Thursday, November 29, 2012

[Personal Update] NaNoWriMo 2012~!

On November 29, 2012, I finally won the 2012 NaNoWriMo by a hairline! 

The goal was to write 50,000 words in a month and I was able to churn out 50,511 words in 29 days! I don't know about anyone else but I'm pretty ecstatic that I just got through my first NaNoWriMo as a winner. XD

My novel is by no means perfect or even finished. In fact, I'm not even sure if it's going anywhere at all. LOL. I'm only getting a short break before starting the editing phase of the novel, and I might just make it available online for free, as a gift to the friends who supported my writing endeavor.

Whew. I can't believe I wrote 50k words in a month even though I'm in law school, I'm handling a review blog, and I'm a class president. I just feel so accomplished right now!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

[Personal Update] Nano Write-Athon & Law School


First off, I would like to apologize for the lack of updates and book reviews these past few days. I've been trying to catch up on my writing for NaNoWriMo because I'm still 12,451 words away from the 50k, and I've only got four days left.

I'm not really used to being pressured into writing, but since I've churned out 36,549 words so far, I guess the pressure is effective. I just don't know if the novel I'm writing has any direction at all. LOL.

I've written the key scenes thus far but I don't have any idea on how to stitch them all up together. I guess that would have to come during the editing after the NaNoWriMo ends.

It's my first time joining NaNoWriMo actually, and I really want to win. Wish me luck?

Also, law school has been taking a toll on my time to read so I haven't made any significant progress on the books I'm set to review.

I'm currently stuck on reading Sedition by Tom Abrahams. Well, technically, I'm not 'stuck' on reading it because I've been refraining myself from reading. I'm kinda scared that I might not be able to stop once I start reading it. The book is awesome, by the way! It's exactly my cup of tea, and I've immensely enjoyed the first few pages of the book. It was heart-breaking to put it down, but priorities have to be sorted out, so yeah...

I'll have some free time after NaNoWriMo though, and hopefully, I conjure up enough words to qualify as a winner for NaNo. The sooner I reach 50k words, the better. =)

Will post a new book review soon~! Don't worry!

Friday, November 23, 2012

[Linking up] Feature & Follow #05

Q: What blog are you thankful for?

Deadline Dames!
I especially love their tag line: Nine writers. One Website. No excuses.
I found the website because of writer Lilith Saintcrow, and has been 
reading their updates ever since. =)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

[Review] Murmur of the Lonely Brook

Title: Murmur of the Lonely Brooks
Author: Debashis Dey
Date of Publication: November 1, 2012
Genre: Romance
Source: ARC
Rating: 3/5

Barnes & Noble

After marriage Nisha comes to a remote village in the mountainous Tibetan Border to lead a life among a nomadic clan who follow a simple lifestyle with customs and rituals overlapping Hinduism and Buddhism dating back to ancient times. 
Pravin is a private person by nature and is happy to marry Nisha, the girl of his choice. Nisha is liked by everyone. Nisha loves her husband Pravin but also enjoys the infatuation from his brother. She spends her days happily with a perpetually sad mother-in-law Parvati repenting on her past life sins, a short tempered father-in-law Shevak, a love-stricken sister-in-law Ria, a kid goat munching everything, a lamb with a baritone bleat and her husband’s brother Diwakar lost in dreams. 
Everything goes well until Nisha’s life is torn apart by a proposal, and assumed betrayal, by the one and only love of her life, her husband Pravin when he suggests common marriage, an ancient tradition still followed in this region in which both brothers share a single wife, Nisha. The family is supportive save Nisha who is horrified by the thought of sharing her love with someone for whom she has a brotherly affection. 
She cannot protest or disagree as it will make her an outcast and the family will throw her away. Her universe crumbles and she feels humiliated and tormented with the new turn of events. As ancient ways confront modern mores, Nisha will be torn between her values and age old customs in this brilliantly observed novel of ancestral folkways and contemporary families.
Will Nisha compromise her values… or will she fight the age-old traditions?

"And now she knew she could never find love in someone else. She knew the lines she treasured so long from the movie were wrong. There was no use searching for love in someone who was born for her. Even if he existed. Love existed in her own self. Inside her. But to comprehend it, to understand it, to awaken it, she needed the other person. Someone who would pull the right strings that made her sing, someone with whom she could share her feelings, her thoughts, her dreams. It was not just someone with whom she could grow old, someone with whom she could share the murmur of the brook."

Would it be possible for one woman to love two men who are brothers, at the same time?

In Murmur of the Lonely Brooks, the author introduces the culture and practices of the people in the Himalayas. They lead a very simple life and give utmost importance to family. They don’t even need much to be happy.

While the story’s pace was slow and dragging for most of the time, I realized that this was essential to show not only the culture that was presented in the story, but also the development of the different characters. It was essential to show just how different Pravin was from his brother Diwakar, and how different Nisha was at the beginning of the story until the end.

I kept asking myself multiple times as to where the author of this story was getting at because I reached half of the story without encountering any climax or rising action of some sort.

While I really appreciate that the author took time to explain and showcase the way of life in the Himalayas, I was more interested to read more of the actual story; of Nisha, Pravin, Diwakar, Ria, and the rest of the family.

