[703]: The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

Good versus evil and star-crossed romance: the perfect recipe for a good YA fantasy.


The Edge of Everything
by Jeff Giles

I haven’t read too many YA novels lately. But when I started seeing reviews for this Jeff Giles offering, I was instantly curious. It had allusions to fallen angels, grim reapers, and demons. But when most mentioned about a forbidden romance between a human and a godly creature, I was sunk.

Zoe’s year hasn’t been the best, to be honest. After the sudden disappearance of her father, she’s left trying to keep her family somewhat in a normal state. With her brother’s bouts of anxiety brought on by the knowledge that their father’s body could still be in the cave where he last went, things at home are a little precarious. When she lost him in a snowstorm, frostbite wouldn’t be the only thing that could put both their lives in danger. They found themselves at the mercy of a deranged criminal. Just when she’s about to lose hope, a vision in fire and light came to their rescue.

Their rescuer came in the form of X; a boy who looked to be in bad shape himself. His assignment was to retrieve the soul of one Stan Manggold, a hardened criminal who rightfully belonged in the Lowlands. Lowlands, for lack of a better word, is what you would call as hell. X is one of the bounty hunters who has lived in the Lowlands for eternity, it seems. There is no way out for the likes of him. But a deal with one of the generals could give X a chance to escape and live the rest of his life on Earth. It will not be easy, though, as his freedom come at a cost.

This book is gripping. I didn’t think I would enjoy yet another YA supernatural fantasy, but here I am. Honestly, if I hadn’t been distracted by so many books on my shelves, I could just as easily finished reading this in one sitting. As I mentioned, I’m a huge fan of star-crossed romances. It just so happens that X and Zoe were in one. The only downside to this is the speed with which they fell for each other. I feel like there wasn’t much chance of getting to know X. But I get it. Since X didn’t know much about himself either, I can forgive the underdevelopment of his character.

Zoe, on the other hand, is a girl whose life upended when her dad died. Granted that their dad wasn’t a “conventional parent” by any standards, they still had a camaraderie like that of any father and daughter relationship. He was presumed dead, but they never retrieve his body in the cave. Their mom is present in their lives, sure but she’s also distracted by trying to raise her kids. Mostly, she tried her best to keep what’s left of her family together.

I enjoyed this book. It had funny moments, surreal moments, and instances where I choked up a little. I especially enjoyed Zoe relationships with her close friends and her brother. She took care of him the only way she knew how. I could’ve sworn Jeff Giles is an experienced author. I didn’t realize this was only his second book. The Edge of Everything is exactly the YA paranormal fantasy that teens and adults alike would enjoy. The contemporary elements balance out the supernatural that makes reading it such a breeze.

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[702]: Guarding Mr. Fine by HelenKay Dimon

Funny, sexy, and a whip-smart follow up to an already enjoyable series.


Guarding Mr. Fine
by HelenKay Dimon

This series gets better and better with each installment, you guys. I’ve been loving everything that HelenKay has been giving us! I was especially looking forward to reading Seth’s story because he was hilarious in the previous books. I knew that there’s more to him other than the smart ass CIA agent we’ve come to know and he didn’t disappoint.

In here, he’s tasked to guard the newly appointed US consul general in Munich. However, he knows that it’s a cover for something else because no one knows anything about the guy. He seems to have come from out of nowhere. There’s something mysterious about his background and the real reason why someone inexperienced like him got the job. Not only does Seth knew next to thing about this guy but he’ll figure out soon enough that Rick Fine knew him in more ways than one.

One of the things that I look forward to when I read a romance novel is the serendipitous meeting of the main characters. Admittedly, their meet-cute wasn’t so cute. They went from 0-60 in a blink of an eye. It was kind of hot! They met at a bar and hit it off so well that they ended up having a tryst in the shaded part of the club. They thought it was a one-off thing, a one-night stand without sleeping together. But they had another thing coming since Ric knew a bit more about Seth than Seth knows about Rick. Their history is for you to find out, readers.

Rick Fine was sent to investigate the apparent suicide of the former consulate general. But the investigation is only a front for why he was there. As usual, there’s never a dull moment in this installment. Aside from the sleuthing that the boys were involved in, the romance will also have you engrossed. There’s a battle of egos and dominance between the two that heightens their chemistry to a fever pitch. What else could I ask for, right? Seth is a man-of-the-world kind of guy. He doesn’t have a commitment phobia per se, but he’s smart enough to know that a relationship between two CIA agents is not realistic nor it is advisable. So yeah, he’ll do what he can to sabotage his feelings towards Rick. There’s also that history thing that I mentioned above. Whatever it is, Seth has to learn to forgive and forget if he ever wants their relationship to foster.

