Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Start a Blog Meme, Maybe?

What is a Blog Meme?

Based on my personal experience as a blogger (been blogging since 2008 and has changed blogs multiple times), Blog Memes are those posts by bloggers centered around a common and recurring topic, the purpose of which is to foster interaction with fellow bloggers. Blog Memes are usually posted regularly, and some even include blog hops.

Since I run a book blog, the most common Blog Memes I've seen around are:

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's reviews. In this blog meme, you share the books (ebooks & actual books alike) you've acquired within the week. This blog meme is usually posted during Sundays.

Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. In this blog meme, book bloggers share the titles of books that they are looking forward to reading. Most of the books featured in this meme are yet to be released or published. And as the name suggests, this blog meme is posted during Wednesdays and also includes a Blog Hop.

Feature and Follow Friday hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee. This one includes a Blog Hop. This Blog Meme has two-fold features. First, Alison and Parajunkee each feature a book blogger. Second, there is a question that book bloggers who participate in this meme must answer in their own Feature and Follow post. The participants of this meme is also encouraged to follow the featured bloggers by Alison and Parajunkee. I've participated numerous times in this blog meme myself. And it's an interesting way to be able to meet other book bloggers.

Now, I'm thinking of making my own blog meme. Since I can't post regularly due to my ever inconsistent schedule, I'm thinking of having a monthly meme to recall all the books I've read and reviewed within the month.

Hmmm... Still thinking about it though. =)

Anyways, here are the seven books I've read and reviewed for the month of April!








Oh, and yes, I do have a voracious appetite for reading. Left to my own devices and free from academic responsibilities, I would most likely spend all my time sprawled on my bed with my handy-dandy tablet, devouring my to-be-read pile like a huge bag of Lays. =)

Monday, April 29, 2013

[Book Review] The Uninvited

Title: The Uninvited
Author: Liz Jensen
Date Published: January 8th, 2013
Source: ARC
Genre: Sci-Fi, Suspense, Adult Fiction
Rating: ★★★★


About the Book:
A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother's neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious? As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry.  
Hesketh has never been good at relationships: Asperger's Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behavioral patterns and an outsider's fascination with group dynamics. Nothing obvious connects Hesketh's Asian case with the atrocities back home. Or with the increasingly odd behavior of his beloved stepson, Freddy. But when Hesketh's Taiwan contact dies shockingly and more acts of sabotage and child violence sweep the globe, he is forced to acknowledge possibilities that defy the rational principles on which he has staked his life, his career, and, most devastatingly of all, his role as a father.  
Part psychological thriller, part dystopian nightmare, The Uninvited is a powerful and viscerally unsettling portrait of apocalypse in embryo.

A haunting and spell-binding book that pushes the reader to think and examine the world in a whole new perspective. Hesketh Lock shall seduce you with his awkwardness and amaze you with his origami prowess! (LOL. I've always wanted to say that when I was reading the book. And it actually rhymes!)

The beginning of the book is gruesome as it paints a young child murdering her own grandmother with a nail gun. There was no motive, no warning and the whole thing was unprecedented. Then, we delve into the story through Hesketh Lock's point of view. 

Hesketh Lock has Asperger's Syndrome, making him a cut above the rest. He's not very good with personal relationships and with social interactions as a whole. The fact that he's attractive and good-looking cannot compensate for his weirdness, but his talent in spotting trends and patterns makes him an asset to the company he works for.

Personally, reading the story through Hesketh's thoughts took some time to get used to, but after a while, I found him adorable. He's awkward, weird and different, but I think that's part of Hesketh's charm as a character. Despite his highly logical nature, he's loyal and caring, especially to Freddy.

I also appreciate how Hesketh was portrayed consistently throughout the book. Some of his comments to other people could seem impolite and improper but they sound completely normal to Hesketh, and this was one of the things that I really found hilarious. (And I admit that this sounds odd because this is a suspenseful book. All I can say is that I have weird taste.)

