allowed to figure it out on my own.
The action, the emotions they were so real, that I felt them myself. When Steven jumped, I was kind of jumping too. When he was thrilled, I was as well.

The many twists and turns had my attention throughout the whole novel, in a way that I'd never thought possible. I was attentive for clues, and was grinning like an idiot when I was able to find them.
There was a romance as well. It wasn't the main part of the story. It was rather kind of in the background. But I've never seen a romance so strongly built, that even in the background it's actually the backbone that pushes the story forward. Without it, none of the action would've occurred. So, I loved that aspect as well.
To sum it up: this book was nothing short of BRILLIANT.

The characters:
*Steven: I didn't feel a single drop of pity for him because of his stuttering problem. Truth is, this problem made him stronger. And I LOVE strong characters - they're what makes a story really alive. I loved how bold he was, though he wasn't fearless. He was determined, caring and ready to risk his life and safety for that of the people he loved. True, at some times he was risking a lot, but that only made him more worthy.

*Carlos: He was my favorite. Not because he was any better than Steven. In fact he wasn't. He was a drug dealer's enforcer, and a murderer. Of course, he's put all that behind. He's really funny, fearless and brave. He's got Steven's back, even when he has to do things he doesn't like. Carlos is the perfect latino guy: bad, thrilling and completely swoon worthy. His experience with the gangs has made him resourceful, quick and quiet. The perfect assassin. The perfect friend. Scary, but loyal to the grave.

*Becky: Well, given all that she's been through, I could totally sympathize with her. She was scared and for a good reason. But she was also brave in her own way. That was another strong character.

*Steve's father: he wasn't clueless, but I'm sure he could've paid more attention to his son. I liked what he did at the morgue - not many parents would have the guts. Very strong character too.

I guess I could write some more, but there's really no point. Just get the book and read it. That's the only way you'll know what I'm talking about. :)

My favorite quotes: 

I can see her weighing her response, concentrating like a cliff diver studying the ebb and flow of the tide.
"Um, well... could you at least give me an idea?"
"Two weeks give or take a week or two.”

"What... what are you doing here?"
He's shaking his head as he walks my way; a steaming coffee mug is in his hand.
"What am I doing here? I live here."
"Y-you do? How did I get here?"
He starts to laugh. "You don't remember?"
"No... I really don't."
He places the mug in front of me. "You called me on your cell. I found you spaced out of your mind in an alley behind the bar. You were talking to a cat. You claimed it was your mother."

I start walking toward my bike with renewed purpose.
"I don't think I need any help to knock on a door."
Carlos yells, "Be careful, my friend. The problem with knocking on doors is you're never quite sure who's going to be on the other side."

When we get to the door I reach for the doorbell but Carlos steps in front of me, grins and then starts banging on the front door with all of his might. The door shakes and his pounding thunders throughout the house. (...) We must be the world's loudest burglars.
I shout, "Why are you pounding so hard?"
His grin gets even larger. "If anyone's home, they'll definitely answer that knock. If nobody's home what difference does it make?"

I'm thinking about coffee and dessert when my phone rings. I don't recognize the number.
"Bishop!" It's Coach Chase. I almost forgot that I gave him my number. I don't want my dad to know who's on the phone. That would raise all kinds of questions requiring evasive answers.
"Hey... buddy... um, how's it going?"

"Today, I'm the real me." She lifts her chin toward the large white beer tent. "How about a couple of beers?"
"Do you have an ID?"
She laughs and pulls me toward the tent. "Honey, I've got a pocket full of them."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Warriors of the Cross" by T.R. Graves

Warriors of the Cross (The Warrior Series, #1)

Though I did begin reading this book with excitement, I wasn't very thrilled by it.

I'd like to begin by saying that it was unnecessarily long. 433 pages were just too much to endure. I did bail in the last couple of chapters, and don't really regret it. Even the action that was squeezed in them wasn't good enough to make me reconsider.

Some scenes seemed to be prolonged outside of the ordinary, and got kind of boring. Some scenes repeated several times with no real reason. At times the action didn't seem to stall and just hang in limbo. The conversations didn't sound real, and at times I couldn't imagine the characters saying their lines.

There was too much internal dialogue, too much telling and too little showing. The descriptions overwhelmed me at times, making it hard for me to follow them.

I noticed several inconsistencies, and more than a handful grammatical errors that bothered me.

The male characters felt so unnatural, it was hard to picture them the way the author portrayed them. They were all good boys completely devoted to Allie (the female protagonist). They didn't see her flaws or weaknesses, they just worshiped her unquestionably. Correct me if I'm wrong, but no guy acts like that. Or perhaps out of everyone one guy could be mushy like that, but all the guys in the book?? Even the bad guy?? I don't think so. They were acting like acolytes at best, following Allie's every desire. Sure, she wasn't selfish, but still...

