Review and Giveaway: The Taming by Teresa Toten and Eric Walters

(Sorry for the awful pic resolution!)
Publication Date: January 24th, 2012
Doubleday Canada
Format: ARC E-galley
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
Katie likes to believe she’s invisible. It seems much safer than being exposed as she is–shy, poor, awkward. So getting up on stage in the school production of The Taming of the Shrew should be complete torture. But as Katie tells it, something totally unexpected happened when she stepped on stage: “My head exploded. I loved it. Acting hit me like a sucker punch and I loved, loved, loved it! . . . Invisible Katie became visible Katharina.”

Evan Cooper is, as they say, another story. He knows just what it takes to get noticed, and he uses every one of the skills he’s honed after years of being the new kid. Like tossing the keys to his father’s high-end Audi to a kid he’s never met, first day of school. “I have insurance for car theft,” he explains to a shocked Danny. “And there’s a full tank.” An abuse of the power that comes with privilege and money? Sure.

But more dangerously, is his romance with Katie another version of the same thing? Or is it the real thing?

*Gratuitous sigh* Young love. It’s great isn’t it?  The first time you see him across the hall…the first time you notice the hair flopping on his forehead…the silly way he makes you feel when he smiles at you…or how you tried, in vain, to calm your heart the first time he talked to you. Sigh. Oh to be young again.

Juxtaposing The Taming of the Shrew, I had images of Heath Ledger in all his badass glory serenading a very shrewd Julia Stiles in the stands. If you’re not familiar with the movie, 10 Things I Hate About You is one of those must-see movies that you can’t afford to miss. It’s romantic, funny, and hearfelt. I was sure this book would be fun. And it was…until I was hit by a streaking wrecking ball I never saw coming.

Katie and Evan’s romance started off ideally enough. You have Katie, who works hard at blending into the walls of her high school and Evan, who draws attention anywhere he goes. There isn’t anything spectacular about their first meeting – no fireworks (at least not on Evan’s side) and the earth hardly moved. Somehow, perfect Evan was able to see the beauty in simple Kate and have developed a fierce attraction, much to Kate’s surprise. Who wouldn’t want the attention of this handsome new comer? He’s gentlemanly, rich and not at all drawn to the usual popular crowd. He’s perfect. And Kate would do just about anything to keep him.

I want you to read this. This book, pardon the language, fucked with my head. I was deceived. It started off funny and quirky with dialogues that brought out quite a few chuckles from me. I was duped and left to feel comfortable – too comfortable that I did not see that huge ass wrecking ball heading my way. If you’d ever had to do a complete, dissection of The Taming of the Shrew, then perhaps you’d realize that Shakespeare’s comedy, is not all that funny. Let me put it this way, I’ve never seen it in this light. I’m dumbfounded. It was like finding out for the first time that Tiger Woods is a manwhore. Tiger Woods – whom I held in such a high regard for as long as I can remember. My opinion of him then, was that he was the most perfect athlete. Private, honest, family man. And then, bam! Elin Nordegren was chasing him with a golf club. Anyway, I’m rambling and probably not even making a whole lot of sense. My point is, not everything is what it seems.

The writing tag team of Toten and Walters did a phenomenal job of giving our main characters their genuine voices and personalities. This book is dark and what blew my mind was the lack of epiphany about the direction in which the authors were taking me at the time. They set me up. I credit the writers for this element of…surprise. If you guys read my status updates on Goodreads, you’d see how I was taken for a ride. My slow realization that, holy crap. I can’t believe this shit is about to get down! This book is amazing! The ending left me feeling conflicted. I was happy and sad at the same time. Happy for Katie and sad for Evan. I wish that I could take Evan and put him in another book – change his one and only major flaw. This guy was perfect. I believe I even swooned many a times until I got to the part where…anyway. I can’t say. I was sad for him. And knowing what I know about him, this probably doesn’t paint a good picture of me. But I really can’t help it. He was just…sad. I liked that once Katie realized what was going on, she didn’t become one of those characters. I wish I could elaborate more but the beauty of this book was from the unexpectedness of what happened. It’s making me feel guilty that I thoroughly enjoyed this book when the subject matters were awfully serious.

