Quick Review: Only Words

Only Words (Shane Ashby Trilogy #1) by Summer Kiska

419ky6iv5blIf magick defines me, who am I without it?

Has your boyfriend been turned into a bunny?  Does your creepy stalker need a time-out as a toad? Or maybe you want a little more oomph in your spells? Shane Ashby—Celtic witch with three times the power of your average magick-user—has you covered.

Or, well, at least I used to.

I’ve been cursed. That’s bad enough, but now I have to defend against a sister I never thought I’d see again. And with the worst timing ever, a desperate, if irritatingly attractive warlock shows up at my door in need of a tutor. Apparently, I’m his “last hope.”

Somehow, I have to figure out how to keep breathing, not have an emotional breakdown, and make sure no one around me gets caught in the crossfire. All while having one proverbial hand tied behind my back.

Sure, I’ve got this…

 

REVIEW: A fun read with a refreshing perspective | ★★★★☆

It’s such a refreshing perspective for a story to be told from a witch whose speech is limited due to a curse. I had a lot of fun reading this book, and from Shane Ashby’s interesting point of view. It was incredibly easy to like her, and the love interest Jeremy Reeves as well. Though to be honest, I am rooting for the other guy, only because he’s a P.I. and a teleporter! There are few other characters in the story but none of them are bland, including Freya, the cat! Overall, this is definitely a good read and a great start to a trilogy.

Review originally posted on Amazon.

Quick Review: Unknown Element

Unknown Element by Brittani S. Avery

518i87uvc7lIn fifteen-year-old Rex Marshall’s mystical world, beings are classified by and can harness the powers of Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Light, and Darkness. When Rex, the rebellious son of an abolitionist councilman, impulsively purchases the freedom of Meenal, a peculiar blue slave, they discover a deep connection over one commonality: both don’t know who—or what—they are.

Rex and Meenal’s journey of self-discovery and Rex’s need to defend his birthright and inheritance takes them to the Saldur Empire, the country from which Rex’s homeland, Maventa, won its independence—the same place his missing mother hails from. As Rex acts as ambassador between Maventa and the Saldur Empire, his connection to his mother becomes stronger than ever, and his origin becomes eerily clear.

The quest to unearth their elements may prove life-threatening— or worse.

REVIEW: Intriguing but with character issues | ★★★☆☆

There are some aspects to enjoy about this book, but it’s significantly hindered by the main character Rex who is difficult to like. Even though his hot-tempered personality is meant to be part of a mystery, it’s still difficult to follow such an unlikeable lead. His behavior (and some others as well) is also a bit much for a teenager although that may depend on the culture? For me, it’s cringey mainly because they’re underaged. However, the world itself is interesting and there are other intriguing characters such as Meenal. So, if there is a sequel to this book, I will still continue with the series, hoping that Rex would have developed into a better character.

Review originally posted on Amazon.

My poetry book is now available for purchase!

I guess it has been available for a while now, but due to some issues that needed resolving and *life stuff* (sigh!), I’ve delayed announcing it. I hope you give it a chance and leave an honest review when you can. Without further ado, here it is:

41uhdr784el._sx311_bo1204203200_What Have You Done to the Angel?

Buy in Amazon | Buy Kindle eBook | Goodreads

What have you done to the angel?
Why have you injured her wings?
The bliss of her smile has faded.
Her hands have been soiled by your sins . . .

Inspired by personal emotions and her dark imaginations, Sathepine Marco shares a compilation of poems penned during her teenage and young adult years when she was gripped with angst, depression, and heartaches. As she leads others through her darkness, Sathepine invites introspective reflection while sharing a glimpse into her own heart and soul as she grappled with all that accompanied pain and sadness, sometimes conveying them through angels and demons with her words.

What Have You Done to the Angel? shares a thought-provoking collection of poetry that allows anyone who has suffered heartache to know that they are not alone.

Buy in Amazon | Buy Kindle eBook | Goodreads

Note: This is not a religious book, in case you may be misled because the title included the term “angel”. I am an atheist, but I prefer not to shame or judge people solely because their beliefs are different from mine, religious or otherwise. However, there are a couple of poems in the book that speaks to my struggle with faith written a long time ago. If you are curious about that, it may be worth reading, but please don’t buy it expecting it to be a religious book.

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My poetry book…

Today I received digital proofs of my poetry book that is currently in the process of being published. It is titled “What Have You Done to the Angel?” based on my poem of the same name. It contains a few poems and some artwork by “Rezeile”. I don’t know yet when it will be released officially, but I do have the cover art.

