Category Archives: MG or YA

Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

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Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 13th 2015
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 328 pages

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Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

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I have little knowledge about fairie folklore and such but I do really like fairytales. Don’t know why I haven’t read that many but I’ll try to read some from now on. This was my first Holly Black book and it was an okay read for me not that it blown me away or whatsoever. But I found myself having a hard time putting this book down.

It was the relationship between Hazel and Ben that drawn me in. Through the characters we see the real brother-and-sister relationship.

Remember the old days where you used to be inseparable with your sister or brother? Spending the whole day just playing whatever stuff that comes in to your mind and sometimes dreaming of becoming a prince or princess someday. But things have changed when you both grew up. And you miss it when the memories came rushing back. Well, Hazel misses it too. When she and her brother used to hunt monsters together and dreaming of saving a faerie prince and their town Fairfold. Then the day Ben insisted to stop hunting and the day they both started keeping secrets to themselves.

And if you think about it you’ll realize it’s realistic enough to be believable that it somehow hurts. Unlike with some books out there that offer the same perspective that siblings are naturally born enemies, it’s great to see a different angle of that kind of relationship like what Ben and Hazel do have.

“I know you, Benjamin Evans,” Severin said. “Remember?”

He kept forgetting that Severin knew him, knew more about him than any person in the world.

It was in fact the reason why I considered reading this. It is not many books with lgbt characters written by non-lgbt-themed authors. So whenever they do I never hesitate checking them out.

The Ben-Severin thing is actually cute and I loved their shared moments together but their relationship alone wasn’t well-executed.

Obviously, there are two main characters in the story, Hazel and Ben. But it felt like Hazel is the only important character and Ben is rather a secondary one, her shadow, a background tree in a stage play. Poor Benjamin. I mean, there are barely scenes of him, I counted two or three chapters only. And most of them are told in a distant perspective. I never get to know who Ben really is. Let alone, Severin.

The spotlights are all to Hazel. She gets all the adventure, the thrill, the fun, the cool stuff. It bored the story, actually. And I was like, one more Hazel’s pov and I’m gonna put this down.

So when Ben and Severin started showing up again and whatever those things they do look foreign to us. Especially that surprising moment when Severin confessed his true feelings for Ben. Okay, I’ll be honest enough that it actually made my day. *Blush*

But it more felt like this:
O-okay? That’s cool bro. Not against it, really. But how come?

Yeah. That’s it. How come.

We need to see how it happened. You need to show us the development. How Severin came to that conclusion.

But all in all, it’s a good book. There’s a HEA. Interesting characters and plot. A beautiful setting. And a handsome faerie prince who loves a guy named, Benjamin.

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Review: Every Day by David Levithan

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Title: Every Day
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Reader
Publication Date: August 28th 2012
Series or Standalone: Every Day #1
Format: Paperback, 322 pages

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Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

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“I am a monster for doing this to him. But I have my reason.”

Yeah. You and you’re self-centered reason. Get lost, A.

Okay. I don’t think I can come up with a proper review for this book but it’s gonna be more of a rant. So bear with me.

I was quite skeptical reading this book actually. Sure, Levithan’s probably has the most popular lgbt books out there, pairing up with different great authors and all. It’s just that his works never appealed to me that I didn’t bother checking them out at all. Just reading this book’s blurb it screams: Don’t read me!!!!

Nay, I’ll read you. My mistake, I know.

The idea of A waking up in different bodies everyday and all is promising and really interesting because it’s not everyday you see books like this in any contemporary. I’m no expert but I think, it felt like Levithan had this great concept of his but wasn’t able to do justice about it. It’s like your mother gave you this beautiful dress for the prom that could get the spotlights all to you but you’re silly enough to pair it with a clown-like make-up.

And I’ve never felt this so annoyed before that I had to put my phone down and calmed myself before I could slam it on the wall. A and Rhiannon are both so freaking annoying characters. That they had just pissed me off from start to finish. And I really don’t care about them that they gained no sympathy over me.