BITS & PIECES – The Goods. 

Danny’s inability to say Petruchio’s name correctly. Variations include: PISTACHIO, PINOCCHIO.

Travis’ undecipherable sexuality. Even he’s confused himself. Picture a Jared Leto, complete with guyliner and goth wardrobe.

Josh’s feeble capacity to understand the Shakespearean language. He’s a terrible actor but an awesome athlete.

“It would help if I had a clue about what the hell they’re talking about. Like, later, on the page they’re talking about cocks. Can we do that?” – Josh
“Chickens,” I wisphered so no one else would hear. “It’s a rooster reference.” – Katie

EVAN: “My father once said to me that the best thing in the world is a beautiful woman. But the worst thing in the world is a beautiful woman who knows she’s beautiful.”

Intelligent dialogues and witty banters.
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YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK. Heck, I’ll pre-order it for you! 


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And the Winner is…

Hey guys! The winner of the Untraceable 5 Star Giveaway is…
I drew the winner using the Random Number Generator based on the number of comments on my review. Well, the first time I did it, Shelli’s (the author) number came up! Lol. So I had to draw another number and this time, Jo’s number came up. I tried to repost the the widget with the winner’s number but it’s not letting me *pouts*. 
Congratulations, Jo! This book is all kinds of awesome and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. 
Heads up, there’s another 5 Star Giveaway tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Review: Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe

Publication Date: October 13th, 2011
Viking Juvenile
Format: Hardcover, 458 pages
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. Living in a strange city with a host family, she’s deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. 

At first, she loves being Rem’s muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she’s chosen the right path. Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? And is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more? This debut novel in verse is as intense and romantic as it is eloquent.

Dare I tell that since I came here to dance
I have been giving pieces of my body away
To ridiculous diets,
To repeated injuries,
To Remington?
And that maybe
I think
With each bit of my body
I lose a little piece of my soul.

This isn’t a book about a girl’s ultimate dream to be a prima ballerina at a prestigious dance company. This is a book about her realizing that dance is so far off her horizon, it’s basically out in space. It was really hard to figure out how dance came to be Sara’s life. Was it due to her parents’ constant pushing? Or was it because dance came to her naturally? And it wasn’t because Sara wants to leave the slow, New England life she’d known. Ballet is just ballet. She accepted the dance scholarship with great trepidation because, really, what else was she to do?

This is written in verse form, a style that I’m a huge fan of. I know it’s not for everyone but I really love the neat, straightforward writing of these novels. I’ve yet to read one that I did not like. The words are like disjointed lyrics, stilted prose and yet, succinct and purposely vivid. Ms. Kehoe’s style encapsulate all that. She captured the glamour and elegance of the dancers’ costumes in not so many words, the ghastly pain Sara endured and the life of a ballerina who’s always starving – for food and for attention. She also managed to portray the beauty and grace of ballet with every plié, jeté, and tendu.

But.

But.

I was unable to develop an affinity to the characters, most especially to Sara and Remington. Sara has a very timid personality. She feels so much but has the greatest inability to voice them out. She frustrated me most of the time. She wasn’t blind – she knew what was going on and yet she kept making the same mistakes consciously. And I understand, truly, I do. She’s young, utterly fascinated by the attention of an older man and a tiny part of her is thrilled that she’s able to inspire Rem. But the word, “NO”, is not in her vocabulary.  Remington is probably one of the most selfish, egocentric character I’ve the displeasure of reading. I’ve been staring at my blinking cursor trying to find a redeeming quality to Rem and regrettably finding none. Sorry. This man is completely one-dimensional. My detachment to the characters was also one of the factors why this book didn’t make me feel anything. Somehow, these two had a numbing effect on me.

