Wednesday, July 31, 2013

[Wrap Up] July 2013

Both in the books I received to read and review, 
and in being a helping hand to Filipino authors!

Everyday is a learning experience for me, and I am so thankful for the many blessings I've received in the month of July. There's my ever expanding To-Be-Read Pile which looks daunting but still, I love every hour I spend in trimming it down book by book.

And of course, in the same month of July, I and my book blog became the organizer of blog tours for Filipino authors. I finally put my free time to good use, and exchanged emails with authors and book bloggers to organize two blog tours for the upcoming month of August. And that's only the beginning

I've always been vocal about wanting to help promote and market works of Filipino authors, and now I've been given the chance to do so! I'm pretty psyched about everything actually. 

Of course, everything would not have been possible without the help of Author Mina V. Esguerra and my classmates in #RomanceClass. 


For now, to complete this Wrap-Up, here are the books I've read and reviewed in the month of July 2013:

And that's a wrap!

Monday, July 29, 2013

[Book Review] Crossing

Title:  Crossing
Author: Stacey Wallace Benefiel
Date Published: May 8, 2013
Publisher: Write Free
Source: ARC
Genre: Young-Adult, Contemporary Romance


Book Information:
Due to heavy subject matter, Crossing is recommended for readers 17+. 
He stole her lipstickand her heart. 
Twenty-year-old Dani Walker can’t believe her luck when she’s paired up with the gorgeous Liam Garrett as her Acting I scene partner – or when he ends up in her bed. Being a Plain Jane with a mouth on her hasn’t exactly served Dani well in the guy department. In fact, she’s had nothing but one night stands. Still, she lets go of her insecurities and falls for Liam, despite feeling like he’s holding something back. 
When Dani finally discovers Liam’s secret, she must learn the true meaning of accepting the ones we love for who they are, or risk losing the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

A fair warning: this book is not for the narrow-minded.

Every girl probably has a body-image issue or two. Maybe it's the flabby love handles or even the uber-wide forehead (which I have, by the way). I have never met a girl who doesn't have body-image issues. I guess, as girls, we can't help it. We're too critical of ourselves, and it translates into how we deal with other people. Especially in today's society where stick-skinny women are constantly objectified and marketed as the definition of 'beauty'.

In this book, we find a relatable female protagonist in the person of Dani Walker. She's not stick-skinny, she gives as good as she gets, she's hilarious and she has a smart mouth. Let me just say that I applaud this book for having a chubby heroine rather than stick to the conventional beautiful woman. That in itself is proof of the realism that is depicted within the pages of this book.

Dani is chubby. Her weight has become a baggage that it interferes with her love life. She's the kind of person who would settle for a one-night stand just because it's the only thing that most guys would be willing to give her. They don't want her as a girlfriend because well, she's not hot. In short, she settles for something way lesser than she deserves. And as a reader, instead of hating her for it, I actually understand what she's going through.

Secondly, THE TWIST! I love the twist! It wasn't something I expected and it definitely blew me away.

When I started reading this book, I was expecting another conventional contemporary romance, something sweet, light and predictable. Boy, was I so wrong. Not only does this novel have an unconventional heroine, it also has a very unconventional male lead on par with the heroine! And it tackles lots of common issues!

The male protagonist is Liam. He's way out of Dani's league and coincidentally, they became acting partners in class. The amazing thing was, even if Liam was way out of Dani's league, he was able to keep up with Dani's self-deprecating humor and wit. I love witty banters and the exchange of sarcasm and wit between Dani and Liam was something I thoroughly enjoyed.

When Dani and Liam actually became involved with each other, I was cheering for them. Sometimes, I wanted to whack Dani's head for her failure to see just how awesome she was, but then Liam would do something amazing for her, and that in turn, keeps my hand off the virtual ultra-dimensional mallet of doom I keep in my pocket. Everybody happy.

