Tag Archives: book review

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: 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: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

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Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 7th 2013
Series or Standalone: The 5th Wave #1
Format: Hardcover, 457 pages

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After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

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DNF at 37%

*sigh*

My first DNF of 2015. It hurt and I hated myself for abandoning this book again. The first attempt was a failure and I didn’t get the hype at all and was in the first place the reason why I read it. I guessed it was me the problem and not the book and maybe I wasn’t in the right mood by that time. And now, trying my second luck, hoping things will work out better. Everthing got worst.

Okay. I didn’t really dislike it that much. In fact, I was already hooked up by the first and second time around reading the first chapter. Who doesn’t like a witty heroine? A relatable and an adorable one? I liked everything about her, especially  seeing through her eyes. And if there’s going to be a list of people to survive that freaking alien invasion, she deserves to be there. But the Cassie I adored, the girl who believes in trust-no-one rule and the i-am-the-battlefield thing, suddenly changes when a hot guy saved her. And here comes the downfall of the story.

The love interest is flat and Evan, the dude who saved her, resembles something from Stephenie Meyer’s book The Host (I haven’t read the book but watched the movie only with my sister. And everytime I closed my eyes the girl always kissing someone) . If it wasn’t for the freaking romance part, things could have been better. It totally failed in that part.

But what really made me decide to put it down again was Cassie, actually.

Hey Cassie, just in case you’re still alive right now and reading this and probably flirting with Evan. I just want to let you know I am completely dissapointed with you. Remember the days you talk about the humanity? about the survival and stuff? the way you see things? That it’s so deep I can’t even believe you’re only sixteen and I adored you for that. But now you’re acting like a damsel in distress and endlessly talk about how cute Evan’s eyes are, like puppy’s. How strong his arms are. Or how well built his butts are. Tell me. Do you think we even care? Do YOU think WE even care? I know you’re still young and still have some crush issues but you can’t just do that. Especially in the midst of an alien invasion. How about your freaking-everyone-could-be-an-enemy instinct? You even barely know him. *sigh* Please, save Sammy for us.Thanks.

Since I already DNFed this, I wouldn’t know what the actual 5th Wave is. The first 4 Waves are badass. But after reading the other’s review with some spoilers. It seems that the actual 5th Wave is actually flawed. It’s dissapointing because I was expecting to see a big twist or something.

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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: 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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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: Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austin

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Title: Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice
Author: Jane Austin; Stacy King; Po Tse (Illustrator)
Publisher: UDON Entertainment & Morpheus Publishing
Publication Date: August 19th 2014
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 377 pages
Source: eCopy from the Publisher via NetGalley

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Beloved by millions the world over, Pride & Prejudice is delightfully transformed in this bold, new manga adaptation. All of the joy, heartache, and romance of Jane Austen’s original, perfectly illuminated by the sumptuous art of manga-ka Po Tse, and faithfully adapted by Stacy E. King.

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Classic is not really my cup of tea. I always avoid it, in fact. I remember my first classic way back in high school. I had to read it for school, of course. It was a good read but not an enjoyable one. But having able to experience classic in another clever way is fantastic. I got to see their manga adaptation of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne first, which is really incredible with that stunning artwork.

This is also a great adaptation but the repetition of the words “Pride” and “Prejudice” throughout the story ruins the dialogues especially in the ending. The artwork Po Tse provided in this manga is totally gorgeous. I liked how he portrayed each characters and how he turned them into cute chibi version especially Mrs. Bennet character. It made the reading more enjoyable and humorous. But the roses that sometimes surround the character quite bother me. I mean, girls will surely appreciate and love that but a typical guy, I think it’s a no.

Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable and fantastic read.

