The Lost Codex by Heather Lyons : Book Review

Storyline Rating : Definitely 5/5 stars, if I could give more….I would.

Series : Book 4 in The Collectors’ Society

Brief Summary from Goodreads :

Allies, once inseparable, splinter until they break apart.
An insidiousness carves its way through Wonderland, challenging the land’s very existence.
Battle lines will be drawn as pages, long languishing in darkness, are finally illuminated.
Swords will clash, blood will be spilled, and lives will be lost.
For what is written can still be erased.


My Point of View :

This is probably one of the best series of books I’ve ever read in my life. It’s my all time favorite as well. Sequels – at least some of the ones I’ve read, don’t live up to the first book and at times it gets worse from one sequel to the next . The Collectors’ Society series, however, gets better and better from the first till the last book. On top of that, all the books are so well-written that I remember it vividly without having to re-read the previous books in the series before reading the final book -which I admit I have to do most of the time when it comes to any stories that goes beyond a book and have read about a year before the sequel is published.

When I started The Forgotten Mountain, I honestly thought it’s the last book in the series. I mean, books tend to come in trilogies these days. It’s not that I wanted the story to end faster or anything like that. It’s just that I could not bear waiting one LONG year to know what will happen to both Alice and Finn (I STILL ended up waiting one long year….). Nonetheless, Heather Lyons did not disappoint with the final book. The Lost Codex is mind blowing, spellbinding and breathtaking. At least that’s how I would describe it if anyone were to ask me to describe the book without spoiling the story.

If you’re reading this review in order to make up your mind whether or not to read this series, please…..JUST READ IT (that is if romance and fantasy are your cup of tea). But since this is the fourth book, you may be reading this review to find out how it ends whilst waiting to get a copy of the book, well……you won’t get any spoilers (even though I normally do the whole spoiler shebang). You’ll just have to find other reviews for spoilers (*grin*).

P.S. Okay……the Librarian’s identity is finally revealed in this book. Wouldn’t you like to know who she is? Yes? Okay……she’s……………………………………..

Favorite Quote :

“I’m always with you. It is what those who touch lives do, Alice. Hearts are not solid, not really. They are mosaics, cobbled together from pieces we take from life and others. Sometimes, certain pieces fall away. Sometimes, we fill them in with new bits of emotions and life. Sometimes, what is there remains, even if the people we took them from are no longer with us. You see, some pieces are more steadfast than others. Those are the ones that will remain the longest. I am in your heart. You were in mine.”

– Queen of Diamond’s Grand Advisor, The Caterpillar

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs, Andrew Davidson (illustrator) : Book Review

14se3jcStoryline Rating : 4/5 stars

Brief Summary from Goodreads :

Before Miss Peregrine gave them a home, the story of peculiars was written in the Tales.

Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A fork-tongued princess. The origins of the first ymbryne. These are but a few of the truly brilliant stories in Tales of the Peculiar—known to hide information about the peculiar world—first introduced by Ransom Riggs in his Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.

Riggs now invites you to share his secrets of peculiar history, with a collection of original stories, as collected and annotated by Millard Nullings, ward of Miss Peregrine and scholar of all things peculiar.


My Point of View :

Not sure what I was expecting since I never did plan to buy the book or to read it in the first place. It’s kind of expensive since it’s hardcover and I thought the short stories would be a waste of time since it’s not exactly related to the main story. Boy…..was I wrong!

The short stories were all interesting and peculiar in their own way. None of the short stories’ ending are predictable and it kept me reading without flipping right to the ending to find out the ending. It captures my attention in a way I can finish all the short stories in one sitting without feeling bored or even overwhelmed of the stories (some short stories compiled in a book that I’ve read have somewhat similar themes – which made it boring. While some, I can’t read all in one sitting due to the amount of short stories included in one book).

I am glad that the beautiful cover compelled me to buy the book (*laughs*). It sounds as though the book cover is actually alive and talking to me, but really…..I have always been “judge-the-book-by-the-cover” person. When the book has a beautiful cover, you will probably see me buying it (especially if it’s cheap or on sale). AND it’s a bonus if the book includes artwork (e.g. this book/series, Confess by Colleen Hoover, The Shadowhunter Codex by Cassandra Clare).

My favorite short stories from the book would be “The Splendid Cannibals” and “The Woman Who Befriended Ghosts”. The former because it’s the first story that intrigues me and introduces me to peculiar fairy tales. It’s not the typical kind of fairy tale that is filled with unicorns and rainbows, but it’s the kind of fairy tale that reminds you that everything we do comes with a consequence – which reminds me of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale (somewhat gruesome). While I love the latter because there’s a bit of romance at the end of the story, and I always love a little bit of romance (as well as a good ending).

