Mini Hiatus

Sorry about the lack of posts these few weeks, I was heavily laden with homework and didn't have time to read and write reviews. I currently read in a extremely slow speed of one book about 4 days.... Therefore, I decided to take a mini hiatus, I will be certainly back by January, when I don't know, since I have term finals the start of January. This hiatus will give me time to read and catch up on my reviews as well as storing a few reviews so I could sometimes read in a more leisurely pace. See ya guys soon! ;)


Review: Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson (Valkyrie #1)

Title: Valkyrie Rising (Valkyrie #1)
Author: Ingrid Paulson
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Mythology
Publisher: HarperTeen
Synopsis/Summary: Nothing ever happens in Norway. But at least Ellie knows what to expect when she visits her grandmother: a tranquil fishing village and long, slow summer days. And maybe she’ll finally get out from under the shadow of her way-too-perfect big brother, Graham, while she’s there. 
What Ellie doesn’t anticipate is Graham’s infuriating best friend, Tuck, tagging along for the trip. Nor did she imagine boys going missing amid rumors of impossible kidnappings. Least of all does she expect something powerful and ancient to awaken in her and that strange whispers would urge Ellie to claim her place among mythological warriors. Instead of peace and quiet, there’s suddenly a lot for a girl from L.A. to handle on a summer sojourn in Norway! And when Graham vanishes, it’s up to Ellie—and the ever-sarcastic, if undeniably alluring Tuck—to uncover the truth about all the disappearances and thwart the nefarious plan behind them.
Deadly legends, hidden identities, and tentative romance swirl together in one girl’s unexpectedly-epic coming of age.-Taken from GoodReads
From the book on: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / The Book Depository

      This book included a very special element, it incorporated Norse Mythology, like the Percy Jackson series, only that I have never heard of Norse Mythology (yeah, not really an expert in mythologies... :P), and that made the book that much more interesting.

     The plot introduced a new kind of paranormal creatures that hardly ever appeared in books, Valkyries. I had a lot of fun reading about them, although I still think that they are not that different from vampires and werewolves, at least in their abilities. They can move super fast, fight extra hard, heals fast and hypnotize people. Well, that fits the description of vampires pretty good, right? Minus the blood-drinking part of course. Anyway, despite their similarities, it was still interesting to know about Valkyries, apparently they collected dead soldiers' souls and give it to the God of Death, Odin. Their purpose was really what set them apart from other paranormal creatures. Still, I appreciate Paulson's effort in putting something new in her story.

     Most of the story took place within two days, and events just kept happening one after the other. To put it simply, this is a fast-paced story. True, there were still moments when after a long chapter (actually most of the chapters are pretty long, like 30 pages or so, which proved inconvenient especially since I insist on finishing the full chapter before dropping a book), things are still in the same place, but things can progress really fast if the author so wants. Truth be told though, the plot didn't quite pull me in, the whole wild-goose-chase thing wasn't really my thing, plus, I found Ellie to be incredibly frustrating. That said, the plot was still enjoyable and wasn't really that bad, just that it wasn't my thing, but I loved the romance! Tuck is a great love interest!

     The ending was kind of great, most of the things were resolved, and there were a few loose ends that was left to the reader's imagination. I am totally fine with this being a stand-alone, but apparently it's going to be a series. There are many series these days, huh? Anyway, I like the idea of reading about Valkyries again, though Ellie wasn't my favorite, I did want to see her grow into a proud Valkyrie.

    As mentioned before, this book featured Norse Mythology, which was refreshing. However, I don't think Paulson had used the concept to its full when writing Valkyrie Rising. The only thing that resembled Norse Mythology was its mythological creatures, however, I would love to see a more Percy-Jackson approach, you know, with the story sort of alluding a story from the mythology, that would definitely attract me, plus it allows readers to know more Norse Mythology.

