Review: Penryn & The End of Days #2, World After by Susan Ee

12983100Blurb from Goodreads

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what’s left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels’ secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can’t rejoin the angels, can’t take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

Kindle Edition, 438 pages
Published November 19th 2013 by Skyscape
edition language: English
series: Penryn & The End of Days
genre: Post-apocalyptic, Suspense, Young Adult
My Thoughts
So this is what the world looks like when one of the archangels wants to play god and the angels play human, from Susan Ee version, anyway. It’s frightening, disgusting and in some part ridiculous but I loved it nonetheless.

I think there are at least two things that I thought won’t work for me. First, as the blurb said in this sequel, Penryn is looking for Paige (again). Somehow I was afraid that there will be similarity, a repetition from Angelfall  as she’s doing the same thing here. And second is Raffe only really appears in the story in the last quarter part of the book which my friend told me about it before I read it. I love Penryn as much as I love him, if not more since she’s so stubborn and a kickass character. But I also love their relationship and want to read more about them together. To be honest, it’s one of my favorite parts in the story. So knowing that I won’t get to read their banter in most of the book was quite worried me. Thank goodness it was just my thought as I didn’t have problem and still enjoyed the story.

I have many memorable moments from this book that I think I won’t forget easily. All those moments are really emotional, from gruesome scene that made me want to stop reading because it was just ewww… to the heartbreaking part about Paige and her relationship with Penryn. It was so sad, shocking and yet I was so damn proud of what Paige do. She has bigger role here and I wish she still has bigger part in the next sequels. And when Raffe finally meets Penryn, made me giddy and so happy I felt like I want to jump up and down. It made me thinking that my waiting paid well. But it wasn’t my favorite Raffe-Penryn moment. It’s one simple scene not long after they meet. Susan Ee didn’t use glorious word to describe Raffe feeling when he thought she died, yet with the way she wrote it successfully touched my heart. I keep reading it over and over and bookmarked it so that I can read it again every time I feel like I want to just skim the book.

Long story short, this is definitely one of my favorite YA series!

Result: 4 out of 5 stars
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Review: Penryn & the End of Days #1, Angelfall by Susan Ee

11500217Blurb from Goodreads

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

Kindle Edition, 283 pages
Published May 21st 2011 by Feral Dream
edition language: English
series: Penryn & The End of Days
genre: Post-apocalyptic, Suspense, Young Adult
My Thoughts
Although I really want to read this book, I didn’t pick it up as soon as I can. I thought I’ll read it when the series is completed but then I knew that it’ll likely be one long series that will end in years. And I was kinda afraid that it will be like any other typical YA dystopian books I read. It seems I read many dystopian these days. But I didn’t have enough patience to wait it for years to read it, so I read it now.

First thing I realized that it is more a post-apocalyptic than a dystopian story. Many lists on Goodread said that it’s a dystopian book and the blurb implies it too. So I was kinda surprise when I read the setting and worldbuilding. But I was also happy it isn’t really dystopian. I rarely read post-apocalyptic story and reading it was like a refreshing for me. I really like the way the author wrote it. It’s so clear I never doubt it even one single moment. It’s haunting and frightening me most of the time. It reminds me of another post-apocalyptic story that I love so much, The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I think there are similarities to both of them, despite the angel thing.

As for the story, it’s unpredictable and engaging. It can glue me to keep reading it. Although at some point I want to stop reading it because it was just too terrible for me to read it, I couldn’t help not to continue it since I couldn’t wait to know what happen next. But since it’s told from Penryn POV, I have to wait a little bit longer to know what really happens and the reason behind it. And when it finally gets the answers, it was just not much. It feels like her limited knowledge avoided me to know more. It didn’t mean it’s slow-paced, though. There are things that keep my heart beats fast with Penryn and Raffe along the story.

I’ve read many angel stories, but it isn’t like any other I’ve read before. A story about angels isn’t something new. A post-apocalyptic setting isn’t unusual either. But somehow it has its own originality. And now I can’t wait to read its sequels.

Result: 4 out of 5 stars

Review: Legend by Marie Lu

9275658Blurb from Goodreads

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

ebook, 234 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Putnam Publishing Group
edition language: English
series: Legend
genre: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult

My Thoughts

Wikipedia: A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- and τόπος, alternatively, cacotopia,[1] kakotopia, cackotopia, or anti-utopia) is a community or society that is in some important way undesirable or frightening. […] Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization,[2] totalitarian governments, environmental disaster,[3] or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society.