I admit that I got irritated a bit, but I kept reading and pressed on.

This novel introduces two women: the idealistic Nisha at the beginning, who lives and devotes herself wholeheartedly only to her first love Pravin, and the Nisha at the end of the story, the one who grows into someone more mature and realistic about love and relationships.

Ultimately, the ending finally changed the pace of the story and gave me what I was looking for. It wasn’t the best ending, but it definitely satisfied me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

[Review] Mr. Real

Title: Mr. Real
Author: Carolyn Crane
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Adult Fiction
Source: ARC
Rating: 4/5


Barnes & Noble

A steamy romance with seriously lovable characters!

Mr. Real is a real treat for fans of the Paranormal Romance genre! It isn't too heavy and doesn't dwell too much on the mystery aspect of the story, but it makes everything worthwhile come full circle.

Personally, the best thing about this book is Paul Reinhardt. He's an accomplished athlete, a completely virile male and a rising star of professional mixed martial arts fights, but there's also that part of himself which he loathes to an unhealthy degree. It would be safe to say that the author has created a complex yet completely relatable character in Paul.

The heroine - Alix - on the other hand, is a completely different issue. She's stubborn, thick-headed and completely unreasonable. Within the first few chapters of the novel, I wanted to rip my hair off because of her. I mean, come on! If you have your closest friend and the rest of your family reminding you time and again of how much of a problem you are, then there's probably something wrong with you!

However, Alix is also pure-hearted. She is fiercely loyal to a fault and when push comes to shove, she could be counted on to do what's right. I guess, even if she is a little messed up and crazy, she's still a good girl. I admit that I didn't like her at the beginning, but as I read on, she just grew on me.

Oh, and worthy of mention is Sir Kendall, too! He's like James Bond on a completely different level of crazy. Plus, I really appreciated how the narrator allowed glimpses into how Sir Kendall's mind worked. In fact, throughout the story, the narrator gives glimpses of the different perspective of the main characters.

And just as I thought I've already figured how the story would end, a surprise twist involving a super villain is introduced into the storyline! It was awesome and definitely unique all on its own. While I understand that this story is predominantly a Paranormal Romance, the Mystery bit is such a pleasant surprise.

This is actually the first novel of Carolyn Crane that I've read, and I can't wait to read more of her works! I highly recommend this for readers who wish to read a Paranormal Romance novel that's unique and doesn't include the usual slew of paranormal characters (vampires, werewolves, witches, etc.).

- ~ x o O o x ~ -

Sunday, November 18, 2012

[ARC Batch 06] Hellz yeah!

Title: Mr. Real
Author: Carolyn Crane

He finds the girl of his dreams…with the secret agent of his nightmares. 
Alix Gordon is a woman who doesn’t take life too seriously. What’s the fun in that? So when she stumbles across occult software that can bring any computer image to life, she conjures up lots of awesome outfits and accessories. And then, on one drunken, horny night, she conjures up Sir Kendall, the sexy TV ad spy . . . who looks exactly like Paul Reinhardt, the super-sexy martial arts teacher who kicked her out of class three years ago. 
Fighter Paul Reinhardt has good reason to hate Sir Kendall, the character he brought to life to land a part in a TV ad; he’d do anything to forget him. A cross country road trip seems just the thing . . . until Paul finds himself inexplicably drawn to Minnesota and is shocked to discover Sir Kendall - in the flesh - with the girl he’d once loved from afar. He barges into Alix and Sir Kendall’s love nest, determined to stop the madness - somehow. 
But is superspy Sir Kendall transforming into something more dangerous anyone can imagine? And what will Sir Kendall do when Paul and Alix finally give into their mad lust for each other?

Who doesn't love a sexy romance story?! From the blurb alone, I'm already psyched to read Mr. Real! Plus the preeeettttyyyyyy coooovveeerrr is beckoning me!! LOL. 

- ~ x o O o x ~ -

Title: Sedition
Author: Tom Abrahams

The President of The United States is dead. There is no Vice President to take his place.

As the nation slips into a constitutional crisis, a small group of disenfranchised neo-patriots conspire to violently seize power. 
They have the will. They already have someone on the inside. And they have the explosives.

Standing in their way is a woman who listens to conversations not meant for her to hear. She reads mail not intended for her to see. She knows their intention. But can she stop them in time?

SEDITION is a smart, fast-paced, modern day political novel woven in reality and based on the 1820 British plot, The Cato Street Conspiracy.

It navigates the thin line between good versus evil and patriot versus traitor, proving there’s always a reason behind treason.

Oooohhhh!! Action! I love action! You know, the Harrison Ford-ish kind of action. Plus, the main lead is a kick-ass female! What's not to love?!