The truth was, I was expecting some sort of magical explanation about the erratic behavior of children from all over the world. I expected the plot to be something along the lines of Hesketh finally letting go of his overly logical nature and accepting something that science cannot explain. Then he'll do something that could actually reverse what was happening. In the end, though he did realize that he was the last one to accept what was happening and that everything could not be explained by science, he simply remained as another casualty in a war to save the Earth.

Oh, and the best part about this book is how everything fell into place. How everything must succumb to the children and revert back to the old ways in order to save the Earth from man's greed and abuse. I cannot overemphasize how much I enjoyed this book. Not only is it suspenseful and haunting, it also sends an important message about Earth and nature.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

[Book Review] The Temple Dogs

Title: The Temple Dogs
Author: Warren Murphy and Molly Cochran
Date Published: August 23, 1989
Source: ARC
Genre: Adult Fiction, Action, Suspense
Rating: ★★★★

Barnes & Noble

About the Book:
When Susi Haverford and her husband are gunned down at their wedding reception by members of the notorious DeSanto crime family, Miles Haverford, Susi's brother, determines to retaliate. He heads to Japan to find Nagoya, leader of the Yakuza, the only mobsters capable of destroying the DeSantos clan. Originally a spoiled, feckless WASP, Miles is transformed into a fierce warrior of the Yakuza, whose greatest challenge is to survive the pathological hatred of Sato, Nagoya's heir apparent. Sato is jealous of the American's influence with the other warriors, not to mention his fiancee, the porcelain-complexioned--what else?--Tomiko.This situation occasions the most bizarre episode in the novel--a brawl in a heap of manure. Afterward, Miles returns to New York to lead the Yakuza against the DeSanto mob and the fun begins: heads are decapitated, arrows fly, necks are snapped, knives with oriental tassels are thrown at the faces of unsuspecting mafiosi, hands chop spinal cords. The final shoot-out in Central Park is a muddled orgy of mindless bloodletting.

A suspenseful and riveting intermingling of Western and Eastern culture in an action-packed and thought-provoking story-line.

The first chapter of the book really got my attention and pretty soon, I was devouring the whole thing with much gusto. There is something masterful about the way the authors narrated their story and even the way they presented their characters.

For one, I am a huge fan of action and suspense. Second, I have always been fascinated with the Japanese culture. Hence, this book was a total treat for me. And come on, you have to admit, Japanese Yakuza versus Italian Mafia is really just all kinds of awesome. I just had to give it five stars out of five!

The story-telling itself reminded me of Robert Ludlum, but it was written in a much simpler voice. The transitions were smooth and the characters were fascinating. The action scenes were awesome, too!  I could just imagine this book being made into a movie. I would definitely watch it!

The best part about this book are the 'temple dogs', or Miles and his sworn brothers. Their friendship and respect for each other is admirable. They're not entirely heartless, but they could kill. The violence with which they dealt with the people who killed Miles' family was pretty gruesome, but I liked it. I have no qualms about the violence in this book because what is being portrayed is mob business, and violence is sort of part of the whole package.

Another thing I really liked about this story is Miles Haverford himself. From the on-set, he was a spoiled rich kid. He's weak, mediocre, and pathetic even. But by the end of the story, he grew a backbone. Although his motivation wasn't exactly pristine (it being vengeance), but the thing is, he knew exactly what he was getting into when he started his vendetta. He may not have any idea of just what he was getting into when he flew to Japan and ask for help from Nagoya, but he perfectly understood everything when Nagoya and the others finally acknowledged his strength. His growth as a character was really drastic, and I applaud him for it.

I also appreciate the back stories given to the other side characters. These stories gave a glimpse of just what the other characters had to endure. It gave them depth and realism. The history lesson as Nagoya's back story was also interesting since he had to adjust from having a rich lifestyle to having nothing at all. Personally, I'd say that Nagoya is one of my most favorite characters in this story.

