Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cipher by Aileen Erin: Book Review

cover from Goodreads
Title: Cipher (Shadow Ravens #1)
Author: Aileen Erin
Published: October 14, 2014 by Ink Monster, LLC
Copy: e-ARC from NetGalley


In the not-too-distant future, the color of your helix tattoo shows exactly how your DNA was modified—green for super-smart scientists, black for pumped-up warriors, white for the immortal Seligo—but Cipher’s red helix is a death sentence. It’s a sign of unstable DNA, which is probably the reason she can manipulate electricity.

When she was eight years old, Cipher made the mistake of showing her uncle the tattoo. In return, he killed her parents and tried to kidnap her.

She’s been on the run ever since, and twelve long years later, Cipher is tired of hiding. Survival isn’t enough anymore. She wants her life back.

Hacking into the Citadel mainframe is a huge risk, but it pays off when she finds a database on red helixes. Before she can copy it, she loses control of her power, charring her last processor, and the only person in the Arizona Voids that can get her back online is her oldest friend, Knightly. She hasn’t seen him in person since she started running, and Knight 2.0 is fully upgraded with a six-pack and knee-melting smile.

For a girl like Cipher, trust doesn’t come easily, but Knight makes her yearn for a life she knows she can’t have, especially when every secret she reveals endangers them both.

It was a short read but really good. The book started with Cipher, the protagonist, hacking the Citadel's mainframe. With it came a vague introduction about the future world they live in, consequently setting the mood and my curiosity of the plot.

The flow of events was smooth, and it sucked me into the story right away. Cipher was fast-paced and has a right mix of action and romance. From the middle up to end though, it can be a bit predictable. And I saw a lot of similarities with other dystopian/sci-fi novels. But despite the similarities, it's still an enjoyable read. Totally entertaining!

Some characters and elements of the story is not yet fully explained and explored but I'm pretty sure they will be covered in the next books.

Cipher is the first book in The Shadow Ravens Saga. And even though the next book will be featuring another Red, I'm still looking forward to it! Cipher set an introduction to the world of Shadow Ravens and Helixes, and Aileen Erin did a really good job!

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As for the characters, Cipher is very likable. I liked how she's independent and brave but beneath the strong façade is a girl who wants freedom, happiness and satisfaction.

And Knight! You know my collection of fictional boyfriends is growing. His attraction/fascination/love for Cipher may be a bit weird to me but whatever, Knight is so charming. He's not only a very good soldier, but he's also a techie nerd. How awesome is that! Cipher and Knight's chemistry (figuratively and literally) is perfect! :)

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Told in Cipher's and Knight's POVs, the book did not only introduced me to the future world where human DNA can be altered, but also reminded me how gratitude, trust and friendship are important in this life.

I definitely recommend Cipher! It may not be a unique novel but it's really entertaining. And let's not forget Knight! Haha!




from Goodreads
Aileen Erin is half-Irish, half-Mexican and 100% nerd-from Star Wars (prequels don’t count) to Star Trek (TNG FTW), she reads Quenya and some Sindarin, and has a severe fascination with the supernatural. Aileen has a BS in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and spends her days doing her favorite things: reading books, creating worlds, and kicking ass (from Goodreads).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Undying by Ethan Reid: Book Review

cover from NetGalley
Title: The Undying
Author: Ethan Reid
Publication details: October 7, 2014 by Simon & Schuster/ Simon451
Copy: e-ARC from NetGalley

THEY HAVE COME FROM THE STARS…

In this riveting apocalyptic thriller for fans of The Passage and The Walking Dead, a mysterious event plunges Paris into darkness and a young American must lead her friends to safety—and escape the ravenous “undying” who now roam the crumbling city.

Jeanie and Ben arrive in Paris just in time for a festive New Year’s Eve celebration with local friends. They eat and drink and carry on until suddenly, at midnight, all the lights go out. Everywhere they look, buildings and streets are dark, as though the legendary Parisian revelry has somehow short circuited the entire city.

By the next morning, all hell has broken loose. Fireballs rain down from the sky, the temperatures are rising, and people run screaming through the streets. Whatever has happened in Paris—rumors are of a comet striking the earth—Jeanie and Ben have no way of knowing how far it has spread, or how much worse it will get. As they attempt to flee the burning Latin Quarter—a harrowing journey that takes them across the city, descending deep into the catacombs, and eventually to a makeshift barracks at the Louvre Museum—Jeanie knows the worst is yet to come. So far, only she has witnessed pale, vampiric survivors who seem to exert a powerful hold on her whenever she catches them in her sights.

These cunning, ravenous beings will come to be known as les moribund—the undying—and their numbers increase by the hour. When fate places a newborn boy in her care, Jeanie will stop at nothing to keep the infant safe and get out of Paris—even if it means facing off against the moribund and leaving Ben—and any hope of rescue—behind.


I have one word to summarize my review for The Undying: Wow!

My dream city, Paris, plus apocalypse and les moribund, now that's something new. (At least for me! Haha!)

If you've read romance, contemporary, or historical fiction novels set in Paris, and through reading, you've toured the city, why not make another tour? But this time with a good supply of adrenaline?

