Review: Mary Hades

Review by Ner:
Mary Hades

Author: Sarah Dalton
Release Date: May 1st, 2014
Publisher: Smashwords Edition
Pages: 157 (ebook)
Format: ebook
Genre:
 YA | Ghost Paranormal
Idiom: English
Series: Mary Hades #1
Read: from July 27 to August 10, 2014
Source & Shelf: Sent by author | Kobo
ISBN: 9781496109828 
(Paperback)
Cups:
fa88e-32bcups
  Amazon


Synopsis:

Not many seventeen year old girls have a best friend who’s a ghost, but then Mary Hades isn’t your average teenager.

Scarred physically and mentally from a fire, her parents decide a holiday to an idyllic village in North Yorkshire will help her recover. Nestled in the middle of five moors, Mary expects to have a boring week stuck in a caravan with her parents. Little does she know, evil lurks in the campsite…

Seth Lockwood—a local fairground worker with a dark secret—might be the key to uncovering the murky history that has blighted Nettleby. But Mary is drawn to him in a way that has her questioning her judgement.

Helped by her dead best friend and a quirky gay Goth couple, Mary must stop the unusual deaths occurring in Nettleby. But can she prevent her heart from being broken?

The first in a series of dark YA novels, Mary Hades follows on from the bestselling Kindle Single ‘My Daylight Monsters’. A spine-tingling tale with romance, readers will be shocked and entertained in equal measure.


My Opinion:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author, Sarah Dalton, herself in exchange for an honest review.

Mary Hades tells the story of Mary, a young English girl whose best-friend is a ghost, a girl she couldn’t save when the events of her past in the psychiatric hospital burns in her memory. On her summer vacations, she’s off to the countryside with her parents and when she thinks things couldn’t get worst than seeing ghosts everywhere, she finds out that someone, or something, is killing people off.

This book was creepy… not creepy as looking around the house whenever I hear something strange but creepy with the idea of what a ghost could do to you. There were a few moments in the book when I got chills down my spine with the tone of the book. I have to admit that Sarah Dalton really knows how to create the perfect environment for a horror story.

Mary was a nice character to meet. She has to deal with so many things I was surprised she didn’t break down straight away. Not only is her best-friend a ghost with no solid body, she’s faced with parents who don’t really understand her and things happening around her that she cannot explain. Now wrap that with a boy she just met who saves her life from being crushed.

Seth, who saves her, is drawn into Mary’s world of creepiness but his life is also deep within secrets that we slowly unveil. Though I didn’t particular like the insta-love and the too-short/summer romance, I had hoped for a different ending for both Seth and Mary. His character is mysterious, dark, and eerie and I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to him than what Sarah Dalton allowed us to see.

I also loved changing setting for a while. Normally the books I read are set in the United States on present days. Only the ones with a gothic-vibe to it or historical themes are set in Europe so reading something that is actually set in England felt really nice.

Mary Hades is a quick, fun, peculiar and quite mysterious read. The writing is easy to follow, the characters believable and the ghostly atmosphere sinister enough to have you enthralled in the plot. Hopefully I will be able to continue Mary’s supernatural adventures.

XX Ner

Mini-Reviews: The Graveyard Book| Princess Academy |The Beast Within

Mini-Review by Ner:
The Graveyard Book

Author: Neil Gaiman
Release Date: May 2010 
Publisher: Editorial Presença
Pages: 299 (paperback)
Format: Paperback
Genre:
 YA | Ghost Paranormal
Idiom: Portuguese
Read: from July 14 to 16, 2014
Source & Shelf: Bought | Own
ISBN: 9780060530921 (Portuguese) | 
9780060530945 (English)
Cups:

  Amazon


Synopsis:

IT TAKES A GRAVEYARD TO RAISE A CHILD.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy – an ancient indigo man, a gateway to abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible fleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will be in danger from the man Jack – who has already killed Bod’s family . . .


My Opinion:

This is the reason why Neil Gaiman is an author everyone should read and appreciate. He doesn’t write only one specific genre, he picks up whatever he wishes and transforms it into a tale – whether is a dark one, a children’s book or a Doctor Who short-story. Neil Gaiman transports us into a fantasy world so deep it’s quite impossible to get out.

The Graveyard Book kicked-off rather slow at first, picking up its pace towards the end. We begin the story with how Nobody ended up in the graveyard and then slowly we are introduced to some of his adventures as a kid growing up surrounded by dead people. Then it focuses on the person who wants to kill Nobody and the whole climax of trying to defeat Jack and save Nobody.

The main reason I really enjoyed this book was Nobody and his eternal turmoil of trying to belong. The story had a somewhat Harry Potter feeling to it but only briefly. We could see how Nobody grew up to become this immensely deep person who can distinguish good and bad, black and white.

I think this is a book everyone should read at least once and learn something from it. The pictures give an eerie feeling to it and makes the whole universe real and reachable. This is why Neil Gaiman will always have a place on my shelves.


Mini-Review by Ner:
Princess Academy

Author: Shannon Hale
Release Date: April 17th, 2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children
Pages: 336 (Paperback)
Format: Paperback
Genre:
 Middle Grade | Fantasy
Idiom: English
Series: Princess Academy #1
Read: from July 16 to 19, 2014
Source & Shelf: Bought | Own
ISBN: 9781599900735 
(Paperback)
Cups:
fa88e-32bcups
  Amazon


Synopsis:

Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king’s priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year’s time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king’s ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.


My Opinion:

Princess Academy was a disappointment and a relief at the same time. Contradiction? A little bit, I admit. But the truth is that I wasn’t blown away by this book – hence the disappointment bit – but at the same time it had such an amazing character it was a relief from previous books I’ve read.

Princess Academy wasn’t exactly what I initially thought when I started it but I ended up enjoying. Miri and some of the girls in her village are taken to an academy to become a princess so the Prince can choose one of them to marry. This because it was seen in his future that his future wife was from Mount Eskel. So, in a way, this book felt like a private school for girls with a fairy-tale vibe to it. Now wrap it all with a strong main character and a nice pace and you get yourself a good middle grade book.

Miri’s character was amazing and I loved her. She was strong, determined, independent and charismatic and the solemn reason I gave this book three cups. The slow pace and that bullying and the rest of the characters didn’t conquered me though the story was interesting enough to have me want to know who the Prince was going to choose.

So, even though Shannon Hale didn’t really made me gape, her writing was beautiful and her character remarkable. And this is a story with a deep lesson and that was the beauty of the book.


Mini-Review by Ner:
The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty’s Prince

Author: Serena Valentino
Release Date: July 22nd, 2014
Publisher: Disney Press
Pages: 224 (Hardcover)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 Fantasy | Retelling
Idiom: English
Read: from August 21 to 23, 2014
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781423159124 
(Hardcover)
Cups:

  Amazon


Synopsis:

A cursed prince sits alone in a secluded castle. Few have seen him, but those who claim they have say his hair is wild and nails are sharp–like a beast’s! But how did this prince, once jovial and beloved by the people, come to be a reclusive and bitter monster? And is it possible that he can ever find true love and break the curse that has been placed upon him?


My Opinion:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Beast Within was such a disappointment to me! But there were several elements within it that were rather interesting and the solemn reason I rated this book two cups.

First of all, don’t go into this book thinking you’ll be reading Beauty and the Beast from the Beast’s perspective. This is set slightly before the curse and then during the first stages of its development. And, let me tell, as a person who loves the original fairy-tale and the Disney version – in which this story was based – this book had a lot to give and it wasn’t given leaving me speechless and down.

The Beast is already a young man – not in his twenties yet – who only wants beautiful women and who is vain and conceited. His best friend is Gaston (SAY WHAT?!) and he was cursed by someone who loved him and he thought loved back. His supposed love was suddenly crushed when he found out she was the daughter of someone below him. But, dum dum dum, she was indeed a witch with three other sisters who were crazy – they reminded me those three witches from Hercules. Circe, the witch, curses him with the already known curse but he isn’t transformed into the beast straight away.

I enjoyed the fact that the curse is slowly set upon him with each time he does or says something foul.

Then we have a princess called Tulip Morningstar who is soon to marry the prince. He thinks that by kissing her – because he thinks he’s in love with her and that she loves him back – he will break that curse but his love for her isn’t true. He only loves her beauty and the fact that she’s, well, slightly dumb.

Truth is, I was disappointed with how the author actually portrayed the Beast and how she changed the already known story. The fact that the Beast’s best-friend was Gaston didn’t really conquer me. I found that slightly forced, just a way to have Gaston in the story-line.