But then, like I said, the twist in this story was something that blew me away. I hate putting spoilers in my review so I'll just say that it was something both Dani and Liam had to deal with.

In the end though, I love how they both accepted each other whole-heartedly; quirks and faults included. The ending was also satisfying despite the fact that the ride itself was bumpy.

Just one thing though, I would have given this book 4 stars if it weren't for the fact that it wasn't explained why Liam turned out the way he was. It didn't give an ample back story as to why Liam had such a weird hobby. That was the only question which ran around inside my head after I finished reading the whole book.

Friday, July 26, 2013

[Linking Up] Feature and Follow #29

What do you do with your books after 
you’re done reading them?

For physical books, I stock them up in my own mini-library at home. I love looking at the books I've read throughout the years as they line up in my shelves. When my closest friends come over, the shelves are the first thing they attack, so I need locks. LOL. For Ebooks, I keep them in my hard drive for when I feel like re-reading them. =)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

[Personal Update] Exams and Blog Tours

As I've said over and over again, law school has the ability to suck out the happiness in me and convert every positive thought I have into stress. But as I am a closet masochist when it comes to my studies, I stay because I love every minute of pain it inflicts into me.

Anyways, my prelim exams start today, which translates to me being an over-caffeinated zombie for the entirety of the exam week. Thus, I might not be as active online as I usually am. I do however have a few book reviews scheduled within the next few days so that this blog wouldn't look so abandoned. Yay for contingency book reviews!

But let's not dwell on the negatives!!

On a positive note, I'm happy to announce that Book Junkie Joint Blog Tour is underway!

For the month of August, Book Junkie Joint has arranged the blog tours of books by two Filipino authors! Isn't it exciting?

I've always wanted to help promote Filipino books and authors, and now I'm actually doing it! And getting paid while I'm at it! (Yowzaaaaa!)

Who knew that I'd be able to use my epic photoshopping skills and blogging prowess (hah!) to facilitate the marketing of books by Filipino authors? And everything started because I wanted to be an author myself! (I should make a blog post on this! LOL.)

If you want to sign-up for the blog tours, click HERE. Slots are still available! Please look forward to two blog tours hosted by Book Junkie Joint in the month of August!!

In the meantime, please don't miss me too much while I'm slaving away for my prelim exams! Oh, and wish me luck! *winks*

Monday, July 22, 2013

[Book Review] The Mad Scientist's Daughter

Title: The Mad Scientist's Daughter
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke
Date Published: January 29, 2013
Publisher: Angry Robot
Source: ARC
Genre: Science Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Rating: ★★★

Barnes & Noble

Book Information:
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is the heartbreaking story of the journey from childhood to adulthood, with an intriguing science fictional twist.
There’s never been anyone - or anything - quite like Finn. 
He looks, and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is to tutor Cat. 
When the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

Engrossing, touching, heartbreaking - a story that cements the adage 'Love knows no boundaries'.

I'm not usually one to sound sappy and melodramatic. In real life, I'd be the kind of person in your group of friends that you'd least expect to ever sound emotional. Hysteria and feelings are just not my turf, but this story - oh, this story brought out all the feels in me that I just don't know where to start!

I suppose a fair warning is in order. I feel that whatever words I come up with cannot truly describe just what a gem this story is. This review is a mesh of the many things I felt in this roller coaster of a story. If some things don't make sense, I shoulder all the blame for my insufficiency in describing the many eloquent emotions this story has brought me.

Now then, for the review.

The story starts with an ordinary girl who lives a very extraordinary life. Being the daughter of two very smart scientists gave her an inquisitive mind, and being a child gave her boundless energy. Cat's parents chose not to enroll her in the usual educational facility for her age. This made Cat's early childhood enviable but very different than that of the other children.

Cat's world became a little more colorful upon the arrival of Finn, a humanoid robot. He became her tutor and constant companion to the point that Cat never thought of him as being any different from her or her parents.