To be honest, this book is a welcomed break from all the romance novels I've been reading and reviewing. I don't know much about other reviewers, but personally, I would appreciate more action and suspense stories to read and review.

All in all, this book is a perfect mix of Western and Eastern culture dealing with mobs and underground organized groups. I think that fans of action and suspense genre would find this book highly entertaining.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

[Book Review] Kiku's Prayer

Title: Kiku's Prayer
Author: Shusaku Endo, Van C. Gessel (Translator)
Date Published: December 18, 2012
Genre: Historical, Japanese Literature
Source: ARC
Rating: ★★★★


About the Book:
Endo Shusaku was a renowned twentieth-century Japanese author who wrote from the unusual perspective of being both Japanese and Catholic. His work is often compared to that of Graham Greene, who himself considered Endo one of the century's finest writers. A historical novel set in the turbulent period between the fall of the shogunate and the Meiji Restoration, "Kiku's Prayer" embodies themes central to Endo's work, including religion, modernization, and the endurance of the human spirit. In Japan, the book is considered one of his late masterpieces and has never before been translated into English. 
Endo'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. Endo'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.

A beautifully faithful and rich depiction of 19th century Japan at a time when Christianity is rewarded with persecution.

This book is very well-written and detailed, using picturesque words to describe the simple beauty of living during Kiku’s time. There is even comparison of the places during Kiku’s time with how they turned out to be in modern times. At the on-set, the narration feels as if the narrator is recalling memories from his distant past, but pretty soon, everything modern vanishes and a picture of 19th century Japan is depicted.

To be honest, the beginning was slow and dragging. I wanted something to happen to the characters soon - anything! But then again, I guess that's part of the beauty in this book. It teaches patience

Kiku's Prayer follows the life of Kiku, an ordinary girl who lived an extraordinary life at a time when Japan is still struggling to open up to the world. She's naive and stubborn but she is pure-hearted and she loves deeply.

Her life takes a turn for something bad when she falls in love with Sekichi, a Christian, or in the book, a 'kirishitan'. To note, Japanese Christians were persecuted in 19th century Japan, so Sekichi's religion presented a huge danger to his life and brought fears for Kiku.

Aside from following the life of Kiku, this book also tells about the struggles of the Christian priest, Petitjean, who kept his faith and believed that there are still existing Japanese Christians.

Personally, I'm a Christian myself and thus, Sekichi's story of persecution is nothing new to me. Presently, there are two Filipino saints, one of whom is Saint Lorenzo Ruiz who received harsh torture due to his struggle to spread Christianity. Still though, it was really interesting to read a historically accurate novel about the struggle of Christianity in Japan.

By the end of this book, although the ending could be considered tragic, I feel as if I gained a new perspective because of Kiku. Yes, her life was wasted away but she did live a life of love for Sekichi. And Japan eventually opened up to Christianity. Even if her life was tragic, there was hope. And I think, that was the main goal of this story - to bring hope.

Monday, April 22, 2013

[Book Review] The Things I Do For You

Title: The Things I Do For You
Author: M. Malone
Date Published: March 12, 2013
Source: ARC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick-Lit
Rating: ★★★★


About the Book:
A bargain. A baby. A billion things can go wrong.  
Nicholas Alexander doesn’t mind being called a playboy. His charm serves him well in business and a beautiful woman is always on his arm. Except the one he’s in love with. 
Raina Winters doesn’t believe in love, so when she’s dumped right before her wedding, she’s more upset about losing what she really wants from marriage. A baby. 
When Nick learns about Raina’s dilemma, his first reaction is to leave her hanging like she left him after their steamy one-night stand. But he finally has something Raina needs, so he offers her a deal. He’ll give her a baby if she gives him something he desires just as much. 
Just two little words. 
I. Do. 
WARNING: This book contains encounters with a drunken Elvis, pushy mamas, tabloid shenanigans, several occurrences of bad cooking and hot sex between two people who aren't even sure they like each other. Just saying...

