IMM: In My Mailbox (5)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. The idea of In My Mailbox is to bring books to the attention of our blog readers and to encourage interaction with other blogs.

Here’s what I have for this week from Netgalley:

The Six (The Gateway Chronicles #1)
K. B. Hoyle

Darcy Pennington hates her life. She is an insufferably average teenager with no real friends, crushing social anxiety, and an indescribable sense of not fitting in anywhere. A change in her dad’s job forces her to attend Cedar Cove Family Camp the summer before her eighth-grade year, and Darcy once again finds herself on the outside of a social circle of teenagers, with her only advocate being an awkward girl named Samantha Palm. The only problem is, Darcy has no desire to be friends with her, but as the hostility from the other teenagers increases, she decides to return the friendship.

When Darcy begins to experience strange magical occurrences, she comes to believe she’s either losing her mind or on the brink of a discovery that could give her purpose in life. After unwittingly stumbling through a magical gateway to a new world called Alitheia, she convinces Sam and the other four teenagers to travel there with her, and despite their earlier hostilities toward her, they eventually concede leadership of their small group to Darcy. Once there, they learn the “arrival of the Six” was prophesied hundreds of years before, and that they must expel an ancient evil from the land. In the end their lives, and the fate of Alitheia, will hinge upon Darcy. Will she have what it takes to fulfill her mysterious purpose? Or will she fall prey to a deadly foe?

Dark Companion
Marta Acosta

When foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls and escape her violent urban neighborhood, she thinks the offer is too good to be true. She’s even offered her own living quarters, the groundskeeper’s cottage in the center of the birch grove.

Something’s not quite right about the school — or is it Jane? She thinks she sees things in the birch grove at night. She’s also beginning to suspect that the elegant headmistress and her sons are hiding secrets. Lucky is the gorgeous, golden son who is especially attentive to Jane, and Jack is the sardonic puzzling brother.

The school with its talented teachers and bright students is a dream for a science and math geek like Jane. She also loves her new friends, including hilarious poetry-spouting rich girl, Mary Violet. But the longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more questions she has about the disappearance of another scholarship girl and a missing faculty member.

Jane discovers one secret about Birch Grove, which only leads to more mysteries. What is she willing to sacrifice in order to stay at this school…and be bound to Birch Grove forever?

The Glimpse
Claire Merle

Once you’ve seen into the future, can you change your destiny?

In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.

Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before.

What’s in your mailbox?

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Book Review: Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz

Title: Spellcaster (Spellbound #2)
Author: Cara Lynn Shultz
Pages: 384
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
ISNB: 0373210507
Source: Netgalley

Finding your eternal soulmate – easy.

Stopping a true-love-hungry evil – not so much…

After breaking a centuries-old romantic curse, Emma Connor is (almost) glad to get back to normal problems. Although…it’s not easy dealing with the jealous cliques and gossip that rule her exclusive Upper East Side prep, even for a sixteen-year-old newbie witch. Having the most-wanted boy in school as her eternal soul mate sure helps ease the pain-especially since wealthy, rocker-hot Brendan Salinger is very good at staying irresistibly close….

But something dark and hungry is using Emma and Brendan’s deepest fears to reveal damaging secrets and destroy their trust in each other. And Emma’s crash course in über-spells may not be enough to keep them safe…or to stop an inhuman force bent on making their unsuspected power its own.

REVIEW

Soulmates reincarnated, two souls forever destined to be together – sounds like your perfect tale, right? Well not much for me and here’s a run down of what I think of the book.

Brendan and Emma’s relationship is cute being teenagers and all, hilarious with their banter and whatnot, gushing with romance – but sometimes MOST OF THE TIME I feel like it’s too much. I get that the two are a happy couple, reincarnated souls but the author didn’t need to write it in big letters. We get it! There were times that I enjoyed reading about it but there were also instances that I just rolled my eyes and flipped the pages.

Brendan has a heroine complex, his character didn’t work for me. Angelique was surprisingly entertaining. I loved her character being a devoted friend and a passionate witch. Emma, well Emma’s as stubborn as Brendan but less annoying and more quirky. I had a lot of laugh reading her thoughts and one I can remember is:

Of course, the handle just had to be carved with a bunch of grinning skulls. I would never be so lucky as to be attacked with a boring old wooden-handled steak knife, would I? Noo… I get the skull monsters.

