Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Electric Impulse (Love, Life and Sex #1) by Angel Hilson | An ARC | A Book Review

Electric Impulse (Love, Life and Sex #1) by Angel Hilson | An ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

The author sent me a review request through the contact us link of this blog. I did agree to review the book and make room for this because this is an ARC. This is a story about a woman who have abandonment issues and who was dumped in front of a lot of people in a family gathering at his boyfriend's house. Then, she meets a real estate mogul in the club she works for and their attraction and chemistry is undeniable. Why this story is called Electric Impulse is explained in the book. It's about the flowers and bees. The real story why bees know which flowers are ripe with pollen is because of electric impulse. Not the flowers and the bees version that parents give to their children to explain sex. It's an electric field that somehow leads the bees to the flowers and then bees carry the nectar so the flowers could be fertilized. How electric impulse is relevant in the story? You will have to find out. I don't want to spoil anything.

So, Aria and Phoenix. These are the two main characters in this story. By the way, this is a steamy book, so read at your own risk. Anyway, these two cross paths and the attraction between them was very palpable. You can feel it in the air but Aria is already taken. Then, the unthinkable happened and her boyfriend dumped her. In some way, fate seems to intervene and these two meet again after that drunken behavior of Phoenix in the club. They hang out and the rest is obvious. 

It turns out, Aria has a lot of things that she did not know about Phoenix and when they were revealed, it was a total shock to her. She felt like she was being played. I too was surprised at the twists in the story. I never expected that Phoenix had secrets but then again, the story would be so boring without those curve balls right. They were just so unexpected that I was totally surprised and speechless, just like Aria when she found out.

The story is not exactly new but the way it was written was very engaging that I couldn't put it down. I had to finish it. There was this unseen force or electric field that urge me to just get on and finish the story. There's no stopping it. I also like that the story seems to backtrack. It did no start with the present but rather from six months ago when main character became undone or at a pivotal point in her life. At some point, some chapters of the present are inserted in between. It was a clever way of arranging the chapters which in a way explains why I was glued and just couldn't let go of the story. It gives me snippets of some thing that's about to happen but then doesn't exactly give me a clue on what it was. The anticipation building was absolutely done perfectly and was the key in making me finish the book in one go. The force was just irresistible. I was rendered powerless and can't do anything but succumbed to it until I reach the final pages. 

So, I give the story 4.5/5 bees. Again, the story is not new but the way it was written was doubtlessly refreshing. It was probably the best thing about the story. How the chapters were paced and arranged was so clever. It keeps the readers anticipating and in suspense but still keeping to the story. I was never at some point, confused or lost as to how the story goes even if the chapters were not done in order of occurrence. This isn't the first time I've seen it but it was the first that have I seen it done this way. I have read books before that was ordered differently but how it was done in this story was a different variation. Great job to the author for attempting that feat and had successfully done it. It was risky but was done perfectly and the timing of the events were not lost at all. 

I really liked what the author wrote below and I think if you want to curse someone this is the best way to do it. This curse will definitely give you good karma and will return to you a thousand fold, which of all the curses in the world you will not definitely feel sorry for. I would definitely want to be cursed this way too. Go on do it!  

I curse you with abundance that's so full and bursting at the seams, it allows you to be generous, kind and caring to those around you in need. 
I curse you with a happiness so deep and profound, that you beam, shining like the sun everywhere you go. 
And for every person that lays eyes on your brilliance, I curse them to be inspired to live as fully as you are.
-  Angel Hilson, Electric Impulse -

Thank you, Angel Hilson for the ARC. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series and find out what else do you have that will surprise me. Hopefully, you'd be able to maintain the same engagement that had me hooked on the story. I hope you could maintain the same pace and keep that electric field and have your readers finish your stories in one sitting. Congratulations on Electric Impulse!

And yes, I like this cover better than the other one.

The Exploding Sky (Sons of the Sand #4) by Kimberly Loth | ARC | A Book Review

The Exploding Sky (Sons of Sand #4) by Kimberly Loth | ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

Mother of Goddesses! I can't believe this series is over. The adventures of Gabe and Liv are over. No more running, lies, and secrets. Everything has been revealed and laid out. Anyone that has been hiding a secret has confessed. And my goodness, they were all so shocking and so jaw-dropping. Until now, I am still shaking my head in disbelief. 

True that, this book concludes the four-book series of genies and adventures. If you haven't started this series, start it now. Right at this minute. You will definitely not be disappointed. If you love magic, love stories, mythical or magical creatures, then this is the story for you. It's so enjoyable that you will find yourself stepping into the shoes of Liv and get carried away by all her experiences, worries, and adventures. A lot of characters here may seem ordinary and not note-worthy, very unassuming characters that will definitely surprise you. 

