Friday, April 26, 2013

"The Reece Malcolm List" by Amy Spalding

The Reece Malcolm List

NOTE: I received the arc through Netgalley.

I don't want to insult anyone, but I must say what I think, so I should say that this book was mediocre, average and closer to 'ok' than 'good'. I gave it an extra star because it was informative on a lot of choir related stuff I didn't know, because there were funny moments that cracked me up, and because it was fast-paced, so it didn't require too much attention.

One thing I definitely liked was the writing style. It was light, and I really liked all the (inclusions), which were sometimes funny to read. In my opinion, those (inclusions) were creative.

I didn't like how unrealistic most of the characters were. I think only Brad felt believable the entire time, and perhaps Reece Malcolm as well, so I liked those two a lot. But besides them... well...let's just say that everyone was either too cliche, or an obvious attempt to escape the cliche.

Here's what I mean:
-Devan, the narrator/lead female was so shy and absolutely kind and selfless most of the time, I thought she was too shallow as a character. Also, she didn't see herself as someone special, when she's this super amazing singer or whatever(cliche, no?). I mean, real people have shades, depth, you know? With her, everything was the same. I can't remember how many times she wanted to say something, but didn't. It got boring. At the end, we're supposed to think that she's changed, grown, because she found it in her to lash out at her mom and the guy she liked? I don't know. It just sounds superficial.

-Sai was definitely not my favorite character at all. He was supposed to be 'oh-so-good', you know, in looks, and he was so 'absolutely nice', no one could actually hate him. Right. But in truth he just played two girls and they both responded at his beck and call. He wasn't a jock, but then again, does it really matter who the player is?

-Elijah was by far better than Sai. At least he was honest. And I hated it how things were doomed to not work between him and Devan from the very start.

-Travis was too full of himself; Mira was absurdly judgmental; Lissa was someone who only made me want to gag.

Another thing I didn't like was the fact that the reader was expected to know all those musicals, plays, and songs. To have at least heard of them and watched them once or twice. To know who the characters were and what happened in each scene. If you haven't (like me), you'd think that you're left out of the inside jokes half the time. It was annoying.

So, in conclusion I can say that the story needs to be worked on. It's got some serious flaws. But other than that it's a quick, silly read that can take your mind off of everyday life for a bit.

My rating is

Friday, April 19, 2013

"Walking Disaster" by Jamie McGuire

Walking Disaster (Beautiful, #2)
NOTE: I received this book from Netgalley.

I don't know why I was expecting to be amazed by this novel. After all it's just a POV re-write of Beautiful Disaster. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not that I didn't like it, it's just there's nothing much new in it.


There, I said it.

I guess it's all my fault, having high expectations and all that. But in my opinion, it's either read Beautiful Disaster, or Walking Disaster. Just don't read both. They just overflap most of the time, and it gets sort of boring.

Also, for some reason I really liked Abby's POV better. Most of Travis's alone scenes weren't anything spectacular, though I did enjoy the epilogue. That one was definitely something I hadn't come to expect. Other than this though... same characters, nothing new. And since it isn't a continuation of the series, none of them actually grew to be more mature.

So, I really don't know what to say about this one. I wanted to read it, but now that I have, I'm disappointed. Perhaps Jamie should've just written several short chapters here and there inside Beautiful Disaster, that would be from Travis's POV. It would've worked out much better that way.

Which makes me believe this POV separation had nothing to do with the story and EVERYTHING to do with commercial purposes. Sales are the big boss, right? Or was that readers..?

My rating? 
That about covers it.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hilarious, cute and touching: "15 Days Without a Head" by Dave Cousins

Fifteen Days Without a Head

NOTE: I received the eARC from Netgalley.

For I while I wondered why the heck I'd even requested this book. But when I actually got to it, I realized I'd made a good choice. And the more I read, the more I liked it.

Actually, 15 Days isn't your regular book full of cheesy romance and perfect situations which lead to this absolutely awesome relationship between the characters. On the contrary, this book reeks of originality, funny (in an ironic kind of way) situations, impossible hardships. It's targeting social problems, family problems, and yeah, some romance. And yeah, there's a morale!

In my opinion, what made the book so good were the characters. They had unique personalities, were driven by their thoughts, emotions and life circumstances. All in all, they acted realistic, which felt pretty darn good.