Through the pages of this book, the reader gradually witnesses Cat's transition into her teenage years and finally, her adulthood. She struggles through life as any normal person do, the main difference is her deep relationship with Finn.

While it's clear at the onset that Cat and Finn had grown very fond of each other, it's also true that a romantic relationship between a human and an android was simply abnormal. It's ridiculous, completely illogical and taboo, especially since androids were treated more as machines. This was something Cat struggled for years, even until she was married. But of course, she couldn't deny the fact that she was head over heels in love with Finn.

Just to bring up a logical perspective into the story, yes, an android is technically a machine. It's made of wires, screws and metal parts. No matter how humane it looks, it will never be a human. It's behavior and actions were all programmed and created by man, so it can never be human. In short, an android can't possibly feel any emotion at all, much less love. But in this story, Finn wasn't just an android. He's so much more!

If I were to describe Finn, I'd say that Finn is an android. He's an android who can lie, an android who can love, and an android who can feel passion.

“There is nothing else like me in the entire world, said Finn. "That's what you wrote. I'm the only one. I can't tell you what it means to be the only one of my kind," he said. "I can't...There is a lack in myself. But your thesis almost filled it in. It was...a start.” - Finn, The Mad Scientist's Daughter

Personally, when I began reading the story, I came to loathe it. I loathed it for the simple fact that at the back of my mind, I knew it was going to make me shed tears. And I was right. It made me cry, and I hate crying. But I couldn't stop reading it despite the fact the I loathed it because I simply have to know the ending to Cat and Finn's love story.

Then came the parts in the story where I felt my heart breaking bit by painful bit. I felt my heart reach out to Cat, but I also couldn't help but mourn for Finn. They are two characters which really hit me straight to the heart! And the odd thing is, if I were to re-live reading the book, I would no doubt, say yes.

Had I known in the first place just how heartbreaking and angsty this story was, I wouldn't have picked it up. But now that I'm through reading it, I'm glad I did. It's definitely a story that I would carry with me in my favorite list for the rest of my life.

Just to set the record straight, this isn't the first story I've read about a human girl and an android. The first one was a manga (Japanese comics) by Yuu Watase entitled Zettai Kareshi and premiered in Japan way back in March 2003. I became such a huge fan of the manga that I also watched the live Japanese series (with subs, of course), and even the Taiwanese live series remake. It would suffice to say that in both the manga and the live remakes, I cried buckets of tears. So I wasn't in the least bit surprised when this story made me tear up, too.

All in all, this story is very engrossing. It's the kind that draws you in with its quiet charm, breaks your heart into pieces, and when everything comes full circle, you'd still love it!

Friday, July 19, 2013

[Linking Up] Feature & Follow #28

Q: Book Vacay: Where is the best destination reading spot for you? (Where do you like to go to read other than your home)

Um, anywhere with a shade and open air works for me. Beaches are ideal, too! But personally, I still like my reading nook at home. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

[Book Review] Club Monstrosity

Title: Club Monstrosity
Author: Jesse Peterson
Date Published: April 29, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster - Pocket Star
Source: ARC
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery

Barnes & Noble

Book Information:
Natalie’s one of Frankenstein’s creations and works in a New York City morgue. So of course she needs therapy. She and her friends—er, fellow monsters—have formed the world’s most exclusive, most dysfunctional support group. What could go wrong? 
Undetected in the modern world and under pressure to stay that way, Natalie Grey, Dracula, Bob the Blob, and others (including the fetching wolfman Alec) meet regularly to talk about the pressures of being infamous in the Big Apple. Topics include how long it’s been since their last sighting, how their “story” creates stereotypes they can’t fulfill, and—gasp—sometimes even their feelings. 
But when their pervy Invisible Man, Ellis, is killed in a manner reminiscent of the H.G. Wells novel, it’s clear someone’s discovered their existence and is down for some monster busting.