I have read this from the first book and now, this last installment. I have accompanied Liv in all her confusion, her exhilaration, her doubts, and all her fears. If I did not want to be Liv, I'm her older sister who wanted her to succeed in all the challenges that have been thrown to her throughout this story. Her character had developed beautifully as the story progressed and had come to terms with the changes and revelations that were part of her identity. She had surprised all those who wanted to hurt her and had tried so hard to protect those she loved. Here is another teen heroine who took me to various adventures, made me fear for her life, and have made me cry with her. It's sad that this story is ending but it ended with a lot of fireworks that I almost had trouble keeping up because they just came out right after the other without the chance for me to even breathe or think through them. 

Again, classic Kimberly Loth with all her surprises coming from everywhere will bombard you endlessly. I did not see these surprises, especially in this last book coming. Never ever. I have no idea. They were totally out of the blue. They just came down raining faster than you can say "What?" Yes, you will end up saying the word "What" again and again because of the numerous secrets and people owning up to secrets right after the other, literally. That was the best part of this book and I want to relive those moments again. Very priceless. I've never been hit with these multiple revelations before. Totally a first and a one-for-the-books kind of experience. 

I only expected that the book will end happily ever after and that the villain will be extinguished. Those expectations were met but what blew me entirely was it was more than I could ask for. Freaking absolutely beyond my imagination. I never ever thought of those twists to come flying right out to me like Aladdin's magic carpet. It was super fantastic. Literally and figuratively, the sky has exploded in this story. 

And with that said, I give this book 4.5/5 voodoo dolls. I love the surprises in this story and the whole series in general, but I think it's slightly not as emotional as the Stella and Sol series. This is a very good series and I did enjoy it but I just love Stella and Sol even more. I think the Stella and Sol was a more mature story than this one with a lot of depth and drew a lot of difficult and complicated emotions from me. I know where the differences lie between this and the former series and it's also because the main character of this story, Liv, is a teenager and her experiences and what's expected of were totally different from that of Zwaantie, but I just can't help but compare the two. Stella and Sol is deep and complicated and this one is loads of fun, lighter. This did not mean that this story disappoints. No, far from it. I absolutely love this, though I did point out a few things that I would have wanted to be more on this series. Nevertheless, this book ended with major fireworks which is just beyond any I could ever imagine. And fireworks are always grand.

Mother of Goddesses!
- Kimberly Loth, The Exploding Sky - 

Thanks again, Kimberly Loth for the ARC. I'm looking forward for the next series that will again take us to another adventure and get me to meet new characters and creatures. Congratulations!

Other books in the series:

The Smoking Lamp (Sons and Sand #1)

The Blazing Glass (Sons and Sand #2)

The Glowing Sands (Sons and Sand #3)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

John's Crazy Socks and Their Great Mission

Father and son - Mark and John Lee Cronin, founder and owner of John's Crazy Socks.

Last week, I came upon an online socks store through Dealspotr. Dealspotr is a site where you can find discounts, freebies, promo codes, and deals for all stores and products. I was invited to join this platform to earn additional income. Businesses who are also members of the site have ongoing campaigns and a blogger or influencer can apply to help promote those campaigns. If approved, you'll either get paid, get free products or both. So, it was through Dealspotr that I stumbled on John's Crazy Socks. It's a shop owned by a father and son--Mark and John Lee Cronin. The site got my attention not because of it's colorful, creative, funny, and unique socks but because of how the store came to be. The store is John's idea. He loves crazy socks. Socks with funny designs and full of colors which speaks of individuality. You may ask, what's so unique and different about this father and son socks store then? Well, it's the fact that John came up with the idea to get into business with his Dad. And the most amazing part of their story is that a portion of their sales goes to various charities that help people with Down syndrome, autism, and other mental conditions. This is their mission and commitment to help people like John, who has Down syndrome. This is exactly what interested me. 

If you love Bill Murray, then you've got to have these socks.

