The Scottish Bank of Surabaya (Ava Lee #5) by Ian Hamilton

Its been a while since I’ve dived into the Ava Lee series.  I really love the whole Chinese-Canadian roots for this intelligent, brave and tough forensic accountant.  I’m still thinking this series would be prime for TV but then, maybe not for various reasons that don’t bother me but might bother other viewers.  Without being too offensive, if you’ve read it and know the character, you might know what I’m talking about.

I have reviewed all the previous books if you missed it.  You can find it here:

#1 The Water Rat of Wanchai
#2 The Disciple of Las Vegas
#3 The Wild Beasts of Wuhan
#4 The Red Pole of Macau

Now, let’s check it out! 🙂

The Scottish Banker of Surabaya (Ava Lee#5)

By: Ian Hamilton

scottish banker of surabaya

After the events of The Red Pole of Macau, Ava has slowed down to heal from all the physical damage (if not a little, her mindset about her business as well).  That is until her mother introduces her to a woman in need who has a bunch of Vietnamese investors that fell for an investment scam and lost a lot of money.  Being forced into taking the business, Ava flies to Vietnam and then Surabaya hoping to figure out and trace back the money. This leads her to a Scottish banker in Surabaya who runs Bank Linno who ends up having a rough clash with her and takes it to a more personal issue.  While Ava has finally figured out where the money has gone, the situation gets more complicated when she realizes that its related to one of the biggest Italian mobs and their grand scheme of money laundering. Faced with difficult decisions and dangerous situations, Ava must try to make the best choice while things also get more personal as she realizes that there is something Uncle (her partner) is hiding from her about his health.

I love this Ava Lee series a lot.  I stumbled on this book completely be accident and honestly, its one of the series that has a lot to love.  The adventure and the wit in all the stories are great.  The cases themselves are unique and feature a whole travelling adventure just to track it down with compelling characters each time.  What the previous few books did lack was diving a little more into Ava’s personal life and her relationship with Uncle.  We saw signs of her personal life being a part of the picture in the previous book and when things get more personal, the stakes get higher, making the story even more intriguing.

At this point, after 4 books, jumping into this one, Ava Lee is a character I know fairly well of.  She’s connected with me and I look forward to what she’s up to.  This time, Ava Lee is given a much more dangerous situation and she even gets into a few bad tangles herself.  Those tangles are the turning point for her character and I think that is the game changer here.  One that is tough to swallow but also one that shows us what Ava is capable of.

I still struggle a little to understand why branding is a such a huge thing in these books.  I wonder if its to show the class that Ava is or the type of person she is or its just brands that stick out.  I don’t think that talking about Adidas workout gear or Brooks Brothers shirts or Cartier watches are details that matter so much.  They don’t quite bother me as much as it did in the earlier books but its still something I have a hard time wrapping my head around the reasoning of choosing that.  It feels like meticulous unnecessary details.  Still, thats not enough to pull away from just how awesome this novel is.

For a series to run for so long and after 4 books, still manage to drag me right into the story and craving for what will be next in the following novel.  It definitely something that I never expected when I spontaneously picked up this book after the bookstore shelf.  I love pleasant surprises and this fifth book is one that you don’t want to miss! 🙂

Have you read the Ava Lee series? What are your thoughts on it?

Book Review: The Fall of Five (Lorien Legacies #4) by Pittacus Lore

I love monthly book recaps.  Its been working so well until the last few months where I was focusing on the independent writers and then those deserve their own posts to share all the talent in our little blogosphere alone.

BUT, the Lorien Legacies deserve its own post.  Most book series (even movies) kind of taper off and lose the original greatness to it as the books and the story build up.  Lorien Legacies is fantastic at keeping the pace, developing the characters and I just keeping this whole Loric business in check the whole time. Even after Michael Bay took up the project and turned into a hopeless effort with his signature stamped over it, this series has such a great potential for the big screen, if not, a TV series based on this would pretty much kick-ass.

Wait I’m getting ahead of myself…

THE FALL OF FIVE (LORIEN LEGACIES#4)

by Pittacus Lore

the fall of five

I didn’t review I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacy#1) on here but if you do happen want to check out #2 The Power of Six and #3 The Rise of Nine, you could find them HERE and HERE respectively.

Much like the rest of the series, The Fall of Five is a really fun read.  Its action-packed and with so many books, this one is where the Gardes are finally all reunited, after finally finding Five.  The Mogadorian fights are more and the creatures are bigger and badder.  There are a few additions back into the story.  This time around its narrated by John (Four), Marina (Niine) and Sam, one of the earlier characters.

The beginning of The Fall of Five took me a little while to catch again since the last time I read this series was back in January.  Its not a lack of desire to read it that I’ve waited this long but rather, I have to sit patiently and wait for paperback versions to come out.  I lug these books to and from work along with a bunch of other stuff so for the sake of my shoulders and my back, I try to choose the lighter option, that being paperback but those apparently now take forever to come out.  And with exciting books, I very much prefer having it in my  hand than on my tablet.  I’m going off topic again.

The Fall of Five is so much fun to read.  At the same time, it goes a little more personal.  Why? As much as its about saving Lorien and eventually being able to go back once they get everyone together, everyone has their own story.  There’s a few unexpected twists that really bring everything to perspective.  Thats the key to what makes these books fantastic reads.  Sure, they are for teens but I don’t really care because it does a whole lot better in pacing than a lot of more adult books that I read.

That last few chapters was like heart attack intensity. I think I held my breath through it all.  Exciting stuff, my friends.

