Ads 468x60px

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #9: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge + The Nightmare Dilemma by Mindee Arnett

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme first initiated by Jill from Breaking the Spine. However, we've added our own twist to it! Not only will we feature books that will be published in the following months, but we will also feature books that are not available yet locally, and are still unavailable to us.

Title: Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Publishing House: Balzer & Bray
ISBN: 9780062224736


Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom - all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle - a shifting maze of magical rooms - enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

 (Image, summary, and information courtesy of Goodreads)

Michelle: Hell hath no fury like an angry woman, yo. But alas, what if her man is an actual prince, and not the frog she paints him to be? The fact that it takes place with kingdoms as the setting is practically icing on the cake. Must. Read. Now.

Title: The Nightmare Dilemma
Author: Mindee Arnett
Publication Date: March 4 2014
Publishing House: Tor Teen
ISBN: 9780765333346


The second in a thrilling new fantastical mystery series.

Dusty Everhart might be able to predict the future through the dreams of her crush, Eli Booker, but that doesn't make her life even remotely easy. When one of her mermaid friends is viciously assaulted and left for dead, and the school's jokester, Lance Rathbone, is accused of the crime, Dusty's as shocked as everybody else. Lance needs Dusty to prove his innocence by finding the real attacker, but that's easier asked than done. Eli's dreams are no help, more nightmares than prophecies.

To make matters worse, Dusty's ex-boyfriend has just been acquitted of conspiracy and is now back at school, reminding dusty of why she fell for him in the first place. The Magi Senate need Dusty to get close to him, to discover his real motives. But this order infuriates Eli, who has started his own campaign for Dusty's heart.

As Dusty takes on both cases, she begins to suspect their connected to something bigger. And there's something very wrong with Eli's dreams, signs that point to a darker plot than they could have ever imagined.

                                (Image, summary, and information courtesy of Goodreads)

Nicole: Have you read the first book in this series? It's so freaking adorable, you totally should. You can find our review for the first book HERE if you're interested. And by the looks of it, there's going to be a love triangle. I usually hate love triangles, but I so love it when Eli's all jealous of Dusty and I need more lovey dovey scenes between the two of them. Am I excited? Of course I am!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Title: Steelheart
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Format Acquired: Paperback
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Publishing House: Delacorte 
Source of Copy: Purchased from National Bookstore


There are no heroes.

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics... nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning - and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

(Image, summary and information courtesy of Goodreads)


Steelheart was part of one of our Waiting on Wednesday posts, so you guys might get the gist of how much I was anticipating this one. "Superheroes" gone bad? Yes please. Revenge on the villain? A heaping plate of it, por favor. An ordinary human boy hellbent on taking on said villain who is endowed with powers that practically render him invincible against bullets and practically anything? Dude, I can count on one hand people who will say no to that. 

David's father may have been a fan of the Epics, still believing that they have some semblance of good in them, but David thinks otherwise. Unless of course you can justify Steelheart for killing David's dad as easily as he would vermin. Which then you can't. Now eighteen, David has compiled a lot of research and data on the Epics and how they can best and easily be eliminated. And part of his to-do list is to be in with the Reckoners, a group of insurgents who are seeking to assassinate Epics as well.

While Steelheart had all of these ingredients that could make it on our 2013 Best YA Books of the Year, Steelheart fell short of its attempt to truly reel me in. While I have no qualms about a clumsy, hormonal boy being the protagonist nor do I expect realistically, some awesome dude who's just naturally good at extracting revenge, I did feel that David was too childish. On my part of the Waiting on Wednesday post, I quote myself saying that "David sounds like a guy who knows what he wants and knows exactly how to get it, which is something I haven't really seen much of in YA fiction." While it does fulfill that expectation of mine, I was somehow hinting at the fact that I hope David is as fierce as the blurb makes him out to be. While I get that it's a different world, and David lives with different circumstances, I was hoping that he would become somehow... cooler, even if that change took on towards the end of the book. David talks and thinks too much, that sometimes I do have to put the book down and massage my temples. His analogies are awful, so awful that sometimes I just skim over them so I don't feel more annoyed than I already am. 

I did like the concept of normal human beings getting random superpowers, and I myself do believe that if we do get them, the bad would likely outweigh the good (Yes, I am this delightful at parties as well.) and on that note, Sanderson did deliver on his promise.

