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!

Rapture (Fallen Book #4) by Lauren Kate

“Was their love worth the erasure of the world and all its stories?”

The sky is dark with wings . . . .

Like sand in an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past they must find the place where the angels fell to earth. Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this—live only to lose Luce again and again.

Yet together they will face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies . . . and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed. And suddenly Luce knows what must happen.

For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her—and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now will be the only one that truly matters.

In the fight for Luce, who will win?

The astonishing conclusion to the FALLEN series. Heaven can’t wait any longer.

Personal Thoughts:

I remember picking up the first Fallen book of this angel series by Lauren Kate few years ago. It all started with an intriguing and gorgeous art cover of the book that caught my attention. Then the author book tour went in my area which actually push me to wait and read the whole series. Now I’m on the fourth and final installment and I have to say the journey is quite worth it.

“Tell them it’s happening. That an endgame has been initiated”

Since this is the final book, I won’t discuss here anymore the characters. I think I pretty covered their development from my reviews for the first three books of this series. We all know how Luce, Daniel, Cam and the other angels, nephilim and mortals behaved and grow. I’m also pretty sure I already told my opinions for each of them, specially the major characters. So in here, let me discuss more about the plot and how the turn of events evolved throughout the story.

As every reader of this series know, the story focus on Luce and Daniel finding a way to end their curse. The unending curse of their love story that is meant to end tragically every lifetime. They are lovers since old days who happens to always find each others in every life. But in this present life everything has change because Luce and Daniel might only have one last chance to be together. In this life they need to end the curse before it ended them and the whole world or its history.

From the previous books we know that Daniel is an Angel and with all the hints we also know that he is one of the highest rank. We also get to know that his decision to choose love or Luce between Heaven and Hell is the start of their curse. But what we don’t know is what is Luce’s exact role in all these? That’s the major question always left hanging from the previous books. So now that we are on the final book, of course we all expect that it will finally revealed. We expect Lauren Kate to deliver us the whole story – how the curse started, how will it end and how Luce become part of it.

So in order to know all those things Lauren Kate put Luce, Daniel and all the other angels in a mission to stop Lucifer from erasing history. The strange alliance of angels have nine days to find three artifacts that will lead them to the exact place of the original fall. A place where Daniel and Luce can possibly end their curse.

During the quest, Lauren Kate introduced some nice crafted plot devices like the three relics and patinas. Personally, I like the concept of patina, I think it is a pretty clever little addition to the story. Lauren Kate also brings us to different beautiful places such as Italy, France, Austria and Egypt. Like in the third book, Passion, she creatively use each place and its history to merge in the story. She also introduced new characters like Dee and bring back some of the old and important one. There were the Fallen, the Elders, the Scales, the Outcast, the Throne and Lucifer which all played important roles in finding the relics and ending the curse.

Being the final book, I expected Rapture to answer all my questions from the previous books. Though it holds most of the answers there were few things that’s still left hanging. Some revelations were surprising, like the most important angel that can tip the scale between Heaven and hell. All along I assume that it is Daniel who holds that power but I am surprised when it was revealed in here. Though I see what Luce real identity ahead of time I didn’t expect what her true value is. I under-estimate her, because from the start of this series I am not really a fan of her. Rapture also finally reveals how and where Daniel and Luce first met as well as how their curse started and how important their choices will be.

I don’t necessary like everything portrayed in this book especially the religious part, but I think the way Lauren Kate crafted the soul mate story is beyond the usual. The choice between the Throne and Lucifer, and how mercy played in the story is neatly layout. The story also shows that sometimes the price for love and happiness is not simple. Daniel and Luce as well as the other characters faced Heaven and hell literally. It cost them too much but just like in any situations, sacrifices are necessary in order to get our happiness.

