Monday, 21 May 2012

Review: Intangible

I would think this is more suited for younger YA but for the older ones like me, it was nevertheless an enjoyable read.

Built in a world where paranormal creatures exist but are not known to the humans, Intangible circles around the twins Sera and Luke.
The two live in oblivion to the beings that only lived in fairy tales despite their own gifts of which they used indiscriminately to help others in need.
Until Luke Saw a vision he never wanted to happen.
He felt helpless but was never truly so, as there were protectors around them all the time who didn't speak the whole truth to them until the last minute.
But does he really wield the power to change the future?

Luke and Sera are really close.
I wouldn't know but I'm guessing their gifts make them even closer than normal twins, it was as if they could read each other's minds.
They shy away from the crowd at school and kept only a close knit of friends of which they felt 'comfortable' with.
It was not until the end of the story that they realised what it really was that pulled them together.
And then here came Marc.
The mysterious guy who didn't seem to be affected by Sera's appeal.
At least, not in the way she thought.
I had hoped sincerely that he wouldn't be such a jerk because damn, they were so in love.
But he didn't deserve her.
It would be interesting to see how all their relationships unfold eventually, if they can really end up with who they should be with.
They say love transcends all boundaries, right?
It kept me missing it when I was away from the computer (sucker here has no e-reader, sadly) and all I wanted to keep scrolling and scrolling until I reached the credits.
Not quite as intense as the famous paranormal romance stories but with enough action to fill the book.

What I didn't quite like was how some scenes seemed to be repeating itself.
"Hey." "Hey yourself."
I just didn't quite see the point of repeating that.
And during some grim situations as well :/
Other than that, Meyers appears to have dropped way too much 'hints' that the story doesn't end there.
It's almost screaming "there will be a sequel and this and this will happen!".
Subtlety, my dear.
I just feel that maybe some of the characters didn't need to show up in this first book.
Or maybe they're just anxious to meet the crowd x)
That being said, I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

Title: Intangible
Author: J. Meyers
Series: Intangible #1
Genre: Paranormal YA
Goodreads Description: Twins Sera and Luke Raine have a well-kept secret—she heals with a touch of her hand, he sees the future. All their lives they’ve helped those in need on the sly. They’ve always thought of their abilities as being a gift.

Then Luke has a vision that Sera is killed. That gift they’ve always cherished begins to feel an awful lot like a curse. Because the thing about Luke’s ability? He’s always right. And he can’t do anything about it.

“Sera.” Jonas laughed again. “I lost my mortality, not my sense of humor. Why would you think we don’t laugh?”

There's a prequel to Intangible available for free here, and my review of that can be found here.
Go visit J. Meyer's page here, and stalk her here, here and here to get latest news of her next books! ^^

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Keeping An Eye #2

Yay, I almost forgot about this one too.
Meaning, I actually didn't :D
Yeah, that was the whole point x)

Running on a tight deadline, I was glad I'd actually picked this time's KAE book together with the last one.
Because I saw it on May's new release, and it took me in.
Yes, Darkness Before Dawn has that in it.

Title: Darkness Before Dawn
Author: J. A. London
Series: Darkness Before Dawn #1
Genre: Paranormal YA
Release Date: 29th May 2012
Goodreads Description: This electrifying new trilogy blends the best of paranormal and dystopian storytelling in a world where the war is over. And the vampires won.

Humans huddle in their walled cities, supplying blood in exchange for safety. But not even that is guaranteed. Dawn has lost her entire family and now reluctantly serves as the delegate to Lord Valentine, the most powerful vampire for miles. It isn’t until she meets Victor, Valentine’s son, that she realizes not all vampires are monsters....

 Darkness Before Dawn is a fresh new story with captivating characters, unexpected plot twists, a fascinating setting, and a compelling voice. Written under the name J. A. London by a talented mother-son team, the trilogy is perfect for fans of True Blood and the House of Night and Morganville Vampires series.

