Confessions of an Addict (9) – What To Do In Case of Emergency.

Have you ever had one of those nights when the book you’re supposed to be reading lost its appeal and you can’t force yourself to read no matter how hard you try? It’s not like it’s a bad book; you’re just not in the mood for it.  So you turn to your bookshelf to pick another but there’s absolutely nothing in your TBR shelfves  that screams, read me! read me!
You stand there for a long time without the umbrella,  your fingers trail through each spine, while your forehead wrinkle in concentration as you try to remember a snippet or a gist of roughly what each book was about? And nothing is tempting because for some strange reason, the appeal of the books when you bought it the first time is just not there this time around.  So you start to panic; quelling that paranoid voice in your head and failing.

“OMG. What if I’ve recovered from my books addiction?”

“What if my appetite for reading is completely gone?”

“What am I going to do with all these books?!”  


Heh. Highly unlikely.

Your husband, who’s been apparently watching  you agonize and fight an inner battle between a book about zombies or settling in for the night with a modern interpretation of Hamlet, interrupts your soliloquy with a stern voice. “Will you hurry up? You’re blocking the tv!”

You give him a glare using the extra pair of eyes at the back of your head, while the other set eyerolls in annoyance. “I’m trying to pick a book. Hold on to your knickers!” You spit back.

Minutes later you’re still blocking the re-run of the clusterf*ck game you witnessed on Monday.  You have no idea why he likes watching the highlights of your football team’s failure to –  well, win games.  It’s like he enjoys torture or something. Come to think of it, that’s probably why he married you – because he’s a sucker for pain. Anyway, getting off topic here.

In his inifinite wisdom, and in a condescending tone, he says, “This is why you should maybe STOP buying books until you have a manageable pile.” 
Yes, well. That’s not happening anytime soon, dear husband.
You held your tongue and a shudder. “Use the 6-4-9 system,” he says.

You look at him quizzically, like Mr. Darcy with the quizzical brow and indulge him for a minute. Because really, you just want to pick a book and it’s an even harder feat when he’s in the background yammering about some crazy Math system…or so you think.

I’d like to share to you what he suggested I do if ever I find myself in the same connundrum again. It’s called the 6-4-9 system.

  1. Count 6 books from your left. Pull out the sixth book.
  2. Count 4 books from your right. Pull out the fourth book.
  3. Count 9 books from the left again and pull that ninth book off the shelf.

Now you’re left with three books. You can either (a) pick the first of the three, or (b)the last of the three, or (c) pick the middle book. In the likely event that none of those books appeal to you, proceed to another shelf then start the 6-4-9 system again. Obviously, if you have a shelf specifically for serial books, this system will not work.

I’d like to point out that you’re probably not like me – fickle and a complete spazz when it comes to choosing a book.  I ended up  putting my initial pick back to the shelf and started the system until I eventually found that book that I was looking for.

Incidentally, my husband apparently used this system when he’d sit in front of a bar with his drinking buddies and couldn’t pick which hard liquor he’d want to indulge in. Whatever works. The good news is, he said he can’t remember the last time he used this system.

So based on this system, I ended up with these three choices: Falling For Hamlet, Passion and Patient Zero.

(See how fickle I am?)

Waiting on Wednesday (4): Lover Reborn by JR WARD

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Expected Publication: March 27th, 2012
Lover Reborn by JR WARD
#10 Black Dagger Brotherhood

If you guys haven’t checked out this series yet, you must do so stat! It’s probably one of those books that I’ll never get tired of no matter how many times I whine about vampires being a thing of the past.

The synopsis is not available but I believe this is Tohrment’s story. I really hope he gets his happily-ever-after this time, the poor brother. 

I can’t wait to read this!

Top Ten Tuesday (3): Books I Had Strong Emotions Over

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke & Bookish. They’re fond of lists and let’s face it, who isn’t? So here’s my Top Ten for this week: Books that I had strong emotions over.