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Review: ABNKKBSNPLAKo?! (Mga Kwentong Chalk ni Bob Ong) by Bob Ong

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Title: ABNKKBSNPLAKo?! (Mga Kwentong Chalk ni Bob Ong)
Author: Bob Ong
Publisher: Visprint
Publication Date: February 2001
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 181 pages

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Bakit namamalo si Miss Uyehara?
May mga notebook bang lumilipad?
Bakit masakit sa ulo ang Mafhemafics?
Ano ang sikreto sa pagkakaibigan nila Pepe at Tagpi?
Bakit may mga taong nakapikit sa litrato?
Masarap ba ang Africhado?
Sino si Tigang?
Bakit may mga classroom na kulang ang upuan?
Masama bang mag-isip nang malalim habang naglalakad?
Saan ang Ganges River sa Pilipinas?
Bakit may mga umaakyat ng overpass pero hindi tumatawid?
Sino ang webmaster ng bobongpinoy sa Internet?

No calculators.
No dictionaries.
No erasures.
No cheating.
Oops, time’s up!

Pass your papers.

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ABNKKBSNPLAKo?! (Mga Kwentong Chalk ni Bob Ong) is one of the most popular filipino book ever written. If you’re a filipino and haven’t heard about this. Gods, where have you been??

Matutuwa ka sa libro na ‘to kasi lahat ng nagawa mong kalokohan noong elementary at high school maaalala mo rito:

1. Yung terror teacher mo na kapag tinawag ka eh kulang nalang maihi ka sa upuan mo.
2. Si crush mong famous.
3. Si best friend na crush din yung crush mo.
4. Yung tropa mong hindi ka iiwan.
5. Mga kaklase mong nagbigay kulay sa buhay estudyante mo.
6. Si Ma’am na cool.
7. Yung kakopyahan mo tuwing may test.
8. Si mokong umasar at inasar mo din.
9. Yung pesteng haircut policy na hindi ka tuloy maka-porma.
10. Yung late ka tuwing cleaner ka.
11. Yung teacher mong kwela.
12. Yung upuan at silya mong mala-World War II.
13. Si crush ulet.
14. Yung mga nasa Top 15 na hindi naman deserving! Anyone?
15. Yung canteen niyong nagiging mala-sardinas tuwing recess.
16. Yung pogi/maganda mong ST (student teacher).
17. Tuwing report na mukha kang tanga.
18. Si teacher na grabe magpakopya ng notes eh kulang na lang punuin na yung blackboard ng manila paper.
19. etc. etc.

Lahat yun maaalala mo kapag binasa mo yung libro. At syempre maiiyak ka kapag tapos mo na basahin yung libro. Kasi sobrang nakakamiss pala maging estudyante sa kabila ng mga bagsak na test.

Isa itong librong ginawa para sa mga estudyante at mga dating estudayante na magpapaala-ala sa atin kung gaano tayo kaloko noon. XD

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Review: Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Title: Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne; Stacy King; Crystal Chan; SunNeko Lee (Illustrator)
Publisher: UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing
Publication Date: March 10th 2015
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: Paperback, 308 pages
Source: eARC from the Publisher via NetGalley

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A powerful tale of forbidden love, shame, and revenge comes to life in Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter. Faithfully adapted by Crystal Chan from the original novel, this new edition features stunning artwork by SunNeko Lee (Manga Classics: Les Miserables) which will give old and new readers alike a fresh insight into the Nathaniel Hawthorne’s
tragic saga of Puritan America.

Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions.

Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing.

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This classic to manga adaptation is incredible. It is a brilliant way of making classic literature more appealing to the younger generation who’s not really that fond of reading classics and hesitant readers alike, like me, who usually avoid it.

I haven’t read the original novel so I can’t do comparison between the two. But I’ll just look into how effective this manga is. First off, SunNeko Lee’s artwork is with no doubt very stunning and captivating. She made the characters and the backgrounds alive and vivid that will keep you engage with the story. And finish it in one sitting down. Also, Stacy King used the modern text in the dialogues instead of the original one. Which is very okay to those people who struggle with vocabulary. Well this is really an enjoyable read. Highly recommended!

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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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