However, I did enjoy the three witches. I found their characters interesting even though they try to sabotage their sister’s curse. They gave the story this sinister and fairy-tale-ish vibe that isn’t part of the original by Disney.

Still, I think this book could had been much more and better if the writing wasn’t boring and repetitive and if the author hadn’t rushed the ending.

XX Ner

Review: Ghost House

Review by Ner:
Ghost House

Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Release Date: August 26th, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA | Ghost Paranormal
Idiom: English
Series: Ghost House Saga #1
Read: from July 2 to 14, 2014
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9780373211302 
(Hardcover)
Cups:
fa88e-32bcups
  Amazon


Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Halo comes the start of a beautiful and powerful new series.

After the loss of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing the ghosts that haunted her as a young girl again. Spending time at her grandmother’s country estate in the south of England is her chance to get away from her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets a mysterious stranger…

Alexander Reade is 157 years dead, with secrets darker than the lake surrounding Grange Hall and a lifelike presence that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost before. But the bond between them awakens the vengeful spirit of Alexander’s past love, Isobel. And she will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who threatens to take him from her.

To stop Isobel, Chloe must push her developing abilities to their most dangerous limits, even if it means losing Alex forever… and giving the hungry dead a chance to claim her for their own.


My Opinion:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Every single review I read about Ghost House was negative so I started this book with low expectations. Yet, though it isn’t the best written book in the whole galaxy, it managed to entertain me which, as a whole, is a positive thing.

Chloe has always been able to see ghosts. After her mother’s death, she’s sent with her little brother to England to spend some time with their grandmother. And there she meets Alexander, a ghost with whom she falls in live with. However,  there’s another spirit haunting Grange Hall and this one has a connection to Alexander that might put Chloe in danger… and everyone around her.

The positive thing about this book was the fact that I was hooked in the mystery surrounding Alexander and Grange Hall. I wanted to know how Alexander had died, who was the strange and creepy spirit after Chloe, how the love story was going to unfold. And, I admit, Chloe was a nice character to meet. She was, at times, slightly annoying and always too pitiful but when he allowed herself to fully appreciate life and forget the demons after her, she was quite interesting.

Alexander’s character didn’t conquer me though. First of all, I have to get this out of my chest but do all 19th Century ghosts need to named Alexander? I found that a little bit of a cliché plus the way he and Chloe met and the insta-attraction/love between them. Also, he would change mood in a whiplash which was irritating as hell.

Alexander and Chloe are both “haunted” by the ghost of Alexander’s past love Isobel who is, let me tell you, creepy enough to have me slightly scared. Though there’s something I couldn’t really understand in her, in the reason why she lingered and why she became this obsessed sort of demon who is constantly after Alexander and pushing away Chloe.

Now, there was a character in this book that I truly wish to see more in the sequel though he’s British and Chloe went back home at the end of the book. Joe! There was this insta-friendship between him and Chloe that, even though I found extremely fast, was kind of sweet.

There’s one thing in the book that made my head ache slightly: the time! I couldn’t really understand how time worked in this book. It felt like time was literally flying by in the story. One minute it was midnight and after a couple of sentence dialogue, it would be 10am. There’s not a real passage of time in here.

Overall I did enjoyed Ghost House though I think it had much more potential than what Alexandra Adornetto gave it credit for.  Still, you get some goose-bumps, some laughs and some pangs in the chest with this book. But don’t expect a highly creepy, jump out of my skin kind of story.

XX Ner

Review: Unwept

Review by Ner:
Unwept

Authors: Tracy Hickman & Laura Hickamn
Release Date: July 1st, 2014
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 272 (Hardcover)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 YA| Fantasy Paranormal
Series: The Nightbirds #1
Idiom: English
Read: from June 1 to 3, 2014
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 
9780765332035 (Hardcover)
Cups:

  Amazon


Synopsis:

Gamin, Maine, is a remote seaside town where everyone seems to know Ellis Harkington better than she knows herself—but she doesn’t remember any of them.

Unknown events have robbed Ellis of her memory. Concerned individuals, who purport to be her friends and loved ones, insist that she simply needs to recuperate, that her memories may return in time, but refuse to divulge what has brought her to this state. For her own sake, so they say.

Ellis finds herself adrift in a town of ominous mysteries, cryptic hints, and disturbingly familiar strangers. The Nightbirds, a clique of fashionable young men and women, claim her as one of their own, but who among them can she truly trust? And what of the phantom suitor who visits her in her dreams? Is he a memory, a figment of her imagination, or a living nightmare beyond rational explanation?

Only her lost past hold the answers she seeks—if she can uncover its secrets before she fall prey to an unearthly killer.


My Opinion:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You have no idea how hard it was for me to rate this book. You know those books you’ve read and don’t know if you liked it, understood it or even felt it? Unwept is definitely one of those!

Unwept is a book about death. Right in the prologue you can feel how morbid the book will be. But after a slow beginning and a lot of headaches – because, you know, you have no idea what the heck is going on – it slowly begins to unfold the true meaning behind the sinister city of Gamin and the peculiar group entitled Nightbirds.

Well, the only way to describe and review this book is by saying this: prepare yourself for the weirdest of the weirdest rides you’ll ever read.

The premise was beyond interesting. A young girl with no recollection of what happened to her is taken to a city where everyone knows her and will eventually help her bring back her memories. Okay, it sounds good. But then, murders begin to happen and her memories might be the key to reveal the truth. Hell yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.

However, the truth was revealed so slowly it made my toe-nails curl; the true identity of the Nightbirds and their purpose was so slow to be expose it made my heart palpitating. And the slowness plus the weirdness plus the cliffhanger plus the “I-still-have-no-idea-what’s-going-on-here” made me dislike this book slightly.

But only slightly.

Because, overall, I was hooked since the beginning, always trying to find out if my theories were correct, always waiting for the truth to be told, always expecting for something to happen. And when everything happened, you are left wanting more because there’s a lot of question swirling in your mind that you need answers to.

Unwept was a bizarre, uncanny, weird and odd book that hooks you in its webs of enigma and leaves you craving for more. Even if that more thing you want is only to figure out the whole story… because a lot more is still to come (for sure!)

XX Ner

Review: Charmfall

Review by Ner
Charmfall

Author: Chloe Neill
Release Date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: NAL Trade
Pages: 242 (Paperback)
Format: ebook
Genre:
 YA | UF Paranormal
Series: The Dark Elite #3
Idiom: English
Read: from May 25 to June 1, 2014
Source & Shelf: ebook | Kobo
ISBN: 
9780451230805 (Paperback)
Cups:
fa88e-32bcups
  Amazon


Synopsis:

High school can be a battlefield, but for Lily Parker, surviving at St. Sophia’s School for Girls is a matter of life and death…

Protecting Chicago from the dark side can be an exhausting job, especially when you’re a junior. So when the girls of St. Sophia’s start gearing up for Sneak, their fall formal, Lily decides to join in on some good, old-fashioned party prep—even if it means not giving demons, vampires and the twisted magic users known as Reapers her undivided attention.

But when a Reaper infiltrates the school, Lily doesn’t forget what she’s sworn to protect. She reaches deep into herself to draw out her magic—and finds that it’s gone. And it turns out she’s not alone. A magical blackout has slammed through paranormal Chicago, and no one knows what—or who—caused it. But Lily knows getting back her magic is worth the risk of going behind enemy lines…


My Opinion:

Charmfall is the final book in The Dark Elite series and, I have to be honest straight away with you, not my favourite in the series.

This book follows up Hexbound but has a twist that no-one was expecting: both Adepts and Reapers don’t have any powers. They find themselves powerless and they have to figure out who took their powers and how to restore them.

The concept was interesting and I did want to know what was going on and how they would restore their magic and all. Chloe Neill really had this vision where she can distinguish good from evil and find that shade of grey in between. The whole series is centred on that shade, not on the good side neither on the bad. Especially because this book does bring up that question: what is good and what is bad and when both sides are faced with the same problem, a lot of questions are answered and a lot of things analysed. One of the main reasons I did enjoy this series.

And the reason why this book wasn’t my favourite has to do with, not only the slower pace, but also with the anti-climax ending. After an action-pace peak where the Adepts are fighting to get powers and all and then the whole Lily-Jason “did-they-broke-up-I-don’t-know” thing, the book simply ended. It felt rushed, with no consistence at all and that made me upset. The romance, which wasn’t in its best form in this book, was simply annoying and it closed the book in a way that didn’t make any sense.

