Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Caster Chronicles #1)

Title: Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles #1)
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Synopsis/Summary: There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.

At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything. -Taken from Goodreads
Find the book on: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

     This is a good book. It has a enticing storyline, detailed world-building and such, but this book is no light read, literally, I must say it was kind of exhausting adding the extra weight of this book in my bag all the time for the past few days.  :P

    I was a little annoyed going into the book at first because I felt like the writing for the first few chapters were really confusing. I don't know if it was just me, but I definitely didn't find myself being sucked in after the first few pages. Loving this book is a growing process, the deeper the story went, the more I saw its depth, its resourcefulness, plus the writing improved a lot in the later part of the book. So, if you were like me, Finding that the book wasn't really that great at first, just push through it, I am sure you will be enjoying the story by the middle of it, tops.

    This one is really a love story of some sort, with paranormals and other tragic things thrown into it, making it a tragic love story. Frankly, that was the part I least enjoyed. I liked almost all the plots, the one about facing fate (which was a big one, BTW), the one about Lena facing her school life (she was an outcast, you know, the whole new-girl-in-small-town setting, but it was kind of enjoyable) and also about Ethan finally letting go of mourning over her mom, about his emotional growth. Those were really good storylines, with depths and many questions of beliefs left for pondering, but somehow, in all of the lovable storylines, the romance failed to capture me. Not that I didn't like the whole we-can't-be-together thing, it's just that I found it a little cliche, and the romance actually took up too much place in the characters' heart. I know, they love each other, but I couldn't believe how they behaved, they were really stupid with the things that did for love. Well, I guess love is blind, I just couldn't take it, but I am sure many would devour this up, so, good ahead ;)

    I love the plot twists in this story. It was genuinely surprising at times, though after the reveal I could see the foreshadowings. The whole book had a lot of climaxes, and I enjoyed most of them. However, I don't know if it was because the book was too long or I was accustomed to the story being slow-flowing, I wasn't gripping the book and racing through the pages when the climax hits. It was still good though :)

    The ending was kind of bittersweet but generally it could be count as a good ending, not happy though. Also, there was no cliff-hanger here, there were some unanswered questions, but assuming from the size of the sequel, Beautiful Darkness, I am sure those would be answered in no time. I found the ending a little rushed. Yes, a book with 563 pages had a rushed ending. But really, things just happened so fast by the end I wasn't sure how it happened, and how it ended. But hey, you can't reveal all your secrets in one book, right? ;)

    There are things that I don't like in the plot, like how long the book is. Some chapters are kind of meaningless, they have little significance to the story. And, again, I must say I hated the beginning. I flat-out hated Ethan's voice at first, by after awhile I got used to it and the book (not the character) started to grow on me.

    I love the world-building of this book! I mean the whole thing is really unique. You have people that acts like witches but not really witches, but Casters, and you have Casters with different talents, they are called unique names too! The history of the Ravenwoods' curse is a pretty good addition too, not the most original though. :P I would like to know histories of Casters families though.

    I absolutely hate the small town settings though. I've read a lot of stories set in small towns, and this town isn't all that different anyway. Everything that happens spread through the whole town by dinner, everyone shuns the new kids, your cliques are determined in your childhood, there's nothing special about all of that. Well, except for the fact that this is a historic town.

    I don't really think the characters are all that lovable. They are not irritating, I just don't practically like them. Who knows why? They are not exciting or interesting, well, all except for Ridley.

    For example, Ethan, our protagonist, wanted change. Changes from life in the small historic town.
You know, I am sure many teenagers want changes too, so it's not an unique thing. That's fine. But how he reacts, his personalities, weren't all that special and distinguishing from other secondary characters either. The only thing that made him our protagonist was his connection with Lena. And as you all know, that's not a romance I swooned over. So no, I didn't connect with him and didn't find him all that special.

    As for Lena, I kind of find her annoying. She's whiny, while I admire her not backing away from things that are unfair and don't-take-shit-from-anyone (excuse the language, it's kind of an expression :P) attitude, I don't like her. She's not bad or anything, but I couldn't connect with her either and I couldn't take love-sick-puppy talk near the end of the book...

    You know, I don't really understand why I hated the romance... Maybe because I just didn't like the two characters, so I didn't like them together. Or because they so clearly belonged to each other that I couldn't really find myself excited when they were actually together, even though they had to climb through many obstacles to finally get there, but to be exact they haven't actually solved all problems yet, so we will see more of how they could finally be together in the next book, woohoo...

    Of course, all the above ranting and complaining actually were just my opinions, I am sure some of you will fall in love with Ethan and Lena and their love story, and if you do, let me know. I would definitely want to hear both sides' opinions ;)

    In short, this is a pretty epic book with lots of exciting plots, an uneasy romance and characters that were willing to embrace changes. I couldn't say I really liked it, because from my complain on the romance, the small-town setting to the characters, you know that I really have some negative thoughts about this book. But I really really liked the whole Caster idea and the plot, so I will give it a 3 star. It has its merits and flaws, but is a worthwhile read. I would recommend this to YA paranormal romance readers. I think they will enjoy the unique world-building of the paranormals in this book. Have fun reading! :)

Rating: 3 stars!

What elements do you like to have in your romance stories? The whole Romeo-and-Juliet kind? The good-natured bickering? Steamy kissing scenes? What kind of powers would you want to have as a Caster? Do you like the book? I think this is a pretty thought-provoking book, there was bullying, there were arguments on fate, like, can you control it and how would face it if your fate is already written and you can't change no matter what, etc. Those were good things to think about, it made us understand life better. So, any other thought-provoking book that you want to recommend to me? I am always up for reading more books that keep me thinking! Leave a comment and discuss! :)


Books? That's My Thing!: My Life on the Day of Halloween

    Hey there guys! Sorry I didn't post a review yesterday, I was planning on reviewing Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, but I couldn't finish the book on time. Yes, that's not a very good excuse, but have you seen the book? That thing has 563 pages! As of right now I am still willing myself to read the last 100 pages or so, it is kind of painful reading this book. Not that it was bad, it just seemed like it was endless, no matter how many limited free time I dumped into reading the book... *sigh* Anyway, this is not about the book, it about Halloween!