Sweet and light. A quick, no-conflict, easy read with a strong female protagonist and an atypically dedicated playboy. 

While the story-line is pretty much common, the story-telling and the characters are engaging and highly entertaining. Well, as much as all romance novels and chick-lits go.

If you're expecting a damsel-in-distress in this romance novel, go somewhere else. This isn't the book you're looking for. 

Raina, the female protagonist in the story has a strong independent streak. She doesn't really care whether she's in love with the man she's set to marry. The only thing she's really after is a baby. And that's what I like about her. She has this stubborn doggedness that's uniquely hers. She's strong, decisive, knows exactly what she wants and she goes hell and high just to get it.

Aside from being independent, she's also smart and clear-headed that's why she knows that she should steer clear of Nick Alexander despite the obvious attraction and chemistry between them. Well, in this case, Nick still gets my applause for being creative, resourceful and quick-thinking as he still gets to save Rania multiple times although she's not exactly a damsel-in-distress.

The story itself shows that even if you fight it, some things that are meant to happen shall happen. Similarly, people who are meant to be together will be together, no matter how much one of them fights it. This is the case for Rania and Nick. They had something good together but Rania chose to walk away because she thought Nick was someone who would not be a good father to the child she had always wanted.

Another thing I appreciate about this story is that there's really no deep psychological scar in any of the characters. They're just normal people with normal emotional status. They didn't go through something traumatic or whatever. That's why this story is sweet and light. It gives you the facts straight out without any fuss.

For fans of romance novels who would love something light-hearted and sweet, I highly recommend this book. You don't have to go through the trouble of understanding the emotional scars of a lead character. This story is no fuss and is sure to quench your romance cravings.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

[Book Review] The Children and The Blood

Title: The Children and The Blood
Author: Megan Joel Peterson
Date Published: February 6, 2013
Source: ARC
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★


About the Book:
A forgotten life. 
A secret war. 
Eight years ago, an exploding gas main killed Ashley’s family and left her with a childhood she can’t remember. Eight years later, the forgotten past is behind her and life on her isolated farm is all she knows. 
Until that past comes looking for her. 
Until men with superhuman powers hunt her down in the night, determined to take everything she loves away from her again.

Riveting, suspenseful and action-packed!

The first thing I noticed about this book is its title. It has a sort of grim feeling to it. I mean, children generally depict innocence and when you combine that innocence with the connotation of the word ‘blood’, it doesn’t really paint a pretty picture. To be honest, I expected a horror story but was pleasantly surprised when the story told something different.

Upon reading the first few chapters of the book, I was confused because I didn’t really know what to expect. The apt description of what I felt during the initial stages of reading the book would be ‘lost’.

I was confused just as much as Ashley, Lily and Cole when tragic events started happening, but I gave it a chance because mysterious circumstances at the beginning of the book always lead up to an ‘Aha! Moment’ at the latter part. I’m glad I stuck to the story and gave it a chance.

At first, I thought maybe the children in this book were like those genetically modified people whose parents were the test subjects of experiments by mad scientists. As I went on though, I finally got to the meaty part of the story and learned about wizards, cripples and bloods. The background story is just as fascinating as the one being told about the three children involved!

What I really liked about this book was that it had no dull moments. Sure, there were pauses for breathing, but I consider them as those calm moments before a storm. The storytelling combines just enough pauses and tension to sustain a very engrossing read.

The characters are also multi-faceted and interesting. There’s Cole who tried to figure out things on his own and saved two lives in the process. There’s Ashley, who was forced out of her sheltered life to become a much tougher person, learning about her powers in the process. And finally, there’s Lily, a ray of sunshine and maturity at such a young age.