- ~ x o O o x ~ - 

Title: The Chocolate Kiss
Author: Laura Florand

Welcome to La Maison des Sorcieres. Where the window display is an enchanted forest of sweets, a collection of conical hats delights the eye and the habitues nibble chocolate witches from fanciful mismatched china. While in their tiny blue kitchen, Magalie Chaudron and her two aunts stir wishes into bubbling pots of heavenly chocolat chaud. 
But no amount of wishing will rid them of interloper Philippe Lyonnais, who has the gall to open one of his world famous pastry shops right down the street. 
Philippe’s creations seem to hold a magic of their own, drawing crowds of beautiful women to their little isle amidst the Seine, and tempting even Magalie to venture out of her ivory tower and take a chance, a taste…a kiss. 
Parisian princesses, chocolate witches, patissier princes and sweet wishes—an enchanting tale of amour et chocolat.

I already feel hungry from the blurb alone. Sometimes, I do get the feeling just how weird I really am. Oh, and I smell business rivalry in The Chocolate Kiss! This should be really interesting.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

[Review] The Elementals

Title: The Elementals (Book 1)
Author: Troy Jackson
Date of Publication: October 12, 2012
Genre: Historical, Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: ARC from Author
Rating: 4/5


Barnes & Noble

Upon unifying the seven warring states under one banner, the First Emperor of China began solidifying power for what he envisioned as a thousand-year reign. Using those he conquered, the Emperor began a series of arduous projects, Including the first Great Wall, the Linqu Canal, and a national system of highways. Ignoring the physical and emotional toll exacted upon the people, his insatiable desire to further his own power has led to a growing, and secretive insurgency. One such organization is the Dragon's Spite who wishes to usurp control of the throne by nearly any means. But first they must marshal their forces strewn throughout the kingdom. More importantly they seek out three extraordinary girls who hold vast supernatural powers that can tip the balance in their favor. But do these unknowing heroines realize the talents that they possess? Will the Dragon's Spite reach them before the agents of the Emperor?

The Elementals is a well-made blend of young adult fantasy, China’s colorful culture and history, enlightening Confucian beliefs, and a tale of friendship, hope and bravery amidst hardships.

What I liked about the book is that it blended history with a touch of fantasy. The result is a very engaging read which not only carries the reader to a different time and place, but also teaches wisdom through the application of Chinese (mostly Confucian) proverbs throughout the story.

Also, it is very well-written. I could literally picture out each scene playing in my head like I was transported to another place even though I’m only sitting at my desk. Secondly, the events in this story were also well-planned and well-placed. Although the events may seem like a random mish-mash of scenes at the beginning, everything falls into place at the end.

If I would have to pick characters that I really liked from this book, I would pick Li Jun and Mu Fang, because they are awesome and insanely strong! Then again, I also admire the three heroines, Jiao Ai, Cai and Shi Lin, because they were able to set aside their hate and fight for the good instead.

Personally, this story reminded of the animated Nickolodeon series, Avatar – The Last Airbender. Both touched on Asian culture and imparted wisdom through their storylines. Both also involved the control of elements and the fight against an oppressive ruler.

I highly recommend this for fans of historical novels, as well as those who would like to read a different kind of young adult fantasy!

Friday, November 16, 2012

[Book to Movie] The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Movie Trailer

Jamie Campbell Bower & Lily Collins

The first movie trailer of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones has just been released!

The movie is based on Cassandra Clare's best-selling series of books, The Mortal Instruments. Headlining the said movie are Lilly Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower as Clary Fray and Jace Wayland.

Personally, when Lilly Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower were casted  as the main leads, I was quite skeptical because I have yet to see the degree of their acting chops.

While I've seen them in some movies, they play relatively small roles so I guess, I'm entitled to be doubtful.

However, upon seeing the trailer which was released last November 14, 2012, my doubts were silenced with excitement. I mean, I'm still doubtful, but I'm more excited!

Then again, with Harry Potter already finished and the Twilight craze finally reaching denouement with the last movie installment of the saga, I guess it's but right to anticipate The Mortal Instruments as the next big thing!

[Linking Up] Feature & Follow #04

Q: Books are turned into movies all the time! Turn it around. 
What movie would make a great book?

Jack Sparrow's swag immortalized in a book!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

[Review] Her Italian Aristocrat

Title: Her Italian Aristocrat
Author: Louise Reynolds
Date of Publication: November 15, 2012
Genre: Romance, Chick-Lit
Rating: 4/5 

For some reason, this book has yet to be available on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes & Noble.

On a mission to buy a prestigious shoe company, Australian career girl, Gemma Parkinson, arrives in Italy determined to succeed. But when she falls ill, effortlessly handsome local aristocrat, Luca Andretti, is on hand. Suspicious about Gemma's presence in his town, he offers to let her recuperate in his amazing palazzo. Surrounded by the lavish trappings of the rich – servants, designer clothes, fine food and wine – Gemma is completely out of her depth.

Intent on saving the town's local industry, Brunelli Shoes, from foreign take-over, Luca throws every obstacle he can in Gemma's path. Headstrong, savvy and equally determined to successfully wrestle the company away from him, Gemma fights Luca all the way.

But Luca's life of privilege masks a private world of pain and Gemma has demons of her own. As they come to understand one another, their growing attraction starts getting in the way.

This moving love story involving two people from very different backgrounds is a delightful, contemporary romance in a gorgeous Italian setting.

A heartwarming story of love, prejudices and deceptive appearances!