    I told you guys this week's Books? That's My Thing will be dedicated to Halloween, but since Halloween wasn't really the biggest deal here in Hong Kong, I can't show you my old costumes because I almost never had any. So, I just decided (yes, I actually just came up with it when I was taking a bath :P) that I will document this my Halloween this year, which will probably make the most boring person on Earth after you've seen it, prepare, for the horror of boringness!

    4:17 A.M: I just woke, and went to the bathroom. Don't know how I remembered it :P

    4:45 A.M.: The time I set my alarm clock, but coincidentally it ran out of battery today, so I didn't wake

    5:38 A.M.: Woke up, realize I wasn't woken by the alarm clock, thought I had overslept, checked the phone, and relaxed, it wasn't too late...

    5:45 A.M.: Finished my breakfast: PB & Banana Sandwich

    6:00 A.M. (rough time): start studying for Economics because I have a test on it today. I actually wrote the notes standing up, because I hate sitting down after I've eaten (I am weird, it's become kind of an understatement now)

    6:35 A.M: Finish writing notes, and head on down to studying for Chinese, because I also have a test on it today. Metaphors, similes, personifications, etc. in poems... It's annoying having to memorize all that stuff :P (But our exams are more practical than just memorizing, which is why I hate studying for Chinese, you don't know what you are actually studying for because there's no way you can study how to analyze a passage, you need practice. And the memorizing stuff only takes up half or less marks in the paper, plus the questions are more difficult than just writing down what you've memorized. I am ranting... Again...)

    7:15 A.M.: Thought I did a pretty good job memorizing stuff so took a break. Resumed reading Beautiful Creatures.

    8:30 A.M: Checked, and found out there were new episodes of Phineas and Ferb and Austin & Ally.

    10:10 A.M.: Finished watching new episodes of P&F, A&A, Shake It Up (I rewatched after I watched it, so it took more time. What? I couldn't resist!)

    10:15 A.M.: Decided to study again, only I've nothing to memorize anymore, so started reading book blogs. There were many blog tours lately... Or is it just me?

    11:07 A.M.: Started prepping to go to school for exams.

    11:40 A.M.: Out the door I went.

    12:02 P.M.: Boarded on a bus. Kept reading Beautiful Creatures on the a-little-more-than-an-hour bus ride.

    01:20 P.M.: Got off the bus, waiting for another bus to take me to my school.

    01:25 P.M.: Realized I am going to be late if I kept waiting for the bus, so I took a cab/taxi (Taxis are way more common here in HK, and the price is much lower than in NY, so don't freak out yet.)

    01:35 P.M.: Arrived school. Met up with friends, started revising again.

    01:45 P.M.: Piled up towards the Hall for exams.

    2:00 P.M.: Exam started, pens started flying.

    2:45 P.M. (yes, the exam is 45 mins long :P): Finished exam, went downstairs waiting for Chinese.

    3:15 P.M.: Chinese exam started.

    4:30 P.M.: Exam ended

    5:00 P.M.: Walked to the bus stop with friends.

    5:30 P.M.: Finally the bus came.

    6:46 P.M.: The bus broke down, we were forced to wait for the next bus

    6:50 P.M.: Luckily another bus came :P

    7:06 P.M.: Finally home

    7:58 P.M.: Finished dinner

    8:03 P.M.: Went to a bath

    8:20 P.M.: Started writing this post

    8:45 P.M.: Would you look at that? The time caught up with us. So now I am gonna end this post :P

Yes, very uneventful day, basically there was only exams in my day, and the broke down was a first. But other than that, nothing :P So, I am sure your Halloween is better than mine. Since we have time difference, you guys probably haven't had your Halloween day yet. But be sure to tell me all about the exciting things you did on the 31st! I am dying to know! ;) BTW: I just remembered someone told me 1D had a new single sometime around 12:39 P.M., which was a surprise for me, not a one directioner, but they are okay, and aside from Red, there's not much new songs these few weeks :P (Added by 8:53 P.M. Allyson Rida)  


Weekly Wrap-Up (2)

    Hey guys! Another week gone, any exciting things that you want to share with me? This week I started my first exam of the school year, I had tests on Biology and Mathematics Friday. I think I nailed Maths, it was pretty easy, but no so much in Biology. I think I messed up on the experiment questions, in my defense that set-up was completely ridiculous, how should I know what the hypothesis is? I am not even sure why the experiment exists! I still remember the questions, but I won't burden you guys with my rant on this ridiculous question, let's review what happened on the blog this week!

    Monday: Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (Anna #2) (I was listening to the new Taylor Swift album when I was reading this book, and I think the song Come Back... Be Here really speaks out Cas' feelings. I know the lyrics didn't exactly all match the setting, but the message about wanting the guy to come back from wherever really fits the setting of Cas wanting Anna to come back. So, the song here, tell me if you think another song would fit this book more! I am always up for some music ;) )

    Tuesday: Books? That's My Thing!: Character Traits Part I (In part I of this discussion on common character traits, we look at two very common types of main protagonists. I never thought the topic will stretch to three posts, but I guess I just have too much to say! Anyway, feel free to comment and discuss with me! Thinks I've got it all wrong? Tell me, I want to know what you think, that's the beauty of a discussion!)

