Monday, January 28, 2013

[Personal Update] Midterm Mayhem

I have a date on Valentine's Day. His name is Midterms.

Yes, it sucks to be me.

My midterm examinations are coming up this February so I might not post as often as I want to from here on. While I'm up to date with all my lessons, studying for an exam is tedious and exasperating.

I don't want to cram this time around so I'm starting my review for midterms this early. I have an inch thick of cases waiting to be read in one subject alone so yes, I should really start studying now.

Like I've said over and over again, law school has the ability to suck out the joy in any person. Seriously.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

[Blog Meme] Say What Sunday!

The rules are simple:
1.) Pick a quote from any of the books you've read from the prior week.
2.) Name the book and author from where you got the quote.
3.) Give a short explanation why you chose that specific quote.
4.) Link back to Book Junkie Joint through a comment.

Say What Sunday Quote:
“Only the passionate were immortal, it seemed. If you fought, screwed, screamed, laughed, or otherwise experienced life intensely, for better or worse, you left a record. Those who lived a quiet, well-behaved, well-tempered life? Gone without a trace." 
-Sarah Weston, City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte

Reason why I chose this quote:
It's another way of saying "Where is the fun in living by the sidelines?". Once in a while, you have to put yourself out there and do something extraordinary because an action is like a ripple in the pond, it affects even the people we haven't even met. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

[Linking Up] Feature & Follow #13

Q: What is the last book that kept you up late into 
the night just to finish it?

Oooohhh~! Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass! It's one of those stories about a kick-ass heroine. =)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

[Book Review] My Lord Immortality

Title: My Lord Immortality (Immortal Rogues #3)
Author: Alexandra Ivy
Date Published: December 31, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Historical
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 4/5

Barnes & Noble

About the Book:
Amelia Hadwell has no time for London's nightlife. Not when her beloved brother’s odd ways have their family threatening to institutionalize him. And not when she is questioning her own sanity after being confronted by a murderous shadow creature—then being saved by a captivating stranger, a man who belongs to a world she cannot imagine. 
Reserved and scholarly, Sebastian St. Ives has been content without human desires—until they are reawakened by the delicate, brave Amelia, whom he is meant to protect. For the young woman has no idea she possesses the key to a ravenous vampire’s dark victory. Now Sebastian must shield her from both a killer and his own growing attraction—or bond with her completely, and forever...

My Lord Immortality offers a different horde of vampires, and this alone made it worth reading. Following the footsteps of Nora Roberts in creating her own norms for vampires in her books, Alexandra Ivy presents scholarly vampire Sebastian St. Ives, who walks during the day and has completely gotten rid of his taste for human blood.

The story is well-written and the characters are well-drawn out throughout the story. Plot-wise, of course, it featured the usual battle between good and evil, good vampires versus bad vampires, and all that battle for dominance; nothing really fancy, but engaging nonetheless.

However, what set apart Alexandra Ivy’s vampires from the usual slew of paranormal romance books about vampires was that in this story, vampires were alienated from humans through a veil which hid their existence. And by being through the veil, they were rid of their hunger for human blood, and thus, were offered a life to pursue knowledge, research and truth about so many things in the world. Also, by being rid of their hunger for human blood, they gained the ability to walk during the day without being toast.

Another thing distinct about this book is that it is actually a historical, paranormal romance. It is set in London at a time where ladies were expected to behave in a certain way and were paraded in balls in order for them to find suitable men for marriage. Think Jane Austen, and that’s about the same period depicted in this story. This is actually the first time I’ve read a book of this genre, and I sure am glad I’ve stumbled upon it.

Character-wise, I love Amelia and how she defied the societal norms in order to care for her brother. While she could be a Mary Sue at times, I still admire her for her bravery and stubborn streak. Also, I really liked Amelia’s younger brother William and his fascination for cats. William became Amelia’s ‘weakness’ because she cared too much for him, but I don’t think it’s any weakness at all. Any woman who could hold her ground despite societal pressures is an amazing woman to me.

Then, there’s also Sebastian St. Ives. I would have to confess that I love geeks regardless of whichever time period they come from, and Sebastian St. Ives is one hell of a geeky vampire. I’ve read so many books about vampires of ethereal beauty and charm, but this is the first time I’ve read about a geeky vampire who preferred the company of books than seducing women. Well, that and his silver orbs for eyes.