     As mentioned, I didn't like Ellie. Sure, she was kind of sweet and kind, at least not really that bad. But she kept getting more and more impetuous by the story, and that really annoyed me. I know that was part of her Valkyrie nature, but being a Valkyrie didn't mean you should go around taking risks that were A) Not worth taking and B) Totally stupid. I actually hate these kind of behavior on a heroine, you've got to keep a clear head especially in the heat of battle, and while Ellie was rational at times, her choices were really stupid, she kept doing dangerous things, didn't she understand that if she was killed, she could never save her bother? Think before you act. Although, now that I think about it, she did think, though her head most be wired very differently from mine, because I disagreed with most of her decisions.

     Now, let's talk about the love interest, Tucker! He was portrayed as a player, yet he had been friends with Ellie for years, as he was also Graham, Ellie's brother's friend. That gave the perfect reason for their relationship. I knew many people actually hated insta-love, so this friendship-turned romance should be pretty satisfying. Despite being a player, Tuck was pretty good guy, he was sweet with Ellie, funny even in the direst of situations, and most importantly, he was a really good friend. He kept away from Ellie even though he likes her because of Graham, showing that he is a really loyal friend. This one's a keeper!

    I would give Valkyrie Rising 4 stars. It was enjoyable, though the story was kind of fussy with all that was happening at times, and I hated our protagonist's constant reckless choices, the refreshing mythology incorporation made up for it. Valkyrie Rising was a unique kind of paranormal featuring a fast-paced storyline and a sweet love interest, I would recommend this to YA paranormal fans, especially ones who are tired of reading about vampires, werewolves, fallen angels, etc. all the time. Hope you guys enjoy it!

I was totally clueless about Norse Mythology, actually, I knew very little about mythologies around the world. So, tell me, any particular mythology that was very interesting? I would want to know more ;) Did you enjoy the book? Tuck was charming, right? Tell me in the comments below! :)

Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter (White Rabbit Chronicles #1)

Sorry about the mini hiatus guys! I was a little too busy last week, had to prepare for a debate, and had to stay at school till very late to finish everything. We had only 5 days to prepare! Anyway, our team won, which was a good thing, my schedule was interrupted, which was bad :P Okay, let's go to the review now.

Title: Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1)
Author: Gena Showalter
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal(Zombie), Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Synopsis/Summary: She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.
Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.
Her father was right. The monsters are real….
To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….
I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.
-Taken from GoodReads
From the book on: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / The Book Depository
       I really think this book is good, very good, and wanted so very much to give it 5 stars, but once I've calmed down and survey the whole situation, I found that this book had some flaws, and that's why I had to give it only 4.5 stars :( (Actually, that was pretty close to 5, whatever :P)

      I like the opening, very ominous, with Alice's note and such, I was immediately piqued to what Alice was talking about, what happened that made her regret things so deeply. The car accident was timed well, starting the book with a BANG (no pun intended). I really liked it :)

     The book had several climaxes, I would say about 3 to 4, and most of the fighting scenes were in there. I was cool with that, it kept the book from those awkward middle phases where everything was still in the same place for chapters, and the readers were tempted to leave the book and start another one (I knew I did, I actually still hadn't finish Fallen, I planned on reviewing that :P) But, the multiple climaxes kind of took the excitement from the one main climax near the end of the book, the one that really matters. It's just that the previous semi-climaxes were so great, I felt that that one was a little rushed, the whole fighting scene just span around 10 pages, whereas others had about the same or more. If it was gonna be in the spotlight, you've got to give it more juice, make it special, alas, that was my only complain about the book.

    I seriously LOVE the romance of this book! Cole and Alice were so good together. Although there was a little bit of a insta-love, I still loved it! Plus, they didn't let things go from there just because they were apple to their eyes in the first sight, they got to know each other as sort of friends, though of course they actually would date, so don't worry, the romance is still the romance ;)

    One more thing to praise, I really liked Showalter's writing style. This is my first Showalter book and it left a pretty good impression. She didn't write very lyrically, like Laini Taylor, but more laid back and urban (sorry, couldn't think of other words, please re-frame from saying that I am actually 60 years old, because I am genuinely 14.5 ;P ). It was easy to read, and made me get into the book really fast, whereas I had to reset my channels when I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Both were great though :)

     The zombies in this book was really different from what you had seen before. This wasn't some Hollywood block buster, where tons of fake blood and makeup were used, and the zombies were actually evil spirits. They needed to be defeated differently than hand to hand combat, and the setting was really cool. Although I actually knew that the zombies were different before I even read the book (some reviews I've read), I liked it even more when I actually read it. It just had this epic feel to it, good vs. evil, I love it!

