The House of Sherbet by Simon Dale


The House of Sherbet by Simon DaleAfter a long time that I haven’t review anything in here, I’m back with The House of Sherbet, Simon Dale’s debut novel.

Here’s a summary:

Thirteen year old Jake spends Christmas with his parents at the Oakhouse, the once grand, now decrepit home to his grandfather. Jake quickly begins to realise that the Oakhouse and Granddad Sherbet are not all they seem. On Christmas Eve, Jake’s parents disappear, only to reappear six inches tall and having been turned to wood. ??Granddad Sherbet, together with his octogenarian friends, prepares to steal Jake’s youth and nascent magical powers.

For a long while, I haven’t read anything. It was summer here in the Philippines and I’ve been too busy hanging out with my friends, writing my own novel, or busy being a regular burden to my parents–but after reading this, I suddenly missed the days I’ve spent reading in my room.

In my own opinion, the first few chapters of the story was slow paced. Having said that, it didn’t stop me from continuing reading because of the dark theme of the story with the touch of magic. However, I was warned by Simon himself that it had the touch of goth in its story but it didn’t bother me.

I also loved Granddad Sherbet’s character. I think I loved him more than I liked Jake because of the richness of the character, and mystery that he holds. He started off as an amiable character then he became this whimsical, pernicious, selfish character. And as if he wasn’t enough, his friends were more wicked than he was.

However, Jake is also a great character to follow. He was strong-willed, wanting to save his parents from his Granddad, proving that he was a great hero in a story. He really grew as a character, and became even more interesting in the middle of the story just as it moved from slow to fast paced.

The House of Sherbet was a short novel but I loved every moment of it. Even the supporting characters added to my interest in reading the story further. And I believe that this would work to all readers, of any ages. It holds a lot of mystery and secrets, with too many twists and turns that would make you say Aha!

I’m giving this story a five-out-five-stars, and here is hoping for a sequel!!!

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The One Percenters by John Podgursky


On March 22, I received an e-mail from someone I don’t know. But when I opened the message, I realized that an author has just mailed me. His name is John Podgursky and he asked me to review the book he wrote. And along the e-mail is a PDF file of his book attached.

The title of the book is The One Percenters and from there, I already had a feeling that it will be good.

Here’s the summary John has included in his e-mail:

Edward Caine survives his beloved wife, Jill, the seventh victim of a cunning serial killer.  During the grieving process, he notes that modern medicine and distorted economics have skewed survival odds within society.  Survival of the fittest has become defunct, with the weak and weak-minded allowed to pass on their genes, provided they are suitably funded.

Edward is predestined to become a one-percenter, an agent of nature given the job of eliminating the weaker persons from society.  He learns that his task requires the discipline to discern between the people he wishes would die and those who should.  Eventually, after physical torment and psychological struggle, Edward makes a final stand on an isolated beach before being taken away by authorities and awaiting his own court-ordered death.

The One Percenters is reflective in nature, and challenges the social and religious differences among all of us.

From the first chapter, John was able to quickly catch my attention with the way he wrote the story. My first thought was, “Is Edward a bad guy? Why was he tying that girl in a tree?” Turned out, Edward is one of the few people who are known to be “The One Percenters” whose main goal is to eliminate those who are weak, and keep the world from having people who are not strong enough to live in it.

This novella was thrilling and exciting, and those feelings made me keep on turning pages and continue reading it. The story was really interesting and is something new for me. However, somewhere in the mid part of the book, the story started to become dull. Almost every details was revealed in a way that made me shudder a little less than I did in the first part.

But Edward’s character is fully developed. I felt like the emotions the character was feeling were real. Maybe it was because John wrote it in a way that as if Edward was really talking to the reader. John made me think so much with this character–something that I really liked, and didn’t like at the same time. Liked because it was challenging, but didn’t like because it was draining. Edward was insane, and that’s even more draining, but his madness made the novella even better.

The story is really dark but I guess I can’t complain. I was told by John himself that it was a psychological thriller. But having said that, I enjoyed reading the book.  It was great, and somehow scary, to enter the world and mind of a man who has lost his hold in this world. Especially that this book was well-written by John. The way he described the events is brilliant and realistic, and is intruguing. That’s the reason why I kept turning pages to this one, after all.