Still, Lily continued to amaze me and I continued to enjoy her character. She’s definitely one of those bad-ass female characters that seriously don’t need anyone defending her. Scout remained the same freak but still an awesome friend and someone you can rely on.

Sebastian, the Reaper, makes a huge appearance in this book and I wish it had been more explored and developed. Though there were moments where I did feared a love triangle, I felt that his relationship with Lily was vague. Even though he’s a Reaper, I think his character could have been massive if the author allowed it.

Charmfall was still a nice reading and easy reading. It wasn’t the best book in the trilogy and there’s a lot more the author can explore within this universe she created. The book had an open ending which allows for a lot more of information and continuation to still be delivered. And if Chloe Neill does indeed write more in the series, I sure will continue it.

XX Ner

Review: Nothing O’Clock

Review by Ner:
Nothing O’Clock

Author: Neil Gaiman
Release Date: November 21st, 2013
Publisher: Puffin
Pages: 40 (ebook)
Format: ebook
Genre:
 Sci-Fi | Doctor WhoShort-Stories
Series: Doctor Who 50th Anniversary E-Shorts #11
Idiom: English
Read: from May 26 to 28, 2014
Source & Shelf: ebook | Kobo
ISBN: 
9781405913324
Cups:
fa88e-32bcups
 Amazon


Synopsis:

Eleven Doctors, eleven months, eleven stories: a year-long celebration of Doctor Who! The most exciting names in children’s fiction each create their own unique adventure about the time-travelling Time Lord.

Thousands of years ago, Time Lords built a Prison for the Kin. They made it utterly impregnable and unreachable. As long as Time Lords existed, the Kin would be trapped forever and the universe would be safe. They had planned for everything . . . everything, that is, other than the Time War and the fall of Gallifrey. Now the Kin are free again and there’s only one Time Lord left in the universe who can stop them!

Author Neil Gaiman puts his own unique spin on the Doctor’s amazing adventures through time and space in the eleventh and final story in the bestselling 50th anniversary series!


My Opinion:

Nothing O’Clock is a short story by Neil Gaiman set on Doctor Who universe with, non-other but the timey wimey 11th Doctor and his Scottish companion, Amy Pond.

I’ve been wanting to read this story for a while since it’s written by Stardust author himself, Neil Gaiman. As a fan of his episodes of the show, I needed to get my hands on this. And after getting my hands on this, I had a bittersweet disappointment.

Wait!!! It’s not that I didn’t like this story, I surely did, but this was so short I felt a lot of things were missing.

Neil Gaiman had this gift where he managed to capture the true personalities of the Doctor and Amy and I take my hat off for his brilliancy when it came to dialogue, character development and the simple friendship between them.

But this felt like one of those low budgets episodes where nothing more happens and everything is confusing and upside-down and strange. This had potential; it truly did, with the prison built by the Time Lords for the Kin, the King itself and the whole plot but it got lost with so little pages. If it were a real Doctor Who book companion where number of pages didn’t matters, I might have appreciated it a little bit more.

So, I’m so sorry Neil Gaiman but this short-story isn’t my favourite just because it is too short!

XX Ner

Review: Hexbound

Review by Ner
Hexbound

Author: Chloe Neill
Release Date: January 4th, 2011
Publisher: Signet
Pages: 246 (Paperback)
Format: ebook
Genre:
 YA | UF Paranormal
Series: The Dark Elite #2
Idiom: English
Read: from May 19 to 22, 2014
Source & Shelf: ebook | Kobo
ISBN: 
9780575095458 (Paperback)
Cups:
fa88e-32bcups
  Amazon


Synopsis:

Lily Parker is new to St. Sophia’s School for Girls, but she’s already learned that magic can be your best friend… or your worst enemy.

They say absolute power corrupts absolutely. Turns out, even a little magic can turn you to the dark side. That’s why Lily has to learn how to control her newly discovered paranormal abilities, on top of avoiding the snobs who think they run her school, nursing a crush on a cute sophomore with a big, werewolf-y secret, and fighting the good fight with her best friend Scout as they take on Chicago’s nastiest nightlife—including the tainted magic users known as Reapers.

Then Lily’s invited to a private meeting with Sebastian. He’s hot, powerful, and offering to help her harness the magic flowing in her veins in a way no one else can. He’s also a Reaper. Lily can’t hide her suspicions. But she’ll soon find out that the line between good and evil isn’t always clear…


My Opinion:

Hexbound is the sequel to Firespell and like its predecessor, it was entertaining and enjoyable. This book kicks-off immediately after the first book with Lily and Scout the rest of the gang continuing their pursuit through the underground. However, they are face with a new dangerous species they’ve never encountered before and they have no idea how to deal with them.

Not wanting to ramble that much about this book – because there’s not actually that much to say that hasn’t been said in Firespell – I did enjoy this book though I prefer the first one. The new scary species that crawl the tunnels and scary the hell out of the Varsity team was interesting but not that well explored. I felt like Chloe Neill just gave us a head start about them and then forgot to mention those things.

I did enjoy the fact that we get to meet more supernatural beings and other Varsities that are scarred around Chicago. I was hoping, however, for more interaction between the groups. I was left a little bit wanting more because Detroit was such an amazing character to meet. Plus, I picture her like with this steampunk fashion-vibe which is always a positive thing.

Now, there’s the whole Sebastian-stalking-thingy going on. I can’t figure out his position, his role in all of this (even though I’ve already read the last book). I have this feeling he isn’t that bad but then I remember that he’s a Reaper and I want to do is ask “are you having an identity crisis?”

But there’s only one thing that bothered me during the whole book: Lily’s parents. She’s constantly asking herself endless questions about her parents without really taking a stand. We don’t get any hint about them – well, we do but it’s not developed – and we still have no idea if they are in Germany or not and what they’re doing.

I still enjoy Lily and Scout’s friendship and their bound. I find the dialogues between them hilarious and sometimes without any sense but that is what make them so special. But, Jason and Lily’s relationship is happening way too fast. I find their romance slightly childish with a lot of clichés but, I admit, I do like them together.

So, in general Hexbound was a nice sequel to a nice paranormal YA series that is a quick, easy and funny read. It might not be the best book in the whole world but it does have its perks: it’s entertaining enough to have you laughing.

XX Ner

Review: Living Dead in Dallas

Review by Ner
Living Dead in Dallas

Author: Charlaine Harris
Release Date: May 2010 (originally March 26th, 2001)
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 276 (Paperback)
Format: Paperback
Genre:
 Vampires | UF Paranormal
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #2
Idiom: English
Read: from May 12 to 14, 2014
Source & Shelf: Gift | Own
ISBN: 
9780575089389 (Paperback)
Cups:
fa88e-32bcups
  Amazon


Synopsis:

Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is having a streak of bad luck. First her co-worker is killed, and no one seems to care. Then she comes face-to-face with a beastly creature which gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Enter the vampires, who graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn’t enjoy it).

The point is: they saved her life. So when one of the bloodsuckers asks for a favour, she obliges – and soon Sookie’s in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She’s supposed to interview certain humans involved, but she makes one condition: the vampires must promise to behave, and let the humans go unharmed.

But that’s easier said than done, and all it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly…

The Sookie Stackhouse books are delightful Southern Gothic supernatural mysteries, starring Sookie, the telepathic cocktail waitress, and a cast of increasingly colourful characters, including vampires, werewolves and things that really do go bump in the night.


My Opinion:

After finishing Dead Until Dark, I knew I had to pick up Living Dead in Dallas straight away.

Why? Because I’m actually enjoying this series which is quite surprising to be fairly honest. However, I do prefer the first book to this one.

Living Dead in Dallas continues to follow Sookie and her enterprise into the supernatural realm. After finding Lafayette dead inside the sheriff’s car, she’s face to face with a Maenad who wishes to deliver to Eric a message. She’s sent to Dallas by Eric with Bill in order to help some other vampires and things get a bit tricky. When she comes back to Bon Temps – leaving Bill behind because he has some things to do there – she tries to solve Lafayette’s murder with the help of non-other than the roguish Eric.

The problems with this book were simply these:

* It was slower than the first one, which kind of made me slightly bored of Sookie and Bill and all the drama she went through in Dallas;
* The whole group orgy cottage scene that was simply too awkward and, seriously, not at all that necessary;
* Speaking of the orgy scene – Eric’s pink Lycra pants which simply cannot make into my brain.
* The whole Lafayette murder seemed slightly too forced only to be pushed aside for Sookie and Bill to go to Dallas. It would have worked better if they first had figured out who killed Lafayette and then send Sookie to Dallas;

I continue to enjoy Sookie’s sense of humour and sarcasm though in this book I admit she kind of annoyed me. And her relationship with Bill sounded too indifferent, too clinical and without spark which is a cold contrast with the first book.