If you love the main story, you would probably love these short stories. I realize I didn’t include spoilers of the short stories, so I guess you just have to get the book and read it! Absolutely worth your time (if you’ll believe me).

Favorite Quote : None from this book.

Until Harry by L.A. Casey : Book Review

Storyline Rating : 3.5/5 stars

Brief Summary from Goodreads :

Coming home is hard for Lane. Hard because Harry, her beloved uncle, has died suddenly, but also because of him. Kale.

Kale Hunt has been her best friend since childhood. But it was never that simple. He was Lane’s reason for leaving home and moving to New York. Seeing him with someone else, in love with someone else, shouldn’t have hurt. But it did. It really, really did. So she upped sticks and left, started a new life and cut herself off from her past.

But now she’s back, and all the feelings are right there. As if she had never left.

Emotions are running high for everyone, and tragedy has a funny way of bringing people together. But is Lane reading the signs right? Are they still just friends, or is there something more?


My Point of View :

It has been a long time since I’ve reviewed any books due to my practicum (despite reading so many books during the course of my practicum). This book though, made me feel so much for Lane – her pain, joy and love for Kale. I would’ve given the book a 4-star if I didn’t hate Lane’s family or Kale so much.

Based on the title, you would have thought Harry is the hero of the story. Well….he’s not. He’s the heroine’s uncle. The story started with Lane rushing back to UK from US to attend her uncle’s funeral. Lane dreaded the moment when she had to meet Kale, her best friend and first and only love, but she also regretted for not being there for her uncle when he passed away and not keeping in touch with the rest of her family. So, after Lane’s uncle’s funeral, Lane starts to contemplate if she wants to return to UK and mend her relationship with her family.

The story alternates between past and present. It started out pretty well, and the need to know what happened in the past that caused the rift between Lane and her family as well as Kale, kept me reading on and on till the end. So, I guess the story is pretty well-written. Only, I didn’t like how the way Lane’s family reacted to Lane’s confession of loving Kale. Her whole family (except her uncle) believed it was just a childish crush. I mean, seriously? Even strangers can see that Lane love Kale (*roll eyes*) – by strangers, I mean me. There is also the fact that her family (except her uncle) weren’t supportive of Lane’s decision to leave UK at all, which goes on for the whole of six years she was gone. Here I thought her family really love her but it seems like her uncle act more like the father than her own father.

Then, there’s Kale. Well…..based on all the flashbacks, he is kind of sweet. I sort loved him in the beginning, but after he “forgotten” about THAT night, my heart broke just like Lane’s did. What he did was unforgivable and when he revealed that he didn’t actually forgot about THAT night at the end of the story, I just gave up on the story. At the end of the story, when Lane and Kale finally got over THE talk, they jump straight into having sex. I get that both have them have pent up sexual tensions, but you just reconciled, shouldn’t you at least go out on a few actual dates before jumping into having sex….? Ugh…..
It was okay as a whole, it was well-written to the point where I cried for Lane whenever her heart broke but whenever I think about the ending or Kale….let’s just say I won’t re-read the story anytime soon.

Favorite Quote : None from this book.

Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino : Book Review

Storyline Rating : 2.5/5 stars

Brief Summary from Goodreads :

When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?


My Point of View :

I want to review it, but I don’t have the words for it. So I’ll just go straight to what I didn’t like…

The plot is so-so. I hate the characters :

1) Emiline – She complains too much. She couldn’t believe that no one understands her writings. Complains again. She can’t believe that J. Colby wrote HER story first, AFTER she got all angry about J. Colby publishing HER life story to the world. Did I mention that she was advised to write a book about herself (something like a memoir)? She did not want to explore her traumatic past and thus not writing a book based on her life (not even a fictional one). If I have to compare her to something, it’s probably a bottle of shaken Coke that’s probably going to go “Pop” anytime. She holds so much resentment and anger in her, it is a wonder that she have not gone mental. Despite being a character who was once abused, I could not seem to bring out the sympathy that I normally would for an abused character. I guess I just don’t like characters that are TOO whiny (at least she is whiny from my POV).

2) J. Colby aka Jase – He seems kind of TOO happy-go-lucky for a person that promised another that he would find her but didn’t for 12 years. His way of finding Emiline was to write a fictional book with an ending AND a dedication that she didn’t read until months later after she started the book. I mean….how long does it take a talented writer write a book? 12 years? Even plus minus those years I assume he suffers from working and supporting his mother, it’ll probably just take like 6 or 7 years to finally write the book and find Emiline. On top of that, he claims to love Emiline for 12 years but he slept with a LOT of women including his agent. Makes me wonder if he is having sex to get over some problems (you know….like some books where heroes sex his way to oblivion and forgets the world, which Jase definitely did not sound like it).