    Um, can I say the characters of this book were really all super awesome? Hell yes! Everyone was really well-written, and the characterization was definitely there, I could see it in every character that Showalter created for this book.

    Alice Bell was our main protagonist, and I love her. She somehow always had a snarky comeback for things, although when I read the book I pictured her as kind of meek, goes to show that everything is not what it seems. She was a very pleasant main protagonist, not too whiny, even though her parents and her sister died within the first 30 pages. Not too strong, there were times when the female protagonist was too invincible (I am talking about other books), and it just kind of ruined the whole thing :P But strong enough to defend herself (physically) and pull herself together for everyone to see (mentally), I really liked this kind of heroine. Not perfect, but perfect enough ;)

    I love Cole a lot too. True, he was actually a very guy guy, but he really cared a lot about Alice and constantly showed it in his protective nature, and I like that he was very loyal to his friends. I guess that was required though if you were to hunt zombies together :P

    When I read the reviews, I found that many people actually loved Kat a lot. I was okay with her too, and quite strangely, her oversized ego didn't bother me at all. Which just goes to show that Showalter really was great with her characters :)

    And, like I said before, I loved the romance! Alice and Cole would be so cute together, I just knew it! They had so much passion (?) for each other, especially Cole, who seemed madly in love :P I wouldn't go into details but I must say even before they were officially together, there were a lot of steamy scenes which was skirting the line of YA books ;) So expect some drama and some steam if you catch these two together~

    I would give this book 4.5 stars, the 0.5 was actually attributed to the not too impressive climax among semi-climaxes, which showed that less is more. Other than the minor complaint, everything in this book was just peachy! This book featured an exciting storyline with multiple fighting scenes, original world-building and lovable characters! I would recommend this to general YA readers, although it was a paranormal, it was definitely worth your time!One more thing, the cover design of this book was so great, I actually sighed whenever I see the book cover. I liked the model, the frames, the backgrounds, everything. And since I bought the American hardback edition, I could take away the cloth and saw that even the spine of the inside of the book was gorgeous, seriously, the cover alone could actually warrant a 5 star from me ;)

Rating: 4.5 stars!

The zombies were making its comeback! I saw many zombies that was released this few months or next year. So, how do you like your zombies? I know decaying flesh was hardly a lovable trait, but you never knew ;) This book might have some similar traits with Alice in Wonderland, but as you would have read in other reviews, it was not a retelling :P I knew that some people were disappointed at that, but I wasn't, the moment I saw that there was a character called Cole in the book's website, I knew it wasn't a retelling (I don't know how, sixth sense?), so I was prepared :) Anyway, were you disappointed that this wasn't a retelling of Alice in Wonderland? If you've read the book, how do you like it? Does it make up for the fact that it fooled you with its resemblance with the famous tale? Happy reading!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving you guys! We don't have Thanksgiving here in HK, but I think it is a great idea to always be thankful. So let's talk about some people I am thankful for:

1. My friends

     Sorry, no pictures of me and my friends, I have already decided to maintain faceless :P I am thankful to them as they made me laugh and time spent with them is probably my happiest times! :)

2. My sister

    I have a sister, but she's currently studying aboard, so she's not living her anymore. To be honest, she was never a very good sister, she was selfish (she never shared, nor was she grateful when I help her or share with her), arrogant (she kept saying that I am a little kid so I am stupid and blah blah blah... I don't get it, what does being young have anything to do with my intelligence? Plus, she's just 4 years older than me, it's not like she's that superior :P)  and generally treated me with no respect, and I actually still kind of hate her for it, but you know, you can't live in the past. So I am going to thank her for giving me a thicker skin.