And I’m still waiting for more Eric and Pam! Though there was a lot more of Eric in this book – seriously, the pink Lycra pants scene is excruciatingly tender for me to even consider it – there wasn’t as much as I appreciated.

However, there were more details about the vampires’ society and the Fellowship of the Sun gave the whole supernatural universe a new meaning. I liked the fact that even within the supernatural bubble there are struggles and uncertainties.

Overall, Living Dead in Dallas was a pleasant sequel to Dead Until Dark though slightly slower than its predecessor but still an entertaining reading.

XX Ner

Review: Firespell

Review by Ner:
Firespell

Author: Chloe Neill
Release Date: January 5th, 2010
Publisher: Signet
Pages: 246 (Paperback) | 204 (ebook)
Format: ebook
Genre:
 YA | Urban Fantasy Fantasy
Series: The Dark Elite #1
Idiom: English
Read: from May 4 to 9, 2014
Source & Shelf: ebook | Kobo
ISBN: 
9780451228864 (Paperback)
Cups:
fa88e-32bcups
  Amazon


Synopsis:

When Lily Parker’s guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, Lily was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s.

As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily is surrounded by an ultra-rich bratpack. She’s pretty sure her spoiled, petty, fashion-obsessed classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face, and surviving them and their cruel practical jokes is proving even tougher than the homework…

But on top of being the punchline to every joke, Lily’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building. All building have their creaks and groans – but Lily could swear that she’s being watched.

The only thing keeping her sane, so far, is her roommate Scout. But something strange is going on there too – Scout keeps disappearing late at night, reappearing bruised and tired, and she won’t tell Lily where’s she’s been… until, that is, a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school. Lost in the dark Lily hear’s footsteps heading towards her – it’s Scout and she’s running from a real monster.

Scout is part of a group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers: magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. Much as Lily would love to help, it’s too dangerous without powers of her own – especially if she’d have to go up against the firespell herself…


My Opinion:

Firespell came out as a rather entertaining reading. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this book but I certainly did.

This book tells the story of Lily Parker who is sent to a boarding school in Chicago when her parents are offered an opportunity of a lifetime in Germany. Lily soon becomes friend with the school’s “freak” Scout who sneaks out of the school at night. Strange things are sure happening and when Lily is thrust into underground Chicago, her whole life with have a supernatural twist she sure didn’t see that coming. And she also didn’t see that she would eventually have magic herself…

The first half of the book didn’t have much going on but it didn’t bother me. Lily was a fun character to meet and her voice was credible and realistic enough to have a connection. Plus, the plot was slowly developing and not having much happening was alright.

The supernatural underground world setting was pretty much what had me curious about this series. Not everyone in St. Sophia has powers and the strange missions that Scout slowly drags Lily into. Fighting off Reapers – magic users who suck peoples’ energy – and dealing with other kind of paranormal beings isn’t exactly what Lily had in mind.

Chloe Neill’s writing was easy to read and extremely funny. I’ve never read anything from this author before but I sure became quite a fan.

Firespell is a nice book with great characters, writing details, a plot that unfolds slowly and isn’t boring and a world building interesting enough that sure deserves more to it.

XX Ner

Review: M is for Magic

Review by Ner:
M is for Magic

Author: Neil Gaiman
Release Date: 2008 (originally January 1st, 2007)
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 249 (Paperback)
Format: Paperback
Genre:
 YA | Fantasy Short-Stories
Idiom: English
Read: from April May 1 to 4, 2014
Source & Shelf: Gift | Own
ISBN: 
9780747595687 (Paperback)
Cups:
fa88e-32bcups
  Amazon


Synopsis:

A sinister jack-in-the-box haunts the lives of children who owned it, a stray cat does nightly battle to protect his adopted family, and a boy raised in a graveyard confronts the much more troubled world of the living in this wonderful book of short stories by master storyteller Neil Gaiman.

These eleven stories range from the scary to the whimsical, the fantastical to the humorous – each a different journey in which the reader encounters the rich and wonderful imagination of a writer who knows how to thrill and satisfy his audience.


My Opinion:

Another anthology of short-stories, this one by an author I highly regard despite having read only one of his books (have another one to read so…): Neil Gaiman. I’m quite fond of this author because he wrote several Doctor Who episodes, some of them amazing. And even though I didn’t read the book, I saw the movie, I can tell this is an amazing (yet creepy) story: Coraline!

This book has some wicked stories; some good, some bad, some weird and some quite interesting an idea to explore even further. But, that was only it. This is one of those books that you read once, you might remember one or two stories from it, and then forget. This is unfortunate, really, because I had high expectations regarding this book.

The very best about this book was Neil Gaiman’s introduction. Now, I don’t normally quote books on my reviews (I don’t know why) but in this case I have to share with you one of the most beautiful things about stories I’ve ever read:

“Stories you read when you’re the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you’ll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit.”

If I have to choose just one short-story in this book that touched, that was October in the Chair. It was a hauntingly beautiful short-story about not being accepted by those we care about and how we can find some sort of happiness in the strangest of places and people… dead or alive.

The Price also touched me slightly. The story of an adopted cat that battles an invisible threat to protect his family. This one made me tear up a bit, I’ll be honest. This poor little animal kept fighting night after night even though he was wounded only to protect those who gave him a little bit of attention and affection.

How to Sell the Ponti Bridge was also a story I enjoyed quite a lot. It reminded me slightly of Stardust by Gaiman and it’s that kind of short-story that is so well developed you feel like you’ve read an entire book.

Maybe these short-stories were the only reason I managed to fully enjoy this book as a whole. Apart from these two – and maybe Chivalry which was a cute and funny little one about the Holy Grail – the rest didn’t quite touched a nerve or emotion.

However, I will still consider Neil Gaiman an amazing writer and I’m looking forward to read more of his books and to watch more Doctor Who episodes written by him.

XX Ner

Review: Grim

Review by Ner:
Grim

Editor: Christine Johnson
Author(s): Various
Release Date: February 25th, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 475 (Hardcover)
Format: PDF
Genre:
 Young Adult | Fairy-TalesFantasy
Idiom: English
Read: from February 16 to 28, 2014
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 
9780373211081 (Hardcover)
Cups:
fa88e-32bcups

  Amazon


Synopsis:

CLAIRE DE LUNE and NOCTURNE author Christine Johnson, ed.’s GRIM, an anthology of dark fairy tale retellings, featuring stories by New York Times bestselling authors Ellen Hopkins, Amanda Hocking, Claudia Gray, Rachel Hawkins, Julie Kagawa, and others, to Natashya Wilson at HarlequinTeen, in a nice deal, for publication in Winter 2014, by Caryn Wiseman at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (World).


My Opinion:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

How to rate an anthology of different authors and with different stories? After rating each individual short-story, I’ve decided to give this book 3 cups.

I’ll be dividing this review into different ratings so it’ll be easier for me to simply express what I felt towards that particular re-telling:

| 1 cup:

  • Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tongue – Christine Johnson (Diamonds and Toads)
  • Skin Trade – Myra McEntire (The Robber Bridegrom)
  • Beauty and the Chad – Sarah Rees Brennan (Beauty and the Beast)

I did not enjoy these three stories whatsoever. When I finished them I just couldn’t believed I spent my time reading them. Especially Beauty and the Chad which was the worse retelling of my favourite fairy-tale in the world.

The Skin Trade was a complete no-no for me. I had to force myself to finish that one because I didn’t understand what was happening.

As for Sharper Than a Serpent’s Tongue…. well, I enjoyed the beginning and all but as soon as the sister’s had that curse upon them, I cringed.

| 2 cups:

  • Before the Rose Bloomed: A Retelling of The Snow Queen – Ellen Hopkins (The Snow Queen)
  • The Pink: A Grimm Story – Amanda Hocking (The Carnation)

Unfortunately these two short-stories weren’t as magnificent as I was expecting. The Snow Queen one felt like a confusion of lyrical words thrown into a modern book with no coherence whatsoever. But the story was sweet enough to have me rating it with 2 cups.