  1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte Catherine and Heathcliff. I have never felt such adverse reaction to a couple of literary main characters as I have with these two. Wuthering Heights was such an unpleasant reading experience.
  2. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by AN Roquelaure aka Anne Rice This is a three part series. I could barely finish the first one. This is the degrading of human beings in the worst form. I was nauseous after the first book.
  3. Anne Coulter’s Books. Pretty much anything written by this woman tend to get a rise out of me. The best part? I’m Canadian.
  4. If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman Adam and Mia literally put me through on an emotional bender. Their love story is possibly more heartbreaking than “Love Story” itself.
  5. On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta The thing about this book is, it’s everyone’s ugly story all around. But it doesn’t lack the funnies that you’ll desperately need as a respite.
  6. French Kiss by Sarra Manning Severe allergic reaction. This book made me angry in ways I couldn’t even express.
  7. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles This book introduced me to Alex Fuentes – a character who made me swoon and furious in the same breath. His and Britney’s love story was a bit mature, hence more emotions were involved. This book made an eternal Simone Elkeles fan out of me.
  8. Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison My review of this book was short and not so sweet. I believe it went like this:  I hate this book. I hate this book so much I’m giving it 5 stars. I’m a mess. Tears, snots…I haven’t cried this much because of a book.” – my review on Goodreads. 
  9.  You Against Me by Jenny Dowhnam  “It was really hard to find a love story in this book but it was actually love of all kinds. Trust, family loyalty, courage, and then a romance that was very inconceivable but it happened anyway.” 
  10.  Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder Lisa introduced me to the world of verse novels and I haven’t looked back since. It’s amazing how few words can inhibit so much emotions.
  11. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson This book affected me in ways I couldn’t put into words. The grief was truly real and sad but I think the main character’s choices and actions left a deeper impression on me more than the beautiful writing.
  12. Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic This book was a bawl fest of epic proportions. No joke.

Okay so is it bad that I have twelve on this list? Am I missing the point? Lol. Sorry about that.

November New Releases

Hey guys! As promised, here are the new books that are on my radar for the month of November.

Dark Eden by Patrick Carman – November 1st
Crossed by Ally Condie – November 1st
Last Breath by Rachel Caine – November 1st

Liar’s Moon by Elizabeth A. Bunce – November 1st
Prized by Caragh M. O’Brien – November 8th
The Sharp Time by Mary O’Connell – November 8th

Don’t Expect Magic by Kathy McCullogh – November 8th
The File on Angelyn Stark by Catherine Atkins – November 8th
Hush, Hush (The Graphic Novel) by Becca Fitzpatrick – November 8th

Darker Still by Leanna Renne Hieber – November 8th
A Love by Any Measure by Killian McRae – November 8th
Breathe by Melanie McCullogh – November 11th
Wherever You Go by Heather Davis – November 14th
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi – November 15th
Lightbringer by K.D. McEntire – November 15th

Death Watch by Ari Berk – November 15th
The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff – November 15th
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting – November 15th

The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler – November 21st
Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Veguie – November 22nd
Belle’s Song by K.M. Grant – November 22nd

I’m pretty positive I’m missing a whole lot of books here so feel free to let me know which ones in the comments!

…Oh and keep scrolling down. Eight letters, starts with G ends in Y.
RafflecopterSettings = { raffleID: ‘MmM3YzYyMmUzYTNlOGU5OTMzMGFhOGNhOWNjMDkwOjQ=’ };

Review: Cross My Heart by Katie Klein

Publication Date: March 14th, 2011
Kindle Edition

Add Cross My Heart to your Goodreads shelf!

True love can blossom in unexpected places. This is Jaden pretending not to notice. . . .

Jaden McEntyre and Parker Whalen are a wrong fit from the start. Jaden is driven and focused, Harvard Med School within reach. Parker has a past-a reputation-and the rumors about his mysterious habits abound. So there’s no reason why, when they’re assigned to work together on a project in English, they should discover they have anything in common, or even like each other, and they definitely shouldn’t be falling in love.

