Thursday, October 16, 2014

ARC REVIEW: The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2) by Sherry Thomas

After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future

First off, the cover looks really cool. I thought it was just water, but it’s actually a monster or er dragon.. love love it.

This is the sequel to THE BURNING SKY. Actually, I haven’t read the first book. I got a little lost at first, but I soon find my way to the story. Though if you would like to enjoy this book, read the first one first. But I still tried to read this book, who wouldn’t want Atlantis or anything related to magic and dragons, right?

The book is written between Titus and Iolanthe’s POV, alternating between the present and seven weeks in the future. This may get you confused at first, but after awhile you’ll be fully absorbed into the story. I guess this is a great idea though, because you get to see their present and their future, and what they would do just to change the path of their destinies.

Thomas writes in an interesting and intriguing way. Each chapter leaves you breathless asking for more. I guess this book highlighted the romance of the characters without sacrificing the adventure theme of the story. Don’t worry, no love triangles, just two greatly compatible people.

Titus and Iolanthe are really strong characters with room for development. The chemistry pushes off the pages. Each of them brings the best out of the other. I haven’t met characters which are more likeable than them. I especially enjoyed their banter, those are witty conversations.

Another good thing, is that we have been given background stories of the secondary characters. An in-depth knowledge about them would definitely help us love them more.

Unfortunately, although there are revelations, it’s still hard to grasp this world that the author is building. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great story with a great theme and setting. But maybe, the author should have given us a heads-up of how this two dimensions of mages and nonmages works. And since, the characters travel a lot in a different world than ours, why not give us some visual or map of their journey.

The book ends in a BIG cliffhanger. Albeit, questions have been answered, new set of questions resurface.

Fast pace and a certified page-turner, this book is one of the best fantasy series today. I think Thomas is a fantasy genius. And the third book will definitely be epic.

THE PERILOUS SEA is full of magic, intrigue, spells, dragons, twist, puzzles and surprises. It will give you a roller-coaster ride of emotions. If you’re in for all of that, grab this book now :)

I highly recommend this book… would be anticipating for the next one

*This ARC copy is provided by Harper Collins International.
Thank you Ms. Megan Traynor

BOOK REVIEW: Touch of Steel (Clockwork Agents #2) by Kate Cross

The Wardens of the Realm are a group with extraordinary abilities, dedicated to protecting England from any threat. But in this steam-powered world, there’s a fine line between enemy and ally…

Reeling from her brother’s death, beautiful American spy Claire Brooks has vowed revenge on the member of The Company who she believes to be responsible: Stanton Howard. But when she chases the man to London, Claire is captured by the Wardens of the Realm and placed in the custody of the Earl of Wolfred, the dashing Alistair Payne.

Seeing the prospect of retribution slipping away, Claire convinces Alistair that she has defected and will help him take down The Company. As they travel via steam liner, Claire and Alistair must pretend to be engaged. Claire can’t deny the growing attraction she feels for her pretend husband, but when Howard is finally within her reach, she will have to decide whether her true loyalties lie with The Company or with her heart…

Claire Brooks and her brother Robert had been American spies for the The Company since they were young. But when her brother died, she vowed revenge even if it meant she has to find the culprit herself. She believes Stanton Howard is responsible and follows him to England. However, she is captured by the British spy agency, The Warden's. In exchange for the valuable information she can give them, she is given under the custody of the Earl of Wolfred, Alistair Payne. Together, they will find the men involved, discover the truth about the spy agencies, and fight the dangerous attraction they feel toward each other.

I have read steampunk books before. I love the costumes (Victorian dresses) and the combination of history and modernity. In the past, I haven't liked how the mechanical terms takeover the story; sometimes it's hard to focus on the narrative. However, with TOUCH OF STEEL, romance and steampunk are perfectly balanced.

Kate Cross did a wonderful job describing a vivid world of fan knives, metals, spies and historical England. The story flowed smoothly luring readers in the world she created. The terms used did not interfere with the story. The world building is done well, dropping the right amount of information just at the right time.

The main characters, Claire and Alistair, are both epic spies, they are deadly-badass! But also, they showed weaknesses. Claire suffers as a result of her brother's death and Alastair is still wounded from his former lover that betrayed him and left him for dead. Both have their share of tragedies and yet they still fight for good and their loved ones. I enjoyed the slow burn of love between these two, coupled with witty remarks and full-packed action, what more could I ask for?! For me, they are a perfect couple, one where a simple kiss could make their romance steamy and sensual.

