Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Title: Antigoddess (Goddess War #1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication date: September 10th 2013
Source: Received from publisher (Thanks so much, Alexis!)
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


Anything by Kendare Blake is an insta-read for me, as soon as I get a copy of her book, I immediately drop whatever I am doing and read; and I was exactly that way with Antigoddess too. When I heard that Kendare Blake was going to write a Greek mythology novel, I was more than excited. I knew that she was going to put in her own wicked and gory twist to the story because that's what she does best, creep and scare the ever loving soul out of any reader and this book was not any different. It had its share of funny albeit dry humor, really creepy and disturbing parts, and Kendare Blake's signature spook.

I have to say that while pretty much most of the book was friggin' amazing, there were still some down parts to this. I'll start with those just to get them out of the way. While I really enjoyed the parts written in Athena's point of view, Cassandra's parts fell flat for me. Cassandra is basically the modern and reincarnated version of Cassandra of Troy, the one Apollo fell in love with and who he cursed with visions of the future (and no one would believe her if she told them) because she denied him. So the Cassandra now doesn't know anything that happened to her before so she uses her "ability" like any teen would, to make money. But that was only really a little bit of her story, things get pretty dramatic as you read on. Right from the beginning, I was already in love with Aiden, Cassandra's boyfriend. He was sweet, attentive, handsome and definitely hiding something. If you're good at catching onto things, you'll figure out who he is about two (or less) into the book (in Cassandra's POV). The rest of her part was her worrying about her future, figuring things out in her life and average teen drama. And that was what kind of disappointed me the most, Cassandra's story felt very bland and there wasn't really any excitement there (except the mystery of who Aiden is) and whatever excitement does happen, occurs in the later part of the book. Cassandra just felt too normal for me, to be honest and I expected her to be a bit more... interesting.

Now, onto the good bits. Like I previously said, I really enjoyed Athena's POV, I mean, really, really enjoyed her parts. Unlike Cassandra, Athena is not a reincarnate, she is the legit Athena of the old Greek times, except now she's decked out in combat boots, fishnets stocking and sporting a rockin' streak. So yeah, she's a total badass. You'll immediately find out that the gods are currently dying, like, dying dying (so they aren't immortals after all) and their ways of perishing is more than a little disgusting. How, you ask? Well, I don't want to spoil anything but I'll tell you how Athena and Hermes are passing on since they're the prominent characters in the book: Athena is releasing feathers from parts of her body, meaning she finds and feels feathers everywhere. Don't think it's that bad? Well, she found one inside the roof of her mouth and it was definitely a b*tch to pull off, skin, blood and just grossness. Hermes is dying in such a way that his body is eating itself, he no longer has the energy nor the nutrients to properly sustain himself, it's quite sad really. Trust me, theirs are not the worst ones. Yup. (By the way, their deaths are sort of related to who they are. Athena is dying via the feathers because her animal is the owl and Hermes is dying through organ/body failure because he's the god of medicine or something like that, but you get the idea, right?)

The book is centered on the gods finding a way to "cure" themselves of their respective illnesses (by the way, Zeus isn't here because he's all "Que sera, sera, bro."). Now here's where things get kinda icky, the two gods aren't the only ones trying to find a way to save themselves, the rest of the gods are too. And they are a force to be reckoned with. Hera, and I won't mention who else, is over at the blue corner and pretty much wins the "Scary-as-Hell" award, that woman is craaaay. But not all the gods are on her side and those who aren't, their encounters with Athena and Hermes were both enlightening and heartbreaking. Seeing those gods reduced to such vulnerability broke my heart, they were deities who were praised, worshipped and believed to be omnipotent but now... they're that. Ouch.