All in all, if you’re looking for a quick read romance story that is wholesome and engaging, I think Alexandra Ivy’s My Lord Immortality is just the perfect choice.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

[Book Review] City of Dark Magic

Title: City of Dark Magic
Author: Magnus Flyte
Date Published: November 27, 2012
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 3/5

Barnes & Noble

About the Book:
Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood. 
Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide. 
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.

First of all, I have to honestly say that the cover is too pretty to pass up and the title is a little bit misleading. At first glance, I thought that this book would be predominantly paranormal-romance since the title has the word magic in it, but I was wrong on so many levels.

The Good.

The mystery bit was really engaging. I love Sarah Weston’s back story, and how ordinary she was up until she received an invitation to work closely on a private collection in Prague. And I love how the lives of so many individuals were tied up because of a series of events in Prague throughout history.

I also appreciate how they incorporated Beethoven’s life and music into the whole thing. It made the story a lot more colorful, in my opinion.

I also love Poli because she’s one very amazing child prodigy. Although sometimes, I do hate the fact that Poli sounds so mature for her age; too mature, in fact.

Nico/Jepp is also memorable. He is one of the characters bringing about the fantasy bit in this story and I love how he’s portrayed as someone very capable regardless of his size.

The Bad.

This story has too many things going on in it, it’s crazy!

First off, the writing is inconsistent all throughout. While I love some parts of the story, there are those parts that seem totally irrelevant at all. For example, the sex-scenes were incorporated into the story just because it can be. No other reason. Sure, Sarah and Max has to be portrayed as having developed feelings of love for each other, but to start things off in a quickie in a very dark comfort room was NOT the way to do it. In fact, all the sex scenes in this story only made Sarah look like a cheap skank who loves too much sex.

Second, like I said, too many things going on. While I do love me some really engaging mystery, the combination of Beethoven, a former CIA operative turned Senator, a quest for the Golden Fleece, a mysterious sensory-enhancing drug, alchemy and that good old family squabble for fortune is just too overwhelming. Oh, and did I mention that hell-holes or magical portals are also included, plus immortal dwarfs and dead bodies dropping everywhere? Yes. Like I said, too much of too many things all at once.

Third, the romance between Sarah and Max felt forced. While I do concede that no two people can go through so much without developing a bond with each other, I just felt that Max and Sarah should have been given more time to sort out what they actually feel for each other, rather than to throw them into various mysterious situations.

My Rating.

I give this story three stars because it was engaging. It’s overwhelming, but otherwise, it was really engaging.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

[Book Review] The Athena Affect

Title: The Athena Effect
Author: Derrolyn Anderson
Date Published: August 30, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Romance
Source: ARC from Author
Rating: 4/5


About the Book:
Country girl Cali has been kept a secret her entire life, raised in isolation by two very troubled people. Despite her parent’s disturbing fits, Cal is perfectly content, living at one with the nature that surrounds her, and finding adventure inside the pages of her beloved books. When an awful tragedy tears her away from her remote cabin in the woods, nothing she’s ever read has prepared her for a world that she knows very little about. 
Girls and motorcycles are what bad-boy Cal’s life is all about. Brought up in a raucous party house by his biker brother, he’s free to do as he pleases, going through the motions on his final days of high school. Aimless, Cal stopped thinking about his future a long time ago. 
Attacked by a gang of thugs while running an errand for his brother, Cal is in serious trouble until a fierce girl appears out of nowhere to intervene. She chases off three grown men, sparing Cal a brutal beating before disappearing into the night like a spirit. He can’t stop thinking about his mysterious rescuer, and when she turns out to be the weird new girl at school who goes out of her way to avoid him, he can’t contain his curiosity.

He’s never met anyone like her before, and the more he learns about the unusual girl who shares his nickname, the more he wants to know. Cal can’t help falling for Cal, but can he keep her from falling victim to a dangerous enemy from her parent’s tragic past?

Perfectly combines the innocence of first love and the thrill of a sci-fi adventure!

Story-wise, genetically modified children of people who participated in science experiments isn't exactly something new. In fact, this is the same prevailing plot in Stephen King's Firestarter. However, the way The Athena Effect was conveyed made it engrossing, memorable and different.