So, I'll start of with Laurence. Dude, if a boy could ever be so responsible, resourceful and caring, this world wouldn't be in such a huge mess! When his mom just up and left, he took matters in his own hands. For a while I'd wondered why he didn't have a job, or go find one, but well... he was just 15 and apparently in the UK that's not considered old enough to work. Also, if he'd gotten a job, who would've cared about his little brother, Jay? Goodness, Laurence was just fifteen and all the responsibilities that fell over him overnight were heavy enough to crush anyone. But he held on for entire two weeks!!!

Sure, half that time he and Jay were starving, dirty and sick, but they survived, so that's what matters in the end.

I'm not sure why Jay was so disobedient and continually insisted that nothing was 'up to Laurence'. It annoyed the crap out of me after the 3rd time. I believe if I were in Laurence's place, I might've slapped Jay on the mouth or something for being so stubborn. But then again, he was just 6 years old. And besides, it's not really Jay's fault that he wasn't raised to be obedient and nice.

It's all come from the mom (who just left them to take care of themselves) and dad (who's never to be found).

To be honest, I felt for the mom. I mean, she was a single mom, who had to care of 2 boys. And she had no one to help out. But dude, if we look at the statistics, isn't that the case of like 25% of the female population? You turn left and you see single moms. You turn right and they're right there to poke you in the eye. So no, lady! Even if I feel for you, you're not right to abandon your kids! What would happen if all single moms just up and left, huh?

And last, but not least, I want to talk about Mina - the girl with the huge heart. She sure won me over, and with that Jay and Laurence as well. She was amazing both in attitude and caring.

Okay, so you have to actually pick up the book and read it for yourself if you got intrigued. I'm telling you, it's worth its money.

My rating:

Monday, April 15, 2013

"Crimson Frost" by Jennifer Estep

Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy, #4)
NOTE: I received this book from Netgalley to review.

Firstly, I would like to say that I requested Crimson Frost before I even started reading this series. So then I decided it was about time I gave it a chance. But, as some of you may remember, and if not, just check out my review of Touch of Frost, the very first book flunked my expectations. I was too disappointed to even express my feelings properly.

So, naturally, I decided that I should just abandon all attempts on the Mythos Academy.

And yet!

And yet, when I saw Crimson Frost on my Netgalley shelf, I thought: "Why the heck not?" I mean, even if it was bad, it couldn't be worse than book one, right?

Truth is, that I was surprised in two exactly opposite ways.

On the positive side were several things:

1. It turned out that skipping the two books in between didn't affect my understanding of the events so far. So yay! I was up to date with no reason to go back and read books 2 and 3.

2. The story had actually progressed nicely over a span of several months, and I saw that finally, after three whole books, Logan and Gwen were on their first date. Wow!

Unfortunately there were negative sides too:

1. The descriptions were too long, to the infinitesimal detail, which wasn't interesting to me, so I found myself skipping over them most of the time. Because, honestly, I remembered quite well from the first book what the Library of Antiquities looked like (and other places too). There was no need to describe every small detail every time Gwen entered the place. After the second time around it just got boring. I don't know about other readers, but I'm certain I don't need to be reminded where each shelf and case and statue stood. Besides, that's quite irrelevant to the story.

2. The author's research on the Bogatyr warriors wasn't accurate. They weren't Russian warriors, as she said they were. They were Slavic and Mongolian knights, who fought while horseback riding. No two swords and whatever else Alexei was supposed to be fighting with. You may wonder why I'm even mentioning this, but I hate it when an author includes half true info about things that exist in the world. I mean, either do it all the way, or don't do it at all.

About the characters, here's what I have to say:

*Gwen* has grown into a slightly more bearable person. She was quite annoying in the first book, but I see that she's progressed. She isn't completely dependable on others and stuff. However, she's still lacking some sense of logic.

*Logan* is still this freaking super warrior, but he's also quite messed up on the inside. He seems to be quite strong, and yet unable to deal with guilt even when he's been forgiven for things he wasn't accountable for anyway.

*Alexei* I guess was nice and all that. I did totally want to smack him on the head when he didn't bother to defend Gwen, but oh well, he had his orders and such.

Anyway, with all that said, I still think the novel was good enough. I don't think I'd be reading on though.

My rating is

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"Obsidian Mirror" by Catherine Fisher

The Obsidian Mirror
NOTE: I received this book from Netgalley to review.

I'd heard lots of awesome things about Catherine Fisher, so I requested this book, all excited and full of great expectations. But to be honest, I was a bit disappointed.

Firstly, until about half way through, nothing really interesting happened. We were just introduced to the characters and some of the circumstances. Nothing special, nothing to grab my attention. Perhaps that's why it took me an entire week to finish this novel. It just didn't do it for me.

