Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie (9) - E-Readers

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie is going to be a discussion post feature in which I discuss anything book-related. They're just normal (sometimes random) discussion posts that are named A Cup of Coffee with Reggie because it's like having a cup of coffee with me and listening (or in this case reading) about my bookish opinions. It will be a random feature here at TUBL that can pop up anywhere from twice a day to twice a year.

Today's Topic:

What do you think about E-Readers?

Lately I've been thinking about whether or not I should get an e-reader like a Nook or a Kindle. I love the feel of the physical book in my hand but there are also a lot of setbacks from having so many physical books. Over the past few months, I've been accumulating lots of books and ARCs from the publishers and my shelf-space is running out, forcing me to option e-readers.

For me, here are the pros and cons of having an e-reader:

- It can store a LOT of books.
- It's light.
- It's efficient to travel with.
- Programs like NetGalley are starting to promote E-ARC copies.
- It's better environmentally.

- Doesn't have the same feel of a real book.
- Even though programs like NetGalley offer E-ARC copies, not all publishers and books are not accessible in that format.
- Difficult to jump pages when writing a review.
- The books look aesthetically less appealing because the cover is in black and white.

I've personally never used an e-reader before, so I'm not sure I can make those assumptions about the pros and cons of having one...

What's your opinion? What do you think of e-readers? YAY or NAY? What do you think?


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

Title: Falling Under (Book 1)
Author: Gwen Hayes
Pages: 324
Publisher: March 1, 2011
Publication Date: New American Library (NAL)
Source: ARC from Publisher for Review
Official TUBL Rating: A+

Theia Alderson has always led a sheltered life in the small California town of Serendipity Falls. But when a devastatingly handsome boy appears in the halls of her school, Theia knows she's seen Haden before- not around town, but in her dreams.

As the Haden of both the night and the day beckons her closer one moment and pushes her away the next, the only thing Theia knows for sure is that the incredible pull she feels towards him is stronger than her fear.

And when she discovers what Haden truly is, Theia's not sure if she wants to resist him, even if the cost is her soul.
Seductive and elaborately fabricated, Falling Under's enigmatic world, intertwined with its multifaceted characters are expertly compounded together to create a prominent paranormal debut. In Falling Under, there are two very different, dramatic worlds that are developed simultaneously; Theia's daily life in school and at home, and Haden's dark, mysterious hell. Hayes masterfully fosters many symbolic opposites in the novel; day and night, and real life and hell. The normal reality that Hayes cultivates is convincing and readers will be able to connect with the ordinariness of that particular aspect of Falling Under. In contrast, the paranormal factor in the novel incorporates a more imaginative side to to it. Because the two worlds merge together, a labyrinthine storyline is filled with both dramatic and fantastical elements.

Theia's doubtful narrative is immediately magnetic. Her maturity is evident in her strong tone and her established background emphasizes that she's different from everyone else. There's a strong undercurrent of exclusion from Theia's tone that is subtly woven into the novel. Theia is a very controlled and cultured, but with an air of detachment around her. Nevertheless, the lack of presence of Theia's father both in the book and in her life seems to affect her on a more emotional level. Readers will be able to equate themselves with Theia because of the high expectations she has to live up to and her struggle to form a relationship with her father.

Haden is a complicated character with a well-built exterior that exudes coolness and indifference. The difference in his two different personalities--Night Haden and Day Haden--is palpable in the way that he treats Theia in both worlds. And even in Theia's reality, Haden has an otherworldly presence to him. The vivid and creepy descriptions of Haden's hell mirrors one side of him, but his humanity is more and more perceptible as he grows as a character. From the beginning, there is an instant attraction, and Hayes uses that element to contrive an intense relationship between Theia and Haden.

Hayes' prose in Falling Under matches the contemporary and otherworldly components that flows with a harboring undertone of suspense and mystery. The aspects of realism combined with the fantasy provides a balance to the novel. Hayes' addicting, smooth writing coupled with a convoluted plot-line makes for a compelling read.

Falling Under is a stunning play of words and ideas. Hayes' debut will seduce readers to fall under.

The Bottom Line: I loved every single bit of it! I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel to this exciting novel!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Vampire Stalker by Allison Van Diepen

Title: The Vampire Stalker
Author: Allison Van Diepen
Pages: 272
Publisher: Point
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Source: ARC from Publisher for Review
Official TUBL Rating: B+

What if the characters in a vampire novel left their world--and came into yours?