3. My parents

    Yeah, me mother and I argue a lot, classic teenage issue, I can't help it, sometimes I am just so frustrated around her. My father is one of those people that seldom gets angry, but if he does, watch out :P I am thankful for them as they raised me and taught me. Plus, my father was basically the one footing my bill on most of my books ;)

4. Awesome authors!

    Thank you for writing books that are so AWESOME.

5. You!

    Basically, I am still very insecure about blogging, I kept thinking that not one will read my posts and reviews, but you guys helped me and without you guys, there is no blog, so THANK YOU!


Review: Red Glove by Holly Black (Curse Workers #2)

Title: Red Glove (Curse Workers #2)
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Mystery
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Synopsis/Summary: After rescuing his brothers from Zacharov’s retribution and finding out that Lila, the girl he has loved his whole life, will never, ever be his, Cassel is trying to reestablish some kind of normalcy in his life. That was never going to be easy for someone from a worker family that’s tied to one of the big crime families—and whose mother’s cons get more reckless by the day. But Cassel is coming to terms with what it means to be a transformation worker, and he’s figuring out how to have friends.
Except normal doesn’t last very long. Soon Cassel is being courted by both sides of the law and is forced to confront his past—a past he remembers only in scattered fragments, and one that could destroy his family and his future. Cassel will have to decide whose side he wants to be on, because neutrality is not an option. And then he will have to pull off his biggest con ever to survive….-Taken from GoodReads
From the book on: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / The Book Depository

This review doesn't contain spoilers, so go ahead! Read on! ;)(This is going to be pretty short, since I've said most of what I had to say in my review of book 1, White Cat.)

    Again, I am astonished with the pure smartness of this book. This time, the story was more of a murder mystery, and I just love how Holly Black never held onto any evidence, instead placing it all on the table, letting us discover things alongside Cassel. I have read mysteries that drop hints by brushing over something significant with only a sentence or two. Some may admire it, but I call it misleading. Luckily, this never happens in this book :) Oh, and I just love all the con knowledge and such. Con works actually requires a vast range of knowledge, and though I don't think I would ever be a con person myself, it's still so fun to read about them. Especially with motion deceptions, they are so true!

    This is not much of a plot twist or climax this time, but everything flew through well and kept me interested 'til the end. Plus, trying to intercept Cassel's actions is fascinating enough, he is a guy full of surprises, and he's actually very loyal to his family, while his family members all have a secret agenda of their own.

    The political aspects are toned down a little for this book, but there is still our protagonist dancing around the edge of law (actually, he does plenty of illegal stuff :P). And the whole proposition 2 thing is pretty new in YA books, where we seldom talk about politics.

    I have grown a fond love for Cassel and his (real) friends, Sam and Dancea. The characters are all full of surprises, and all have their own characteristics. I still loath Lila, but I will bear with her, since Cassel likes her :P

    I would give this book 4 stars. Red Glove is a good installment to the Curse Workers series with its colorful characters, thick mystery and originality in including little parts of politics in its plot. Personally, I like solving murder mysteries more than facing life-and-death experiences (book one), but both books are good. And I should confess this, I read about 30 pages of Red Glove before I started White Cat. Not that I wanted to, but I grabbed the wrong book by mistake and didn't notice it :P Despite not having read the first book at all, I had no problem understanding the first 30 or so pages of the book, it goes to show that Holly Black does nice recaps of her previous books, she doesn't throw a recap at you with a lengthy paragraph and the main protagonist launching into a monologue of we happened in the last book :P I would recommend this book to YA mystery and crime novels readers, they are gonna love the conspiracy and mystery featured in this book! :)

Ratings: 4 stars!

Do you like murder mysteries? Any must-reads? I would love to expand my TBR list ;) Did you like White Cat? What about this book? Better or worse? Personally I think this book is better. The mystery is deeper, and while there are no "ah ha" moments, I love it :)