    Wednesday: Review: Dead and Beyond by Jayde Scott (Ancient Legends #4) (I really like this series and had high expectations for it, but this book really failed me. It wasn't bad, I just expect more since the last two books of the series was so good... My review on Book 2, Doomed here and Book 3, Voodoo Kiss here)

    Thursday: Books? That's My Thing!: Character Traits Part II (In this post we talked about traits in villains and secondary characters, come and dicuss ;) )

    Friday: Feature & Follow (6) (This week we talked about some writing style in a book that we dislike. I really hate switching POVs, especially when the book was written in third person.)

    Saturday: Books? That's My Thing!: Character Traits Part III (That's the last part of the discussion, where we talked about love interests! )

    Sunday: Review: Forever and Beyond by Jayde Scott (Ancient Legends #5) (Sorry this was two days late, hope you guys enjoy the review!)


The Spooktacular Giveaway! (The blog list is at the end of the post linked) Um, how can I not blog about the biggest giveaway of the year so far? After all, more than 400 blogs are participating! Unfortunately, I am not one of the blogs :/

Novel Sounds: Drain You Blog Tour Giveaway (INT, 5 copies of Drain You signed, $50 credit at Wasteland (Quinn’s favorite store), pages from Quinn’s notebook, 10 ‘Drain You’ bookmarks handmade by Quinn, 10 90′s mixtapes curated and created by Quinn)

Katie' Book Blog: Signed Through to You ARC (INT, A signed ARC copy of Through To You by Emily Hainsworth)

A Life Bound By Books: Haunted Halloween 2012: Guest Post - Auracle author, Gina Rosati + A GIVEAWAY (INT, A personalized, signed hardcover of Auracle, a swag bag with an Auracle bookmark, magnet, button, silicone bracelet, sticker, and an uber-fancy beaded bookmark.)

BTW, some of these giveaways end in two to three days, so hurry up and enter ;)

And that's the end of this week's wrap-up post! I have to dive into Geography now, exams tomorrow. But, I would love the distraction and get to know about your week! So, comment below and tell me! ;)


Review: Forever and Beyond by Jayde Scott (Ancient Legends #5)

Title: Forever and Beyond (Ancient Legend #5)
Author: Jayde Scott
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Mystery, Fantasy
Publisher: Scotland (self-published)
Synopsis/Summary: Hidden from mortal eyes and divided into three factions are the creatures of darkness that coexist with mortals.
In the witches’ town Morganefaire, an ancient legend tells the story of a mirror that was once shattered into four fragments, each able to entrap a powerful soul.
Eighteen-year-old Amber is a struggling necromancer on a mission: help vampire Aidan stop the Prophecy of Morganefaire and protect the innocents from the inevitable fate that will befall them should the wrong faction win. When bodies begin to pile up, Amber realizes she has no choice than to work together with the fashion-savvy yet irritating ghost of a young witch to solve the mystery and protect the one she loves.
In a world of forbidden love, of ancient enemies and bonds spun by fate, nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted. Amber’s life will never be the same again unless she finds out who the murderer is, and quick, before everything she ever loved is taken from her forever…
Find the book on: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

      Wow, a cliff-hanger, that's rare in this series! I know from the Feature & Follow post this week that many actually hated cliff-hangers, but I actually really liked them ;) I don't mind waiting, but if the book comes out 2 years later than the previous book, I would be really pissed. I guess it all depends on how the cliff-hanger was set up and how long 'til the next of the series was out. In Forever and Beyond's case, I love the cliff-hanger! Although, to be fair, Shadow Blood, the sixth in the series is already out, so I didn't really care about the cliff-hanger ending ;P

    There is another thing that I love about this book, it's the mystery. This time, the book features a murder mystery instead of the whole secretive boyfriend thing, and I must say I love murder mysteries much much more! The mystery was set up pretty good, we have Amber, still our protagonist, arrived in Morganefaire, an ancient witch/warlock town that no one knows existed and where it was located, and also immediately a dead girl turned up. The people wanted to blame it on Amber, since she was a new comer and a vampire (Aidan and Kieran had been there before), and Amber must solve the mystery about the murder before she was killed herself... As much as I love the whole mystery thing, I must say this book still didn't provide much in terms of answers to the mystery. Actually, it wasn't solved at all. There was a link somewhere between different events, but the book ended we can see how Amber links all things together. 

    Another complain I have on this book is how bad it handled all the unsolved mystery from the last book. At the start of the book, we had Amber do a brief recap on the events that happened in the last few books, since that happens in a lot of series books, I don't really mind. What really annoyed me is that the unanswered questions were kind of just glossed over and were just briefly explained within one paragraph or so. It was like Scott wanted to just throw away all the remaining loose ends immediately so she can start new ones. I like a good ending to each and every plot lines, so this whole explained-within-a-sentence thing really pissed me off.

    Also, the love triangle from the last book was kind of just brushed off the second Amber knew who was haunting her in the last book. She blamed the whole showing-affection-to-Devon thing as the ghost's fault, which I totally disagreed. She was the one who called him when she needed someone to talk to, and all the moments they shared together didn't seem forced. Deep down I know Amber actually had a thing for Devon, but for whatever reason, it was brushed off in this book. It was really unfair to this still-blooming love triangle, not to mention it was totally unsatisfying. It was actually a continuation of the whole throwing-away-all-loose-ends thing that I commented above.

    In this book we were introduced to
Morganefaire, an ancient witch/warlock town which location was unknown. I liked the setting of Morganefaire, it was kind of original, a paradise (or at least, a safe place) for witches and warlocks to live in, so they won't be threatened by mortals. Good thinking, which definitely added some brownie points for my rating on this books.

     Sigh, still no Clare... I really want to read about Clare, it was mentioned that she lost her mate and I really wanted to know the story. Come on, Amber, give the mic to Clare already! Anyway, we did have some new characters in this book, the first one that I thought of is Julie, the ghost of the girl whose body was found shortly after Amber's arrival.