Let me just say that this story isn't filled with fluff and sweet nonsense just for the heck of it. On the contrary, the protagonists in this story are equally stubborn business rivals. Imagine business rivals being attracted to each other and eventually falling in love!

I found this story heartwarming because it is the tale of two lonely people finding a kindred spirit in each other despite the fact that they don’t seem to have anything in common.

Secondly, this story also shows that prejudices can often blind people from seeing another person for who they really are. This is the very case for Gemma who saw Luca as a mere rich, Italian, aristocratic playboy. On the other hand, Luca thought of Gemma as the heartless businesswoman hell-bent on stealing Montefigore’s famous shoe company.

While love-hate relationships are quite common in romance novels, in Her Italian Aristocrat, the author was able to create complex personalities for the characters which really gave a credible reason for their initial conflict. The love-hate relationship wasn’t added just because they like bickering. It was there because the two main characters were from very different spectrums of society. And I think that the author was able to breathe life into the characters through her words.

One thing that I found fault in this novel is its scene transitions. While some transitions from one scene to another are very clear-cut and well described, some transitions are just blurry and confusing. I found myself leafing back to some pages to read again because of the confusing transitions. Then again, this gaffe is minor and probably depends on the reader anyways.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this story. It was a quick and refreshing read; perfect for people who are looking for light-hearted romance novels involving sexy Italians!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I'm all set for the next few weeks!

These are the titles I'm set to review from October 2012 to January 2013. I'm all set and happy for the next few weeks up until next year! =)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

[Review] In Session

Title: In Session
Author: M.J. Rose
Date of Publication: September 20, 2011
Rating: 5/5

Barnes & Noble

In Session, from international best seller M.J. Rose, features the return of Dr. Morgan Snow, in a brand-new story collection! 
As a therapist specializing in sexual issues, psychiatrist Dr. Morgan Snow isn't easily shocked or shaken, as readers and listeners of the popular "Butterfield Institute" novels know. There are times, however, when the need for her services leads her out of the office... and into unfamiliar worlds. 
In these stories, the therapist matches her wits - and her training - against three men of mystery: Jack Reacher, John Rain, and Cotton Malone. These characters are, of course, familiar to listeners as the creations, respectively, of New York Times best-selling authors Lee Child, Barry Eisler, and Steve Berry. All three swore that their characters would never agree to therapy - unless Rose found a way to get them there. And she did. 
In "Extenuating Circumstances" with Steve Berry's Cotton Malone, a woman seeks help for her lover, and sends Dr. Snow overseas on a most unusual house call. 
In "Decisions, Decisions", Barry Eisler's John Rain forces Dr. Snow out of her own comfort zone, and into the world of a former patient's worst nightmare.
And in "Knowing You're Alive", with Lee Child's Jack Reacher, there are revelations for both the injured Dr. Snow and her unexpected savior/patient.
Note that this book uses the actual narrators from each character's respective series (Phil Gigante/Natalie Ross: Dr. Morgan Snow; Scott Brick: Cotton Malone; Barry Eisler: John Rain; Dick Hill Jack Reacher).
All the proceeds of the audiobook and a share of the proceeds of the ebook will be donated to David Baldacci's Wish You Well Foundation, supporting family literacy.
This crossover of protagonists from different authors is just pure awesomeness!

I'd have to admit that the main reason why I picked up this book was because of Barry Eisler's John Rain. I have three John Rain books and I just couldn't resist not reading this one.

Aside from John Rain, the other thing which made me pick up this book was the fact that it involved a sex therapist. Sex is an interesting yet delicate topic. Most people are still uncomfortable in discussing it openly, so I wanted to see how a sex therapist works.

I was not disappointed in picking up this book!

Dr. Morgan Snow is smart as she is perceptive. In Extenuating Circumstances, Dr. Morgan Snow shows that a sex therapy can be done even outside the four walls of her clinic. In fact, she almost seemed like a spy with what she did!

In Decision, Decisions (OMG! John Rain is here!!!), she crosses paths with John Rain, an assassin extraordinaire who can make his targets look like they died of natural causes. When Dr. Morgan Snow somehow assesses John Rain during a brief walk, she showed a totally different perspective of what his job meant to John Rain. And of course, the awesomesauce ending of John Rain being this stealthy good guy was epic. It totally rocked my socks off!

And finally, in Knowing You're Alive, this time, it isn't Dr. Morgan Snow who gives someone an epiphany. In the person of Lee Child's Jack Reacher, Dr. Morgan Snow learns that needing someone doesn't necessarily mean that you're weak, and being independent doesn't necessarily translate to strength. This message was what really got to me because it's the exact same sentiment I groan when I read about the noble idiocy of so many heroes and heroines in the many novels that I've read! It's just... perfect!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

[Review] Two and Twenty Dark Tales

Title: Two and Twenty Dark Tales: Dark Retellings of Mother Goose Rhymes
Editor: Georgia McBride
Contributing Author: Various
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Ratings: 4/5


Barnes & Noble 

In this anthology, 20 authors explore the dark and hidden meanings behind some of the most beloved Mother Goose nursery rhymes through short story retellings. The dark twists on classic tales range from exploring whether Jack truly fell or if Jill pushed him instead to why Humpty Dumpty, fragile and alone, sat atop so high of a wall. The authors include Nina Berry, Sarwat Chadda, Leigh Fallon, Gretchen McNeil, and Suzanne Young.
Fantasy, magic and horror all rolled into a goody-book!