Amy is in love with someone who doesn't exist: Alexander Banks, the dashing hero in a popular series of vampire novels. Then one night, Amy meets a boy who bears an eerie resemblance to Alexander. In fact, he IS Alexander, who has escaped from the pages of the book and is in hot pursuit of a wicked vampire named Vigo. Together, Amy and Alexander set out to track Vigo and learn how and why Alexander crossed over. But when she and Alexander begin to fall for each other, Amy wonders if she even wants him to ever return to the realm of fiction.

Filled with both mystery and hilarity, The Vampire Stalker is a light but very authentic story that chronicles one girl's fantasy that comes true. Because it's set in modern day New York, it is already effortless to relate to the book. The vivid descriptions of the city imbue a subtle appreciation of New York into the novel, otherwise balancing the paranormal factors in The Vampire Stalker.

At the onset of the novel, Amy's authentic, real character is established. Her strong narrative is a combination of comedy, disbelief, and perspective. Her mature outlook on life is caused by her own issues at home. Although The Vampire Stalker is classified as a paranormal novel, it has a contemporary element to it, letting the readers connect more with Amy even though her situation is far-fetched.

Alexander's character is developed as the novel progresses. He's not a perfect love interest and he has quirks that readers will be able to tune into during the novel. Van Diepen slowly unravels his cold-hearted, disinterested exterior while also growing his relationship with Amy. The chemistry between them is undeniable and because they're new to relationships, they discover and learn together.

The Vampire Stalker is a dream-come-true for fangirls and YA lovers. It's funny, romantic, and dangerous combined in a spectacular blend of paranormal and contemporary.

The Bottom Line: It's cliché and original all at once. It's cute and serious all at once. I love the opposites in it and it's just truly one of those books that you read for a laugh. It seriously reminds me of Twilight brought to life... It's the ultimate guilty pleasure for any fangirl!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

See My [Creative] Spark Saturday (3) - Dreamer's Disease

See My [Creative] Spark Saturday is a new feature every week here at The Undercover Book Lover. It's a feature when I post an original written piece; either a short story or a poem and you guys can comment and give me constructive feedback on them =) You get a glimpse of my [no matter how minuscule] creative spark!

Today's Spark is a short story called:

Dreamer's Disease
Inspired by Lauren Oliver's Delirium

I am trapped. In a place of which only knows hunger and poverty. Trapped in a world with a black, empty, bottomless void that leaks darkness and hate.


The bloodied, grime-infested creatures; kids, just like me. But not. They hang limply against the blood-stained, gray brick wall; like immovable mounted trophies, except for the fact that they are sixteen year-old teenagers, just like me.


The animal trophies would be better to look at than these rag dolls.




“Hey you! What are you doing over there?!” I am suddenly pulled away from my disturbing, but nonetheless very real and very present thoughts.

“You stop dreaming why don’t you? You know it’s against the rules!”

I simply nod, absent and tired.

“You best do what he says. We all know what’s coming and it’s useless to fight...unless your as pigheaded as me. Ha! All they do in that room is torture you, then they bleed all of your thoughts out of you,” the boy next to me whispers, motioning to the big wooden door towering over us; even from ten feet away. His sweaty, dirty brown hair covers part of his deep, chocolate eyes; mysterious and mischievous.

I am not surprised of this. I’ve heard of the many things they do here in the Society; especially rumors of the Illusia Process. At the age of sixteen, everyone must go through it.


Here in the Society, they do not allow thoughts, dreams, and aspirations to flourish. The Society turns us into mindless robots, bleeding us of our very own thoughts. The Illusia Process is a cure. Or so They think.

“When is it your turn?” I whisper in reply, afraid that the guards will suspect us of escape.

“Soon, aft—“

The boy is grabbed, a guard pulling his filth-ridden shirt, tearing it to reveal a multitude of scars. The boy fights and resists, “I will not go! No! No! No! Ahhhhhhh!” His screams of resistance are futile as the doors close behind him and the guard.

His screams echo. And echo. And echo.

Suddenly, the screams stop.

The door is slowly moved open. In he walks, quiet with his head bent down, facing the floor. He sits beside me in his place and I notice the fresh cuts and raw bruises he now bears; deep and painful.

