World After by Susan Ee

World After

“It’s amazing how many times we need to go against our survival instincts to survive.”

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what’s left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels’ secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can’t rejoin the angels, can’t take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

Personal Thoughts:

World After continues right after where Angelfall left off. After rescuing her sister Paige in the Aerie, Penryn Young reunite with her family. But Paige condition makes her one of the enemy in the eyes of the other humans. So Paige is captured again, this time by a different group. And Penryn is back again in a another mission to find and rescue her sister once again.

See how many times I used the word “again” in the summary? Where that basically sums up the book for me — a repeat version of Penryn’s mission to rescue her sister Paige.

So we are back to square one. Paige is missing and Penryn is in a mission to find and rescue her younger sister. The only difference with this mission? No more handsome angel to help Penryn this time. Raffe has his own mission to take care of, mainly to track and beat Biel so he can get his white wings back.

Just like with the first book, we are getting the story from Penryn’s point of view, which means we are stuck with her limited information. I bet readers are more insightful than Penryn. There are things that are obvious to me but took her awhile to see like the deal with winged-scorpions. I thought that is pretty obvious from the start but apparently not to Penryn.

As much as I understand the need to find Paige and rescue her, I don’t feel the same excitement or thrill for this mission. Not even the danger, the panic nor the tension. Which is weird since technically Penryn is more at risk because no more powerful angel to help her this time. No more Raffe to rescue her. But for some reason I just can’t feel the dread. Sure, I am aware that Penryn will survive since there is a book three but her mission should at least be interesting to me.

Also, I feel like nothing much happens in here. Yes, there more informations about Angel politics, new characters, and few revelations but as a whole I don’t think that the story moved forward. I got more questions than answers. And even the little answers I got are not something I can said as huge informations since most of them are I already expected since after reading the first book, Angellfall. Nothing much new for me in here. If this is a novella I will understand the lack of progress but this is a full length novel with lots of chapters. Definitely fall into middle book syndrome.

With nothing much new to the plot comes not much character development too. Penryn in this installment is less rounded. I didn’t find any progress in her character since I last encounter her from the first book. Sure, she can still kick-ass but some of her actions and decisions are not what I expected.  She is constantly dreaming or thinking of Raffe instead of planning about her next moves or attacks to save Paige. Her sister is gone and suffering somewhere but she is more worried to one powerful angel who lost his wings. Where was the heroine who will do anything for her sister?

“It’s painful to see that people prefer a bad guy who looks like an angel to a good guy who looks like a demon.”

As for Raffe, he is less present in here so we don’t know much about his progress except those little bit we got from Penryn’s point of view. His absence is just one reason why the story become less fun to read. No more fun and snarky dialogues from him and Penryn in this installment.

Overall, World After is an action packed follow up to Angelfall but unfortunately failed due to its non-moving plot and less character development. I hope that the final installment will be more satisfying than this one.

* This review is based on an eBook I received courtesy of the publisher, Amazon Children’s Publishing via NetGalley.

SWEET EVIL Read Along Week Four: Halloween

This is the fourth and final week of Sweet Evil read along hosted by Mindy of Magical Urban Fantasy Reads together with her other co-host bloggers, Rachel of Fiktshun, Jaime of Two Chicks On Books, Tara of Tater’s Tall Tails and Nancy of Ravenous Reader. This week topic discussion is Halloween and we are required to read chapters 26 through 31 (pages 341-447). From these chapters we encounter Kaidan and Anna attending a Halloween Party which is where this week’s theme is based.

As for my Halloween…

Well, truth to be told, my Halloween experiences were as boring as they can be! I never experience attending Halloween party as a kid. Trick or treat doesn’t exists in my location until much recent years when I am too old to participate. My younger memories of Halloween is spending it with my family and relatives visiting the graves of our death relatives, bringing flowers, food and praying for them. On the night of Halloween, my Mom always light candles on our altar and even in our door steps. I don’t understand much what are those candles for, other than each candles represents each of our death relatives. Maybe it’s part of remembering them during this season and sending prayers as well.

Other than those usual ceremony, I also spend Halloween watching scary movies with my cousins, or simply chatting in dark with ghost stories scaring each others. Stories I never discover the authenticity which makes it harder to believe as I get older. I never really get scared by their stories anyway, no matter how interesting and convincing they delivered it. I like watching scary movies especially Japanese horror films, but I haven’t found one that really scared the hell out of me.