Those 3 stars are there only because the story itself was good. I liked the ideas behind all the writing, and I liked the Christian twist in it. But even the couple of times when we heard God's voice, the words sounded like someone was dictating them. Too dry and weird to be spoken by God.

I don't know if I would recommend this book to anyone. I just barely endured it myself.

Monday, February 6, 2012

"Alienation" by Jon S. Lewis

Alienation (C.H.A.O.S., #2)
"Alienation" was an amazing journey comprising many blood-curdling adventures. It was full with striking creativity, high-tech gadgets and of course - more aliens. The characters we met in "Invasion" have grown from the careless teenagers, into responsible young adults. They're now able to put themselves, and their own needs in second place, leaving #1 position for the protection of our world against the alien invasion of the Thule lizardmen.

Friendships were broken and rebuilt in this installment of C.H.A.O.S. New characters emerged, new opportunities came to prove one's worth and new challenges for trust and truth had to be met.

Dread settled in my heart, as I read about the experiments the Government had conducted on six-year old Colt, and I wondered when and how the results would manifest themselves. I didn't have to wait long to find out.

The battle against the aliens wasn't the only front that our trio - Colt, Danielle, and Oz - had to face. A plot to assassinate several very important people is blooming, who knows what the next target will be?

The Characters:
*Colt has definitely begun to grow out of his childish, spoiled-baby-son habits. Little by little, he accepts his place in the world, and the great scheme of things. I saw his boy side, and his man side and loved them both. Sometimes he was reckless, sometimes he was brave, but whatever he did, somehow he always managed to pull the strings into his advantage. The only thing I didn't like about him was how he treated Lily. I know that with everything that was going on, perhaps it was better this way, but still. A guy needs to be a guy, not a jerk.

*Danielle began this book as the unsure girl, who didn't quite realize the risks of being a CHAOS agent. But in the end, she was already becoming a hardcore chick who knew what she was doing. She's the smart high-tech genius, who can hack even the CHAOS network in no time. I couldn't hide my admiration for her. I can't wait to see more of her in book 3.

*Oz wasn't all that present in this book. I kind of missed him, his smart-ass comments, and his know-it-all attitude. He kind of managed to win my admiration and he really grew on me. I want more Oz!!!

*Grandpa McAllister aka the Phantom Flyer is such an awesome old man. I loved every bit of him, including his weird habits and his super secret contacts and his mysterious personality.

A couple of Quotes that I want to share are:
"You heard about the incident, right?"
Cold hadn't, but that wasn't unusual. Oz had access to information the rest of the world didn't know existed. His dad was the director of an organization called CHAOS - Central Headquarters Against the Occult and Supernatural. They were a bit like the CIA or the FBI, but instead of going after drug cartels or spying on the Russians, they protected the world from nightmares like bioengineered monsters, alien life forms, and sparkling vampires.

"Is that what our uniform looks like?"
"Yes, but we'll get to that in a minute," the SVC-9 unit said as it stopped at what looked like a closet door. "Please disrobe."
"Your modesty is admirable, but I can assure you that there are no female specimens anywhere in the room."

My rating is:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

"Invasion" by Jon S. Lewis

Invasion (C.H.A.O.S., #1)
When I requested from NetGalley "Alienation" to read and review, I had no idea it was the second installment to a series. Well, it turned out that there was book one that I had to read beforehand and that book was "Invasion". I honestly don't regret starting on this series because it was absolutely amazing. I'm already into book two because I just can't get enough of high school students Colt, Oz and Danielle and their adventures with the extra terrestrials and the biomedical Trident facilities.

I loved the emotional roller-coaster, even if sometimes the pain was just too much to bear. I was sad almost to tears when the horrible accident happened and could really feel Colt's pain, confusion and desire to bury himself in the ground. I never ever want to be in such a position.

I really loved the story, straight from the beginning. Even though Colt wouldn't later remember his special day at the CHAOS military camp, something deep inside of him knows that he's met certain people and things before. Yet, it isn't until after his parents' accident and after he moves in to live with his grandfather that things start to become weird.

When he meets Oz, he feels like he's met the boy before, but he doesn't know where, until Oz tells him about CHAOS, the aliens and most of all that his grandfather isn't just any ordinary man.
In their desire to figure out who and why killed Colt's parents, the threesome come in the midst of multi-world war. Would they survive, and would they gather the info they need?

The characters:
*Colt is the eight son of the McAlisters. Unlike his 7 brothers before him, he doesn't want to go to the military. He's a surfer dude, with messy blond hair and eyes so blue they look like colored contact lenses. He's smart and brave, though he doesn't particularly know about his courage until he meets the enemy and has to fight for his life and the lives of those he loves. He was a real character, tangible and loveable, and I enjoyed the time I spent with him.