As for Pink, it was interesting but the fact that this is a short-story, made the characters development non-existent. And that made me dislike this story a lot.

| 3 cups:

  • The Key – Rachel Hawkins (Bluebeard)
  • Figment – Jeri Smith-Ready (Puss in Boots)
  • The Brothers Piggett – Julie Kagawa (The Three Little Pigs
  • Sell Out – Jackson Pearce (Snow White) 

These three stories were the ones that were merely good. They had the ingredients to be good so they were. But that was all… they were simply enjoyable.

First of all: I WANT THE CONTINUATION OF THE KEY!!!! Seriously, this is the very first short-story in this anthology and it’s incomplete… I mean, it just ends rather abruptly.

Figment was a sweet little story about believing in our dreams. I admit having a tear in my eye in the end.

The Brothers Piggett had a wonderful story which was very well developed for a short novella (but then again, I already know Julie Kagawa’s writing). The only thing was the pace which was too quick.

As for Sell Out, I really liked the idea but for a whole book. As a novella it just doesn’t work since there are a lot of things that can be explored. Still, it was creepy but entertaining.

| 3,5 cups:

  • The Raven Princess – Jon Skovron (The Raven)
  • Thinner Than Water – Saundra Mitchell (Cat-Skin)

These two stories felt like a whole book. They were very well written and very well described, each one taking us to a fantasy world that really reminded me of the Brother Grimms.

The Raven Princess was a sweet love story that I wouldn’t mind having for my own.

Thinner Than Water was bit creepy what with the whole father-wants-to-marry-daughter thing happening. But it was so good I couldn’t stop reading it.

| 4 cups:

  • Untethered – Sonia Gensler (The Shroud)
  • Light It Up – Kimberly Dertin (Hansel & Gretel)

Okay, Untethered was extremely creepy! It’s one of those stories you start reading and then you have no idea what’s happening but then, at the end, it all makes sense. And the way it was written was so good I had goose-bumps.

Light it Up was a good surprise. It reminded me of Criminal Minds and those psychopaths who butcher people to eat them but, just like Untethered, it was so well written I was hooked since page one.

| 4,5 cups:

  • Better – Shaun David Hutchinson (The Pied Piper)
  • A Real Boy – Claudia Gray (Pinocchio)

These are the ones I liked very much but wished they were real books and not part of an anthology. They had so much potential that I feel they lost some part of their essence here. But they were that good!

| 5 cups:

  • The Twelfth Girl – Malinda Lo (12 Dancing Princesses)
  • Beast/Beast – Tessa Gratton (Beauty and the Beast)

I absolutely loved these two short-stories! For me they were the ultimate best part of this anthology.

The Twelfth Girl was a true modern version of its original fairy-tale. The fact that the main character had a crush for a girl – lesbianism in action – was also a good surprise. It deals with friendship, belonging and doing what one thinks it’s right.

As for Beast/Beast… that was one of the best, yet short, retellings of Beauty and the Beast I’ve ever read. It was so simple, so romantic and so brave, I swooned while reading it.

XX Ner

Blog Tour Stop: Review & Giveaway: Dead Dreams by Emma Right (CLOSE)

Click on the banner above to see the complete tour post schedule.

Dead Dreams

Author: Emma Right
Genre: YA | Thriller | Mystery
Series: Dead Dreams #1
Publication Date: August 26th, 2013
Get The Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | Smashwords
atmbaddbook70x25

Summary:
Eighteen-year-old Brie O’Mara has so much going for her: a loving family in the sidelines, an heiress for a roommate, and dreams that might just come true. Big dreams–of going to acting school, finishing college and making a name for herself.

She is about to be the envy of everyone she knew. What more could she hope for? Except her dreams are about to lead her down the road to nightmares. Nightmares that could turn into a deadly reality.

Dead Dreams, Book 1, a young adult psychological thriller and
contemporary mystery.

***

My Review:

Disclaimer: I received this book from Candace @Candace’s Book Blog and with the consent of the author, Emma Right, in exchange for an honest review.

Dead Dreams is that sort of book that when you start reading you think “this is not my cup of tea!” but can’t put it down and end up enjoying more than what you’d expected. Which, in my humble opinion, is a great thing. 

This book tells the story of a young girl, Brie, who makes the wrong choices. After accepting Sarah as a room-mate  she’s suddenly thrust into a world of mystery that might just end up wrong to her side. After learning that Sarah is a heiress who her brother and uncle are trying to get rid of in order to get her inheritance, Brie is involved in a scheme to save both Sarah and her own dreams. However, things are not what they seem and Brie ends up in a wild and creepy crime she doesn’t understand. 

At first glance, this isn’t my type of book though I do like some mystery. When I began reading this, I wasn’t connecting with Brie or Sarah and felt the whole inheritance story filled with loose ends. But as soon as the two main characters begin planning their escape, I was drawn to the plot and found that something was definitely off. Truth is, Emma Right wrote such a creepy and unexpected ending I have no idea how she’ll continue the story.

Brie’s character develops slowly within the story. When we first met her, she’s just an ordinary girl who has two jobs to pay her rent and to save for her acting degree. But as soon as Sarah appears in her life, she shows a different side of her that was concealed under the layers of concern. But, I have to be honest, her decision in accepting Sarah’s plan made me want to slap her. Somehow I knew things would go wrong that she wasn’t thinking clearly but, then again, if she didn’t accepted, we wouldn’t have story.

Sarah’s character is still a big mystery to me. I just don’t know what to make of her. The small discoveries Brie finds throughout the book about Sarah just increases our suspicion. Is she scamming Brie into steal her identity? Is she really being hunted by her brother and uncle because of her inheritance? Did she kill someone? And as the story develops, especially towards the end, we’re not sure whether Sarah is trustworthy or not.

Overall Dead Dreams turned out to be an enjoyable, quick and interesting read. It’s a nice thriller that hooks you as soon as the whole mystery sets in and I sure will be following Emma Right’s sequel to see what’s going to happen next.

Rating:

***

Dead Dreams Emma Right’s Dream Cast:


***

About the Author:

Emma RIGHT headshot (1)

Emma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific

West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a Long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, she is
telling her kids to get theirs in one.

Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several
awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Google + | Pinterest

***

Giveaway Time:

The prizes:

  • Grand Prize: $15 Amazon Gift Card & ebook of Dead Dreams (INT);
  • Additional winner gets a paperback of Dead Dreams (US);

Click on the link below to access the Rafflectopter form to try your luck with this awesome giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***

cbb(1)

XX Ner

Review: Moirai

Moirai

Author: Ruth Silver
Release Date: September 26th, 2013 
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Pages: 250 (Paperback)
Format: ebook
Genre:
 
Young Adult | Dystopian | Survival
Series: Aberrant #2

Idiom: English
Read:  from October 2 to 6, 2013
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9780615883229 (Paperback)

 Amazon

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Olivia has been on the run from the government of Cabal since the marriage ceremony. Finally settling in and finding herself a place to call home, in Shadow, Olivia and Joshua are preparing for the uprising that they and the rebel alliance have been planning for months.

With new abilities and special talents, from Mindonsiphan, Olivia learns that she can do more than most ordinary eighteen year olds. Learning both to hide and perfect her skills will be one of the biggest challenges she’ll be forced to face.

A constant rollercoaster of emotion and adventure await Olivia and Joshua, as they embark on a journey to the rebel city of Torv, and what was once home, Genesis.

My Opinion:

*This review might contain spoilers!*

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

After Aberrant I needed to read Moirai because I needed to make sure Ruth Silver didn’t follow the same path as other authors whose sequels normally are weaker than the first book.

Unfortunately, she did followed that path!

Aberrant was quite entertaining and enjoyable enough for me to rate it 4 cups even thought initially I felt tempted at rating it 3,5 cups.

Sadly Moirai has to be rated 3 cups because there were several things I couldn’t get my mind around.

This book felt slightly rushed in comparison with Aberrant which, by itself, was already rushed. There were some moments in the book I didn’t even noticed time going by. Actually, the book felt as if it only three days passed… that’s how rushed I felt it.

Then Olivia and Joshua didn’t develop that much from the first book. There was nothing new in them, nothing different. They were the same as in the first book only slightly more trained. Since Moirai is set some months after Aberrant, you notice they are more at ease with Shadow inhabitants but apart from that, there was nothing particularly new in them. No new trait, no change in personality…

The plot was just the same as Aberrant but more daring. There were more fights, more blood and more action and that felt good. But the background story didn’t felt that solid, didn’t sounded too reassuring. Actually, I found it quite confusing.

Now, there were just a couple of things that made me raise an eyebrow and say: “what the heck?”

Firstly, Olivia’s father is alive? What the actually heck?!