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There are two versions: one big colored book with black pages, and one normal-sized black-and-white book with normal pages. This is because they can’t do a normal-sized colored book, for some reason, so I decided to have two versions.

In the beginning I was kind of excited, but now I feel a bit nervous because most of these poems are personal, especially during the time that I wrote them. Poetry is one way I deal with things, sometimes personal things.

One of the poems I wrote was for someone that I admired. He didn’t feel the same way but I accepted that and admired him anyway. I felt he was mature and witty and he made people laugh. He was a friend. But later on, I became closer to him due to circumstances, and I got to know the real him. I discovered he was kind of an asshole. He was in fact immature, takes advantage of people, and is pretentious. And this is in addition to what he did about me. I was already involved with someone else at that time, who was a friend of his and who respected him, but he basically tried to mess it up behind his friend’s back, telling me I should be with him instead, among other ugly things. My relationship with that guy was already “messed up” to begin with, so whatever he did didn’t have any impact at all LOL. I basically tolerated his behavior because he’s been my friend for years, but I really lost respect for him. In any case, I was unsure whether to include the poem or not because it was from the point of view of someone who admired him. In the end, I decided to include it. It was part of my past as much as the other poems were.

Other funny things happened about the exact same poem. I had posted it online and also shared it with other poets in the office through a poetry mailing list. My ex-boyfriend read it online and thought it was about him and I couldn’t seem to convince him that it wasn’t. And that’s not all. Some of the other poets in the office thought it was about my boss. It was annoying and amusing at the same time. But in hindsight I figured there’s probably some detail in the poem that might have applied to both my ex and my boss.

A lot of other memories came back to me when I read my old poems again, mostly negative memories because they were depressing poems. I’m definitely grateful that my circumstances are different now. Also, maybe I should write happier poems too…

I’m not doing anything official for this poetry book yet. Once I have details, I will definitely do more for it.

 

My 5 Thoughts on Aletheia

51ow2rBQekLAletheia by Megan Tennant is an excellent dystopian fiction that is gritty and depressing in all the right ways. Here are 5 things I want to talk about without giving away too much:

1 | 736

First of all, I respect the guts of the author for giving the main character a number for a name. It seems to me quite risky. I, myself, immediately forgot her name except that it started with a 7. Was it 736 or 763 or 793 or 765…? And because it was written in first person perspective, the name is not stated as repeatedly as it would have been in third person. It’s very easy to forget. And I didn’t know how to pronounce it either – is it seven three six, or seven thirty-six, or seven hundred and thirty-six, or…? This character is giving me problems just with her name and it definitely contributed to my lack of interest in the beginning of this book.

As it turned out, my overthinking of this character’s name is actually a good representation of her complexity. Her complexity starts from her appearance and continues on to her psychology. She goes through so much, physically and emotionally, and we get a showcase of her toughness and vulnerabilities.

2 | Story

Aside from the characters, I feel that the story and how it plays out is well-crafted, even though the writing may need some improvement in some areas. Don’t get me wrong, the writing is beautiful and has that poetic quality to it, but it can slow the pace down in certain scenes, such as in the beginning and in action scenes. But overall, the story took me on a ride where there are times I am overwhelmed with emotions, or just overwhelmed.

3 | World Building

The world-building itself feels much more realistic than other dystopian novels like Hunger Games (which I like despite the world-building) or Divergent (which I didn’t like because of the world-building) and it just seems like real effort is done to flesh out this book’s world-building and I really appreciate that. (Disclaimer: I haven’t really read a lot of dystopian books.)

4 | Characters

I’d rather not delve too much into this topic because it could involve spoilers. But I would say that the character arcs that are offered here, and how they impacted 736’s psyche and mentality, are the best thing about this book. 736 is just one of many compelling characters who have their own unique quirks and personalities and their own unique way of dealing with their circumstances. If I were to pick the top 5 characters that intrigued me the most, in no particular order, I would say they are Arson, Rose, Seth, 1633, and 736 herself (OK, it’s kind of like in alphabetical order). These are also the characters that made the most impact to me. Jason is also a decent character, but because he’s very much like the tortured artist type that I’ve seen many times before, I don’t find him as compelling as the others.

5 | Romance

Although Jason was not one of my favourite characters, I find the romance between them sweet. And for everything 736 is going through, she deserves a little sweetness in her life. So I’m definitely rooting for them.