If you are looking to read something fresh and different, I recommend you all to buy and read this book. I’m rating this one 4 out of 5 stars.

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Interview: LJ Smith


LJ Smith is a famous author of few of the well-known young-adult/paranormal series which includes The Vampire Diaries & The Secret Circle (first one’s already a The CW show, the latter still being considered), The Forbidden Game, and Dark Visions to name few. You can visit her through her website.

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well, obviously, I like to write. I’ve been making up stories in my head for as long as I can remember—they are my very first memories. Maybe what got me started was that a year and a half after I was born, I got a baby sister. I thought that she was my baby—I had dolls much bigger than she was, and one sight that really horrified my mom and dad was a two-and-a-half-year-old me, staggering into the room under the weight of a healthy one-year-old. They were all like, “Just stand still, Lisa. Don’t drop the baby.” until they could get close enough to nab herfrom me. But my sister and I had one room until I turned eight or so and I would put her to sleepby telling her stories.

My favorite things are walking the trails and beaches of Point Reyes, California, when nobody else but a couple friends of mine are there in the off season. I also collect children’s books from the 1800’s to the 1920’s or so, and I like to keep up to date with the latest scientificachievements. Finally, I have a passion about music.

2.  Why did you choose to write YA/paranormal stories? Is there other genre you can envision yourself writing?

This goes back to my quest for magic, which began before I can remember. I was certain that magic existed when I was a kid and I set out to find it. I read all sorts of books, but my favorites were the ones like C. S. Lewis, where perfectly normal children find a magical world. I kept diligently searching for real magic until I was nine, the most magical number of all (3 times 3!).And, although I didn’t completely give up my search until I was twelve (3 times 3 plus 3), I was already getting resigned to the fact that if I wanted magic I was going to have to keep making itfor myself.

Oh, yes, I’d like to write in other genres, too. Mysteries—you might notice that there is atleast one mystery in every book I write, one twist and an aha! moment. I could also write high fantasy—I made up enough of it after reading J. R. R. Tolkien. And science—these days it’s so remarkable that it’s almost a substitute for magic. And then I have been longing for twenty years to write an adult book.

3.   What other mythical creatures do you want to write about, and why?

Well, I would probably only write mythical creatures like a Pegasus or a unicorn in a middle-grade (ages 9-11) book.  My first two books, Night of the Solstice and Heart of Valor came out as middle grade, although I had been so naïve (Solstice was begun in high school) that I thought they were for YA.  Harry Potter hadn’t come along yet, and so my real fantasy books were written with much too high a vocabulary for middle grade.

But I think I’ve already written about just about every supernatural creature you could ask for in the Night World series.  Vampires, witches, werewolves, shapechangers, Old Souls, ghouls, prophetesses lamia, Wild Powers, dragons, and when Strange Fate comes out, mystics.  Add to that the Norse mythological characters in The Forbidden Game, the kitsune and malach and Old Ones in Vampire Diaries, and the range of psychics in Dark Visions, and I can’t think of anything else!

4.   If Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec would be casting an actress to play Meredith on the TV series of The Vampire Diaries and asked for your opinion, who would you want to play it? I love Meredith, by the way.

I’m so sorry—I don’t own a TV (well, I do, but it’s in the exercise room, for watching movies) and I’m totally out of touch with young actresses. Perhaps you could suggest a few?

Me: I thought Eliza Dushku would be nice, but she’s not anywhere near Meredith’s age. Maybe Leighton Meester? But she’s on Gossip Girl already…

5.   Among your book leads, who do you think you are closely patterned with, and in what way?

Oh, I’m an Elena in stubbornness, although nothing like her in plotting.  I based her looks on mine when I wrote the original Vampire Diaries trilogy twenty years ago—although I gave her blue eyes and not green.  I shriek and tremble a lot like Bonnie, but I try to put a Meredith façade on top of it.  I guess that actually, out of the Vampire Diaries, I sympathize a lot with Damon—or at least he is very easy to write about and I love to make him whimsical.