    I don't really like Julie all that much. She had many mood-swings, which Amber attributed to being a ghost. But I still hated it, she was mean to Amber and only wanted her to solve the mystery of her death and she didn't ask nicely either. She seemed spoiled to me, and I don't do spoiled characters. She did kind of bonded a friendship with Amber later in the book though, despite how treated Amber at times. I thought it was kind of annoying that she pushed Amber around, like she was the boss of her. Like I said, spoiled. I did like the mystery surrounding her murder, but other than that, I like nothing to do with this character :P

    This book was an acceptable addition to the Ancient Legends, and it definitely had its moments, but I really didn't think it was all that great, so I would give it a 3 stars. The book would be better suited for fans of the series, it was a good continuation on Amber's story. But if you're looking to butt into the series halfway, I don't suggest you to read this book first, as it was kind of a disappointment, at least to me, instead start with Doomed, the second book, which I gave a glowing five star review, I genuinely liked it! (Review here)

Rating: 3 stars!

How do you like cliff-hangers? What about a perfect way to tie up loose ends? What do you think a witch town should look like? And the most important thing of all, do you like this book? Personally I think the cover has some major problem, what's with the misshaped photo? :P Comment below, I would love to discuss ;)

Books? That's My Thing!: Character Traits Part III

    Okay, I swear this will the final post on character traits. So, this time, after our talk on main protagonists, villains and secondary characters, we talk about the love interests!

    First let's list some common traits (we're talking in terms of guys since most YA books have female protagonists:
  1. Moody, mopey (the ones that I hate the most :/ )
  2. Caring, kind-hearted
  3. Over-protective (frankly, I have seen a lot of these kind of love interests
  4. Sporty, jocks
  5. Nerdy
  6. Player
  7. Funny
    And that's about all I can think of. Like I said, my least favorite trait in a love interest in the moody type. Seriously, is it so hard to hide your frown when you're around people? I know you have a scarring past, get over it! Especially when you want a girl to fall in love with you, I am pretty sure most people would choose a guy that has a good humor and smiles a lot, rather than the one who stands in the background, watching, frowning, thinking, whatever. Of course, I know these are book characters so I have to leave some room for readers to enjoy the thought of falling in love with a mopey guy, so I'll just stop my rant right now.

   I think you mostly see player and funny being mushed together to create a male character. Personally, I don't think being funny always equals a player, but it kind of fits, girls love guys who is funny, at least I do, so naturally they would attract lots of girls. Whether he hook up with them or not, in the protagonist's eyes he would seem like a player. But I actually like these kind of love interests. I can count on them to make the story more fun, and like I said, I love funny guys! So if I am ever torn between a love triangle with the mopey and the joker, I would definitely choose the joker!

    Okay, here's a confession, I like nerdy love interests. They are the pariahs, the ones being teased at all the time, but I like them. I guess mostly because I love reading so I like a guy who is book-smart, don't know if you readers share my thoughts on this one ;P Unfortunately, I haven't seen a lot of these types of love interests, the most recent one I've read is Thomas from Anna series, he and Carmel are such a good match! The queen bee and the nerd, kind of ironic, yet the contrast really brings up my interests ;)

And that concludes our character traits series post! What kind of love interests do you like to see in books? Do you absolutely love mopey characters? Or do you share my love for the more sunny type? What do think actually matters more to the story, a bunch of lovable characters, or an interesting plot? Tell me in the comments! ;)


Feature & Follow (6)

    It's Friday! Time for another FF post! And this week's question is:
Q: What writing device or trick most irritates you when reading a book? For example, if an author employs an omnipotent narrator that is sometimes considered bad form.
      Well, I think various POVs in third person is really messy and confusing if not handled well.

      I hate switching POVs, I can't stress that enough, and I am sure I have mentioned it in several of my reviews. I like to keep reading about one to two characters' side of the story. I got accustomed to them, I should say, and I want to know more about the character as the story goes on, and how can I do that if the story constantly switch from one person to another. It's like trying to meet a hundred new people all at once and every one of them are eager to shake your hand. (of course I am not that popular in rea life :P) You get squished in the crowd and drown out by the noises. So, long story short, I hate books that feature more than 2 POVs. That's why I am hesitant to read The Diviners by Libba Bray even though everyone said she's a great author. I think I'll try the Gemma Doyle trilogy first ;)

    What about the third person part? Well, I simply must say I think a book would be more enjoyable written in first person POV. That's where the jokes come from, inside a character's head. I always find that the writing would be a bit uptight if it was in third person, and I want to read a book that has a great storyline but still manage to make me laugh sometimes. A good example would be Anna Dressed In Blood, it's supposedly a tragic love story but it still has an equal amount of humor and sadness. It was written in first person POV, which proved my point perfectly.

So, what are your pet peeves on the writing style of a book? Do you have a totally different opinion than me? Like you like to meet more characters instead of less? Tell me in the comments ;)


Books? That's My Thing!: Traits in Characters Part II

Sorry guys! I was a little late to post today. I got caught up in my revisions, I have my tests today (Maths and Biology, wish me luck!), I have an hour before I have to go out the door and meet my doom. Anyway, let's continue our discussion on character traits! :)

    Since last time we talked about traits in main protagonists, now let's talk about the villain and secondary characters! Of course, the villain might not always be physical, most contemporary books have abstract villains, or obstacles, to be more exact. But I usually read paranormal and such, there's usually a villain to keep the story going!

