Category Archives: NA or Adult

Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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Title: Vicious
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: September 24th 2013
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 340 pages

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A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability.

Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

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“I want to believe that there’s more. That we could be more. Hell, we could be heroes.”

Time really passes by quickly. I remember myself that day lying on my bed while cuddling with my pillow and eagerly holding my phone. Reading a book from an author unknown to me with no expectations at all. Without realizing that it’d be one of my favorite reads of all time. That it wouldn’t be my last read from her. Now, it’s been months since the last time I read something form her that only I realized after reading this, how much I missed Victoria Schwab’s writing. Her irresistible and addictive writing.

I really don’t how to make this review proper but let’s start things off by saying, Vicious suprised me. And I really had a hard time putting this book down that I had to stay up till 4 in the morning just to finish it. Every pages read leaving you craving for more.

Even the story takes us into different set of times. Last night. 10 years ago. A week ago. Two days ago. Last year. This morning. It might be a confusing way of telling a story but Schwab handled it very well. Because the excitement never breaks and it made the story unique and beautiful. And it amazes me how she managed to do it because it’s not every day you come across with that kind of writing style and it’s a tricky way to handle with. Because some books failed to do that.

Every one of the characters even the secondary ones is used well in the story. I mean, they’re not there just to become someone’s life background. Everyone has something to do with the development of the plot and it’s easy to make a connection with them.

I particularly liked the partnership of the three: Victor, Mitch, and Sydney. Despite their differences the group still fits perfectly together. And I liked it how they trust each other even if it means death.

Victor. I liked how he handles himself as the group’s leader that he really knows what he’s doing. And how he plans things out, is incredibly cool. Especially how he ends the story which have left me in awe. Because I didn’t really see it coming. And probably that’s one of the best conclusion I’ve ever seen. Mitch, despite his hulking appearance with tattoos all over his body. A good heart rests in him and Sydney is just adorable. She turns out to be this strong character with a great determination but the innocence is still visible.

Well I had zero sympathy with Eli. He reminds of Teren from The Young Elites and of Light from Death Note. He’s given his own pov so we get to see what’s going on in his mind. Eli thinks EOs are unnatural and affront to nature, and to god. And what ever reasons that crawl in his mind, I just don’t buy them. And calling himself as ‘god’s servant’ by eradicating all EOs. What? Don’t. You’re messed up, dude.

I thoroughly enjoyed it considering this is Schwab’s first adult book. And it’s interesting to associate NDE with creating EOs and the explanation is pretty simple not the brain-cell-burning way. Highly recommended!

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Review: Kian’s Hunter by R.J. Scott

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Title: Kian’s Hunter
Author: R.J. Scott
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Publication Date: March 19th 2014
Series or Standalone: Fire #1
Format: eBook, 2nd edition, 102 pages

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Please note, this book was originally a short story written in 2010. This version is inspired by that short story and is a complete re-write.

Kian has crossed over from his world to ours to seek revenge. His plan is to kill the monster who murdered his Uncle. The same monster who used magic to escape to our world and is hiding here and growing in strength.

Regan Campbell is a hunter of Demons. The first son, of a first son, he is the one who protects this world from the monsters that no one else knows are here. When Kian reaches this world, he knows Regan is the perfect man to fight alongside him, but Regan trusts no one. It isn’t until they are facing death and a terrible evil that will be let loose, that Regan finally realises he can trust another…his fated partner, Kian.

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This is a good story to start off the Fire Trilogy. The world bulding is pretty good and interesting with a parallel world concept, Fire magik, and demons. However, the two main characters, Kian and Regan, didn’t sit well with me. They are likeable MC’s but everytime Regan and Kian do something, they seem so distant to me that they are actually in there but I barely feel them. Eventhough the story is always about them still there’s no attachment made. And also, the story lacks chemistry. I did not see the spark when they become lovers, and their relationship looks forced.

The fighting scene against the Danio, which is supposed to be the strongest demon, is not handled well. They finished it off like a piece of cake. Though, I loved the magik fire idea, the demon hunting, and the bond thing. Those are interesting.

I think I’ll continue with the series. But I’m looking forward to the next installment that the MCs would be able to explore their world. Not just by Kian narrating it. Because there are some parts left vague in the plot and I want those to be cleared. And also I’m curious about who Darach really is.

