Category Archives: Mystery

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: 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: 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: GingerDead Man by Logan Zachary

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Title: GingerDead Man
Author: Logan Zachary
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Publication Date: January 20th 2015
Series or Standalone: The Paavo Wolfe Mysteries #2
Format: eBook, 159 pages
Source: eARC from the Publisher via NetGalley

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Paavo Wolfe sells horror, but he isn’t prepared for what he finds in the baker’s oven. A body burns at his feet, and his ex, Detective Joe DeCarlo, is on the case. Joe is getting unwanted help investigating the crime from Paavo and his best friend, Stacey. While Paavo and Joe’s relationship is getting better, going uncover in the bathhouse isn’t going to help Paavo mend their issues.

A steam room stranger, the new bakery owner, and his landlord reveal grudges against the dead baker. Lured back to the sauna, the heat is turned up as Paavo embarks on a dangerous relationship. When the homeless shelter blows up, Paavo knows he’s in trouble and has to keep Stacey and Joe out of the line of fire. Can Paavo find the killer before everything goes up in smoke?

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Everything is good. I liked all the characters. They are interesting and funny sometimes. And they kept the story okay. Plus the fact that there are just so many gay guys in here. I’ve counted seven, I think.

The story starts with a hideous crime scene. And I didn’t like how it is executed. First thing in the list, some characters are obviously made look suspicious and guilty. I don’t know if that’s on purpose but it ruins the effectiveness of making this a crime story. Because you should let the readers think and guess. Especially if that certain character has nothing to do at all in the entire story. I’m talking about James McKenzie, his mysterious appearances are pointless. I just don’t get it. He looks very intriguing and seems to have something to do big on the plot. He’ll be seen sneaking up somewhere and eventually going to disappear, and occasionally the subject in someone’s coversation, that he is missing, which made him more suspicious. But the story ends giving him NO significance at ALL.

And the most annoying part is when Paavo Wolfe investigating the crime and comes up with an idea or realization. He’ll act like it is very unexpected. As if the readers didn’t know that from the very beginning. Because it’s freaking obvious.

There’s also this redundancy in the writing. Like after the murder, different people ask Paavo what really happened. But his explanation doesn’t need to be narrated in the story again and again.

The conclusion is quite cliche but because of Joe’s sweetness and the other characters’s awesomeness plus the cute dog, the story is still recommended.

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Review: Stones of Power by Azumi Isora

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Title: Stones of Power
Author: Azumi Isora
Publisher: Gen Manga Entertainment
Publication Date: December 30th 2014
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 168 pages
Source: eARC from the Publisher via NetGalley

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Cafe Renard seems to be your run-of-the-mill establishment, but it is more than meets the eye. When strangers stumble upon the hidden secret within an average business front, they find a mysterious woman selling stones with magical properties. Before they know it they are transported on strange adventures of science fiction and fantasy.

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It is tough giving this manga a one star. And I really tried hard to devour everything the author has offered in this story. But that everything fails to keep my interest. The endless fish and the magic stone talking are tiresome in some way. I mean it is good that Isora includes facts about those expensive fishes and those power stones. But it overshadows the other elements of the story, like the characters. She digs out to much information about fishes and stones and almost forgets that there are actually people in the story to fill in. Which leads all the character to voice out every bit of informations about them to the readers. So it is like watching a commercial on tv, endorsing their product to the audience with a boring script. So I felt disengaged with all the characters. And only know one thing about them: they like fish. Gahh, fish again.

And after all that fishy thing talking, here comes a big big ball from only god knows where that holds a powerful monster or a snake something. And follows many things that no one seems to care about. And for the artwork, it’s drawn like your typical manga. So no emphasizing on that part.

I’m not really sure if I’m going to recommend this manga. Maybe no. And before I end this review let me tell you something, this thing really bugs me from the very start, it’s the Cafe Renan.This may be a petty observation but I haven’t seen any other customers in the cafe nor the siblings serving coffee to anyone in the entire manga. But I’ve seen them selling stones but never a single cup of coffee. Nor doing any coffee related stuff. See? I told you it’s not really important.

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Review: Kapitan Sino by Bob Ong

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Title: Kapitan Sino
Author: Bob Ong
Publisher: Visprint
Publication Date: May 2009
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 166 pages

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THERE IS SOMETHING STRANGE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

Naunahan na naman ang mga pulis sa pagtugis sa mga holdaper ng isang jewelry shop. Bago noon, may iba na ring nakahuli sa isang carnaper; sumaklolo sa mga taong nasa itaas ng nasusunog na building; nagligtas sa sanggol na hinostage ng ama; tumulong para makatawid sa kalsada ang isnag matanda; tumiklo sa mga miyembro ng Akyat Bahay; sumagip sa mga mag-anak na tinagay ng tubig-baha; naglanding ng maayos sa isang Boeing 747 na nasiraan ng engine; at nagpasabog sa isang higanteng robot. Pero sino ang taong ‘yon? Maliligtas nya ba sila Aling Baby? At ano nga ba talaga ang sabon ng mga artista?

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Matagal ko nang nabasa yung libro pero ngayon ko pa lang gagawan ng review XD

Ang kwento ay umiikot kay Rogelio Manglicmot na sa kalaunan ay nalaman niya at ng kanyang kaibigan na si Bok-bok na may kakaiba siyang kapangyarihan.