I admit, I had thought of changing it during the past two weeks.
But it is not because of the time issue or that there wasn't barely enough new books to choose from.
I just didn't see anything that caught my eye as well as this did.
Granted, I confirmed this as my second KAE post the moment I saw Morganville Vampires fans would like it.
And it also appears that fans of the Twilight series and Vampire Academy series (mememe!!!) would enjoy it too.
Just hope it wouldn't be disappointing when I actually get my hands on it.
Because my expectations are this high.

Not sure about the dystopian factor though.
I've never been a great fan of the dystopian books, like say Matched by Ally Condie (I liked it, but didn't think it was as good as many made it out to be) and how I haven't started on The Hunger Games yet.
But entwined with the vampire streak, I just might like this one ;)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Judge A Book By Its Cover #3

Only the third post, and I almost forgot about it already :X
I tried skimming goodreads recommendations to find a pretty but I just couldn't decide which one it should be.
Of course, I was confronted with many lovely covers but nothing jumped out to me like "this should totally be in my next JABBIC post!".
I ended up going back to my to-read list (because I tend to mark books as to-read based on their covers too frequently) and found this.

Title: Hourglass
Author: Myra McEntire
Series: Hourglass #1
Publisher: Egmont USA (yes, it's from the same publisher who published One Moment from my last JABBIC post!)
Cover Design: One of the editors at Egmont (I wonder who's so talented~)

This is actually 17th on my to-read list, one of the first few I've added after I joined Goodreads.
Because, the cover.
It's just so captivating and, refreshing.
A pity I hadn't had the chance to read it yet.
Which is why my to-read list had grown to a huge list of 200+.
Oops? x)

Just a few days ago I'd saw the second book available on Netgalley.
Couldn't say how tempted I was to go ahead and request it.
What held me back was the fact that I would obviously be rejected with my irregular posting of reviews.
I guess I would have to wait that few weeks to read Timepiece after I finally get my hands on Hourglass anyway ;)
And I love that cover as well, glad to see it follow through from the first book.

Below are some other books which, as according to Goodreads, the readers enjoyed as well as Hourglass.
Of course, I took those which covers attracted me still, not surprised to see the first two already in my to-read list.
And I'm so adding the third.
Since I already have 203, why not? :P

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Review: Bloodlines

I feel like killing myself for not having read this much sooner.

Those days when I feel like I was suffocating from the lack of action from Rose Hathaway and Dimitri Belikov, one of my favourite fiction couple ever.
It can really do that to you, y'know.
Vampire Academy.
After the series ended off with a happy ending.
There seemed to be this, hollow feeling to me.
Like, "Damn, I'm gonna miss those Moroi and Dhampirs."
And this comes the part where I tell you how much I love Richelle Mead.
Because she knows how much the fans loved VA and came up with this spin-off series (which also includes 6 books *squeals*).
In addition to her awesomeness on that, she was spot-on to have Sydney star the new series.
I must admit, I was doubtful about that part when I first heard about it while reading VA.
It didn't occur to me the possible development there were for the Alchemists, who despised the vampire race in general, even the dhampirs.
Although I was totally for Adrian being the male lead for a change.
He deserved that after what happened in VA ;)

Set in the same world as with VA, Bloodlines follows the life of Sydney Sage, an 18-year-old alchemist, after The Last Sacrifice.
Having helped dhampir Rose Hathaway and others to escape a wronged judgement, Sydney has lost the trust of the majority of the Alchemists as they deemed her as a vamp lover.
Now she has to work hard to earn back their trust and protect her younger sister from having to lead a life like her own.
But it is hard to answer to the strict teachings of the Alchemists that all vampires all evil as she enter the lives of the Moroi princess, Jill Mastrano and "flippant, vampire party boy", Adrian Ivashkov.
From her initial reluctance to share a room with a vampire, the princess and her entourage grew on Sydney as she eventually bred a strong connection with them.
She got put in a worse position when she realised she feels a tingle when the party boy looks at her, and it isn't because of the Spirit magic he wields.