Led by Natalie—and definitely not helped by Hyde’s bloodthirsty tendencies—the members of Monstofelldosis Anonymous band together for security and a little sleuthing. And maybe—maybe—if they don’t end up dead, they’ll end up friends somewhere along the way.

This book features a crazy mix of loveable monsters in the heart of New York City!

There is a reason why monsters such as vampires, zombies and werewolves are still the subject of so many books and movies - they're the classics! And in this awesome book, author Jesse Peterson brought our favorite monsters together!

Story-wise, I love the fact that this book focused more on the monsters themselves rather than the romance aspect between Natalie and Alec. Through their MFD (Monstofelldosis Anonymous), these monsters meet up once a week to discuss how they cope up with the modern world. They also discuss their close encounters with humans. 

As if coping up with the modern world while trying to hide their real identities wasn't hard enough, someone starts killing the monsters one by one. And the M.O. is to kill each monster according to how they died in their respective stories. Personally, I think this was a really clever plot-device. It definitely got the monsters in a lurch and brought out their personalities.

I also like the fact that this book humanized the monsters. They were given each given distinct personalities from each other. This, aside from their general identity as monsters, made them all the more lovable, in my opinion. 

And then of course, there's the heroine, Natalie. I love the fact that she has her own frailty. Despite being a monster, Natalie is a totally relatable character. Her insecurity comes in the form of her scars and disjointed body parts. Body-image issues are quite common, so this really hit the spot. In addition to the mystery aspect of this story, I also appreciate that Natalie was able to find love.

All in all, this book effectively combines a mystery-romance combo, with lovable and endearing characters! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

[Book Review] A Perfect Proposal

Title: A Perfect Proposal
Author: Katie Fforde
Date Published: April 9, 2013
Publisher: Century
Source: ARC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick-Lit


Book Information:
Sophie Apperly's family has never taken her seriously. Fiercely academic, they see her more practical skills as frivolous whilst constantly taking advantage of her. So when her best friend Milly invites her over to New York, she jumps at the chance. It'll do her ungrateful family good to do without her for a while. What s more, she's on a quest America holds the key to solving her family's financial woes, even if they don't deserve her help. 
From the moment Sophie hits the bright lights of Manhattan she's determined to enjoy every minute of her big adventure. So when an evening at an art gallery throws her into the path of Matilda, a spirited old lady who invites her to Connecticut for Thanksgiving, Sophie willingly accepts, much to the dismay of Matilda's grandson Luke. Undeniably attractive but infuriatingly arrogant, he is very protective of his grandmother and seems to doubt Sophie's motives for befriending her. No match for the formidable Matilda, he eventually admits defeat, but first he has a proposal to make. He'll help Sophie in her quest to save her family from financial ruin if she repays the favour. But just what does she have to do in return...?
The perfect book to keep in your bag to combat dull moments and kill lots of waiting time.

This story showcases the adage  which says, 'You can't choose your family'. Sophie Apperly, the protagonist of the story, seemed so out of place in her family of academics, as she was the only one who was practical enough to learn basic household chores rather than drone and research about theoretical knowledge. Though most of her family undermines her skills because she was considered as the 'dim' one, she practically runs the whole household because she's the only one who actually knows how to work menial jobs.

I like Sophie. She's not book smart, but she has a good head on her shoulders and has a big heart to stand and love the family that always undermines her. I would admit though, that I would have smacked some sense into her head with a broomstick had she stayed with her family instead of finding the adventure of her life. Thank God the story gave her the chance to grow and find the love she deserved.

Character-wise, I really loved the fact that aside from Sophie, there were other very colorful characters included in the book! I love Matilda! She's probably my favorite character in this story. I'm a huge fan of quirky Grandmothers, and Matilda definitely fit the bill! She's very generous bordering on being gullible, but she's also cunning because she knew just what to do to bring Luke and Sophie together!