Why would I sympathize A for messing up most the lives of people he inhabited by forcing them to do things they never usually do and sometimes endangering them just for him to see Rhiannon? Yeah that girl. That girl who acts like the victim of the story because Justin doesn’t treat her well and blah, blah, blah. But she’s the one who eventually ends up cheating him (more of this later).

I’m going to prove it to you,” I tell her. “I’m going to show you what it really means.”

“What?”

“Love.”

Bite me.

Making Justin to look so bad and convincing Rhiannon that she deserves someone better, someone like him. *vomit*

You’re disgusting, A. You’re so freaking desperate to make Justin and Rhiannon split up so you could have her. You’re so full of crap, full of love’s methapor but you can’t even handle your love for her right.

Want to see more?

A inside Kelsea’s body who’s in the verge of suicide.

I love you Rhiannon…

A inside Dana’s body who is seriously in trouble and in need to talk with her parents.

I need to get out of here… Rhiannon needs me… Rhiannon… Rhiannon…

Freaking Rhiannon.

Can’t A just stop thinking Rhiannon even just for a day? And pay some respect to the people he inhabited?

Rhiannon who doesn’t mind she has a boyfriend at all. A kisses her and she kisses him back. A flirts her and she flirts back. They go on in a date. And almost had a sex with A using someone’s innocent body.

“It feels wrong.”

She looks hurt by this answer.

“Let me worry about Justin,” she says. “This is you and me. It’s different.”

I have more than 70 reviews now and had never ever swore in any of them. But you Rhiannon. You deserve my very first.

You’re a f*cking slut. If I ever happen to see Rhiannon walking down along the street, I won’t hesitate punching her right on her freaking face.

But I won’t end this without expressing my gratitude. I really appreciated it that David Levithan included lgbt in this book and I know it did something big to the story itself. Your thoughts about it were heartfelt and honestly, it made me want to give this 2 stars but everytime your characters come to mind, it falls down back to 1.

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Review: Lending Light by Rose Christo

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Title: Lending Light
Author: Rose Christo
Publisher: Amazon
Publication Date: August 2012
Series or Standalone: Gives Light #5
Format: Ebook, 306 pages

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“Sometimes my imagination bleeds into reality.”

Eleven years ago a serial killer menaced the Nettlebush Indian Reservation. Rafael Gives Light is his son. A loner, Rafael relies on his startlingly overactive imagination to escape the distrust and vitriol of his peers.

In the summer of 2000 an exceptionally blond boy moves to Nettlebush. Rafael learns that the boy is his father’s last living victim. The boy wants to be friends.

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I had the idea that maybe kissing Sky was my natural, default state, and the reason I’d been such a disagreeable person all my life was because I hadn’t been kissing him all my life.

This review almost goes the same with book one. Because this story is in fact based on the first book and the only difference is that Rafael narrated this. Oh, how I loved that guy. It’s very heartwarming to see Sky through Rafael’s eye. How Sky changed Rafael’s life and how Rafael tried to be that person.

So let me just tell you why I freaking loved this series. Let’s start with the characters. Probably this series has one of the best set of characters in young adult contemporary. Everyone has depth. Everyone is remarkable. Every single main or secondary ones tugs your heart. Rose Christo doesn’t need to make her characters to be too perfect to gain a strong connection with them. You’ll love them just the way they are.

And for the romance, it just so happened that we’re introduced to a society where a boy who likes a boy is not a crime by law, a disease, a sin, or whatever ridiculous name they call it. So this is not me-and-you-against-the-world or i-love-you-you-love-me-but stuff. This is a fresh take for us to the mm genre where no one give a damn who you love.

“I have a boyfriend,” I said

Meredith smiled warmly at me. “That’s wonderful! What’s his name?”

“Not telling” I said

“You made him up,” Holly accused

“Bite me,” I said again

Why so adorable, Rafael?