I don’t normally give bad reviews because I feel bad for not liking the book. Also I tend to stop reading the book, remove it from my TBR list and not even going to bother reviewing it, but I already finished 50% of the book and so…I finished it because I didn’t want to waste my effort. Seriously though, the plot of this book was not as great as the synopsis sounds and the characters are…well….it’s all explained above.

Favorite Quote : None from this book.

Matched by S.E. Hall & Angela Graham : Book Review

Storyline Rating : 4/5 stars

Brief Summary from Goodreads :

Date, Mate, Fate. The reality show like no other.
Celebrity edition.

Eight men and eight women thrown together in paradise, their every move filmed.

Thorough compatibility testing says everyone’s soul mate is here, in the house with them…but would you know “the one” if you saw them?
One thing a computer can’t do is manufacture love. But in this house, anything’s possible.


My Point of View : 

Have you ever watched The Bachelor or The Bachelorette? No? Then how about reading The Selection by Kiera Cass? Matched’s concept is somewhat resembles those reality-dating shows, only the contestants come in pairs (celebrity + one) and they are playing to find their “soulmate”, as well as winning money that will be donated to the contestants’ selected charity. I wasn’t sure who was the main character in the beginning since there’s no mention of characters’ name in the synopsis. There’s a list of casts (contestants) provided before the story begins, but at that point, I still have no idea whose story I’m reading. Long story short, it’s Harlow’s.

It begins with Oakley, Harlow’s first love, asking Harlow to join a reality show with him. One would think they are dating, but really…they have broken up for a few years due to Oakley’s career as a footballer. Harlow is still in love with Oakley and so she join the reality show to help Oakley – his reason of joining the show is for publicity purposes. Throughout the entire show, Harlow learn a lot about herself and gain new friends, but with the drama that comes along with any reality shows….do you think Harlow and Oakley’s relationship is going to last?

Can’t say I didn’t see the ending coming, though I was surprise the computer matched Harlow and Court together. I thought she and Cruz suit each other pretty well. Overall, the story is interesting – which is obvious since I finished it even though the infidelity thing (e.g. one contestant flirt with another, and then sleep with another, end up with an entirely different contestant) is so not normally what I will read when it comes to romance.

Favorite Quote : None from this book.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs : Book Review

Storyline Rating : 4/5 stars

Series : Book 1 in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Brief Summary from Goodreads :

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.


My Point of View :

I enjoyed reading the novel – surprisingly, since I thought it was paranormal horror genre. The last time I read a horror genre novel (years ago), I had nightmares and lose sleep in the process – (*sigh*) such vivid imaginations I have. Why would I think it’s horror genre, you ask me? Well….the cover is black and white with a creepy looking girl on the cover, you can’t blame me for thinking it’s about some girl haunting some place or maybe some “Conjuring”-like story. That….was until I saw the trailer to the movie. It was nothing like how I thought it would be, it seems like it’s about children with peculiar traits/abilities living on an island protected from monsters that can only be seen by this one boy, Jacob. I really have to stop judging books by its covers – a difficult habit to lose….seriously.

That said AND also finished the first book, it’s still not the kind of book I would normally go for – non-romance. However, I still gave four stars because I love those hauntingly peculiar pictures (apparently they’re real and unedited) that are included into the novel. It helps me imagine the characters better and understand what’s being describe. Even the tone of the writing sounds as hauntingly peculiar as the pictures (not something I can explain, you will just have to read the book if you are interested) – whether it’s intentional or not, it is still a feat.

A bit about the story – Jacob grew up listening to the fantastical tales his grandfather told. But as Jacob grew older, he begin to doubt the credibility of the stories – even when his grandfather showed him pictures. Until his grandfather left him a dying message with his last breath AND Jacob also saw something or rather a monster on the night his grandfather died. Nobody believed Jacob when he told them about the monster he saw, even his parents. Later, Jacob follow his grandfather’s dying message to an island, where he discovers that the tales his grandfather told was….indeed real and he have the same ability his grandfather had – the ability to see hollowgast, which is a type of monster that eats “peculiar” to gain a physical body.

Despite reading the book with no specific expectations in mind, the one thing that I did not expect was time-travelling. There is an alternate timeline to the island where Jacob went, where the same day is repeated again and again for years – a loop. The “peculiar” knows about the loop, but the “commons” repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again not knowing about the loop. I am still confused as to how time continues for Jacob’s original timeline. And I can’t say I understand why there is a loop in the first place, as the children will not age and not allowed to leave the loop for a long period of time or they will die. If they are going to die anyway, they should have died when they should. It’s kind of cruel to keep them from dying but “locked-up” in a “cage”.