OVERALL | ★★★★★

Disclaimer: This rating is based on my overall enjoyment of the material, whether it was time well-spent, whether it was worth the money, whether I would be likely to repeat it. It is not a measurement based on structure, technique, flaws and perfections. FYI.

Side Note: When I first picked up this book (digitally) it reminded me of two things. The title reminded me of my sister whose second name is “Althea” – very close to Aletheia. She was named after my aunt whose second name is also Althea. The second thing is pertaining to the iris flower, which is on the cover of the book. There is a quote that I love from the anime Rurouni Kenshin: Tsuioku Hen. It goes:
“The scent of an iris is strongest during the rain, even if it is a rain of blood.”
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#INDIECEMBER

This book is part of my participation to the Indiecember Reading Challenge, where I wrote a blog about here.

This book crosses out the following squares (circle = bingo style, cross = flush style):

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I’ve actually already completed the middle row (yay!) so now, I’m aiming to cross the whole board! (I’ll post an indiecember update soon!)

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this review.

My 6 Thoughts on The Savior’s Champion

51lsmxtzmelThe Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci is a book I would highly recommend to adults looking for action, twists, and steamy romance. I really enjoyed this book. Here are 6 things I want to talk about without giving away too much:

1 | The Tournament

This book is all throughout about a fight-to-the-death tournament, where out of twenty competitors, there will be only one champion. But this tournament is not the gladiator arena type, although there are elements of that. There are different challenges the participants must face and some rest and relaxations in between, where we meet the non-competitor characters as well as get know the competitors themselves and their rapport with each other.

The Labyrinth is a significant part of this tournament, and although it is not the most clever labyrinth-type quest I’ve encountered (I watch anime), it certainly is able to bring characters some tough and shocking moments. We get to know the clear bad guys and the death of some guys.

The challenges that come after also give us a thrilling ride as we root for Tobias, the main character. Some challenges are as harmless as reciting a poem to the Savior, while others are as nerve-racking as… to avoid spoilers, let’s just say people get harmed and not only by other people. This book definitely does not shy away from death, even gruesome deaths, and a few heart-breaking ones.

Overall, I can say that the action and intrigue within the tournament, and even out of it, is well done in this book.

2 | Tobias & Leila

I was not happy with Tobias in the very beginning especially his reasoning for entering the tournament. He assumed he would die without a doubt, as he repeatedly told his friend, yet still he entered for the money, despite his mother still grieving the loss of his father and the disability of his sister. Tobias, you realize if you died your mother would then be grieving for another loved one – you think money can pay for that grief? Grr. I understand he has to enter to get the ball rolling, but another reason would be helpful. In the tournament he keeps getting angry because people have killed people and it’s like, Tobias, isn’t that what you expected in the first place? It’s not a beauty pageant!

What endeared me to Tobias was his personal predicament which seemed impossible and so I feel for him and just want to hug him. He has no intention of marrying the Savior, having fallen for Leila, and yet he must aim to complete it to keep his life. That feeling of having to do something frustrating and difficult, when even the glory of having achieved it doesn’t get you a reward, or the reward that you want, can be overwhelming especially when you have enemies out to get you. That feeling of being trapped between a rock and a hard place is very familiar to me (though in my case romance has nothing to do with it), and I definitely understand his frustrations.

His love interest, Leila, is definitely a character with character. She is interesting, smart, and competent, and the mystery behind her is compelling.

Their love story and the impossibility of their situation kept me engaged along with the action and intrigue. However, let me warn you that there are sexual content here that may be ohh-la-la to some, but cringey to others. As for me, I would say I don’t normally enjoy that type of content, but I’m not unhappy that it’s there.

3 | Supporting Characters

The one thing I will say about the supporting characters is that they are diverse, with no two characters alike. Delphi is easily a favorite.

4 | Antagonists

The only antagonist that really mattered to me was Kaleo because his character’s interaction with Tobias is just so interesting to read. The main villain of the story is not fully fleshed out and I’m hoping we get to know more about him and his motivations and background in a sequel.

5 | World Building

The world-building in this book is very minimal, including any fantasy elements or magic. It may or may not be intentional, considering the story is told just within the context of the tournament and very little outside of it. I’m expecting more world-building in a sequel.

6 | Profanity

The profanity and lewdness of some characters in this story can be very distracting sometimes. Therefore, I would not recommend this book to readers who are not used to this mature content because they will find it off-putting.