Then of course, how could I forget the banter between Sophie and Luke. They always end up arguing because of being too different from one another. While I understood that Luke was merely protecting his Grandmother, he should also learn to distinguish which people should be trusted and not.

Story-wise, it was a little predictable, but the character growth and the quirky grandmother were a fun mix. All in all, I really enjoyed reading this one!

Friday, July 12, 2013

[Linking Up] Feature & Follow #27

Q: Activity: PHOTOBOMB!!!! 
Photobomb a picture with your favorite book. 
Share it of course.

No one said anything about not looking like a derp while photobombing. LOL
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is one of my most favorite books for the sole reason that it broke my heart into pieces and still has me glad I read it. 

As for the picture, in my defense, I just woke up when I decided to construct this post and I didn't know it entailed a picture. Secondly, my webcam is grainy. So there.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

[Book Review] Touching Melody

Title: Touching Melody
Author: RaShelle Workman
Date Published: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Polished Pen Press
Source: ARC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young-Adult
Rating: ★★★


Book Information:
Maddie Martin's first weekend at college is nothing like she's used to. It's wild, like the wilderness on which the University of Bellam Springs sits. Roped into going to a fraternity party, she literally runs into Kyle Hadley. The boy she's loved since she was nine. The boy she promised all of her firsts to. But that was before his father killed her parents. 
Determined to stay away from him, she throws herself into her music. Practicing piano eases her heavy heart, calms the sadness, and pushes away images of Kyle's face. 
Until it doesn't. 
Her music professor asks her to play a duet for their annual Winter Gala. Doing so means she'll be assured another full ride scholarship. It's an opportunity she can't pass up. 
But Kyle is the other half of the duet. And that means hours and hours of practicing. 
Weeks of seclusion - just the two of them. And it's more than just music. It's passion like Maddie never believed was possible. 
The inevitable happens. She falls in love with him all over again. 
But, will loving him be enough to erase all the hate in her heart for his father? Can she look at him, and not see the evil in his family tree? 
And maybe it's all a set up. Maybe Kyle is only pretending to care so he can finish what his father started, and kill her too.

This is one of those books which has great premise but lacked a lot in execution.

Maddie is a level-headed girl on the outside. To most people, Maddie is mature and responsible, someone who has a bright future ahead of her. But on the inside, Maddie is completely out of sorts, and the only thing that keeps her grounded is pain. She keeps a plethora of tattoos signifying the seven stages of grief under her clothes to remember her parents and her horrific loss.

Then there's Kyle, her first everything. Maddie knows that she should avoid Kyle because he reminds her of the grief she felt when her parents were killed. But then fate had other plans for the two of them.

Story-wise, RaShelle Workman has mentioned that this story was inspired by true events. I'm a little amazed by this because of how the story actually turned out in the end. And you just have to read the story to actually find out why I'm sort of amazed.

Anyways, the development between Maddie and Kyle seemed a little unnatural. I do understand that they had history and chemistry, but the romance aspect between them seemed bland. I also found the writing a little unrefined because some of the scenes were merely put into the story for the sake of having a scene, and not because it's in any way significant.

At the last quarter of the story, that's where everything fell into place and where the loose ties were finally fixed. It was a little unexpected, but nothing that really blew me away. 

All in all, the reason I gave this story three stars is because it was inspired by true events, and because of the ending twist which I really didn't foresee.

Monday, July 8, 2013

[Book Review] Rules of Entanglement

Title: Rules of Entanglement
Author: Gina L. Maxwell
Date Published: March 31, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Publishing - Brazen
Source: ARC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick-Lit


Book Information:
Seven days. And seven rules to break... 
District Attorney Vanessa McGregor firmly believes that structure and order are the stuff that dreams are made of. Happiness can be planned - and it starts with seven rules she's laid out for her future. But as she's organizing her best friend's wedding in Hawaii, all of Vanessa's best-laid plans are about to meet their match in a wickedly hot MMA fighter... 
Jackson "Jax" Maris is focused on surfing, training and fighting. That is, until he opens up his big mouth, and finds himself having to pretend he's engaged to his little sister's best friend, Vanessa. When they're force to share a romantic bungalow, however, their little charade suddenly takes a turn for the seriously sexy. And while Jax is definitely not part of Vanessa's long-term plan, he has seven days - and seven naughty nights - to turn her seven-rule plan upside down.