I suppose, too, I’m like the Night World’s Mary-Lynnette, because I’m an older sister.  I know exactly the protectiveness of two siblings who are close in age, and how the older one frets and even dreams about caring for the younger.

6.   The Vampire Diaries is already a TV series, and The Secret Circle is being optioned to be one. But if given the chance that one of your book series would be adapted into a movie, what would it be? Who do you want to play its leads?

Again, I’m so sorry, but I’m just not familiar with the world of young TV or movie actors.  And as for which of my books I’d like to see made into a movie or TV show; I’d like The Vampire Diaries to be. I’d like to see something in the show that actually is from the books. As it is, there is nothing of my books in the show except perhaps the relationship between Stefan and Damon.

7.   What are the life lessons you want your readers to learn by reading your books?

I would like them to learn:

  • That females can be strong characters without being imitation to boys.
  • That people of different races, sexes, religions, ethnic backgrounds and creeds can work together in harmony . . . if they have a sense of humor
  • That the best way to solve a problem is to get help from friends—I always show my characters working collectively rather than having one single person save themselves—or the world.
  • That even if goodness doesn’t triumph over evil, there is no excuse for joining the evil side and swimming with the sharks.
  • That humans—and other creatures that can think—should respect each other
  • And that redemption is possible, no matter what the deed, no matter what the age of the person to be redeemed.

I think that perhaps the first and the last are most important in my personal philosophy—or maybe the second, too  . . . no, I guess they’re all equally important.

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Long or Short Reviews, What Do You Prefer?


[Image from ©Ali M. Abougazia’s DA page]

I happened to pass by on my co-Filipino Book Bloggers member’s blog, Chachic, and saw her post regarding the length of reviews reviewers make and I want to share what I think about it.

Like what she said, each bloggers has his or her own way of writing a review. And I have my own way as well. In my case, I make my reviews not too long because people, generally, I guess, doesn’t like reading really long reviews. I based it on myself. Like me before I went to book blogging, whenever I read reviews written by book bloggers, I skip the long ones and look for a shorter review because I only want to know the basic elements of the story and not know how the story really goes. Most of the reviews I’ve read in the past, the long ones I’m talking about, contains spoilers. And it takes away the thrill of my reading if from the beginning, I already know what’s really gonna happen.

I’m not saying that I’m already saying no to the possibility of me writing longer reviews. What I’m trying to say is that I, both as a reader and book blogger, prefer reviews long enough to explain the basic elements of the story, the description of the characters, and that expresses the emotion the book blogger felt while reading the book. Also, I prefer reviews which are spoiler-free, and I’d rather read reviews that talks not only about the books but talks about the blogger’s ideas as well about what else he/she thinks the author could’ve done to make the story more effective.

Reviewers sometimes forget to keep their reviews spoiler-free (and I also do forget it at times) and this is something, in my opinion, we should try to prevent.

Ab uno disce omnes,

Lee M. 🙂

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Love Your Frenemies by Mina V. Esguerra


It’s no secret how much I admire Mina V. Esguerra as an author. That is why when I heard that Love Your Frenemies is already out, I started bugging the closest of my friends to let me borrow freakin’ $0.99 to buy this e-book using their credit card as I don’t have one. Sad but true. But on the lighter note, a friend (my LL) let me use hers (or was that her sister’s). I quickly jumped to Smashwords’ website, bought it, and that’s how I got my happy ending.

Or was that it?

No, of course. My happy ending happened after I read LYF. I read Mina’s book and it was very satisfactory! From Mina’s blog, here’s the summary:

Kimmy Domingo was the kind of girl everyone hated and envied — until her fiancé dumped her a week before their wedding. Soon after, she quit her job, hopped on a plane, and just hid from everyone who knew her. A year later and she’s back in Manila to be maid of honor at a wedding she can’t miss.
Kimmy’s home because she’s ready to start over, but she also knows that some people at that wedding were responsible for the mess her life turned out to be. The first step to recovery? Cutting off the ones who caused her troubles to begin with: her best friend and her first love.

Kimmy Domingo was that girl I used to describe on my previous review as “that bitch” of My Imaginary Ex, Mina’s first published book. And I’ve got to say, I really hated her on that story where she played the antagonist. That’s why when I learned that Mina’s writing a novella about her, where she’s going to play as the protagonist, I immediately asked myself, “How is Mina going to pull that one off?”