OVERALL | ★★★★☆

Disclaimer: This rating is based on my overall enjoyment of the material, whether it was time well-spent, whether it was worth the money, whether I would be likely to repeat it. It is not a measurement based on structure, technique, flaws and perfections. FYI.

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tea & TSC

#INDIECEMBER

This book is part of my participation to the Indiecember Reading Challenge by Megan Tennant, where I wrote a blog about here.

This book crosses out the following squares (circle = bingo style, cross = flush style):

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I’m going for the middle row, but I’m hoping to cross the whole board!

Hope you enjoyed this review! Have you read this book? If so, did you like it too? Or if not, will you pick it up?

Quick Review – The Savior’s Champion

The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci

51lsmxtzmelTobias Kaya doesn’t care about The Savior. He doesn’t care that She’s the Ruler of the realm or that She purified the land, and he certainly doesn’t care that She’s of age to be married. But when competing for Her hand proves to be his last chance to save his family, he’s forced to make The Savior his priority.

Now Tobias is thrown into the Sovereign’s Tournament with nineteen other men, and each of them is fighting—and killing—for the chance to rule at The Savior’s side. Instantly his world is plagued with violence, treachery, and manipulation, revealing the hidden ugliness of his proud realm. And when his circumstances seem especially dire, he stumbles into an unexpected romance, one that opens him up to unimaginable dangers and darkness.

Trigger warning: this novel contains graphic violence, adult language, and sexual situations.

 

REVIEW: Highly recommended to adults who love action, twists, and steamy romance | ★★★★☆

I would highly recommend this book to adults who love action, twists, and steamy romance. It’s a thrilling roller-coaster ride full of intriguing characters, including a baddie you’d love to hate (Kaleo fan over here). Speaking of love and hate, I had a love-and-hate relationship with the main character Tobias almost the whole time, but still rooted for him all the way. (If only he’d be less whiny.) He is definitely a complex character, but his counterpart Leila is even more so. Leila is a capable but troubled heroine that I enjoyed reading every time she’s on the page. She is that character where the more you know about her, the more questions you end up having! The circumstances of Leila and Tobias’ coupledom plays on your emotions on top of the ride your emotions are getting from the twists and turns you encounter in the story. The fantasy elements are minimal but well-utilized, though I still wished there was more world-building. The amount of profanity can also be a bit distracting sometimes. Overall, I definitely enjoyed reading and rereading this book, and I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel.

Review originally posted on Amazon.

Oh my, what random questions!

I found these questions from The Haunted Wordsmith’s blog. The post is called “A Few Nighttime Questions” but I live in Singapore so I read these questions in the daytime! But it’s fun to answer them because they seem so random, so here goes:

  1. What is your favorite nighttime snack?
    • lately, gummy bears and mini cream puffs
  2. Porky Pig or Miss Piggy?
    • Porky Pig looks cuter to me
  3. If you were Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, would you have made it to the Emerald City?
    • no, mostly because I have no sense of direction 
  4. If you decorate a tree for Christmas, what kind of ornaments do you prefer?
    • black or white or silver or gray ones… yeah this tree would be boring! I have minimalistic tendencies
  5. If you were to kill someone (and get away with it), how would you kill them?
    • hanging always seemed poetic to me, probably due to its associations with suicide…
  6. If you could hitch a ride in the Tardis, where/when would you go?
    • I just want to go to Japan – any time would be fine! ninjas and samurais or yesterday hahaha
  7. What is the oddest dream you have ever had?
    • ooh, so many odd dreams… I guess dreams where you’re dreaming within a dream within a dream are the ones that I remember
  8. Do you believe in the monster in the closet?
    • one time, I thought there was a large rat in my closet…
  9. Have you ever played strip poker (or another strip game)?
    • nope
  10. How long can you let a wrapped gift go before you open it?
    • forever… but my sisters will probably open them for me!
  11. You have to buy a book for another blogger, what do you buy and who for?
    • probably for absolute0 and it would probably be an art or poetry book
  12. What was the last book you disliked and why?
    • Crazy Rich Asians because I feel like I may not be the target audience for it… 
  13. Is there a song that gets stuck in your head every time you hear it?
    • lately, it would have to be Bohemian Rhapsody
  14. What is your favorite thing to buy at a movie theater concession stand?
    • truffle fries if I’m at one of the more high end cinemas
  15. Did Grandma get run over by the reindeer?
    • there are no reindeers where my grandma is so she’s safe for now hahaha!

My thanks to The Haunted Wordsmith for these questions :)