The Animal Under The Fur by E.J. Mellow ARC Review

Kombibros.

Synopsis from GoodreadsFrom award-winning author E. J. Mellow comes an action romance dripping with vengeful delight.

Orphaned on the streets as a baby, Nashville Brown, a.k.a Kill Operative 3, knows better than to rely on anyone. With heightened senses and superhuman strength to survive, she’s been raised as the perfect assassin.

The trick to her success? Keeping everyone, even her best friend, at arm’s length.

Losing his entire family in the span of a year, Carter Smith left his ability to love buried deep in their graves. His only concerns now are completing his missions and effortlessly charming the next temptress to warm his bed.

The key to his accomplishments? Working alone mixed with a Casanova smile.

But when a deadly weapon needs to be stopped from falling into the wrong hands, the lone wolves find themselves thrown into an explosive partnership. Can Carter and 3 lower their guns aimed at one another long enough to succeed, or will their unwillingness to compromise end up destroying more than their perfect records? Whatever their differences, both agree on one thing—in the game of lies and deceit, the line between friend and foe is often blurred by blood splatter.

The Animal Under The Fur is a hate-to-loath-to-love standalone novel filled with savagery, secrets, and enough angst to wrinkle the pages you’ll find gripped in your hands.

Publisher: Four Eyed Owl

Date of Publication: March 31, 2017

Date Read: March 27, 2017

Source: ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

About The Author:

EJ

E.J. Mellow is the award-winning author of the contemporary fantasy trilogy The Dreamland Series and The Animal Under The Fur. With a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, E.J. Mellow splits her time between her two loves – visual design and writing. Residing in NYC, E.J. is a member of Romance Writers of America and their Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter. She has no animals but loves those who do.
Author links:
BOOK REVIEW
Animal Under The Fur

/anəməl/ /ˈəndər/ /T͟Hə/ /fər/ noun

1. bad-ass, kick-ass
2. your next favorite book
3. a book that you shove someone else’s face for them to read, explanation is optional

Solid 5/5 stars for The Animal Under The Fur. This book screams amazing at every turn of the page, I’m not even exaggerating. It was well though-out and well-plotted. This is the kind of female protagonist I’ve been waiting my whole life. This is the kind of story that I would read over and over. This is the kind of book that will have you raising your hand in prayer, thanking the book gods for its existence. The word bad-ass doesn’t even begin to cover it, it’s bad-ass multiplied to million! Trust me on this, it is not often you come across something this engaging and entertaining, so do yourself a favor and get your copy and read right away. Don’t second guess it, you can thank me later.

The Animal Under The Fur is all I wanted in a book.

Unconventional Romance? Check

Love-Hate relationship? Oh boy, yes!

Funny and Witty banters? This one is brimming with it!

Bad-Ass Female Protagonist? Hell yes! Think how bad-ass Jennifer Garner is in Alias, or Angelina Jolie in Salt, or Scarlet Johansson as Black Widow – that’s Nashville Brown for you guys! All that and so much more. Have I convinced you yet?

Hard-To-Resist Male protagonist? Oh good heavens, you’ll love Carter Smith! I’m talking about a new book boyfriend to swoon over and over. He’ll plague your mind every chance he gets.

The Animal Under The Fur is an action-packed novel, full of wit and amazing twist and turns. It was an intoxicating reading experience if you ask me. The constant change in setting added to the flavor of the book. And did I say it was hard to put down? I read it every chance I get, that’s how gripping it was, that’s how I have become attached to it like my own limb. I was so engrossed reading I almost missed my train stop, twice. This was the first EJ Mellow book I have read and I am so happy I’ve signed up for the book tour – best decision I’ve made! I didn’t read the blurb, to be completely honest it was the cover that made me decide to join the book tour, yes without even knowing what it was about. I’d like to surprise myself like that. Also, there wouldn’t be any preconceived notion or high expectations. It works for me, and I’ve been doing that for quite some time now. Call it love at first sight. The first time I laid my eyes on this cover, I just knew I have to read it as soon as it comes out. And boy, I am not disappointed.

