February 27, 2015

Book Review: HIDDEN DEEP by Amy Patrick

Book:  Hidden Deep (Hidden Trilogy #1)
Author:  Amy Patrick
Publisher:  All Night Reads
Genre:  YA Fiction; Sci Fi & Fantasy
Release Date:  March 23, 2015

The Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Ryann Carroll has just run into the guy who saved her life ten years ago. You might think she'd be happy to see him again. Not exactly. She's a bit underdressed (as in skinny-dipping) and he's not supposed to exist.

After her father's affair, all Ryann wants is to escape the family implosion fallout and find a little peace. She also wouldn't mind a first date that didn't suck, but she's determined not to end up like her mom: vulnerable, betrayed, destroyed. Ryann's recently moved back to her childhood home in rural Mississippi, the same place where ten years earlier she became lost in the woods overnight and nearly died.

She's still irresistibly drawn to those woods. There she encounters the boy who kept her from freezing to death that long ago winter night and was nowhere to be seen when rescuers arrived. He's still mysterious, but now all grown-up and gorgeous, too. And the more she's with him, the greater the threat he poses to Ryann's strict policy-- never want someone more than he wants you.

Seventeen-year-old Lad knows the law of his people all too well: Don't get careless and Don't get caught. 
It's allowed his race to live undetected in this world for thousands of years, mentioned only in flawed and fading folklore…

Lad's never been able to forget about Ryann since that night ten years ago. When he sees her again, his fascination re-ignites and becomes a growing desire that tempts him to break all the rules. He's not even supposed to talk to a human, much less fall in love with one.

And the timing is atrocious. The Assemblage is coming, the rift between the Light and Dark is widening, and mysterious celebrity fan pods are becoming more and more widespread and influential. Lad may have to trade his own chance at happiness to keep the humans, especially Ryann, blissfully unaware and safe.

My Review:

Being surprised by a book you don’t expect much from is always a gift.  I love it when I fall deeper into the story as I move from one chapter to the next. That’s what I got here.

As the blurb says, Ryann falls in love with her rescuer from ten years back who disappeared right after he helped her.  Without him, she would clearly be long dead.  Since no one saw the boy, they all pushed Ryann to believe she imagined it all but she never fully believed them.  She goes back to her grandmother’s home years later and found him again….or rather, he found her.
Author Amy Patrick

Instant attraction.  Instant love.  Just like a lot of YA books nowadays, this is what happens to both.  But then again since they have history together and there is ancient magic involved, it’s easy to swallow.

At the same time that Lad comes back to her life, a gorgeous sought after guy from her school starts pursuing her.  Nox is perfect in a rockstar way, but there is something off putting about him, something Ryann can’t quite trust…and of course he’s not Lad. But he does play a big part in the story….and I predict much more so in the next 2 installments.

Lad is not human.  He is of an ancient race that communicate without speaking. But even among his people, Lad is different.  He is of a station that should remain untouched, especially by a mere human girl.  But something happens that forces his family and his entire community to acknowledge the existence of Ryann in his life. 

It’s hard to say more without divulging important points in the book.  There’s that angle of the missing black sheep brother, Ryann’s beautiful and ageless grandmother, the huge land of Ryann’s family and it's connection to Lad’s life, Lad’s powerful parents and their equally powerful enemies, mysterious fan pods that may be causing death among regular humans…..

In my humble opinion, there are too many subplots to this story, but if you look at it as a whole, it still worked.  However had the author dropped a couple of story lines, the book would still stand and leave readers like me more focused on what’s most important. 

The descriptions of Lad’s beauty, his perfect torso to his beautiful green eyes were repetitive.  I mean after the 4th time I just wanted to scream I GET IT ALREADY! So hopefully the 2nd book will have much less of that and more of……something else.

In a way this book reminds me of Twilight….. without the perfect Cullens.  There is that obsessive love, the perfect specimens that aren’t human, a beautiful girl who has low self esteem, the insta-love and so on.  But as a whole, this book is a delicious read.  I actually went back to the first chapter immediately after finishing the epilogue which is EPIC by the way.  The cliffhanger left me with my mouth open and ready to reread the whole thing (which I kinda did).

Plus kudos to the author for putting a new spin of the Elven.  They are so far beyond the ones we read as kids, tiny people sewing pretty shoes.  Here they are hotter than hell…..much like Orlando Bloom in the Tolkien series……or even hotter.