Overall, HelenKay has been hitting all the right notes with her books. I keep saying I need to read more books by hers, but it keeps slipping my mind. Well, adding the rest of her books on my wishlist for future downloads when I’m in need of something fun, fast, and sexy.

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[701]: The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

Weird, gory, and not of the teen wolf variety.


The Last Werewolf
by Glen Duncan

I’m not new to this rodeo. I’ve had my fair share of lycanthrope stories. And while vampires and zombies are my typical go-to whenever I get a hankering for the supernatural, I must admit that I’ve been missing them lately.

Now, I will be the first one to say that I’m prejudiced when it comes to werewolves. I always assume that there will be super alpha males drumming their chest as soon as they find their “mates”. I know that instant-love is almost always a key ingredient; and that most will go through the angst of accepting the monsters inside themselves. This book is certainly all of that.  Jake goes through the self-hating phase soon after killing his first human. He’ll feel the pull of his intended once he finds her. But while most of the novels in this variety are littered with the emotional dramatics of the main character, Jake Marlowe, however, will disappoint the most ardent readers of paranormal romance.

This is not your usual werewolf story that’s for damn sure.

The Last Werewolf, as the title implies, is the story about the last remaining werewolf in the world. Jake will find out that there’s nothing remotely glamorous or even reverent about the distinction, however. Enemies left and right will be coming out of the woodwork to rid the world of this last abomination. He wouldn’t know whom to trust, and anybody close to him faces certain death. He’s not going to enjoy being the hunted this time.

He’s not a teen heartthrob who stalks the halls of his school in all his emo glory. Nope. Jake Marlowe is a 200-year-old cynic who’s seen everything, done everything, and ready to peace out of this world. But…he wants to do it in his own terms.

Jake’s type of werewolf is the kind that needs to eat people in order to survive. The cycle of the moon also plays a pivotal role in prolonging their lives. While waiting for the full moon, they can live by gratuitously imbibing on alcohol and smoking like a chimney. They also need sex – and plenty of it! In a way, this brand of werewolves is like the vampires. They thrive on the indulgence of flesh and excessive vice. The author certainly doesn’t pull any punches. Violence, sex, gore are described in explicit details. But for the amount of sex included in this book, not a single scene was written with sexual arousal in mind. There’s a distinct dismissive casualty and banality to the act. He didn’t loiter in the scenes and didn’t dawdle. You wouldn’t feel any warm fuzzies or the need to smoke afterward.

Glen Duncan will probably annoy some of you. He comes across as a pretentious jerk for name-dropping some literary greats in his book. But I do see his point. Jake Marlowe is 200 years old, after all. How else would he occupy his immortal life but read?

He will make you feel as exhausted as Jake feels; as tired of life as he was. In that respect, Duncan is a very convincing writer. He spent most of his time ruminating about the life he led, the loves he lost, and the people he ate. But nowhere did he try to get the reader’s empathy. Duncan’s writing is very “male” for lack of a better word.

I am, however, sorry that I felt no emotion whatsoever while reading this book. That doesn’t mean, however, that I didn’t enjoy it. It’s not a bad quality, per se. But sometimes, you just got to take what you’re reading with a grain of salt. It’s a change of pace and it’s great to read something that doesn’t put me through the wringer for once.

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[700]: A Darkness Absolute by Kelley Armstrong

Armstrong’s talent in writing smart thrillers on full display.


A Darkness Absolute
by Kelley Armstrong

We’re thrust back into the remote Northern Territories with Casey Duncan on the hunt for another killer. An unforeseen storm that throws them off track led them to a girl who has been missing for more than a year. Trapped in a hole no more than the size of a small person, the emaciated girl is rescued from her harrowing isolation. Days and months of endless physical, sexual, and mental abuse left her on the brink of madness.

Now, the Sheriff’s office has to track down a killer who upon further investigation might be responsible for several deaths of missing women.

Casey Duncan has all but acclimated to the life living in remote Northern Territories. Rockton and its people have grown on her – especially one person in particular. But if peace and quiet were what she’s after, Rockton apparently is the wrong place. Because once again, the town is facing deadly crimes with very little suspects to consider.  And since this is Rockton –  remote, a touch primeval, and wild – finding the killer will prove to be difficult. They’re not only racing against time, there’s also the brutal changing weather to contend.