Nang matutunan na ni Rogelio na kontrolin ang kanyang kapangyarihan at napagdesisyunan niyang maging isang Hero sa pangalan na ‘Kapitan Sino’. At nang malaman ni Rogelio na isang halimaw ang anak ng mayor ay tinalo niya ito. Pero halos nawalan na siya ni lakas ng loob ng mabuhay pa nang mamatay ang kanyang kasintahang si Tessa na siyang huling biktima ng halimaw.

Hanggang sa isang araw lumaganap amg isang epidemya at lahat ng mamamayan ay despiradong makahanap ng lunas. Napag-alaman ng kinauukulan na ang dugo ni Rogelio ay maaaring maging lunas.

Nagtapos ang kwento ng may makasalubong siyang isang amang may dala dalang batang may sakit at sinaksak nito si Rogelio nang malamang ang dugo nito ay ang lunas.

OKAY. Maikli lang yung libro gaya ng ibang akda ni Bob Ong. Isa ako sa mga tagahanga ni Bob Ong, at isa to sa mga kwentong muntik nang magpaiyak sa akin. Pero medyo naboring ako sa pagbabasa kasi medyo common na yung plot. Pero gaya ng ibang akda, pinapakita dito ang buhay buhay nating mga pilipino. Inilalarawan ng libro kung papaano madaling makalimot ang mga pilipino sa mga nagawa ng mga bayani sa ating bansa. Na sa kabila ng ginawa nilang mga kabutihan sa ating bayan, hindi nabibigyan ng halaga.

Yun lang.

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Review: Le Portrait de Petite Cossette by Asuka Katsura

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Title: Le Portrait de Petite Cossette
Author: Asuka Katsura
Publisher: TokyoPop
Publication Date: July 3rd 2006
Series or Standalone: Le Portrait de Petite Cossette #1
Format: Paperback, 194 pages

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Based on the popular anime!

Eiri works part-time at an antique shop, where he becomes obsessed with Cossette, a girl whose portrait is on sale in the store. But Cossette has a tragic story: People who own the painting have all been murdered in bizarre ways. When Cossette’s spirit appears in front of Eiri, she asks him to save her…Filled with timeless themes of love and redemption, this tragic Gothic romance is an unforgettable journey into the heart of a tortured soul.

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The story was about a guy named Eiri who was haunted by Cossette who insisted a help coming from him.

Okay. The book was so creepy in a good way. I like the killings in every chapter, the mystery of Cossette, the way Eiri helped the girl, and also the graphic was really excellent.

The manga has only two volumes, its very short. Based on the popular anime. This one is worth a shot.

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Review: VS Alien by Yu Suzuki

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Title: VS Alien
Author: Yu Suzuki
Publisher: Gen Manga Entertainment
Publication Date: April 10th 2012
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback,174 pages
Source: eCopy from the Publisher via NetGalley

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Kitaro must unravel a mystery between the two cutest girls in school. One claims the other is an alien! Is Sana Sakuma really a secret visitor from outer space or is this some elaborate prank? The mystery spirals in and out, back and forth, keeping you guessing unti the very end. Do you want to believe?

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There’s no doubt that this is one of the cutest manga I have read. This is the kind of book you should pick up whenever you’re in bad mood or just annoyed by the book you’ve recently read. It was a funny and light read. That will surely give smile to your face and brighten your day.

Everything about the story would keep you turn the pages and the art was fabulous. It added to the cuteness of the manga and gave more life to the characters. So I had no problem with discerning this certain character from the others. But the only con with this one was the ending. Yes, It was like a fantasy book with a protagonist fighting demons or monsters but it would end up with the character waking and realizing that everything was just a nightmare. Of course the character here wasn’t dreaming or whatever but close to the said idea. And also the realization was thrown out easily not giving the readers the chance to guess or think.

But I was serious earlier about this manga uplifting your mood. So still recommended.

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Review: The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

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Title: The Unbound
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Publication Date: January 28th 2014
Series or Standalone: The Archived #2
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages

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Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she’s struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn’t easy — not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to
creep into her waking hours, she
starts to wonder if she’s really safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing
without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She’s sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she’ll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

With stunning prose and a captivating mixture of action,
romance, and horror, The Unbound delves into a richly imagined world where no choice is easy and love and loss feel like two sides of the same coin.

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***This review contains some spoilers.

“For an instant, he stares at me,  blue eyes wide. And then the light goes out of Owen’s face”

He kept his word. He believed in something, however misguided.

Argh. I’ve never felt this sorry for an antagonist before. It just breaks my heart. Yeah. I know the fact that Mac has been through a lot because of Owen. But I dont know what the hell i am feeling right now.

But dont get me wrong. I liked the character of Mac. A girl who knew to kick history’s butts back to the Returns. I was overwhelmed by the character.

Anyway, the turn of the events is fantastic. Its thrilling. Its never boring. I mean, I thought the whole story would be all about Mac endlessly hunting histories and sending their asses back to the Returns. But the story got more exciting when Mac came back to school. With new cool characters.

The twists are very shocking. The Unbound is great book for everyone who loves YA and Paranaormal and Mystery.

Im very glad I’ve read this novel. Cant wait for the next one.

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