Sunday, April 17, 2016

StrangeLit#4: KILLER SEASONS [Book Tour Stop] {Review}

TITLE: Killer Seasons (StrangeLit Bundle#4)
AUTHOR/s: Maita Rue, Chrissie Peria, C.P. Perez, Lana Garcia, Arlene Manocot,

Amae Dechavez, Den Lim, Roselle De Guzman, Tara Frejas, Japonicus
GENRE: Paranormal, Fantasy

Hooray for the final installment in the #StrangeLit Bundles! I've reviewed the first few bundles in the past and now, here's the finlae to this chilling anthologies! Thanks to the Bookish Diaries Book Tours! Feel free to be part of their team by signing up below (click the logo below!)

#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 FATEFUL TURNS, INCREDIBLE TRUTHS, and DARKEST DREAMS.

(via Goodreads)
A werewolf chef, a cursed family, a spell to forget. You'll meet these and more in the ten stories of the KILLER SEASONS installment of #StrangeLit

It needs to be known: I would read anything with Miss Chrissie Peria's name on it. That's why her contribution in this anthology - The Last Night of Her Wake - is one of my first reads in the compilation and I can say that despite its shortness, it is one of my top favorites! 

It told that tale of Precious Joy Cunanan and how her death greatly affected the people around her. The factor that I liked the most in the story is the ability of the author to continuously drop hints throughout the text without revealing the "plot twist" in the end. I didn't really suspect the ending and at first, I didn't really get how the story is deemed to be "paranormal". However, when the conclusion was revealed, it did not take me long to realize how smart Miss Peria is. That's when the little bits and pieces of information mentioned began to make sense and fall into place. After reading, I simply was at loss for words. Truly must read! 4.5 stars!

Another story that fascinated me was that of Maita Rue's Resto Rescue. First of all, as a fan of Playfirst's Diner Dash Series, I can't help but visualize Daria as Flo (LOL) Also, the title reminded me of the second installment of the games - Diner Dash 2 Restaurant Rescue:

But aside from that, the reason why I liked the story a lot is because of its well-written characters. Although Rafe wouldn't really make it to my top book boyfriends, it was fun reading about him and how he handles his predicament. Meanwhile, Daria's character is someone whom you'll definitely root for. She was feisty and strongly stands on what she believes in. Sure, occasionally she can be a damsel-in-distress but most of the time, she proves that she can do well even without a man. Way to go! :D 

The secondary characters were nice touches to the story as well. Each has a certain "spice" to them that added some variations to the overall presentation. I LOVE the banters and snarky dialogue between Rafe and Vivian! It was really fun watching them argue haha! Speaking of, Vivian might be presented as antagonistic but I found her character fascinating. 

The setting and context of the story were interesting for me too. The idea of a cafe/resto/herbarium was fantastic! I would actually want to visit it someday hahaha :) Also, as a communication arts major, I can definitely say that the representation of what's happening behind the cameras as portrayed in the story is pretty close enough: the stress, the pressure, the annoying staff, the perfectionist boss, and even the "diva" stars are ever present. Of course, not every production is like that but most. 

When it comes to the paranormal part, it was fine by me except that it was a little bit over-the-top, especially the conclusion. There were little twists that surprised me while there are others which are quite obvious from the beginning. I think that the story would work fine even if it was taken out of the paranormal bracket (e.g. if it was in a contemporary romantic genre) 

Even though I am not one, I recommend this for Twilight fans (or those who likes the concept of the saga but prefers feistier female leads) because some of the scenes reminded me of Bella and Edward's relationship. 3.5 stars!

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 Killer Seasons!

Resto Rescue by Maita Rue

All werewolf Rafe Redmoon really wanted was to cook real food not host reality food shows. Thirteen seasons in Resto Rescue has made him cranky and moody. Resto Rescue is a food reality show where Rafe uses his supernatural skills to ascertain what was wrong with the food and remodel the restaurant as a whole. His boss/alpha/aunt Vivian made him a deal. Make a killer season thirteen ender and she will personally fund the dream restaurant Rafe wanted. Easy, right? 
Season thirteen doesn’t go as planned when the restaurant in question was not a disaster. Food was good and the décor was quirky but it worked. So, why were things not going according to the scripts? For one, owner/cook Daria is averse to change. The little hottie was not the one who called for a restaurant make-over. But Rafe is very drawn to her. His aunt threatened to fillet him if this episode fails. Then, more trouble arises when a pack of gremlins wreak havoc in the kitchen. It seems everyone is conspiring for Rafe to fail. 
Will the werewolf reality show host make a killer season thirteen ender or will season thirteen end him?