As they bond over Edith Wharton’s tragic novella, Ethan Frome, the “bad boy” vibe Parker plays begins to dissipate. Soon, Jaden finds herself shedding her own “good girl” image: sneaking around to be with him, confiding in him, and ultimately falling hard for this leather-wearing, motorcycle-driving loner who plays into the rebel stereotype.

Still, Jaden can’t shake the feeling that there’s more to Parker than he’s letting on. He’s hiding something from her, and discovering the truth means reconciling the Parker she’s grown to love with the person he really is. Because it’s possible that his life inside the classroom-everything Jaden knows-is one, massive lie.

Once in a while, an unassuming book comes across my shelf that I usually put off reading until the mood strikes me. For Kindle copies, I hold off even longer. I am not a big fan of e-books; I’ve said this over and over again. I love the feel of rifling through the pages when I have this urge to re-read scenes.

Cross My Heart has been sitting in my iPad waiting for the day when I was desperate enough to read something. No offense meant. Well, desperate times called for desperate measures. We were at a house party on Saturday night and I was bored out of my wits. I carry a book in my purse anywhere I go but I sure as heck do not carry the iPad in my purse. I thought that bringing a book out would be ruder in front of company than reading on my iPhone. So I pretended to check my phone the entire night, all the while reading the itty bitty text on the Kindle app. Subtle.

I’m happy to say that all the squinting was well worth it.

Let me break down what Cross My Heart is all about.

Girl. Pretty. OCD. Safe.

Boy. Aloof. Bad rep. The complete opposite of safe.

You put them together and what do you get?

A funny, sweet, romantic, heartfelt and unforgettable read, that’s what!

I’ve never been more inclined to re-read a book shortly after reading this. In fact, that’s what I did as soon as I finished wiping my wet, snotty face.

I mean, come on. There’s really nothing special about the plot. We’ve read them all before. Good girl falling in love with a bad boy. But you know what? There’s just something about the way Ms. Klein’s take on this tiresome plot that made me feel so besotted with this book.

First of all, the main characters are both intelligent. You will not be annoyed with the insipidness of the dialogues normally found on books in this setting. But at the same time, the author did a phenomenal job by making them sound their age. The snark between these two were funny – kind of like watching a comedic but clever verbal-tennis match.

Ten bonus points also goes to the writer for having an active family supporting the MC. Good for you! I also love that there were no token insidious mean girls in attendance; instead, you’ll find a couple of besties who stuck with Jaden through and through.

All in all, this book was a bundle of surprise. It made me laugh and it made me cry a whole lot. But I cry at a drop of a hat, so…*shrugs*

It doesn’t matter. I’m so happy to have found this romance gem! It will pull at your heartstrings and will clog your throat with lumps the size of a golf ball. It always makes me happy when a book is written so wonderfully well that I probably miss all the things that I nitpick about on my usual reviews. Perhaps there isn’t even any.

Regardless, this book will be one of those I go back to over and over again.


October Rewind

Can you believe October’s almost gone? While this month hasn’t been as productive of a reading month for me, I can’t say I lazed away the month. October was still busy nonetheless.  I’m going to keep striving to make this blog better and will try my absolute best to keep giving honest and impartial reviews. Although at times I find it hard to be candid for fear of backlash, I just have to keep reminding myself that anything less would be dishonest and a waste of your time and mine. As well, I know I could go on and on with my reviews of some books but I can’t apologize for that. Sometimes, books just leave an impression on me, so much so that it becomes a rant. But hey, I did warn you (Joyous Reads: Romance, Reviews, Rants). 
So this month, A.J. of Collections created a blog for Melina Marchetta’s fans. For those of you who doesn’t know, Melina Marchetta is, hands down, my favorite author of all time. I’m so grateful she included me as a contributor for 132 Minutes! I’ve managed to post a review for one of my favorite among her books which is,  On the Jellicoe Road. If you guys have some time to check us out, please do so and leave us some love. If you’re not familiar with any of Ms. Marchetta’s books, don’t fret. We’ve planned to give out a complete library of her works in the near future, so watch out for that!
I did say I had a so-so reading month for October didn’t I? You’re probably sitting there scoffing because 17 books is hardly unproductive at all. But try to understand, I used to average at least 24 books a month. October just kicked my butt, that’s all. I was busier with family stuff and I guess, real life. 