Megan, who presumably is a powerful witch is not as threatening as I want her to be. Texting Angelique excessively! Seriously. As strong as she is, all she does is text threats? okay, moving on . . .

The library scene was too much for me. I mean, there was just too many pity points and “I am sorry” thrown back and forth that I can’t help rolling my eyes. It was too much drama, too many dialogues. To top it off, Brendan’s idea of stopping a witch is with a restraining order – well okay, great thinking. That was hilarious. The confrontation between Angelique and Brendan near the ending was a pain as well – that was the part where I totally hated Brendan’s character.

I seriously wanted to like this book, alot of readers seemed to love Spellbound but this book failed to make my heart flutter. Maybe I should read the first book and re-read this again to get a different feel – but if the first one is almost the same as this book, I think I’ll pass. Don’t get me wrong, I did not hate the book it’s just that I feel that this was too “teen-ish” and too much drama for me. It was just not working for me at all. *sigh*

Book Review: The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Title: The Help
Author: Kathryn Stockett
Pages: 451
Publisher: Putnam
ISBN: 0399155341

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.
Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women – mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends – view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

REVIEW

I’ve read and finished The Help a week ago but I had a hard time organizing my thoughts into this review thus the delay. This is not a hard book to read, and not a bad book as well. It’s just that the theme is intense, I am finding it hard to come up with a review that can do this book justice.

Okay, so The Help is a story about racism and how hard it was for people to cope and make it through during the 60’s in Mississippi. I am not African American nor do I live in a place where I can witness the issue but I am Asian and I can tell you right now that Asians and other minorities also experience the same thing and we also carry the same issues that is why I felt so attached and emotional reading this book.

The story was provided in three different POV – Skeeter, Minnie and Aibileen – three different person, three different personality, three different upbringing held together to fight the close mindedness and harshness of the society they were living in. Because of this format, it gave me different perspective from each person. This gave me a different feel and “view” and that also made it easier for me to read and understand the story. The story made me feel an array of emotions creating a very colorful reading experience and that deserves praises for me.

I just like to point out a few points. First, I don’t understand the bird in the cover. I don’t know why but I can’t think of any reason to connect those birds to the story – well maybe there was a point to it but I missed it. Second, the boyfriend character for me was not necessary in the story. It was like he wasn’t there – he didn’t play anything significant or contributed anything to the story.

With those points said, read the book. It’s not just another racism book, it’s a great story worth your attention.

** NOTE: For those who have seen the movie and read the book (or the other way around), which was better? The book or the movie?

Book Review: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Title: Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl #1)
Author: Eoin Colfer
Pages: 396
Publisher: Disney Press
ISBN: 0786817879

Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories—they’re dangerous! Full of unexpected twists and turns, Artemis Fowl is a riveting, magical adventure.

REVIEW:

I have read the whole Artemis Fowl series last year and I thoroughly enjoyed it and became an immediate fan. After a year, re-reading it resurfaced the exact emotions I felt last year. A mix of awe, joy and excitement. I only have one word for this book and the series as a whole – brilliant! But let’s talk about the first book shall we?

Artemis Fowl is the first installment in the series created Eoin Colfer. Artemis Fowl is a teen genius and a cunning criminal/mastermind. He is accompanied by his trusted friend/bodyguard, Butler, in their adventures towards crime and inter-mingling with the People.

Although the concept wasn’t new, Colfer created an amazing world for his reader to indulge in addition to characters who are entertaining and enjoyable to read. There were no irritating moments, no out of place element, nothing. Everything mishmashed together perfectly which made the experience reading the story as fun as it should be. This is not only a story for young readers to enjoy but also by older audiences. This is one of my favorite series and I’ll be looking forward to re-reading the series again. 🙂

IMM: In My Mailbox (4)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. The idea of In My Mailbox is to bring books to the attention of our blog readers and to encourage interaction with other blogs.