This verse novel is a bit on the narrative side and perhaps it’s also one of the things that hindered me from enjoying this book more. And yes, I am aware that most verse books are actually narrative but the dialogues in this one was more sparse than most.

I think that this book would be quite enjoyable to some but just not for me. I am interested to read more of Ms. Kehoe’s future books, however.

Review: Existence by Abbi Glines

Publication Date: December 13th, 2011
Wild Child Publishing
Format: Kindle Copy
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
What happens when you are stalked by Death? You fall in
love with him of course. Pagan Moore doesn’t cheat Death, instead, she falls in love with him.

Seventeen year old Pagan Moore, has seen souls her entire life. Once she realized the strangers she often saw walking through walls were not visible to anyone else, she started ignoring them. If she didn’t let them know she could see them, they left her alone. Until she steps out of her car on the first day of school and sees an incredibly sexy guy lounging on a picnic table, watching her with an amused smirk on his face. Problem is, she knows he’s dead. Not only does he not go away, when she ignores him he does something none of the others have ever done; he speaks. Pagan is fascinated by the soul. What Pagan doesn’t realize is that her appointed time to die is drawing near and the wickedly beautiful soul she is falling in love with is not a soul. He is Death and he is about to break all the rules.

“I see dead people.” No statement could be even truer for Pagan. But where the boy from the movie, Sixth Sense, can see the garrish ways they died, Pagan can only see their souls. They leave her alone for the most part and she in turn, have learned to ignore them. Imagine her surprise when one belligerent soul started talking to her – sometimes, goading her. He seems different from the other souls and it didn’t take long until Pagan became aware of the pull this soul have on her.

I’m not gonna lie, I had a hard time accepting the idea of Pagan and Dank, which is bad because the novel is about them. It’s a book killer for me if I can’t find the empathy required to enjoy the romantic aspect of the story.  Honestly? I like how Pagan and Lief’s relationship started. I love how Pagan slowly became aware of Lief and how he had liked her from afar. Lief didn’t try hard to win her attention – just a slow build that progressed and ultimately, crashed when Dank “showed up”. It’s not like Abbi Glines tried hard to sell Lief and Pagan. She didn’t. Over and over again, I was being sold on the idea how Pagan only felt safe with Lief and how Dank made her feel like her heart would beat out of her chest. Other than the danger factor and the ho-hum enigmatic looks, Dank didn’t really do it for me. *sad panda face* I was sooo looking forward to this book.

It’s not like I didn’t like it. It just…started with a bang and then ended in a muffled thud for me. Death, wandering souls – these type of stories should make for some scary read. But this book lacked the eerieness; I say, it was definitely more romance than anything with a mild dose of the paranormal.

The cliff hanger was like a train out of nowhere. There was no premonition at all through the entirety of the book. It was a surprise, but at the same time, it almost felt like it was just an addendum. So we’ll see how it goes for the next book.

Review: A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Publication Date: January 10th, 2012
Razorbill
Format: ARC, 387 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.
It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to enact his vision – no more Phydus, no more lies.
But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that’s growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.
In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

Orion is frozen in the cryo chamber. Eldest is dead. The ship is off Phydus; a chemical that subdues and makes an automaton of people and perhaps the only thing that kept the inhabitants of Godspeed surviving for generations. Elder must lead if they ever have any chance of reaching Centauri-Earth. But chaos and mutiny abounds the ship and Orion’s influence seems to be at play now more than ever. Clues like breadcrumbs left for Amy to follow by the same man who attempted to kill the frozens. Food and resources are dwindling as Elder struggles with the knowledge of Godspeed’s engine failures. He’s encumbered with hard choices but is more determined to land Godspeed. With Amy’s help and Orion’s clues, will they find a way to reach Centauri-Earth?

I was absolutely thrilled when I got this in the mail! I’ve mentioned it before that I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of this ARC tour but surprises of surprises when I opened my mailbox to find this – a very humiliating happy dance cum body twitching in front of my husband may have ensued. A Million Suns is one of my much-anticipated reads for 2012 and frex, did it ever deliver! In spades, mind you.