But I never doubted Mina’s writing skills. Instead, I waited for its release, bought it, and read it! That’s how I’ve learned more about Kimmy; why is she acting that way, and what made her be the person she was. Turned out, Kimmy was a self-confessed bitch. She chooses friends, laugh at people, and only befriend some people she thought she could use. And those friendships didn’t really last long. There are only few people in her life that sticked to her ’til the end: Chesca (her evil stepsister) and Isabel (the good stepsister).

But being a bitch was so last year. She wanted a change, and that would happen if she will be able to get rid of her evil stepsister, and her first love who keeps on coming back and hurting her again. But what stops her? That would be Manolo — the guy she’s been in love with since they were kids and she couldn’t get over with, and the guy who thinks her running away and wanting to abandon these people close to her to be able to change is selfish.

But what is so selfish with wanting to gain her life back, and change the way life was like for her before? Well, she was gone in the country for a year, and a lot of things can happen in a year.

I loved Love Your Frenemies. As always, the story is believable, the characters are relatable, and the storyline is consistent. And Kimmy? Who would have thought that she’ll make a great protagonist? Well, not me. That’s why I’m so surprised to see how Mina was able to let Kimmy wear that title with her heads up, and no sign that it was done in force. Everything went as smoothly as they should be.  And Kimmy somehow reminded me of Gossip Girl‘s Blair Waldorf. The kind of character who is “a bitch but with a heart”. And Manolo (this name almost made me laugh but it really suit him well, I must say, that made me think that laughing about it is funnier than his name)… I like Manolo. He can be described as “a player turned serious guy”.

I’m looking forward to Mina’s next novel! And I’m hoping that this story would get a sequel. I want to know what’s in store for “Kimmynolo”.

I really recommend you guys to buy this e-book on Amazon, or Smashwords! It’s really fun following the story, and it holds great values! You don’t have to read My Imaginary Ex to be able to understand this story. This deserves a five star rating out of five! Cheers!

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“We don’t want L.J. Smith to not be able to finish the series!”


AUTHOR’S NOTE: I didn’t write this post. It is originally posted here. I am just re-blogging this because I believe that everything which the post says is right, and I back them up on this one! AND I FREAKING LOVE LJ SMITH to let this happen to her!!!

One of my friends (who wants to remain anonymous) who consistently writes to L. J. Smith about The Vampire Diaries series recently wrote her a letter complimenting her on the book Midnight that was released in Australia. LJ’s response turned out to be way more than my friend ever thought it would be:

“Thank you for writing me such a beautiful, kind email. Yes, I think epic is the word for the love Elena and Damon have for each other in Midnight. I mean, she completely destroys a moon for his sake. I wrote a lot about Damon and Elena—and Bonnie and Damon, too—to show that Damon is finally discovering his deepest feelings. In the case of Elena, they amount to three simple words that makes Stefan think that Elena no longer loves him. He thinks that she simply wants to be with Damon now—and after all she does, it’s hard to blame him.

But authors don’t go free of consequences. This is still confidential, but In my case, the consequence is that I have been fired from writing the Vampire Diaries.

Midnight is the last book you will ever see by L. J. Smith in this series. I even wrote the next book, Phantom, for the book packagers and my publishers, HarperCollins, but

Instead of sending me edits, they sent me a letter addressed to the anonymous ghostwriter who will be taking over the Vampire Diaries series. Because I wrote about Damon and Elena’s love—and Damon’s feelings for Bonnie, too, no doubt—I have been dropped from the series.