Secondly, the mysteries around which everything was revolving, weren't something absolutely out of the blue. No one really behaved outside of their character, which bored me. I mean, I would've wanted to see someone growing out of themselves by the end of the story, but no.

Venn was still the same guy, who cared about no one else and nothing else but getting his wife back.

Jake was the same rash boy who only cared about his father.

Sarah was perhaps the only mysterious character, who we didn't know anything about until the very last page.

And Gideon is my favorite of the lot. I hope they manage to find a way to help him out.

In conclusion, I want to say that the writing style was good, but the story isn't all that original. Also, the characters didn't really make an impression on me, so I can't say I'm thrilled by The Obsidian Mirror.

My rating, unfortunately, is

Monday, April 8, 2013

"Scent of Magic" by Maria V. Snyder: breathtaking and mindblowing!

Scent of Magic (Healer, #2)
NOTE: I received an e-copy of the book from Netgalley and physical ARC by MIRA INK. Thanks!

A fantastic sequel to A Touch of Power! Maria V. Snyder has a wonderful way with words that captures the reader's mind and doesn't let go.

Same awesome characters sharing the same brilliant story met me from page one and held my attention until the very end. Scent of Magic was even better than Touch of Power, with such breathtaking cliffhanger, with memorable battles, opening unthought of possibilities.

Ever since Kerrick and Avry parted ways, the story became even more complicated. Not only did they have to deal with their separate assignments, but they also had to somehow deal with the fact that they won't be together for the time being. There was of course, the possibility that one or both of them won't make it to meet again.

And while I (as a reader) was well aware that both characters were more or less in a good condition (though not always safe), they themselves didn't know that of each other. Which lead to pain and emotional torment on both their sides. I couldn't help but feel pity for them. If they'd only had cell phones!


Meanwhile, our evil genius, Tohen is in the midst of his preparations for a vicious war. He's gaining power, both with the living and the dead and he's got more than one card up his sleeve. Especially the card counting on people's disbelief in the 'impossible'. Because seriously - walking corpses? That's impossible, right?

Prince Rhyne (I'm not sure if this is how his name was spelled..) has some ruses and cards of his own too. Thanks to Avry, her quick mind and the powers of the Death and Life Lilies, the chances seem to turn. But will there be enough time and volunteers to help out against the army undead soldiers, whom no one has even seen? Will the traitor be finally revealed? Will Kerrick and Avry finally have a chance to be together? And whose fault will the plague turn out to be?

Well, if you want to know the answers, you're going to have to read the book for yourself! Enjoy!

My rating could never go lower than

"Touch of Power" by Maria V. Snyder

Touch of Power (Healer, #1)

I hadn't read any of Maria V. Snyder's books prior to this one, but if they're all as captivating and hypnotizing as Touch of Power, then I'm definitely going to fix this mistake.

That is to say, I LOVED THIS BOOK!

It was the type of high fantasy that gives you wings and makes you fly. Kind of like Red Bull.

The story was written, clearly, by a talented author. A pro no less. I enjoyed the storytelling style very much. It was fluid and just perfect for a picky reader like me. The story itself was enchanting. Nothing was missing or misplaced, which means that the author spent a whole lot of time planning things to be just right. Also, something that I appreciated, was that Ms. Snyder didn't hesitate to injure or hurt or even sacrifice her characters for the sake of the story. This made it all sound so realistic, it felt like I was living alongside the characters.

The romance that developed was truly beautiful and most important - there was no instant love. It all happened over time, as the characters got to know each other. Which gets me to the characters themselves.

Usually, after I finish reading a book, I tend to forget the characters' names. I mean, it's only natural with all those books and chars out there. But these guys just stuck with me. I remember all their names, which is a compliment of itself!

-Avry, with her obsolete feelings of right and wrong; her passion to help even if that meant putting herself in danger; her quick wit and compassionate heart;

-Kerrick, with his determination to do what he thought was right without considering or caring about the feelings of others; his mega heart that can open up just when the right moment strikes;

-Belen, or Papa Bear, with his sheer strength, meek heart and wide grin

-the monkeys, Loren and Quinn, who always got in and out of trouble; who were quick and quiet, lethal and loyal;

-Flea, who was trusting and sometimes too naive for his own good, but I liked him nonetheless;

-even Tohon, the evil self-obsessed dude, who in his twisted mind thought was doing the world a favor. It's not always that the evil genius manages to crawl into my heart, but Tohon did, and I can say that I'm impressed!

I loved them all, which is why I couldn't wait any longer but went on ahead and read the next book in the series: Scent of Magic.