The only thing I really didn’t like about this book is its ending. It ended with a massive cliffhanger and now I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. As a reader, I’d say the cliffhanger was such a huge bummer, but then again, given that the author was able to elicit such a reaction from me only means that she was successful in luring me into a very engrossing story, her story.

All in all, I highly recommend this book to readers who would like to enter a world of wizards so different from those in Harry Potter! 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

[Personal Update] Oh, Despair

(c) Dia Pelaez 2013
This is an angsty post by a law student. 
You have been warned.

I'm an optimistic person. I prefer to look at the bright side than dwell on the negatives. This is probably the reason why I rarely get angry or depressed over setbacks and roadblocks.

Also, very few things can make me cry. I've always known that crying will not do anyone good because it doesn't solve the problem, and it makes one look weak. This is probably why people often mistake me for being cold and indifferent when I'm simply being logical and practical.

So then, imagine my surprise when in the middle of studying for an important exam, I suddenly felt the urge to cry. (Hoho. Cue dramatic music.) I was literally in the middle of reading my reviewer and notes, when I suddenly felt this rapidly sinking feeling inside my chest.

My only defense is, despite being overly optimistic and practical, I guess I'm still very much human, and thus, I am entitled to vent my humongously numerous frustrations.

I feel like I'm being backed up against a very high wall and I have nowhere to go. In my entire life, I have never felt this way, except when I started law school. I have never felt so stupid, so inadequate and so desperately lacking despite putting in lot of effort. I have never worked so hard in my entire life, and yet, the results aren't as positive as I hoped. Although I fare better than some of my classmates, I'm still barely passing.


I have no choice but to push myself harder. Giving up is simply not an option.

Oh, and I didn't really cry. I felt the urge to cry but I didn't. I wrote this blog post instead. Then, I indulged myself to a piece of heaven in a cup of creamy coffee mixed with Cadburry. (Would have been better if it had cinnamon sticks in it. Oh, well.)

I'm good, and I'll be okay.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

[Book Review] City of Bones

Title: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments Book 1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Date Published: March 27, 2007
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Source: Borrowed
Rating: 3/5

Barnes & Noble

About the Book:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? 
This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. 

An interesting young-adult story featuring twists and turns that are sure to make eyebrows raise (either out of sheer awe or pure disappointment, I leave the choice to the reader).

This is a long review. And though I tried my best not to post any spoiler, I might have spilled a few bits (nothing major, I promise). Consider yourself warned.

Let me start by saying that the alternate world presented in this story is very, very interesting. I love the thought of a world existing beyond what we see by our naked eyes.

As an avid reader and part-time reviewer, I've had many opportunities to enter alternate worlds and realities through books. I've read so many that they don't usually stick to my memory. It's like, I read a book tonight and then, everything is flushed out the next morning, well, except for a few bits and pieces, or the major outline of the whole story.

This one, however, well, it stuck, and the major reason is because it really is a fascinating world. It's an escapist's cliche, I know. I read this book just to escape the usual legalese that I deal with on a daily basis. It never occurred to me that it will actually draw me in. What a pleasant surprise, indeed.

Next, the characters. I'll start with the minor ones first.

I'll start with Isabelle. I think Isabelle is a pretty kick-ass character. She's portrayed as someone strong and independent from the get-go alone. I love strong female characters but what I like about Isabelle is that she can be a bit bitchy but not without reason. She gives you what she thinks straight to the point and without sugar-coating anything. Plus, she's a great fighter.

Next is Alec. Just his mere existence within the story already earns a hundred brownie points from me. I know that most YA books are still a little closed-off in featuring a gay character in a book that's targeting the mainstream YA population. Also, I love how Alec balances his sister's strength. He's the 'plan-first, attack-later' kind of character, as opposed to Isabelle and Jace who are both trigger-happy. If this were a multi-player, role-playing game, Alec would be the support. Heh. (Gamer here.)