If there's one thing I know about Kendare Blake, it's that she gives great sexual frustration (helloooo, Anna?). Between who, you ask? Well, I don't know if you're familiar with Odyseuss a former Greek king, long, long ago who was reincarnated into Odyseuss, still. (Are you sensing a pattern here? And I'm sure you're wondering, how does Odyseuss remember who he is and Cassandra doesn't? Read the book, the answer you seek is there.) Odyseuss, from before, was strong, wise, married and favored by Athena and guess what? He still is (favored by Athena, not married)! Honestly, I just wanted to grab both Odyseuss and Athena's heads and push them together just so they'd kiss but it obviously wasn't like that... even though it really was. Athena is still a goddess and he is just one of her people, even if he is favored by her but seriously? Poor fellow. The two clearly cared for each other and wanted more but I guess getting all loved up wasn't a part of their plans since they were still being chased by crazy gods... Oh, right.

Antigoddess is a brilliant book, really. It's the most unique and interesting interpretation of the Greek mythology I have read so far so kudos to you, Kendare! Sure it had its ups and downs (very, very few downs) but I still thought it was a very successful and amazing novel. I don't even want to talk about what happens at the latter, latter part of the book lest I cry but trust me when I say: book hangover. You're welcome. But seriously speaking, you need to read this book because if you haven't yet, you are seriously missing out. And if you're a fan of Kendare Blake Anna series, it's time to let go and try her new book/s because they're really worth it. So yeah, enjoy! I look forward to reading more of Kendare's books!


Monday, April 28, 2014

Review: Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski

Title: Killing Sarai (In the Company of Killers #1)
Author: J.A. Redmerski
Publication date: June 18th 2013
Source: Purchased from National Book Store
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Sarai was only fourteen when her mother uprooted her to live in Mexico with a notorious drug lord. Over time she forgot what it was like to live a normal life, but she never let go of her hope to escape the compound where she has been held for the past nine years.

Victor is a cold-blooded assassin who, like Sarai, has known only death and violence since he was a young boy. When Victor arrives at the compound to collect details and payment for a hit, Sarai sees him as her only opportunity for escape. But things don’t go as planned and instead of finding transport back to Tucson, she finds herself free from one dangerous man and caught in the clutches of another.

While on the run, Victor strays from his primal nature as he succumbs to his conscience and resolves to help Sarai. As they grow closer, he finds himself willing to risk everything to keep her alive; even his relationship with his devoted brother and liaison, Niklas, who now like everyone else wants Sarai dead.

As Victor and Sarai slowly build a trust, the differences between them seem to lessen, and an unlikely attraction intensifies. But Victor’s brutal skills and experience may not be enough in the end to save her, as the power she unknowingly holds over him may ultimately be what gets her killed.

This is their story…
(Image and summary from Goodreads.)


Bloody, raw, insanely thought-provoking and just downright frightening, Killing Sarai is easily one of the most unique and special books I have ever read. I never imagined Killing Saria to turn out the way it did, I thought that it would be a rogue-gone-good kind of romance with a little but of fluff but no, J.A. Redmerski created a novel is so in-your-face and honest that you can't help but kind of want to deny that it is actually happening right in front of you. Killing Sarai questions our humanity, our morals and how well we really know ourselves.

When Sarai's mom moves them in with her drug dealer boyfriends and dies after, Sarai knows that her life will never be the same again. Living with one of Mexico's most notorious drug lord's and having been subjected to things that no girl (or anyone in general) should ever have gone through. Growing up surrounded with death, rape and drugs, Sarai has been exposed to the worst that humanity has to offer and she knows that she'll never be able to escape from the cage that she's been locked in, until she sees Javier negotiating with Victor, a top notch assassin, and sees that she may have a chance of escaping... Or not.

Right from the get-go, I was pretty freaked out by Victor. His presence was both unnerving and threatening. J.A. Redmerski was able to perfectly portray a cold-blooded, blank-eyed assassin and I was thoroughly impressed when that persona stayed consistent throughout the book. Sure, Sarai and Victor had their "moments" but seeing cracks in Victor's face and personality was very scarce. J.A. Redmerski didn't give him that soft spot most authors do when writing an assassin, no, he was cold and terrifying throughout the whole book. I can't say that I don't love his character because I do love Victor (whose last name still eludes me, haha). His backstory, his sharpness, tact and even his being a killer wrapped up in a disturbingly appealing way. (Victor shoots people like a boss, just whips out his gun so fast that you can't see him and then bam, you dead bro. Scary.)

