Friday, November 13, 2015

StrangeLit#1: Fateful turns [Book Tour Stop]: Review :)

TITLE: Fateful Turns (StrangeLit Bundle#1)
AUTHOR/s: Justine Camacho-Tajonera, Nina Tuballes, Carla de Guzman, 
JM Agustin, Sue Donymko, Ren Mayari, Sette Luis, Will J. Sarm, 
Johann Farson, Chi Rodriguez, Rose Gallardo
GENRE: Paranormal, Fantasy

Despite being a little bit (Read: A LOT) of a scaredy-cat, I've always enjoyed reading and watching stories under the horror, thriller, paranormal, and fantasy genres. I find them interesting especially when they tackle beings that I don't usually see every day.
That is why I was too excited to sign up for this blog tour hosted by Dianne at Oops! I Read A Book Again especially because they are written by Filipino Authors (yay!)

#StrangeLit was a writing class held in 2015. For five weeks, participating authors wrote paranormal/fantasy stories, and this ebook bundle is a collection of work produced during the class. Read more #StrangeLit stories in the anthologies INCREDIBLE TRUTHS, DARKEST DREAMS, and KILLER SEASONS.

Follow the tour for the first bundle here!

(via Goodreads)

Maybe once upon a time we all were ordinary, until the day life took a fateful turn. Do we accept this, or run from it? Explore the path of extraordinary choices in these stories.

One of the stories that I excitedly plunged into was that of Justine Camacho-Tajonera's The Mermaid From Siquijor. One word: Mermaids. I've always been fascinated with merpeople as I was growing up and even until now. I've seen several differing interpretations of them (cue the mermaids from The Little Mermaid and the mermaids from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) Nevertheless, I was still impressed on Justine's take on how mermaids (or "Bearers") live. Also, the story focused more on finding one's identity which I enjoyed despite the fact that the romance was a little bit undercooked for me. Another thing that I enjoyed a lot in the story was what it seemed like a dual storyline (the past and the present) which worked well for me.

But aside from The Mermaid From Siquijor, the other story which became one of my instant favorites was Spirit by Nina Tuballes. First of all, I love love love the premise. It made me think of a one big crossover between my favorite stories: Harry Potter (with the magic, prophecies and chosen one thing), The Hunger Games (with the feisty and interesting characters + the love-hate-ish relationship between Dime and Serenity), The Maze Runner (with the post-apocalyptic Risen, divide between Babylon and Necropolis, and the telepathy thing), and even Dorothy Must Die (because of its superb world-building and how the characters explored the Necropolis deeper).

Sure, I guessed most of its plot twists but when it was revealed, I was still blown away. *spoiler* I KNEW ETHAN WASN'T SERENITY'S BROTHER!! *end of spoiler* I just have so many feelings on this one; like a rollercoaster. I swooned, I laughed, I got frustrated and yes, there were parts where I teared up just a little bit *spoiler* Ethan's death scene was just...heartbreaking. *end of spoiler*

But aside from all those, the diversely interesting characters were really the highlight for me. Like Katniss Everdeen, I wasn't sure at first if I liked Serenity or not but eventually, she won me over. And Dime!! He definitely makes my list of fave book guys *swoon* Even the sub characters were cool! If I have one problem with Spirit, it would probably be just the typographical errors here and there but in relation to the story itself, it was AMAZEBALLS. I just have no more words to say, just a whole bunch of feelings. Petition to Miss Nina Tuballes for a full-length novel (ehem series?) pretty please? :)

"Some people are as bright as the sun..." - Vince (The Mermaid From Siquijor)

" bright that they burn the ones that they love." - Lorie (The Mermaid From Siquijor)

"I would rather remember and feel the pain than forget and feel nothing at all." -Lorie (The Mermaid From Siquijor)

"Why do people strive to live when there's only death in the end?" - Dime (Spirit)

"(...) I want you to look at me like that. I want you to respond t me that way and I want to be the one to calm you down when you're frantic or afraid or angry. I want to be your sun, your everything Serenity, but clearly you already have your hands full. It hurts but I'll wait. I'll keep waiting." - Dime (Spirit)

"You lost someone you've been with for a long time. You lost your purpose, I understand that, but the only way to keep on living is to find a new one." - Dime (Spirit)

"Why waste time finding another one, if in a single snap it could also be gone?" -Serenity (Spirit) 

Here are the blurbs of the stories included here in the bundle.  I hope that these "teasers" would get you hyped up to check out Fateful Turns!

The Mermaid From Siquijor by Justine Camacho-Tajonera

Lorie Cenas gets invited to go on a diving trip to Siquijor, an island famed for its connection to the supernatural, to heal from a broken heart. She accepts but her friend doesn't know that Lorie has a secret: she already has a deep connection to the island, the place where her mother died a long time ago.
There, she meets Marceau Egasse, a French diver and marine ecologist, who is passionate about the ocean but skeptical about the island's mystic powers; and Elena, a mysterious island woman, who has secrets of her own.
Elena wants something from Lorie that she is not willing to give up. Will Lorie heal wounds from her past in Siquijor? Will she find love and a kindred spirit? Or is the island a maelstrom that will consume her, just like it did her mother?