This book contains short stories based on Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes – the very same ones I've grown up reciting in school, so it was such a pleasant surprise for me to receive an ARC of this book in exchange for a review.

When I started reading, I was reminded of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps because most of the stories in this book are for young adults. And I enjoyed reading everything! The stories are varied and the settings are all different from one another. You get different horror stories from only one book!

The stories range from featuring good old vampires, female warriors, people that can transform into animals (a mouse, a spider and a crow), witches in the woods and even creepy clocks.

I especially liked the story of Little Miss Muffet because you just don’t see the story coming from the rhyme, but then everything falls into place. I also liked the story of Winky, Blinky and Nod, as well as the story about the Black Crow. There’s also that two-part story of Nancy Holder about the Lion and the Unicorn, and the story from Hickory, Dickory Dock.

Aside from being fascinating, the stories also tell about hope, dreams and courage, but of course, there are those that are just plain creepy and scary. Who knew that Mother Goose’s nursery rhymes can inspire horror stories?! And really good ones at that! It’s perfect for fans of young adult horror stories!

[ARC Batch 05] Moaaarrr~!

Title: In Session
Author: Various

IN SESSION from international bestseller M.J. Rose, features the return of Dr. Morgan Snow, in a brand-new story collection! 
As a therapist specializing in sexual issues, psychiatrist Dr. Morgan Snow isn't easily shocked, or shaken, as readers of the popular "Butterfield Institute" novels know. There are times, however, when the need for her services leads her out of the office... and into unfamiliar worlds. 
In these stories the therapist matches her wits -and her training - against three men of mystery: Jack Reacher, John Rain, and Cotton Malone. 
Those characters are, of course, familiar to readers as the creations, respectively, of NYT bestselling authors Lee Child, Barry Eisler, and Steve Berry. All three swore that their characters would never agree to therapy - unless Rose found a way to get then there. And she did. 
In EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES with Steve Berry's Cotton Malone, a woman seeks help for her lover, and sends Dr. Snow overseas on a most unusual house call.... 
DECISIONS, DECISIONS where Barry Eisler's John Rain forces Dr. Snow out of her own comfort zone, and into the world of a former patient's worst nightmare... 
And KNOWING YOU'RE ALIVE with Lee Child's Jack Reacher results in revelations for both the injured Dr. Snow, and her unexpected savior/patient...
All the proceeds of the audio book and a share of the proceeds of the ebook will be donated to David Baldacci's Wish You Well Foundation, supporting family literacy. (
As a law student, I've read dozens of rape cases. I'd have to admit that there were several instances where I found myself disgusted by the circumstances surrounding each case. I don't think I'd ever be desensitized from reading these types of cases.
Anyways, I'm really excited to read this book so I could get an insight as to how a professional therapist actually works! Plus, Barry Eisler's John Rain is gonna be in it! I've got three of his John Rain books, so I'm really psyched!

- ~ x o O o x ~ -

Title: Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey
Author: Various

Transcending its roots as Twilight fanfiction to become a bestselling cultural phenomenon, E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy has fascinated and seduced the world. Whether they love it or hate it, people can’t stop talking about it, and in Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey, Lori Perkins has gathered 50 writers—from romance and erotica authors, to BDSM dungeon masters, to adult entertainment industry professionals—to continue to the conversation. Hear from:

-The editor who “discovered” Fifty Shades of Grey back when it was Masters of the Universe, Tish Beaty

-Writer Jennifer Sanzo, who says Christian isn’t a possessive, bossy control-freak—he’s an old-school Byronic hero

-Master R of BDSM training chateau La Domaine Esemar, who evaluates Christian Grey’s skill as a Dominant, and offers some professional advice

-Matrimonial lawyer Sherri Donovan, who examines the legalities of Christian’s BDSM contract, and shares her recommendations for Ana

-And a lot more!

With sections on Fifty Shades as fiction, BDSM, romance, fanfiction, pop culture, writing, phenomena, and sex, Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey plunges into the depths of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele’s relationship and world to explore exactly what it is about the trilogy that’s put readers in its thrall.
I've read Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. Fifty Shades was also the first erotica book I've ever read. And while I was fascinated by Christian Grey, I was also desensitized from reading too much sex scenes. Now, this specific collection of stories from 50 authors is truly a treat! It's a chance to read how other authors write their own version of erotica!

- ~ x o O o x ~ -

Title: City of Dark Magic
Author: Magnus Flyte

Prague: once a city of alchemists, astronomers, heretics, and--it's even been rumored--portals to hell; it is now the destination of every disaffected, beer-loving kid in a backpack. But when musicologist Sarah Weston accepts an invitation to spend the summer at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven's manuscripts for the wealthy Lobkowicz family, she discovers a city filled not with ex-pats, but with dark magic, where the fabric of time is thin and danger lies around every corner.

Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. Her predecessor may have been murdered, and Sarah finds herself at the center of escalating and dangerous mysteries spanning several centuries. Who is killing off the academics at the museum? What secrets of time travel was a sixteenth century alchemist hiding? Who was Beethoven's Immortal Beloved? What Communist-era intrigue is a powerful American politician willing to kill to cover up?

In CITY OF DARK MAGIC, Prague comes to life with cinematic scenes filled with excitement and intrigue. With the turn of each page, you could find murder, paranormal time travel, a handsome prince in search of the Golden Fleece or a 400-year-old dwarf who holds a golden key that will unlock the city. Rollicking, sexy and wildly imaginative, CITY OF DARK MAGIC could be called a rom-com paranormal suspense novel-or it could simply be called one of the most entertaining novels of the year, which will leave you anxiously awaiting the sequel.
I'm from the Philippines. It's this really small country from Southeast Asia which is full of very hospitable and friendly people. I've never gone out of the country ever. And the only time I could travel to other places in the world is when I'm actually fully engrossed in reading a book. Prague as the setting of Magnus Flyte's book seems like a magical place for me already!

Friday, November 9, 2012

[Linking Up] Feature & Follow #03

Q: Do you mind books with similar ideas to other books? Similar concepts, backgrounds, retellings or pulled-to-publish fanfic?

Personally, I don't, because even if the concepts or ideas are  similar, there are still those tons of differences that can make one story worthwhile and other not so much.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

[Review] The Marriage Mistake

Title: The Marriage Mistake
Author: Jennifer Probst
Publication Date: October 19, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick-Lit
Rating: 5/5


Barnes & Noble

Carina Conte has had a crush on her brother Michael’s best friend, Max Gray, since she was a teenager. Now she’s earned her MBA and come to work at Michael’s new venture, America’s fastest-growing bakery empire. But some things never change: her family still treats her like a child. With three drop-dead gorgeous siblings, she’s still the ugly duckling of the bunch. And Max, the company’s new CEO, still barely notices her.
Max knows Carina Conte is strictly off limits. But hot-blooded lust wins out at a conference when the two share a scorching one-night stand—and are busted by her mother! Now, forced by old-world Italian tradition into a marriage he’s not ready for, Max is miserable—and Carina is furious. Her new husband is about to realize that hell hath no fury like a woman transformed…

A smile-inducing read! Perfect for people who wish to pleasantly stretch out those facial muscles!

While the premise is common, the story most definitely isn’t. The author managed to weave such a common premise into something that is extraordinary and heartwarming, not to mention hot and sizzling.

What I liked best about this novel is that the romance was given ample time to blossom. It didn’t feel rushed, it didn’t feel forced. And the main characters themselves were allowed to grow up and become better individuals. They were made to face their personal issues to learn from them.

Also, one does not simply conjure a perfect romance novel without putting into words the sizzling chemistry between the two leads. In this particular novel, the author added just the right amount of sexual tension plus the actual circumstances to push the two leads to end up with each other. And the taunts! The taunts and dialogues between the two leads are just perfect!

The heroine – Carina Conte – is strong, independent, stubborn and witty. I’ve always been a fan of strong female leads so this story really rocked my socks. And the male lead – Maximus Gray – is just as stubborn, just as independent, but a little bit dense. However, that’s forgivable because he’s a guy, and he did get the girl in the end.

Oh, and worthy of mention are the puns! I personally believe that it’s healthy to poke fun at some things as long as it’s done for purely harmless amusement. This novel managed to poke fun at 50 Shades and Magic Mike. I don’t know about everyone else, but any book that can successfully incorporate witty puns within its pages is a delight!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

[Review] Pure and Sinful

Title: Pure and Sinful
Author: Killian McRae
Date of Publication:
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Humor, Adult Fiction
Rating: 5/5



Teaser: (from Goodreads)
When it turns out your ex was actually a sexy demon sent by the devil to seduce you to evil, you'd think the next guy, no matter what he's like, couldn't be a worse decision. Enter Father Marc Angeletti, a smooth talking piece of forbidden fruit with onyx eyes and a razor wit, and Riona Dade may as well start packing her luggage for damnation now. But come Hell or... well, Hell, Marc, Riona, and demigod Dee Zitka have a mission: serve as a Pure Soul and vanquish Lucifer's minion scum from the face of the Earth to protect humanity from evil.

Oh, and don't get seduced into sin yourself, because a fallen Pure Soul is one of Lucifer's biggest thrills. As long as Riona and Marc can keep things professional and north of the sheets, no problem, right?

Yeah, that worked out great in the Thornbirds, too...

Sassy heroine? Check. Sarcastic male lead? Check. Other-worldly plot? Check. Witty dialogues? Check. Plethora of puns and wisecracks? Definitely check!

I’ve always loved reading witty banters and sarcastic wisecracks. Let’s just say that this book has caught my tickle spot and has made me look like a loony by making me chuckle at odd intervals while I was inside a very public and very crowded café. And no, I do not do that often. Well, in public that is.

I expected this book to be an erotica because of the title and the brief synopsis. Don’t ask why. I just assumed. So imagine the surprise I got when I started reading the book and discovered that it was more than what I thought it would be! And let me just say that the surprise was the pleasant kind.

