Category Archives: 4 stars

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: 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: Henni by Miss Lasko-Gross

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Title: Henni
Author: Miss Lasko-Gross
Publisher: Z2 Comics
Publication Date: January 20th 2015
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 168 pages
Source: eARC from the Publisher via NetGalley

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In a fantastical world where old traditions and religion dominate every aspect of life, lives a girl named Henni. Unlike most in her village, Henni questions and wonders what the world is like as she comes of age. Striking out on her own, Henni goes out in search of truth, adventure, and more!

Written and drawn by Miss Lasko-Gross (A Mess of Everything and Escape From Special), Henni is a commentary on religion, coming of age and being yourself.

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A cat-like girl named Henni lives in a society where a false religion and old tradition dominate everyone. With Henni’s curiosity, as she grows up, she tends to question everything around her whether if it is right or wrong. And aparrently finds herself looking for answers.

I easily find myself liking Henni, for she is a very bold and witty character who didn’t let her surrounding controls her life. And has a great determination in seeking the truth. The Disruptor is also a lovable character who owns a true heart of an artist. Because he never stops doing what he loves despite the fact that both of his eyes are removed and the city that continuously ruins all his works.

Miss Lasko-Gross addresses many issues in this story: the old traditions, religion, gender inequality, and the caste system-like society. Where Miss still able to carry out the issues cleverly till the end of the story. A simple story yet holds a strong message.

Henni ends in an abrupt way but I’d love to see if there’s going to be a next installation. The story obviously targets the younger audiences but teenagers alike will also find this good. 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: 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: In Plain Sight by Josh Lanyon

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Title: In Plain Sight
Author: Josh Lanyon
Publisher: JustJoshin
Publication Date: August 22nd 2013
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Ebook, 37 pages

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Nash didn’t believe in love until it was too late. Now he’s looking for reasons, for answers, for meaning. Sometimes the truth is right in front of you the whole time.

Previously released in print edition of short stories collection, In Sunshine Or in Shadow.

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A short and simple love story that moves my heart. It’s not typical for me reading books with middle-aged protagonists. But this really is a good book.

Same with the other mm story, In Plain Sight also shows how being gay affects the entire life of a person and those people who surround him. How it affects your carrer. How people think of you. How they treat you. Almost everything. And that’s what makes me feel so sad. That every time I read mm books, there’s always this kind of negative atmosphere that being gay is such a big deal like an atomic bomb soon to explode.

Anyway, I like the story between Nash and Glen. It was overwhelming. I wish it was not that short because their chemistry was heartwarming. I just want more of them.

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Review: My Online Secret Admirer by J. Tomas

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Title: My Online Secret Admirer
Author: J. Tomas
Publisher: JMS Books
Publication Date: Febuary 19th 2012
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: EBook, 46 pages

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While bored in his Computers class one day, junior Mike Halston stumbles upon another student’s anonymous blog and is surprised to find himself listed as the sexiest guy in their class. So what, someone has a crush on him?

Who could it be? Enlisting the help of his best friend Talley and his best girl friend Marie, Mike tries to figure out the identity of the mysterious blogger Unfortunately he suspects it may be a female student, since only his friends know he’s gay. Then a second blog entry makes him realize the blogger is someone close to him. Could it really be Marie? Or does Talley know more than he’s letting on?

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I’m overwhelmed by the cuteness of the story. This was fun and easy to read. And the characters were not that hard to like. They were all fantastic and adorable. But I just wish this was longer, though this was still a very cute and funny short story. Surely recommend!

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Review: Love is in the Message by R.J. Scott

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Title: Love is in the Message
Author: R.J. Scott
Publisher: Love Lane Books Publication Date: April 2012
Series or Standalone: Love #3 Format: Ebook,

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The hallways are a scary place for a new relationship — with Eddie and the J’s targeting Luke every way they can.

It doesn’t help one little bit when Ryan Kitchener, the boy who attacked Luke when he was younger, pays a visit to Luke’s house. He leaves a message that could change the growing love between Cameron and Luke for ever.

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When his dad left he had promised her he would be her strength- he’d only been eight but he knew then he would never want to do anything to hurt her.

I imagined a small Luke telling this to his mom when their world seemed to fall apart. It was heartfelt and heartwarming. Seeing an innocent eight year old boy trying to be a brave man in a cruel world. It really did touch me. Apparently, this is the final book in the Love Series and probably the best among the first two. Because the minor characters were also given enough attention. It showed how supportive and great Luke’s mom was. And also showing the possibility of Mitchell being with Luke’s sister. I’m very pleased how Cameron turned out to be in this last series. Because he suddenly became this kind of super sweet and very caring boyfriend. And started cracking jokes to Luke which was so cute. Like he treated Luke as his air and he couldn’t live without him. Oh god. And I also admired how humble Luke was, to forgive Ryan- the man who almost killed him. That was great. But I was not really satisfied with the conclusion. Because the story swiftly ended. I was so surprised seeing the words ‘The End’ so soon. I want more of Luke and Cam. I crave for them! Wish there would be another sequel.

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