At the end of the novel, Jacob and the other “peculiar” children somehow leave the loop to find sanctuary elsewhere under certain circumstances (read the novel to understand, no more spoilers). So, I think I’ll read the series just to see how it all ends. You should probably try reading the novel before watching the movie, as the novel may explain somethings clearer than the movie.
P.S. Miss Peregrine look so much more beautiful in the movie than the book. (*laughs*)

Favorite Quotes : None from this book.

A Game of Chess

There’s a game
We’ve engaged
For years and decades
Unknowingly

Rookie mistakes
One after another
From our youth till we age
Causing constant confusion

Endless rules
Enforced upon us
Follow – we must
Freedom restricted
Are we but a pawn to grammar rules?

Even
The way we speak
The sounds we hear
Scrutinized thoroughly, for –
The power of Queen
Cannot be ignored

Educators, the
Bishop impersonators
Figure of authority
In classrooms, not churches
Imposing rules
Dissecting speech
How do we escape from this eternal hell?

Do we…
Yearn and wait
For Knights in shining armor?
Not the prince variety
It is savior we want
To
Save us
Free us
From this unseen chains

But,
All we can do is –
Take one step at a time
Cautious not to commit crime
Just as the King would do

 Every move taken
Thoughts are given
English is undeniably
A game of chess

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Twisted Bond by Emma Hart : Book Review

Storyline Rating : 4/5 stars

Series : Book 1 in Holly Woods Files

Brief Summary from Goodreads :

Photograph cheating spouses. Hand over the evidence. Cash my check.
That was my plan when I returned home to Holly Woods, Texas, and became a private investigator.
Finding the dead body in my dumpster? Yeah… Given the choice, I think I would have opted out of that little discovery, especially since all three of my brothers are cops. And my Italian grandmother is sure the reason I’m single is because of my job.
Of course, my connection to the victim is entirely coincidental. Until I’m hired by her husband to investigate her murder and shoved bang-smack into the path of Detective Drake Nash. My nemesis, a persistent pain in my ass, and one hell of a sexy son of a bitch.
Shame he still holds a grudge from that time I shot him in the foot twelve years ago, or we could have something. In another life.
So now all I have to do is avoid my nonna’s blind dates, try not to blackmail my brothers into giving me confidential police files, and absolutely do not point my gun at Drake Nash. Or kiss him. Or jump his bones.
All while I hunt down the killer.
Sounds totally simple—until a second body proves that sometimes things that start as coincidences don’t always end up that way…

(Twisted Bond is book one of the Holly Woods Files series and while it does not end in a cliffhanger, it is not a standalone.)


My Point of View :

I read this in the midst of my soon-to-due assignments, I was not suppose to read more than the first chapter – I really meant to read one chapter per day. But after that first paragraph….I couldn’t stop reading. Here,

“I always wanted to be a Bond girl.
When I was seven, I proudly declared to my family that I would one day be beneath Sean Connery on a haystack, a la Pussy Galore. My mother laughed, my father choked, my brothers looked at me like I’d gone batshit crazy, and my Nonna yelled that I would only ever be beneath a good Italian boy, preferably a Catholic, and only on my wedding night.”

Now do you see why? This paragraph says so much about the Noelle Bond’s (the heroine) personality. It wasn’t the plot that really made me kept reading – though the mystery is really a plus, it was the heroine’s personality that kept me wanting more. She’s loud, practically unafraid of anything (even bossy, arrogant males), and eat cupcakes like it’s salad. You can’t help but laugh at some of the things she says.

The story goes just as the synopsis indicates, not much that I can add without giving away anything (I do try not to spoil a good story from time to time). The names given to the character and the town – does Holly Woods even exist in Texas? I should Google this. (*laughs*). I do like that there’s no sex right off the bat…uh….I mean in the first few chapters (they had it at the end of the story….such I long wait). Most romance books’ characters had sex like the 5th chapter or so. But I tell you….the sexual tension is definitely not lacking. It is ever present throughout the story. Fuh….it’s just HOT (*fans my face*).

Though….I do wonder if every couple in Holly Wood cheats on each other….because that’s a LOT of infidelity cases that Bond P.I gets. Is there even true love in this story?

 Favorite Quote : None from this book.