The best thing about this book? Definitely the jarring puns! I just love the deprecating humor used in this novel, coupled with innuendos and references! The humorous puns range from Captain Kirk of Star Trek, to the cup-size of a Kardashian, even up to Adam Lambert and Lady Gaga!

The characters are all endearing in their own ways, too. You just don’t see a witch, a priest and a demi-god joining forces to fight demons everyday! And one other character worthy of mention is Jerry because he’s one cunning bastard. That is all I have to say about the characters because I’m afraid that I might give any spoilers.

If I could describe this novel in one catch-all sentence, I would say that this is like an R-18 version of Charmed meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer on crack. Basically, it’s the Charmed’s triumvirate combined with Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s kick-ass heroine, plus the complicated love line.

Would I want to read this novel again? Definitely! Would I watch out for the next installment if there is one? Abso-fucking-lutely! I highly recommend this book to readers who would like a chuckle or two, and who appreciate unbridled sarcasm from smartass characters.

Monday, November 5, 2012

[ARC Batch 04] Yay~!

I got some new books to read! Thank you Netgalley/Authors/Publishers for giving me goodies~! =) The bookworm in me delights in all these fresh stories to devour. *nomnomnom*

Title: Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm
Author: Philip Pullman
Publication Date: November 8, 2012

#1 New York Times bestseller Philip Pullman retells the world's best-loved fairy tales on their 200th anniversary

Two hundred years ago, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume ofChildren's and Household Tales. Now, at a veritable fairy-tale moment-witness the popular television shows Grimm and Once Upon a Time and this year's two movie adaptations of "Snow White"-Philip Pullman, one of the most popular authors of our time, makes us fall in love all over again with the immortal tales of the Brothers Grimm.

From much-loved stories like "Cinderella" and "Rumpelstiltskin," "Rapunzel" and "Hansel and Gretel" to lesser-known treasures like "Briar-Rose," "Thousandfurs," and "The Girl with No Hands," Pullman retells his fifty favorites, paying homage to the tales that inspired his unique creative vision-and that continue to cast their spell on the Western imagination.

Oooooohhhh!!! I finally get to read the original versions of the Disney Classics I grew up watching from my childhood! And I'm not so naive as to think that the Brothers Grimm versions of the fairy tales were like Disney's. In fact, I've read a little of the original stories when I was way back in high school. That is such a long time ago, but a re-visit wouldn't be so bad, right? 

- ~ x o O o x ~ -

Title: Kiku's Prayer
Author: Endo Shusaku
Date of Publication: January 1, 2013

Endō's novel is told through the eyes of Kiku, self-assured young woman from a rural village who falls in love with Seikichi, a devoted Catholic man. Practicing a faith still banned by the government, Seikichi is imprisoned and forced to recant under torture. Kiku's efforts to reconcile her feelings for Seikichi and the sacrifices she makes to free him mirror the painful, conflicting choices Japan faced as a result of exposure to modernity and the West. Endō's nuanced view of history is very much on display in this novel: Seikichi's persecution exemplifies Japan's insecurities toward the West, and Kiku's tortured yet determined spirit represents the nation's resilient soul. Yet Kiku's Prayer is much more than a historical allegory. It acutely renders one woman's troubled encounter with passion and spirituality at a transitional time in her life and in the life of her people.

I have always been fascinated by Japan's culture. I am a huge fan of Anime, I cosplay on the side and I love Japanese food! =) Historical novels and stories set in Japan is definitely my cup of tea. 

Call it an irresistible kind of curiosity but I've always been interested in learning about Japan. In fact, I have a soft-bound copy of Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha and has several other soft-bound English versions of books written by Japanese authors. That is not even counting the volumes of Manga I've read. *Hee*

When I saw Kiku's Prayer on Netgalley, I didn't hesitate to click the Request button. Even if it was a slim chance that my request will be approved, I still gambled, because I badly wanted to read the book. Lo, and behold! My request got approved! YAY!!! *squeals in delight*.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

[Review] An Oath of Servitude

Title: Oath of Servitude
Author: C. E. Wilson
Publication Date: September 15, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5

Barnes & Noble

A spell-binding read about finding solace amidst adversity and love in the most unlikely of places.

I gave this story a nearly perfect rating because it deserves high praises. The storytelling is compelling, the characters have depth, and the story teaches us that admitting weakness and fear is not, in anyway, a sign of cowardice.

Personally, I've read stories about fae and fairies before, but this is the first time that I've ever read a story about pixies, or in the Oath of Servitude - pixi.

Unlike most fantasy stories which are premised on the main character fighting off the bad guys to save the world (and get the girl), Oath of Servitude focuses more on the effects of a past wrong done by the female lead character's mother (which by the way, was left vague throughout the whole book), and of course, on the blooming love between two very unlikely individuals.

For me, the best part of this story are the two main characters - Cailin and Teague. While both characters have their personal flaws, they slowly brought out the good in each other as the story progressed.

For Cailin, I was kind of annoyed with her during the first chapter when she was questioning her father's decision because she sounded like a whiny brat. However, as the story progressed, she grew and became this courageous and spunky woman who was not scared to admit her shortcomings.