As you may all know, or if you don't, then let me tell you. This blog started out two years ago just as an outlet for me for my thoughts and my frustrations. Not to mention, that I love to read and it has been my plan years before to actually start a blog. Yes, this just started out as just me thinking out loud. Making my thoughts known to the world of how I was affected by the story I just read along with all my emotional ramblings. Then, when people started to read this blog, especially authors, and then some of them said that they appreciated my review, I then realize that I could actually help authors promote their books. So, I did and has thus become the main thrust and goal of this site. To help authors spread the word about their book, especially self-published and indie authors. And with John's Crazy Socks and it's very admirable mission, I too wanted to be a part of that. I had this impulse and crazy idea to email them and ask permission to help promote their site. And here I am. And just to be clear, I am not asking anything in return. I only emailed them to ask permission to use their pictures and information. I volunteered to do this out of my eagerness to help because I believe in their cause. I never get paid for my reviews here or any book reviewers for that matter, as far as I know. I wrote this to help spread the news about their site, their mission, and their products. When you buy one of John's crazy socks, not only will you be getting cool and colorful socks but you will be also be helping a very noble cause. A part of the sales goes to the Special Olympics who played an important role in John's development. So, the money you paid for the socks will go a long way and you get to sport colorful and express-yourself socks too. 

Summer socks, as colorful and bright as summer.

So, if you are a bookworm or just somebody who loves to wear socks, you can check out their site and browse through their wide array of sock designs. I do like their United Nations socks. They have all kinds of socks--knee socks, ankle socks, compression socks, foot socks. I mean all types socks. They have it. They also have sock collections. I like their Book Lovers socks and the Dog Lovers socks. My personal favorite is their "Banned Books" socks which is part of their Book Lovers socks collection. If you are a Harry Potter fan like me, you can have the "Books Turn Muggles into Wizards" socks, so "Sock Sundays" will be so much fun. And who can resist curling up in a corner reading a Harry Potter book channeling in your inner wizard by wearing socks inspired by the story itself. Reading Harry Potter will be so much more fun and enjoyable. These socks will complete your Hogwarts ensemble along with your Hogwarts House scarf, robe, and wand. Once your friends will see these, they will want to get one too and you may just have started craze for Harry Potter socks from John's Crazy Socks. These really cool socks will look so good in your Instagram photos too. How's that? 

It's a small world after all. It's a small small world.  

Even if you don't do "Sock Sundays" or take pictures of your socks with your books in a flat lay, or just a person who is really not into socks, just the thought that you will be helping a very noble cause is already a very good reason to get a pair of socks from John's Crazy Socks. You can get one of their gift boxes and send it to someone you know who would love one of these socks. They ship within the same day and you also get a personalized handwritten thank you note from John. If I were in the US, I would have bought their socks already but I am from the Philippines and the best I can do is help spread the word about this father-son duo who wants to help social organizations whose goals are to empower and help spreading awareness about autism, down syndrome, etc. If I get the chance to travel to the US again, then I will surely buy for myself those two Book Lover socks that I really love. 

Really cool Banned Books Socks. 

The main reason why their story drew my attention in the first place is because I have a nephew who was diagnosed with very slight autism when he was two years old. It has more to do with his emotional and behavioral development. My sister resigned her job so she can focus on his therapy and support his development. After a year in therapy, endless support, patience, and follow-up from my sister, he's now very very functional. He is now eleven and goes to a regular school. He's going to be in fifth grade this school opening and is just like all the other kids who can't get his hands off the tablet. Now, his only struggle is his weight. So, hearing about how John's Crazy Socks started touched me because I understand and know how it feels to have a family member who has a mental or behavioral condition. So, this is my way of helping out spread awareness not only for their store but for the very good cause they stand for, which is very admirable.

This would complete your Harry Potter ensemble.

So, if you've read this post, whether you're a bookworm or not, go ahead and check out John's Crazy Socks. I'm pretty sure you will find a pair of socks that would be to your liking. And when you do, go ahead and buy it. It's for a very good cause and you will feel a hundred times lighter and better because you've done a good deed for the day. Don't forget to spread the news too. They need all the help they can get so they can continue supporting these advocacies for Down syndrome, autism, etc. Tell all you friends, neighbors, officemates, everyone. Let's support their cause and let their mission be our own personal mission too.

You can also check out their social media accounts:

Note: All pictures in this post are from John's Crazy Socks website and Instagram account used with permission from them. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Blood Oath (Blood Oath #2) by Amanda McCrina | Release Day Blast and Ask the Author

Blood Oath
(Blood Oath #2) 
Author : Amanda McCrina

Publisher: Month9Books
Publication Date: June 19, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 244

I was asked to review this second installment but I just can't insert it anymore into my overly crowded TBR and more so because I would not be able to read and review it in time for the release day. So instead, I opted to just post something to help promote the book in time for the release day. Since I read Blood Road, I decided to ask the author some questions regarding some of the things I've noticed on the first book. So, scroll down to the Ask the Author portion of this post and find out for yourselves the questions I've asked the author and her interesting answers. Hopefully, I would be able to read and review this second book of the series in the later months. 