“Are you okay?” I ask.

He doesn’t reply, but looks up for just one moment, the mischievous glint in his eyes is gone.

“Are you okay?” I ask once more.

He doesn’t reply. This time, his eyes stay down and apathetic; empty.

I then realize that this is what will happen to me when I go through those dreaded doors.

I will be stripped of my soul.

The guard approaches my fetal-positioned form. “Are you going to fight?” He asks, ready for resistance.

I hold my head up high, “Yes, I will,”

I have Illusia.

I have the dreamer’s disease...And I do not want to be cured.

Author's Note: Constructive Criticism is welcomed =)


Friday, August 19, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent (Book 1)
Author: Veronica Roth
Pages: 496
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Source: ARC from Publisher for Review
Official TUBL Rating: A+

Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.
Unflinching and unwavering, Divergent is a gripping tale about strength and the will to live in a world where people are easily manipulated. Roth forms a bleak, jarring environment wherein people are separated into five different factions. The perceptible division and distaste for each other's factions is tangible to the reader and ultimately develops a daunting air of mistrust throughout the novel. Coupled with the prominent hierarchy and the convoluted web of cunning deceit and misconceptions, Roth establishes a strong sense of setting. The world-building in Divergent will astound readers continuously with its originality. Uniquely, each faction has a different characteristic and a different structure which gives the reader a sense of what a particular faction is truly like.

Tris' strong voice is noticeable from the onset of Divergent. Her growth in character reflects her growth as a narrator as she leaves her fearful self behind and becomes more courageous than she's ever been but her true essence never changes. The uncertainty and the doubt Tris feels erupts from her narrative at the start and naturally fades away as determination and perseverance takes its place. And her name change doesn't only symbolize her new identity, but also the beginning of acceptance that she's different.

Readers will see Four as an aloof, brooding tough guy at the beginning but it's apparent that he's different from the others in the Dauntless faction. The romance in Divergent doesn't dominate the story at all, but it's the element that propels the plot on a more emotional level. At one point, Four brings Tris' insecurities to the surface letting the reader empathize even more. Four and Tris' relationship is a little uncertain but their chemistry is striking and arresting.

Divergent is so much more than just a novel. It's a story about never backing down and rising above others when they try to pull you down. It's an unfiltered take on how people fight for their right to live.

The Bottom Line: It's a beautiful story about a broken world.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie (8) - Getting Friendly with Authors & Negative Reviews

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie is going to be a discussion post feature in which I discuss anything book-related. They're just normal (sometimes random) discussion posts that are named A Cup of Coffee with Reggie because it's like having a cup of coffee with me and listening (or in this case reading) about my bookish opinions. It will be a random feature here at TUBL that can pop up anywhere from twice a day to twice a year.

Today's Topic:

What do you think about getting friendly with an author and then giving them a negative review?

I always wonder how it feels like to be a book reviewer who is so conflicted about whether or not to give a novel a negative review (honestly) to the author of whom they are friends with. Personally, I only have a select number of authors who I'm friends with because of this particular reason. There's a fine line between honesty and friendship in this case and I don't know how authors deal with getting a bad review from a friend or relative.

I think that if I was an author, I'd try my hardest not to get too offended by a negative review from a close friend/relative...I would welcome their constructive criticism and take it into account...of course, I don't know how it feels, so it's easy for me to say.

And as a blogger, I would try to be as honest as I possibly can but along with a lot of justification as to why their book wasn't a great read for me...But then again, I can't say anything because I've never done it to an author friend (because I'm in love with all of their books :D)...

What's your opinion? Do you guys get friendly with authors, or is this a setback for you? Authors? What do you think?


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Doubles ARC Contest

So I've received a few doubles in the mail and I've decided to give them away to one lucky person! I've read all of these books and they're all AMAZING; especially Shatter Me and A Beautiful Dark!