If you're expecting Steelheart to dish out the solid, wicked cool blurb it actually promises, it doesn't. It does have pretty cool action scenes, but it was hardly enough to keep me interested in looking forward to the second book. With that being said, Steelheart would probably translate better on the big screen than it does on print.


Monday, October 28, 2013

NICOLE'S REVIEW: The Program by Suzanne Young

Title: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: April 30 2013
Publishing House: Simon Pulse
ISBN: 9781442445802
Source of Copy: Fully Booked


Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane's parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they'll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who's been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone - and so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He's promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite promises they've made to each other, it's getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in.

And The Program is coming for them.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


With the recent influx of dystopian novels, it's hard to find one that truly stands out. And while I'll admit that The Program does have an interesting concept, it was boring and I felt utterly disconnected from it.

Showing any sign of depression in public can toss you into The Program. A treatment facility that focuses on curing teens of depression, thus preventing suicide. A drawback to being tossed into The Program means that one loses his or her memories about the life they've lived. This basically means that patients end up becoming happy, content and utterly brain washed zombies. Sloane, having lost her brother to suicide, knows that she must be vigilant and must make sure that no one sees her crying or acting strangely in public. Recent circumstances make that a feat to accomplish and she's not sure how long she's going to last.

The Program is a love story in a dystopian setting. James and Sloane have a pre-existing relationship so we miss out on the tension and the excitement of their meeting and courtship - sort of. The flashbacks did help establish their bond and while adorable, somehow it just didn't do it for me. 

I don't exactly like this book, but I don't hate it either. It's depressing and really sad but all in all Sloane's time in The Program is like pretty standard to the genre. Fighting back against the system and all that. There were times wherein I wanted her to just give in because what's fighting going to do for her? She always gets doped up with drugs the only difference is how they enter her system - of her own free will or injected into her body forcefully. 

Secondary characters are just that. Secondary. There's not much insight into them and it would be interesting if the author would expound on their characters. But I'm not complaining. 

Basically The Program is just another okay book in the midst of a hundred plus YA dystopian novels out in the world today. Everything is clear cut and the bad guys are bad, the good guys are good and shades of grey are few and far between. While the concept is initially intriguing I'm afraid that this book isn't exactly something that I'll remember at the top of my head. 

The Program, I think, is right for those who are just easing themselves into the dystopian genre. 



Sunday, October 27, 2013

[CLOSED] 1 Year-Anniversary Giveaway + Stacking the Shelves #36 + The Sunday Post #34

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba over at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This special post will provide a recap for posts that have been written for the week (October 21 - 27, 2013)





Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme first initiated by Tynga. This weekly segment will showcase the books/galleys/ARCs we've acquired/purchased/borrowed within the week.


Top to bottom:
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

From left to right:
Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima

From top to bottom:
The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
Linked by Imogen Howson
Warp by Eoin Colfer
The Eye of Minds by James Dashner
The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

Allegiant by Veronica Roth


From left to right, top to bottom:
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
The Rogue's Princess by Eve Edwards
The Final Descent by Rick Yancey
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth
The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson
Burning by Elana Arnold
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney
Project Cain by Geoffrey Girard

The Liberator by Victoria Scott

Hey guys! It's been a year since we started the blog. We came up with the idea on Sept. 11, 2012, and formally launched our blog on Oct. 20, 2012. Since the blog started, we've experienced new things that couldn't have been possible if we didn't go beyond our comfort zones. So to say thank you to all our readers, followers, peers, we're having a giveaway.

We're giving away 5 books:
Insignia by S.J. Kincaid (Reviewed here here)
The Assassin's Curse + The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke (Review for The Assassin's Curse here, and The Pirate's Wish here)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
 Enclave by Ann Aguirre 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ONE winner gets to take everything home, yo! The giveaway is international too, so as long as The Book Depository ships to your country, you can enter.

Terms and Conditions:

1. The books will be sent from The Twins Read will not be held liable for any customs / taxes that your country will impose on you. Likewise, The Twins Read will not be held liable for any lost / damaged packages.

2. You must be 13 years old and above to join. Please ask your parent/guardian to join the giveaway for you, if you aren't.

3. If you only use ONE account to do all these tasks and enter under different names, they will still only constitute as ONE entry. 

4. If the winner does not respond to messages via Facebook, or e-mail within 48 hours, The Twins Read will have to choose another winner.