Kelly Armstrong does a marvelous job in immersing her readers in her story in such a way that descriptively immortalizes an otherwise fictional town. The town of Rockton and its vicinities are beautiful as they are harsh. Not only do we get to experience all its wildness, but the townspeople themselves add a certain brutality that makes it seemed more sinister. Characterization has always been Armstrong’s forte. She writes the most credible kick-ass women.  Surprisingly enough, the men play a pivotal role in further empowering her heroines. It’s hard to explain. I guess the best way to describe it is like a marriage between a couple and each unit has the ability to qualify each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

She keeps the pacing of the story at an even keel. Giving her readers time to adjust and savor their own observations. Short chapters also help as she effectively pulls the readers into the nuances of the plot. Armstrong was very stingy with suspects. Since the town’s population is small, I felt like I already know everyone so you can pretty much tick off one townie at a time.  But in the end, and after the pieces of the puzzle have been connected, she made a very convincing case for the killer’s motives, psyche, and eventually, his identity.

A Darkness Absolute is a fantastic sequel. It hits the ground running right from the first page and doesn’t let up until the very end. There’s never a dull moment and you’ll feel like you can’t flip the page fast enough. This is the perfect book to cozy up to on cold winter nights with your reading socks and a nice cup of tea on hand.

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[699]: The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman

A promising start that slowly degressed into a Victorian doldrum.


The Dark Days Pact
by Alison Goodman

I started reading this book with a vague awareness of everything that happened beforehand. And considering that The Dark Days Club proved to be a laborious read in itself, I found myself temporarily relieved by how easy it was to acclimate myself back into this world. It didn’t take long before the events of what had happened started flooding back. So I was pretty optimistic that I will truly have a better time with The Dark Days Pact.

Unfortunately, it just wasn’t in the cards.

The Dark Days Pact picks up where the first book left off. Lady Helen Wrexhall is now a card-carrying member of the demon hunters that belong in The Dark Days Club. Having been cast aside by her only living family, she now resides with the Hammond siblings. She’s fully accepted her role as a Reclaimer under the tutelage of Lord Carlseton who, by the way, did his very best impression of a surly jerk. *snorts*. This guy is a piece of work and if one doesn’t know his background, one could easily lump him with the rest of the jackasses of the 18th century (along with Mr. Darcy. Probably.). It took a bit of time for me to warm up to his character in the first book. Back then, I could appreciate his enigmatic, mysterious character. He was unbearable in this installment, however. But you’ll have to forgive him. He’s under a lot of pressure. Besides the fact that Lord Carlseton was so obviously fighting off an exhausting attraction towards Helen (hence, the jerky attitude), he’s also suffering from a malady that comes from years of reaping demon souls.

Reclaimers aren’t supposed to be in a relationship with other Reclaimers so sparks flew whenever Lady Helen and Lord Carlseton were within each other’s vicinity. Sadly, the chemistry more often off the mark. In some ways, their relationship reminded me of Will and Tessa’s from The Infernal Devices from when they were just starting out. But alas, while Will and Tessa’s push and pull romance was convincing, Helen and Carlseton’s couldn’t begin to compare. Milquetoast is the word that comes to mind.

The love triangle in this book comes into more focus towards the ending – which, admittedly, added to the annoyance that I was already feeling throughout. Thankfully, Helen’s feelings were very clear whom she favors – which relieved the irritation some. Duke Selburn wouldn’t take no for an answer under the guise of keeping the word he gave to Helen’s brother to protect her. And even though he bore witness to Helen’s kickassery at one point, he still insisted that a fine woman such as her should be protected by a man like him. *eye roll*

We finally get to know a bit more about Lord Carleston’s history; the event that led him to believe that his wife perished through the hands of the Deceivers and ultimately, to his incarceration. Driven by a sense of duty to The Dark Days Club, his unrelenting need to rid the word of demons accelerated his descent to Cray Town (madness is a direct side effect to consuming demon souls). The only thing that could help him now was what was in the book.

Speaking of, the bulk of the plot deals with a book that Benchley has created. It contained information about Helen’s parents, history of Deceivers and Reclaimers; the cure for whatever’s ailing Lord Carlseton, and how to open the gate to Hellmouth, so to speak. So you can say this book is very much in high demand. The higher ups in the club suspected Lord Carleston of knowing more than he’s led them to believe. That he had a hand in creating the book.