 

How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne : Book Review

Storyline Rating : 3.5/5 stars

Brief Summary from Goodreads :

Amber, Evie and Lottie: three girls facing down tough issues with the combined powers of friendship, feminism and cheesy snacks. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Amber’s story of how painful – and exhilarating – love can be, following on from Evie’s story in Am I Normal Yet?

All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber’s hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.

And then there’s prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie’s advice, there’s no escaping the fact: love is hard.


My Point of View :

I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book, mainly because I won this from some competition that I didn’t believe I would win (I never do have a lot of luck when it comes to winning competitions). Also, I didn’t read the first book either, so I’m mighty thankful that it wasn’t a continuation of the first book.

The novel is about Amber – who is going to live with her mom in US for next 6 weeks, with the hopes of bonding with her mother and escaping her dad and stepmother in UK. When she finally met her mom in US, she found that her mother is a changed person – and not in a very good way. Initially, I chalked it up to Amber having “mommy issues” but later realize that her mom is just not a very good mom. Amber’s mother was an alcoholic, who seems to blame everyone else for her mistakes and choice (which you will find out much later in the story, if you do read it). Amber’s father isn’t all that great, if you ask me. I know her father take cares of her well enough but ignoring her new wife’s and stepson’s atrocious behavior towards Amber….it’s just a big no to me.

During the 6 weeks Amber’s stay in the US, she is to work in this summer camp run by Amber’s stepfather. This is where she met Kyle, another guide working in the camp during the summer. The interaction between Kyle and Amber is pretty cute, however I can’t seem to feel any chemistry between them – despite them having same interest in the same things. I do like the way Kyle treats Amber, but not the fact he kissed another female guide just because he believes that everybody expects him to, which is one of the issues addressed in this novel : acting the way everyone else expects.

The rest of the novel, well….I can’t revealed everything, can I? But I will say that the rest of the story is where Amber explores her relationship with her mom and also Kyle. It is sort of predictable though (that is if you’ve read enough YA novels).
I’ll recommend it to those who loves cute YA romance, but if you are more of a NA/Adult romance lover like me…well…not very recommended.

Favorite Quote : None from this book.

 

Breakdown by Ellie Grace : Book Review

Storyline Rating : 3/5 stars

Brief Summary from Goodreads :

Amy Porter has had a thing for her twin brother’s best friend since she was a teenager. After being considered “one of the boys” throughout her childhood, he’s the first guy to look at her and see past the tomboy she used to be. Unfortunately, he’s also completely off-limits. She does her best to move on as the years go by, but it’s not until her life takes a drastic turn that she finally accepts the fact that they aren’t meant to be. However, as her world crumbles around her, Nate always seems to be close by to help her pick up the pieces.

Nate Miller knows that Amy is the one girl he can never have. No matter how badly he wants her, he won’t risk destroying his friendship, or the promise he made to look out for her when her brother goes overseas with the Marines. As life continues to get in the way and keep them apart, the only logical choice is to give up… but giving up is the last thing he wants to do.

With so many obstacles stacked up against them, can they find a way to make it work or are they headed for a breakdown?


My Point of View :

Such a promising synopsis, but what a let down….(*sigh*). I have always love stories with the heroine falling in love with her brother’s best friend – especially if it started out since their childhood, but this particular story isn’t as promising as the synopsis depicted.

The book is written in dual POV – Amy’s & Nate’s. Amy describes herself as a tomboy since children to which she attributes it to the fact that she spends most part of her childhood deprived of girly clothing (wearing her twin brother’s clothes) and toys, as well as playing with her twin brother and his friends. By the time she’s a teenager, she believes that guys – mostly her brother’s friends, view her as nothing more than a tomboy. So when Nate – who isn’t part of her brother’s childhood entourage, met Amy for the first time and gave her a “look” (which I believe is the start of an insta-love), Amy crushed on Nate….hard.

The beginning seems very sweet and all, but as she reached to her final year in high school, most male population in Amy’s high school have never asked her out due to her twin brother’s warning them away from her – including Nate, who is somewhat attracted to Amy at that point of the story.

Now, I may understand that the Nate in high school is afraid of Dex (Amy’s twin brother), but as the story progresses (which spans approximately 8-9 years give or take), I find it hard to swallow that Nate did not try asking Amy out for the fear of losing Dex. He didn’t want to take the risk until VERY much later. I just hate guys with no balls (*ugh…*).

I have nothing against the story, it’s pleasant but not great (it could’ve been better). It ends with a HEA, but with much less impact that I had initially expected. If you are new to reading brother’s-best-friend-romance, go ahead and give this book a try. It’s not as bad if you aren’t as jaded about average romance stories like I am (and I have read a LOT of romance, mind you).

Favorite Quote : None from this book.