You may wonder how they can go on writing books without me. It’s because when I was originally called by an agent to write the first trilogy, that agent was from a book packager (someone who puts together books and sells them to publishers) and what I wrote, I wrote “for hire.” Although I didn’t even know what that meant back in 1990, when I wrote the first books, I found out soon enough. It meant that even though I wrote the series, Alloy Entertainment (the book packager) owns the series. I own nothing. And Alloy and HarperCollins wanted me to write straight Stelena, and doubtless less about Bonnie, and I wouldn’t do it. I had to follow the characters and what they were telling me in my heart. But it was a very expensive and reckless thing to do. Book packagers like meek, obedient authors who do exactly as they are told. I’m not that way. And so now the rest of the Vampire Diaries series, however long it lasts, will be written by an anonymous ghostwriter, and not by me. I have fought and fought until even my agent wouldn’t back me. But Harper (the publisher) and Alloy are in perfect agreement. They think that you readers won’t be able to tell the difference, or won’t care. And since I wrote Phantom before they told me, that book may even sound a bit like my writing, because the ghostwriter can do anything she likes with it, all the while making every coming book strictly Stelena. I was told explicitly that I should have Elena realize that though she is fond of Damon her one true love is Stefan. I chose not to do that because it wasn’t what I felt in my heart. But that’s what the rest of the series will be because I won’t be around to say any differently.

I am very, very sad—sadder than I have ever been since my mother passed away—but there is absolutely nothing I can do. There will be no more Delena in the series—although Elena may be fond or physically attracted to Damon. I don’t know what it means for the Bamon faction. All I know is that I’m sad and hurt and horrified all at once.

By the way, don’t feel guilty because Delena moments were undoubtedly a big part of the reason I was fired. I simply wrote about Elena, and Bonnie, too, what I chose to write. And I can’t bring myself to regret writing Shadow Souls and Midnight, even though I’m desolated now.

Lisa

L. J. Smith”

We don’t want L.J. Smith to not be able to finish the series! This is not just about Damon and Elena or Bonnie or whatever other ships or character you love from these books but it is about a woman who has dedicated over 15 years of her life to this series. It is her baby! She should be able to finish the book the way she wants to. Let Harpers and Alloy know that you want L.J. Smith to finish the series by e-mailing them at: info@alloymarketing.com. Let them know you won’t be buying the books if there is a ghost writer involved. Let yourself be heard!

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The Forbidden Game: The Hunter by LJ Smith


After her plan to host a swimming party for her boyfriend (Tom Locke) ruined, Jenny Thorton had to think of other plan to make the night alive, and to make her friends (Audrey Myers, Dee Eliade, Michael Cohen, Zack Taylor, and Summer Parker-Pearson) feel alive at the same time. On a rough side of their town, Jenny finds a mysterious game shop and bought a board game from a stranger whom she described to be “beautiful in the most exotic, uncanny way imaginable” and with “eyes as blue as the core of the flame”. His name was Julian and little did Jenny know, he is the Prince of the Shadows, and that once the game she bought from him is built, it will be her and her friends’ new reality, and they’d have to fight to win the game. After all, to lose the game is to lose their lives…

The Hunter is the first book for The Forbidden Game trilogy, and is written by my personal favorite, LJ Smith! The whole series is written in a single book, and it is so thick that I’ve decided to divide the review into three, by its books. And here’s the first one.

I just finished reading The Hunter and it was awesome! It lures you into it because of its fantastic writing, and the characters are all likable! I had always loved The Secret Circle because it was written amazingly and I didn’t know LJ Smith will be able to come up with another amazing story like this.

Like the other heroines of LJ Smith, Jenny is beautiful and is a fighter — something which made me love her. And pretty much like Damon, the infamous character of The Vampire Diaries, Julian is a self-absorbed, impertinent, and a seductive troublemaker. But unlike what other people call him, I think of him as an antihero more than an antagonist. I liked the two of them — from Jenny’s stubbornness to Julian looking like a bad guy but is always there to protect Jenny from all harm. Who wouldn’t drool for someone like that? Anyone? No? Okay!

From the moment I got hold of this  book, I was never able to put it down. It holds a story that is interesting, clever, and unique. It kept me turning pages the whole time I was reading it. It was just plain different. The only thing that made me want to put the book down for a while was the slow-paced narrative in some parts of it. But overall, the book is great. It’s definitely worth your time. For those who are thinking not to read the book because of its thickness, DON’T! You have no idea what you’re missing! From the plot to the wordings by LJ Smith, you definitely can’t go wrong! This get’s five out of five stars from me!

Watch out for my review for the second book. That’d be after I’d read that, and after another busy schedule. 🙂

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