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Review: This Charming Man by Ajax Bell

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Title: This Charming Man
Author: Ajax Bell
Publisher: Jugum Press
Publication Date: November 1st 2014
Series or Standalone: A Queen City Boys #1
Format: Paperback, 358 pages
Source: eCopy from the Publisher via NetGalley

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WILL SEATTLE MAKE A MAN OF HIM YET?

It’s 1991 and Steven Frazier has danced away half a decade in the Seattle club scene with his beautiful-but-poisonous best friend, Adrian. Two glittering princes against the world, too high above life to care about what they might be missing. But everything changes when a chance meeting with older—not to mention handsome— businessman John Pieters, reveals a cosmopolitan world and possible futures Steven’s never considered.

Flashy club clothes won’t impress John, this charming man who knows so much about many things. Motivated by fantasies inspired by his crush on John, can Steven finally fight Adrian’s sick hold? As he steps out into the larger world, supported by new friends, Steven must prove to John—and to himself—that he’s not a hedonistic rhinestone club kid, but a true diamond in the rough.

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I just can’t. Honestly, I already wanted to put this down at 15% and go on with another book. But since I requested this title on netgalley and the publisher approved it. I don’t wanna be rude by not finishing it and I can’t just review it as it is. Because I never rate and review DNFed books.

“Do you believe in love at first sight?”

“Why? Did you fall in love with John when you first saw him? Or did you wait until you heard him speak French?”

“What? No. Ridiculous. I’m wondering if he fell in love with me. At first sight.”

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Our hero, Steven Frazier is a 25-year-old college student who acts like a 9-year-old girl whenever his crush is around. His infatuation over John throughout the book is seriously killing me. This may seem harsh but it made me want to punch him right in his face just to make him stop. I can’t stand seeing this adult character does teenage stuff. Fantasizing John all day and night long and having this freaking huge crush problem which is I’m-just-me-and-he’s-perfect thing. Please, stop doing that. It’s not helping.

The slow burn romance is poorly handled. It is very unrealistic with the characters; John who is 44 and obviously old enough not to make the flirting and teasing long and of course, Steven who loves to hook up even with his friends. That it takes 259 pages, that’s 81%, for them to confess their feelings and share their first kisses. Urgh.

Everything is almost voice out, with them always talking that no one will seem to care about. Especially if there’s no development to the conversation. And the other characters giving Steven the same advice all over again. That’s tiresome, actually.

Lastly, it bothers me that being high or hooking up with your friends in the story delivered in a manner that it is okay and acceptable. I’m badly waiting for their realization that the things they did in the past were mistakes. But the story ends with them just laughing it off. What? No, I can’t accept that.

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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: Sophronia L. by Tim Bridwell

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Title: Sophronia L.
Author: Tim Bridwell
Publisher: Folded Word
Publication Date: December 1st 2014
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 372 pages
Source: Physical Copy from the Publisher via Goodreads

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Sophronia Lambert, a schoolteacher on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, lives a quiet life; that is until Nantucket whaling captain James Folger comes ashore. Realizing he is the man who killed her deaf brother, she decides to pursue vengeance – first at home, then at sea-sailing to the far side of the world as his bride. As she grapples with madness and morality, Sophronia’s quest mirrors that of her island community: to find a way forward amidst the pressures of a brutal industry, a nation mired in Civil War, and a past darker than the ocean’s abyss.

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Okay. I really really loved this book. Tim Bridwell’s debut novel is fantastic. I never thought that I’m going to enjoy the hell out of this book. Because historical is not really my cup of tea, yet Tim managed to keep me interested with his captivating and beautiful writing.

It’s poetic. It’s dark. It’s gothic. It’s eerie. It’s thrilling. And very imaginative. With a sly humor and a hint of romance thrown out in the story. Though the scenes between Sophronia and Absalom were limited (yes, I’m one of those readers who crave more of them), the moments between them were heartfelt. The chessy stuff was carried well throughout the story. And from the beginning, I thought that there was going to be a love triangle. And I’m really glad it didn’t happen at all. Because Capt. Folger was your mad guy.