The Healer series, or Avry of Kazan as it's starting to get popular as, is one truly amazing series. It's full of action, love, friendship, sacrifice and quests. I'm positive that anyone would fall in love with it as much as I did!

Well, as you have probably guessed, my rating is

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"Hooked" by Liz Fichera

Hooked (Hooked, #1)
NOTE: I received this book from Netgalley.

I should say that this is the very first book I read, where the sport wasn't football, or soccer. I'd certainly not read a book about golf, so I was totally confused by all the special terms - holes, clubs, score keeping, etc. All that aside, I must say that the story was rather nice. The author has addressed several types of conflicts:

-race-based (Native American vs. Caucasian)
-gender-based (a girl on an all boy golf team)
-friend-friend (do you stand by your friends no matter how wrong they are, or do you stand by what's right?)
-parent-child(how the parents' expectations or disappointment can and do affect - sometimes to the point of ruining - a child's life)

With all that said, I need to say a bit about the characters, too. So here goes:

-Fred, the lead female, was a very nice girl. She cared about her family (mostly about her brother and dad, because her mom was playing the victim all the time) & about golf. Her character was captivating and I think I could like her as a friend. She was real, honest, kind and completely innocent to the world.

-Ryan was such a wuss! I could hardly stand him until I reached the last 50 pages or so. He saw how wrong and out of his mind his friends were, how rudely they treated Fred, but he still didn't do anything to stop them. I'm just glad that he figured out who and what was important and what was the right thing to do. I'm a firm believer in forgiveness, so yeah, Ryan got it.

-Which leads me to Seth. He was one sick dude! There were times when I thought he was for a straight jacket and a mental institution. There was something very wrong with that guy. And the problem was really with his step dad, why didn't even one of his friends raise the issue? After all, domestic violence is punishable by law, isn't it?

Anyway, I don't think you'd regret reading this book. The story was realistic, and captivating.

My rating is

"Falling Into You" by Jasinda Wilder

Falling Into You (Falling, #1)

Well, let me say that this novel is just HOT HOT HOT!! I don't know what's gotten into me with these New Adult novels, but it's got something to do with a going down spiral and I don't seem to be able to stop reading them.

Any. Way.

So, what did I think of Falling Into You? It was one of the better ones out there. The writing was at a good level, though there were some present/past tense inconsistencies. Still though, I gotta hand it to the author - she's got a good style. Flowing. Present.

Now let me just say that I liked both the pre- and post- parts, but in a different way.

The pre- part was sweet and innocent and full of love and promise. It was the part of the first love, the part of figuring out the person you are and the person you care for. It was the part where there was nothing else but happiness.

The post- part was full of hurt and suppressed pain. It overflowed with passion and need and a whole new level of falling in love. A level so deep and complete and impossible, that it's hard to explain.

All that was amazing.


I didn't really like Colton's bossy voice. "Do this." "Hold onto that." "blah blah" Yeah, I know he had the best of intentions and all that, and Nell didn't listen and obey anyway, but his tone bugged me.
Still though, this was the only negative.

The core of this story had to do with pain. Pain so deep that there's no way out of it. It dealt with coping without hurting. Which, as we saw, was no coping at all. It was a very very emotional book.

My rating is

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"The Assassin's Curse" by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Assassin's Curse (The Assassin's Curse, #1)
I received this book from Netgalley.

Well, I think this was a good story, written in a lousy way. Either that, or the target audience wasn't 16+, but 10+ instead. However, I don't see how tat could be possible since there was crud and offensive language throughout, as well as bloody action scenes.

I can say that the story has potential, but the way it's written doesn't do it justice.

At any rate, I love pirate stories and assassin stories. Seeing them put together in one place felt sort of nice. However, the characters were quite base, there was no depth to them, which was sad.

I was repulsed by Annanna's use of language a lot. Sure, she was a pirate, raised around vulgar brutes and their manners, or lack of, has rubbed off on her, but... I just didn't like it. I did like her inner voice however, even though at times it just sounded silly.

The assassin, Naji, seemed too nice to be what he was. But I guess there had to be some redeeming quality in him, so the story could be formulated or whatever. Anyway, just like most men, he was more captivated bu outward beauty than the inner qualities in a woman. Which is why I firmly believe he deserved the curse he got.

Aaand, the ending was just... I dunno... to unrealistic. Especially the breaking the curse part. Seriously? The last condition to break the curse was just hilarious!

Anyway, I don't think I'd be reading on on this series, to tell the truth, though I kind of want to know what will happen next. But umm... no. Not even that is enough to tempt me.

My rating of this one is