Also, the secondary characters are unique and interesting, each has his own story to tell. Besides that, in this book you'll never guess who's good or right, each has his own agenda; each of them will do anything to get whatever that agenda may be.

Even though this is the second book, it is a stand-alone. I can't wait for Breath of Iron this summer and if ever there's a chance I will read the first book, Heart of Brass.

TOUCH OF STEEL is a not just steampunk but an action-adventure full of spies, revenge, loyalty, twists, steamy scenes and love. It's a new world of wicked spies that I'm not willing to leave yet.

copy provided by Fresh Fiction

BOOK REVIEW + Chapter 1 : Echo (The Soul Seekers #2) by Alyson Noel

"A rush of romance will sweep you away in this hauntingly mystical read. I'm already as addicted to Daire and Dace as I was to Ever and Damen!" –Justine magazine

She inherited a magical destiny—and a mission to stop a powerful family of dark sorcerers. She never expected to fall in love with one of them.

There’s still so much Daire Santos has to learn about being the last Soul Seeker….and about herself.  As her magical training becomes more intense, so does her relationship with Dace.  But when she learns that his connection to the evil Richter family goes far deeper than she ever imagined, she begins to question if love really can conquer all.

Dace is painfully aware that he wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the Richters’ dark magic—and now his brother Cade is determined to use his love for Daire against him.  Dace is willing to sacrifice anything to protect the girl he loves —including his own life.  But will Daire allow it?  And what if defeating Cade costs not only his life, but his soul too?

Enchanting, haunting, romantic, Echo is the second book in the Soul Seekers series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël!

ECHO picked up where Fated ends. But unlike Fated, the second book doesn't dwell more on backstories and information, Echo jumps right into the plot. ECHO centers more on Daire and Dace's dangerous mission to save the Lowerworld from being corrupted by his twin evil brother Cade. The story is told both from Daire and Dace's perspectives. Daire continues with learning her different abilities, surpassing the challenges and understanding what it really means to be a Soul Seeker and understanding herself. A new character, Phyre is introduced, she is shown at the end having a meaningful conversation with her father, which tells us, they have a bigger role in the books to come.

But I really believe what makes ECHO so gripping is the main characters' relationship; their love has become stronger as well as the complications and danger that comes with Daire as a Soul Seeker and Dace as the Echo. It's so heartbreaking to see them perfect for each other but they cannot be together for the greater good.

Daire does a lot of growing in ECHO, in the earlier part, she is naïve and afraid but eventually she becomes confident, braver and the warrior her Abuela believes she should be. Dace opens himself through his own POV. We get to learn his thoughts, his fears, and his love for Daire.

I was actually thinking that Cade would play the Jacob or the bad-boy-who's-in-love-with-Daire part in the second book,ECHO but I was totally wrong. Cade became the personification of evil in this story. I just wish that we got to know more of him, like what's he really thinking, because although he was the topic of the main characters, he doesn't really showing up that much in ECHO.

The descriptions of the elemental song and the majestic scenes make this book entertaining.

However, I must admit that there are boring parts but it won't deter a fan from continuing.

This book had lots, and I mean lots of turns and twists. Decisions made, choices undertaken and the consequences that result are all surprising. The book ends with a beautiful and frustrating cliffhanger that reveals nothing but more questions. ECHO will surely make you wish Mystic is out already.

ECHO is an epic, fast-paced, magical page-turner that leaves the reader captivated and enthralled. It ends with chills, shivers, goosebumps and an insatiable want to read what's next!

Copy provided by Fresh Fiction 

Chapter 1
Daire's POV

Horse carries us across an expansive terrain with Raven riding high on his neck. His steps measured. Sure. The sound of his hooves meeting the earth resulting in a satisfying shuffle and crunch that always makes me feel as though we’re getting somewhere. Making progress. Despite the fact that we’ve been hunting for weeks with no sign of the enemy.

That’s what I call them—the enemy. Sometimes I switch it with intruders or even interlopers. And when it’s been an especially long day of hunting that has me feeling punchy, I refer to them as fiends.
Though I never call them by their real name.

I never refer to them as Richters.