No doubt this book is a little less action-packed as compared to the books from VA, but it did not make it any less fun.
Richelle Mead did a great job of leaving vague hints here and there about shocking truths which were eventually disclosed.
It is not hard to follow Sydney's thoughts as she unravel each mystery, coming closer to the big question at the very end.
Besides the characters who were on the sidelines in VA, Bloodlines introduced a couple others with promising stories of their own I assume would surface in the upcoming books.
Like Trey, who I sensed a crush coming on Sydney despite his initial hostile attitude towards the smart girl.
Or maybe I'm just being wishful because I kinda liked Trey xP
There is also another thread leading to another group of people unknown to Sydney and possibly the vampire race too.
One that might set the races off balance as they dabble with the unnatural.
It is similar to VA not only in the sense that they are in the same world, but also they both started in a high school setting, where lots of drama unfolds.

In all, Bloodlines is something a VA fan must read.
Not that I would limit it to only those who liked VA, but it is highly recommended you finish the VA series before starting this one, so it would make more sense.

Title: Bloodlines
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #1
Genre: Paranormal YA
Goodreads Description: When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood.

"My God, Sage. Your eyes. How have I never noticed them? The colour," he breathed. "When you stand in the light. They're amazing... like molten gold. I could paint those..." He reached toward me but then pulled back. "They beautiful. You're beautiful."

If you haven't read Vampire Academy yet, (oh my god, what were you doing??) there's a free sampler available here.
It contains the first five chapters of the first book of the Vampire Academy series, how generous is that x)
And if you have of course finished VA and am super interested in Bloodlines after my review, you can view the first chapter here.

Show the author some love by visiting her page and following her here, here and here.
The second book to the Bloodlines series, The Golden Lily, will be release on June 12th.
Can't wait for the release?
Join the giveaway here for an ARC of The Golden Lily.
It's international, ahh!
*excitedly runs around in circles*

Monday, 7 May 2012

Review: Green-Eyed Demon

Unbelievably awesome.
Got me hooked, if I wasn't already.

Sometimes when I follow a series, I read on out of obligation.
Because I wanted to see how the series flows through and where the characters get to eventually.
Out of plain curiosity.
After I've read Red-Headed Stepchild, I was in doubt.
It had seemed to be a rather good read but the story line  was on shaky ground.
With The Mage In Black, it was the same.
Or maybe I was just disappointed I didn't actually get to see the mage himself in much action xP
Nevertheless, I continued on with the third book, hoping it would get much better.
I wasn't let down.

Green-Eyed Demon is definitely the best so far down the series.
Sabina Kane, wielding powerful Chthonic magic and strong combat skills from years of assassin training, has  finally come to face the one she never thought she'd ever fight back to just months ago.
The very one who brought her up as an assassin, a disgrace, and fed her with dark thoughts to resent the mage race.
In order to accomplish this very last mission she assumed she'd have as an assassin, she has the other two partners-in-'crime', forming the almost-informidable Team Awesome.
Adam Lazarus, the hot mage in black who taught her about love, and Gighul aka Mr Giggles, the demon minion who taught her about friendship.
This unlikely trio, with the help of the Hekate Council and various individuals of the dark races, fought deadly opponents and unexpected betrayal only to discover their biggest enemy has yet to show up.
Though, that's probably for the best, since once show up, they are nothing against him.
For he is invincible and whoever strike against him will be rewarded seven-fold.
Oops too much information ;)

Many characters have been introduced in this book.
Interesting characters with difficult pasts, who became a part of their entourage after clearing up misunderstandings and doubts.
Which happened a lot when it comes to Sabina.
With her wit that not everyone appreciates and nihilistic attitude, it's hard not to make some foes along the way.
But you'll eventually grow on her.
Because she's equally capable of love as with anyone.
Even though she might not have realised it yet.
She puts real feelings into each connection.
Unlike the person who was incapable of empathy she thought herself to be.