I don't think I ever saw Sarai be weak anywhere in the book. From the beginning (when she snuck into Victor's car) and to the end (...), her actions were reckless but also calculated. Becoming Victor's "companion" did take its toll on her but she never gave up, even though she was with a ruthless killer who would not hesitate to kill her, she was okay with it. Sarai was resigned to the fact that if Victor killed her, then that would be it. It saddened me to see her sort of be okay with the concept of her own death, maybe it's because of all the things she went through or what, but there was an edge to her throughout the book. Even though Sarai seemed like such a delicate girl, that was completely far from the truth. Behind that petite, weak-looking body is an old soul who had been through so much and can take even more. Sarai only continued to grow stronger and stronger, her character growth was impressive, to say the least.

This story isn't just about love or killing people, it's also about our humanity. Does being a seasoned killer mean that you're no longer human? How about being a victim of human trafficking? There were questions of morality and truth asked in the book and I was glad that J.A. Redmerski put those in because the questions gave the book a much deeper meaning. It delved deeper into the characters' minds and gave us an insight of their inner thoughts. There was an exchange between the characters: as Sarai grew and learned to harden herself, Victor learned that caring for someone isn't actually a bad thing, it isn't a weakness. They were both learning new things and seeing those changes in their personalities made me feel so much better.

My mom was actually the one who recommended Killing Sarai to me, she always goes on and on about how amazing it is and how In the Company of Killers is one of her most favorite series ever, and I am glad that I listened to my mom yet again. I am still in awe as to how J.A. Redmerski was able to write such a vivid and authentic POV of a killer, seriously. Okay, I wouldn't want to mess with her now... haha! You will love Killing Sarai, trust me. But you might not want to visit Mexico anymore either, haha! I cannot recommend this book enough, you need to read it... like, right now. You're welcome.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Event Recap: Veronica Rossi, Tahereh Mafi, and Ransom Riggs' Bloggers Forum

I am pretty sure that as soon as National Book Store announced that Tahereh Mafi, Ransom Riggs, and Veronica Rossi would be coming here for an event, every bibliophile in the Philippines fangirled and died. Having met Tahereh Mafi and Ransom Riggs last year, I was really excited to see them again. They were such great and genuinely nice people; and they still are! I was even more excited to meet Veronica Rossi because I absolutely love her Under the Never Sky series! I was honored to have been invited to the Blogger Forum wherein we were able to get up close and personal with the authors.

The lovely book display at the forum.
Geraldine (yes, she was there) and I actually arrived at the mall around 10 AM and found out that the place didn't open until 11 AM so we just chilled with Nicole (The Twins Read) and chatted with each other. It was crazy because National Book Store tweeted that a fan was there at 1:54 AM. That is serious dedication, and she did deserve to get the first slot for the book signing.

This is how 500+ people look like, in the morning.
So once we had all registered at the forum, we reminisced and of course, selfied with our fellow bloggers. It's always great seeing each other and fangirling about authors. Haha!

Blogger peeps wearing their quote shirts!
Jesselle (The Lifelong Bookworm) and Kate (The Bookaholic Blurbs)
using my phone for their selfie.
A big welcome to Veronica Rossi from Veronica Rossi PH.
The Hardest Selfie EVER 3.0
And the time finally came when Tahereh, Ransom and Veronica would arrive. We were all at the edge of our seats, awaiting their arrival. And when they did, all hell broke lose (so to speak). The forum immediately commenced with Chad Dee, our always amazing host, presenting the three authors.