Rapture is a fitting finale for this angel series. I am glad that Lauren Kate didn’t push the story too long. Her writing grew incredibly well from the first book, Fallen. The only issue I got is the lack of development for the side characters. As much as I want the story to focus on Daniel and Luce, I also want to know what happened to the other characters specially Cam. I did expect that Cam will get a bigger role in this final installment. His tortured past from Passion seems a nice plot to follow. There are many possible character arc to be thrown in him but unfortunately this final book didn’t give much room to Cam’s story. I didn’t see enough of him in here. Either Lauren Kate don’t have much time to developed Cam’s character or she’s planning to create a spin-off story for Cam. Whatever the reason, I really think Cam deserves a proper closure.

More than the angels plot line, Fallen series is really a story about Love. A love that spans eons of years and countless lifetimes. No matter what it cost Daniel and Luce are bound to find each other and fall in love again and again. It is a love that is meant to be no matter what.

Transcendent: Tales of the Paranormal (Review & Giveaway)

Discover the secrets of a siren, fly with a hawk girl over the mountains of Montana, and flee supernatural party-crashers as the décor comes to life in this magical journey through paranormal stories.

Along the way, watch for ghosts in a haunted house, or ride through the moonlight with a stranger. Save a comatose boy who has lost his soul, and don’t forget to bring your garlic and wolfsbane—you never know when the shadows will snag you.

Transcendent includes eight stories of magic, love, death, and choice by some of the newest names in young adult fiction.

Personal Thoughts:

Transcendent is a collection of short stories written by different talented authors. This anthology consists of eight paranormal stories perfectly combine to give readers a variety of reading experience. It presents different paranormal creatures like sirens, shape-shifters, vampires, ghosts, and a lot more. There is fantasy, thriller, romance and adventure in this one beautiful book. Summarizing the book or each stories would be tricky so to give you details about the book I listed a few descriptions below telling about each short stories and my opinion about them.

Seduction Of A Siren by Lani Woodland & Melonie Piper – an interesting twist of mythology about two guys who find themselves in an island owned by a siren. This story reminds me some of the bed time stories my parents reads to me when I was young because of the moral of the story in the end.

Feather by Rita Webb – is about a girl name Feather who learned her identity through a spirit-journey, wherein she meets a new friend that helps her explore her own capability. A story of friendships, self-acceptance and love.

Spectre by Wendy Swore – a Halloween adventure of two girls that may or may not include real Halloween creatures like vampires. This is a perfect read for Halloween that will leave you goose bumps and chills.

Shadows of Promise by Heather McCubbin – a hunting tale about a girl who had an encounter with the ghost of her dead twin sister. An encounter that leads to solve a murder-mystery. The romance in here though short is believable and sweet which can be expand into a longer story.

Pumpkin Thief by Evan Joseph – a night of encounter with a headless knight in shining armor who defends a girl against her stalker. I like the twist of this one, though I did hope that Halloween lasted longer for the two characters, I still like that the author did not go to a cliché and predictable happy ending.

Strike by Wendy Swore & Rita Webb – a unique story about a boy who gets struck by lightning and ends up trapped in his mp3 player. This one is different from all the short stories in this book because it doesn’t have any paranormal creatures like vampire or ghost, no super-powers or mythological aspects. It’s about ordinary teenagers stuck in a strange situation. One of the thing that struck me in this story is the mother and son relationship of one of the main character.

Ryan’s Wish by Melanie Marks – “be careful what you wish for, it might just come true” is exactly what you need to remember in reading this story. Since Ryan disappear, Ava spend her birthday wishes every year asking for Ryan to come back to her life. And when Ryan finally did come back, he come back as something else.

Kiss of Death by Lani Woodland & Melonie Piper – a story of undying love and sacrifices which presents an angel of death/reaper and his task to deliver the last breath of his one and only love. This is another great story worth of expanding to a stand alone novel. The past lives of the main characters looks interesting to explore. The idea of reincarnation, undying love and the grim reaper twist are great and interesting subjects.