The story led up well with enough ass-kicking and humour in the right places.
And of course, it's good to see Sabina finally give in to the attraction between herself and Adam.
Much thanks to Gighul.
And this is not the only entertainment the mischief demon managed for us readers.
I believe many fans of the series love Gighul as much as I do.
Who knew you can create such a hilarious and lovable demon? x)

I was not very satisfied with the ending though.
How the 'heroine' saved the day.
It just, didn't make sense.
I almost snorted and shouted bullshit.
That's how bad it was.
But still, we had to have our happy ending right?
And that part didn't nearly defeat the greatness of the whole book so I shall choose to neglect the inferiority.
I would really like to see more explanation about that part in the next book though.

Silver-Tongued Devil, please be good.

Title: Green-Eyed Demon
Author: Jaye Wells
Series: Sabina Kane #3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Goodreads Description: Things to do: 1. Rescue sister; 2. Murder grandmother; 3. Don't upset the voodoo priestess.

The clock is ticking for Sabina Kane. Her sister has been kidnapped by her grandmother, the Dark Races are on the brink of war, and a mysterious order is manipulating everyone behind the scenes.

Working on information provided by an unlikely ally, Sabina and her trusty sidekicks--a sexy mage named Adam Lazarus and Giguhl, a Mischief demon--head to New Orleans to begin the hunt for her sister. Once there, they must contend with belligerent werewolves, magic-wielding vampires and--perhaps most frightening of all--humans.

But as much as Sabina is focused on surviving the present, the past won't be ignored. Before she can save those she cares about most, she must save herself from the ghosts of her past.

"The thought of you facing all that by yourself - the idea of you dying alone - made me more terrified than I'd ever been in my life."

The last book in the series, Blue-Blooded Vamp, is set to release on 1st June this year.
Keep an eye for it!
And have you realised the titles of the first three books in the series depict Sabina, Adam and Gighul respectively?
I'll have to see who's the supposed devil and vamp in the coming books :D

Visit the author's page and follow her here and here for more news on Sabina Kane and upcoming releases.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Judge A Book By Its Cover #2

It's Sunday again!~
Here's my second post of Judge A Book By Its Cover, and it's featuring the book which I'd saw on Netgalley few days back.
Yeah, the one which I just had to get it even though I was feeling guilty about not reviewing books fast enough already.
Ready to see what book got such appeal over me? ;)

Title: One Moment
Author: Kristina McBride
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Cover Design: Can't find any information on the web! :(

It took me a second glance to decide I really wanted this actually.
People who know me would know there's basically three main reasons why I pick up a book.
1. The blurb sucked me into their world.
2. It's part of a series I'm interested to follow.
3. The cover attracts me.

This would be the third case because when I first saw this book and read the blurb, I didn't really think I would request it as, it just didn't seem like my kind of book.
In the end, the cover still won me over.
I would say great job, whoever was the cover artist ;)

Since we're onto books I've found on Netgalley, why not show some other pretties I found there as well? :D

Now I feel like requesting more books, haiz.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

To Reflect

A post by Misa from The Magic Attic enlightened me about a recent drama happening in the book blogging world.
Apparently a book blog which has accumulated a significant number of followers engaged in a form of plagiarism yet was seemingly unwilling to acknowledge her faults.
I mean, come on.
Beautifully Invisible is right when she pointed out that the first 'apology' post The Story Siren made was directed not towards them, the victims of the plagiarism affair, thus making her sound unremorseful about the whole event.
From what I see, she was merely afraid of losing the respect she had gained over the year of the bloggers, as well as sponsorship of free books and ARCs from authors and publishers.
There, she earned points for bowing herself down to the BB community, saying how sorry she didn't set a good example as a leader.
But the thing she needed to do was to address the victims.
So she made a second post to "clarify".
I may be biased, having came to this matter from a negative POV towards The Story Siren, I admit.
But I simply don't eat what she said.
This coming from someone who posted about, who posted against plagiarism two years ago.
I know many bloggers have expressed their thoughts on this matter and compared the two posts made two years apart but I really can't help but want to highlight this ridiculous behaviour once again.