Thanks again Month9Books and Amanda McCrina for allowing me to ask my questions and have them answered. 

For everyone's information, this is my first time to ask an author questions about the book and get them answered and I am allowed to post them. Mostly, this usually happens in private messages and some authors gave me inside information on their books that I've reviewed but of course, I am not allowed to share them with anyone. And that's one of the greatest things about being a book reviewer and blogger. I get to be privy to some very important updates and development of some of my favorite books that are not included in newsletters and other pubic forums or social media platforms. It's like an insider tip given to me by author. This is officially my first author interview though very very brief. Thanks Month9Books for facilitating this and for the awesome opportunity.

The aftermath of what happened in the capital has shaken Torien to the core. Battling self-doubt and bitterness, he must find his resolve as he is sent back to Tasso to quell a violent uprising on the Road.

But Torien will need more than resolve to navigate the deadly path before him. His troops are inexperienced and his new adjutant untrustworthy. A series of murder attempts leaves the whole camp on edge. As the threat of mutiny builds, the mission seems doomed before they even reach Tasso—and Torien is beginning to suspect it was meant that way. He and his men are being set up to fail.

With his best friend in the hands of the rebels, his commanding officer refusing to negotiate a peace treaty, and his own men ready to turn on him at any moment, Torien must decide once and for all how much he’s willing to sacrifice for an empire he no longer believes in.

Chion unsheathed his knife and slid the blade under the edge of Torien’s cuirass, above the hip.
“I’m going to signal the ships tonight,” he said.
Torien stood very still against the blade. “Chion—”
“I won’t kill you—though I think Serik would, if I asked him. I’ll let them give you your trial in Choiro.”
“Listen to me, Chion.”
“You’ll be under guard. The Tegeni can do it. Easier that way. You’ll be in your quarters as if nothing has
“I sent to negotiate. I sent to offer peace.”
“General Sarno said you would.” Chion unbuckled Torien’s sword belt with his free hand. “He said you’d
try. Said it was in your barbarian blood—to betray us. I said I’d stop you, if it came to that.” He tugged
the belt off and bundled it under his elbow. He shrugged Torien’s hand from his shoulder. He eased the
blade a little, pushing Torien around toward the hilltop. He jabbed the point into the small of Torien’s
back. “Walk.”
“Is that what you think? That it’s my barbarian blood?”
“I don’t know.”
“Is that what you think, Chion?”
Chion was silent, for a moment.
“I don’t think you’re a traitor,” he said finally. “Not the way Sarno thinks, anyway. I think you really
believed they’d give us peace.”
“At least give them the chance. Wait until the signo comes back.”
“If he comes back.”
“You’ll know by nightfall. At least wait until then.”

“I can’t,” Chion said. “I can’t, even if I wanted. I gave Sarno my word.”

“You gave me your word. Any oath I asked—you weren’t the traitor. Your word doesn’t mean much, at
this point.”
“I can swear truthfully that I serve the Empire. My word to you came subject to that. You should
understand. You swore it the same.”
“I serve the Empire,” Torien said.
“They can decide it at your court martial,” Chion said.

In the first book, Blood Road, I observed that Torien seemed to faint a lot of times. Why did Torien keep passing out in the story? Does this happen in Blood Oath?

Honestly, Torien had a pretty rough time in Blood Road: getting stabbed twice and suffering a seriously infected wound, taking a spear butt to the face, being tortured via exposure/water deprivation ... the list goes on. He does pass out after one of the stabbings, during the extended torture sequence, and while suffering an extremely high fever from the infection, but I don't hold it against him—I’m pretty sure I wouldn't have lasted as long. 😊 I'm happy to report that he doesn't take such a physical beating in Blood Oath.

One of the characters that I really liked in the story is Lieutenant Senna. I want to know who's the inspiration for his character. Is he based on a person in real life who's close to you? Is Torien based on anybody in your life?

None of my characters are intentionally based on real people, though I'm sure I've subconsciously recycled bits and pieces of people I actually know. I will say that Alluin's snark and sarcasm came pretty easily to me; his sense of humor is pretty close to mine. Torien himself is a character type that I tend to write quite a lot—an insufferably honorable character, usually a soldier, who's trying to do the right thing even if it means personal hurt (and it always does)—and he's drawn from the types of characters I like most to read about. Costis, from Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series, is an example of a similar character, as is Aquila from Rosemary Sutcliff's classic YA novel The Lantern Bearers.

How did Torien's story come to be? What inspired you to write it? Did something close to what Lida experienced happen to you personally or someone close to you? Or were you a witness to some cruel injustice and corruption and have taken it as a personal cause?