So if you’re into mystery, young love, thrills, the otherworldly, and have gotten tired of vampires, werewolves, angels, demons and greek gods (or demi gods), pick up a copy of HIDDEN DEEP come March.  I believe you’ll find a new couple to root for in Ryann and Lad.

Happy Reading

Photo Credit: www.goodreads.com

February 08, 2015


Book:  You and Everything After (Falling #2)
Author:  Ginger Scott
Publisher:  Ginger Scott
Genre:  YA Romance, Fiction

The Blurb:

I’m that teenaged girl who has MS. You haven’t met me, but you’ve seen me around. You probably know my sister. We’re twins, and she’s the pretty one. Maybe you’ve heard about my reputation, how much I like to hook up at parties—how easy it is to get me in bed, get what you want, and forget about me after. 

Forget what you think you know. I’m leaving that girl behind.

College is all about new beginnings. So from now on—I’m just Cass. And the rest…it isn’t written yet. And no one else gets to write my story for me.

“Tyson Preeter doesn’t do can’t.”

That’s exactly what I want people to think when they see me. I am strong, invincible, confident, intelligent—arrogant. I’m the man who always finds a way around, over and through—until there’s nothing left. Since losing my ability to walk six years ago, I’ve relearned life. I don’t need sympathy. I don’t want charity. And I don’t do love.

It’s better this way, saves my disappointments for me, and me alone, and it saves my strength for everything I want.

But Cass Owens is about to wreck everything. She’s about to steal all of my strength away from me, because she needs it more. She’s about to break all of my rules, and break down all of my walls. She’s about to own me…completely.

And I’m about to let her.

My Review:

When I requested for the ARC of this book, I didn’t know it was the second in a series.  The first book THIS Is FALLING dealt with the brother and the roommate of the two main characters in You and Everything After.  Ty and Cass were secondary characters in the first one, but here, they are the stars.  The timeline of both books are parallel so it is interesting how the author navigated between the two and still make each a stand alone read.

Cass found out she has Multiple Sclerosis in High School.  It made such an impact on her life that she felt the need to find normalcy and attention from one guy…then another guy….then another.   She let herself get used so much that in the end, she had a reputation as the Easy Girl in school.  Now as a freshman in college, she promised herself a fresh start.  She wouldn’t look back or give attention to anything other than school work.  Then came Ty.

Ty’s accident left him a quadriplegic.  Without the use of his legs, he lost not only a great future in sports but also his girlfriend who just happens to be his childhood bestfriend.  He let her go thinking it would be the best for her.  Problem is, it wasn’t the best for him….not for a long time…..until he met Cass.

 It’s instant attraction for both.  And though Ty never does “relationships”, he changes course with this one.  Slowly but surely all the walls they put up to protect themselves crumble.  They fall hard and fast.  Promises they made to themselves lost because of a growing need for each other. 

But fear has a way of replacing a person’s happiness with dread.  They implode and break both their hearts.  How will they find forgiveness for each other when they have yet to forgive themselves?  Can Ty be whole enough to let go of his misplaced fears and get back the one whose life he has changed the most?

I have to be honest.  When I was reading this book, I didn’t feel “the pull”.  That’s the feeling I look for when I read great books; the one that makes me hold on to the book and not put it down for hours until I finish.  Nope.  There was none for me.  The premise itself was good.  Two wounded people, each with his/her own problems, getting together, falling in love and moving forward together.  Simple……not so straight forward….. but simple just the same. 

I have read a lot of books like this and though the story was written well, it reminded me of many books that I have read previously.  In other words, it didn’t stand out as something unique or something I would read again.  That said, for people who like romance with lots of witty banter and charm, this would be a nice read.  But for those who are looking for much more than the usual angst filled love story, the first book of this series might be a better read for you. 

Photo Credit:  www.goodreads.com

February 05, 2015

Meet Pittacus Lore

The thing about expectations is that more often than not, the opposite happens.  Take for example Bestselling author James Frey who is here in Manila for a book signing tour upon the invitation of The National Book Store.