We see a different Elder in here; a more mature and reluctant leader. He’s more passionate with character traits that were more defined without the influence of Phydus. Heck, the entire population of Godspeed showed more character, some uglier than others. It was like watching a community of drug addicts on rehab and struggling to come to terms with having to make decisions without the influence of drugs. The end result was chaos and riots fueled by uncertainty, lies and terror.

Amy’s contintuing saga of having to fight off discrimination was more pronounced as the people of Godspeed realized how important she is to Elder. She was more determined and stronger in this book as she also have come to understand that at the end of the day, Elder couldn’t always protect her from those who wishes to harm her for being different.  The process in which they solved the mystery surrounding Orion’s clues is the best draw of this book for me. Beth Revis didn’t give me a concrete answer to a clue right away; it was like unravelling a complicated rope where one thread leads to another knot.

The best thing about this sci-fi series is that Ms. Revis does not overwhelm you with difficult-to-decipher explanations when it comes to the Scientific elements of her books. A good example is when our two MCs found something of space related (<– spoiler). I really thought those things were as complicated as NASA make it seem and it probably is. But the way she explained how to use did not give me a dazed and confused look while reading. She also simplified the mechanics of the ship, which helped a great deal because the majority of the story spotlights the aging engine.

This sequel did not disappoint; suspense, rebellion, and heart-stopping action were pretty much the main themes. I felt cliff-hangered at the end of Across the Universe – questions lingered for days. Most of those were answered in this book and it somehow felt like I was given some resolutions. A Million Suns was a very exhausting read – not because it was badly written. It’s the opposite. Imagine yourself in a grav tube; the adrenaline of being sucked in by air in a speed governed by G-force. Well, the story is kind of like that. It was relentless. Beth Revis hits you with twists and conflicts that seem never ending. Sabotage, murders, riots. The ending gave me hope and at the same time scared me. I’m now forced to wait even longer for the next instalment, which, judging by how this one ended, will be even more suspenseful and possibly more terrifying than its predecessors.

Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Publication Date: December 6th, 2011
McElderry Books
Format: Hardcover, 502 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

Lesigh. It seems like Cassandra Clare’s books are very few and far between; when in reality, the woman actually prints out two books a year. Her books are not slight either, producing at least a five-hundred page minimum. I wish she’d write faster…or that she’d send me a manuscript as soon as one is available (hah!). Either way, I can’t stand the six months lag between her books. Call me impatient, but I blame her for writing some pretty addicting stuff. Waiting for Clockwork Prince is probably the most painful to date. Let me be honest and confess to you all that before this week is through, I’d have ended up with three finished copies of this book (don’t ask!).

Clockwork Prince In Not So Many Words.

The Magister is still on the loose, biding his time until he could exact his revenge. In the meantime, a web of liars and traitors have been in place and at the center of it all, The Institute, headed by Charlotte Branwell, is under fire. They have two weeks to flush out Axl Mortmain from his hiding place or Charlotte will be ousted, to be replaced by the dubious Benedict Lightwood.

The Good.

Will was a jigsaw puzzle in Clockwork Angel and remained true to his character in Clockwork Prince. He’s always been glib about life and was notorious for not doing what he’s been told to do or how to act – traits that simultaneously amused and annoyed me at times. This book tells us the nature of all his anger and why he’s so intent on pushing people away.  The revelation was heartbreaking in that it happened to him at such a young age. He wasted a lot of time believing that he was better off alone, unloved by the people he called his family. Will has always been one of those characters that truly exhausts me; he puts me through the wringer every time. To be in his head was a challenging experience but this Will, is a likeable Will. The morose way in which he view his lot in life added another layer to his character.