Writing from a position of privilege as a middle-class white woman, I've never experienced the kind of hardship Lida experiences in Blood Road—seeing her mother murdered by gangsters, her twin brother sold into slavery, and her government either turn a blind eye to or actively participate in her oppression. But that kind of violence and injustice does happen in our world, and closer to home than we'd like to think. Too often, we can witness it just by watching the news. I truly wish Torien's story didn't have so many real-life parallels.

Amanda McCrina was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her BA in History and Political Science from the University of West Georgia. She lives in Madrid, Spain, where she teaches at an international school.

She writes historical fiction and political fantasy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Incense and Peppermints by Cathrina Constantine | A Book Review

Incense and Peppermints by Catharina Constantine | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

To be honest, I am not really a fan of the '60s. The decade of rock and roll, marijuana,  drugs, war, and other things. It's probably the reason why I haven't read a lot about this period or there weren't a lot of books that I've come across that interested me enough. Or maybe, I just don't care about it or have understood little about it. Well, this book is different. It somehow opened my mind about that period and to the fact that teenagers, no matter what decade they are from, in some ways are the same. And speaking of drugs, it wasn't just popular in that decade, somehow every generation has its own share and taste of it. The name and type of poison may vary or may have changed and evolved from generation to generation but nevertheless, it's one of the common things that become part of a teenagers right of passage through life. Personally, I haven't tried one. So, I can't totally relate to that part.

I think I signed up for this book because the blurb was interesting enough, though I had my doubts because of the era it was set. Much to my surprise, the story was very relatable and not so dated. I guess, part of it being YA has bridged that gap, if ever there was that generation gap. I was actually absorbed in the story and just had to finish it. One of the reviewers had the same reaction. 

As I have said, even if you were not born in the 60s, you will definitely end up liking this book. It mentions a lot of truths which are still applicable or are happening to teenagers today. As you read through the story, you'll feel like you're Mary, the main character. Caught up in a world of crushes, drugs, late nights, and all other adventures teenagers find themselves in. She even had her own share of abuse and what's worse, she didn't know who the guilty party was until some tragedy struck. Finding out the truth was very devastating yet it was also liberating for her. She ended up not hating the person but rather felt sorry for him because that person was going through a lot. Which actually speaks much about Mary's character and maturity.

This is actually a really good story about the 60s with a lot of lessons. Like I said, I was so surprised that I was actually drawn into the story. All the doubts I had, had disappeared and it made reading it all the more fun. I guess, it has to do with the characters. The characters were very relatable and could as well be the same way teenagers behave nowadays or from the other books that I have read. Somehow I have an impression that I might not like the book because it's in the 60s and it's a very unfamiliar era to me and somehow things might get lost in translation or something. But that was never the case. Nothing was lost in translation or in the haze at all. For that, I think I owe it the author's ability to bridge that gap. That in spite of the decades of distance from the readers generation, she somehow had made it like the story is timeless. The events in the story and the characters could well be millennials and you'll see that they'll exactly be going through the same things that happened in this story. That is a very great feat to accomplish. Congratz Miss Constantine!

And with that, I give the book 4.5 /5 peppermints. So, being a teenager, no matter from which generation you are from, you will experience the same things a teenager has to go through in order to pass through to adulthood. The same confusion, doubts, and sense of anything can happen or the feeling of invincibility will be there. The same issues and fears that plague the kids in the 60s are still the same issues that bombarded the youth of all generation. And that somehow, connects every reader to this story set in the 60s. A really fun and touching coming of age story of Mary who could well be just you and me.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
-  Cathrina Constantine, Incense and Peppermints -

Thank you again Xpressobooktours and Cathrina Constantine for the copy.

Coral and Bone (The Siren Chronicles #1 ) by Tiffany Daune | ARC | A Book Review

Coral and Bone (The Siren Chronicles #1 ) by Tiffany Daune | ARC | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I know I have said before that I have read quite a few mermaid stories this year. This book is one of them. This is also a totally unique mermaid story from the others that I have read. The story is about mermaids and sirens. In here, the mermaids are the bad guys which is not usually the case. That alone is already a good start to story.

Halen is girl who got sparks from her fingertips. They're like lightning. Tage and her were running from a boy who just came into their house and they both ended up swimming out to sea. When Halen woke up, she was in a different world and secrets about her real identity and about her life had started to surface. One person who he thought was dead was actually alive and now, she must fulfill her destiny, destroy everything or run away from it all.