Spirit by Nina Tuballes
Fifty years ago on the 21st of December 2012, the world as we knew it, ended. 
The earth was divided into two territories: Babylon and Necropolis. Babylonians believe that it was God's wrath that caused the cataclysmic event that led to whatever the world has become. Some believed it to be a scientific phenomenon, but only those who wields the power of Spirit knows the truth. 
Prophesied Savior of Humankind, that's what Serenity is for the wielders. The strongest among them. But is her strength enough to deal with her brother's lie, her altered memories, the cult that rapes and kills women, the Risen who devours the living, and the truth about everything? 
Will Dime, her broken and clueless soul mate, be able to save her from herself? And will she on the other hand, have the power to save Dime from himself?

With the immense power in her hands, saving the world seem as easy as one, two, three, but as seduction and the pleasure of it tingling at her fingertips, the chance of being consumed and destroyed by it increases.


The Lady in Pink by Carla de Guzman
Martha Ford can see ghosts. She always has, and when she moved to Paris, she's found that ghosts are much better company than real people can ever be. She takes a job cleaning up an apartment in the Ninth Arrondisement where she and Henri Beaugiron stumble across the portrait of his great-great Grandmother, Marthe de Florian. But Marthe's ghost is determined to take over Martha's body, and unless Martha can find out why, she could lose everything to the city of Lights.

The Eternal Harmony Funeral Home by JM Agustin
Peter "Pit" Rosario is your typical under achiever. Never the good student, nor the athlete -- nor anything, really. Pit is the epitome of unmotivated. While normal college students study for tests, go out with friends, and go to class; you can find Pit in front of a computer, playing his horror games.

But when death visits the family of one Pit's closest friends, he finds himself away from his computer chair and at the wake of someone he barely knows. In a strange place and out of his element, Pit has never felt as uncomfortable as he is now and he just wishes he could go home and play his horror games.

To make matters worse, there's a weird janitress following him around; smelling him with her long crooked nose as he walks by; staring at him with her dark sunken eyes from a distance. Looking at the strange old lady, Pit knows there's something seriously wrong with her.

Did she just lick me!?

Fate by Sue Donymko
All he ever wanted...
All Daniel Santiago ever wanted was to get laid, like any other normal guy. But with his powers come a strange curse that cannot be broken, unless he meets The One.

...was what she cannot give.
All her life, Felicity simply followed what her family told her she was fated to become. But a chance encounter with Daniel makes her rethink that maybe her life can be something other than entirely black...

Glimmer by Ren Mayari
Hiraya was a theater group run by people whose beauty Amber calls 'otherworldly' (exhibit A: her boss, Amarissa with her pale skin and grey eyes). There are other things at Hiraya that she found strange as well. The first time she went there, the people she met started upon seeing her as though she was someone else. Amber also thinks there were times that she thought Amarissa's eyes would turn blue, but that could just be a trick of the light. And since she started working as an intern at Hiraya, the dreams came almost every night - the dream with the lady with the brown wavy hair she's been having ever since she was little. There's also the headaches accompanied by some hallucinations. Or were they visions?


The Warrior's Dilemma by Sette Luis
Nicolla is out to prove that she does not need a man. Tristan does not want to fall in love with a woman. Fate brought them together. Can Tristan allow himself to fall in love when it will cause him his death? Will Nicolla allow herself to love when it will mean admitting that she needs a man?

Harvesting Nightblooms by Will J. Sarm
Prom is supposedly the most memorable night of a teenage girl's life. But when Alexis Briar wakes up in a coffin, in an entirely different world, her prom experience is about to go on a whole other level of unforgettable. Summoned to the plague-ridden world of Endor by Ash, a mysterious boy with powers over the dead, he tells her that her only way back is if she helps him save his world from a rabid disease. Not exactly the easiest thing to do. Can Alexis do the impossible and make it back home, or will she end up marooned in Endor with the necromancer with whom she has never felt more alive?
Enduring Attachments by Johann Farson
In the not-so-distant future, one man finds that there are some things he just can't get over.

Sparks of Circumstance by Chi Rodriguez
At eighteen, Jana Cross begins to dream.

Sometimes, her dreams are of a cafe that sells a different kind of coffee. Here, espresso shots are focus and discipline, sugars and syrups are encouragement, tea and milk are calm, and whipped cream is joy.

Sometimes, she dreams of another realm, an enchanted forest with different creatures doing her bidding and her subjects calling her by a different name. She dreams of power, of striking fear. She dreams of things that aren't real.

Or are they?

When danger finds Jana, she begins to follow her dreams. Will they lead her to her death? Or will they finally lead her to the truth?

This is the beginning of her story.
The Rite of Passage by Rose Gallardo
As the town prepares for the the Big One and an eclipse that would put everything into darkness, an ancient beast is about to stir and create havoc on Earth. An unlikely hero will rise to save the the town from carnage and ultimate destruction. A young girl named Karla and her feeble grandfather Tomas is the town's only hope for salvation. Will she accept her fate and face the mighty Bakunawa or perish like her parents?

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