October 2 – Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett
             5 – Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
             8 – The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski
            11 – The Fairie Ring by Kiki Hamilton
            11 – The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
            13 – Eve by Anna Carey
            14 – Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer
            16 – Remembrance by Michelle Madow
            16 – Tempest by Julie Cross
            17 – The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
            20 – Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
            22 – Exiled by M.R. Merrick
            22 – The Merchant’s Daughter by Melanie Dickerson
            26 – Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel
            28 – On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane
            30 – Cross My Heart by Katie Klein
            30 – Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Average rating for October:  3.052 Stars 


I had quite a busy month for giveaways!

A.J. won copies of Half-Blood by J Armentrout & Amplified by Tara Kelly
Valerie, Melissa Rob & Identity Seeker won copies of The “What If” Guy by Brooke Moss
Lori M. Lee won The Darkest Powers Trilogy by Kelley Armstrong 
Sarabara081 won copies of The Caster Chronicles trio by K Garcia & M Stohl
Carissa St. Armand won a copy of Enthralled by K Armstrong and M Marr 
TheJay2XA won a signed copy of Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Spav won copies of Raised by Wolves by Trial by Fire by J L Barnes
Kristina Shields won a copy of How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
Congratulations everyone! I know I promised a huge box of books for November but I think I’m going to have to postpone that giveaway until Christmas. But not to worry, I’m going to do something different for November with giveaways so, again, you must stay tuned for that. 

  • I’ve got a blog tour of Entice Me by Lucienne Rivers scheduled for a November 19th stop that  I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of. 
  • For November, I decided to give away copies of books that gets a 5 star rating on my reviews. Details of the giveaway will be announced as soon as I figure out my schedule. I’ve been told I’m a nitpicker type of reviewer so, who knows, there might not even be any 5 star books in November! *insert evil laugh here* 
  • Also, Shopping List for November will be posted so here’s your first chance to grab a copy/copies(?) of books that you’re dying to read for November!
That’s about what I was up to in October. 
How was yours?

Review: Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Publication Date: October 18th, 2011
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, 528 pages
Add Beautiful Chaos to your Goodreads TO-READ shelf!


Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena’s Claiming. Even Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals is affected – and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What – or who – will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?
For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He’s being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn’t by Lena – and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself – forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn’t know why, and most days he’s too afraid to ask.
Sometimes there isn’t just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there’s no going back. And this time there won’t be a happy ending.


Things have never been the same in this mystical Carolina town ever since Lena’s Claiming. The Day of Reckoning seems to be upon them.

The plague of insects infesting every inch of town. The nightmares and the panic. Casters who couldn’t control their powers, or use them at all. A river of blood…

Ethan is convinced that The One Who is Two will be the one to restore the Order. They just have to figure out who it was before time runs out for Gatlin and for the entire world.

Let me just get my bearings here…

I can’t believe I have to wait another year for the next book of this series. This is complete torture. I don’t know if I’ll survive that long. The ending made a basket case out of me. It made me mad and sad and just…gah!

Okay. I’m done.

Here’s what I thought.

When I started this series, I’ve considered Ethan as a younger brother I was very protective of. By the end of Beautiful Darkness, I started having some really disturbing feelings toward this boy. I’m ashamed to admit, that after reading Beautiful Chaos, I now have a full blown literary boy crush in the person of Ethan Lawson Wate. He finally grew up and has developed a more masculine personality and voice!

I have no clue how to describe the anxiety I felt while reading this. The amazing writing duo of Garcia & Stohl did an incredible job of never letting the reader get too comfortable. Even through the tender moments between Ethan and Lena, there was always this shrieking alarm in my head telling me that these kids were about to be put through an emotional torment. And by the end of this book, I may have cried as much as Lena did. Melodramatic, much? Read this book. You’ll see.