Here's what's up for grabs:
Shatter Me by Tahareh Mafi
Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala
A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies
Supernaturally by Kiersten White
Eve by Anna Carey
The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon


- I am going on a whim here and say it's INTERNATIONAL.
- The contest will end on August 23, 2011.
- I will email the winner.
- Contest Policy applies.
- I will use The Contest Winner Picker for picking the winners for this contest.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Title: Other Words for Love
Author: Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
Pages: 368
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 11, 2011
Source: ARC from Publisher for Review
Official TUBL Rating: A

When an unexpected inheritance enables Ari to transfer to an elite Manhattan prep school, she makes a wealthy new friend, Leigh. Leigh introduces Ari to the glamorous side of New York--and to her gorgeous cousin, Blake. Ari doesn't think she stands a chance, but amazingly, Blake asks her out. As their romance heats up, they find themselves involved in an intense, consuming relationship. Ari's family worries that she is losing touch with the important things in life, like family, hard work, and planning for the future.

When misfortune befalls Blake's family, he pulls away, and Ari's world drains of color. As she struggles to get over the breakup, Ari must finally ask herself: were their feelings true love . . . or something else?
Emotionally-unrestrained and striking, Other Words for Love is a stunning, provocative take on an ordinary life filled with heartbreak, angst, and love. Set in New York, the poetically beautiful descriptions submerse the readers in such atmospheric awe. In contrast, the harboring issues and drama that faces Ari is the pensive, somber balance to the stunning backdrop of New York. Rosenthal tackles issues of first love and family in a striking, moving tale of understanding and acceptance.

From the very beginning, Ari's character has an air of maturity and caution around her. Her feelings elicit very powerful and very real emotions from the reader through her almost-lyrical narration. Her naiveness give readers fresh insight into an explosive first relationship and a borderline-obsessive first crush; with all of the tumultuous emotion flying off each page.

Different from other contemporary YA novels, Other Words for Love explores different types of love: familial, romantic, and friendly; all of which bring issues that drives the plot in key places. The effortless, evocative prose highlights these issues and ultimately plunges the reader into the broken, but nonetheless beautiful world of Ari.

Other Words for Love is to be put simply; beautiful and bittersweet. It's a poignant, coming-of-age novel that has an element of utter relatability and authenticity that will stay in readers' hearts for many years to come.

The Bottom Line: I loved it. I really did.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

See My [Creative] Spark Saturday (2) - Spark

See My [Creative] Spark Saturday is a new feature every week here at The Undercover Book Lover. It's a feature when I post an original written piece; either a short story or a poem and you guys can comment and give me constructive feedback on them =) You get a glimpse of my [no matter how minuscule] creative spark!

Today's Spark is a poem called:


It is an escape,

Life immortalized in stanzas.

Everyday expressed,

Through the interplay,

Of words.

It’s a heartbeat,

A lifeline.

Drawn with words,

The bright, gleaming sun,

And the clear, natural rain,

Tarnished by the misery of the world.

Painted with delicate strokes of imagination,

A reminiscent love.

But harshly sketched,

Death and hate,

With the deep scars of experience.


That creative spark is lost.

Nowhere to be found,

From the highest peak of intellect,

To the darkest depths of ignorance,

Nowhere to be found.

Thoughts, ideas, and creativity,

Leak into the dark, ominous void of nothingness.


Free from the clutches of lies,

It is freedom.

Free from the grime and filth,

It is all left behind in reality.

Loose from the bounds tied to insecurity,

It is the powerful essence that mingles,

With raw emotion.

Liberated from the harsh realities,

And unraveled from deceptive illusions,

It is the expression of the soul.

The unrestrained inspiration that sings to many hearts.

And the epidemic that cures so many souls.


Friday, August 12, 2011

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie (7) - Families in YA

A Cup of Coffee with Reggie is going to be a discussion post feature in which I discuss anything book-related. They're just normal (sometimes random) discussion posts that are named A Cup of Coffee with Reggie because it's like having a cup of coffee with me and listening (or in this case reading) about my bookish opinions. It will be a random feature here at TUBL that can pop up anywhere from twice a day to twice a year.

Today's Topic:

Do you think there's a lack of focus on families in YA?

Lately, I've been thinking about the young adult genre and how most young adult books don't really have a lot to do with family. Sometimes, the protagonist doesn't have a family, other times, it seems like the protagonist doesn't have a family when he/she actually does. For me, I miss that familial interaction in books. Lately, it all seems to be romantic interaction or friend-related drama in YA novels.

There are some books though, such as Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala and Rival by Sara Bennett Wealer that focus on families and rely on their opinions of the protagonist quite heavily. I love how the familial expectations in some books really affect the protagonist and his/her actions.