I never experienced attending costume parties for Halloween until when I was much older to organized one for others. My parents, especially my Mom doesn’t really approved of partying during Halloween, unless you are a kid. That she can tolerate more. She think Halloween should be spend more for the dead people, than attending party. Kids now a days are way luckier than me. They got the chance to do trick or treat with their friends, get candies or sweets and attend Halloween costumes parties.

Back to the book…

I already finished reading Sweet Evil during the second week of the read along. But I still do a re-read once in awhile as I love re-reading Kaidan’s scenes. Some of the quotes I like from this week required chapters read are:

“I’ve got a joke for you,” Kaidan told him. Jay nodded his head, ready.
“What’s the difference between a drummer and a savings bond?”
“I don’t know. What?” Jay beamed bright yellow.
“A savings bond matures and eventually makes money.”

“What do you want from me, Kai?”
“For starters?” His voice lowered to sexy, dangerous depths. “I want to introduce myself to every freckle on your body.”

For those who haven’t read the book yet, I hope those two quotes above will be intriguing enough to finally push you to start reading. You don’t want to miss Kaidan and Anna’s story. And since this is the final post for the read along, let me thank you once again the organizer/host and co-hosts of this event. Without their effort I wouldn’t discover Kaidan and Anna’s world or simply met Kaidan.

SWEET EVIL Read Along Week Three: Truth or Dare

This is the third week of Sweet Evil Read Along hosted by Mindy of Magical Urban Fantasy Reads. For this week we are required to read Chapters seventeen through twenty five (pages 232- 340). From these chapters we’ve known more about the other Nephilim and their world. We also get to know Anna’s Dad and his interesting story with Anna’s mother.

For this week read along the theme is “Truth or Dare” inspired by the truth or dare game played by Anna, Kaidan and his Nephilim friends.

“How about a game of Truth or Dare?” Marna offered.

I was immediately apprehensive. Just as I was about to suggest something else, Kaidan spoke and my heart faltered.

“I’ll go first,” he said. “I dare Kope to kiss Anna.”

Everything inside me flooded with fury and embarrassment. Kaidan leaned far back with his arms crossed, cocky. I stood up without thinking and hooked my foot under his chair, swiftly kicking upward and causing him to topple backward. He looked up at me from the ground with a stunned expression that morphed into a grin.

Truth or Dare

To be honest I’m not a fan of Truth or Dare game. I don’t enjoy this as much when I was younger. I’m not sure how can I choose dare without someone giving me an actual dare, so I’ll just go with the truth and since there no questions for me to answer I will just list some little facts about me. I will limit these facts to something book related but not purely Sweet Evil, though. Here they are:

  • I haven’t read Sweet Evil earlier because of its angelic theme. I’m limiting my paranormal reads for this year because angel books are mostly missed than hit for me. Sweet Evil isn’t part of my priority read until this read along came.
  • I’ve only read the whole Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling last July. I’ve had those books in my TBR for the longest time. But only after watching the eight movies in DVD for the third time, I finally dive in with the books.
  • I don’t take notes while I’m reading so when the time comes that I need to review a book and I need a line or two to quote something, I have to scan the book all over again to find what I need to use. 
  • I’m not good in remembering authors name especially when I only read one book from him/her. I can remember the story, characters and major events from the book but not the author unless he/she is really well known.
  • I give copies of my favorite books to my friends not only because I want them to read it but also to avoid lending them my own copies and end up getting my books back battered.
  • I usually buy children books so I have something to discard every end of the year for public schools/library or street children.
  • When I was 18 I received tons of gifts but only one makes me cried so much, an inspirational book given by my brother’s girlfriend with a letter inside.
  • When that said book above was doodled inside by a child, I got the urge to hit the child the moment I found out what happened but I didn’t do it, instead I end up crying & devastated for days.

That’s all I can think of for now. I know they are not entertaining nor interesting facts but I hope I’ve shared something new about me to all of you. Enjoy reading Sweet Evil!

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

“You don’t know what you can do, You won’t know until you try.”

Book Description from Goodreads:

In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

 Personal Thoughts:

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book even before it’s release. Most of the reviews I’ve seen online were positive. So when I found out that Unearthly is finally available here in the Philippines via Fully Booked I’m a bit excited to get a copy. I finished reading the book two days ago, which is a quick read. The first few chapters is a bit interesting, because of the new concept of angels. I thought a different background of angels is refreshing. But as the story moves a little longer, it become a little dull. Most of it involves Clara’s everyday life in school and her quest to her angel-blood identity purpose and powers.