I’ve always had a hard time with serial books. The lag of time between publishing remains a stumbling block for me. It’s hard to jump back into its world without having to go through a quick refresher course. It takes me quite a bit of time before I pick up an installment to the series – more often, to a point where I wait for it to be completed before I dive back in. Well, that is not the case here. Page one threw me into the series like I just finished its predecessors yesterday. Just like that, I’m back in Gatlin – hotter than Amma’s kitchen and more magical than Ravenwood.

The authors didn’t spend a lot of time rehashing what had happened in the last two books. Maybe it’s because I loved this series so much that the books seemed like they’re still fresh reads. And in any case, Garcia and Stohl will not guide you back in slowly, they’ll THROW you back in. So if you’re not as big of a fan as I am, be prepared for some forehead-crinkling moments.

I don’t know how the dynamics of this writing duo work but I’m continually awed that they’re able to keep Ethan’s voice true and consistent through the entire series. I’d imagined it’s tough having two sets of writing personalities writing one character. How they’re able to combine their impressive skills and not overpower the other just completely amazes me.

Ethan was not the only character that has improved in one way or the other in this series. Most notably, John Breed. Until about a quarter to the end of the book, it was difficult to ascertain whose side this caster was on. But I am looking forward to reading more about him in the next book. The Caster Chronicles truly has one of the most well-developed, multi-dimensional set of characters I’ve read as of yet – with the exception of one, in my opinion. Ethan’s dad. His role was almost non-existent in Ethan’s life. Now that he joined the land of the living again, he’s back to teaching and therefore gone for the most part of the book. He pops in once in a while, but regrettably, he had a diminished role as a father. It was pretty sad that Ethan, knowing what he knew and what he was about to do, couldn’t even give his father a proper adieu.

The secrets everyone kept from each other was extremely frustrating. Sometimes, the intensity of frustration got to a hurl-the-book-across-the-room level. But in this case, I managed to calm myself down because the secrets added to the mystery and suspense of which this series is known for. So even though I wanted to shake Amma so bad and hit Ethan with the one-eyed menace over the head with repeatedly, I was able to appreciate the eventual reveal more.

Ethan and Lena’s relationship remain intense and beautiful. Maybe it’s because of their ability to talk telepathically, but this gave them a more poignant connection – which makes for an even more intense heartbreak. I’ve never been more prone to contacting the writers with some very harsh words along the lines of, “For the love of God, give me an HEA!”


With the combination of magic, mysticism, Religion and the real milieu of the good ol’ South, the third book of The Caster Chronicles left me breathless. Unrelenting suspense, beautiful writing and unforgettable characters kept me in constant wondrous state until the very last page. I will do just about anything to get an early copy of the fifth book. Absolutely amazing. 


IMM #12

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren. This is the twelfth episode of HOARDERS, Books Edition.


Many thanks to Candlewick Press for these books!

ANGEL BURN by L.A. Weatherly
STORK by Wendy Delsol
TANTALIZE by Cynthia Leitich Smith


I simply couldn’t help myself. 
On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane (Read my review here)
Red Heart Tattoo by Lurlene McDaniel

ANGEL FIRE by L.A. Weatherly
FURY by Shirley Marr
ON THE FRINGE by Courtney King Walker
DARK INSIDE by Jeyn Roberts
BATTLE FATIGUE by Mark Kurlansky
MASTIFF by Tamora Pierce
SEIZURE by Kathy Reichs
A MONSTER CALLS by Patrick Ness
What’s in your mailbox?

Review: On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane

Publication Date: December 27th, 2011
Format: E-ARC from Net Galley

“The choices I had made led to the moment when fate took over. I would learn a lesson I wasn’t prepared for.
And Death would be my willing teacher.”

Five years ago Abbey Chandler cheated Death. She survived a horrific car accident, but her lucky break came at the expense of her mother’s life and changed everything. After she crossed paths with Death—by taking the hand of an ethereal boy made of clouds and sky—she would never be normal again.

Now she’s the target of Death’s Ravens and an innocent boy’s life is on the line. When Nate Holden—Abbey’s secret crush—starts to climb Alaska’s Denali, the Angel of Death is with him because of her.