I really loved the two characters as well. They were very different yet they became friends and soon discovered a person to love with each other. Also, the way their interaction with each other was portrayed was very interesting and heart-warming. Seriously, the way that love bloomed between them made me swoon and smile like an idiot.

Also, I think that Caledonia poses serious competition to Katniss Everdeen in terms of skills in hunting and survival. Come on! The girl fought off a leopard and lived to tell the tale! But seriously, I can find myself relating to Cali because she's an awkward turtle in a high school setting. I love how she could look like a complete dork but could actually kick ass when the situation called for it. I would love to read more about her growth as a character!

As for Calvin, I found him really endearing and lovable because he was literally swimming through life without any direction at all, until he met Cali, and that was the biggest change in him as I read through the story. Although he grew up in a not-so-perfect environment, underneath the bad boy persona, Calvin was a good person, and he can be counted on to do the right thing when given the chance.

All in all, I really enjoyed this story! It's heart-warming but at the same time, it's engaging! And I would love to be able to read the second book in this series! =)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

[Blog Meme] Say What Sunday!

The rules are simple:
1.) Pick a quote from any of the books you've read from the prior week.
2.) Name the book and author from where you got the quote.
3.) Give a short explanation why you chose that specific quote.
4.) Link back to Book Junkie Joint through a comment.

Say What Sunday Quote:
“It’s true that if friends can never count on you being there the next time they need you, the place they leave for you might be very small. That’s self-defense. If you abandon people—even if it’s not your fault—they will eventually get over you and find someone else. Good for them. But you’re an adult now, and you can build things as deep and as long-lasting as you want to. I wish you wouldn’t underestimate your ability to makepeople love you.” 
- Aunt Aja from The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand

Reason why I chose this quote:
I found this quote very apt when Magalie was at a stage of confusion regarding her relationship with Philippe. I think it was really endearing how her two spinster aunts understand her so well. And it was a great advice coming from someone she could seek comfort from anytime.

Friday, January 18, 2013

[Linking Up] Feature and Follow #12

Q: Who is your favorite villain from a book?

Hmmm... Villain... It's kind of hard to remember the villains because I'm always rooting for the protagonist. LOL. But then, I would have to go with Lord Loss from Darren Shan's book entitled Lord Loss. Beating him wasn't easy, and he was really cunning to begin with. You have to play chess in five different boards against him simultaneously while your partner has to beat his right-hand man in a physical and magical duel. 

[Book Review] The Chocolate Kiss

Title: The Chocolate Kiss
Author: Laura Florand
Date Published: December 24, 2012
Genre: Romance, Chick-Lit
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 4/5

Barnes & Noble

About the Book:
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.

An enchanting combination of hot chocolates, sweets and a feel-good, fluffy romance!

I love reading about effective love-hate relationships which come from a legitimate and believable conflict between the two characters involved. The Chocolate Kiss gave me just that, and more!

Plot-wise, the whole story wasn't really something new. Admittedly, business rivals ultimately falling for each other has been the done before, but the way the whole story was delivered was definitely unique and magical.

Character-wise, I could definitely understand and relate with Magalie. She's strong, independent and she's determined to make a place for herself. And when something or someone threatens to destroy that small haven of hers, she goes out of her way to show that she's not going to be some small pushover. That's what I really liked about her - that she was brave and wasn't keen on putting up with something less than she deserved.

Then there's also Philippe - the prince patisserie. The way he stated facts about himself at the beginning always sounded conceited and proud. Personally, I found him a little too cocky as well, but he grew on me nonetheless. He's just out to prove that aside from coming from a family of renowned patisserie, he didn't get where he was by his familial association alone. He also worked hard and gave in as much effort as everyone else. When it came to Magalie, he was willing to fight hard to fit into her castle without taking her out of it. And I really appreciated that  in him.

The banter between the Magalie and Philippe during the first half of the story was endearing and entertaining. And while they always bickered, they learned a little bit about each other within each encounter. And the setting is in Paris! It's just the perfect setting for one bickering couple. Plus, it also didn't hurt that they dealt with so many mouth-watering goodies. Reading this story at wee hours of a really cold night didn't help my craving for hot chocolate.