Legend has all of dystopian characterization as stated above, though I haven’t seen real totalitarian governments here since the military takes bigger part, instead of the government. But I think its role can be as the government right hand. So yeah…it really is dystopian. And if I see it through its genre, I can say that I really liked it more than most of YA dystopian books I’ve read. I prefer this book much more than Wither by Lauren DiStefano or Uglies by Scott Westerfeld which I really liked or even other dystopian books that remind me of Legend, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Black City by Elizabeth Richards, Gravity by Melissa West.

However, I can’t say that I really love it, at least not as much as I love The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

1) I prefer reading story from 2 POV. I feel like I can get two different side of the story. This book tells from both June (the heroine) and Day (the hero) POV, but I have to say that I didn’t quite like it. Both of them sound similar to one and another. The way they observe everything, the way they thinking and describe their appearance sound the same. I know it might be because they are both smart, observant and all. But still…

2) I didn’t get the reason why does Republic of America become the way it is (or am I miss something here?). I mean, I need explanation whether it’s because war with other counties or rebellion between the states or else? If it is because of war, who they fight from? And then who the Colonist are? So many questions are in my head now but I haven’t yet got the answer. I assumed it will reveal more in its sequel, though. So I’ll keep those questions in my head for now.

3) As most of readers said it is a full-action story. I agreed with them. It’s fast-paced and has many actions that make my eyes glued to the story. It’s a book that meant to be a movie kind of thing. It’s easy for me to picture the scenes and engage to the story with those action scenes and interesting characters. To be honest, I even have my own Commander Jameson in my head now. Sue Sylvester from Glee series will be a perfect Commander Jameson for me. Yet, most things are predictable. Yes, I got a surprise at the beginning of the story, but it isn’t a surprise really since the blurb has said it. It was surprising me because I didn’t read the blurb before I read the book. I can guess almost of the important things, things that connect to the plot. It was still enjoyable to read, though. Well…I think it was because of those actions scenes.

4) I have problem to believe that the main characters are only 15 years old. They aren’t even young adult yet. I can understand that they act and think that way because of their condition. I actually can buy Day situation. He tries to survive from his situation, just like Katniss, Tris or David. It is June I didn’t quite buy. At 15 she’s already in top of military ranks. Even if she’s smart enough and has killer skill, how about her emotional and psychological, can her emotion and psychic take strict military order and rules?

5) Just like most of YA books, this book also can’t help to not include the insta-love. June & Day insta-love (or is it an insta-lust?) is quite annoying. Knowing the way they grew up, what they thinking about each other for their whole life, their circumstances, trust-no-one attitude, it’s just kind of odd they throw and forget it all when they see each other eyes for the first time. I liked their relationship enough but at the same time I didn’t buy it either. And speaking of things that I didn’t buy, I was also questioning Day’s mad skill to jump from high level building in very bad injury and his eye resistance toward the surgery.

In the end, I think Legend is more enjoyable than most of YA dystopian books I’ve read but it also still has many plot holes. I just wish the sequels cover all of them. I’m going to read it soon, by the way. Yeah…I can’t wait to read Day and June destroy the Republic.

Result: 3 out of 5 stars

 

Review: Nature of Grace #1, Untraceable by S.R. Johannes

12731861Blurb from Goodreads

16-year-old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.

Kindle Edition, 315 pages
Published November 29th 2011 by Coleman & Stott (first published November 15th 2011)
edition language: English
series: Nature of Grace
genre: Suspense, Young Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

Let’s be honest, I requested this book from NetGalley because 1) the cover reminded me of Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. 2) The main character, Grace Wells is quite similar to Caledonia from The Athena Effect series by Derrolyn Anderson. I love both series and somehow I thought that I might like this one too, though I didn’t set my hope high. Just in case it isn’t as good as I think before so I won’t too disappointed, if you know what I mean.

So this is a story about 16 years old girl, Grace Wells, who loves nature. Her dad is a wildlife officer. One day her dad is gone, missing, out of the blue. Everybody in her town believed that he’s already died because of drowning in one of the rivers in Smoky Mountains. Grace refused their thought she believes he’s still alive. Therefore she does her own research into the deep Smoky Mountains.

[…]I – a sixteen-year-old tomboy who can build a fire from scratch, yet can’t seem to cut her own bangs straight— […]

From the moment Grace was introduced I already loved her. She’s smart (though she said it depends on to whom you talking to), fierce, brave and independence. But she’s also impulsive and stubborn. Those qualities sometimes annoying me but other time have its perks for her research. One thing I understand well is her love for nature and animals. It’s like her purpose is to protect them, aside to find her dad, of course. She talks about it all the time. She even made a metaphor/analogy based on animals and nature which I really liked, by the way. It convinced me of how good she is as a character.