They may be undead Richters, but they’re still Richters, and Paloma warned me to never inform Dace of his dark origins. Claimed there’s no need for him to know his existence stems from magick of the blackest kind. And even though being the keeper of such a horrible truth makes me feel dishonest at best and disloyal at worst, I can’t help but think that my grandmother’s right.

If anyone should tell him, it’s Chepi, his mother. But so far she’s kept silent.

I loosen my hold on Dace’s waist and sigh as I look all around. Taking in a spread of gleaming tall grass—the blades bending and flattening under Horse’s forged path—the grove of tall trees that mark the perimeter, providing shelter to birds, monkeys, and the occasional nut-seeking squirrel. My gaze cutting through the fading afternoon light—searching, always searching. But as always, there’s no sign of corruption, no sign of their presence.

Maybe the Bone Keeper found them?

I clasp the thought tightly, liking the feel of it. Not wanting to release it no matter how improbable. While I’ve no doubt the skull-faced, serpent-skirt-wearing, star-eating queen of the Lowerworld is more than capable of capturing them, if not obliterating them, I also know it won’t be that easy.
Having made this mess, it’s mine to fix.

“It still seems odd.” I press my lips to the nape of Dace’s neck, the words muffled by his long glossy sheet of dark hair. “You know, this perpetual cycle of night and day. It seems too normal, too ordinary for such an extraordinary place.”

I study the late-afternoon shadow that appears to be stalking us. An unlikely, elongated silhouette of a raven with a spindly stem of a neck, and two ridiculously tall people sitting astride a horse with legs so stretched and skinny they hardly look able to support us—the exaggerated shape heralding a night soon to fall.

Though the truth is, what qualifies as night in the Lowerworld isn’t much more than a trifling fade, falling far short of the heavy, black, star-dusted New Mexico sky I’ve grown used to. Though, I’m glad for its arrival all the same. Glad to have this day reaching its end.

I rest my chin on Dace’s shoulder, picking up where I left off. “Not to mention there’s no sign of a sun—so how’s it even possible? How can it rise and set when it doesn’t exist?”

Dace laughs in response, the sound throaty, deep, and so alluring I inch my body closer until it’s pressed hard against his. Determined to conform to every valley and curve of his back, wanting him to be as aware of me as I am of him.

“Oh, there’s a sun.” He cricks his neck until he’s looking at me. “Leftfoot’s seen it.” His icy-blue eyes capture mine, reflecting my long dark hair, bright green eyes, and pale skin until I look away, dizzy with the sight of it.

“And you believe him?” I frown, unable to keep the skepticism from creeping into my voice.
Convinced it’s yet another of the old medicine man’s fantastical tales he told Dace as a kid.

“Of course.” Dace shrugs. “And if we’re lucky, maybe someday we’ll see it too.”

I rub my lips together and slip a hand under the hem of his sweater. My fingers are chilly, his flesh is warm, and yet he doesn’t so much as flinch. Rather he welcomes my touch by urging my palm flat against him.

“The only thing I want to see now is…” I try to push my mind back to the job we’ve set out to do, but it’s not long before the thought fades along with my words.

The lure of Dace is too strong, and he must sense my mood because the next thing I know, he’s turning Horse around. Nudging him back over the wide, grassy slope, heading toward a favored destination of ours.

copyright @Alyson Noel

BOOK REVIEW: Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles, #1) by Lenore Appelhans

In this gripping exploration of a futuristic afterlife, a teen discovers that death is just the beginning.

Since her untimely death the day before her eighteenth birthday, Felicia Ward has been trapped in Level 2, a stark white afterlife located between our world and the next. Along with her fellow drones, Felicia passes the endless hours reliving memories of her time on Earth and mourning what she’s lost-family, friends, and Neil, the boy she loved.

Then a girl in a neighboring chamber is found dead, and nobody but Felicia recalls that she existed in the first place. When Julian-a dangerously charming guy Felicia knew in life-comes to offer Felicia a way out, Felicia learns the truth: If she joins the rebellion to overthrow the Morati, the angel guardians of Level 2, she can be with Neil again.

Suspended between Heaven and Earth, Felicia finds herself at the center of an age-old struggle between good and evil. As memories from her life come back to haunt her, and as the Morati hunt her down, Felicia will discover it’s not just her own redemption at stake… but the salvation of all mankind.

The cover for LEVEL 2 is great, the color and its futuristic aspects. Although, the kick-ass heroine on it does not really depict the heroine in the book ( maybe in the sequels).