Clara inspite having an angel-blood feels more real to me. As for Clara’s mom, Maggie, well I like her. I love the bond between her and her children specially with Clara. She seems a cool mom to have. Even she’s not telling everything to Clara all about angel-blood stuffs, she always do what she think is best for Clara. And as one of the angel-blood, Maggie’s background is intriguing which is something to look forward to the next book. Christian is surprising. I didn’t expect that he is not in love with Clara or maybe not yet. And he is not typical guy who goes over heals for some girl like with most of the YA characters I’ve been reading lately. He is willing to sacrifice his own love, to fulfil his purpose.

The description of the place is well written. It is easy to visualise the surroundings, the beautiful scenery, landscape and even the life in Wyoming. The concept of black wing adds element of darkness in the story. And it would be nice if it is fully develop. The importance of fulfilling Clara’s angelic mission or purpose is interesting and convincing. But the execution is a bit anticlimactic. Her lack of understanding to all angel related things makes it more vague. The conflict of choosing between her mission and her choice is not striking. With her relationship with Christian, it’s too obvious who will she choose. As for the twist about Christian’s identity, it was unexpected but not well executed. The ending is too abrupt. It’s not a cliff-hanger type but definitely unfinished. As if I’m reading a paragraph or a sentence that is cut in the middle.

Overall, Unearthly is a nice attempt to give a new cut for paranormal genre with angelic theme. But even with all unanswered questions, there wasn’t enough urgency to make me want to read more.

Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2) by Becca Fitzpatrick

“Being with you never felt wrong. It’s the one thing I did right. You’re the one thing I did right.”
– Patch

Book description from Goodreads:

Nora Grey’s life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn’t pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it: a mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But, despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He’s more elusive than ever and even worse, he’s started spending time with Nora’s arch-enemy, Marcie Millar.

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Path hadn’t been acting so distant. Even with Scott’s totally infuriating attitude Nora finds herself drawn to him – despite her lingering feeling that he’s hiding something.

Haunted by images of her murdered father, and questioning whether her Nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death, Nora puts herself increasingly in dangerous situations as she desperately searches for answers. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything – and everyone – she trusts.

Personal Thoughts:

I started reading this book last night at around eight o’clock in the evening, hardly put it down except for dinner and finished it at exactly two in the morning. That’s exactly tells how good this book is, It’s good enough that I can’t put it down between the read.The cover is good like the first book, the girl which must be Nora is in the rain watching the lightning, with the dark creepy background and a lone falling feather beside her. Everything about it tell so much more about the book.

The writing is pretty good like the first book Hush, Hush. With a well written plot, well executed turn of events and enough mysteries to unfold, I get a lot more than I expected. It’s a literal roller coaster ride all throughout. From Nora and Patch relationship, to Marcie Millars history with Nora, the unknown killer of Nora’s father, Nora’s family secrets and the archangels and fallen angels stands in all these events. I must say, Becca Fitzpatrick is a brilliant story teller. I like her style of writing. The story are action packed, with lots of amazing twist and well thought and mind boggling events. She makes scenes extremely visual making every details so vividly written as if the scene itself came to life before my eyes while I was reading. It had a very cinematic quality to it.

The characters are more likable. Nora seemed to get more of a grasp on herself and not be as helpless as she was in Hush, Hush. Her character has grown but at the same time she’s a little immature and still too reliant on her friend Vee. But the author creatively use all Nora’s flaws for a more engaging plot in this book. Because of Nora’s jealousy, selfishness and pettiness she was trapped in a more dangerous situation she never imagined. Which all lead to the credibility of her character. As for Vee, I like her character here more, she matures a lot in this book. As well as Marcie Millar, who doesn’t exist that much in the first book but in here I’ve come to understand her more.

Patch is absent for a large part of the story. Maybe Nora can totally carry it by herself, but more Patch would have been nice. Patch maybe someone irritating because of his bad boy persona but what I like about his character is the genuine representation of his past. His mindset is authentic to his centuries of life experiences not like he was born yesterday, which is a common flaw of characters with some books I’ve read in the past.

Overall, Crescendo is simply surprising. If you’re not a fan off cliff-hanger endings you might be disappointed because Crescendo ends on a HUGE one! Which is one of the most evil cliffhangers I’ve ever come across. Obviously aiming for the third book, Becca Fitzpatrick is good at this one. She makes me more eager to get my hands on the next book of the series. Can’t wait till October for the release of Tempest.