My research online had me expecting a cold man who could stop the interview midpoint if I take a misstep in my questions.  Instead what I found…. Or rather who I met… at the Writer’s bar in Raffles today was a cool guy who would converse about anything:  from his book ENDGAME, to cockfights and Manny Pacquiao.  He didn’t mind that I asked several times for clues about the next books of the ENDGAME and I AM NUMBER FOUR series.  He just answered as straight as he could.
Unfortunately, no clues were given (or you could read between the lines). Nonetheless I left the interview thrilled, with my initial opinion of the man corrected, and impressed with his brilliance and sense of self.  There is a reason why I read his books, even when I didn’t know that He andPittacus Lore were one and the same.  His books speak for themselves.
Indeed a lot has been said and written about this controversial man.  But remove that from the equation, you’d still end up with an author who writes great stories. And for book lovers like me, that is what matters.

Meet James Frey.

Lyn: For those who have read the blurb and are just about to pick up ENDGAME: THE CALLING, what is this about?
James: It’s a book about the end of the world. It says the world was created by aliens 12 thousand years ago. When they created us, they created 12 original lines of humanity and they told them all that someday the world would end, and when it did, a game will be played that would determine its future. The book is about that game. It’s a scavenger hunt that takes place all over the world. In the book we wrote a puzzle which is also a scavenger hunt. It also takes place all over the world. If you’re the person to figure out the puzzle, you win (for this book) $500,000.00 worth of gold sitting on the floor of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
L: I can nevEndgame The Callinger solve the simplest puzzles
J: Well then you’re not gonna win the gold (laughs)