Although, the first pages of the book, contains nothing but lots of information about Level 2 and the afterlife. I guess that's okay, but the fact that nothing really monumental happened in these pages may bored some readers and definitely will confused most. Sifting through memories, mourning about people you left behind, the life gone—is not my idea of exciting. Judging on these, I didn't find the plot or the purpose of the book, but moving 50-75% of the book, the pacing increase, and that's where most of the action lies.

There's also a love triangle which I believe isn't over the top.

If you don't mind the hints of religion (Christianity) and flashbacks composing most of the book, then you might consider reading this book.

LEVEL 2 is thought-provoking, giving us a different take on afterlife and angels, it's a good first book for a series, but it has a clean ending. However, I would still like to read the next book in the series and see Felicia's character grow into the ass-kicking girl in the cover and premise.

*review copy provided by Freshfiction
To see full review. visit

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BOOK REVIEW: Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows, #1) by Yelena Black

  • Series: Dance of Shadows
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; First Edition edition (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English

Vanessa knew that dance was in her blood, but she had no idea the world of elite ballet was center stage for the darkest of secrets—until her sister mysteriously disappeared from the world-renowned New York Ballet Academy.

Three years later, Vanessa follows in Margaret's footsteps, lands the role most girls at NYBA would kill for . . . and gets trapped in a sinister spiral of secrets. Back-stabbing bunheads, a fiercely unrelenting choreographer, and the sexy male lead of the troupe—they all want something from Vanessa. And though she revels in the attention, what Vanessa truly craves are answers. Instead, she feels as though she is losing her footing at every turn. Is she doomed to relive her sister's strange fate?

Riveting and sexy, Dance of Shadows twists the cutthroat world of ballet with a psychological thriller, in a dance you won't be able to resist.

I have to admit that this book is in my top list of beautiful covers. It's eerily beautiful to see the lone ballerina in that pose surrounded by fog and red petals. Her tutu is stunning beyond compare. Although, it has bright colors, it brings dark foreboding. Plus, this cover speaks what the plot is all about.

DANCE OF SHADOWS is all about 15 year old, Vanessa Adler attending the prestigious ballet school, New York Ballet Academy. Although she is a natural-born ballerina, she's not really into dancing, she attended the school to investigate what happened to her missing sister, Margaret, who happened to be a ballerina in the said school, years before Vanessa. But Vanessa feels a strong pull to ballet because everytime she dances, she loses herself and the world fades into oblivion thus it's a given that she landed the lead role in Firebird. But then the girls started to get missing again. Soon, Vanessa isn't just the investigator, she has been entangled in the dark secrets of the school, secrets that are far from her reality.

This book had a very promising plot indeed. It was genius to combine something as elegant as ballet with mystery and supernatural. The notion that dancing=magic is really cool and that there is a right dancer for a dance, can transcend dimensions and is capable of unleashing forces is beyond awesome. Plus the author made the dance dark, intriguing and sinister. But sadly, the execution didn't live up to the reader's expectations. The first chapters were good, but as the book progresses; the pacing was so slow on unimportant parts and too fast on vital ones plus the characters frustrated me.

I found the main character Vanessa likeable enough but too frustrating. She may be selfless, good and friendly but she's naïve and stupidly stubborn. As for me, I really like strong characters, those that can stand up on their own or maybe just those who realize things at least. But who knows, there's still room for Vanessa's character to grow in the sequel.

As for the other characters, I wish we were given more of their backstories, and not just tell the reader who the character is. I guess one could never root for a character who's just a face.
The romance, although there were three love interests, it's pretty obvious that Vanessa likes Zep, or Zeppelin (weird name). It's insta-love actually and although there's a hint for a love-triangle, it doesn't really feel like it, when Justin --the guy who has the only common sense in school acts as a jealous jerk

Given those flaws, DANCE OF SHADOWS has some good points too. I love the mystery entwined with the reality aspect. The twists throughout the story (disregarding the said flaws) kept me on edge and to continue reading until the last page. The fast wrap-up in the story shed some light on the mysteries surrounding the school. It brought the darkness of the story to light and made me experience what Vanessa experiences.

I believe that given more practice, the author could definitely write her future books with more depth, style and passion. Plus she really has this good idea, good plot that could turn into a best-seller with proper care. I would still like to read of her future books and this series ( I do love ballet and wish this plot all its best)

*review copy provided by Freshfiction
To see full review. visit

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