5. The covers of the copies you get may be different from the cover used in the The Twins Read promos.


By the way, we'll be at the upcoming ReaderCon 2013! We'll be giving away YA book recommendations, so please do drop by our booth and chat with us. Our time slot is 1:00-1:45 PM, and we'd really love to connect with you guys. The event will be held on November 9, 2013 at the 5th floor of the Rizal Library at the Ateneo de Manila University. (If you do drop by and mention this post, you just might get some swag. Just saying!) The event will only accommodate around 300 people, so you might want to reserve slots by clicking on this link. The registration fee costs P150.

           Click to see full image
Here's the schedule of events! There will also be talks by famous personalities like Ramon Bautista and Kate Evangelista. There will also be book discussions, so please do come. :)

ALSO, The NBDB, in line with the Ayala Museum and the Filipinas Heritage Museum is also hosting a fiction writing masterclass titled City Fiction 100, so all you budding fiction writers might want to take note of that! Just bring with you a flash fiction piece about a city, whether real or imagined. The workshop hosted by Krys Lee costs P1,000 and grants access to all panels for the day. Only 25 slots are available, so if you're interested, you better reserve slots!

Super duper lengthy post over. Peace out.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Twins on Thursday: Steel Lily by Megan Curd

"The Twins on Thursday" is reserved for the Twins' joint reviews. It is a special feature of our blog that discusses books that we either both like, dislike, or have mixed feelings about. This is also the day where we post reviews for books (and ARCs/Galleys) that have been sent to us by authors/galley sites/publishing houses. And because we don't believe much in uniformity, we'll be trying to mix things up a bit by adding random stuff in relation to our review (well, mostly for books we purchased anyway).

Title: Steel Lily
Author: Megan Curd
Format Acquired: PDF
Publication Date: August 12, 2013
ISBN: 9781492135494
Source of Copy: Sent by Author


Avery Pike is a commodity. No, more than a commodity. Her existence is guarded at all costs.

She's a water Elementalist, the strongest of her dwindling kind. She  creates steam to provide energy to fuel Dome Four: the only thing standing between humanity and an earth ravaged by World War III. No steam, no Dome. No Dome, no life.

Or so she thinks.

That is, until a mysterious man offers her a way out of having to donate steam. A way to escape the corrupt government of Dome Four. While the offer seems too good to be true, Avery is intrigued. But when she arrives to her new home, she realizes the grass isn't any less dead on this side of the fence. Instead, the lies are hidden better.

...Which means digging deeper.

When Avery enlists the help of her friends to uncover the truth, she learns that while some secrets are better left concealed, humankind was never meant to live in a cage. And when you control the most sought after resource, you can learn to control anything...including the fate of your world.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Avery knows she's a victim of an unfortunate tragedy, but Dome Four seems to claim otherwise. Especially when she's the strongest elementalist who supplies more than her share of steam in the Dome. Avery might get a better lifestyle than the others, but she isn't treated differently as opposed to a machine. She dreams of a better life, of life outside the Dome and when an opportunity actually rises up and with it a chance of a different life, Avery thinks that it might not as bad as the treatment she gets from the Dome. But this dome that gathers gifted individuals might have an ulterior motive in mind.

Truthfully, we're not exactly sure what to think about Steel Lily. It's like your typical dystopian - a world in ruins, run by an overbearing government. But we're not exactly sure what's going on. It's got fantasy and steampunk - sort of - and an amalgam of other things with romance and a love triangle thrown in for added spice.

We're not much of a fan of the characters and there's not much to say about the cast. Avery, the main character, is just your typical YA heroine, spunky, smart, pretty and somehow more powerful than the rest of the plebes. Jaxon, the male lead, is a bit of a jerk, but that's because his mood is dictated by how his father treats him most of the time. He was a bit of a weird one at first, but Jaxon's snark grows on you, and that's what happened with us.

The world-building, while inspired, does lack a bit of convincing. There are domes, sure, but we did find it quite hard to believe that Avery's dome didn't seem to have plans of getting her back. She provides more than her own share of steam for the dome, so why would they just let someone tht important slip through their fingers? Avery is an exceptional asset who could probably be enough to wage war over!