Tessa Gray was just getting the hang of her powers – that of a shapeshifting downworlder. Unfortunately, this is the extent of what I could find admirable in her. Don’t get me wrong, she’s kind, selfless, intelligent, and a strong female lead but at the end of it all, I liked Sophie more. Tessa has been thoroughly impatient to learn her true nature and in this book, she was given a starting point. I’m anxious to know what she is!

Immerse yourself in some of the best classic literature known to man. Cassie Clare outdid herself this time. Quotes upon quotes of relevant pieces littered the pages of this book, purported in a way that didn’t feel like the author’s agenda was to impress, but rather she made them pertinent toward the over all brilliance of the book.

As usual, no other author can create a fantastical world than Cassie Clare can. Descriptive, realistic, and genuine are the best I could describe the general milieu of her books. I especially liked the horrors of the spoils – or anything that best represent the dark themes of Clockwork Prince. I think that this book is particularly more sensual than Clockwork Angel and it’s not only because of the Jem/Tessa, Will/Tessa love scenes. There were more here, for sure but I’m also talking about the book’s ambience in totality…or maybe I’m just weird. Debatable.

Gideon Lightwood. Magnus Bane. Cecily Herondale. Enough said.

The Not-So.

Tessa has made a decision and this is my reaction –> jkldjlkfjkloieuieo*$@!!!! That is all. *takes a deep breath*

While I can truly appreciate the intricate way in which the investigation about the Magister’s master plan and his whereabouts came to be, the progression of the proceedings was slow. The lack of action induced a few yawns and intermittent gulps of caffeine. And it wasn’t only here that I fought off sleep, Jem also bored me to tears. Don’t get me wrong. I love the boy. But by the Angel, he’s as exciting as gruel!

This is How I Really Feel.

GIVE.ME.THE.NEXT.BOOK.NOW.

IMM #18

In My Mailbox is a weekly event over at The Story Siren, which showcases the books we’ve purchased, borrowed and received in the mail this week. This is the eighteenth episode of HOARDERS, Books Edition.
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A million thanks to Razorbill/Penguin Group for this! I’m über excited for this book!
The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner
Fix Me by Rune Michaels
Melody Burning by Whitley Strieber
Wintertown by Stephen Emond
Deadly Little Voices by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Lover Revealed by JR Ward
The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt
Eternal Starling by Angela Corbett
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
Love on the Lifts by Rachel Hawthorne
Surrender by Lee Nichols
Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Untraceable by S.R. Johannes
Future Imperfect by K Ryer Breese
Falling for Henry by Beverly Brenna
Candor by Pam Bachorz
Blood Like Poison by M. Leighton
Struck by Rhonda Stapleton
Winging It by Deborah Cooke
Madly & Wolfhardt by M. Leighton
What’s in your mailbox?

Review: Wolfhardt by M. Leighton

Publication Date:  July 12th, 2011
M Leighton
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
Madly is your average nearly-eighteen year old girl-for a mermaid princess, that is.

Madly James is thoroughly enjoying her internship in Slumber when the unthinkable happens-there’s a prison break in Atlas, Madly’s home beneath the sea. A traitor has set free eight Lore, the spirits of what humans know as fairy tales, and they are making their way to Slumber to awaken their descendants.

The first spirit to arrive is that of Ulrich Wolfhardt, a man that was once obsessed with wolves and a young maiden he would follow through the woods. After a bite from a wolf, Wolfhardt’s obsession with the girl became an unnatural hunger and the young maiden’s grandmother cursed him with a fate worse than death. And now he’s back…with a vengeance and a bite that can infect others as well.

Madly must learn the identity of Wolfhardt’s descendant and stop him before he kills again and spreads his curse across the earth. But the only person strong enough to help Madly is Jackson, the Sentinel who vowed to protect her and the one person capable of breaking her heart. Can Madly resist forbidden love long enough to save the world from Wolfhardt? Or will she have to sacrifice her heart and her destiny to save the ones she loves?