Oh, and the magical chocolate whispers were one of the things I really loved! I also found it quite adorable how this story involved the romance between a witch and a prince.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

[Book Review] The Damnation Affair

Title: The Damnation Affair (Bannon and Clare 1.5)
Author: Lilith Saintcrow
Date Published: November 26, 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk, Paranormal
Rating: 3/5
Source: ARC from Publisher

Barnes & Noble

About the Book:
The West is a wild place, where the poison wind blows and the dead walk. But there is gold, and whiskey, and enough room for a man to forget what he once was--until he can no longer can. 
Jack Gabriel's been the sheriff in Damnation almost since the town grew out of the dust and the mud. He keeps the peace--sort of--and rides the circuit every dawn and dusk with the chartermage, making sure the wilderness doesn't seep into their fragile attempt at civilization. Away from the cities clinging to the New World's eastern rim, he doesn't remember what he was. At least, he tries not to. Good enough. 
But Damnation is growing, and along comes a schoolmarm. Catherine Barrowe is a right proper Boston miss, and it's a mystery why she would choose this town where everything scandalous and dangerous is probably too much for a quality lady like her. Sometimes the sheriff wonders why she came out West--because everyone who does is running from something. He doesn't realize Cat may be prickly, delicate, and proper, but she is also determined. She's in Damnation to find her wayward older brother Robbie, whose letters were full of dark hints about gold, trouble...and something about a claim. 
In a West where charm and charter live alongside clockwork and cold steel, where hot lead kills your enemy but it takes a blessing to make his corpse stay down, Cat will keep digging until she finds her brother. If Jack knew what she was after, he could solve the mystery--because he was the one who killed Robbie. 
The thing is, Cat's brother just won't stay dead, and the undead are rising with him...

A unique combination of steampunk, zombies and magic!

Lilith Saintcrow is one of my most favorite authors. I especially loved her Dante Valentine series, so I was pretty ecstatic when I chanced upon the ARC of The Damnation Affair in exchange for an honest review.

The beginning was of the story was slow. Actually, the whole first half of the story was slow except a few scenes which almost always included the banter between sheriff Jack Gabriel and Catherine Barrowe. I like how they always seem to clash but the chemistry was brewing beneath the surface. I also find Cat’s references to ‘her mother’s greet the peasants smile’ and other lessons of manner quirky and definitely unique.

The story was well-written and the minor details were clearly fleshed out. I love how the author filled in the details so well that I could just imagine everything happening. And each of the characters were distinct from each other.

Personally, I’d love to know more about Li Ang and baby Jonathan. The idea of having a Chinese girl in the middle of the Wild West is certainly different than usual.

Lastly, while the combination of steampunk and zombies is fairly new to me since this is the first book that I’ve ever read featuring such combination, the story taken as a whole, wasn’t as engaging as I hoped it would be. But hey, if one is looking for something different to read, then this definitely is one of those.

Monday, January 14, 2013

[Book Review] The Killing Dance

Title: The Killing Dance
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Date Published: April 4, 2006
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Mystery
Source: Purchased Copy
Rating: 4/5

Barnes & Noble

About the Book:
Dating both a vampire and a werewolf isn't easy. But just to complicate Anita's already messy life, someone has put a price on her head. Love cannot save her this time, so she turns to Edward, hitman extraordinaire, for help. But finding the person behind the threat won't be easy, because as both a vampire hunter and zombie reanimator, Anita has made a lot of enemies-both human and otherwise.

Whenever I need an engrossing read to momentarily escape the boredom that is the real world, I stick to my favorites, and a Laurell K. Hamilton book is certainly one.

As always, the book is well-written and the suspense is maintained throughout the story. Aside from the mystery bit, the shift to erotica was a little bit disturbing at times, especially those happening to the bad guys, but nothing majorly off-putting. The mystery and action bits were enough to keep me reading throughout the night.

As for the characters, Jean Claude is consistent in being the cunning bastard that he is, and that is what I liked about him. Consistency. That, and his momentary bouts of humanity when it came to Anita. The thing is, Jean Claude perfectly depicts how intelligent people (in this case, a vampire) can become mindless idiots when it comes to love and all that romantic whatchamacallits. And it also doesn’t hurt much that Anita always stresses just how beautiful he is.