The perfect blend of a love-hate relationship, a pseudo-engagement, and a tropical beach setting. Perfect as a summer read!

Vanessa, a prim and proper District Attorney lives her life in keeping with seven strict rules. She made these seven rules to make sure that she stays grounded and that she doesn't get herself hurt. Everything was actually good and under control in her life until she meets Jax, an MMA fighter.

7.Never take your responsibilities lightly
6.Never indulge in the poison of lies
5.Never let a fling last more than three days.
4.Never date a man who chooses fists over words.
3.Never date a man who lacks a stable future.
2.Never relinquish control.
1.Never fall in love.

Story-wise, the plot-device of pretending as a couple has been used multiple times in a number of books and stories, but in this one, it had justification. Also, I like how it was Jax who initiated the whole thing because it was believable.

Character-wise, I actually like Vanessa. She's too guarded because she has gone through so much. I love how her back story gave her a bit of realism. She didn't turn out the way she was without experiencing a multitude of events. That really says a lot about why she holds on to her rules as if they were her lifeline.

Oh, and Vanessa is also the kind of girl who knows what she needs and knows exactly how to get it. This is probably because she's on the logical side and weighs things down through pros and cons. That's why I wasn't surprised at all when she decided to have a fling with Jax, minus the emotional attachments.

As for Jax, he's a little contradiction himself because he lives as though he's this really unreliable guy, when in fact, he's not. Being an MMA fighter and a surfer gave the impression that Jax likes living dangerously. His bare apartment also screams that he has an unstable future, something that is against Vanessa's rules.

In short, Vanessa and Jax were too different that's why they were always at each other's throats. And their first meeting was a clear case of hate-at-first-sight.

Another thing I really liked about this book is the witty banter between Vanessa and Jax. I love witty banters and sarcastic wisecracks. They make my life colorful, that's why I really liked this book. Vanessa and Jax always try to one-up the other through their banter and I really appreciated that.

All in all, this book is perfect as a summer read! It has gorgeous and funny characters, witty wisecracks, and a tropical beach setting. What more could a reader ask for?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

[Book Review] Untimed

Title: Untimed
Author: Andy Gavin
Date Published: December 17, 2012
Publisher: Mascherato (Indie)
Source: ARC
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Barnes & Noble

Book Information:
Charlie’s the kind of boy that no one notices. Hell, even his own mother can’t remember his name. And girls? The invisible man gets more dates. 
As if that weren’t enough, when a mysterious clockwork man tries to kill him in modern day Philadelphia, and they tumble through a hole into 1725 London, Charlie realizes even the laws of time don’t take him seriously. 
Still, this isn’t all bad. In fact, there’s this girl, another time traveler, who not only remembers his name, but might even like him! Unfortunately, Yvaine carries more than her share of baggage: like a baby boy and at least two ex-boyfriends! One’s famous, the other’s murderous, and Charlie doesn’t know who is the bigger problem. 
When one kills the other — and the other is nineteen year-old Ben Franklin — things get really crazy. Can their relationship survive? Can the future? Charlie and Yvaine are time travelers, they can fix this — theoretically — but the rules are complicated and the stakes are history as we know it. 
And there's one more wrinkle: he can only travel into the past, and she can only travel into the future!

Are you looking for adventure? Pick this one up!

Whoever said that indie-published books aren't well-packaged, well-written and well-made probably hasn't read and seen the details inside the pages of Andy Gavin's Untimed.