The plot itself was already confusing what with the pregnant women and the rebel alliance and Olivia’s role in all of it. Did her father needed necessarily to be alive? I felt like he was just thrown into the story to mess with Olivia’s feelings – which wasn’t necessary at all because she was already too fragile and too freaked out. Not to mention the way she finds out and her reaction to it… I enjoy her character but when it came to her father, Olivia just scored negative points!

Secondly, the wedding! Okay, I was excited to see Joshua and Olivia married for real since the beginning but, again, I felt it too rushed! I felt that they only married so they could have official sex…

And in a world where women couldn’t naturally conceived, I understood Olivia’s fears and was somehow glad when she found out about the plant that prevented her from getting pregnant. But still… they attack Genesis, the rebel alliance takes over the government and they get married in the middle of it all! Couldn’t they wait?!

And thirdly, Adelaide! Was it really necessary for Olivia to freak out and call Adelaide her daughter?! That scene just didn’t made sense! No sense at all to me. But apart from that, I think Adelaide was a nice way to make Olivia re-think her decision about having children. So, despite the “Don’t say that to my daughter!” moment, Adelaide was a nice addiction to the book.

Okay, rant’s over! These three points were basically what made me upset about the book! And these three points were the reason I rated it 3 cups.

Oh… I did not enjoy the end but that had to do with the fact that I don’t particularly like cliff-hangers! Especially cliff-hangers where a character who is supposed to have died is alive!!!! And Joshua is missing……..

While I enjoyed Aberrant, Moirai was a gentle stab to the back. No, don’t think I didn’t like the book ‘because I did. But it simply didn’t work that well as the first book did which is a shame because I still believe that Aberrant series have the potential to be a great Dystopian YA book. But after Moirai I’m a bit scared of what Isaura will be bring. 

My Cups:

XX Ner

Review: Night of the Purple Moon

Night of the Purple Moon

Author: Scott Cramer
Release Date: May 28th, 2012 (originally January 1st, 2012)
Publisher: Train Renoir Publishing
Pages: 186 (Paperback)
Format: ebook
Genre:
 
Young Adult | Dystopian | Survival
Series: The Toucan Trilogy #1

Idiom: English
Read:  from September 4 to 15, 2013
Source & Shelf: Kobo
ISBN: 9780615637082 (Paperback)

  Amazon

Synopsis:

Abby Leigh is looking forward to watching the moon turn purple, unaware that deadly bacteria from a passing comet will soon kill off older teens and adults. The lightning-fast epidemic sweeps across the planet when the germs attack the hormones produced during puberty.

On a small island off the coast of Maine, Abby must help her brother and baby sister survive in this new world, but all the while she has a ticking time bomb inside of her — adolescence.

My Opinion:

Night of the Purple Moon had an intriguing yet tempting premise: every single adult on earth dies after a comet and only children survive. That leaves us with a question: how will these kids survive?

Abby, Toucan and Jordan Leigh were just three of the victims of the space germs that were brought to earth during a comet that painted everything purple. With their instinct of survival switched on, they begin to fight for their lives and those they find while trying to figure out how to combat the germs before they reach adolescence and, eventually, die.

When I first began this book I was only curious to know how the author would develop a story in which the main characters were kids, no older than thirteen/fourteen and if he was going to be able to keep us, readers, interested in the book. It was interesting enough to have me praying for the survival of these kids, but somehow I felt that something wasn’t quite right. I guess the character development is to blame.

These kids grow up too fast, not having any childhood conflicts as everyone has even when going through an immense trauma. No tantrums, no fights, no fear of not knowing what to do. Having full awareness of the fact that these characters were kids, I would read something and feel as if they weren’t , as if, somehow, the author forgot he was writing about children who were taking care of other children, babies even, and all their knowledge was already acquired. They knew everything, what to do and how to do it. I mean, when I was their age I barely even knew how to bandage my own hand after cutting it.

However, I enjoyed the fact that the Leighs were described as strong and determined siblings, always concerned about the safety of others and that they would sacrifice their own lives for their sister’s and others’. But still, they sounded too mature for their age and that was what had me finding it all too baffling.

The pace of the book was good, having some moments where you would feel the constant need to find a cure or else the whole world would simply cease to exist. Other moments felt very solid, very rooted to the ground not developing and not adding anything new. Some dialogues were also too mature for these kids and some of it didn’t particularly had anything special. Too… intangible.

On the other hand, it was a clever and, I dare say, fresh book since I’ve never really read anything in which children were completely alone in the world and had to survive without an adult. A fun and quick read with characters that, despite my initial uncertainty, were strong and easy to like. 

My Cups:

XX Ner

Review: I Am Legend

I Am Legend

Author: Richard Matheson
Release Date: November 11th, 2010 (originally 1954)
Publisher: Impresa (Revista Visão)
Pages: 179 (Paperback)
Format: Paperback
Genre:
 Horror | Science-Fiction | Vampires
Series: —
Idiom: Portuguese
Read: from September 9 to 12, 2013
Source & Shelf: Borrowed
ISBN: 9780575081987 (English)

  Amazon

Synopsis:

It seems strange to find a 1954 vampire novel in Millennium’s “SF Masterworks” classic reprints series. I Am Legend, though, was a trailblazing and later much imitated story that reinvented the vampire myth as SF. Without losing the horror, it presents vampirism as a disease whose secrets can be unlocked by scientific tools.

The hero Robert Neville, perhaps the last uninfected man on Earth, finds himself in a paranoid nightmare. By night, the bloodthirsty undead of small-town America besiege his barricaded house: their repeated cry “Come out, Neville!” is a famous SF catchphrase. By day, when they hide in shadow and become comatose, Neville gets out his wooden stakes for an orgy of slaughter.

He also discovers pseudoscientific explanations, some rather strained, for vampires’ fear of light, vulnerability to stakes though not bullets, loathing of garlic, and so on. What gives the story its uneasy power is the gradual perspective shift which shows that by fighting monsters Neville is himself becoming monstrous–not a vampire but something to terrify vampires and haunt their dreams as a dreadful legend from the bad old days.

My Opinion:

First, let me begin by saying that I was hugely influenced by the movie while reading this book. Although I was reading I Am Legend when I finally saw the 2007 Francis Lawrence’s movie, I was right in the beginning of the story and didn’t know exactly what to expect. Therefore, this review and rating might be slightly unfair due to that and I apologise for it.

I Am Legend tells the story of Robert Neville, the only human survivor of a plague that transformed human kind into vampires (wow, just realised that Reign of Blood follows the exactly same characteristics as this one).For three years he managed to survive and not being killed or infected, since he’s immune to the virus that morphed everyone.

The story doesn’t have much to it apart from that. The book is mainly Neville surviving the hordes of vampires by fortifying his house and by stowing supplies. He would occasionally stray from his daily routine but that was mostly it. He worked on a fabric before the epidemic but during his time on his own, he begun searching for answers and a cure to the virus.

While in the movie we have Neville and his daughter’s dog, Sam, in the book Neville lives alone and the only dog that makes a brief appearance, dies instantly. Also in the movie the vampires don’t know where Neville lives while in the book they are at his door step every single night. I know that comparing both isn’t fair but I couldn’t help but expect the story of the movie to be inside the book. However, I enjoyed both though I preferred the story of the film more.

What made me rate this book only 3 cups was the constant struggles within Neville’s mind. I know that being alone for three whole years, having seen your whole family die in front of you and having to battle for survival can make a person go slightly nuts, but Neville’s constant monologues within his head were endless and tiresome. Sometimes he wouldn’t make any sense at all though I admit the flashbacks were a nice way to know what had happened before the plague.

I didn’t know this book was released in 1954 until do some research about it. Richard Matheson created a Dystopian that feels believable especially for that decade. Even though we are all used to this genre of books nowadays, I’m certain that back them people didn’t see post-apocalyptic as a nice genre or even a good omen. But Matheson managed to create a book that feels timeless despite the obvious timeline speculated by the author through the story. Though the book came out in the 50’s, the story takes place in the 70’s but you never feel like you’re in the past. Actually, this book could be set anywhere in time.

Overall, this is a nice horror story that can be adapted to any time. You can see the struggle, the desperation of the only human on earth and how it affects him. You can also see how far a human can go with only survival instincts and hope. But, as I’ve mentioned right at the beginning of this review, I was hugely influenced by the movie so, as you can see, I’m not entirely just.