Without saying anything, I study his eyes. They’re similar in color to mine, except mine resemble algae; his are more of a muted pine green, which reminds me of the deep forest.

I peer through a crack in the wood, wondering if this is what a roach feels like.

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQDQSvNICufGholmqf2WbbpNgiy7DkZB-BKCLYsfv2Q7IiQ7m4Qvw
The story itself was quite simple, I can guess some of the important things from first part of the story. But the way it was written made me kept wondering whether what I thought was right or wrong. It surely was a page-turner book since I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. It also has a very good paced. I liked how the author built the tension. There were time for funny and sad moments but there was also times when my heart beat fast with Grace. I just love the roller coaster feeling that I got while I read this.
However it also has things that felt like kind of farfetched to me. It didn’t make me less enjoy it, though. In fact reading this book brought back my memory and feeling like when I read one of my favorite detective books when I was a child, Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators. It’s a good feeling since I seemed couldn’t get enough of the story, just like now I think I should read its soon
Result: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Review: In the Company of Killers #1, Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski

18052619Blurb from Goodreads

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

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

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

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

This is their story…

Kindle Edition, 1st Edition, 393 pages
Published June 19th 2013 (first published June 18th 2013)
edition language: English
series: In the Company of Killers
genre: Suspense, Romance, New Adult
My Thoughts
My first impression to this book was there will be so much action in it. In some point it reminds me of one of my favorite TV series, Alias. Victor is a male version of Sydney Bristow. Therefore I set my hope high for this book. And after 4 awesome 4 stars worthy books I read, I guess no wonder I’m more than eager to read this book.

So, I began this book with the highest hope I have. I did like and enjoyed first part of the book. I get everything I wish from a good action story. And the most important thing is I can feel and connected with Sarai. She made me keep reading her story, though there is one thing I didn’t quite believe in the beginning of the story. As a well-trained assassin, I can’t believe how easily Victor told Sarai his real name only after a couple hours they met. Even if it isn’t his real name, I still think he is too kind to Sarai. It lead me to a theory that he isn’t a bad BAD guy after all, that somehow he is an undercover agent, like Sydney Bristow, maybe? Apparently I was wrong, at least until the end of this book he still is a very BAD guy. An assassin who works for the organization called The Order. He gets order to kill without questioning why his target should be killed which lead him encountered with Sarai.

She ran away from Javier, a powerful drug cartel and has main business in women trafficking, who captive her for 9 years. As the story goes, I especially liked when Victor and Javier back and forth use Sarai as leverage. I surely know Victor won’t kill her but eager to know how he will save her. Moreover Javier paid him to kill Sarai because she knows too much. And when *SPOILER* she killed Javier*END OF SPOILER* I’m waiting for what will happen to her since Javier organization and his clients are still running. But then there is nothing happen to her. It made me questioning whether Javier’s clients knew about Sarai and feel threaten and how about his organization? Did Victor exaggerate Javier’s motif to kill Sarai? It seems reasonable to me but why there is nothing more after *SPOILER* Javier’s death *END OF SPOILER*. I feel it just left unfinished in order to make a new story, which lead to second part of the story.

In this part, I have to say I kinda lost interest. It still has actions but somehow I couldn’t connect to Sarai and Victor anymore, even when Victor has part to tell his POV. I feel the story that built in the beginning is only a background for Sarai’s story because there isn’t anything more about drug and women trafficking that I thought will be the main world building for Victor and Sarai. And I feel the new story is too rush and too sudden, if it’s possible. 

As my fifth books from J.A. Redmerski, I think she can write any kind of genres now. My first encountered was The Edge of Never, a new adult contemporary romance. Then, I read 3 books from The Darkwood Trilogy, a young adult paranormal romance. Now, it’s time for action packed new adult story.

Those books have different genre yet I enjoyed all of them. It made me think it doesn’t matter what story she wants to write. She will write it as good as her other books, though it completely different from the one she already had.

In the end, although I enjoyed and liked Killing Sarai and I think it is a good book, it didn’t wow me. But, will I read its sequel, Reviving Izabel? of course I’ll read it, I think I will read anything she write, but I also think that sometimes there is a book that just isn’t as I expected and somehow it caused me a minority here.
Result: 3 of 5 stars