The always fabulous, Chad Dee.
Ransom, Tahereh and Veronica have arrived. WHOOT.
Ransom taking a picturing of his surroundings.
Tahereh taking a picture of Ransom. (SO CUTE.)
One of Veronica's super fans from Veronica Ross PH.
Them answering some questions.
Here are a few things we learned during the interview portion:

  • Veronica Rossi says that Boomerang, her New Adult novel understand the pseudonym "Noelle August" (which she also co-authored), was a very fun book to write. It wasn't difficult for her to transition from one genre and age group to another because the YA books she's written has more of herself in them than her upcoming NA novel.
  • Ransom has already seen a couple of scripts for the Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children being directed by Tim Burton, and he is very excited. Also, castings will be starting soon so if you're eighteen, feel free to audition. Haha!
  • Tahereh says that while she was writing Shatter Me, she already knew who Juliette would end up with. (We did too! ;D)
  • Veronica says that she does not regret killing the characters she has killed and would not change anything. Also, when she killed off (SPOILER ALERT) Perry's older brother, her editor (or agent?) made a pun about how Veronica was very cutthroat about it. *pun pun*
  • Ransom says that he really enjoys traveling different places to collect pictures, even going to flea markets just to scour their collections. He also loves talking about photography.
  • Tahereh says that if she were to be best friends with one of her characters, it would be Kenji because he really is best friend material and he is based off of her brothers. Tahereh would also love to be best friends with Roar (from Veronica Rossi's series) because he reminds her of Kenji, as well.
  • Veronica says that when she wrote Under the Never Sky, she decided to free flow it so that she would get more creative freedom while writing it. But in Through the Ever Night (which was the hardest book to write), she already had a set idea as to how the book would go.
  • Ransom says that he hates being told he's wrong so don't do it. (Haha!) Also, if he were to describe Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City in just one picture, it would be his heart (all black and squishy)!
  • Tahereh said that she intentionally made Juliette weak so that you can see how she grows. She is so inspired by women who may be physically weak but mentally strong, and that was what she was trying to go for.
Well, that's it! After the Q&A we immediately moved on to the book signing portion of the forum.

Ransom, Tahereh and Veronica signing books.
Just a group pic! <3 Love these ladies. Hehe.
Me with VTR. I die.
Geraldine with Ransom and Tahereh.
Tahereh's lashes, that is all.
Geraldine with Veronica Rossi.
Me with Veronica Rossi. Thanks for photobombing, guys. :))
And V. Rossi is so beautiful. I swear.
Veronica Rossi signing books. (Hi, Dianne.)
For those wondering, Tahereh's shoes. You're welcome.
Our creepiness knows no bounds. LOL
And after all that, we had to bid Tahereh, Ransom and Veronica farewell because they still had to get ready for the actual book signing which we no longer attended because we really didn't want to add more people to those attending. That's why we really admire all those who waited so patiently to meet their idols, you guys are the true heroes. All almost 2000+ of you.

How almost 2000+ people look like.
Bloggers loving up the authors. <3
Shirt quote peeps! WHOOT.
Rockin' my very Active Romance-y shirt.
Me with my other hald, Nina (The Book Confect).
Signed books! Love me some Roar. <3
My signed shirt. <3
Some awesome Polaroid shots! (Tahereh looks so beautiful!)

And here is a very special message from the three lovely authors (sorry if the quality in general sucks, I was not born a photographer. LOL).

Here are a few thank yous to some very important and completely amazing people, a BIG thank you to the National Book Store team who listens to our suggestions regarding authors to be invited. Chad, JB, Louis and the rest of the team, you all rock! Seriously love you guys. <3 Tahereh Mafi, Ransom Riggs and Veronica Rossi, thank you, three, for agreeing to come here and get all loved up by your Filipino fans. Please come again! Haha! Kate, Jesselle, Hazel (Stay Bookish) for letting me snatch your photos. Also, Pinoy Book Tours for organizing the shirt thing, Hazel for designing them and The Dream Shirt for supplying! They turned out so great. :D I love you, my blogger friends because you never fail to make an event fun and exciting. So grateful to have you all as friends. #Kilig And last but never the least my parents for letting me go and God for obviously answering our prayers. LOL See y'all in the next event! And keep tweeting using #VTRinPH !