It is hard to choose what is the best from these short stories since most them offers something different from the others. Though there are some stories that I wish to be longer than a short story. I want to read more about the characters and find out what will be their next adventure. They are not cliff hanger type but definitely will make you hungry for more. Sometimes short stories are just too good to end, especially when the short encounter with the characters makes you care for them than you expected.

Overall, Transcendent is quick entertaining read that paranormal readers will surely enjoy. With a taste of different paranormal creatures and different type of adventures this book is like a full meal treat that every paranormal lovers should indulge.

This review is based on an e-Book copy I received courtesy of one of the author, Rita Webb in exchange of honest review.

The Giveaway:

Now for the giveaway, one of the author, Rita Webb is giving away an eBook copy of Transcendent to one lucky commenter. Make sure your email address in the comment form is correct so we can contact you if you win.

What’s up for Grabs?

An e-Book copy of Transcendent by Rita J. Webb et al.

The Rules:

  • To enter just leave a comment below
  • Open to everyone who can accept e-Books
  • Prize will be sent directly by the author through Amazon or Barnes & Noble
  • Winner will be chosen using random.org
  • Winner will announce here on the post & will be contacted thru email or whatever contact information you leave
  • Winner should response within 48 hours
  • Ends Friday, February 17, 2012

Good luck!!!

The contest is now CLOSED. Thank you to everyone who has entered. Random has spoken and the winners is….

Congratulations to berryliciouscutie. I will be contacting you momentarily to get your details so I can send you your prize. You will have 48 hours to respond or I will be forced to choose another winner.

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway!

Silence (Hush, Hush #3) by Becca Fitzpatrick

“There’s only one thing I know for certain anymore. That I would do anything for you, even if it means going against my instincts or my very nature. I would lay down everything I possess, even my soul, for you. If that isn’t love, it’s the best I have.”

The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They’ve overcome the secrets riddled in Patch’s dark past…bridged two irreconcilable worlds…faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust…and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they’ve worked for—and their love—forever.

Personal Thoughts:

Silence is the third book of Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick. The story takes up few months after the ending of last book, Crescendo. After being abducted by Hank Millar, Nora is left with no memory of the past. She can’t remember anything that happened to her not just the months she was missing but also two months that came before which is the every moment that she and Patch shares. Knowing that there are missing gaps in her memory Nora do everything she can to know what happened to her, who kidnapped her and why?

“How did you get in?”
“I move in mysterious ways.”
“God moves in mysterious ways.
You move like lightening-here one moment, gone the next.”

Nora is still impulsive as she is from the previous books. She still do a lot of things without so much thinking about the consequences of her actions. But inspite of all that it surprise me that she doesn’t annoy me much as I expected. Somehow I see growth in her character. There’s a real motivations in most of her actions than just merely impulsiveness.

Patch finally established what he felt for Nora which makes him more protective. Though I still miss his snarky and brooding attitude from the previous books, it is nice to see him finally settled than confuse. I love the dagerous Patch compare to the over protective Patch but I am glad he finally takes his stand over Nora.

As for the other characters, the most realistic is Scott. Though I don’t like him much from the previous book, but it is nice to see him back in Silence. There were times that I doubt his motives in getting back to Nora’s life. As a Nephilim he might be just one of Hank Millar’s man or maybe he will use Nora as way to get back to Hank Millar. But towards the end I understand and trust him more. He is really helpful to Nora during the times that she don’t remember much from her past.

I got frustrated to Nora’s Mom. I don’t understand most of the things she did. As a mother I don’t feel her care and love for Nora. Then there’s Vee, in Crescendo I thought she’s improving but in here she’s shrinking to me. Vee’s hatred for all men is too unrealistic. Sorry but I didn’t buy it. It doesn’t ring true to me that she can hate everymen given all the circumstances shed been through. And her hatred for Patch needs more backup from her. If she could just give more reasons than what happen to Nora maybe I’ll buy it.