The Undying is fast-paced and action-packed, with the events in the apocalypse happening in one day. If I remember correctly, there were six parts in the apocalypse. Imagine experiencing them in less than 24 hours. For a novel with only ~270 pages, it can be overwhelming but I liked it nonetheless. I was one with the characters, experiencing their confusion and panic.

I just wished there were concrete explanations and reasons as to why and how the horrible events happened. The book gave conjectures but I don't remember reading the real reason. And I think The Undying is a stand-alone novel, so no explanation for me? Haha!

Anyway, the action was also levelled by flashbacks on Jeanie's and Ben's lives. Those scenes made me understand and connect with the characters better. They also served as breaks so as to prevent my adrenaline rush to go berserk. Haha!

The Undying also has an open ending but I'm quite okay with that. Only very slightly okay. A sequel would be really, really nice though. You know just to explain and conclude things? It'd be nice to know what happened to others. Haha!

Characters
Yes, the characters! They're written really well. I felt their emotions like I was with them during the apocalypse. I liked how Jeanie won against her guilt and depression, how she fought and became brave not only for herself but also for the ones she cared about. And dear Ben, I totally felt what Jeanie went through. *sigh*

Writing
I liked the style of writing. It was easy to read and easy to picture the scenarios. I liked that some dialogues were in French, giving me a more 'I'm in Paris' vibe. I also liked the different POVs and the shifting of scenes between the apocalypse and the life before it started. They gave me perspectives on different characters; and I was able to understand them better.
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Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. I definitely recommend The Undying to those who like/love reading about apocalypse, zombies and Paris! :)


Born in Spokane, Washington, Ethan Reid is a former television news producer with a BA in writing from the University of Washington and an MFA in professional writing from the University of Southern California. He lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife and son.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand: Book Review

cover from Goodreads
Title: Imitation (Clone Chronicles #1)
Author: Heather Hildenbrand
Publication details: July 29, 2014 by Alloy
Copy: e-ARC from NetGalley

Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me.

Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rog
en, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face.

Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now.

When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?


There were two reasons why I requested Imitation. First, the cover. Just look at it, pretty right? Second reason was the synopsis. I've never read any books about clones before so I was really excited when I was granted access to Imitation.

Unfortunately though, I wasn't too keen on how the story unfolded. Imitation has potential to be a very good sci-fi YA novel. I did enjoy my reading experience; however, I think I expected too much.

As this was my first book about clones, I was really curious on how things will play out. The concept of clones, or the so-called Imitations, replacing the Authentics is a refreshing one. It's interesting how technology can go so far from cloning plants and animals to humans. Well, interesting and scary. Imagine having your clone and replacing you, your life, entirely. Isn't that scary?

The book also showed the usual power play of the government authorities and the rich people, while the middle class try to live, and the poor try to survive. Same old, same old but thankfully, my reading never got dragging despite of some aspects being predictable. I just felt like a lot was going on that the whole book became a one big introduction. If I can put the whole story in a graph, it would look like this:


The ending strengthened my opinion, btw. Refer to the graph. Haha!

It may be that the purpose of Imitation, which is first book in the Clone Chronicles, is to introduce everything. I can understand that. However, it didn't really work out for me. I think a portion or two of the whole problem may have been enough. Also, the characters and scenes did not appeal to me as strongly as I expected. Some characters can be condescending too.

And of course, we have our hot love interest, Linc. Pretty much cliché. I'm not complaining about the love interest though. Haha! He's another fictional boyfriend. Anyway, I'm really hoping there'll be no love triangle. I'm sensing one in the Clone Chronicles. Hoping there'll be none. I don't like love triangles. Haha!
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The style of writing is okay. Smooth flow and easy to read. However, like what I've said, too much going on for a short read. Imitation is only around 270 pages.

Despite my seemingly negative review, I would still read the second book because I want to know what’ll happen- plot wise and character wise. The progress of the story and character development are slow, a la Shatter Me trilogy, so I'm looking forward to how things will turn out.




(source: Goodreads)

Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was home-schooled through high school. Since 2011, she’s published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places.

Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visit www.phoenixauthorink.com and find out how to create your own OutRAGEous Life.

She is represented by Rebecca Friedman. (Source: Author's blog)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Book Haul #4: 35th Manila International Book Fair Haul

Hi folks!

Long time no book haul post! I'll probably just do a once a month book haul post because, you know, I don't have much money. Haha!

Most of the books I got were from the 35th Manila International Book Fair (MIBF). I was really excited for this book fair! However, I was in a very tight budget so I had to limit myself. Nonetheless, I'm very happy with my books!


National Book Store also had a Cut-Off Price Sale the same week as MIBF. I, having the tendency to slip out of control, bought three books. :)


As for the e-ARCS from NetGalley, I got these: (Covers from NetGalley)


I've already read this. My review to follow!


 I've also read this and I loved it! It's very inspiring! Review to follow!





That's all folks for my September Book Haul!

I'm not sure when my next haul will be and if I'll do a lot of reading because I'll be reviewing for my licensure exam! (Hoooo! Pray for me folks!) I'll try to update though. :)

Also, I'm planning to start a booktube channel. Hmmmmm.... What do you think? Haha!

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Have a nice day folks! :)