    There's actually not much of a prototype of villain, but I'll try listing all the ones I can think of:
  1. seeking revenge
  2. out of jealousy (the Evil Queen from Snow White, anyone?)
  3. wrecked world-view (usually through tragic past)
  4. seeking power (you know, the whole I-want-to-control-the-world thing, I think those are the nuttiest kind of villains)
  5. just plain evil (OK, that was a joke :P)
    Personally, I like villains with a tragic past, it adds so much more emotion to the book, and I like back stories! It makes me understand the villain more and understand his/her motives. I mean, villains are emotional beings too! Sometimes I would just hate a villain so much but after a tragic back story I would start to grow sympathy for him/her.

   I also want to talk about the just-plain-evil one, I find that it actually happens in books, mostly in Middle Grade books. Middle Grade books are for smaller children, so the morals in the book are actually all black and white, the villains are just evil, meaning they really would do anything and have not much of a back story or reason to act evil. I love these kind of villains actually, they are ruthless, so the story can go really extreme, of course not pushing the limits of a MG book, watching the main characters fight back on such evil are really fun and always lightens my mood. (Actually, it's kind of weird of me :P) However, this case only apply to MG books, because if I find a villain like that in a YA book, I am sure I won't be giving it too high a rating. A YA book is aimed at teens, and the plain evil thing just won't work. The story would crumble like that. I mean, no back story? I am sure every reader of YA would be thinking how fake things are if there are no back story on the villain. Of course, I haven't stumbled upon such a book yet, they usually have some back story even if it's just a paragraph or two.

    Since we have foe, we have to have friends too, which in most books, are actually secondary characters in a book.

    Traits in a secondary character:
  1. Loyal OR manipulative (there are back-stabbing friends in the world, as much as it hurts me to see that happen to a main character)
  2. supportive OR over-protective (you know, that someone who always tries to talk the main character out of doing something stupid yet daring, and is important for the story to move on, I understand their motives of not wanting to lose their friends, but it gets kind of annoying when that happen, so I love a supportive friend who is as fierce as the main character and would fight with them side-by-side)
  3. Mellow OR Bitchy (Mostly, the best friend of a main character is kind of bitchy, I haven't seen many mellow best friends)
    And, that's about all I can think of. I love getting to know the secondary characters and my favorite character of a book are usually them. There are so many ways that a secondary character can be, but usually they are a friend of the main protagonists, which sometimes result in people calling them card-board cutout characters. Sadly, I must admit I have seen these types of secondary characters too. They lack back stories, and their presence in the book is actually just to fill the dialogue space and doesn't have much influence on the plot or the main protagonist's growth and decisions. I am sure a good author would make sure to have a back story of every character, even if the back story would never make it to the book.

I have to go, exams are calling! (Again, please wish me luck!) But I think we need to have a part III for love interests. I will post it on Saturday! The Tuesday slot is reserved for... Halloween! I don't have much Halloween stories to share but I'll think of something ;)

Anyway, as usual, I would love to discuss with you guys in the comments, so please leave a comment if you have something you want to say :) Some questions, what are your favorite types of villains? Examples? And what can you do to warrant a villain working against you? (I am sure all the protagonists have a good answer :D) And who is your all-time-favorite secondary character? Would you like to be friends with his/her in real life? Have a good day!


Review: Dead and Beyond by Jayde Scott (Ancient Legends #4)

Title: Dead and Beyond (Ancient Legend #4)
Author: Jayde Scott
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Mystery, Fantasy
Publisher: Scotland (self-published)
Synopsis/Summary:Amber Reed is a dead girl walking.
Having just been turned by her gorgeous vampire boyfriend, eighteen-year-old Amber Reed is bestowed with the ability to see ghosts. Between trying to figure out how to control her bloodlust and solving the mysterious disappearance of a friend, Amber realizes someone wants to step into her shoes so badly, they’ll do anything to take her place.
When one secret after another pops up, the only person who believes her is her enemy, Devon. Amber can’t figure out if he’s here to help or save his own immortal race from losing the ancient war against the vampires. What she does know, however, is that she can’t resist his good looks just as much as she can’t help becoming someone else…
In a world of dark magic and ancient enemies, three powerful courts fight for supremacy, and Amber might just be the pawn in winning this war forever. But how’s a girl to survive when everyone wants her dead?
Find the book on: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

     After my slight break from the series, I am reading on again. The fourth book in the Ancient Legends Series took us back to Amber, where she decided to plunge headfirst into a mystery that might threaten her life...

    I must say I am not very satisfied with the book. It's still interesting, but I felt like everything that just kept happening. There was no twist at all, and basically no climax, there were mysteries but that was about it. However, I did find that the pages seep by without my knowing, and then the book ended. It wasn't a cliffhanger, but I felt the book really lacked climax. There was a big plot there, and would be stretched to the next book, and it was actually interesting. But the problem was that the reveal came too late, most, and when I say most I meant about 90%, of the book was spent spinning the mysteries for this plot, and that was it, no answers, and the book just ended. There was a vague paragraph about our protagonist processing what really happened and connected the dots, but she didn't elaborate and I didn't really want to think about it. Basically that means the book paved way for an interesting and exciting storyline but things stretched on for too long, and the whole book actually just felt like half the book, with all questions and no answers. That said, there were a few elements that I enjoyed in this book.

    First, I liked the love triangle. I know most of you groaned just reading or seeing that word, but the love triangle in this book was actually quite good. I mean, both sides were nice and I couldn't decide which team I'm in, like what happened when I read The Nine Lives of Chloe King Trilogy (review here!). In my opinion, that was a successful love triangle. I mean, what was the point of a love triangle if everyone knew from the start who the protagonist would end up with anyway? But of course, the love triangle in this book wasn't one sided, and I liked it :)

    Second, I love how smooth the plot went. Granted, there was only one POV(Amber) this time around, so there wouldn't be situations where readers confused from the switch of POVs and decided to take a break from the book (I did that!). The plot really kept moving and I just kept reading. But like I said from the beginning, the book lacked tension, drama and climax, even if it was able to lure me in and kept me reading, I wasn't really gushing about it. So actually this part was fifty-fifty. I liked that the plot went on without bumps, but I hated that there were no climax at all.