A bit of a background: Ages ago, Lucifer and Proserpine created evil creatures called Lores. Lucifer, being the dark angel that he was, perhaps saw opportunity to rule the entire universe (I’m just guessing – the author didn’t really explain why or maybe there was a myth involved? ), cast Proserpine out of the Underworld. Proserpine turned to Neptune for help, in which he agreed on the condition that she’d disclosed everything she knew about the creatures. Neptune then, created a prison for these creatures with a set of four keys able to hold these spirits. The story actually begins when one of those spirits escaped, locking down Atlas with Princess Madly’s parents and sister, Truly inside. Since Madly holds one of the keys, she’s the only one with the capability to trap Ulrich Wolfhardt’s spirit and free Madly’s people in Atlas. Who is Ulrich Wolfhardt? Well, long story short – he’s a wolfman ( not to be confused with a werewolf) obsessed with the Straus Maiden. So when his spirit escaped he continued to hunt the Straus bloodline by possessing his immediate descendant. Once they saved the descendant of the Straus Maiden, then and only then can they capture Wolfhardt and send him back to where he belongs. Confused yet? Don’t be. The story is easy to follow once you get into the groove.

THE GOOD:

I’m really interested to find out how the author will incorporate the other folklore into this mer series. I think it’s highly innovative for her to use these fabled sea dwellers as a vessel, while putting a spin on some of the fairy tales we’ve come to know of so fondly. The chemistry between Jackson and Madly was explosive and brownie points for the forbidden romance element. I’m dying to read the next book to find out how their relationship is going to work considering Jackson is a pauper to his Princess. Their bloodlines mixing is a no-no to the kingdom so I’m really anxious for their sakes.

THE NOT-SO:

This is a series with a whole lot of promise. But there were some plot elements that I really felt were unfinished. For instance: there was an incident in the prequel which hinted that Madly could hear what Jackson was thinking. I was looking forward to reading more about this in the second book, but I was disappointed to discover that it was something the author didn’t really delve into. Another one was the geeky boy who’d watched Kellina from afar. Considering the time and focus spent on this boy, his role didn’t really go anywhere – a decoy, if you will. While I swooned over Jackson and gushed over the romance, I sometimes found myself frustrated with Jackson’s constant pulling and pushing. Also, about 70% of Madly’s thoughts were of Jackson instead of worrying about her family in Atlas. I can sympathize pining for a guy to a point, but all the longing and wanting and lusting was a bit overdone in my opinion.

THIS IS HOW I REALLY FEEL:

Regardless of my grievances stated above, I’m still dying to read the next book. This ended in a cliffie and we haven’t really seen the actual world of the mers. I’m also dying to read more about how the royals are going to react to Madly’s mating tie. All in all, I think this will be an amazing series rich in adventures and romance. The prequel is a good place to start.

Review: Devil’s Kiss By Sarwat Chadda

Publication Date: September 1st, 2009
Hyperion Books
Format: Paperback, 327 pages
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
Bilquis SanGreal grew up knowing she would have to make sacrifices to be in the Knights Templar.  Sacrifices like losing her mother to the Templar’s ongoing battle against the Unholy; sacrifices like trading her childhood in for relentless training; sacrifices that keep her completely  isolated from the world of a normal teen girl.
Billi’s lone wolf status is challenged when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from his psychic training in Jerusalem.  Kay manages to stir things up quickly — he’s gorgeous, arrogant, and wants to slide right back into his old place in Billi’s life.  Billi is skeptical, but interested, until she meets Michael — an ethereally handsome guy who seems to understand her like no one before him, and effortlessly stakes a claim in her heart.
Just as Billi’s starting to enjoy this pleasant new twist to her life, Kay ruins everything.  In a moment of bravado, Kay uses the last of the Templar’s treasures, King Solomon’s cursed mirror, drawing the attention of one of the most dangerous of the Templars’ enemies — The Angel of Death.
Only with the mirror can the dark angel unleash his full powers, and now that he’s heard the call of the mirror, he’ll stop at nothing to get it.  To save London from catastrophe, Billi will have to make sacrifices greater than she’d ever imagined.