Event recaps you don't want to miss:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

{Blog Tour} ARC Review: Burn For You by Marquita Valentine

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Title: Burn For You (Boys of the South #5)
Author: Marquita Valentine
Publication date: April 21st 2014
Source: Received eARC from tour host (Thanks, Wordsmith Publicity and Marquita!)
Pre-order the book: Amazon / Barnes and NobleiBooks

Beau Montgomery is *not* the typical single dad for three reasons:

1. He's rich and famous.
2. He needs a nanny, like yesterday.
3. He has no idea if eight month old, Mia, is actually his daughter.

Only, number three doesn't matter to him, because he's determined to give up everything to be a standup dad, including racing, partying, and his favorite vice-women. Until that is, he's invited to race in Monaco--a dream he's always had. Now, all those things he'd sworn to give up are at his fingertips, including the very inconveniently hot nanny, Landry Basnight, who's traveling with him.

Landry Basnight *is* the typical college graduate for three reasons:

1. She's broke and in debt up to her eyeballs.
2. She needs a job, like yesterday.
3. Nothing exciting ever happens in her life.

Only, number three is about to change, because she's been hired by Beau Montgomery, son of Racing Royalty. Landry's parents are big fans of the Montgomerys, while she couldn't care less--all she wants is to make a dent in her student loans. However, that doesn't stop her from falling in love with her little charge, nor does it make it easier to resist Beau's charms.

Lines are crossed, and then forgotten as Beau and Landry grow closer, but when Beau's ex-girlfriend, who is also Mia's mother, shows up, everything starts to fall apart for the new couple.

Will their love weather the storm, or will Beau abandon Landry for the family he's always wanted?

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


Okay, I have been waiting for this book since... forever. As soon as I read Live For You (book #1) I instantly knew that Beau needed his own book. Call it intuition or just plain attraction, I knew there was something more to Beau Montgomery than his tattoos and overall sex appeal... and I was right.

Beau Montgomery never had it easy, being the illegitimate child of a car racing legend and a woman who passed away in a very unfortunate and saddening way, it was hard growing up "normal." Having to learn to adapt and find his way was difficult, reading about his journey to becoming who he is now was very enlightening and very slap in the face-like. Ever since that faithful day that Beau met his now ex-girlfriend, Paisley, his life has never been the same. Seeing him get all torn up about her and how much he hurt, made me hurt. Beau gave her his all and she took, took and took until she found someone else. And now, Beau is taking care of his daughter (who he isn't even sure is his daughter because of Paisley's extracurricular activities) without complaint and anger, he just loves Mia. Being able to read about Beau's past and how he came to be made me sympathize and understand him. Seeing him grow into a person capable of loving unconditionally even after going through what he did made me believe that there really is hope for everyone, and that Beau is seriously one of the best men out there.

Right off the bat, I felt the sexual tension between Landry and Beau, I could almost feel how thick it was. I generally liked Landry as a character, she was sweet, kind and also genuinely cared for both Beau and Mia. I liked Landry's spunk and her need to be independent; and her being responsible made me see how mature of a character she was. Every time I would read a scene between Landry and Beau, I could not help but giggle, they were great together but we all know that love is never a smooth road...

The huge thorn on both Beau and Landry's side is Paisley, Mia's mother and Beau first true love. It's not because she's deliberately antagonistic but with the way she was raised and everything she went through, it became a sort of defense mechanism for her to be spiteful and cruel, especially to Beau. There were moments when you would catch a glimpse of a kind mother who genuinely loved her daughter, and those moments gave me hope that she wasn't a complete witch. What Marquita Valentine did was that she makes you dislike Paisley but also makes you sympathize with her, it was nice to be able to understand the "mean girl" in a book since we're hardly ever given the opportunity to really get to know them. Paisley definitely has a lot of layers and as chapters go by, you'll see them get peeled off one by one till all you have is her core. By the end of the book, I actually liked Paisley. *sniffles*

Marquita Valentine could not have made me any more proud. I absolutely loved this book and how she handled Beau's story. Everything was so unexpected and felt very much like car racing, speedy with turns and swerves that will leave you breathless with excitement. I am so happy that Marquita Valentine wrote this book the way she did, she did Beau, Landry and Paisley justice. I cannot wait to see what else is coming from the Boys of the South series! Very excited.