Next is Simon, Clary's best friend and the all-around snark and sarcasm type of guy. To be honest, I love this guy. I'm even on Team Simon rather than on Team Jace, because he is just adorable and snarky. He got me hook, line and sinker by the snark part alone. Plus, the fact that guy best pals automatically earn the 'awww' factor for me.

Simon also gets a hundred brownie points for staying with Clary after being dragged into her alternate world where he's considered an outcast and completely helpless. And another hundred brownie points for choosing to stay even when Clary treats him like a doormat. (I'm being honest about how I see things here, so yes, Clary was really douche to Simon.)

Hookay, now for the main leads...

First, Jace Wayland. I don't really know what to feel for this guy. I do understand where he's coming at, but I'm kind of undecided on where I stand as regards him. I don't know if I should like him or not, which says a lot, because it was fairly easy for me to determine which characters I liked from the minor characters alone.

Upon first meeting with Clary, Jace seems like the easy-going type, but then as I read on through the story, his while background is heavy and dark. Then there's the fact that he seems to like getting himself in perilous situations. I mean, sure, he's a trained and very skilled shadow-hunter, but shouldn't the proper description be 'suicidal'? Just my two cents.

Then there's the heroine, Miss Clarissa Fray or Clary Fray. I do not like her. I can't exactly pinpoint what I don't like about her. It's just that she seems off no matter how much I try to figure out what doesn't add up about her.

Maybe it's the fact that she doesn't cry hysterically after experiencing one tragedy after another. Or the fact that she's still mentally stable after knowing that the life she has led thus far is a lie, after being attacked by a mindless monster, after losing her mom, after being abandoned by Luke, and after being practically mind-raped by the Silent Brothers. She's just too... perfect. (In comparison, Katniss Everdeen was completely psychologically unstable in Mockingjay of the Hunger Games Trilogy.)

Oh, and also one of the reasons why I don't like her is because she treats Simon unfairly. She's been friends with the guy for a very long time and yet, she just takes him for granted. (What an injustice!)

What else? Hmmm... I really liked the action scenes. I can just imagine them happening in my head, and for me, that's the criteria on whether an action scene is effective or not.

Oh, and the kiss scene! I am relieved and at the same time, confused. Let me start with why I'm confused.

I'm confused because they kissed without any warning whatsoever. It was like, Clary tripped and she ended up on Jace. Jace thought she was asking for a kiss so he kissed her. Personally, the kissing scene wasn't even remotely romantic because it felt rushed. It felt like it was squeezed in there just because they needed the male and female lead to kiss. Personally, I found the scene where Jace was telling his story to Clary more romantic.

The same kissing scene, though it baffled me, also relieved me because it wasn't portrayed with purple prose. It was just a simple kiss. It wasn't earth-shattering, it wasn't orgasmic-teetering-on-obscenity. It was exactly how I think YA kisses should be like. Brownie points for that. Hee.

The ending of the story was also mind-blowing, in my opinion, so I'd say that it was well worth reading.

Overall, the alternate world in this story really drew me in. That, and Simon are the main reason why I give this book three points out of five.

Just to be clear, I am well-aware of the plagiarism issues concerning Cassandra Clare, and I just have to say that I will not touch upon those, and that I've tried my best to review this story objectively.


On a side note, I know that City of Bones (The Movie) is coming out this year (August 23, 2013), and that they actors and actresses set to play Simon, Alec, Isabelle, Jace and Clary have been picked.