I’ve struggled with this. I can’t say for sure which of the elements of this story bothered me the most; or where it failed to keep my interest. But it was one of those reads that I just wanted to get it over and done with.

Billi SanGreal is a stereo-typical, kick ass heroine. You know the type – the one with a whole slew of personality problems who uses her ass kicking skills to ward off people. I can’t say I blame the girl; her father is a cold fish who sees her as a means to an end…or in this case, to a prophecy. She’s surrounded by a group of men who are one step closer to being religious fanatics. Her mother was killed when she was but a child and the only questionable feminine influence in her life seems to hate her guts for some odd reason. It was never really explained why.

The author certainly made a big production of highlighting a possible love triangle in the synopsis. But after reading the bits of romantic scenes in this book, I was feeling a whole lot cheated. I know right? Me? whose bane of bookworm existence are LOVE TRIANGLES. Why the heck am I complaining about the lack of this aforementioned possible geometrical romance? Well, the thing is, if you’re expecting any semblance of relationships at all in this book, expect a HUGE disappointment. The majority of the book focuses on the Templar’s continuing fight against the forces of evil which didn’t leave much room for character development. Everyone seems one-dimensional. Billi, our MC pretty much spent the entire time resenting the life that she did not chose, while the rest didn’t have any life outside of the Order.

The plot moved at a break-neck pace which should’ve been a plus for a reader whose got the attention span of a gnat (like me!). Sadly, this wasn’t enough to overcome the over-all detachment I felt while reading this book. Heck, even the supposed romances did not have any kind of build up.

If you’re looking for a darker YA Paranormal with little to zero romance, this is your book. If you’re looking for a unique read out of the endless streams of ho-hum YA fare, this is your book. If you’re not at all timid to read about religions and the many ways they could be misinterpreted, this is your book.

Over all. This book is not for me.


Morsels {2}: Quick Reviews

Goodreads Summary
Madly #1 by M. Leighton
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Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Step into the world of mermaids – and as far as I can tell, a werewolf may also be in attendance in a not so distant future (although, how their worlds are going to intersect remains to be seen). This is a short story; a preamble to the second book, Wolfhardt. It certainly is an exciting start to what proves to be a series enriched in folklores. Me? I’m dying to read more about Jackson. He’s big, burly, surly and snarky. His personality just seems to dwarf everybody else in the story. I’ve always been smitten with egotistical boys who are clueless about handling their true emotions and my boy Jackson is no different. I’m a little cautious when it comes to books about mermaids but this one has my full attention. I can’t wait to read the next book. Shout out: Thanks to Alexa for the recommendation!
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Summer’s Crossing (Iron Fey #3.5) by Julie Kagawa
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Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
My feelings about Puck hasn’t really been discernable while I was reading the first two books of this series. I don’t know…there’s just something about him that I found hard to trust. In this little novella, I’ve had a brief look as to what it was like to get into his head and surprise, surprise, Puck is and will always be…well, Puck. He’s got this swagger and facetiousness – sort of like a cope mechanism. He adds a humorous element to this series, which I really liked. He’s like a little brother that’s sometimes annoying and most of the times adorable. I absolutely loved him here. He balances Ash’s constantly serious disposition. This short story didn’t lack for adventure – signature Kagawa, if you ask me.  As always, the author’s creativity astounds me.
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Goodreads Summary
Tomorrow is Today by Julie Cross
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RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

This is a bonus story to Julie Cross’ time-traveling series, Tempest. Jackson and Holly’s love story hasn’t started yet, hence, his thoughts were mostly spent pining for her. I love how sweet he is! I’m not going to lie, I pretty much by passed every dialogues with any essence of time traveling. I’m just more interested about the romance more than the jumping and Julie Cross has done such an incredible job of making me swoon every time Jackson sees Holly doing anything as mundane as, say, losing her s*it. Lol.