Richard, on the other hand, seems too humane. In contrast to Jean Claude, Richard holds on to his morals like a lifeline. He wouldn’t kill even if it meant providing security for the people/creatures that depend on him. Choosing not to kill even though he has the power and the motivation to do so is admirable, but when villains are being a huge pain in the ass, personally I’d move for the kill.

And of course, Anita Blake, the kick-ass heroine of the story. She is a huge contradiction all on her own. I love that she knows her own frailty – the fact that she’s a human surrounded by vampires and were-folks that are all much stronger than her. It keeps her guarded and always alert when it comes to danger. That also explains why survival is quite high on her priority.

However, I don’t like the fact that she doesn’t know what she really wants! First, between Jean Claude and Richard. When Jean Claude gave her the freedom to choose, she should’ve chosen who she really wanted to be with. Right from the start of the book, she had been on Team Richard! I was on Team Richard, too, by the way. But instead of choosing and making up her mind, she didn’t! She just had to see how Richard looked when he changed, only to get so disturbed and end up making a half-assed decision to sleep with Jean Claude, which ultimately defined her choice between the two. Yep, even if she kept on saying how much she loathed the cunning bastard that is Jean Claude, she ended up choosing him anyway. And this was mainly because she can’t accept all of Richard even though he already sacrificed so much for her. This made me realize that maybe, Anita didn’t really love Richard wholeheartedly. Personally, I believe Richard deserves someone better.

Anyways, although I’m not that satisfied with the storyline, the book did keep me engrossed and I highly enjoyed the fight scenes, so yes, I give this book four stars.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

[Blog Meme] Say What Sunday Debut!

Today is the debut of Book Junkie Joint's very first Blog Meme called Say What Sunday!

The rules are simple:
1.) Pick a quote from any of the books you've read from the prior week.
2.) Name the book and author from where you got the quote.
3.) Give a short explanation why you chose that specific quote.
4.) Link back to Book Junkie Joint through a comment.

Say What Sunday Quote:
Cinderella was such a dork. She left behind her glass slipper at the ball and then went right back to her stepmother's house. It seems to me that she should have worn the glass slipper always, to make herself easier to find. I always hoped that after the prince found Cinderella and they rode away in their magnificent carriage, after a few miles she turned to him and said, "Could you drop me off down the road please? Now that I've finally escaped my life of horrific abuse, I'd like to see something of the world, you know? Maybe backpack across Europe or Asia? I'll catch back up with you later, Prince, once I've found my own way. Thanks for finding me, though! Super-sweet of you. And you can keep the slippers. They'll probably cause bunions if I keep wearing 'em."
Maybe the prince would be relieved. Maybe he was tired of being asked who he was going to marry. Maybe all he wanted to do was go back to his library and read a hundred books, only everyone kept interrupting him, telling him he couldn't ever let himself be alone.
- Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Reason why I chose this quote:
I agree with both paragraphs in the quote. First, if I were Cinderella, I would love to grow as a person first before finally settling down with my prince charming. Second, I'd probably be annoyed and irritated if everybody always prodded me to get married.

Friday, January 11, 2013

[Linking Up] Feature & Follow #11

Q: If you could choose one supernatural being/creature to really exists what would it be and why? ex. fae { submitted by @SeeingNight }

Hmmm... Now, that is a tough question! I guess I would choose Angels? I'm kind of scared of demons, vampires and werewolves because they might hurt people, but angels are good so I choose angels!


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

[Book Review] Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Title: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Authors: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Date of Publication: October 5, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: 4/5

Barnes & Noble

About the Book:
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”
So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions? 
Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

Cinderella was such a dork. She left behind her glass slipper at the ball and then went right back to her stepmother's house. It seems to me that she should have worn the glass slipper always, to make herself easier to find. I always hoped that after the prince found Cinderella and they rode away in their magnificent carriage, after a few miles she turned to him and said, "Could you drop me off down the road please? Now that I've finally escaped my life of horrific abuse, I'd like to see something of the world, you know? Maybe backpack across Europe or Asia? I'll catch back up with you later, Prince, once I've found my own way. Thanks for finding me, though! Super-sweet of you. And you can keep the slippers. They'll probably cause bunions if I keep wearing 'em." (-Lily) 
Maybe the prince would be relieved. Maybe he was tired of being asked who he was going to marry. Maybe all he wanted to do was go back to his library and read a hundred books, only everyone kept interrupting him, telling him he couldn't ever let himself be alone. (-Dash)

A hilariously delightful boy-meets-girl-in-an-unconventional-way-and-then-some kind of story!