There was a part of the story that was a bit hazy for me. The part were Halen was talking to Asair in his lair was not so clear to me. Somehow, I did not care much about what their conversation was. In away, it was a bit uninteresting for me. I am not so sure. But I might have fallen asleep during this part. But I am glad that it somehow ended well, though it's obvious that there is a next book. Despite that part where I might have daydreamed or my mind was somewhere else, I actually wanted to read the next book. I'm curious as to what's going to happen Halen. The ending hinted that she somehow did not fully escaped the darkness and Asair's influence. So, that's what's to be expected in the next installment. How that part would come into play when Halen is not entirely herself anymore after her encounter with Asair is totally to watch for.  

Other than that, I think I enjoyed the story. The secrets and all the things that were kept from Halen are really interesting things that would keep you glued the story. Knowing that Halen actually have some other immediate family members that she still had to meet is also a good reason to follow the series. I am especially curious when that other family member will turn up and come face to face with Halen and if Halen will be able to free that person from whatever is keeping her.

And of course, the romance part of the story is also still in it's early stages, so a lot could still happen. I'm pretty sure when that long-lost family member makes an appearance, she will definitely cause chaos and confusion, especially with these two would be lovers --Halen and Dax. Definitely, that person will affect the relationship of these two.

So, there's a lot to be expected in the development of this story and that makes me so curious. I am still looking for a review copy of the second book and haven't found one yet. Hopefully, I would be able to because I wanted to find out if my theories are correct. So, with that said, I give this book 4/5 silver bracelets with star charms.

Every day is filled with impossibility, until you have chosen to see the possible. Once you make the shift to see, life is a less frightening journey. 

Love thrived with trust and wilted with lies. 

Forgiveness is as easy as love. Letting go is the hard part.
- Tiffany Daune, Coral and Bone - 

Thank you again Tiffany Daune and Ben of Oftomes Publishing for the copy. Sorry for the very delayed posting of the review. 

The Limpet Syndrome by Tony Moyle | A Book Review

The Limpet Syndrome by Tony Moyle | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

The whole world was shocked by the news last week of Anthony Bourdain's passing. I personally was very saddened by his death and more so with him taking his own life. it was a very devastating news. Anthony Bourdain was my favorite travel journalist or still is. There are but a few who are honest in front of the camera. Bourdain would tell you straight if he didn't like the food or the hotel was to cramped or the service was less than expected. He never sugarcoated and that brutal honesty was probably the reason why a lot of audiences had followed and watched his shows. It was such an unbelievable thing to hear that he ended his life. Yes, he had a wonderful job, probably one of the most coveted job in the world. It seemed like everything is going great for him, but that was just how it seemed. We don't know what it was like for him when the cameras stopped rolling. The news said that he battled with addiction and depression. I felt like Anthony Bourdain is the closest person that I knew that had felt like his life is no longer worth it. Honestly, I can't judge him for committing the act. I understand how it is to be in that dark hole. People who haven't been there or haven't experience a very devastating loss or failure or depression would not understand. I had a friend who laugh at the sign in the MRT that said to call the Hope hotline if you feel like you're in the brink. The sign was a reaction after someone jumped off the tracks of an incoming train. I was appalled by my friend's reaction but had kept quiet. She just laughed at the situation because she didn't know how difficult it is if you are trapped in that dark hole and you felt like there's no getting out and the only way has been taunting you. It's tempting you to end it all. I would say, I am also battling depression. Some days are easier and there are days that all I wanted to do is just sleep and wake up in the next century. Hopefully, things will be better by then. Depression doesn't just happen in one click. It slowly eats you up. I even did not realize that I was going through it until the last two years when a big disappointment happened to me. It's as if someone triggered all other things and an onslaught of very negative and overwhelming emotions attacked me. I was surrounded and it felt like that darkness is so intent in swallowing me whole. Until now, I can't seem to understand what happened. I did what I could during that time but circumstances were just beyond my control and I did what I think was best. I didn't regret anything or any of my decisions but rather I regret that the outcome was not very favorable for me. But at least, I maintained some semblance of self-respect for myself, even just a little because I felt like I was stripped off of my dignity. I don't know if my family is aware of what I'm going through. Maybe they thought I am just going through my moods. And I realize that in order to survive, I just have to help myself and reading books had been my greatest tool. When dark thoughts assault me from all directions, I turn to books to forget myself. To not focus on my suffering and they do help a lot. I don't know how long will I be able to keep this up or keep hanging on but I will keep trying. I have a lot of things to do still. I would still love to travel the world. 