I don’t know how you guys do it. But the Victorian period is not my favourite. I can’t sit back and not scream at the amount of mansplaining and hapless women whose daily existence is governed by the dictates of what society deemed as proper.  I can’t do it. I can’t do it without wanting to face punch the nearest cravat-wearing douche within my sights. But if this is your type of thing, I’m not judging. I just get so mad!

THAT. ENDING. THOUGH.

What the freaking heck was that? Grrrrr.

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[698]: When We Rise by Cleve Jones

A compelling, inspiring memoir about the beginning of the decades-long fight for LGBTQ equality.


When We Rise
by Cleve Jones

When most of Americans exalted at the news that marriage equality was finally the law of their land, the world joined in the celebration. #LoveWins trended for days after the proclamation. And the religious right stayed in their homes clutching their pearls while they prayed for everybody’s souls.

Now I sit here with worry. Because among all the other disturbing things that are happening in the States right now, there is something else simmering on the stove of this ridiculous administration: the new VP is a huge proponent of conversion therapy for gay people. I wouldn’t put it past them to enact something as heinous as sending kids to a gay camp to cure them of their burgeoning homosexuality. Adding to the worry is the vacant SCOTUS seat which, judging by the cabinet members President Shit For Brains has been installing, will more than likely be filled by another bigot. (I feel like I’ve been angry since November and I’m not even sorry. ) For now, at least, the marriage equality is safe (fingers crossed).

When We Rise is a memoir that needs to be read by everyone. It comes at an anxious, but much-needed time. If the November election has thought us anything, it’s that our marches helps fire up a revolution in our own little way. It doesn’t start as a raging inferno. It begins in small sparks. Cleve Jones’ role in the LGBTQ equality was an accumulation of a lifetime of fighting for recognition spurred on by the beatings he’s gotten as a teenager and his parents’ inability to acknowledge him for what he truly was. Yet despite his parents’ shunning, and the bruises he’s endured, his bitterness was noticeably absent.

He was a man who grew up at an age where sexual promiscuity, gratuitous drug use, and decadence was pertinent. A man who didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life other than to make the next buck that will sustain him for the immediate time. He moved from Arizona to San Francisco when his father let him know exactly what he thought of his sexuality. He would travel the world and switch between San Francisco and Europe. So when did his revolution began? I got the impression that everything fell on his lap. Not that it was easy, mind you. You’d care to know that even though San Francisco was the epicenter of it all, none of it was easy.

 The emergence of AIDS in the 80s was when we see him go through griefs for the losses of his friends and lovers. It was during this time when he would be in the biggest fight of his life – literally and figuratively. The number of deaths due to AIDS back then rose to an unfathomable number. Their fight for equal rights stalled all thanks to the prejudice and backlash they’ve gotten because of AIDS. Conservatism and Reagan were in office. And funding for research and cure was not a priority even though it was killing Americans at an inconceivable rate. It would take years and a Democrat in office before America actually paid attention.

When We Rise is a great book to read if you ever need a starting point to understanding the fight that they’ve long since waged. It’s interesting to see the birth of the revolution that wasn’t well received in the State of California at first. Surprising, considering that California is the cradle of progressive government in the country.  Mr. Jones highlighted the many struggles and triumphs that the movement has gone through over the years. The men and women who helped brought forth an awareness to their cause that eventually paved the way for the progress that the American LGBTQ community experiences nowadays. It was great to learn that Nancy Pelosi has been such a long time supporter of equality for the LGBTQ.

Cleve Jones’ memoir chronicles the never-ending fight that the community faces. Along the way, he’ll meet countless of valiant people willing to fight alongside with him. He imparts a message that couldn’t come at a better time than now. That it takes more than one march to fight for your rights, against the injustices of the world, and for what you believe in.

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[697]: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Strange, imaginative and intricately plotted.


The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern

One of the hazards of reading and reviewing a book such as The Night Circus is it renders one’s reviewing ability virtually useless. It’s a good thing and a bad thing. For one, piecing together a coherent take on the book is an arduous task. For another, it’s a shot at your already frail capacity to write a review in the first place. To top it off, The Night Circus was very vague in a lot of aspects. So the chances drawing blanks while writing the review is considerably high.