*Oz was a 6ft.4in. monster. Human, but with that monstrous height he gave off a vibe of danger. He was smart, funny and secretive. A boy of many talents - including killing aliens - he was a great friend, though full of mischief and dangerous plans for saving the world.

*Danielle was a brave hacker girl, who knew her stuff. She was inventive and original in her ways to stop the alien invasion and its consequences to our world. She's a definite role model, who girls of our generation surely can look up to.

Lots of memorable quotes in this novel. I'm only going to share a couple:

"Thomas Jefferson had a wig, and Benjamin Franklin wore knickers," Colt said. "That should tell you something."
"I'm sure they'd say the same thing about bleached blond hair and board shorts."
"I don't bleach my hair."
"You're impossible, do you know that?"
"Thank you."
"It wasn't a compliment."

"Look what the cat dragged in," Ms. Skoglund said. "Were you waylaid by all your female admirers?"
"It's nothing like that," the boy said. "Besides, you know I only have eyes for you."
"Sure you do," Ms. Skoglund said. "I mean, why bother with one of those skinny little things your age when you can go for someone who's trying to lose another thirty pounds before her twenty-year class reunion next summer? That makes sense."

My rating cannot go lower than

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Enchantment" by Charlotte Abel


I just finished reading "Enchantment" about half an hour ago and I feel a little pressured about writing the review. I just wish I had more time to gather my thoughts and all, but since I don't... well, I'll just try my best.

To be honest, I feel a little bipolar about this book. Because at moments it was so amazing, I was literally holding my breathe in anticipation. Unfortunately there were also those other moments when I just rolled my eyes. A couple of scenes seemed like they took forever to end, and I'd totally understand that if they were somehow important. But they weren't, and I just felt like they should've been cut shorter.

Other than that, it was a very well written, very well thought out novel. I rode the emotional roller coaster along with Channie and Josh and the rest of the characters and enjoyed every single bit of it. I loved the cheesy moments, as well as the tense ones. I would've liked to see more action, but... not up to me. Besides, I hear book 2 is packed full with it, so I'm holding my breath!!

About the story:

I'm afraid it wasn't all that original - just the ordinary girl-meets-boy, girl-falls-for-boy, relationship-is-impossibly-difficult kind of thing - but it was presented in an original way and it's safe to say that I liked it.

This was the first witch book I've read so far, where nobody speaks the spells/curses. We're just told that a spell is used and what it does, but how exactly it's manipulated... no one knows. I don't mean this as a bad thing. With all that goes on, I think that it's better this way.

The characters:

* Channie - I loved Enchantment's easy going nature and kind of missed it after she was renamed. Then I loved Chastity's strong persona as well. Until she kind of turned into a control freak, sometimes scaring me from the screen of my kindle. I must admit that I loved her most in the end, when she was her real self. When she was shy, selfless and full of love.

* Josh was a cutie and totally swoon worthy. But I was kind of hoping that he wouldn't behave like a sulking boy all the time, that he would grow up and be the man that I felt he should be. I think he did that towards the end. I loved him the most when he was angry with Channie, because anger kind of suited his otherwise gentle nature. The only thing I didn't like about him was the extensive crying. I'm not sure guys do that. It made me roll my eyes again and again.

* Momma & Daddy kind of made me squirm every time they were mentioned. They were tough characters with old beliefs and emanated coldness most of the time. I think that Mrs. Abel did a very good job on them. To be honest, I kind of enjoyed it when Channie got the upper hand over them.

* Aunt Wisdom cracked me up. She was one hell of a woman. My respects for her and her honest opinions and words. I wish I had an aunt like that to care about me as much as she did about Channie.

All the rest of the characters, Abby, Hunter, Eric, the triplets and Elijah amused me in their own way. I had fun reading about them.

To wrap it up: I recommend this book for anyone who likes heavy romance and some action.

Favorite quotes:


The teacher cleared her throat and said, "I expect my students to respond to roll call with 'present', but if any of you find the pronunciation of more than one syllable at a time beyond your capabilities, you may simply say, 'here.' This is an advanced placement English Literature course. Surely, you have a basic grasp of the language or you wouldn't be in my classroom." - Old Lady Windsor


"...Maggots, dead fish, fried liver - "
"What are you doing?"
Josh opened one eye and grinned. "Thinking of gross stuff."
"Does that help?"
"Almost as much as a cold shower."


"That's too bad." Josh puffed his chest out and said, "I was really looking forward to demonstrating my awesome survivalist skills."
"When we get back to the cabin, I'll let you skin and gut this one to prove your manhood."
"Uh..." The skin around Josh's lips turned green.

My rating is: