Monday, April 29, 2013

“Someone was looking at me, a disturbing sensation if you're dead.”

A Certain Slant of Light (Light, #1)A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautiful and haunting.

I was completely unprepared for this book. It's different and challenging, carefully constructed with superb style. I'm not a fan of poetry, but each one of the pages of this book felt like it. I know! I'm inspired and all. Its a paranormal YA plot that coexists with a Gothic novel. It touches various difficult themes beyond the YA norm. It's many stories and one; of two souls and two bodies. It's light and dark, like its captivating title. This standalone book left me wandering, with tears in my eyes.

It begins with Helen, a ghost that has haunted a few hosts over time by making herself a sort of spirit Muse. Her tie to these individuals is through her passion for words and literature. While doing her regular haunting of her current host, an English High School teacher, one of the boys from his class appears to be able to see her. Thus a haunting story of forgiveness, life, love and death,unfolds.

I loved this book. Its atmosphere and prose. I can see it's not for everyone, but for me, it was perfect. Really, its one of those strange books that will keep you completely mesmerised, while savouring each word and page.

My favourite lines:


“Care to offer a sentence with an example of an adverb?” Mr. Brown watched him doubtfully.

“Breathlessly he watched her hand,” said James.

Mr. Brown blinked at him. “Okay.”
-----

“Do you remember an example of where not to insert an adverb?”

James just stared at him.

“To desperately hope,” I whispered.

James let out a breath. “To gratefully believe.”
-----

Finally he said, “Just walk up to your hell and give it a push. Run through it, and I’ll be waiting on the other side.”


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Friday, April 26, 2013

"You're nothing but a bird with an attitude"

Angelfall (Penryn & The End Of Days, #1)Angelfall by Susan Ee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book a few days ago and I've been slowly gathering my thoughts to write this. Why? Because it was awesome.

Lately I've been having some iffy times with books about angels. I'm so very tired of the same formula being used over and over: angel meets girl *ghasp* insta-love and lots of drama and stuff. So yeah... I wasn't sure it was the right time to journey into Angelfall, but I'm glad I did.
I did not expect this book's plot at all. By the second page I was entirely convinced this book was different. It's another one of those times in which the great reviews from Goodreads are right on the spot for me. I love it!

This book starts with a beautiful eerie description.

Ironically, since the attacks, the sunsets have been glorious. Outside our condo window, the sky flames like a bruised mango in vivid orange, reds, and purples.

The world is in ruins because angels pretty much showed up a few months ago and caused havoc and destruction.  It is unclear why. What we know is that cities are becoming dangerous, as survivors gang up to scavenge anything left. Is an each one on its own kind of scenario.
We learn all of this from Penryn, our 17 year old MC, since this book is told from her POV.
I decided not to read the description on the back before starting, making my reading experience even better. Seriously I loved having absolutely no idea of where, who and what to expect beyond angels, when opening the book.  So, I refuse to spoil anything else here.

The book is great: the prose is amazing,  you'll love Penryn, our smart, strong and caring main character and above all, you'll have fun. Yup, this book took me places and made me laugh.
I am very eager to read what happens afterwards!

In overall, Bravo Susan Ee, you've gained a new fan with Angelfall

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: Bloodline Immersed In You

Please note that this review has spoilers!


Bloodline Immersed In You
Bloodline Immersed In You by A.R. Dean

My rating: 3 of 5 stars



2 and a 1/2 towards 3 stars

I am picky with my book tastes, but I am open enough to read almost anything that crosses my way; especially if it has vampires.  I discovered Bloodline Immersed in You while browsing freebies for Kindle and was immediately drawn to the premise of a nurse who turns into a vampire after an accident in the ER with a needle. I jumped into this book with very very low expectations, being a self pub first book, however, I became engrossed with the story, enough to enjoy it despite it's drawbacks.

I enjoyed the plot, as it's a tad different from many of the books out there in the paranormal + vampire genre. In this book we have a female MC who turns into a vampire early in the book. Nick, a hot sexy vampire helps her during her transformation and  becomes her lover. this last part is obviously NOT expected at all :-)

Kathleen - or Katy, Kat- is 36 years old. She lives in our contemporary world, in Texas and works as an ER nurse at a hospital. She is married and had a daughter when she was 16, who doesn't live with her, but with her dad.  Kat's current marriage is in the brink of collapsing, however she is sort of satisfied with most of the aspects of her life; particularly her work and routine. She has a best friend Angie

You'll expect that when 1) she learns that vampires exist, 2) she becomes one and 3)she gets super powers: becomes a shape shifter and has premonitions; the book would  take a turn focusing towards more paranormal twists, but here is where this book left me dumbfounded. It became a story about the everyday normal life of a middle upper class couple that sometimes in between the: steamy sex scenes, the dinner dates (yeah, our MC loves sushi), hospital shifts, the strangled relationship with a daughter the long term infidelity and divorce; remembers that they have to drink blood... Yes, I had forgotten, they are vampires.

Vampires are supposedly everywhere. They are vampire judges, police, doctors and I wouldn't be surprised if the politicians were too. Soooo much potential in this story, but I felt it came short by focusing on pointless things, that felt unnecessary and long. We don't learn much about vampires, beyond that they can live forever, sunlight doesn't affect them and some have strange powers.

As I said in the beginning, I'm a picky reader, but I know what kind of book I was reading. I felt it was very creative and I did finish it quickly. The author has a great voice and imagination that bleeds (note my vampire allusion) in a fantastic way through each page. I was not expecting some of its twists and I was pleasantly surprised.

However, I can't help to note that I felt this story wanted to tell a lot in such a way that many characters, events and situations were seriously unnecessary and in many cases underdeveloped.

There were things and situations I didn't wanted to see, hear or have our characters say.

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For example, the best friend Angie, who dies and leaves Kat all her money and all the chapters devoted to their relationship... it just dragged on.
I had to challenge myself to continue reading this book when early on, Kat and Angie are out at night dancing, a sentence put me off entirely: 'Our continuous dancing like lesbian lovers seemed only to fuse the guy's persistence'. Argh! Stereotypes much? Why is this necessary? It didn't add anything to the story. I sort of understand what the author was trying to explain here, but...nope. Why is it necessary to add the word lesbian here? She is having fun with her girlfriend. Stereotyping behaviour of people with diverse sexual preferences bothers me.
However, this was not something that came back to the story, so I was glad to continue and give it a chance.

We learn at the beginning that Kat is a very sexual person. And true to her character, we get to read about steamy hot sex. It had lots of good very graphic sensual descriptions, leaving only small amounts to your imagination. Very sexy stuff! I appreciated how Callie, Kat's daughter, acted upon her desires and made the first move with Dean. And in that note, yes, I found it a bit creepy that this guy was first in love with Kat and then her daughter... but maybe its just me

Nick was a good male lead. Flawed when he just leaves Kat in the bar once she sees Orlando (her maker) fully aware that she is in danger and just acting on a vampire instinct... Tsk-tsk, not cool Nick , but his devotion redeems him. I liked him. I also liked Stephen and his welcoming personality. As you can already imagine, this book has a whole lot of story and characters in play.

There was simply too much unnecessary medical information. As a reader, I am looking to immerse myself in a story that is entertaining, not to read how medical equipment works, lab techniques and ways to analyse blood. Why was C.S.I. a  TV success? Because even though the main plot was to solve a case using lab-work, the story was focused on the interactions, observations and 'discoveries'; not the description of what equipment was used and the details of lab-work. Leaving much more room for imagination. Kudos for the research involved writing this book, but I would cut many of these.

There were a lot of grammatical errors, and editing that needs to be done. Particularly the second half has plenty of dialogues that never close the quotations.

I think I should stop. I could go on and on in stuff  I liked and stuff that I wasn't entirely sure. This means that the book was good enough to keep me engrossed. Yes it needs editing, yes it drags on unnecessary stuff, but I had fun.

I'm not sure that I would recommend it to anyone as it is. If it gets a revision I'll certainly would!



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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review: A Shade of Vampire


A Shade of Vampire
A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest

My rating: 1 of 5 stars



*sigh* I'm a sucker for vampire books. To the point that I'm doing a vampire book challenge, where I'm reading 5 vampire books per month. For these reasons, I am making an effort to read books from all vampire varieties and all markets: indie published and not. In this quest, I stumbled upon A Shade of Vampire. The author had a book giveaway a few weeks back. I wasn't a winner, but she was kind enough to send the first few chapters to her participants to entice them to read the book. I read them through, and was curious enough to get the book. I was excited to start where the teaser left. Buttttt argh. It bored me :( to the point where I just skimmed it over. Not interested in the way the story went. To be fair, I knew what I was getting myself into, but it lost me.

This book is told from two POV's Sophie and Derek. Sophie is 17. She was taking a night walk on the beach and ends up kidnapped by Lucas, a vampire who takes her to a secret vampire ruled island where she is groomed and prepared to be a member of Derek's (Lucas' brother) human harem. At the same time, we switch back and forth between her and Derek's perspective. He is being waked up after 400 years of stasis. He is one of the most powerful vampires and he is the prince of the vampire coven that inhabits the island. Once he wakes up, he sees the harem and *zap* insta-interest for Sophie happens. This was basically what the teaser had; but I thought it would have a different twist or something unexpected. I was wrong. This story is very lineal, with little room for surprises. It tells you every single detail, expression and thoughts. I gave this book a chance because the plot was looking good. But I was sad when I was reading it and was three steps ahead of the story, knowing exactly what was going to happen.

I skimmed the end and yeah. Not for me....

You had a good start!
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Monday, April 15, 2013

A letter for Rule


Rule
Rule by Jay Crownover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Dear Rule,

I was in your head for some time these last few days. I have to admit, you taught me stuff, you gave me hot sexy images and you made me wonder a lot about relationships. You... you... tattooed, pierced up guy... *sigh*
What a complex book character you are.
I was worried about many things from the beginning of our acquaintance. Specially the predictability of your actions/thoughts. However, the cleverness and sincerity of your choices and emotions changed my mind.
I am sorry for your losses.
I am happy for your eagerness and willingness to try.
I am awed about your capability to transform your views of sex and love. I consider very high on my list of things to admire about you: how much you respect Shaw, her decisions and uniqueness.
Let me emphasize, dear Rule, in how much I was impressed with the way you decided to take up this thing Shaw and you had, and infused it with so much respect, care and work; even though you were unexperienced in relationships. And your previous examples were not my cup of tea.

I had some good moments using Google to find out about piercings; specially searching a Jacob's ladder and a apadravya. Wow. No words. Yup, I was too shy to admit that I was curious. Thanks for clarifying some of this stuff.

Please tell Shaw it was also a pleasure to meet her. Tell her she made me reflect a bit on my own way of perceiving the world; specially her acceptance in others. She has a handful when faced pleasing the ones around her instead of herself, however I admire her for trying. I wish I could have her gift of understanding events and the ability to focus on the real causes behind them. She is very smart and strong. I appreciate to see her being a very focused woman with high esteem who is willing to fight for what she wants and who she wants.

So, dear Rule, this was a good time we had together. I really hope you're doing great in your tattoo shop, that you and Shaw are still keeping up with all that hot fun sex and that your hair colour matches your blue eyes.

Please know that I'll keep you guys close to my heart and I can't wait to hear about Jet and Rome's life.

Sincerely,

Lina

P.S. can we schedule and appointment for a tattoo soon? I'll be cool with anything except Casper the ghost. I know it's special for you!


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Friday, April 12, 2013

"What kind of monster you become is entirely up to you”

 My review/thoughts of The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was brutal. Both lovely and deadly.

The second installment of the Blood of Eden series fulfilled my expectations and more.

Let me start with a bit of background story, a nice refresher for the sake of buildup of this cool world.

The world is grey, cold, ruined, dirty and empty. After the Red Lung plague, the human population was decimated, vampires revealed their existence to the human living survivors, creating vampire controlled cities, where humans are protected by a Vampire ruler in return of blood. It's pretty much a very nasty time to be a human, or a newborn vampire without a place in the world but what can Allison Sekemoto do? She was a Fringer, an unregistered human that barely survived, then she was turned vampire, then she was forced to leave her city, band up with a bunch of humans who were seeking Eden (a sanctuary of sorts for only humans) and afterwards, went back to her solo wanderings. This is pretty much where the first book, The Immortal Rules described.

On our list of main characters:

Allison Sekemoto, our bad-ass main vampire heroine, whose best friend is a katana and her fangs.

In case you don't remember (yeah, right? how can you forget!), hot swoon-worth human, Allie kisses: Ezekiel Crosse. Son of Jebbadiah, a crazy psycho preacher who leads the group of humans seeking Eden.

Jackal, vampire raider king who pretty much massacred a whole bunch of humans Allie cared about.

Kanin, vampire Master who turned Allie into a vampire and taught her everything about being a vampire. He is her sire.

Sarren, psychotic, crazy, sadist, evil, did I mentioned psychotic? vampire.

The Eternity Cure starts where The Immortal Rules left. Allie is desperately trying to find Kanin who was kidnapped by Sarren. She follows him by using a vampire skill, where she can sense him through a the blood bond they share. She can sense and see through her dreams the awful things Sarren is doing to Kanin. By following this blood "pull", she unexpectedly runs into Jackal. Will he prove to be an ally, or stab her in the back? [I am still unsure at this point. (hide spoiler)]

I love vampire books. They are always dark (and most always set in nighttime), full of blood action, hot guys, blood fights, and blood ethical questions regarding what makes us human, and of course blood. They tend to bring what's human to the table and shatter it in pieces. I love to reconstruct these pieces!

What makes Julie Kagawa's Blood of Eden series special? EVERYTHING!

- Are you looking for a Dystopia? this book has one!

- Do you want a bad-ass, conflicted, strong and awesome heroine? Allison Sekemoto. Period.

- Is it a bit of blood you seek? I am still cleaning up after this bloodshed.

- Do you want ruthless killings and vampires? Done and Done.

- Do you want to have a taste of sorrow? In this book you can vividly hear your heart break.[ I'm still teary eyed with Zeke's torture and effing Stick's betrayal (hide spoiler)]

- Do you ponder about the nature of choices, humanity, guilt, ethical boundaries and life? Here you can find some good dilemmas.

- And of course, do you loooveeeeeee stories with kisses, sweet romance, where there is no bad boy, but a bad girl? Allison and Zeke "Kay Eye Ess Ess Eye En Gee" under a tree ground

Read this book, read this series and join me in this Blood of Eden twisted world.

----

This book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Harlequin, through Netgalley. Thank you for calming my blood thirst for this series!

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Closing a series: Across the Universe. The Universe is a pretty big space!

Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been sobbing uncontrollably for the last 100 pages or so. I will seriously write more once my tears allow me *fetches more tissues*
---
What can I say about this series that has not been said before?

Let me just start appropriately. With the beginning.

The first book, Across the Universe, has a lovely title that makes me sing the Fiona Apple's version every time I think about it.

It was a wonderful book. It took me to space, inside a spaceship: Godspeed, and inside the heads of Amy and Elder. A very complicated situation: a mission through space on a spaceship (duh), that will take 300 years, towards a new planet similar to Earth, Centauri-Earth. This story is full of sociocultural dilemmas, monoethnicity, living in a confined space for a VERY long time, cloning, survival and humanity.

It was a cool refresher for the reader of YA books, who wants a break from vampires (gasp, I know, even I sometimes want a break from them), demons and magic. Sci-fi has been a genre I sometimes fail to seek out more.

Smart man Carl Sagan, when he said: Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. This was my ticket to be happily traveling aboard Godspeed.

Across the Universe has the most real-creeptastic cryo-freezing description I've ever read, experienced firsthand by Amy in the Prologue. It gave me the chills just to think back about it again and re-read it:

There was a click, click, grrr of gears, and I knew the flash freezing would start in mere moments, and then my life would be nothing but a puff of white steam leaking through the cracks of my morgue door.



So Amy wakes up. But, things are far more complicated. And we meet Elder, who is apparently the "mini-me" of the leader of the spaceship, Eldest.[It's been longer than 300 years, the spaceship is messed up, people that live there don't know much about the mission, lots of murders, tears, more murders, mysteries, clues to be found, Elder has been doing bad things.... and wow, they had actually arrived to Centauri-Earth long time ago, but no one told them! The lie that the reactor was slowing down, hence they were behind schedule, made me worry a bit at the beginning of the series. Particularly for the scientific inaccuracy: no gravity = no deceleration. But since it ended up being a LIE - they had already arrived- I was able to relax and enjoy this series, making my physics high-school teacher prowd (hide spoiler)]

It is hard to write this down without many spoilers, but from the title, you can imagine that they arrive to their destiny.

Shades of Earth took me completely by surprise. I was not expecting these twists... and the deaths... if you have read her previous novels, I am sure you already know that Beth Revis has no problem killing her characters. Her students (she is a teacher), even beg for her to name some of her characters from their own names, and asked to be killed :)

In Shades of Earh, when the earthborns awake from their freezy state, they add more to the complications the shipborns had and what is happening on the new planet. Ohhhh the events that uncoil are soooo good!

This book was a sob-fest that kept me glued to my chair.

I would definitively recommend this series to the sci-fi fans out there. Yes, it has a romance, but to tell you the truth, I was not very convinced, or moved by it. I was much more interested and intrigued by this wonderful world that Beth Revis plotted.


The universe is a pretty big space. It's bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So, if it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space, right?

Carl Sagan




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