My Cups:

XX Ner

Review: Reign of Blood

Reign of Blood

Author: Alexia Purdy
Release Date: April 29th, 2012 (originally 27th April, 2012)
Publisher: Lyrical Lit. Publishing
Pages: 305 (Paperback) | 209 (ebook)
Format: ebook
Genre:
 
Young Adult | Dystopian | Vampires
Series: Reign of Blood #1

Idiom: English
Read:  from August 29 to September 4, 2013
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9780615639789 (Paperback)
               2940014486262 (ebook)

  Amazon

Synopsis:

“Never tease anything that wants to eat you. My name is April Tate and my blood is the new gold. Vampires and hybrids have overrun my world, once vibrant with life, but now a graveyard of death shrouded in shadows. I fight to survive; I fight for my mother and brother. The journey is full of turns that I am quite unprepared for. And I’m just hoping to make it to the next Vegas sunrise…”

In a post-apocalyptic world, a viral epidemic has wiped out most of the earth’s population, leaving behind few humans but untold numbers of mutated vampires. April is a seventeen-year-old girl who lives in the remains of Las Vegas one year after the outbreak. She has become a ferocious vampire killer and after her family is abducted, she goes searching for them. What she finds is a new breed of vampire, unlike any she has seen before. Unsure of whom she can trust, she discovers that her view of the world is not as black and white as she once thought, and she’s willing to bend the rules to rescue her family. But in trying to save them, she may only succeed in bringing her fragile world crashing down around her.

My Opinion:

Disclaimer: I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I was really excited for this book because this has everything I like: vampires in a dystopian book with a kick-ass heroine fighting off to survive and all. Yep, gimme gimme!!!

However, Reign of Blood didn’t really hit the target for me and that’s shocking. For instance, whenever I picked this up, I would snooze. Yes, I would fall asleep and then wake up with my Kobo sprawled in my face and a few pages ahead. It’s bad, really bad, for someone who was super duper excited to read something. And disappointing as well.

This is about April and her family, the only human survivors in Las Vegas from an epidemic that morphed humans into feral vampires. Until one day April’s mother and brother disappear and she’s faced with a new race of vampires, hybrids that can walk in the sun light and have nothing to do with the feral ones she’s so used to kill. And that’s when her previous dystopian world turns upside-down and everything she knew, suddenly changes.

My problem with this book was the pace. It started slow with April searching for her family and killing some ferals and, though there was action in it, April’s mind was so full of endless contradiction it made me weary.

When she reaches the hybrids hideout, the contradictions just got even worst; especially her feelings and everlasting doubts about Rye. In one chapter she would declare she wanted to fall hard for him and then the next she would dismiss it. And, to be fair, their relationship was kind of abrupt. I know he was the first boy (apart from her brother) that she had seen since the virus spread, but still. Straight chemistry  I can handle, but talk of endless love just two days after meeting was simply faster than lightning…

Whoa!! Whoa!! Calm your hormones people!!!!

Way too fast for me.

The vampiric plot was interesting enough (though not that original) and that was perhaps the reason why I made myself continue reading and rated it 3 cups. Alexia Purdy really did picked up the folklore fable and transported it into a post-apocalyptic world and kept the roots of it. The explanations on how they became like that felt fairly realistic though I wished there was more to it.

I am going to admit that I didn’t fully understand April’s “powers” conversation at the end. It seemed like she had a mutation on her blood that when activated with vampiric blood, disengaged this superhuman strength. I was a bit confused with it and I will say it’s due to my constant snooze.

And April’s character didn’t conquer me. She felt too out of reach and unrealistic and her continuous ramblings within her head just made me tired. Since the book was told from her perspective and there are some chapters where she’s completely alone, she didn’t grab my attention and I didn’t enjoy her that much. Too bad, again, because she sounded like a pretty good female heroine.

Reign of Blood might be a fantastic new YA/Dystopian book to some but I wasn’t fully satisfied with it. It didn’t grip me the way I thought it would but it had its good moments hence my rating. It simply didn’t worked out that well for me.

PS: I particularly enjoyed the Gotye “Somebody That I Used to Know” reference in the book 😉

My Cups:

XX Ner

Review: The Thing About Weres

The Thing About Weres

Author: Leigh Evans
Release Date: July 30th, 2013
Publisher: Martin’s Paperbacks
Pages: 464 (ebook & paperback)
Format: ebook
Genre:
 Paranormal | Young Adult | Fantasy
Series: Mystwalker #2
Idiom: English
Read: from July 22 to 28, 2013
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9781250006417 (Paperback)
               9781250032454 (ebook)

 

 

Synopsis:

THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER 

In the never-ending saga that is my love-hate relationship with Robson Trowbridge, I, half-Were Hedi Peacock, have had a change of heart. Ever since I shoved Trowbridge through the Gates of Merenwyn, I’ve been the leader of the pack—hard to believe, right? The thing is: I’m half-Fae. So even though my Were side is ready to heed the call of the wild, the other part of me is desperate to take flight. And much as it pains me to admit it, life without Trowbridge is really starting to were me down…

I AM WERE, HEAR ME ROAR.

To make matters worse, the wolves of Creemore want my blood—and the North American Council of Weres wants me dead. So I’m just counting the days until Trowbridge returns from the other realm…and comes to my brave rescue…and becomes my alpha mate. Wishful thinking? Of course it is. But given all the mess I’ve been through already, what’s the harm in doing a little bit of daisy-plucking? Besides, Trowbridge owes me bigtime. A girl can dream.

My Opinion:

*This review might contain spoilers!*

Disclaimer: I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

So, the Mystwalker series by Leigh Evans continues six months after the end of The Trouble with Fate. A good continuation to the first book but somehow a little bit tiresome. I was excited during the beginning of the book but half-way through it I just wanted to finish it. There was so much going on in just two days I felt like I was in a roller-coaster. I was simply tired of all the troubles and pain Hedi was going through I was just sighing and thinking “Can anyone give the girl a break?”

Anyway, The Thing about Weres deals with Hedi trying to open to the gates in order to bring the love of her life, Trowbridge, back to our world. She keeps dreaming on him, suffering with his absence plus the fact that she’s the Alpha’s mate of Creemore. However, the rest of the wolves don’t know about Trowbridge’s absence – they think he’s just too injured – and she doesn’t act like the Alpha’s mate. Yes, poor Hedi is all but trouble.

I felt that Hedi changed slightly from the book. I’ve read The Trouble with Fate last year but I clearly remember thinking her too immature for such a mature situation. But in this book I’ve noticed a certain change in her, like all her suffering turned her into a grown up woman. Still, she has some moments where I just want to scream at her because half of the things that happen are her fault.

Trowbridge’s character changed a lot because time in Fae world is different from ours and while Hedi waited six months, Trowbridge spent nine years battling for survival. When he came back, he was another man. Despite seeing the old Bridge in certain details – still conceited, still arrogant and still too sensual – he felt more like a man instead of a lost soul. Also, I felt that his feelings for Hedi were truer than in the first book and that he was more caring, fonder and tender.

There are new characters in this book and one of them did not surprise me at all. Hedi’s brother, Lexi, manages to get back to our world with Trowbridge but he wasn’t what I expected him to be. Regardless of being half-Fae and half-Were just like Hedi, Lexi was more Fae, being the Black Mage’s Shadow. He was addicted to a potion that didn’t allow his Were side to develop and I didn’t like him. Maybe he’ll change in the third book and develop a personality that will conquer me but in this book I couldn’t stand him. He was nothing like Hedi or what Hedi used to picture her brother. He was a scoundrel and a careless man.

But with Bridge and Lexi came another character and I’m very curious about her. Anu is Lexi’s daughter and for a moment Hedi (and myself) thought she was Trowbridge new mate, a mate from the Fae world. But the truth is unveiled and Hedi finds out she’s her niece and that Bridge’s scent is all over her because she’s half-Fae half-Were just like her a Lexi, I just wanted to scream at both Lexi and Trowbridge for not having said anything earlier.

I admit that after the moment Hedi finds the truth about Anu and decides to try her luck in Mystwalker world, I began to feel like the story was going too fast, too many things happening all at once. The whole scene in Threall was too long, especially after everything that happened right before Trowbridge’s return. Just too many things.

In general, this book was good and entertaining. The characters felt more real and more solid than in the first book. The writing was still funny to read since it was Hedi telling the story. The Mystwalker part felt less confusing and I finally understood what being a Mystwalker meant.

Leigh Evans wrote a funny and enjoyable series and I hope to be able to read the third book in the future. 