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Review: Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan

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Title: Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods
Author: Rick Riordan, John Rocco (Illustrator)
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: August 19th 2014
Series or Standalone: Standalone but a companion to Percy Jackson & Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series
Format: Paperback, 336 pages

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A publisher in New York asked me to write down what I know about the Greek gods, and I was like, Can we do this anonymously? Because I don’t need the Olympians mad at me again. But if it helps you to know your Greek gods, and survive an encounter with them if they ever show up in your face, then I guess writing all this down will be my good deed for the week.

So begins Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, in which the son of Poseidon adds his own magic–and sarcastic asides–to the classics. He explains how the world was created, then gives readers his personal take on a who’s who of ancients, from Apollo to Zeus.  Percy does not hold back.

“If you like horror shows, blood baths, lying, stealing, backstabbing, and cannibalism, then read on, because it definitely was a Golden Age for all that.”

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Rick Riordan made me love the greek mythology. No doubt with that. But I have zero intention of reading the actual greek mythology. Just seeing that thick book with the smallest font I’ve ever seen before. My brain says no. My body says no.

This book is actually a compilation of different stories of the twelve olympians and some gods and titans. Hades, Artemis, Persephone, Zeus, Atlas, Hestia and everyone. Name it. Every stories is narrated by Percy Jackson himself. So imagine a 21st century teenager telling you all this greek stuff with overloaded persassyness (if such word exists) on it. Just imagine. Cool right? The stories never get boring with Percy’s pov. It never will. You know. It’s Percy. And John Rocco’s stunning artwork made the book more enjoyable. I mean, I literally spent more than a minute devouring its beauty. Yeah, that’s me.

Unlike Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series which are both middle grade. Is HoO middle grade or young adult? It confuses me, actually. But I don’t think this one is. Why? It contains rapes in different forms. Yes. Zeus in snake form to snake-Demeter or horse-Poseidon to horse-mortal woman? nymph? (I forgot, sorry). Do you think it’s weird enough? Wait and see.

It also includes putting your ugly children down to underworld, killing your own dad, swallowing whole your children, killing your own baby-eating-dad, cooking your own son into stew, and kidnapping a goddess to make her as a wife. You know. Just a typical day for your favorite gods.

Well if you’re a fan and a demigod, this is a must-read for you. And Percy narrates it!!!! I know you miss him too as much as I do. Higly recommended.

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Review: Light Beneath Ferns by Anne Spollen

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Title: Light Beneath Ferns
Author: Anne Spollen
Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: February 8th 2010
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 206 pages

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Elizah Rayne is nothing like other 14-year-old girls. More interested in bird bones than people, she wraps herself in silence. When Elizah and her mother move into an old house that borders a cemetery, Elizah finds a human jawbone by the river and meets Nathaniel, a hypnotic and mysterious boy who draws her into his world.

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This is my first ghost story and I had zero expectation with it, at all. But it’s funny to think how me and the main character, Eliza, clicked that instant. I mean, she is totally a relatable character. I can see myself through her eyes. Like she’s my girl version, in some way.

Everyone thinks Eliza is, I hate to put it this way, not “normal” just because she doesn’t act stuff like what usually “normal” people do. She hates the company of others that she prefers to be alone and not talking to them at all and has this not so weird fascination with bones. Not that I’m a loner or have no friends but all her monologues and her being herself, and all the stuff she’s trying to point out. The way she describes both her father and Nathaniel without trying to be too deep. They all made sense to me.

Reading the blurb, it’s pretty obvious what and who Nathaniel is in Eliza’s life. We know that the love interest would be with a ghost but it didn’t distract me from liking them together. It worked out, I think. And all the secondary characters has depth in themm and well played but I felt sorry for Kyle, though.

The only part which I didn’t come to like is when the story started with this long conversations that it felt like I’m reading a script in a play. But it didn’t entirely affect my reading experience because the banter between Eliza and her mother throughout the story became more ejoyable. Though the conclusion is satisfying and not a cliffhanger it still left me wanting to see more. As in MORE NATHANIEL.

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Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

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Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
Series or Standalone: The Young Elites #1
Format: Hardcover, 355 pages

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I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen. Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

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“I am Adelina Amouteru. I belong to no one. On this night, I swear to you that I will rise above everything you’ve ever taught me. I will become a force that this world has never known. I will come into such power that none will dare hurt me again.”