And if you’re asking me if there was a HEA, yes buddy, there was. But still you have to brace yourself for the death of some characters. It was painful. Or was it just me who felt too much for the characters? Never mind. The conclusion was satisfying with a glimpse of the future.

Tim Bridwell didn’t just take us to the history of Martha’s Vineyard and the old whaling industry but also explores the heart of human nature. It was an awesome read with this awesome book. Highly recommended!

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Review: Blind Faith by N.R. Walker

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Title: Blind Faith
Author: N.R. Walker
Publisher: N.R. Walker
Publication Date: February 28th 2013 (first published January 26th 2013)
Series or Standalone: Blind Faith #1
Format: Ebook, Second Edition, 144 pages

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This is a re-release edition

Starting a new job in a new town, veterinarian Carter Reece, makes a house call to a very special client. Arrogant, moody and totally gorgeous, Isaac Brannigan has been blind since he was eight. After the death of his guide dog and best friend, Rosie, his partnership with his new guide dog, Brady, isn’t going well. Carter tries to help both man and canine through this initiation phase, but just who is leading who?

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It was a fun and cute read. A fairy tale-like story with a happily ever after conclusion. Every characters, major or minor, was likeable. No antagonist. Even Mark, the badass friend of Carter, was interesting and funny sometimes. I did also appreciate the man and dog relationship shown in here. It was beautiful. And the dogs were so cute and adorable. I loved the overflowing cheessiness in here that really made me smile throughout the story. And the ending was satisfying. I’ll definitely continue with this series.

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Review: The Bells of Times Square by Amy Lane

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Title: The Bells of Times Square
Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Publication Date: December 15th 2014
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Ebook, 326 pages
Source: eARC from the Publisher via NetGalley

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Every New Year’s Eve since 1946, Nate Meyer has ventured alone to Times Square to listen for the ghostly church bells he and his long-lost wartime lover vowed to hear together. This year, however, his grandson Blaine is pushing Nate through the Manhattan streets, revealing his secrets to his silent, stroke-stricken grandfather.

When Blaine introduces his boyfriend to his beloved grandfather, he has no idea that Nate holds a similar secret. As they endure the chilly death of the old year, Nate is drawn back in memory to a much earlier time . . . and to Walter.

Long before, in a peace carefully crafted in the heart of wartime tumult, Nate and Walter forged a loving home in the midst of violence and chaos. But nothing in war is permanent, and now all Nate has is memories of a man his family never knew existed. And a hope that he’ll finally hear the church bells that will unite everybody— including the lovers who hid the best and most sacred parts of their hearts.

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Walter was his, and no one could take that away.

Do you know Katy Perry’s Thinking of You song? It’s one of the few songs I fall in love with. Listening to it everyday. Devouring each lines. Such a beaufiful piece. Well, I’m not here to talk about the song, but that reminds me of this book. Especially, Nate’s life after the war. This was a beautiful piece like the song. So emotional and so inspiring. And heartwarming. Loved this story! By the way, this was my first Amy Lane book and this wouldn’t be the last.

But truth be told, I had a hard time liking the story at first. Because I felt disengaged with the characters. They seemed so distant and I couldn’t find a way to feel them. Like, Walter was doing this and that dramatic stuff, crying and shouting and I was in my room reading that part, emotionless. So I almost decided to DNF it. But, thanks God, as I gave it another try, everything started to click. From the characters, to the plot, to the tension. Everything started to be very good. And I found myself unable to put this down. And asked myself why the hell I even tried to stop reading this book? this heartbreaking beautiful book??

For you, Nate and Walter, why gave me such heartache?? But thanks Amy for the HEA. Don’t really know what to do without that.

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Review: Myth and Magic: Queer Fairy Tales by Radclyffe and Stacia Seaman

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Title: Myth and Magic: Queer Fairy Tales
Editor: Radclyffe and Stacia Seaman
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Publication Date: December 16th 2014
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 264 pages
Source: eARC from the Publisher via NetGalley

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Myth, magic, and monsters—the.stuff of childhood dreams (or nightmares) and adult fantasies. Delve into these classic fairy tales retold with a queer twist and surrender to the world of seductive spells and dark temptations.

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Few things about this book.

1. It is obviously a collection of retold classic fairy tales with a queer twist.

2. Yes buddy, You heard me right! With a queer twist. So don’t expect to see Sleeping Beauty waiting for handsome Prince Charming to rescue.