Here’s what I have for this week:

Went to the second hand book store to buy me some books and immediately saw these two (see below). Was soo excited and thinking that I need to find one more book without realizing that these two are books 3 and 8 of 10 books. Hahaha so instead of looking for 1 more, I’ll be on the lookout for 7 books to complete the series.

Nicolae (Left Behind #3)
Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins

First they were Left Behind. Then they formed the Tribulation Force. Now they must face Nicolae. In the most explosive of the three books so far, the seven-year tribulation is nearing the end of its first quarter, when prophecy says that “the wrath of the Lamb” will be poured out upon the earth. Rayford Steele becomes the ears of the tribulation saints at the highest levels of the Carpathia regime. Meanwhile, Buck Williams attempts a dramatic all-night rescue run from Israel through the Sinai that will hold you breathless to the end.

The Mark (Left Behind #8)

Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins

His Excellency Global Community Potentate Nicolae Carpathia is back, this time as Satan. Resurrected and indwelt by the devil himself, it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy as the beast tightens his grip as ruler of the world. Ensconced in a new safe house, the Tribulation Force suffers tragic loss at the dawn of the second half of the seven-year Tribulation. The Trib Force moles inside the palace in New Babylon face tragedy and danger, and they must flee, take the mark, or suffer the consequences. The gloves are off, and the battle is launched between the forces of good and evil for the very souls of men and women around the globe.

 For the complete list of books, click HERE.
Netgalley:

Exiled (The Never Chronicles #1)
J.R. Wagner

James has never known an ordinary life. As long as he can remember, he and his family have been on the run—moving from place to place, never settling down, never growing roots. Now, just when he’s on the brink of manhood, the very thing his family has been trying to prevent tears him from all he has ever known and thrusts him into a place where he is powerless and alone.

Bent on finding a way back, James must brave a place reserved for the worst of his kind. He quickly learns that the land itself poses a greater threat than its inhabitants and if he is to have any chance of returning, he must work with the very people he’s been raised to fear.

James has known magic since just after he was born. As a sorcerer, his skills are exceptional yet when he wakes in The Never, his abilities are gone. Armed with nothing but determination and the will to survive, he braves a land wrought with dangers, mysteries and temptations meant to ensnare both body and mind and prevent escape forever.

Afterwards: A Novel
Rosamund Lupton

There is a fire and they are in there. They are in there…

Black smoke stains a summer blue sky. A school is on fire. And one mother, Grace, sees the smoke and rush. She knows her teenage daughter Jenny is inside. She runs into the burning building to rescue her.

Afterwards Grace must find the identity of the arsonist and protect her children from the person who’s still intent on destroying them. Afterwards, she must fight the limits of her physical strength and discover the limitlessness of love.

Dark Kiss (Nightwatchers #1)
Michelle Rowen

I don’t do dangerous. Smart, über-careful, ordinary Samantha-that’s me. But I just couldn’t pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me…something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It’s like part of me is missing-and I don’t know if I can get it back. Then there’s Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he’s keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he’s what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me…. NIGHTWATCHERS When angels and demons must work together, something beyond evil is rising.

What’s in your mailbox?

The Diary of a Disappointed Book by StudioCanoe

This short film tells a disappointing year in the life of a book. Though they might often be our most treasured possessions, it is remarkable how easily books can be neglected, mistreated and sometimes even lost.

My only comment: Who brings a book in a movie theater and leave it under your seat?? 😐 Other than that, enjoy the film guys.

Book Review: The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope #2)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Pages: 282
Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN: 0061976792

Seventeen-year-old Ginny Blackstone is off on another fun, romantic, and hilarious European adventure in this irresistible sequel to Johnson’s breakout hit “13 Little Blue Envelopes.

Review

The Last Little Blue Envelope picks up where 13 Little Blue Envelopes finished and it talks about Ginny and her “adventure” traveling cross Europe to accomodate her dead Aunt Peg’s wishes. The Last Little Blue Envelope is the closure that Ginny seeks after what happened in 13 Little Blue Envelopes. Here she revisits the places she went before but with a few editions, one being Oliver – the lad that contacted her and will be a vital element in the story. I opted not to include much details to avoid telling spoilers.