I highly recommend it and thats why I’m avoiding revealing too much of the plot itself. Its worth your time.  Trust me! 🙂

The Rise of Mallory (Everville#3) by Roy Huff

While I had to figure out why one of my ebooks didn’t transfer well onto Kindle, I bumped up the next book and started reading the third instalment of the Everville series called The Rise of Mallory.

I’ve reviewed the first and the second HERE and HERE respectively.

The Rise of Mallory (Everville #3)

by Roy Huff

Everville: The Rise of Mallory

The fantasy YA series by Roy Huff is about an alternate world that exists where there is a war to keep the evil out as it continues to threaten its existence.  Some people in the “real” world (we live in) are gifted to know about this world and have the power to transport between the two worlds.

The Rise of Mallory picks up after the events of the second book, The City of Worms.  In the City of Worms, the goal was to protect Everville from the possibility of the destruction that the power the worms held inside them and to destroy it.  Although, it was overall destroyed with the opening of the Second Pillar by Owen Sage, the main protagonist of the series, there were consequences that leads us into this instalment.

Owen and his friends are living with the remaining of effects and trying to get past all that has happened, except Owen suddenly gets contacted by The Second Pillar in the form of his father telling him that The City of Worms has some leftover business that he must attend to.  There are shady characters in play and they have a big plan to destroy Everville in hopes of gaining more power.  The obsession over this power has made this Fron (inhabitant of Everville) turn bad.  With that, Owen sets off to find the Third Pillar while also having to figure out the mysteries of not only why his father is possibly The Second Pillar and also certain events that went on in the past two books.  I’m going to stop it right here because in case,  you are reading this, I don’t want to spoil anything.

The reviews for the past 2 has been a while so I’ll go into a little recap to say that the first wasn’t so great because it was a bit confusing when dealing with the real world and the Everville one along with the whole The Other in Between and all that stuff.  The second one was lacking because of the pacing being a little bit lagging.  Although not perfect, the first two does show potential and set the stage for somewhere to rise higher in the next novel.

The Rise of Mallory is the best of the 3 books so far. Why do I say that?

1. It has a good length and fantastic pacing
2. The story flows perfect with the last and answers a lot of questions while leaving room for further mysteries
3.  It keeps the different story lines going on at the same time very well that its not confusing
4. The fantasy world of Everville introduces the “worm” which turns into something cool and just exactly what every fantasy story needs
5. There is some character development for Owen especially.

Although it has a lot of great stuff going for this Book 3,  there are a few aspects that fell short for me.  I’m still adapting to the writing style.  Its definitely improving and more engaging and intriguing but its still something I’m adapting to.  Aside from that, its really this one part that comes as a surprise but that part is a little rushed and doesn’t give me the feeling that I was supposed to feel to connect with Owen’s character.  These are really the bits that bothered me a little bit but overall, its the best out of the three.

Everville is imaginative and fun.  Roy Huff may not particularly have the writing style that I’m used to but he does have a really great premise going with reality and Everville.  He uses the simple terms that we use everyday to show the enemies and I appreciate that a lot.  The enemies are quite simple called Them and the lingering space is The Other in Between.  Sure, there’s some other names (like Fron that I mentioned before) but travelling to Everville with Owen is never dull plus every Pillar has had something valuable to offer.

I’d definitely recommend giving Everville series a shot (if you haven’t started reading) 🙂

You can find Roy Huff’s blog right HERE!

Book Review: Stefan’s Diaries Vol.1 Origins (The Vampire Diaries series)

I’m a huge fan of Vampire Diaries.  I think that the series was super smart but its just lightly similar to the book series.  I never intended to get this as its more of a tangent that was made after the series happened and was successful based on one of the main character, Stefan’s coming to be a vampire. He’s the good brother in the whole series, or at least he tries to control his humanity a lot more.  If you watch the series, you will understand what I mean.

If you don’t, this book doesn’t really matter.  Its really just a more detail version of Stefan’s life. This book starts off from the little snippets from the series about how he became a vampire and his infatuation of Katherine and his fight with his brother Damon over this girl.  How they each had to make their choices.

Its a pretty average young adult supernatural romance fiction. Honestly, I enjoyed the original book series a lot more mostly because the TV series only extracts the characters but the story itself is so different.  This book, the first in the Stefan Diaries series, was pretty much creating a back story for the TV series for the fans who want to know more.  Its definitely a strategic move.  Its an alright book. I never really felt compelled or pulled in.  I never really felt the urgency of the situation because I do know the outcome and the general idea of what happens, especially since this was written a 2-3 years back or something and the TV series has touched some of the parts already.

I’m going to keep this short. If you haven’t watched the series, this might actually be more interesting to read though.  The Vampire Diaries TV series and book series both have engaging storylines in their own way.  It all depends which path you choose to take.  I got this book only because it was to fill up an Amazon order to get free shipping and it was half price promotion.  My expectations were not high to begin with and it was not exceeded.

This actually puts me in a little rut.  I never start a series and not finish it…which also means, I need to hunt down the other books slowly 😉  Although, I think the next books could be more interesting since it might shed light on actual details that the series never mentions.  Who knows, right? I like to stay positive and expect the best!

*Just a quick update on my 2013 Reading Challenge in Goodreads! This completes my 18th book out of 30 goal 🙂 I realize its past the halfway point but I figured it was worth a mention 🙂 Things are on track 😉 If you have Goodreads, feel free to add me as a friend!*