First off, let's take a second to admire the beautiful cover. Hee. It was photoshopped by the Author himself, mind you. I read it on the very last page of the book, on the Author's Acknowledgements. And yes, just to set the record straight, I read about Authors, too. It helps in understanding how the book and story came to life.

Second, I love the illustrations that were painstakingly arranged inside the pages of the book! It's perfect for young readers, and it really shows just how much work was put into this book.

Third, awesome adventure for the storyline. I love time-traveling stories, especially ones which take the reader on a whirlwind of situations that test the character's courage and wit. With that said, I really liked Charlie as a protagonist. He's resourceful and a bit naive, but he's also smart and quick on his feet.

I also love how the Tocks were designed! And the plot-device where they cannot change the status of things such as moving a door or something was really creative. It was one of the things that gave Charlie an advantage.

The premise and the way the story was delivered was also fascinating. When I was reading, I felt like I was in the middle of a history lesson with a few twists that made everything a bit more interesting. It was fun reading about Benjamin Franklin, too!

The only thing that I didn't approve of in this book is the part about Yvaine. True, her personality and background was well-suited for a flawed but believable and interesting character, but I don't really approve her relationship with Charlie. At fifteen years old, I think Charlie is just deeply infatuated with her. And the parts where they were behaving intimately was a little uncomfortable for me. (Yes, I am a little conservative.)

All in all, this book is a solid adventure packed in 385 pages! Perfect for people looking for engrossing reads and very interesting characters!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

[Book Review] Lightpoints

Title: Lightpoints
Author: Peter Kassan
Date Published: March 25, 2013
Publisher: Melange Books
Source: ARC
Genre: Paranormal


Book Information:
What if you suddenly discovered you had a sense—and powers—that almost no one else in the world did?

When Amanda Lindner Nichols, a 24-year-old graphic artist living with her husband in Queens, New York, is revived from a near-death experience, she discovers she perceives everyone around her as points of light—but not with her eyes. She soon learns she can not only perceive the life energy of others, but she can give and take it. With the help of others like her, she brings her husband Chris to the brink of death and back to bestow on him the same remarkable faculty, and they’re the happiest they’ve been.

But not for long. All over the world, people who’ve been revived from their own near-death experience at just the right moment discover themselves with these same unusual powers. They find ways to use them—some for good and some for evil. When Amanda and Chris encounter a ruthless group of gangsters with the same faculty, tragedy follows—and Amanda faces the greatest challenge of her life.

An engrossing and well-written story about Near-Death-Experience (NDE) and a clever play on the premise of 'what if the people who came back from death gained inexplicable powers?'

First off, this book has really great premise! I love the idea of being able to read people's auras or lightpoints even they were a few blocks away. This kind of ability is certainly helpful in so many situations, as demonstrated by Amanda's experiences.

Also, I love how Amanda chose to gradually investigate about her newly acquired sense, rather completely shirk it off because it made her different. She chose to see it as a gift rather than as a curse and I really applaud her for that.

Secondly, I really appreciate that there was a gradual experimentation by different people of what they can do with their new abilities. The explanation of NDE and OBE (Out-of-Body-Experience) was quite vivid that I can clearly imagine it happening.

Story-wise, it was a little dragging. The book allotted quite a lot in explaining and gradually demonstrating the use of powers acquired by people who experienced NDE. At the same time, the story also humanized the characters because they feel emotions such as depression and loneliness after feeling different. Also, I like how the book also showed that the ability cannot be solely explained by one religion as it is also manifested in others.

The ending was quite unexpected though. Personally, Amanda appeared to me as level-headed. She grew up in a loving environment and had a loving husband. I didn't expect her to go on a rampage for revenge, but if I were her, I would have done the same. Sometimes, revenge is the only way to exact justice. Especially since in this story, there was no way for Amanda to get justice through the usual means.

All in all, this one was definitely engrossing. It was a little bit dragging but it was definitely worth reading.

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