3. Mature scenes are visible in some stories. Yeah, there’s a lot. So if you’re a kiddo thinking that this is your fairy tale,  I’m commanding you right now to close your eyes and go back to your home and watch some disney cartoons instead.

Okay. This compilation is good. I mean, it gives us a lot of different variety of a short story in just a single book. Some stories were serious. Some were funny. Some were sad. Some were dark. And some were erotica. But not all the stories here were okay. Few were seriously dull. And boring. I had quite high expection with this book because the premise was really interesting. But I didn’t get the similarity of some retold stories to the original one. It somehow felt forced. Because the mature scenes became more prominent than the story itself. But some had really good and interesting version. So here’s my favorite:

1. Red by Andi Marquette (5 stars)
– I really really loved this version. The likeness to the original story was still there but with more exciting plot. The characters were lesbians, yet reading it wasn’t awkward. And I’d love to read more from this author.

2. The Vain Prince by Andrew J. Peters (4 stars)
– I liked the dark part of the story but the ending was a meh.

3. The Snow King by Rhidian Brenig Jones (3.5 stars)
– Everything was beautiful except the freaking seed part.

But I really liked this anthology and you would also like this too.

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Review: C.O.W.L. Volume 1: Principles of Power by Kyle Higgins

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Title: C.O.W.L. Volume 1:
Principles of Power
Author: Kyle Higgins , Alec Siegel; Rod Reis (Illustrator)
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: November 11th 2014
Series or Standalone: C.O.W.L. #1
Format: Paperback, 128 pages
Source: eCopy from the Publisher via NetGalley
My Rating: 4/5

BLURB:

Welcome to the “Chicago Organized Workers League”- the world’s first Super-Hero Labor Union! While C.O.W.L. once stood as a beacon of hope against an epidemic of organized crime and an unbeatable “brotherhood” of Super-Villains, the union now faces its fiercest foe yet- a disillusioned public. In targeting the last of the great villains, C.O.W.L. attempts to prove its value to the world and to each other, while staving off villainy from both outside and inside its offices.

REVIEW:

Well I’m giving this 4 stars mostly because of the art. I don’t know how art stuff works but what I know is, the illustration is freaking incredible. It really is beautiful, Rod Reis’s art makes every scenes realistic and it keeps you attach to the story.

And to the story itself, the characters in here are your typical super heroes but they are still interesting. I’m just hoping to see more development in them in the next installment (and to see more of Grant and Eclipse). And it is also good that the story didn’t only focus to the never ending fighting scenes  but paves way to the feelings of each characters. Because we are able to see the different sides of a hero. Not just their powers. Yeah, there’s a bit drama but a good one. The twist is also good and shocking at the same time.

I believe the story will get better in the next installments and I’ll probably continue with this series. Recommend!

Review: Polar Nights by T.T. Kove

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Title: Polar Nights
Author: T.T. Kove
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: July 13th 2012
Series or Standalone: Arctic Love #1
Format: Ebook,
Source: eCopy from the Publisher via NetGalley

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Andreas has been in love with
Christian for as long as he can
remember, but he’s also always
known it would remain one-sided. When he travels to Svalbard to take the last years of his Masters, spending time with Christian again brings back those feelings and makes life more than a little awkward.

The very last thing Christian needs is to have a very grown, very stunning Andreas living with him for a few weeks. Even the awkwardness between them is not enough to stop his attraction. Neither is the fact that Andreas is his sister’s stepson.

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This is actually a good story but not that enough to catch few reader’s attention. There were quite a lot of characters thrown out in here for a short story. But T.T. Kove still managed to give them short appearances. But the problem was, I coudn’t decide where to place my focus. Maybe the minor characters needed more of those appearances and since this is in a series, I’m hoping to see more of them in the next installment.

I liked the awkward moments between Andreas and Christian. They didn’t know what to do with each other’s company. And Andreas being tongue tied every time he talked to him. I thought it was cute. Though they were too old to do those kind of teen stuff. And I took notice the redundancy of describing the place. Yeah, I got the point that Svalbard is such a beautiful place, but stating it all over again was tiring. All in all, this still a good story to read.

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