There are lot’s of actions and twist but aside from Patch and Nora’s love story I can’t find anything more interesting. Hank Millar as the villain and his motives doesn’t make the plot more engrossing. If there was just more deeper conflict than Hank’s plan for Nephilim and fallen angels I might enjoy this one more.

Personally, I think the whole plot of Silence doesn’t contribute much to the whole series. It seems that this book purely serves as a bridge from the previous book to the next book. With Nora forgetting the past, it is like going back again to square one – meeting Patch and digging his secrets and real identity, as well as knowing Nora’s own idenity, her family and the connection she & Patch share. Though they are not exactly the repetitions of the previous books they still make the story a little stagnant. Yes, it is entertaining as I enjoy everything while reading but getting to the end I guess I’m not satisfied. I want the story to move faster than I’m getting. I want to get more actions and new twist than retelling.

The ending gives a lot of promise for the next book. With Nora’s vow to Hank Miller and Patch promise to fallen angels the series seems getting the climax it needed. The stakes is getting higher for the next book which makes it all exciting. For Nora Grey, I have few words for you – “Choose your enemy wisely.”

Overall, Silence is pretty entertaining for the most part. There were couple of issues but it is not a big deal. Every fan of the series will surely enjoy this new addition to Hush Hush series.

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

“I no longer wanted to feel displaced.” 

Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she’s surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

Personal Thoughts:

I got excited when I read from the first page that the story is set in Ireland. One of the place that I am always fascinated. Ireland for me is like a magical place with its own beauty and mystery. So from the first few pages I anticipated how the author will take advantage of her settings. Though I am happy to find Kinsale, Dublin and Charles Fort in the story I still want more descriptions of the place. I want Megan to describe few more details of her surroundings and not other unimportant things like her shoes or her hair. But Megan seems not as fascinated as I am with Ireland, instead she is more into Adam DeRis, which I certainly understand. Thankfully Leigh Fallon didn’t forgot to add Irish accent dialogues which provide more authenticity to the story.

Since the setting is set in Ireland I did expect the touch of Irish lore in the story. Celtic folklore or Irish Druid mythology is interesting, add the legends of the carriers, the orders, secret societies and elemental powers I am sold. I love how different it is from most paranormal reads out there. It is not purely original but it is still refreshing compare to the usual story from paranormal genre.

Here are some photos of Ireland:


Charles Fort

Trinity College in Dublin

As for the characters, I didn’t connect much with Megan. She is likeable for the most part but I don’t paricularly feel cheering for her. Her fondness for her new found super power is quite unbelievable, she seems pretty cool about it. Adam is swoon worthy reading from Megan perspective but for some reasons I don’t fall for him.

Rian is an intruiging character. At one point I’m afraid that he will be a third wheel to Adam and Megan relationship but I’m glad that the author didn’t go that path. While Rhian has a lot of potential to be the third party, it is too predictable to give him that role. I like that Leigh Fallon gives mystery to Rhian’s character by not showing his ability right away. It’s pretty obvious what Adam and Aine can do but since Rian isn’t always present, you will be intrigue in him as much as his role to the story.

I’m not a fan of instant attraction relationship especially if not delivered well. Megan and Adam relationship happens too fast, I think it lacks a bit of proper development. They barely spoken then all of the sudden they are declaring their love for each other. And I don’t buy the unexplainable connection they have because of the mark or their connection to each other. Because if that is the case, how come Rian is not madly in love with Megan? Also Megan and Adam forbidden relationship is supposed to be a big threat to the world but unfortunately I didn’t feel much the weight of consequenses from their perspective. Both Megan and Adam doesn’t act so much disturbed as I expected them to be. They were more concern with how they will be together than the effect of their relationship to the whole world.

With all these elemental powers I did expect a lot of actions from this book but what I got instead is more of background story and a little kidnapping scene in the end. I forgot that this is a trilogy so maybe I expected too much, because obviously the actions that I’m eager to see will have to wait until the next books.