Still, I can say in all honesty, that this book is highly imaginative, however strange. Though it’s tough to follow sometimes because the timeline jumps sporadically. And the fact that the train arrives without warning at the most random places adds to that confusion. The train itself is magical, obviously. It carries the performers who possessed some otherworldly abilities recruited by the mysterious founder.

At the core of this novel is a love story between two protégés caught in between two competing magicians. But the romance lacks intensity so it takes a backseat throughout the novel. The two magicians seem immortal, pitting one protege against the other over the years. The mechanics of the game wasn’t clear, which is frustrating for the most part. The object was to beat each other, of course. As to the genesis and end game, Ms. Morgenstern was not very forthcoming.

The world of The Night Circus is magical in the literal sense. Besides the fact that the train travels like the wind (swift as the speed of sound), Celia and Marco have the strangest ability to manipulate thoughts, stop time, and even dabble in telekinesis. You have a fortune teller whose accuracy is uncanny, and kids who speak to animals. But is there anything more magical than love? Ms. Morgenstern explores the dark relationships between the children and their minders. Most of them were taken when they were young then cared for by their guardians. But it is love? Like that of a parent to their child? Celia’s relationship with her father was tenuous at best, volatile for the most part. Marco didn’t fare any better. In the end, it was hard to decipher who was manipulating whom.

There is a star-crossed element to the romance between Marco and Celia. Besides the fact that their masters are mortal enemies, the result of the competition ends in the loser’s death.  Quitting the game is no easy task. It’s almost as if the contest is set up so the competing magicians fall in love, so to win the game also means it’s at the expense of the person they love. That should be enough to titillate the most ardent romance readers, but sadly, the thrill just wasn’t there.

Morgenstern’s writing is very polished but because it’s set in the 1800s, I can’t help but feel that the emotions were restricted. It’s formal, regimented, and unfortunately, very cold at times. I would like to read more of her other works, though. But I would like to wait and see something other than this historical/magical realism/fantasy hybrid.

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[696]: Wait For It by M.O’Keefe

From sizzling chemistry to boring compatibility.


Wait For It
by Molly O’Keefe

Tiffany and Blake’s meet cute wasn’t so cute. It was contemptuous to start, possibly even explosive. It’s the reason why I was chomping at the bit to read this installment. Because there’s no other romantic device I love more than the enemies-to-lovers trope.

By the first few pages, it was not as earth-shattering as I’d hoped for, unfortunately.

Blake has had to clean up for his brother all their lives. Phil was very good at leaving a trail of brokenhearted, and more often, abused women in his wake. So when Tiffany and her kids came into the picture, he was there with a cheque book ready to buy her off so they may disappear from their lives. Thinking of her kids and the need to flee her abusive husband, Tiffany took the money and ran towards a fresh start. Only it didn’t last long as Phil found them again picking up where he left off.

So the explosive meeting between Tiffany and Blake fizzled practically from the very start of this book. Which is disappointing because that was the main draw for me. It was like meeting two different characters. I can say, however, that separately, Tiffany and Blake are admirable in their own ways. But as a couple, I thought they went from having sizzling chemistry to boring compatibility.

It’s when they added sex into the mix that did it for me. Tiffany has all but lost her libido during the course of her married life with Phil and who could blame her? Phil was verbally and physically abusive so any inkling to indulge in carnal activities left her feeling cold. Blake thinks he can light up her fire again (and he did). But the sex, I found, was gratuitous and awkward at times so I didn’t find it steamy to say the least.

 The underlying lesson of this book is that you can’t buy everything; not happiness, not love, and especially not trust. Blake had to find that out himself. Though he had very good intentions, his method of atoning for his brother’s sins was messed up. You can’t erase traumatic memories of abuse and desolation by money. Tiffany was the hard lesson that he had to learn. Tiffany had some learning she had to do as well. Mostly, independence and courage. This installment could’ve been good but I had a hard time digesting the sexual dynamics between these two. Frankly, it left me feeling cold.

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[695]: Everything You Want Me To Be by Mindy Mejia

A quiet suspense full of twists and turns that you’ll have trouble putting down.


Everything You Want Me To Be
by Mindy Mejia

The novel opened with Hattie attempting to buy a one-way ticket to New York. Stymied by the airline ticket agent due to her age, she fled and decided to drive as far as she could only to find herself to the place where her body will eventually be found.