As for Teague, well, he suffered mental and emotional anguish because of an unexpected accident, hence, he was introduced as a very scarred and troubled young man during the beginning. I think the author successfully described Teague's state of mental anguish in the story.

As for the reason why this story didn't get a perfect rating, well, I thought that the romance between Cailin and Teague was a little bit rushed. I would have preferred it if it was given more time. Also, I felt weird during the part where Teague decided to get out of his usual drunk state just because a female was staying with them. I personally thought it would take a little bit more coaxing for him to snap out of it, or if not coaxing, maybe a metaphorical kick and some spunky words from Cailin herself.

The things I pointed out which seemed weird to me were simply minor things compared to the totality of the novel taken as a whole. The whole story was a pure delight! I loved it. It made me squeal and smile, and worry for the characters. I highly recommend it for fans of young adult, fantasy novels!

Friday, November 2, 2012

[Review] Tales of the Macabre

Title: Tales of the Macabre
Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Illustrations By: Benjamin Lacombe
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Genre: Horror, Psychological, Thriller
Rating: 4/5

Barnes & Noble


I've always been a fan of horror stories, and since Halloween just passed, Tales of the Macabre by Edgar Allan Poe was a perfect choice for a reading material!

Tales of the Macabre contains a dozen of Edgar Allan Poe's morbid short stories. It includes Berenice, The Black Cat, The Island of the Fay, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Fall of the House of Usher, among others.

If I were to choose one favorite story, it would be Berenice, because the narrator starts out showing affection for Berenice, but the whole story ends up in a thrilling discovery of what the narrator has done due to his fixation on Berenice's teeth.

Edgar Allan Poe delivers the stories in such a way that toys with the mind and makes the reader wonder what the story was all about, up until the last part where everything is unraveled and the horror is revealed. When everything falls into place, it's when the spine-tingling fear sets in, and I just love it.

Personally, I find this particular adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories as especially creepy and morbid because it includes illustrations by Benjamin Lacombe. If the reader wants to re-tell Poe's stories to scare young children, the illustrations would be really helpful! Although, of course, I highly recommend that some parts of the stories be censored because of the sensitive content.

[Linking Up] Feature and Follow #02

Q: What is a deal breaker for you in a book? For example, do you abhor love triangles? Or can't deal with bad editing?

My first answer would be bad editing because I just can't stand reading something I want to correct every five minutes. Then, my second answer would be annoying lead characters, regardless of whether male or female. I can tolerate a certain degree of annoyance, but when it goes beyond logic, I'd have to put a stop to it. Well, unless the story is really good then I put up with it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November is NaNoWriMo~!

November is National Novel Writing Month~!

It's a month-long activity meant for readers and amateur writers to show that they, too, can write a novel in 30 days.

I've known about NaNoWriMo for quite a long time now, but I've never really had the guts to join because of my hectic schedule. However, for this year, I've decided to throw caution to the wind and what the heck? Just join NaNoWriMo without thinking much about it!

It's my first time to actually join so I have mixed feelings. I'm partly giddy and partly nervous. =)

What about you guys? Why don't you join?!

If you succeed, you get bragging rights! Plus, a chance for your story to be picked up by publishers! If you don't, well, you can always finish your story and join again next year. =)

[Giveaway] Join now~!

Join YA Society's Kindle/Nook giveaway~! 
Just click on the image above! =)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a chance to win Book 1 and Book 2 of Daniel Black's Saga of the New Gods series~! =) 
The giveaway period has been extended up to November 9, 2012~! 
To know more about this giveaway, click HERE.

[Review] Dark Time

Title: Dark Time (Mortal Path Book 1)
Author: Dakota Banks
Publication Date: July 28, 2009
Rating: 3/5


This is a sexy, action-packed story of redemption and finding peace within one's self.

The whole story itself is a combination of fantasy, action, horror, suspense, mystery and romance, which gave the reader a lot to digest. And I don't necessarily mean that as a good thing. It all depends on what the reader prefers.

Personally, I didn't know what to think about the story because it had too much going on in it. Everything was crammed up in a 306-page book and there were things which needed some time for it to be plausible but then, the heroine was already up and about.

For example, the romance aspect between the heroine and the fed guy. It would have been more believable if the author banked on the attraction phase of their relationship, but they jumped right into the love thing without even knowing much about each other first. The heroine is what? A few hundred years old. She had a few hundred years to know that instant attraction does not automatically mean love.

Second, what kind of woman are you if you bed a guy multiple times without even having feelings for him? And what kind of woman are you if you bedded multiple guys outside of a committed relationship? While I sound old school and I get that the heroine is a very attractive woman, sleeping around with different men is just not the kind of thing that a righteous heroine does.

While I liked the premise of having a demon granting immortality to assassins, and a woman trying to right the mistakes she made, the story itself wasn't that great. I thought it was too fast-paced and too complicated. Having too many genres in a book isn't bad per se, but having too many genres and not being able to decide which shall take precedence in a story is just not good.

- ~ x o O o x ~ -


Have a chance to win Book 1 and Book 2 of Daniel Black's Saga of the New Gods series~! =) The giveaway period has been extended up to November 9, 2012~! To know more about this giveaway, click HERE.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...