What's your opinion? What do you guys think of families in YA? Familial interactions? YAY or NAY?


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fury by Elizabeth Miles

Title: Fury (Book 1)
Author: Elizabeth Miles
Pages: 352
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
Source: E-ARC from Publisher for Review
Official TUBL Rating: C-

Sometimes sorry isn't enough....

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems...

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better--the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel...something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen.

Mythology-infused and problematic, Fury is a disappointment. Set in Maine, the descriptions are beautiful and alluring but there are many other problems with the novel. The interchanging point-of-views between Em and Chase is choppy and ill-timed. There are many clichés in the novel and the two main characters, Em and Chase seem extremely shallow and nonsensical.

Em and Chase are two characters that are extremely similar and depthless. They knew the possible consequences of their actions and yet, they continued with seeming caution and regard to other people. The ordeals that Chase goes through with Ty are just stupid. He's too blinded by whatever cheesy spell she has on him. And the same goes for Em with Zach. It's just really to obvious that he's using her. Ultimately, readers will find Em and Chase to be two completely ignorant, self-centered idiots that have nothing else to do.

Honestly, the plot is horrifying. Fury seems to be a really cliché version of cheesy highs school drama but with a couple of mythological creatures thrown in. There are quite a lot of plot holes and disappointing aspects in Fury. Because of the interchanging point-of-views, and because Fury tries to tell two stories at the same time, the plot and prose seem rushed and flat.

Because Elizabeth Miles is a new author, it's okay if she doesn't deliver as well as people expect. There is lots of potential for the Fury series to grow and hopefully, she will succeed.

The Bottom Line: Just not my cup of tea. It may be yours, but it sure isn't mine.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Title: Enclave (Book 1)
Author: Ann Aguirre
Pages: 272
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: April 12, 2011
Source: ARC from Publisher for Review
Official TUBL Rating: A

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.
Gripping, harsh, and bleak, Enclave is a brutal look at an underground society in a post-apocalyptic world. Aguirre's borderline-disturbing descriptions of gore and the blood, intertwined with the severe dystopian backdrop creates an air of unpredictable suspense. In a world of 'Freaks' and strident conditions, the tyranny of the Enclave reserves no cruelty. The gritty descriptions of the world beyond the Enclave is even worse, but nonetheless horrifyingly vivid.

Deuce is such a strong protagonist. From the very beginning, her mental and physical strength is distinct in her choppy (in a good way), raw narration. She's tough inside and out. Her fierce and unfailing loyalty to those around her is admirable. Amongst her characteristics, the readers will find her ability to overcome pure fear, a rare quality that not many protagonists have. Deuce is independent and truly embodies all of the qualities of a huntress.

As an outsider, Fade's character is much more standoffish and aloof. As Deuce and Fade get to know each other, the spark of romance and attraction is there but neither party talks about it, deriving a stronger sense of tension between the two characters. They have a lot of similarities in terms of values and ability. But Fade, because of his knowledge and street-smarts of Topside, is able to protect Deuce and take care of her, adding to the emotional turmoil between them.

Aguirre's prose completely mirrors the grim and sharp atmosphere that Enclave is set against. The descriptions of the 'Freaks' and the ravaged environment is almost disturbing and unrelenting. As the action and suspense grows, so does the sense of danger. Survival is key and when Enclave ends, readers' hearts will finally relax.

The Bottom Line: The dystopian world here is so vividly descriptive and so much heart-stopping action occurs in so little pages. I was lost in the world of Enclave from the very page up until the very last.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young

Title: A Need So Beautiful
Author: Suzanne Young
Pages: 272
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: June 21, 2011
Source: ARC from Publisher for Review
Official TUBL Rating: A

We all want to be remembered. Charlotte's destiny is to be Forgotten...

Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger.

But Charlotte never wanted this responsibility. What she wants is to help her best friend, whose life is spiraling out of control. She wants to lie in her boyfriend's arms forever. But as the Need grows stronger, it begins to take a dangerous toll on Charlotte. And who she was, is, and will become--her mark on this earth, her very existence--is in jeopardy of disappearing completely.