While Steel Lily does fall short on some areas, it does have an interesting promise. Fans of dystopian worlds might want to give this one a go.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: The Torn Wing by Kiki Hamilton

Title: The Torn Wing
Author: Kiki Hamilton
Format Acquired: eBook / Kindle
Publication Date: August 9, 2012
Publishing House: Fair Wind Books
ISBN: 9781470131432
Source of Copy: Amazon


London 1872 -

A bloody escape, a deadly threat, a shocking revelation...

As an orphan who stole the Queen's ring - only to find the ring was a reservoir the held a truce between the world of Faerie and the British Court - Tiki's greatest fear suddenly becomes all too real: the fey have returned to London seeking revenge. As war escalates in the Otherworld, Queen Victoria's youngest son, Prince Leopold, is attacked. In order to protect her family and those she loves, Tiki needs to know the meaning ofan fáinne sí, the birthmark that winds around her wrist. But will she be brave enough to face the truth?

(Image, summary and information courtesy of Goodreads)


(To check out the review of The Faerie Ring, the first book of this series, click here.)

Kiki and her friends may be now off the streets, but that doesn't mean that the danger is over. Larkin has escaped, the worlds are teetering on the brink of an upcoming war, and still, there is something about Kiki that just might change the game...

Just like I did with the first book, I breezed through this in one sitting and I enjoyed every minute of it. The first half of The Torn Wing keeps up similar overtones as The Faerie Ring, so it wouldn't really shock the reader - especially when you just finished the first book (which was what happened to me). Hamilton slowly eases the reader into darker territory, hinting at the possibilities some scenarios may entail, but still manages to keep things light. 

The characters are still as lovely as ever, and I wasn't really surprised that Clara managed to charm a certain someone. Rieker opens up his home for Kiki and her friends, and his heart is certainly not saying to Kiki either. The romance is light-hearted with just the right amount of sweetness to it.

The Torn Wing is a good sequel to The Faerie Ring, as it doesn't hurl towards a different direction that readers have already anticipated and it does clarify some points that the first book didn't elaborate.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

MICHELLE'S REVIEW: The Faerie Ring by Kiki Hamilton

Title: The Faerie Ring
Author: Kiki Hamilton
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Publishing House: Tor Teen
ISBN: 9780765327222
Source of Copy: Borrowed from Precious of My Life in Fragments / Mini Blog Tour


The year is 1871...

Tiki has been making a home for herself and her family of orphans in a deserted hideaway adjoining Charing Cross Station in central London. Their only means of survival is by picking pockets. One December night, Tiki steals a ring, and sets off a chain of events that could lead to all-out war with the Fey. But there are too many who want the ring, including the mysterious Rieker, a handsome pickpocket who has been watching Tiki, and a rebel group of UnSeelie fey who would do anything to break the truce...

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


After finding out that one of her beloved friends is deeply ill, Tiki makes a resolution to steal a ring from the Crown (yes, that Crown), only to find out that the ring is the only thing that keeps the truce intact between the fey and the human world.

Tiki's heart is obviously too big for her. Not only does befriend two orphaned cousins, she also takes in a child who needs medications. If it were any other street children, they would have probably turned a blind eye and wouldn't dare take on technically what can be considered as dead weight. But Tiki, bless her, is very determined to show her friends, and even society, that anyone can have a family. Sure, pickpocketing isn't really a nice thing to do, but she does it Robin Hood style - taking from nasty people, and giving to the poor. I did like how Tiki was her own person and was fiercely loyal to the people who needed trust the most. Rieker, on the other hand, was an enigma. He keeps an eye out for Tiki, and knows what she needs the most at the right time, but he would rather keep to himself. 

I thought that the fey part was nicely done. With the ring out of its safety zone, these creatures were primed to bring harm to anyone who stands in their way. 

While I did find some parts a teeny tiny bit lackluster, I reverted to my amusement with Rieker and Tiki instead. They are both utterly adorable, and while some scenarios should have involved Tiki getting rather concerned for her reputation (because even if she did fall into tough times, she was still bred as an aristocrat and thusly thought that Rieker should have done the thinking for both of them) The Faerie Ring is still quite enjoyable.

The Faerie Ring is deceptively both light and entertaining, and readers will have a nice time breezing through this one easily without noticing the time. 


Monday, October 21, 2013

NICOLE'S REVIEW + Novel Nails #7: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

Title: Unbreakable
Author: Kami Garcia
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: October 1 2013
Publishing House: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780316210171
Source of Copy: Fully Booked


When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, she doesn't realize that paranormal forces are responsible - not until mysterious identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into her room and destroy a deadly spirit sent to kill her.