    It seemed that there were more paranormal creatures getting thrown into the mix this time. We had a werewolf, and a new demigod. These two characters didn't appear very often or hadn't appear until the very end of the book, so I really couldn't judge their powers and whether they made sense or not...

    The story was set back to Scotland in Aidan's mansion again. And the infamous shed made an appearance too. What I didn't understand was where did all the people go. The last time I checked, Henry and the house-keeper (the former one, I can't remember her name) should still be living in the garden shed, working for Aidan and Claire were still living in the house. But this time neither of them showed up which left a really big plot hole here. And I must admit I was upset because I was really looking forward to read about Claire's story, and now she didn't have an appearance at all, just some name-drop and it was like she moved to another planet or something. No one talked about her, which definitely didn't make sense.

    So, like I said, Amber was back for this book, and so was Aidan and some other characters that took a back seat during the whole Cass-losing-her-soul-mate debacle. (They did appear in that 2 book, and played a part too, but not an important one.) There was really no way to talk about the new characters because first of all, their parts were really small in this book, like a random name-drop here and the story just went on and second, there was really no way to introduce them without spoiling. So I will just talk about Devon, the guy that seemed interested in Amber in the first book, and was a recurring character in book 2 and 3.

    Devon was kind of like a two-sided guy. He could be really cold, like, no expression from his face or voice at all, or he could be quite cute, when he was flirting with Amber. I found that I have fallen in love with this character because his conversations with Amber were so funny, I didn't really have a LMHO moment, but it was good humored and I could feel that their flirting came rather natural, which spiked a hope in me despite Aidan being her bonded mate. I wouldn't tell you how that went but I think you will like Devon a lot more after you read this book ;)

    Blogger just started acting wonky when I finished the character part so I will be blunt and end this review. I have no desire to fight with blogger about the htmls in my blog.

    I would give this book 3 stars. It was a pretty good read if you were already a fan of the series and love Amber right from the start, but I am pretty sure just this book along won't be able to attract many readers to keep on reading. Because, let's face it, this book lacked the climax that I so needed in my stories. Since it failed to impress me but still managed to keep me interested throughout the whole book, I would give it an average 3 stars. I would recommend this to readers of light YA paranormal, as in the storyline won't too heavy, good for readers that didn't like reading a book that got all depressed and grim and stuff. Happy reading!

Ratings: 3 stars!

It was quite a light paranormal read I just had there, though it lacked some much needed tension to create a climax. So, tell me, what book you have read that had the most awesome climax? What do you think was needed to create a proper climax? And finally, the question that matters the most, what do you think of the book, or the series in general? Do you agree with me that this one was kind of a downer with the book 2 and 3 being so awesome? (Okay, technically, that was more than one question, but it's always good to have options ;) )

BTW: Anyone who uses blogger suffered the same formatting problem as me? You know, things shifting when you point your wicked little mouse at it? I must say, I am really annoyed. And that problem had been going on for weeks!


Books? That's My Thing!: Traits in Characters: Part I

    So, last week we talked about YA paranormal (the post here!), and after wrecking my brain for something to write about, I thought of it, character traits.

    What I do mean by that? Well, after reading YA for a few years now, I have found that there were some very common traits among the characters, so this week, I want to deduce them out and discuss! I actually have no problem with similar traits in characters, 'cause what matters is how the character develops, and not how they started out. Of course, I do get a little annoyed at the similar types of love interests, they are either mopey or sunny. And usually the mopey guy wins in the dreaded love triangle... What's up with that? Anyway, I've decided to split this discussion into 2 parts, since I found that after writing about different types of main protagonists, the post is already long. So to keep you interested, and since I have to do revisions for exams this Friday, I the first part today, which is what you are reading now, and the second part on Thursday, I feel weird talking a break on a weekday anyway, and I have so much that I want to share with about this one. So, let's dive in and discuss characters, shall we? ;)

     I think there are actually 2 types of main protagonists, first, the shy kind. You know, those female characters that think of themselves as plain, fat, too tall, too short, too thin or whatsoever while other characters surrounding her thinks she's oh-so-attractive. You may think I am a little too sarcastic here, but bottom line is, I usually find these kind of protagonist quite annoying. You know, 'cause their monologues are usually along the lines of, "I stared at myself, my face is too round and my cheeks too pale, yada, yada, yada." I really don't understand why they had to criticize themselves like that. Everyone is different, and they all have a different opinion on beauty, so why torture yourself by thinking you are not pretty/smart/charming/whatever good traits you think you don't have by placing yourself in your own biased judgment. Seriously, I think no matter how hard you try, your judgment will always be biased. Sometimes maybe more people will agree to your judgment, sometimes they don't. But the important thing is, there's no certainty in judgments. So, I think that these kind of characters need to stop hypnotizing themselves with petty comments on themselves, instead talk about something else in their monologue. Talk about the weather, I don't care, just don't tell me they think of themselves as plain, fat and stuff, 'cause I am sure the readers all think otherwise. Luckily, these types of main protagonists usually grow more confident throughout the book, and with every barrier that they managed to burst through, the more I like them.

     The other common type is the more feisty kind. They are born fighters, they don't take anything from anyone and are usually brave, yet stubborn. I think these kind of main protagonists appears more in paranormal books. I like them, they are strong and they give the story so much more... purpose, if it must be described. Since these kinds of characters always seem very determined to do something, or their inquiring minds just couldn't stand the thought of something happening that people surrounding them are hiding, these kind of characters like to get to the bottom of things, no matter the trouble they have to go through to get there, and the whole plot of the story always seems clearer with these characters. We know from the traits that he/she won't back down until things are all in the clear , so we have a clear idea of where the plot will be heading. A good example of these types of characters: Cassandra from the Secret series (I am not sure how many people have read this one, but the series is very good or should I say, very secretive ;) MG and YA readers will enjoy it!)