L: Definitely! I never win anything anyway (laughs). One thing about this book is that it’s very violent. Bloody. It’s very gory. Was there ever a time you thought that you should pull back a bit on the violence, that this might be too much for parents, especially since there are so many stories now about kids harming other kids.
J: The earlier versions were far more violent and the publisher asked us to dial it back.
L: So this is more relaxed
J: Yeah, this is the PG13. It used to be NC17.
L: Would you be posting the edited versions at all?
J: Nah, I can email it to you if you want to read it (laughs)
L: Of the two protagonists, I liked Sarah immediately but Jago, not so much. Why did you make him the other main character?
J: I just thought he was cool you know. No more complicated reason than that, just that I like him.
L: Because when authors write about the main guy, he’s usually gorgeous and perfect. Jago is nothing like that. He has a huge scar on his face and is just so flawed and violentDSC02879
J: Well we killed the gorgeous guy with the perfect face
L: Exactly! That was my next question. What happened to Christopher just came out of nowhere. You blew him up! He annoyed the hell out of me but I thought he would at least go home to his family but instead he’s dead with half his body gone. Why the very violent end?
J: Because nobody would have expected it. And I’m sick of love triangles so we set it up for you to think that this was gonna be another love triangle and we literally blew that to pieces.
L: I know I never read a book like that because it’s always long drawn out love triangles that end at the very last chapter of the very last book in series.
DSC02889J: Yeah I didn’t have any interest in doing that. We set you up to be very annoyed by Christopher and then hopefully get shocked with what happens
L: I’m very shocked
J: Good
L: Since the third of that triangle is gone, will there be another one stepping in?
J: Can’t tell you that. Can’t reveal trade secrets. Can’t tell you what’s gonna happen
L: Darn it! I thought I was gonna have a scoop or something (laughs)
J: The book’s in my computer upstairs though (laughs)
L: What can we expect from Book #2 of ENDGAME which you said is gonna come out in October?
DSC02885J: Hopefully fun and more of the game.   The game continues to be played. More mayhem, more violence, more fun.
L: Is there a title for book #2?
J: We don’t have a title. I had one but the publisher asked me to change it and we haven’t come up with a new title yet. It’s probably gonna be called SKY KEY but I don’t know for sure.
L: We will know? when?
J: A couple of weeks. They sent me a cover this morning with that title on it but we’ll see.
L: Like I told you I didn’t try to solve this puzzle because I’m no good with them. I couldn’t even see any clues on the book
J: You could see some of them for sure (he opens a copy of Endgame between us on the table and points to the artwork)
L: Oh I thought they were just dDSC02892rawings (feeling foolish).
J: You see the things that are footnoted? Then go to the back of the book and see the internet links? Then just type the link in and go somewhere that shows you something
L: So I have to go through all those
J: Or buy a digital version and just click the links
L: Would you have any idea how many people are trying to solve this puzzle right now?
J: A lot. There are about 100,000 people who hit out websites a day. And there have been a lot more than that that have been there at some point or another
DSC02900L: Do people badger you about giving clues?
J: I don’t know the solution
L: Really?
J: I don’t. For real. I hired 3 MIT PhDs to write the puzzle. I don’t know the solution. Makes it way simpler. Girls can’t flirt with me to gain clues out of me because I don’t know.
L: That’s $500,000.00 in gold coins for the first book and then $1,000,000.00 in the second book and $1,500,000.00 in the third!
J: Yep. I need it to sell because all that money is coming out of my pocket
L: Full Fathom Five (Frey’s company)DSC02877
J: Yep. Well that’s me.
L: But it’s selling anyway even without the money
J: Yeah, I’ve got no complaints. We are very happy so far
L: The book is supposed to have a tie-in game
J: The game comes out in June when the paperback launches. This game is the most advanced mobile game ever made so we wanted to have it ready for the hardback but it wasn’t ready then so we just decided to hold it for the paperback which is mid June. I played it two weeks ago, it’s pretty badassDSC02876
L: Did you win?
J: Well they let me win.
L: Do you play as characters? Can I choose to be Jago or sara?
J: Yeah
L: So which one did you choose?
J: I played as Jago coz he’s my favorite and I played against Chiyoko and they let me win. But in reality I probably wouldn’t have won because I was playing against the guy who built it. When it comes out, there will be 5 of us who are Keplers. We are like the Keplers in the book. We are all powerful so we can wipe anybody outDSC02887
L: You’re the gods
J: Yeah we’re the gods
L: Well that’s going to be fun
J: And then when you get good enough in the game you get temporary Kepler power. Or if you find certain clues you get temporary Kepler power. But yeah, next time I’m in manila, hopefully a lot of people are playing the game so I can go over to Greenbelt and wipe everybody out.
L: You mentioned Chiyoko. It surprised me when she died in the end because she was such a kickass girl
J: She was hard to kill. The first couple of versions of the book she did not die
L: What chanDSC02913ged your mind
J: Planning out the rest of it (Frey stops……) yeah… planning out the rest of it… I was gonna give you a spoiler but it would spoil (the story) too much
L: Darn it! Okay so the book is also being developed into a film. How is it going so far?
J: It’s good. Hopefully they start shooting it later this year but I’m not in control of that. The producers are all friends of mine. They made all the Twilight movies, Fault in Our Stars….. I’m in good hands there. And (20th Century) Fox is great
L: Did they ask you to rewrite some scenes?
J: Nah, I wrote the first draft of the script and now they’re rewriting me which is just fine. I have a lot of other things to do.
L: Who are the actors chosen to play the players?
J: Don’t know yet
L: If you were one of the players, which one would you be? Is it still Jago?