This book gave me a lot of FEELS. Marie Lu did a great job playing with my freaking emotions throughout the story. While her other books didn’t really appeal to me, I was suprised that I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I had so much fun with it.

Adelina. I liked this girl so much not just because she’s a strong heroine but every time I leaf through the pages, this girl always comes with a suprise. She always has something new to offer. That there’s more of her and all the characters in the story. And that excites me and increases my anticipation for the next installment. And Adelina is a complex character, battling with darkness and fury that’s engulfing her that makes her a threat to everyone.

Every characters has depth in them even Teren, the bad guy, has given his own pov so there’s an explanation behind his wrong doings. I liked all the members of the Dagger Society, they’re fantastic especially Rafaelle. Yes, this guy almost gave me an heart attack that I was like: Don’t you ever try to hurt him, Marie Lu, or the world will see my wrath. Yeah.

This is dark fantasy so expect to see tons of dead people. Because deaths are everywhere. And if you’re looking for a chessy romance, never mind about that because it’ll just break your heart. Trust me.

The conclusion is very satisfying that leaves me with a high expectation and that terrifies me. We’re promised to see more awesome and cool new characters. A stronger Adelina with a new purpose and great determination. And of course, more of Rafaelle (with his love interest *hoping*).

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Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness; Jim Kay (Illustrator); Siobhan Dowd (Conception)
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: September 27th 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 215 pages

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The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it
wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

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This is my first Patrick Ness book and it’s good and heartbreaking. It really did touch my heart and if the story ended up with 5 or so more pages, I would have been crying right now. Almost.

The book is well-written and imaginative with a simple narrative that follows the story of Connor O’Malley, whose mom is suffering from a cancer. He’s father left them with a new family. And everyone at school—his teachers, obviously shows their pity towards him. And those thing hurt him.

It is about loss and letting go of someone who really matters to you the most. Forgiving everyone and even yourself.

But I could have given this a perfect 5 stars if it is not the lack of characterization. Everyone is interesting. I like Harry and Lily and even Connor’s grandmother. Maybe a little bit more details about them would do. And I also liked the banter between Connor and the monster. That there is still a room for funny moments in this sad story.

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Review: Fury by Elizabeth Miles

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Title: Fury
Author: Elizabeth Miles
Publisher: Simon Pluse
Publication Date: August 30th 2011
Series or Standalone: Fury #1
Format: Paperback, 370 pages

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Sometimes sorry isn’t enough….

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems… Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better—the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel…something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay. Em and Chase have been chosen.

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This book has been sitting pretty on my sister’s shelf for who knows how long. Maybe a year. The cover is gorgeous, yes. And probably the reason why she bought this but eventually ended up not liking it. She hated it. And I didn’t have any plan on reading it too. But look at the cover, it really is beautiful and it’s seducing me. So when curiousity striked I picked this up on a whim and hoped I made the right choice.

Did I like the book? NO. I should have followed my sister. Fury  is a cover fraud. Don’t trust it, it’s a trap.

For the first 50% or so, I had no idea what was really going on. Or what the whole thing was all about. I was entirely clueless. And found out that this is about three shallow and stupid Furies who came/lived in Ascension to punish bad teenagers. Seriously, why them? What about the murderers? rapists? corrupt politicians? drug dealers? thieves? Ever think about them? Argh.

And the characters. Jeez, they’re boring and too predictable that I might have just put this down.

Emily or Em for short, this girl has never failed to annoy me. She’s too busy focusing all her attention to her bestfriend’s boyfriend, Zach, on how to get a chance on him, not to notice JD’s feeling for her. Which is so freaking obvious because the moment JD appeared in the very first chapter, it’s clear to the readers that this guy has something for Em.

It’s only then she realized that she loves JD and he loves her back when everything turned up against her. Freak.