About the author:

New York Times Bestselling Author, MARQUITA VALENTINE, writes small town romances that are anything but small. She met her husband aka Hot Builder at Sonic when they were in high school. She suggests this location to all of her single friends in search of a good man -- and if that doesn't work, they can console themselves with cheesy tatertots. She lives in North Carolina in a very, very small town with Hot Builder and their two children. 

You can find her here: 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

{Blog Tour} ARC Review: The Hunt by Stacey Kade

Click on the banner for the schedule.

Title: The Hunt (Project Paper Doll #2)
Author: Stacey Kade
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication date: April 22nd 2014
Source: Received eARC via NetGalley (Thanks, Dianne from PBT and Disney-Hyperion!)
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Ariane Tucker has finally escaped GTX, the research facility that created her. While on the run, Zane Bradshaw is the only person she can trust. He knows who-and what-she is and still wants to be part of her life. 

But accepting Zane's help means putting him in danger.

Dr. Jacobs, head of GTX, is not the only one hunting for Ariane. Two rival corporations have their sights set on taking down their competition. Permanently. To protect Zane and herself, Ariane needs allies. She needs the other hybrids. The hybrids who are way more alien and a lot less human. Can Ariane win them over before they turn on her? Or will she be forced to choose sides, to decide who lives and who dies?

(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


Picking up immediately where The Rules left off, after Ariane and Zane have successfully escaped from GTX with only the bare necessities, they realize that they are far from being safe. Now exposed to the real world, they find out that Dr. Jacobs and GTX are the least of their worries when other corporations start to arise and plan on eliminating their competition. This tests not only Zane and Ariane's relationship but everything they've ever known as a whole.

As soon as I finished reading The Rules sometime last year, I instantly knew that I needed the sequel. Like, ASAP. I really enjoyed the complexity of Stacey Kade's story and how elaborate she made it. It is so hard to find an alien-themed book that does not feel forced or too creepy, Stacey Kade was definitely able to blend just the right amount of alien into the story that made it so interesting. And let me tell you, Stacey Kade has certainly written a sequel that is worth waiting for.

It never ceases to amaze me whenever I see a heroine grow from a shy girl to this badass rebel. The change in Ariane was very profound and I was thoroughly impressed with the way Stacey Kade developed her as a character. In The Rules, she was this insecure high school girl who never felt like she belonged for obvious reasons but in The Hunt, you see that Ariane has found a sense of purpose that she felt she needed to accomplish. Unfortunately, Ariane is still half-human and is very susceptible to making brash decisions that end up pushing away the people who care *cough* Zane *cough* for her.

I loved Zane in the first book and I still love him in this one, as well. The scenes between him and Ariane range from sweet to steamy to OMG-just-kiss-and-make-up-already. Most the time it's like a battle of wills between him and Ariane, the need to protect and insist that they do whatever that needs to be done together. Zane's tenacity made me adore him even more because it's like he's the one trying to keep the two of them together and even though he could just choose to back out, he still decided to stay no matter how dangerous things could get. We all need a Zane in our lives. Seriously.

Stacey Kade thoroughly impressed me with this one; the steady paced writing, detailed experiences that will make you feel like you're the one going through them and a diverse cast of characters, The Hunt just brims with excitement. This is a worthy addition to a great series. And may I just say? OH MY GOD, THAT ENDING. JUST, OHMYGOD. Somebody, please, hold me.