    However, mostly the main protagonists of YA books are actually the two types that were mentioned combine together. We throw the two together and we get a protagonist that doesn't think highly of his/her-self, but is sure capable to kick someone's ass when the need arise. There many examples this kind of characters, like Daisy Giordano from the Dead is series, Cammie from the Gallagher Girls series, Tris from the Divergent Trilogy, etc.

That's the end of part one of this topic! So, what do you think of my opinion of separating main protagonists into 3 types? Should there be more? Is it a bad classification? 'Cause I totally understand if you disagree, that's the point of discussing! We need voices with other perspectives! If you agree, which type do you like the most? Comment below and let's discuss! ;)

Oh, I have something to tell you guys concerning this meme, I've decided to create a banner for it! I think it would be up sometime on November, I want to think about the design more, and use more time to draw it. And when the banner's out, I think I might make a Linky list of this meme, of course, I still have the worry that no one would join, 'cause thinking up of a topic actually takes a lot out of me too, maybe we will do unified topics, but that is if someone really want to do the meme too ;)


Review: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake (Anna #2)

Title: Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2)
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Teen
Synopsis/Summary (could be spoilery to people who haven't read the first book): It's been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can't move on.
His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they're right, but in Cas's eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.
Now he's seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he's asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong...these aren't just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.
Cas doesn't know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn't deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it's time for him to return the favor.
Find the Book on: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

     First of all I want to talk about my concerns going into this book. Anna Dressed In Blood was a really, really good book, but I thought the ending was pretty much a closure. We didn't get a happily-ever-after ending, but everything was kind of resolved, there were no important mysteries left. So I was worry that Girl of Nightmares would just be a forced continuation of Anna Dressed In Blood, either with no connections with the first book or the plot was entirely forced out, but I see that those were wasteful concerns. Because Kendare Blake can always write a good story. Because I love everything about this series.

     The book started about half to almost one year after the events of Anna Dressed In Blood, Cas was still moaning over Anna, refusing to let her go. Then he started seeing Anna everywhere, but not the good kind, he was seeing her being tortured, killed and could do nothing to stop it, because Anna wasn't really there. I was a little hesitant going into the book because of the aforementioned reasons, and for the first 30 pages or so it really did seem like nothing would be going on. There were only vague expressions about "things are going to happen", "I feel that something big is going to happen", something like that. Then Anna appeared, and things really started going on.

     There are several things I like about the plot. For one, I like that the plot actually relates to the previous book, instead of just making up a bunch of events and throwing Anna into it. In this book we dived into the aftermaths of clearing the curse/link/connection of the athame with the Obeahman, while further expanding the paranormal world of the series.

     Secondly, I like that the plot has a really good climax. my heart wasn't actually beating fast while reading that, but I felt the urge to read, to keep going, even though the chapter had already ended, I just went on with the next chapter without pausing.

     Thirdly, love the butter sweet ending. I guess there would never be a happy ending for Cas and Anna, but I am glad about the way it ended.

     I have something to say about the writing too. This book was written from Cas' POV, first person. We got the somewhat scattered thoughts of Cas all the time. Sometimes I am a little annoyed by it, it seemed like he would miss out some detail when things happened, then suddenly sprang it back at your face a few paragraphs later. But I also love his humor, he never fails to crack me up, even if he wasn't trying. The writing doesn't really omit a scary feel to it, but then again, I feel that that was never the atmosphere Blake wanted. I think she was trying to craft a tragic love story with two very stubborn and hard-ass characters, so the feel should be grim, but the slight humor was a wonderful touch too. :)

    I think every book I've read that involves magic or paranormal powers is somehow always linked to Voodoo and Wicca and stuff. So there was no surprise there that this book also have Voodoo and some other way of magic in it. There were rituals and other stuff, so I could see that Blake did her research.

    Oh, I can't tell you how much I love all the characters in this series! Cas, Thomas, Carmel and Anna are such charming characters!

    I have developed a very deep case of love towards Thomas in this book. His setting was actually quite the basic side-kick type, faithful to the protagonist, possess some powers that are great asset to protagonist, etc. But I could really see his growth in this book. In book one, he was just the scrawny, annoying friend of Cas, but in this book I could see him being more brave, and of course, I could really see his loyalty to his friend when he stood by him through every crazy attempts to help Anna. He has definitely snatched a place in my heart. I might actually like him even more than Cas. But Cas was funnier ;P

    Some goes for Carmel, she was more fierce this time. A little shaken-up at the first half of the book, but she really came through later on, and was there when Cas needed her. I think she and Thomas make such a cute couple. They basically come from two different worlds, Thomas as the nerd/freak and Carmel as the queen bee, but they compliment each other so well. I love them!

    There is a new character introduced in this book, and that's Jestine. Jestine is another feisty female character created by Blake's awesomeness. I have some reserves about her, despite her actually being genuine and frank with Cas and the others. Maybe it's because there might be something going on between her and Cas? I don't know, I just couldn't really like her like I adore the other characters, but maybe she will grow on me, if we get another installment *hint, hint*.

     I am giving this book 5 stars! The climax was so good that I couldn't take my eyes off the book! Kendare Blake did her magic again on this book and brought us an unforgettable and tragic love story with ghosts and kick-ass female characters! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, okay, maybe not kids under 13, but I am sure everyone 13 and up would enjoy this book! There's no steamy romance scenes, so younger YA readers could enjoy it too and even though this book has a ghost, it's not necessarily scary, a little bloody at times, but it's not the hide-under-your-bed kind of scary, so you should be able to enjoy this book! And need I remind you, it's almost Halloween! A ghost story is just what you need to get in the festive mood! So, go on, go to the nearest bookstore and buy the 2 books, you won't regret it ;)

Rating: 5 stars!