Still, I choose to post the picture below:

If it were me, I'd pick Nick Roux to be Simon and Alex Pettyfer to be Jace Wayland.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

[Book Review] Nobody's Angel

Title: Nobody's Angel
Author: Stacy Gail
Date Published: January 21, 2013
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Source: ARC
Rating: 4/5

Barnes & Noble

About the Book:
Investigative journalist Kendall Glynn is horrified when a friend and colleague signs off permanently during a live newscast, jabbing a pen into his jugular. Kendall's no expert, but judging by the strange white veil in the anchorman's eyes, she would swear he was a man possessed. 
A descendant of the accursed Nephilim, Zeke Reece prowls San Francisco by night, keeping the city free from paranormal phenomena. But even he is no match for whatever malevolent force is behind a recent rash of murder-suicides. And when a beautiful tenacious reporter becomes the next target, Zeke has no choice but to stay close to her, until he can find the evil spirit and cross it over. 
The closer Kendall gets to the truth, the more danger she's in. Fortunately, a sexy and mysterious masked stranger keeps swooping in to the rescue. Kendall's life depends on finding who or what is responsible for the killings, before it finds her.

A satisfying mix of urban fantasy and superhero action!

From the cover alone, I was already expecting a storyline featuring angels, or nephilims at least. Truth be told, I was expecting that the story would simply contribute to the bandwagon of prevailing stories about nephilims. Well, I'm pretty psyched that I was proven wrong.

Let's just say that the male lead character, Zeke Reece, is a man of contradiction. He's not really an angel, but he's not really a man either. He plays hero but he's got a personal interest in why he's doing it, so he's not exactly as selfless as most heroes are.

Then there's the female lead, the stubborn journalist Kendall Glynn. I love the fact that even though she could be rattled and scared at one instance, she still stands back up and continue whatever it is that she does best: to investigate. I love strong female heroines who are not easily scared and Kendall is definitely one.

Together, they work to uncover the mystery of the series of random deaths which are actually interconnected with one another. They both have their own agenda in wanting to uncover the culprit behind the deaths, but then again, two heads are better than one. Also, it doesn't hurt that they're attracted to each other.

Oh, I also love the bit where Kendall was falling for two different sides of one man. It was definitely a nice touch. Although it's not exactly original but this book kinda made it worth my while to read about it.

What else?

Ah, yes! Probably the best thing about this book is the fact that it combines a hero and an angel in the male lead. I mean, aside from being an eye-candy, Zeke Reece is the perfect combination of vulnerability and strength. He's different, and he knows it. It sets him apart from humanity, but it doesn't really bring a superiority complex. In fact, it makes him feel alienated, but instead of being bitter about it, he even becomes a hero. Like I said, a man of contradictions.

For fans of paranormal romances who are looking for something different, I highly recommend this one! It does not feature the usual slew of paranormal critters, but has just enough paranormal background to make you want to stay and read.

Monday, April 1, 2013

[GIVEAWAY] Matchplay by Dakota Madison *Over*

Attention, Everyone~!
Dakota Madison is giving away one (1) 
ebook copy of her book Matchplay~!
All you need to do is tweet @STeardrops
answering the following question:
"How far would you go for a bet?"

Let me give you just a preview of what you'll be getting. =)

Title: Matchplay
Author: Dakota Madison
Date Published: March 13, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance


About the Book:

A Girl, a Guy, a Tournament and a Challenge 
The Girl: At a time when most girls obsess about homecoming and high school prom, Rainy Dey spent her senior year caring for her dying mother. So when her father drops her off at college to start her freshman year, his words of advice to his bookish daughter are to start acting like a young person and finally have some fun. 
The Guy: College senior, Aaron Donavan, aka Mr. Hot-and-Knows-It, is President of the Clubhouse, a social club for the college’s most wealthy and popular guys. Aaron can have any girl on campus except the one who challenges and excites him the most—Rainy Dey. 
The Tournament: Every year, the senior members of The Clubhouse engage in a golf-inspired tournament to see who can sleep with the most freshman girls. When Rainy finds out about the tournament, she believes Aaron’s only interest in her is to score points by taking her V-Card. 
The Challenge: Can Aaron convince Rainy that his feelings for her are true and that she won’t be just another notch on his tournament scorecard?