Abbey finds out the hard way that Death never forgets.


On a Dark Wing is a story about Abby Chandler’s encounter with Death and Death’s obsession with her soul. On the day that Abby was supposed to die, her mother made a deal to take her place instead. That set up her life-long connection with the Grim Reaper (Death), which incidentally, she was unaware of.

Death seems inescapable in Abby’s life – mostly because she lives in a funeral home. A bit of an overkill, I know, given the theme of this book. But I could honestly say it added to the spooky ambience and main character’s obscure personality.

Abby has a whole slew of insecurity issues. To some, she may even come off as a petulant, whiny teenager. But this didn’t deter me from her liking her. The root of all her self-deprecation goes as deep as bearing the guilt over her mother’s death. In some ways, I found it redeeming that she drew strength from her weaknesses; using them as an armor to pad her none-existent self confidence. Abby’s voice come off even more authentic as I got to know her. The workings of her mind read like that of a confused, constantly tortured teen. She has a difficult life at school and even more difficult life at home. Her relationship with her father is, on a good day, strained and contemptuous on a worst day. But what I like was that they never stopped trying no matter how tensed their relationship were.

She got constantly bullied for reasons other than being weird. But she stood up for herself with her sharp mind and equally sharp tongue. She cared so little about being an outcast. Her one and only friend was a boy in a wheelchair who was a constant crusader in her defense. To top it all off, she’s perpetually disgusted with her body. For some readers, she could be considered as the quintessential anti-heroine…but not for me. Her flaws were endless which made her more real and so easy to identify with.

I could never understand how an author manages to convince the reader to root for a romance that in reality, would be next to impossible to come into fruition. Take Nate and Abby. They’re poles apart. The unobtainable and the loser. I wish Nate’s character wasn’t so one dimensional – because perhaps, I could’ve developed a fondness for this pairing. Abby was entirely obsessed with Nate; so much so that she has created a Nateworld in her head. I’m trying to remember how I was at Abby’s age and yeah. I get it. To love someone so out of your reach to the point of spending every waking and sleeping moments thinking about that person isn’t really healthy but I understood where she was coming from. I’ve been there. But like I said, I just wish I knew WHY. What is it about Nate? In the end, I never really got to know Nate. Cryptic, much? My main issue with this is that there was such a huge build up over this one-sided romance. In the end…well…I was a deflated balloon. BUT! But. I liked the EVENTUAL ROMANCE in this book.

I’m also a bit put off with the multi-person POV. Call me simple, but when I read, I like focusing on one person’s take on the story. I like having that nagging feeling of not knowing what the other character was going through. (I could never begin to explain why I loved Melina Marchetta’s multi-person POV…and I’m not even going to try). I am also not a fan of switching from first person to third. It tells me that the author is unable to give each person their unique voices, hence the switch…but what do I really know?

For the better part of Nate’s POV, I learned that Abby was right. He doesn’t know she exists. He’s only focused on climbing Denali. If you’re not into mountain climbing, being inside his head was, for the most part, boring. You learn so little about him.

Death seems so harmless from someone who brings an end to everything. He sounded more evil in the synopsis than his actual portrayal in the book.
If you ask me, the creepy facets of this book came primarily from the author’s writing. It was in the way she described how it was like to have dead people in the basement waiting for spring thaw so they can be buried. It was in the way a murder of crows seems to appear whenever Abby was alone. It was in the way that Abby’s dreams easily overturn to nightmares. Oh! And the bone-chilling way Abbey found out which Nate has been meeting her every night by the fire pit. *cue scary music*

Now, I know I’m going on and on about the ways this book didn’t suit me but trust me, there were a lot of good in this book.

The tangible unspoken grief between Abby and her father was ubiquitous in every scene they have together. It was painful to watch.

The timeline header for every POV switch added a sense of foreboding menace. It almost felt like watching a movie with the ominous music playing in the background.

I applaud the author for the picturesque depiction of the scenery and of the chilly Alaskan climate. This is a great book to curl up to beside a fireplace on a blustery day or night. Although night would be most ideal for the creep factor.