Kennedy learns that her mother's death was no accident, and now she has to take her place in the Legion of the Black Dove - a secret society of ghost hunters formed to protect the world from a vengeful demon. A society whose five members were all murdered on the same night, leaving the Legion in the hands of the next generation: a misfit group with unique skills.

As new members race to find the only weapon capable of destroying the demon, they use their individual talents to battle paranormal entities and earn their rightful place in the Legion - except for Kennedy.

If she is truly the missing piece of the puzzle can she stay alive long enough to find out - without losing her heart in the process?

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


Needing my monthly fix of paranormal fiction, I decided to pick Unbreakable up. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect, seeing as how I'm not a huge fan of the Beautiful Creatures series. I'll tell you guys now that I actually liked this book despite a few cliches and that awful love triangle, it was a pretty entertaining read.

Strange things happen after Kennedy finds herself traipsing through a graveyard one evening chasing after her runaway cat. Her mother dies due to a paranormal entity and she's thrust into a world she knows nothing about. A world involving demons, ghosts and a secret society known as the Legion of the Black Dove which her mother was a part of. Well, at least that's what the devastatingly handsome twins who appear on her doorstep one night tell her while simultaneously trying to recruit her to their cause.

Garcia has pretty decent characters. I mean it took me a little while to warm up to Kennedy but she's okay. She's got abandonment issues; her dad left her when she was a little girl and her mother 's gone to the great beyond leaving behind a secret legacy of demon hunting and ghost busting. I'd have issues too if I were in her place.

This little thing I wasn't real fond of was the love triangle. When the summary mentioned "twins" I feared the worst. I mean, just what are the chances of two brothers falling in love with the same girl at the same time? It made the romance aspect of the book seem a little unbelievable.

But what I liked about Unbreakable was its creep factor. I read this at around 3am and I seriously felt like someone had their eyes pinned to my back as I read. Maybe I was being a little paranoid then but still, this book managed to scare me a little. Good job, Unbreakable. It's fast pace and scene after scene of ghostly encounters kept me from getting bored, the lore is quite interesting and I'd like to find out more about this Legion of the Black Dove. 

Unbreakable is pretty straight forward -join the Legion, find the weapon, destroy the demon, save the world. There's a little bit of sleuthing involved but nothing too heavy. Looking for your next paranormal read? Give Unbreakable a shot.



"Novel Nails" is a feature of the blog that showcases nail art inspired by books and their covers. Nail art will be created by either Michelle or Nicole and will be featured alongside their reviews.

Hi guys! It's been a month I think, since we last posted Novel Nails. I'm sorry, I think I'm a bit out of practice. 

In case you guys are curious I used Orly Liquid Vinyl and Spa Ritual Solstice to create my nails. They're really easy to do, black and gold french tips right? And a free hand drawing of a symbol found on p.180

Nails with the book.

On my right hand you'll see that I added a teardrop shaped stud on the accent nail.

Here's the symbol I was talking about. I drew it on my accent nail.

Nails with the book again.

Hope you liked this! I'll try to do more next time around but with a few months till my thesis defense, I'm going to be real busy. If you want to check out my past bookish nails just head on over to instagram and look for nicolereadsbooks.

Yes or No to black and gold nails?


Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Twins on Thursday: The Cutting Room Floor by Dawn Klehr

"The Twins on Thursday" is reserved for the Twins' joint reviews. It is a special feature of our blog that discusses books that we either both like, dislike, or have mixed feelings about. This is also the day where we post reviews for books (and ARCs/Galleys) that have been sent to us by authors/galley sites/publishing houses. And because we don't believe much in uniformity, we'll be trying to mix things up a bit by adding random stuff in relation to our review (well, mostly for books we purchased anyway).

Title: The Cutting Room Floor
Author: Dawn Klehr
Format Acquired: eARC
Publication Date: October 8 2013
Publishing House: Flux
ISBN: 9780738738048
Source of Copy: Requested from publisher via NetGalley


Behind-the-scenes secrets could turn deadly for Desmond and Riley.

Life in the Heights has never been easy for seventeen-year-old Riley Frost, but when she's publicly dumped and outed at the same time, she becomes an immediate social outcast at her high school. So Riley swears off romance and throws herself into solving the shocking murder of her favorite teacher, Ms. Dunn.