The Animal Under The Fur is begging to be made into a movie. The extensive research made by the author is highly commendable. Also A+ genes, the closest thing to a super hero, what’s cooler than that? I also loved how the author painted her characters. We have 3 or Nashville Brown, who was such a kick-ass! God I love her. I loved how the author made a strong heroine out of Nashville’s character. How she ain’t the usual whiny, insecure, female protagonist we often read in books. This is the kind of character women should be reading these days. And of course, we have Carter Smith, this tall guy with moss green eyes. Can he be any more dreamy? I loved that his character, though not at par with that of Nashville, is also something so enjoyable to read. I loved his sass and quick comebacks. Carter and Nash is definitely the perfect pair! You know how much I love love-hate relationships and banters with palpable sexual tension, goodness, I live for those things! This book is definitely high on that list. In every romance book, I always look forward to the first meeting of the main characters, if it’s meet-cute or just some forgettable, cliche kind. The Animal Under The Fur took the cake on this one, it was definitely not the meet-cute kind, but something more fitting to their characters, and I wouldn’t elaborate on this one, I want you to find it out for yourself! The other characters were very interesting as well, especially Akoni and his cool shirts! I loved Ceci too, kind of reminded me of my best friend as well! I’d love to read more of this “cross-pollination” of K-Ops. Can it be possible to make another story with K-Ops? Hahah I would definitely be the first one in line to read it.

The Animal Under The Fur is a feisty, enjoyable, kick-ass read! You won’t regret picking it up. If you’re someone trying to break free from the norm of Romance books with an insecure girl and all that so 2012 stuff, then you have to get this book. This book offers something fresh and delicious on the table, something you will not definitely pass up. This book is now on my Top Books of 2017 list – it’s that good. Just a reminder though, be wary of your surroundings while reading this book, you might accidentally step on someone’s foot, or bump into another person, or have elevator doors close on your very face, or miss a step and make a total fool of yourself in the process. The above-mentioned may or may not have happened to me while reading it, depends on who’s asking. I won’t bore you with too much blabbering now, go ahead and get this book, we can fangirl later!

IMG_5490

“I’ve killed more people more years than I’ve been alive. And I’m twenty-six.”

E.J. Mellow, The Animal Under the Fur

Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for letting me in on this book tour! Had a blast!

You can get your copy here:

Purchase:

FullSizeRender

Advertisements

All My Lonely Islands by VJ Campilan: Book Review

Kombibros..png

IMG_5496

Synopsis from Goodreads: One crisp March evening, Crisanta and Ferdinand arrive on the remote Batanes islands for a mission: locate Graciella, whose son, Stevan, they saw die in a tragic accident a decade ago. But they need to confess something to her: Stevan’s death is not all what it seems. Oppressed by a decade of painful memories, Crisanta and Ferdinand must race against time—from the wild swamplands of the Sundarban forest in Bangladesh to the back alleys of Manila to the savage cliffs of Batanes—to offer Graciella the truth that they themselves cannot bear to face.

Publisher: Anvil Publishing

Date Published:  2017

Date Read: February 2017

Number of Pages: 204

Setting: Batanes, Philippines / Dhaka, Bangladesh

Get your copy here.

Source: Sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

IMG_5495

Exceptional writing style, truly worthy of its praise.

This book won the Grand Prize for the Novel 2015 Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature for a reason. It is without a doubt truly worthy of that prestigious award. Now how to give the justice it deserves? I have zero idea, but I’m trying anyway. I have to point out first that this book is very well-written in all sense of the word. The words used in each sentences were carefully crafted so as to give life to the story. And though it was fairly a short read, it was a book that you need to savor. It is the book that you don’t rush finishing, but still ultimately look forward for an unadulterated time to be alone with it. It has this melancholic vibe to it that one can’t simply shake off. A book that will give you that sense of foreboding and as the story peaks up, you’re hanging on to every sentence leading to the inevitable end.

I truly adored how the story was written, it was a recollection of Crisanta’s life  from childhood up to her teenage years in Dhaka, Bangladesh and all the events that transpired between then and the present times. How the main character was able to reconcile the demons of her past with her present self. And can we also talk about how the narration was so vivid and beautiful it is as if you are truly there in the story. Batanes, Dhaka and Sundarban were all described with such eloquence and impressive imagery. The author painted these places in such a beautiful light, without sugarcoating it. It was presented in the most realistic way possible and I think that contributed to the overall beauty of the book. All My Lonely Islands also highlighted a lot of Filipino cultures and traditions though most of the book transpired in Dhaka Bangladesh. A book I will definitely recommend to those who would want to know  more about the Philippines and its haunting beauty.

Each character was unique – flawed, yes, but forgivable. Take for an instance Ferdinand, this troubled boy who didn’t have an easier life and was always living up to what people purports him to be. Oh that part when his parents found out that he was in trouble, the relief on their faces – because he was something they could define. Good god, that was a great explanation. I don’t want to reveal much of it, I wouldn’t want to spoil anyone anyway. I loved Ferdinand’s character, this may not be the same to others. But his character was the one who improved a whole lot. Crisanta’s character on the other hand was pretty consistent one, her character was the perfect depiction of every Filipino teenager, or every teenager for that matter. I was able to relate to her in more ways than one. And Stevan, how do I even start with Stevan? I wish there was more of Stevan. He was the character I wanted to know more of. He seems to be that boy who was also trying hard to survive each of his grueling days in high school, just as much as everyone else. Every character in this book was well thought out adding color to the story.