ZOMG. Where can I find my own Dash?!

I was supposed to read this book last December 2012, but I kept putting it off because of so many things. Mainly because the holidays was such a busy time for me. Now, that I've actually finished reading it, I regret not reading it sooner!

The beginning was slow. Well, for me it was slow because both Lily and Dash has this habit of ranting on and on about so many random things one after the other inside their heads. As each chapter was written on their point-of-view alternately, you can just imagine how their thoughts can go astray in a matter of seconds. However, I felt that the beginning was necessary for the reader to get fully acquainted with the protagonists. Personally, the beginning helped establish the characters.

Dash and Lily are also very lovable characters. They couldn't be more different yet they found a kindred soul in one another. They're not your average angsty teens who rebel at the smallest opportunity. Well, they have their own problems, but you don't see them wallowing in sorrow over them. Also, they are very relatable because both of them have their own quirks that make them unique. They are exactly your average teenagers; they are still trying to figure out where they were supposed to fit in.

Early in the story, I already found myself leaning towards Dash because I'm a little bit of a sapiosexual. And no, sapiosexual doesn't mean anything dirty. It just means I get attracted to intelligent people. Dash sure is intelligent, although a bit of a smartass at times, but still kind and charming. And I admit that I pretty much sounded like a freak because I admitted being attracted to a fictional character. Oh, well.

The storyline is simple yet endearing. It reminds me of innocence and pleasant naivety. Surprisingly, this book is the sort that does nothing potentially ground-breaking or even jaw-dropping, but makes you stay to read one more page nonetheless. Also, the writing is vivid and quirky! It's the kind that can be so random at times yet still stay in-sync to the plot of the story. The witty remarks from Dash were especially appreciated. I love sarcasm especially if it's used effectively.

Oh, and the lines! So many dialogues and lines that can be quoted! I just loved it. To end this review, I'd go with the line I loved most: "I love books about freaks." Because I am one. You might be, too. Let's be freaks together?

Monday, January 7, 2013

[Book Review] Trese #2: Unreported Murders

Title: Unreported Murders (Trese #2)
Author: Budjette Tan
Illustrator: KaJo Baldisimo
Date of Publication: July 2008
Genre: Horror, Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Source: Purchased Copy
Rating: 4/5

Official Trese Blog
National Book Store

About the Graphic Novel:
When dusk arrives in the city of Manila, that's when you become the most likely prey of the criminal underworld. 
Kidnappers and thieves will be the least of your worries. 
Beware the criminals that can't be bound with handcuffs nor harmed with bullets. 
Beware the ones that crave for your blood, those who hold your heart ransom, and the ones that come to steal your soul. 
When crime takes a turn for the weird, the police call Alexandra Trese.

A unique, urban-fantasy graphic novel showcasing Filipino folklore and mythology, with a strong female protagonist at its helm!

This is the first book from the Trese series that I actually picked up. It's the first one I've read, so I read it without any expectations or preconceived notions. I wasn't without hesitations though...

When I first picked up this graphic novel, I was quite skeptical because of two reasons: one, I've read too many Japanese and Korean graphic novels (Manga and Manhwa) and I was afraid that the graphics I'd see would be a complete rip-off of Mangas and Manhwas; two, the cover is too beautiful (I'm a skewed person so my definition of beauty is a little different), and in my experience in scouting locally-published books, pretty covers are usually deceptive. Then again, I still picked up Trese because I've been ogling at it for months at the local book store. Hee.

Now, for the review proper...

A few parts of the art were reminiscent of old Filipino comics back in the days. I was an avid reader of Funny Comics back in the 90s. What I liked about the art in this graphic novel is that it was just like comics, but it wasn't. A little contradictory, I know. The thing is, aside from some parts looking like comics, majority of the graphic novel was portrayed using the contrast of black and white, of light and shadows. (Just look at the cover!) And I really liked how everything looked. (Like I said, the cover ish prreeettttyyyy~!)