J: Yeah I’d still be him. He’s the person closest to me. Personality wise we are close. People ask me that a lot and I’m like none of them (the players) ARE me. I like all of them for different reasons. Chiyoko was my favorite for the first book probably. I like Baitsakhan because he’s evil. I like Alice coz she’s cool and mellow. I imagine if I met Sarah I’d wanna date her. They’re all cool for different reasons.The Revenge of Seven
L: She’s the perfect girl, Sarah.
J: You don’t wanna marry a girl who could kill you. You could never get in an argument with her because she would kick your ass.
L: True. And if you throw a knife at her she can stop it in midair
J: Exactly
L: I’m a huge fan of the I AM NUMBER FOUR series, I have followed it from the very first book. Of the Gardes, I loved EIGHT the most. He had the sweetest disposition and the best power (teleportation). Why did you kill him off?
J: I get a lot emails and posts on facebook about that. You know you gotta choose. Sometimes people have to die in a book
L: Sacrificial lamb?
J: They don’t have to die but it’s more interesting when people die. There are some good surprises coming up in I AM NUMBER FOUR. We’re doing another book so the series is gonna be longer, so instead of six books, it will be seven. There’s gonna be some good stuff coming
DSC02911L: Will Eight live again?
J: Can’t give you spoilers
L: So what more can we expect from this series
J: We are finishing book 6 right now and while I’m Pittacus Lore, there are other writers who work on that with me, same way in ENDGAME. Unlike Endgame, there’s not just one other writer who work on FOUR. Different people work on different books or other novellas. I can’t give you any spoilers but we extended the series to seven books because there was a ton of cool shit we wanted to do and we couldn’t squeeze it into just one more. Some people might be coming back, some might not. And we may do another Pittacus Lore series, we may do a whole Lorien series set long ago
L: That would be great.  Is there ever gonna be another FOUR movie?
J: I don’t know, I get asked that all the time too (he stands to get some chocolate). Pastry chefs here are awesome. They literally just make it and bring it out.
L: You have a sweet tooth?
J: I do. I love candy and chocolate. (going back to the FOUR movie) I don’t know, I hope so.
L: How about a TV show? Because they’re turning Mortal Instruments (another successful book series turned movie) into a TV show too.  DSC02903
J: We tried doing it as a TV show, it’s impossible. It’s either there are more movies or none at all.
L: You inspire such strong reactions from peopLe, it’s either they love you or they hate you and ask people to boycott your books. How do you handle such diverse reactions? Does it bother you?
J: No. It probably bothered me a long time ago. I deeply appreciate and have an enormous gratitude to my readers and my supporters. And the people who don’t, I don’t care. I’m not gonna waste my time and energy worrying about them. It’s not productive for me or for them or for anybody. Simple as that.
L: Moving on, what have you heard about book signings here?
DSC02918J: I heard it’s berserk. Philippine readers are awesome. I was showing someone earlier my phone. I’ve been getting literally hundreds of facebook messages, friend requests. The readers here are amazing. I wish everybody in the world was like this.
L: Any expectations for your book signings?
J: I would just try to say thanks to the readers. That’s it. I always say that readings (sessions and book signings) are important because I get to say thank you. That’s really all it is. Say thank you and show readers gratitude and respect for supporting my work.
L: So how are you spending the rest of your stay here outside the tour?
J: I will go to the beach in Cebu. I wanna go to a cockfight and I wanna ride a jeepney. I had three things to do before I came here and they are eat baby pig, ride a jeepney and go to a cockfight. I ate baby pig for dinner last night
DSC02926L: Lechon? Have you tried sisig and balut?
J: I’m not eating balut. I don’t know what sisig is
L: Sisig is pork face chopped up. Really good.
J: No pig’s face for me (laughs), no baby bird and egg.
L: How about bull’s balls?
J: I can get those in America
L: Soup number 5?
J: Is that what they call it here? They call em rocky mountain oysters in America
L: I have never heard of that
J: They slice them so they look like oysters and they deep fry them
L: oh…whoa
J: I will not have soup number 5 but I’m gonna have a lot more of the baby pig. So last night they had baby pig and baby pig pork belly which was…. (pauses)…I can’t swear on your thing (referring to my recording device) but it’s delicious. I have never been here before but the Philippines is awesome. People are so nice. I travel all over the world all the time, but this is one of the nicest hotels I have ever seen anywhere. The food is awesome, the people are awesome. I have Filipino friends, that’s how I got my list of things. My (Filipino) friend said if you can do the list in one go that’s the best. Take a jeepney to a cockfight and eat baby pig. That’s the best day you’ll have.
L: You’ll have funDSC02930
J: I bought some chips from a dude on the street today. I was taking pictures of jeepneys everywhere we went
L: From a takatak boy? (I briefly describe takatak boys)
J: Yeah that’s where I bought the chips! We were stuck in traffic and I was super hungry so I like “CHIPS!”
L: Fish chips?
J: Nah I went for the barbecue chips. I wanna have awesome experiences. Eat candy and chocolates. You wanna come to the cockfight with us? We’ll be there on Saturday.
L: The only fight I wanna see is a Manny Pacquiao Mayweather fight
J: I hope Manny knocks him out. I hope Manny puts him to sleepDSC02927
L: You a Manny fan?
J: Yeah
L: We’re all just waiting for Mayweather to agree
J: He (Mayweather) is scared of him. Would you wanna fight Manny Pacquiao? I wouldn’t wanna fight Pacquaio.
L: I just want his autograph
J: I hope Manny knocks him out, that would be awesome
L: 1st round?
J: I don’t care what round as long as he puts Floyd to sleep. He needs to be humbled.
L: Definitely
‘Endgame: The Calling’ and the ‘Lorien Legacies’ series are available in National Book Store and Powerbooks. Shop online and buy eBooks at nationalbookstore.com and earn reward points for online purchases. Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert) for updates on the latest events, promos and contests. Tag #JamesFreyinPHto join the discussion.
A special thanks Mr. Miguel Ramos, Mr. JB Roperos and Mr. Chad Dee of The National Book Store