The subtle hints provided by the author in each chapter was enough to keep you going, enough to keep you interested. It wasn’t revealing everything at the first instance, there was the element of surprise and coherence. Every event was connected to the other. The side stories are also exceptional, like the one about Pobrito, man, that hit me hard. It was heartbreaking, ugly, depressing and yet I was so drawn to it, that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Who would have thought that this was only the first book of the author? It seems to me that she had been writing all her life to come up with something that’ll hit you hard, of something that is so thought-provoking you couldn’t help but pause and ponder on the words you just read. And if being a Filipino is the only association I can have with this author, then I am damn proud to be a Filipino. Filipino talents are indeed world class, this book is the proof of it. This book struck a special cord in my heart, I’m confident to tell (yes even just two months in the year) that this book will be included in my Top 17 Books of 2017. This book deserves to be read even once in one’s lifetime. Honestly the blurb didn’t give the book much justice. If I passed by this one in a bookstore and read that blurb, I would be curious, but not enough to be inclined to read it right away. I just wish there was more to the blurb, it wasn’t able to fully grasp the whole beauty of the book. This is the only issue I have with this book, but hey this is what reviews are for. So I’m really trying my best to persuade you guys to not just depend on blurbs. Take a chance on a book, take a chance on this one!

That ending was exactly what the book needed – it was a closure. I felt more satisfied than ever, I appreciated that it took its sweet time. Not one thing was forced, it is as if everything happened at its own pace, at its own perfect time. Everything culminated and unfolded into this simple yet profound tale. Im glad I have read this one, made me value life more.

Rating: rating_5stars

“You’re trying to look for rock bottom, to that part of yourself that could no longer feel pain. But there is no such thing as rock bottom. As long as there is left to destroy in you, you’d do it. We always feel the need to sink ourselves because we keep being intolerable, because if we’re suffering then maybe people would give us a break for all the shameful things we do. You think you could impose your own penance, but it never goes away, does it? That kind of deadening that’s worse than actual dying.”

― V.J. CampilanAll My Lonely Islands

phonto

Lace Bone Beast: Poems and Fairytales for Wicked Girls by N.L. Shompole: Book Review

kombibros-2

Synopsis from Goodreads: Here is emptiness. Here is a mouth after a recent excavation, black with soot, devoid of kisses. Here are hands, trembling against the soft ache of morning, here are eyes, wet, wide, half-full of sky and loneliness. Here is belly, back, femur, spine, ragged and smooth all at once, all at once. Here are dreams, ink black and speckled, lost behind the eyes. Here is a muted elegy, crow’s feet feathered over the eyes like lace. Here are the last strains of a dirge, wild, discordant, free.

Publisher: http://kingdomsinthewild.com/

Publication Date: January 10, 2017

Date Read:  December 2016

Source: Publisher provided me an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

REVIEW

For big fans of milk and honey by  Rupi Kaur you will definitely enjoy this one, or even more. Lace Bone Beast isn’t something you come across often, it was truly a gem. The way the author painted each scenario is impeccable, enough for you to devour every thing that is written. The poems were sincere and raw, it had the power of enthralling its reader without overdoing it. It was perfectly digestible, every meaning of each poem was not lost on me. It has the ability to draw you in, it has the ability to elaborate something so profound and offer it to you in a different light. It empowers just as much as it accepts you as your true self. You don’t encounter something like this on a daily basis, it was an affirmation of life’s ever mysterious ways such as grief, love, forgiveness, self-worth and everything in between. It was truly something one should read at least once in his lifetime.

NL Shompole has the talent on making you feel the impact of her every word. And I now consider her as one of my favorite poets. I love that her poems are something you can identify with and is also something that only gets better each time you read them. Her poetry is brimming with wisdom. They say poetry is the highest form of literature, and NL Shompole did an amazing job in this collection. It was subtle when it needs to be, and assertive when it must. You wouldn’t miss the message it was trying to send across. It had a keen observation to details without missing the essence of each poem. It wasn’t overwhelming. If for anything, it offers comfort and support.

It was surely a pleasure to read this poetry book, I can highly recommend this one to readers who want to venture out on poetry. NL Shompole’s writing style will hit you straight to your heart, and yes it will linger. Her poetry is the kind of poetry you’ll crave once in while.

Rating: rating_5stars

the heart is a casket for forgotten things

Love the body through

all the stages of ruin, and
resurrection.
 
Love the body through
the dark winter, and
into spring.
 
Love the body
for it has housed you
through the collapse, and
the catastrophe.

FullSizeRender