This volume of Trese contained four short stories: Case 5 - A Little Known Murder in Studio 4, Case 6 - The Outpost on Kalayaan Street, Case 7 - Embrace of the Unwanted, and Case 8 - The Association Dues of Livewell Village.

Each story was unique and although some of the supernatural characters featured were not entirely Filipino (zombies and dwarfs), the storytelling was fast-paced and filled with Filipino inspirations. I'd have to say that I loved reading about Heather Evangelista and Nova Aurora in Case 5.

Also, I noticed that the theme in each of the short story is the same: justice. Or, more specifically, what is justice for one specific character. Sometimes, revenge is misinterpreted as justice as in the case of Case 6 and Case 7. Then there's also the familiar theme of greed as shown by Case 5 and Case 8.

All in all, I really liked this graphic novel. However, I would love to read more about Alexandra and her origins. This volume didn't really explain much about Alexandra's background. Then again, I guess I'll have to grab a copy of the other volumes.

Friday, January 4, 2013

[Blog Tour] Back To You by Priscilla Glenn

Click on the banner for Blog Tour Schedule!

Today, I'm participating in a blog tour hosted by AToMR Tours for Priscilla Glenn's book entitled Back To You. And for this blog tour, I am going to give a review. =)

Title: Back to You
Author: Priscilla Glenn
Date of Publication: October 20, 2012
Genre: Romance, Drama, Young Adult
Source: ARC from Author
Rating: 5/5

Barnes & Noble

When Lauren Monroe first laid eyes on Michael Delaney back in high school, she had every reason to stay away from him; within minutes of their first encounter, his volatile actions confirmed his notorious reputation. But Lauren saw something in him that caused her to question his bad-boy persona, and against her better judgment, she took a chance. She had no way of knowing that the unlikely friendship they formed would become so important to her.
Or that it would end so painfully.
Eight years later, when Lauren begins her new job at Learn and Grow Day Care, Michael is the last person she expects to see. Refusing to revisit the hurt and confusion of their past, Lauren vows to keep her distance from him. But staying away from Michael proves to be more difficult than she thought, despite her lingering grief and her instincts for self-preservation. 
As Lauren and Michael recall the friendship that changed them forever and the events that tore them apart, will they finally be able to heal? Or will the ghosts of Michael’s past prove to be too much to overcome?

Back to You is an uplifting story of love, loss and second chances. This is a very beautiful story, and I really, really loved it.

I could not stress just how much this story really hit my heartstrings in all the right places. This is one of those stories where everything is just in perfect sync that I’m at a loss for words on where to start reviewing. I’m literally left blown away. And I admit that I am still fumbling for words to describe just how I felt about the story as I type this review, but I will try my best.

The storyline is simple and the storytelling is gentle, but as the saying goes ‘Simplicity is beauty’. In the case of Priscilla Glenn’s Back To You, its simplicity is exactly the reason why it is beautiful.

First off, the characters are very much relatable because what they went through during their teenage years was something that every person has probably gone through at one point in their lives. The relationship between Lauren and Michael was also believable and fascinating; their friendship was unusual and odd, but it was also beautiful in a sort of complicated way.

Second, there was growth. The relationship between the two main characters didn’t just sprout out of nowhere. It was given time to take root and grow. Even the characters themselves were given time to live their lives and make their own decisions. These made the story all the more seem plausible and gave it a sort of slice-of-life feel to it.

Third, while the plot is not that mind-blowing, there was something in the way the author narrated the story that drew me in. The whole story itself was very much endearing. Like I said, the storyline was simple, but it was very well-written and nothing was out of sync. While reading the book, I felt like I was by the sidelines, acting as an audience to the unfolding of a heart-tugging story, and when the ending drew near, I was there.

Also, this book is proof that not only stories with tragic endings can make readers cry, even happy endings, too. Personally, I’m not the kind of person who usually gets too emotional over a book, but I must admit that Priscilla Glenn’s Back To You made me bawl my eyes happily. It made me shed tears of joy, and left me with a feeling of warmth after I finally finished reading the story.

Finally, thank you, dear Authoress, for letting me read and review such a heart-warming story. I’ve doubtlessly read a priceless gem. Kudos to you!