My Cups:

XX Ner

Review: The Wrong Girl

The Wrong Girl

Author: C.J. Archer
Release Date: June 2013 (originally May 25th, 2013)
Publisher: C.J. Archer
Pages: 218 (ebook & paperback)
Format: ebook
Genre:
 Paranormal | Young Adult | Gothic
Series: Freak House #1
Idiom: English
Read: from July 21 to 22, 2013
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9780987489937 (Paperback)
               9780987489920 (ebook)

 

Synopsis:

It’s customary for Gothic romance novels to include a mysterious girl locked in the attic. Hannah Smith just wishes she wasn’t that girl. As a narcoleptic and the companion to an earl’s daughter with a strange affliction of her own, Hannah knows she’s lucky to have a roof over her head and food in her belly when so many orphans starve on the streets. Yet freedom is something Hannah longs for. She did not, however, want her freedom to arrive in the form of kidnapping.

Taken by handsome Jack Langley to a place known as Freak House, she finds herself under the same roof as a mad scientist, his niece, a mute servant and Jack, a fire starter with a mysterious past. They assure Hannah she is not a prisoner and that they want to help her. The problem is, they think she’s the earl’s daughter. What will they do when they discover they took the wrong girl?

My Mini Opinion:

Disclaimer: I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

The Wrong Girl by C.J. Archer was a surprisingly good book. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. Neither was I expecting to be wanting the second one as much as I am. This was a nice introduction to a brand new paranormal/gothic series.

Orphan Hannah Smith has lived her whole life trapped in an attic with Lady Violet. It is said that both girls have some sort of special and wicked ability, hence being trapped where no-one can see them. While Hannah is a narcoleptic, Lady Violet can set things on fire. One day the two girls take a stroll outside the confinements of the house and the unthinkable happens: Hannah is kidnapped in Lady Violet’s place.

She’s taken to a place called Freak House and Hannah plays the role of Violet until she’s sure her kidnappers wish her no harm. Jack Langley, who kidnapped her, Sylvia Langley and August Langley wish to help her with her fire ability.

The book was small but the story was extensive. It’s set in Late Victorian London which gave the story a gothic twist that made it even more interesting. The paranormal bit was exciting as well as the characters that felt solid and real.

Sure there are a lot of questions still unanswered but then again this is the first book in a future series. I hope to have all my doubts answered in the next book.

It was a small book but a nice introduction to a new YA gothic/paranormal series that can be massive. I only hope the author to be faithful to the original premise and not lose track of the originality of her writing. 

My Cups:

XX Ner

Review: Hush, Hush

Hush, Hush

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Release Date: May 27th, 2010 (originally October 13th, 2009)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
Pages: 391 (Paperback)
Format: Paperback
Genre:
 Young Adult | Angels | Paranormal
Series: Hush, Hush #1
Idiom: English
Read: from July 2 to 5, 2013
Source & Shelf: Purchase | Own
ISBN: 9781847386960(Paperback)

 

Synopsis:

A SACRED OATH
A FALLEN ANGEL
A FORBIDDEN LOVE

Romance was not part of Nora Grey’s the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.

My Opinion:

Hush, Hush was a book I was very curious to read not only because Carla really liked it but also because there were mixed reviews around the net and I wanted to have my own opinion of it.

Truth is, I don’t know what I feel about this book. This was my newest attempt at reading a angel-related book and, despite having enjoyed it enough to want to continue the series, there were things I didn’t particularly liked.

This book tells the story of Nora Grey, an ordinary girl whose only error was falling in love with the wrong person: a fallen angel. Though the first half of the book is Nora being hunted and developing her feelings for Patch, I found it too slow and without any sort of string to pull me into it. However, I admit that after she finds out the truth about her dear fallen angel, Patch, I was more interested in the book.

Patch, the fallen angel, was one of the most infuriating characters I’ve ever met. He was conceited, mysterious, arrogant, too self-centred and so damn irritating I couldn’t even begin to understand why Nora was even interested in him. But then, I don’t recall when, he just caught my attention and, even though he’s still too cocky for my taste, I began seeing him with different eyes. I think I owe that to Carla because she won’t like a character that was a brainless and dull so, when she told me she actually liked him, I think I began to analyse him in another way.

As for Nora, I still need to read another book to have a full opinion of her. I felt like she kept shifting, changing her opinion about Patch – or she enjoyed his company or she was scared of him – but I admired her friendship with Vee. She always felt a hard attraction/chemistry towards Patch but at the same time she kept pushing him away. She was just… weird!

There is something that kept nagging me during the whole book: Patch’s behaviour! Sure he’s a fallen angel and he’s got a bad side to him but he was literally hunting Nora and scaring the living hell out of her. Was that even necessary? If I were Nora, I would have asked for a restriction order instead of being all love-and-rainbows-plus-sex about him. But then again, something about him would have an opposite effect on us. Maybe it’s his angelic side *sarcasm*

Okay, this book was really hard, extremely hard, to rate and this review was the most painful one for me to write. I did enjoy the book, and consequently Patch, and wish to continue reading the series, but I have so many things against it. I don’t know… I need to read more of this saga to be certain of my feelings about it.

Maybe Crescendo will help me unveil these weird uncertainties about Patch and Nora’s relationship and the whole story. But, for a book about angels, I was thoroughly surprised. I did enjoyed the whole angelic part of it specially the end and Patch’s decision to… okay, I’m not telling you but those who read it know what I’m talking about.

I will definitely rate this book 3 cups and continue the series despite my dubious feelings about it.  

My Cups:

XX Ner

Review: Arrow of the Mist

Arrow of the Mist

Author: Christina Mercer
Release Date: March 21st, 2013 (originally March 13th, 2013)
Publisher: Christina Mercer
Pages: 270 (Paperback) | 184 (ebook)
Format: ebook
Genre:
 Fantasy | Middle Grade | Magic
Series: Arrow of the Mist #1
Idiom: English
Read: from July 8 to 11, 2013
Source & Shelf: NetGalley | Kobo
ISBN: 9780615776378 (Paperback)

 


Synopsis
:

Terror strikes the Celtic inspired kingdom of Nemetona when barbed roots breach the veil of a forbidden land and poison woodsmen, including 15-year-old Lia’s beloved father. Lia and three others embark on a quest to the forbidden land of Brume to gather ingredients for the cure. But after her elder kinsman is attacked and poisoned, she and her cousin, Wynn, are forced to finish the quest on their own.

Lia relies on her powerful herbal wisdom and the memorized pages of her late grandmother’s Grimoire for guidance through a land of soul-hungry shades, trickster creatures, and uncovered truths about the origin of Brume and her family’s unexpected ties to it. The deeper they trek into the land, the stronger Lia’s untapped gift as a tree mage unfolds. When she discovers the enchanted root’s maker, it forces her to question everything about who she is and what is her destiny. Ultimately she must make a terrible choice: keep fighting to save her father and the people of the lands or join with the power behind the deadly roots to help nature start anew.

My Opinion:

Disclaimer: I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Arrow of the Mist was an enjoyable reading though I was expecting much more from this book. The premise and all the reviews I’ve read about this book made me curious and eager to pick this up and read it straight away. But around chapter three I began to be disappointed but still interested to know what would happen.

This book is a magical journey in which Lia has to find the cure to a poison deceased caused by the roots of a plant. She embarks in this journey with her grandfather, cousin and love interest and soon realises that there’s much more to her life than what she initially thought.

I enjoyed Lia enough to continue reading though something was definitely missing. She was determined and courageous but somehow that didn’t impress me. I felt like she wasn’t developing throughout the book though there was definitely a change in her. A smooth change when she finds the true about her identity but nothing more. Maybe with this journey we’ll see a development in the second book but in this one I didn’t connect with Lia.

The story developed too fast. Lia and her cousin Wynn would come out of a magical situation/encounter and would be thrown into another. Lia’s magical uniqueness and past was told throughout the story though when we had the first glimpse of it, it was simply predictable. Only one small part of it wasn’t that expected and I admit it was one of the things that made me like this book.

There was a small romance in the book that I wish was more explored. When Lia decided to go further into the magical realm, I was hoping Kelven would go with her instead of her cousin Wynn. That would make the whole romance more appealing and develop in another way. Though Lia and Kelven knew each other for a while and were clearly infatuated, I think the journey would be different if Kelven was Lia’s companion.

Overall, this book wasn’t bad though I was expecting so much more from it. It was pleasant enough and funny, a fast reading and an interesting perspective on plant and healing. Despite the negative aspects I have towards it, I’m still curious to know what will happen in the second book.

My Cups:

XX Ner