Charlotte will be forced to choose: Should she embrace her fate as a Forgotten, a fate that promises to rip her from the lives of those she loves forever? Or is she willing to fight against her destiny--no matter how dark the consequences.
Intense and emotional, A Need So Beautiful captures the very crux of beautiful writing. It's a stunningly-woven story that will elicit so much emotion from the reader. Young sets the book in a contemporary environment, letting readers relate to Charlotte in a way despite the paranormal ordeal that she goes through. The concept of The Need is beautiful but nonetheless a little painful. In the novel, Young plays with the idea of light and dark and good vs. evil but the originality enhances the whole plot.

Charlotte is down-to-earth and ordinary (despite The Need). Her perspective is brimming with a sense of isolation and secrecy because she can't share her secret; not even with the person she loves most. Every time The Need overcomes her, the readers will also feel that ultimate compulsion that Charlotte regularly feels. Charlotte's narrative oozes with her caring personality but it also has that hysteria and secretive air to it because of The Need.

Harlin's relationship with Charlotte is intense and fiery. And because they are already together, their interactions with each other are so much more authentic. Harlin isn't a prop or merely a love interest; he pushes the plot and ultimately enhances the tension in A Need So Beautiful. But even so, their romance does not dominate; instead, it creates a sort of equilibrium with the myth-heavy plot.

A Need So Beautiful is truly heartbreaking and bittersweet. It is both utterly stunning and horrifying to see Charlotte make the sacrifices, especially with the raw, pure love that she feels with Harlin. A Need So Beautiful closes with a devastatingly striking ending of understanding and finally, acceptance.

The Bottom Line: Beautiful. Just beautiful and sad.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

See My [Creative] Spark Saturday (1) - The Beautiful Broken

See My [Creative] Spark Saturday is a new feature every week here at The Undercover Book Lover. It's a feature wherein I post an original written piece; either a short story or a poem and you guys can comment and give me constructive feedback on them =) You get a glimpse of my [no matter how minuscule] creative spark!

Today's Spark is a short story called:

The Beautiful Broken

The hospital’s empty white walls that surround the uncomfortable white bed do not contrast his features. His pale, paper-thin skin is colorless against my own. I trace his left hand tentatively, finding comfort in the simple gold band that is encircled around his ring finger.

Looking at his face, examining his features, I feel my heart drop. His usually mischievous hazel eyes are closed, showing off the long black lashes that teeter on the tip of his eyelids and his ever-present smile is gone from his now pale lips.

I hold his face cautiously, as if he will break under my touch.

“Hey.” He slowly opens his eyes, looking up at my face.

“Hey,” I whisper in reply, kissing his forehead.

He takes my hand and intertwines my fingers into his. Palm to palm; secure and at home. He lifts his other hand and holds my face, caressing my lips. “I love you,” he says simply.

A tear rolls down my cheek; his finger catches it. “Don’t cry, I’m alright.”

“Liar,” I reply, without heat.

“Do you remember at our wedding? You looked so beautiful. When saw you walk towards me, it just felt right.” He lets go of my hand and twists out the gold band wrapped around his finger.

“What are you do—“

He goes on as if I hadn’t interrupted him. “That was the best day of my life; the start of our own forever. And because it’s my last…Syrena, I need you to promise me something.”

“What?” I whisper, my voice trembling and tears running freely down my face.

“Promise me you’ll move on. And when you do, leave this ring somewhere for somebody else to find. I want somebody to find this kind of love one day; one like ours.”

He gently presses the ring into my palm and closes it. He brings my hand to his lips and softly kisses it.

A surge of unrestrained love and sadness overcomes me all at once as I hold onto his face and kiss his lips. My heart feels like it’s about to explode with the raw, powerful emotions raging within the surface.

“I will,” I say, my voice shaking. “I love you, Cade”

“I love you too,” He closes his eyes for the last time.


I feel the wind as I look out onto the orange and pink-hued horizon atop the iridescent blue sea. The bottle with the ring inside is securely in my hand. I pull my hand back and pitch the bottle into the sea with everything I have in me. I know someone will find it. It’s the kind of love that’s hard to catch; the kind that doesn’t just come. It’s the kind that you have to find.

Love is painful and as it is beautiful. Love is everything at once. There’s no other way to describe it.

The love I have with Cade is broken, but it’s also beautiful.

Author's Note: I'm having some problems with the dialogue...I suck at it...haha =) Any advice?

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