[Linking Up] Feature & Follow #10

Q: What New Years Blogging or Writing resolution have you placed on yourself?
Well, I definitely intend to catch up on my reading. I have tons of books waiting to be read & reviewed. My New Year's Resolution is to read more books, and I recently signed up for Goodreads' Reading Challenge for 2013. This year, I intend to read 250 books. =)

As for writing, well, yesterday, I took time to buy a little notebook where I intend to write the ideas that pop up into my head. I also promised myself that I'd try to be more observant of the people around me this year so that I could use all the things I learn for whatever I'm writing.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

[Blog Tour] Author Interview featuring Liesel K. Hill

Author Liesel K. Hill

Last year, I've had the privilege to schedule an interview with authoress Liesel K. Hill, author of Persistence of Vision, a young adult, dystopian novel. She was kind enough to allow me to read and review Persistence of Vision, as well as answer a few of my questions! (She made me such a happy fan-girl~!)

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading her book. Persistence of Vision has got me cheering for her awesome characters! And I suggest that you should read it, too! If you would like to read my review of Persistence of Vision, you can read it HERE.

To officially kick off 2013, Book Junkie Joint's first post is an Author Interview featuring Liesel K. Hill! =)

Q: First off, your book Persistence of Vision is a dystopian which distinctly deals with the intricacy of the human brain. What was the inspiration for coming up with the brain as a source of power for Persistence of Vision?

A: It’s something I’ve always been interested in. Before I stopped kidding myself and turned to writing as my calling, I was taking pre-med classes. I had a lot of science, but I found western medicine and science not to my liking. I’m someone who things the brain and soul are intricately connected to each other and to the body. I believe people can heal themselves to a much greater extent than most of them realize. Scientists estimate that we only use a fraction of our brain power—something like 12%--and Albert Einstein, a genius by anyone’s standards, probably only used 15% of his brain. (Don’t quote me on those percentages.) Imagine what we could do if we used 100% of our brain power!

Q: Speaking of powers, I’m curious about how you came up with them. What was the inspiration behind each of the members’ powers and where did you base them?

A: Nothing in particular. I just tried to think of powers that 1) I thought were cool and 2) would come in handy in a world where people used their brains for everything. I’m also a big fan of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. While his ‘powers’ are from a totally different source than mine, I did receive some inspiration from there.

Q: I’m pretty sure everybody in this world has, at one point or another, wished for superpowers. Personally, I really liked the thought of being able to heal any injury as Marcus’ powers were. If you were a member of the Interchron and one of the prophesied members that could take down the collectives, which role would you prefer and which power would you like to have?

A: I agree that Healing would be awesome, but if I had to choose I think I’d want Marcus’s prowess with Offensive energy (i.e. the ability to cut down your enemies with a thought). I live with my sisters and two-year-old niece, and am the second oldest of twelve children. I have an enormous family and am ridiculously close to all of them. I’m someone who starts to feel sick when I can’t protect them all. So, this power would give me awesome peace of mind. ;D

Q: Personally, I found myself relating to David because he showed honesty, vulnerability and courage. Aside from Maggie and Marcus, who is your personal favorite among the many characters?

A: I have a hard time having a favorite because they’re all so different, in the same way I love all of my eight brothers equally but differently. David is definitely up there because he’s going to go through the biggest change throughout the series. He’ll be very sympathetic and relatable. I also love Karl, just ‘cause he’s a goof ball and lots of fun to write.

Q: Let’s go to a lighter note. If you were to be given an opportunity to pick an actor and an actress to play Maggie and Marcus, who would they be? (If you have a picture, would it be possible to ask for a link or an image perhaps?)

Jensen Ackles
A: For Maggie, I have no idea! Being straight, I don’t daydream about actresses much. Though I’m not sure how good a fit they’d be, I’m currently a fan girl of Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, and Anna Kendrick.

For Marcus, I am the world’s biggest Jensen Ackles fan! Totally love him. I’d love him as Marcus too!

Fan Rant: I just want you to know that your book is awesome and I literally had flashes of goose-bumps when I was reading! :)))

Thanks, Hon! I appreciate it! So glad you liked it!

Wanna get a copy of Liesel K. Hill's 
Persistence of Vision?

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