Okay. Yes. I just had to say something about Anthony Bourdain. And I also learned about Kate Spade too. I don't know. There must be something about very creative and successful people and depression. I think, the common thing about Bourdain and Spade are they are both very successful in their field of work and I don't know if in a way, that somehow affected their personal lives. As they say, you can't have everything. And where am I in that equation? I am not sure. I know I have my creative side and like those two visionaries, I put my best in everything I do. That's probably why, when failure struck, it's such a bitter and hard pill to swallow. It's harder to accept and get over with. 

So, this book, it's not necessarily about suicide but it's about death. Limpet syndrome means that the soul stays firmly stuck to the Earth, irrespective of how much force is applied by an external source. If you remember the movie Casper, Casper became a ghost because he had an unfinished business and that's what Limpet syndrome is. Limpet is actually a mollusk. So, when a soul is almost impossible to remove from Earth and be returned back to the afterlife.  It's like a limpet stuck to a rock after the tide has gone far out to the sea. That was how it was explained in the book. 

Now that we have that out of the way and you understand now what Limpet syndrome is, let's look at the story. The main character in the story is John Hewson. The story started with John's death and his trip to the underworld. He was given a special mission and was asked to go back to the land of the living and find two souls who are not supposed to be still on Earth. He was given instructions on how to spot these two and why it's apparent and important that he should retrieve these two souls with Limpet syndrome. The balance of the land of the living and the dead is precariously in danger if these two were left free to roam Earth after the summer solstice. These two souls that he has to bring back are Sandy Logan, the Mininster of Home Land Security for the UK and his assistant Ian Noble. 

I suspected that John's death was somehow weird or there was something that was suspicious. I think his death was not an accident. I think something unknown had a hand in his death. It might be something supernatural or someone wanted him dead. At the end of the story, it was somehow revealed that John was actually chosen for the special mission and so his being dead had to be a part of it. But I wasn't satisfied. I feel like there was some unexplored portion about this death and circumstances leading to it that were still unclear to me. So, that's one of the questions that's still plaguing me about the story.

The two limpet souls that John had to capture were very bad people when they were alive and a part of them becoming limpet is because an accident happened on their last outing which was just karma taking over and reversed the situation and they ended up having a taste of their medicine. Yes, it served them right. But on the later part of the story, as these two realized what happened to them and what's their current situation, they somehow turned around and actually used the remaining minutes of their borrowed life to do the right thing which I really liked. And it also revealed that there are two other persons in the story that are madder than these two. It's good that the story ended with these two being instrumental in saving London or the whole of UK from eventual doom. 

This is an entertaining read especially when it comes to Sandy and Ian. Ian is probably the dumbest and the most simple person in the whole universe. His antics are just hilarious to the point of irritating. I personally wanted to knock his head off. He was just too stupid. I feel for Sandy being always at the end of his patience when it comes to Ian. John, on the other hand is also a funny character at times. His monologues are in a way funny too. 

I give this book 3.5/5 pigeons. This is a good story about reincarnation and how people are so consumed by ambition and power that they would do anything to keep it. Even to the point of controlling people's minds just to keep them subdued and obedient. I think the intentions of the people in power here are darker than the levels and creatures described in John's tour in hell. Their selfishness just know no bonds and the sense of loyalty and dedication to the job was greatly misplaced. I think it's still selfishness, right? The great urge to do one's assignment and reach a goal, even if somehow you know that what you're pursuing is definitely wrong. I just hate that Agent 15 ignored his conscience because of his false sense of loyalty and duty. He just went on even if he knows that he's a pawn to an evil plan. I wished he could have turned around and had a change of heart.

There are some other important qualities about the solstice you may not know. When the sun is in its highest position in the northern hemisphere it literally stops. Its name comes from the Latin 'sol' and 'sistere'. Sistere means stand still and sol means sun. Yes, but it actually refers to the soul. The soul stands still. In medieval times, people would light huge bonfires to ward off evil spirits. Although stuff of pagan propaganda, it wasn't so far from the truth.
- Tony Moyle, The Limpet Syndrome - 

Thank you again, Tony Moyle for the copy.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Not Your Match (No Match for Love #2) by Lindzee Armstrong | A Book Review

Not Your Match (No Match for Love #2) by Lindzee Armstrong | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

This is another book by Lindzee Armstrong. This is the second of the No Match for Love series.

I've read this last year and haven't gotten to write a review. Yes, I have all of the books in this series. They're all feel-good and inspirational love stories. After reading them, you'll definitely feel like it's so good to be in love and be loved. If you're single, like me, you'll be tempted to go out and find that man of yours too.

This is the story of Andi and Ben. Andi was the girl that Luke was fake-dating in the book Miss Match. This is Andi's side of the story and how she too had found the man for her. 