Told from three alternating points of view, the novel tells the story of a girl who played various acting roles depending on the audience. Hattie never stopped acting. Before or behind the curtain, she assumed different roles for different people. She was the perfect actress, playing the part of the perfect daughter, friend, and student. But beneath the surface was a dissatisfaction that comes from living in a small town. She’s got big dreams that she knew would never come to fruition if she stayed in her hometown. When she started corresponding with someone online, she found a kindred spirit. Someone whom she considered as the only one that truly knew her. From a clandestine affair between two unlikely people to the eventual investigation of Hattie’s murder, Everything You Want Me To Be was a fantastic mystery that’s quiet and engaging in a way that I prefer my mystery reads ought to be.

Though far from dull, the author sets an easy pace by which she told Hattie’s story. The suspense comes from the slow reveal of the pieces of the puzzle that come together in a surprising visage. In here, we see Hattie as someone who has crafted the art of acting. She was very adept in duping people into believing her genuineness with great efficacy. But that does not make her a suspect character. It’s done without any malice but more so because Hattie was a people-pleaser through and through. The malice that lurks within was in the way she manipulated the people around her. She was a master in a way that actors tend to be so your initial impression would be that she’s a well-adjusted, normal teenager.

I looked at Tommy until the horny teenager faded away and he became my instrument. I looked at his fingers and saw a hand that was mine to wield, that I could drive to murder the king himself. I looked at his confused expression and saw the madness that we would soon share. I became cold, too cold to feel. By the time he cleared his throat to say his first line, I could tase my own death.”

But inside, she’s a mess of ennui and discontent. So when she met a person who had given her a taste of something different and exciting, she clung to him like a buoy drifting into the open sea.

The investigation itself is methodically neat. On the whole, there are only two major suspects so there’s a 50/50 chance that you’ll be right. Still, it’s fun to follow the red herrings. Lately, I’ve been drawn to stories with an easy pace. I like the mystery of the characters and the crime that needed to be solved. Sometimes, mysteries don’t need to be action at every turn of the page. It’s these that make for a perfect book to read in winter afternoons.

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[694]: Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones

More of the same but a fantastic filler for fans of the series, regardless.


Eleventh Grave in Moonlight
by Darynda Jones

The eleventh sequel to the Charley Davidson series finds our favorite grim reaper living with a newfound reality. That she is a powerful god whose immense power is greater than any god that ever existed makes her question the sanity of anyone who says so. And while she’s contemplating the impossibility of her prowess, I found that at times, I was in a state of disbelief myself as well. Because she doesn’t have full control of her powers yet, she’s hesitant to flex her muscles for fear that she’ll bring forth Armageddon unto mankind.  I mean, she did show some but I think we’ve barely scratched the surface of the scope of her powers. Other than being indestructible, she’s apparently a god-eater. Which means she could potentially retain the powers of the gods she’ll consume (or maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here). Let’s hope we’ll find out in the next few books.

So little Beep is still ensconced under the protection of Charley’s army – both holy and unholy alike. I’m not gonna lie, I wish for more interactions between mom, dad and Beep. I want to read more than just a second-hand account of her growth and development. I mean, if this baby is as powerful as prophesied, I kinda want to see how she grows up. I’m itching to ask Ms. Jones when we can expect the inevitable spin-off. It is, however, so much fun to see Reyes bully Osh since finding out the uncomfortable truth about his future and how it relates to Beep.

 As much as this installment was a load of fun, the overall plot of the series didn’t really move. Aside from the cruel ending that is the precursor to the next book, the entire novel consisted of mini story arcs moving towards an intro to the 12th.  There was a brief but sad story of a toddler who died under a toppled drawers; Ubie being distracted by whatever was bothering him; a creepy stalker stalking Amber, and the emergence of a new character and his role in the life of Reyes’ abductors. (Whom by the way, finally got a somewhat satisfying comeuppance once and for all).

In truth, I was annoyed in some parts of the novel. I hate the unnecessary keeping of secrets as a device to stretch a story arc. It’s like, come on, people. We’ve all been here before. Secrets never end well for everybody involved! Thankfully, they didn’t let it fester for as long as they can. But heck, annoying just the same. Charley also grated on my nerve a little. Sometimes, her off-the-cuff humor was off-putting and not at all funny. I mean it was funny, but it was annoying because I feel like there should be a time for serious business.

Despite all my misgivings, there’s very little that could dissuade me from reading the next installments in this series (and I hope there’ll be lots). I’m a fan and will always be a fan so long as Charley remains the neurotic grim reaper that I’ve come to love, and Reyes remains the smoldering Son of Satan who singes the page whenever he makes an appearance.

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