And Chase. Okay, this is a spoiler so close your eyes and proceed to the next part. The only likeable character in the story and yet he is killed. Booo!! *throw tomatoes* I’d rather see both Em and JD covered in cement. Or that Gabby die in a plane crash. Anyone but Chase!

The plot is very predictable that it loses your reading interest. And the characters are tiresome.

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Review: Henshin by Ken Niimura

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Title: Henshin
Author: Ken Niimura
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: January 27th 2015
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 296 pages
Source: eARC from the Publisher via NetGalley

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I Kill Giants co-creator Ken Niimura (International Manga Award winner and Eisner nominee) brings a unique vision of life in Japan to the page in Henshin. The lives of a kid with peculiar superpowers, a lonely girl discovering herself in the big city, and a businessman on a long night out are some of the short stories included in this collection that will make you laugh, and even maybe shed a tear.

Explore Tokyo as you’ve never seen it before under Nimura’s masterful and imaginative storytelling, printed here for the first time in English.

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It’s weird and way too japanese. And I really loved Ken’s cat, it’s so adorable. Henshin means ‘transformation’ in japanese and is an anthology of 13 stories that portrays the everday life in modern Tokyo. Well, if you don’t know what manga really is or have zero familiarity at all. I suggest that you shouldn’t pick up this one. Why? The stories aren’t that bad, in fact I liked them. There are just lots of strange stuff to take in, that beginners may find it confusing and odd. Who knows that fart could be a powerful weapon? Or a typical guy who could suddenly turn out into a monster? Or is it the mysterious cat who likes to poop a lot? But if you really want to try this out, it’s okay. Just go on reading, it is confusing, I know but you’ll enjoy it eventually.

The stories are set in different genres, non-fiction and fiction. Some are dark, some are funny, and some are heartwarming but all keep in a lighter atmosphere. Ken Niimura’s artwork is also remarkable because the illustration is different from the usual manga art. It’s quite chaotic but impressive and cute. So, here’s a sneak peek:

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Behind the images and stories, Henshin vividly captures the real life in a modern society in an imaginative and sly way. My favorite story is the Victory Sign, it’s about the never ending friendship between Kieta and Kosuke. Though it is only a 20-page or so, the story still touches my heart. You can actually download a sample copy of it legally here. Just read the article and you’ll see the download button there. Par-tay and Shut Up are also my favorite. Lastly, Ken also inlcluded himself in the manga. It’s cool and something new to me. He shared his fascination for cats which is cute and funny, his life experiences, and his journey through the publication of this book that is very inspiring. Recommended.

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Review: First Kiss by J. Tomas

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Title: First Kiss
Author: J. Tomas
Publisher: JMS Books
Publication Date: August 29th 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: eBook, 11 pages
Source: Free Read via Smashwords

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Download it HERE!

Noah Lipinski has a fierce crush on Doug Hathaway, a hot jock on the high school football team whose locker is fifteen down from Noah’s in the hall. When Melissa Bradshaw, only the most popular girl in school, suddenly shows an interest in Noah, he suspects he’s being set up for a cruel joke. She asks him to Homecoming and he refuses to go.

After school, the doorbell rings and Noah’s sure she’s back to pester him about the dance. But when he opens the door, he finds Doug there instead, with an explanation and a much better offer than Melissa’s.

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I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Everyone seems to enjoy this but me. I may not in the right mood when I read it but this is not really as impressive as to my first J. Tomas read which is the My Online Secret Admirer. I came across this on Smashwords as a free read, downloaded it and finished it in just a few minutes because the story is short with only 10 pages. Rating a short story is hard but I think the reason why I’m giving this a low rating, is not because of its shortness. It is never will be an issue, I have read plenty of short stories online and also way back in high school for our both English and Filipino subject, and they’re all good.

Looking back, the problem here is,  I didn’t see any link to connect me to the characters or even to the plot. And had this poker face throughout finishing the story. I didn’t smile or whatever that emotion I am supposed to feel. And  the storyline is quite shallow, just two good boys in the closet who both shared their first kiss. *sigh* I need a chocolate right now.

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