This book actually talks about the afterlife, so what do you think exists in the afterlife? Do you think there really are Heaven and Hell? If there is, how is it determined that you would enter Heaven or Hell? Judgment? Or by a lucky draw? ;) Tell me in the comments below, I <3 reading comments and chatting with you guys!


Weekly Wrap-Up (1)

The first wrap-up post! Although the blog doesn't have tons of post each day, I still want to do it, it feels weird not sitting in front of a computer and typing a blog post for me, so a wrap-up post is just what I need!

     First of all, sorry in advance that I couldn't post a review on Friday, I actually planned on writing a review on Always A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, but after I read the book I found out that I have almost all the same opinion as the first book, Once A Witch (linked to the review). I love the time traveling element, and it was handled nicely. 'Cause if time travel was handled badly it would be a very hard book to read, MacCullough did a good job. There's still not much in terms of character developments, we did meet a few new characters, and that's all. The ending was wrapped up pretty nicely, there's lost but mostly everything was perfect by the end. It was a good ending to the series. And that's it, I just reviewed the book to you. Oh, and I gave it 4 stars (I added it on GRs). So, a super mini review here, compensation?

     Anyway, let's look at the post posted this week:

Monday: Review on Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryan (The Paranormals #1)

Tuesday: Books? That's My Thing!, where I talked about different kinds of paranormal

Wednesday: Review on Once A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough (Witch #1)

Thursday: Break. (Which I used the time to do some revision for my test that starts next Friday, on 26th October)

Friday: Feature & Follow, where we talked about the books that we read outside of out usual genre

Saturday: Review on Anna Dressed In Blood by Kendare Blake (Anna #1) (Kendare Blake tweeted me! Oh, I am gonna die... of happiness~~)

Giveaways from fellow bloggers:

Carina's Books' One Year Blogoversary Giveaway (INT)

Young Adlut Book Haven's Awesome-Sauce Followers Giveaway (INT)

Lost in Literature's October New Releases Givaway (INT)

Booknerd's October New Releases Giveaway (INT)

Notice a pattern here? Yup, they are all international giveaway, since I am an international blogger :P

That's all for this week! So, did you have a good week? Or is it not your week? What was the happiest moment of your week? For me it would be celebrating a friend's b-day on Friday, we had cake! Tell me in the comments below! ;)


Review: Anna Dressed In Blood By Kendare Blake (Anna #1)

Title: Anna Dressed In Blood (Anna #1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Teen
Synopsis/Summary: Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
Find the Book on: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

     Anna Dressed In Blood is probably a perfect story to get into the Halloween mood. It had scary ghosts and a hero to save the day.

    The plot is well-planned. With some foreshadowing in the front, which sprang into a full-on climax in later part of the story. I love that kind of layout, that way I don't feel like I am being thrust into events after events just so the author can fill his/her book. The foreshadowing might not help me to prepare what was coming, but the show of planning that counts ;)

    This book is also pretty fast-paced. The story progressed way further than I expected, I actually thought some plots will be dragged to the next book in the series, but it hadn't. I like that, Blake didn't leave me hanging after reading this book, she gave me a sad and tragic closure, and I am very satisfied.

    Also, this is one of the recent books that the plot twists are surprising enough. Okay, technically, only one plot twist in this book managed to knock my socks off and have me shivering from the creepiness of it. But at least I know where the plot twist is! Some other books, if you have read some of my reviews, you will find that I often complain that a book lacked a shocking plot twist, but Anna Dressed In Blood delivered even that to me. How can I not love this book?

    The whole ghost-hunter concept might not be the most original one, but I like it. I like the alterations the Blake did too, like you have to kill the ghost again to banish it forever, it makes much more sense than sucking it into a vacuum :P I also like the setting in Thunder Bay. It sounded like a beautiful town with yellow and orange leaves piling up on the floor by Autumn, which was not at all what we had in Hong Kong, I would love to go there someday (And, I want to know if Anna's house does exist) :)

    Oh, I love the characters of this book, well, all except for a few d-bag that died along the story.

    Cas was so much fun to read. His no-nonsense tone with the occasional jokes are what I liked about the story. He was a good guy, a little too isolated maybe, but I am glad he changed throughout the story. He is also pretty protective of his loved ones, but I guess that's what happens when you lose your dad, you don't really want to lose anyone again, and I like him for it.

   Ah, Anna, I love her so much! So is strong yet fragile, and she can kick Cas' butt if she want ;) Anna had a tragic past, it was horrible what happened to her and I really felt for her. I do think she talked a bit too modern for her time of death. She didn't exactly say any slang or show any signs of knowing any pop culture references, but it's something about her tone that made me feel like she;s modern. Maybe she start up conversations before twisting people's head off :P Anyway, except for this minor complain, I love Anna!

    I would give this book 4.5 stars (round up to 5 stars). It's a very intriguing ghost story and is perfect for anyone looking for a ghost story. It's not very scary, there are some gruesome deaths, but other than that, it's actually more of a paranormal book than a horror book. I would recommend this to all YA readers or fans of paranormal stories, it's a light read with a very lovable ghost and ghost hunter, with the tragic ending, it will be sure to keep you interested for the less-than-enough 316 pages (I mean that I would want more Cas and Anna, not that the story didn't end well;) ).

I've been gushing about Anna Dressed In Blood for a few weeks now and the review's finally out! So, now's the perfect chance to tell me your opinion on the book. I know some of you don't think it was a good fit for you, and I wanna know why. So, tell me, what do you think about the book? Love it? Or hate it? What other good ghost story books are out there that you think I must read? Recommend some! Look forward to seeing you on the comments! ;)