Riley turns to her best friend, budding filmmaker Desmond Brandt, for help. What she doesn't know is that Dez has been secretly directing her life, blackmailing her friends, and hoping his manipulations will make her love him. When his schemes go to far, Dez's web of lies threatens to destroy both of their lives.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


With a concept like that, how were we supposed to resist? A controlling, manipulative boy who has secretly directed our leading lady's whole life in the hopes that she'll fall in love with him through blackmail and subterfuge. While it's not exactly something a normal high school boy would do, we think it's been established that Desmond's not exactly normal. Add to that the murder of a teacher and we've got a murder-mystery slash psychotic-stalker-problem in our hands.

Desmond's been pining after Riley for a while now and makes it a point to sabotage every intimate relationship she's had. Riley is his and Desmond's going to everything in his power to make sure it happens. Riley is totally clueless. To her Desmond is her pretty boy best friend who's a great filmmaker, and a totally upstanding guy. And when Riley is bent on solving a murder involving her favorite teacher, Dez will have to show how far he's willing to go with his unhealthy obsession.

What's confusing about this book is the many themes that were thrown into it. Murder, mystery, a bit of gay fiction, romance - so much so that we're not exactly sure what to think. It has a definite murder mystery vibe going on but the lack of focus on that particular aspect was a bummer. Dez's machinations should play a bigger role in the story, given how warped his displays of affection are. He's actually a total creep, but somehow, readers are forced to tolerate him, because hey, he's the protagonist and he's somehow refreshing (if you're the type who wants to read about unconventional leads, that is.)

If you're not into protagonists you want to rally 100% with, you might not find yourself enjoying this one. Dez was downright creeptastic towards Riley, even when she seemed to be batting for her own team. But if you do find yourself interested in a different kind of protagonist, why not try this one out for size?


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

NICOLE'S REVIEW: Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland

Title: Vengeance Bound
Author: Justina Ireland
Format Acquired: Hardcover
Publication Date: April 2 2013
Publishing House: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9781442444621
Source of Copy: Fully Booked


Revenge is not always sweet.

Amelie Ainsworth had no choice. She prayed for help. The Furies were the ones to answer her call.

She owes Them her life.

But They are too powerful. Amelie can no longer justify giving in to Their dark urges.

Can she ever be normal with Them in her head?

Starting fresh at yet another school, Amelie meets new people. Good people like Niko who could offer her something more than vengeance.

But They are not finished with Amelie and They do no handle rejection well.

(Image and information courtesy of Goodreads; Summary lifted from actual book)


I should have known to be wary of  book that's being touted as "The Goddess Test meets Dexter". I never really hit it off with the Goddess Test but I decided that that shouldn't be reason for me to shy away from this book.

When Amelie cries out for vengeance, she never really expected an answer. Especially not from the mythical Greek Furies with their bloodlust and thirst for revenge. A number of kills later and her stint at a mental facility, Amelie finds herself wondering if she's truly capable of controlling the Furies or will she soon crumble to their needs of death and destruction one human soul at a time.

One thing I was really looking forward to was the prospect of blood and gore. I mean sharing your mind and being a conduit for the Furies has got to be an interesting experience despite the little mishaps and all that. But despite the promising concept and the infusion of Greek mythology I found this book sadly lacking.

Amelie or Cory as she's called has been through a lot, crazy men locking her in a basement, loony doctors and a crazy friend who's way too clingy and stalkerish. I mean I think Amelie would be an interesting character if only I could connect with her. Which I couldn't. The story lacked characterization which didn't please me at all. The secondary characters were like stiff props meant to fill a certain role; the mean girl, the pothead friend, the crazy best friend and so on. They never felt real to me.

As for the romance...well Amelie's infatuated with Niko from the get-go and their romance is fast paced and instant. I would've liked to see a little more romance or passion and some sparks or maybe fireworks but I just couldn't feel a thing. I mean sure, Niko's a good boy, a little worse for wear but a good boy. Aside from that? Nothing. 

I would have liked more action, more vengeance and a whole lot more blood. And maybe a better resolution to the story because that ending felt a little bit too abrupt. 

Now if you're a fan of Greek myth and you like your stories jam packed with ancient lore and whatnot, this one isn't for you. But if you're looking for a fast paced read that's a little violent and involves the Greek Furies then yes, you could always pick this one up.