As a debut novel Carrier of the Mark has a lot of promise. With secret societies, ancient mystery powers and legends this is pretty refreshing paranormal reads. A fast-paced story that is absorbing and entertaining.

Hurricane by Jenna-Lynne Duncan

“We can’t change who we are; I knew that more than anyone. But to strive to be good despite what we can’t change is all about who he was.”

I anxiously looked around, my heart palpitating, just in time to see an alligator slink into the green algae covered water that was on either side of us. I swallowed hard, and my heart raced even faster. Alligators were a different type of predator—the one thing I was afraid of. Now I was on my own personal swamp tour. What if my kidnappers left me in the middle of a swamp with five of them creeping up on me? I’ve had that nightmare before and—oh no, if my dreams really are a sign of the future—I couldn’t breathe now.

Adriana couldn’t decide what was worse—that Hurricane Katrina was heading for New Orleans, or that she might not survive her kidnapping to see its potential effects. She had trusted Hayden, even fallen for him, and now he and his brother Luke were taking her deeper and deeper into the Bayou. Why had two of her classmates, the mysterious Boudreaux brothers, kidnapped her? Why had Adriana’s dreams started predicting the future? Most importantly, would she make it out of the Bayou alive…

Personal Thoughts:

After the two typhoons that hit our country I’ve been busy doing some extra errands lately that’s why I haven’t posted much reviews for the past few weeks. Though we are lucky enough to be safe during the disaster there are few people close to me who suffered and seriously need some help. Now, I’m trying to catch up with my reviews and Hurricane is in my list which somehow easy to relate to after the typhoon.

When Jenna asked me if I’ll be interested in reviewing her book I don’t hesitate to accept it right away. Main reason is part of the proceeds of Hurricane will go to a humanitary cause, New Orleans Habitat for Humanity. That alone convinced me to read this book which I’m glad I did because Hurricane delivers much more than I expected.

Hurricane tells the story of Adriana. An only child living with her single father who doesn’t care much about her. Adriana has been dreaming of strangers and dangers every night. When two new students arrived in her school she recognized them from her dreams. These two new students are the Boudreaux brothers, Hayden and Luke. They are mysteriously presents in every classes of Adriana which rises her suspicion. When she realized that her dreams were actually predicting future events, she begun to question her abilities as well as the mysteries behind the Boudreaux brothers.

The mystery behind the Boudreaux brothers is really intriguing. It is obvious from the start that Hayden and Luke has some paranormal identities that they are keeping from Adriana, which keep me guessing along the way. I won’t reveal their identities but to be honest, the revelations isn’t what I expected.

The settings and surroundings were well written. Jenna write descriptively. The way she describes the place before and after the devastating hurricane is simply vivid. I haven’t been in New Orleans but the book description is pretty good to easily imagine the surroundings. The pacing is right and continues which makes this book a quick read.

The ghost back story were quite creepy to read particularly the descriptions from the old article regarding Delphine Lalurie. It was eerily haunting which will make any weak stomach turn. Thankfully it is just a small portion of the book ’cause I’m not sure If I can continue reading more of those sufferings in details.

At some point I pity Adriana for how her father treat her. I hope there is an explanation why her father doesn’t care that much in Adriana. I want to see more arc to that part in the next book. Because if her father simply doesn’t care for her without any deep reason I would be disappointed. It won’t be right for a father to care more about his girlfriend or his girlfriend’s daughter than his own daughter.

Hurricane has a lot of promise. It is so much more than ghost and spells. It has mystery, suspense, romance, forbidden love all in one. There were also other paranormal creatures that haven’t explore much yet and has a potential to provide a different twist to the next books. As well as the intriguing mystery behind Adriana’s capability to know the future events through her dreams. With all that I’m looking forward for the sequel.

This review is based on an e-copy I received courtesy of the author and publisher, Divertir Publishing.