The Last Little blue Envelope was somewhat questionable in the sense that it raised a lot of question marks for me. For one, where are her parents? I mentioned in my previous review about this small detail and somehow in this story, there’s no difference at all. Another thing, Europe is supposed to be magical right? Well both books seemed to lack that magic – I wasn’t feeling like I was visiting the best of Europe. I was hoping to read a descriptive picture of the places she’s traveling to but I got none – just the idea that she went here and there. With that said, I did enjoy this book. It was a fun read and I would definitely say better than the first book.

This is an okay book but not the best book out there. I advice readers to read the first book before reading this one – you’ll seriously regret it if you don’t. It is a quick read so don’t worry about it being boring since it isn’t.

IMM: In My Mailbox (3)


In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. The idea of In My Mailbox is to bring books to the attention of our blog readers and to encourage interaction with other blogs.
Here’s what I have for this week:

As usual I’ve visited our second hand bookstore and bought a few books. I haven’t bought new books lately since I’ve been saving for next week but here’s a few of my purchase including Netgalley titles –

The House of Nire by Morio Kita (translated by Dennis Keene)

The House of Nire will come as a surprise to readers who expect a Japanese novel to be a mixture of gloom and sensitivity. This one is unashamedly comic, and its view of human life derives from a warm curiosity that accepts the world as it is and wastes no time complaining about it. The book relates the history of the Nire family from the end of the First World War to the end of the Second. We meet Kiichiro Nire, founder not only of the family mental hospital but of the family itself, for he has changed their real name to something more sophisticated. Kiichiro, in all his vanity, selfishness, and absurdity, is one of the great comic creations of Japanese literature. His children, adopted children, grandchildren, and any number of hangers-on including a friendly but flabby Sumo wrestler whose career is going nowhere, form a cast of characters who, for all their oddities, tell us more about actual Japanese people and their lives than almost anything we have yet seen in English. And when, with the eventual fall of the House of Nire, the mood changes and the laughter dies away, one recognizes just how true to life this novel is and how involved in it one has become.

Grimpow: The Invisible Road by Rafael Ábalos (translated by Noël Baca Castex)

Grimpow had no idea who the dead man was, but hidden in his leather bag was a treasure that would change his life forever. Ruby- and emerald-encrusted daggers, silver coins, jewels, and a letter with a golden seal depicting a snake swallowing its own tail. And clutched in the man’s firm grip—a stone. A stone that will shape Grimpow’s destiny. For when he holds it, strange things begin to happen. Visions of places he’s never been fill his mind and he’s able to read the strange language in the letter, a message meant for someone else entirely.

So begins Grimpow’s journey with the stone—a centuries-long journey that has driven sane men crazy, turned peaceful men violent, and made strong men powerless. No man has ever unlocked its secrets. But no boy has ever tried.

Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle

In 1837 London, young daughters of viscounts pined for handsome, titled husbands, not careers. And certainly not careers in magic. At least, most of them didn’t.

Shy, studious Persephone Leland would far rather devote herself to her secret magic studies than enter society and look for a suitable husband. But right as the inevitable season for “coming out” is about to begin, Persy and her twin sister discover that their governess in magic has been kidnapped as part of a plot to gain control of the soon-to-be Queen Victoria. Racing through Mayfair ballrooms and royal palaces, the sisters overcome bad millinery, shady royal spinsters, and a mysterious Irish wizard. And along the way, Persy learns that husband hunting isn’t such an odious task after all, if you can find the right quarry.

And for Netgalley titles:

Blackbird by Chuck Wendig

Miriam Black knows when you will die. She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.

But when Miriam hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim.

No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.

The Demi-Monde: Winter by Rod Rees

EXPERIENCE THE ULTIMATE IN VIRTUAL REALITY. The Demi-Monde is the most advanced computer simulation ever devised. Created to prepare soldiers for the nightmarish reality of urban warfare, it is a virtual world locked in eternal civil war. Its thirty million digital inhabitants are ruled by duplicates of some of history’s cruellest tyrants: Reinhard Heydrich, the architect of the Holocaust; Beria, Stalin’s arch executioner; Torquemada, the pitiless Inquisitor General; Robespierre, the face of the Reign of Terror. But something has gone badly wrong inside the Demi-Monde, and the US President’s daughter has become trapped in this terrible world. It falls to eighteen-year-old Ella Thomas to rescue her, yet once Ella has entered the Demi-Monde she finds that everything is not as it seems, that its cyber-walls are struggling to contain the evil within and that the Real World is in more danger than anyone realises.