          I ran my hand along the collection of books until I landed on the Introduction to Art History. There were only a few copies on the shelf. As I went to grab one of the copies, another hand reached for it at the exact same moment. I had been so caught up examining the books, I hadn’t even noticed another person had walked up right beside me.
          I turned to see Aaron staring down at me. He seemed to have gotten hotter looking, if that was even possible. He had on a tight white polo shirt that accentuated his muscular chest and his jeans fit snugly in all the right places. What drew me in, though, where those incredible eyes, dark brown and dreamy. And the guy had magnetism. The only problem was that he knew it and knew how to use it.
          “So we meet again.” He flashed me an incredibly sexy grin. My heart skipped a few beats.
Ugh. How could I be falling right into his trap? There was no way I was going to be one of the many girls on his score card.
          We were still both holding the same text book and staring into each other’s eyes. Neither one of us retreated on either front.
          “Why are you taking Art History?” I blurted. Seniors rarely took Intro courses.
          He furrowed his brows. “Why not?”
          “You like art?”
          “Not particularly.”
          That wasn’t the answer I was expecting. It made his enrollment in the class even more of a mystery.
          “I don’t really get art,” he continued.
          “Art is one of the few things I do get.”
          He shrugged. “My advisor told me that I wasn’t going to graduate unless I took two arts classes. I had a choice between art and theater. This seemed like the lesser of the two evils.”
          He finally let go of the book and I took it into my arms and held it like a treasured child against my chest. He grabbed another copy from the shelf and flipped it around. It physically pained me to see him treating the book with so little care.
          “Are you okay?” he asked.
          “That book’s expensive,” I said as he continued to flip it around like a soccer ball.
          He looked down at my book and the way I was holding it. He placed his book against his chest and mimicked the way I was holding mine. “Is that better,” he mused.
          I turned to walk away from him and he grabbed my elbow, “Hey, wait, Sunshine…”
          I flew back around, enraged. “I never gave you permission to touch me,” I spewed.
          He dropped my arm as if touching me now burned his hand. He looked shocked. “I’m sorry,” he muttered.
          “Why did you call me that?” I was still fuming.
          “Call you what?”
          “Sunshine?” I wondered if he had seen my nametag the other day when we had met and was making fun of me.
          “It’s a term of endearment,” he said.
          “It’s not funny.”
          When I looked into his eyes, he seemed genuinely confused. Maybe he hadn’t seen my nametag after all.
          I could see a hint of sadness cross his face but then just as quickly it was gone. “For once, I wasn’t trying to be funny. There’s just something about you that radiates such passion and joy. Apparently except when I’m around. You just reminded me of sunshine and the nickname seemed appropriate. I didn’t mean to offend you.”
          When I searched his face, he seemed to be genuinely remorseful. I felt a twinge of guilt for getting so upset with him.
          “My name is Rainy,” I said. “Rainy Dey.” I spelled my last name for him like I usually did when I met someone new.
          He blinked a few times as if he was trying to register what I had just said. Then the corners of his mouth turned up into a small grin. “And I called you Sunshine.”
          I nodded.
          “You’d never know I had any moves at all.”
          “Well, you can keep your moves to yourself or save them for some other girl because your chances with me are zero,” I responded frankly.
          “Zero?” He placed his hand over his heart in mock pain. “You’re killing me.”
          “I’m not here to date. I’m here to get an education. Besides, girls like me don’t date guys like you.”
          “That’s a lot of negativity to absorb all at once.”
          “There’s nothing negative about it. It’s just the truth.”
          He gave me an intense stare that seemed to instantly melt whatever coldness I had toward him. His beautiful brown eyes were almost too much to bear. Then he bit his lower lip and continued staring at me. I felt like I was being put under a spell. He took my breath away.
          “We’ll see about that,” he whispered then he winked at me—again. What was it with all the winking? Whatever it was, it worked, though, because I thought my knees would give out. Then he turned and walked away.

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Giveaway ends on April 10, 2013. =)

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