There are two things that stood out for me in the story. One is the hilarious divorce that Andi handled and how the couple also fought over the custody of the dog named Maurice. It's just so amusing that the couple hated each other so much that you wonder why they even got married in the first place. The woman obviously was some bimbo who just wanted money. The other thing is how Andi and Ben's story started with dancing. I love to dance. I used to dance in grade school, high school, and even in college programs at school. The last time I danced on a stage was when I worked for a contact center which was about 10 years ago. It was like another lifetime. This story just reminded me of that. 

It's a relief to have two people after a difficult relationship and break up find each other. A person who had a similar experience and feel a deep connection for that person. Andi and Ben were dancing partners in high school and their reconnection after each other's failed relationship was just great timing. Their friendship in high school somehow built a good foundation for their current relationship. Then, as life is always full of surprises, one of those people in their past resurfaces and wants to be a part of their lives again. How will that affect their relationship then? And what good is a love story without a villain trying to ruin it, right? That element just makes it all more complete and satisfying if the couple is able to dance through it successfully. 

I give this book 4/5 pairs of dancing shoes. I loved that the story ended with Andi finally getting the job she really wants and be able to help people. A job that could really make a difference which is just what everyone wants. Her dream job. I too would want to be able to do my dream job which is to travel around the world and get paid for it. I hope too that happens in this lifetime.

Ugly sweaters are a Christmas tradition.
- Lindzee Armstrong, Not Your Match - 

Thank you again Lindzee Armstrong for the copy.

Other Books in the series:

Emerge (Mer Chronicles #1) by Tobie Easton | A Book Review

Emerge (Mer Chronicles #1) by Tobie Easton | A Book Review by iamnotabookworm!

I don't know how many mermaid books I have read this year. Honestly, I have read quite a few and each one is different from the other. It's actually interesting being able to read different takes and versions of mermaid stories. I've always loved Disney's The Little Mermaid. So, I was just so happy to find out that this book is a retelling of the same fairy tale though it's more on Hans Christian Andersen's version. 

This is a totally different version of Disney or Anderson's version. I think it's actually a refreshing adaptation which puts the famous Little Mermaid star on a darker shade. Yes, in this retelling, The Little Mermaid's story did not have a happy ending which provides a background story of how Lia's story came to be. So, following the events after The Little Mermaid's last action to claim her one true love, a war broke out in the mermaid kingdom. As an aftermath of that war, some Mer people decided to leave and stay on land and hide their identities.

I think, the thing that strikes me most about the story is the author's version of The Little Mermaid's story. I was impressed. I like it. I like it because it's such a very unexpected turn of events. It somehow puts The Little Mermaid in such a bad light that had caused a series of unfortunate events for her descendants and the rest of the Seven Seas. I think it's such a radical way of setting the stage for this retelling but I think it really works. It's totally an out-of-the-box way to put it and I just love it because it's so unforeseen. I would never have thought to actually think of the story going that way, especially, on my favorite fairy tale character and story. I don't know how many times I've watched The Little Mermaid or sang the OST and imagining I was Ariel. I'm just totally impressed by the background story. I just can't stress that enough.

Lia's character is very relatable because she's going through the same things teenagers are dealing with. Though, I'm sure, no one can relate to being a Mermaid on land. Anyways, she's been a really good teenager until she's forced to break the rules when the new girl seems to have a bigger chance of ending up with the boy she wants. It's a normal teenage love triangle until the secrets and the darker elements were added in. The competition now comes with much more devastating consequences. And the game changes because it's not just about natural charms and wit anymore, it's more than that. It's a much more threatening display of powers and abilities that is beyond the reaches of dry land. So, Lia is forced to tap into her family's ancient abilities and secrets to even up the playing field. The one that she was sworn to never ever do.

I love that this story has a mix of intrigue and mystery. I enjoyed Caspian and Lia playing detective. I also love that most of the characters in the story are named after precious stones. The last name Nautilus is also very perfect. It reminds me of Captain Nemo's submarine in Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I enjoyed that story and the series adaptation SeaQuest very much. May Jonathan Brandis and Roy Scheider rest in peace. 

Ah, this is very exhilarating. It's refreshing. I give this book 5/5 swimsuits. I just love how this was adapted to the original Andersen story. Yes, sometimes happy endings are overrated and finding another story with a totally unique twist is just so entertaining. I can't wait for the next book. Good thing I already have it with me courtesy of Month9Books. I will soon dive into the world of Lia and her friends again. 

How can you narrow down to a few paltry words something that means everything?
- Tobie Easton, Emerge - 

Thank you Month9Books and Tobie Easton for the copy.