What’s in your mailbox?

FF: Feature & Follow (2)

Feature & Follow is hosted by both Parajunkee’s View and Alison Can Read

Q: Q: What is one book that you would be nervous to see a movie adaption of because you think the movie could never live up to the book?

A: The first book that I thought about is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I reviewed it last year (see review here), I loved it, I highly recommended it. The book was everything I hoped for and it was perfect – and because of that, I am very  afraid of how they’ll adapt the book into the big screen. I have been often disappointed of books to movie adaptations and I don’t want Night Circus to be one of those but let’s see. 🙂

So guys, what’s your choice?

** NOTE: Btw, I would appreciate if you follow via email or linky at the ride side bar whichever is more convenient.

Book Review: Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

Title: Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test #2 Series)
Author: Aimee Carter
Pages: 304
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
ISNB: 0373210450
Source: Netgalley

Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she’ll have to fight for it.Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans. As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person whom she would really rather not meet. Henry’s first wife, Persephone.

REVIEW

The story continues as Kate comes back after 6 months above ground to live her life with Henry and her new family in the Underworld but things will get bad to worse sooner than she anticipated.

Kate’s relationship with Henry is not new – it’s messy and complicated yet somehow you can feel that love is present – but reading it now just makes me sader than before. It’s tragic yet magical in a way how one fights for what s/he loves and believes in but somehow ends up coming too short or doubting themselves. There were a lot of scenes that I remembered more than most like when she talked to Ingrid:

Being brave doesn’t mean never being afraid,it means going for it anyway because you know its the right thing to do.

And here’ another:

What would you have done if Henry never loved you as much as you wanted him to? We can’t choose how much someone else loves us.

And I love how Henry explained his feelings here:

If I were a better man, I would be able to show you the love and affection you deserve. As I am not, I can only offer you what I am capable of giving. But I assure you, just because I do not show it doesn’t mean I do not feel it.

To be honest I hated Kate in the first part of the book, being selfish, unreasonable and childish. On my opinion, she knew what she was getting into when she decided to marry Henry including his excess emotional baggage yet somehow in Goddess Interrupted she acts as if it’s Henry’s fault for her demise. Okay, Henry is a but unfair but truth be told, his situation isn’t easy and he did gave Kate options. So why bitch around and demand things when she can do something to tip the situation in her favor? Well, I just felt that Kate should’ve been prepared for the worse and Henry should have been sensitive and mindful enough to Kate’s feelings. Well cheers to the complication of love. In addition to that, I didn’t get Persephone’s attitude towards Kate. She decided to leave Henry, decided to be mortal, decided to “condemn” (okay, condemn may not be the right term if you are forever and eternally tied to a hunk like Adonis) herself with Adonis so why is she acting like Kate stole everything from her? Oh I marvel on how the female psyche works.

On another note, Calliope is a perfect villain. Bitchy, vengeful and very psychotic. With that combination, I guarantee that you’ll be reading amazing scenes in the next book especially with the ending – Goddess Interrupted ended in a perfect note.

The story is amazing. The right blend of adventure, mystery but with the right touch of romance. The story started in a good tone, ascending to a nail-biting, heart-pumping can’t-get-enough note and ended with a bang! I was caught up from reading page one until the end without realizing that I finished the book ahead of schedule. Beware, reading Goddess Interrupted is very addictive.

The author has a talent in catching the readers attention in addition to keeping them hooked to the very end. The book is officially one of my favorite read for 2012. It ended in a great note with enough cliff hanger to make you hate that the next book isn’t available yet – the third installment is worth the wait if it’s going to be as good as Goddess Interrupted.

** NOTE: I just realized that I read The Goddess Test last year but it seems like I forgot to write a review – silly me. I need to re-read that one and review it soon! 🙂