From her post on plagiarism made 16/04/2010:
Plagiarism isn’t just copying and pasting word for word and passing it off as your own. It can be taking someones work and changing around the sentence structure, getting out your thesaurus and changing a few words here and there... basically taking the central idea tweaking it and passing it off as your own work.

And now, from her clarification post made 24/04/2012:
I thought only content could be plagiarized. Changing a few a words around with a thesaurus, or simple copying and pasting content. It seems as though taking a general topic and rewriting it is plagiarism. That is simply my own ignorance on the matter, and I should have known better.
Seems like someone slapped herself in the face big time.
What a joke.

Many bloggers showed their concern for this topic on their own blog, some with really great arguments I must say, but since I've got the links from Misa's post anyway, I shall not link 'em from here.
What you should really do, is show some support for the two blogs who have been plagiarized from.
They made up some really good posts about combating plagiarism as well, totally worth a read.
Although, I must say they're two strong females, being able to come up with long posts with concrete proofs and arguments, leaving The Story Siren almost helpless in defending herself.
Definitely not someone to be rifled with.
I can only hope this drama would die down without further implications.

Another thing I want to link to from all these was actually an email, which I have no idea why it's being linked to this event, written by Kristi from The Story Siren to an 11-year-old blogger.
From the email, I gathered that this kid pushed her way into the blogosphere, shamelessly requesting books from authors and publishers repeatedly, causing some people to bring this matter to Kristi to be settled.
Which kind of reminds me of myself.
Of course, I didn't dare send multiple emails to authors and publishers for review copies.
But I guess I should somehow feel ashamed entering the various giveaways and not reviewing the books I've received from the generous bloggers.
Although 90% of them did not actually ask for reviews in return.
However I believe it's a courtesy, especially if the book came from the author himself/herself, to do so.
And also, there's the 10%.
Not to mention the authors who thought highly enough of me to have sent their books for me to review, or accepted my request to review their books.
And while I'm still writing out this post, I'd actually went to Netgalley to browse through the selection of ebooks available for request.
When I was auto-approved, I can only say Oops I did it again :/
Can't believe I just added on to the countless number of books I've to read and review.
I'm working on prioritizing them though.
Of course those with requests would go first.
Just hope my guilt would be enough to make me focus on these and finish them up real soon.
I can only put my library-borrowed Bloodlines aside for the moment.

Keeping An Eye #1

This would be something like the meme Wishlist Wednesday on many book blogs.
Except I'm obviously too lazy to keep it up every week.
So instead I'm aiming for a fortnight post.
Let's hope I can keep it up :D

The very first book I'm featuring for Keeping An Eye would be Hemlock, to be released May 8th 2012.
At least in the US, that is.
I have no idea how long it would take, if ever, to reach Singapore.

Title: Hemlock
Author: Kathleen Peacock
Series: Hemlock #1
Genre: Fantasy YA
Goodreads Description: Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.
Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.
Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.
Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.
Kathleen Peacock’s thrilling novel is the first in the Hemlock trilogy, a spellbinding urban fantasy series filled with provocative questions about prejudice, trust, lies, and love.

Need I say more?
The description to this first book of a fantasy series is gripping enough, with lots of unanswered questions waiting for the readers to discover.
It doesn't sounds like the good-old girl-meets-boy and boy turns girl's world upside down with his dazzling smile and deadly intent.
I'm usually more Team Vampire rather than Team Werewolves but this blurb really got to me.
Will definitely be keeping an eye on this one ;)

Just one thing, though.
Really curious why the paperback version is called Deadly Hemlock instead of just Hemlock.
And erm, the paperback cover sucks.
Hope I can get the hardcover one when it's available!