The plot took forever to get going but when it finally happened, the story moved in an unrelenting heart-thumping sequence.

All in all, On a Dark Wing was a spooky but enjoyable read for me. Despite my complaints, I found the story line to be a novel idea amongst all the other death harbinger books out there.

Thanks to Net Galley and HarlequinTEEN for the ARC.

Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Publication Date: October 18th, 2011
Random House Publishing Group
Format: Hardcover, 480 pages
Add Dearly, Departed to your Goodreads!

Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?
The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses.
But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.
In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.

I’ve only managed to read one steampunk book from cover to cover. It’s a genre that I haven’t been able to acquire a taste for. Zombie books, however, is a different matter altogether. I can read those in one sitting – no problem. Dearly, Departed combined steampunk and the horrors of living alongside the undead, so this steampunk book should’ve been much easier to devour. In fact, I was counting on the zombie element to help me get through it. I did finish the book but unfortunately, it didn’t give me the heart-thumping suspense that I look forward to when I read zombie books and did very little to whet my appetite to read more steampunk books.

Immerse yourself in a world where technologies mesh with Victorian civility and tradition. Where gentlemen wore cravats and ladies wore bustled gowns and ride carriages with monitors mounted in the passenger box. Digidiaries were used instead of moleskin for journals and stylus instead of quill pens. The year was 2195; Nora Dearly was just coming out of mourning for her father who died a year ago. Little did she know, that she was about to become a pawn in a struggle for power and revenge between two opposing factions who uses the undead for their own selfish agenda.

The problem with some of the dystopian novels I’ve read as of yet was the lack of explanation for the world’s demise. Some open with the world changed and I’m to accept that world simply ended. Well, that’s not going to work for me. I don’t care if it calls for pages upon pages of narratives, Lia Habel did a fantastic job with her accounts of how the world in New Victoria came to be. I didn’t battle with boredom as I read about the world’s eventual demise. She also took the time to explain how the world reverted back to the Victorian ways of living. I’ve always been a bit gun shy when it comes to scientific explanations but the way Ms. Habel explained how the virus function didn’t sound like wah-wah-wah-wah, to me. It was easy to follow. The point of this paragraph is that the author took the time to explain things and at a hefty 470+ pages, I didn’t expect any less.

Dearly, Departed also has one of the most detailed settings I’ve ever read. Holograms appear in places amidst the prevailing desolate landscape. I am not only amazed with the world building but also with the accurate Victorian clothing and artifacts. Lia Habel’s writing flow smoothly that I was able to identify with the characters quite easily. With that being said, one of the problems I had with this book is the five-person POV. As much as I love details, having all these people telling their stories made for some stilted story-telling. I resisted the urge to bypass everybody else’s POV and go right to Nora’s and Bram’s.

I’ve proclaimed my adoration for zombie books time and time again and have amassed quite a collection (mostly unread). In this novel, there are two types of zombies: the Grays and the ‘awake/aware’ zombies. The latter, very much like the Grays, are dead but where the Grays only crave for living flesh and can only focus on the hunger, the other kind of zombies do not have the same urges. They speak, they eat human food (tofu!) and they feel. My major issue with this book is just that. Aside from body parts and, or chunks of flesh that were missing, Bram’s cohorts were very much like humans. I felt that this took a lot from the zombie element that I was dying to read about. I hate comparing books but Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies version of ‘aware’ undead didn’t feel like they were humans trying to be zombies. They were zombies trying to be humans. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I still enjoyed this book – even if the ending felt like the author was forcing a conflict that could make way for a possible sequel. The romance was sweet and some parts me choke up (I’m a sap, I know!). I loved Nora’s character – fiercely independent and loyal to her friends. A couple of antagonists whose characters were, in my opinion, fillers – Michael and Vespertine (really, what was the point of putting these two in?). The characters that made this doubly enjoyable were Sam and Dr. Chase. I found them funny and sweet.

Steampunk and zombies. Someday, I’ll get used to this. If there is to be a sequel, I’m picking it up.