The Last Night of Her Wake by Chrissie Peria

There is a wake in Sitio Lumawig.  
A young woman, barely seventeen, left her hometown, only to return home in a wooden box. 
Brutally murdered, there are no witnesses. Nobody knows what happened. When it happened. Or who did it.  
All they know is that there was pain—so much pain in her passing. 
As her father keeps vigil over her battered body, a single question keeps him company. 
Who is to blame for his daughter’s death? 

House of Silver: A Cursebreaker Novel by C.P. Perez 

A long-enduring family curse sends twenty-five-year old Antonio Lucero, in truth an Immortal, in search of the Cursebreakers. His journeys lead him to two siblings, young orphans from a ghastly rebellion. 

Ironically, only those of the Lucero bloodline have the potential to be a Cursebreaker. The siblings—Raul and Beatriz—possess it. If Antonio dares awaken that potential, only two things can happen: either they themselves would be doomed to Immortality, or would emerge a Cursebreaker, who was mortal and can be slain. Weaving through the changing times, Antonio and the siblings find themselves amidst family intrigue, creatures of light and shadows, and earning the trust of a boy who could finally end their chaotic struggle. 

Will the Luceros be finally purged of the maddening curse, or will Antonio, Raul, and Beatriz fall into a pit of perpetual despair?
  The Myth Menagerie by Lana Garcia

Vivian used to think the only connection she has with her mysterious and eccentric aunt is their crazy first name. She's as straight-laced as anyone can get: law school, steady boyfriend, part-time job. When her aunt dies and bequeaths her a sprawling house in New Manila, she finds herself suddenly being chased by kapres in grocery stores and dreaming of white ladies during daytime. Maybe, there's a connection there, if only she accepts her inheritance..
Vengeance: The Awakening by Arlene Manocot

Cleo Harwite, a simple college student, is aiming for a normal life. A life where she and her family can eat a complete set of meal three times a day. A life to live through simplicity. 

Everything is going according to her plan. Graduating on the 4th year of her college is her main objective and finding a job will be her next, but not until Eve appears in her consciousness. 

Eve, according to Cleo's judgment, is her conscience. An annoying conscience who is continually teasing and nagging her. Her disposition has lost its equilibrium ever since her existence. She has brought chaos in her life. And just when Cleo thought that there won't be anyone, "AS IN NO ONE", who's more annoying and disturbing than Eve, another one appears. Ikeda Takada. 

Ikeda Takada, a Japanese exchange student for a week, has found a way to infiltrate the supposed to be Cleo's "NORMAL LIFE". Aside from being an exchange student, he is a model / actor who is just starting his career in Hollywood. Why would a Hollywood celebrity like him want in a public university? That is insanely ridiculous from her point of view. 

With all these chaos and disturbance directed towards Cleo, would she be able to keep her NORMAL LIFE intact?
At The Wishing Well by Amae Dechavez
A Paranormal Fairytale. Angelo studies medicine—he’s aspiring to become a priest. From the city to his countryside home, he falls in love at the forest well, with a ghost, and he still wants to become a priest! Now his father wants him to marry the Mayor’s daughter, Marissa (aside from nudging him to become a physician), and girl-ghost Hinata scares Marissa so much, enough to ban her from The Bliss!

Intersection by Den Lim

Anger. Pain. Guilt. 
These feelings have haunted Epy Avenida for the past six years. Once an aspiring superhero, he had failed to save the life of Congressman Conrad Cruz. Now he roams the streets of Manila as something much darker, much less of a hero. 
Need. Hate. Fury.  
These are the feelings Kala Cruz has hidden and carried within since the dead of her father. She won't rest until she knows the truth of that fateful day. Now she seeks to find the superhero who had let her father die and exact vengeance. 
Past and present collide as their two lives intersect one night and the sparks fly between them.  
But how will their budding romance survive once they uncover each other's secrets?

Disappearing Actby Roselle De Guzman

Rhea De Los Reyes is in a situation that's unique in terms of teenager problems: no one ever sees her. Ever since high school, she's been stuck this way, always alone even in a crowded room. She's ready to just fade away, until an awkward, well-meaning boy with no math skills see her for the first time.
The "Forget You" Brew by Tara Frejas

For 20-year old Kyle Thomson, nothing in the world is more terrifying than the prospect of telling Allison Jeon that he loves her. That is, until he finds out that this mystical café in a peculiar place called Nowheretown had served her a cup of afforgeto—a brew for forgetting—a drink she ordered intending to forget him. Hoping to reverse the spell, Kyle reluctantly teams up with a bunny-eared hopeless romantic and a badass barista to retrieve Allison’s memory jar from the Repository of the Intangible. But when stealing back forgotten memories doesn’t quite turn out as expected, Kyle is left with no choice but to conquer his biggest fear. Can the magic of Nowheretown supply him a fixer-upper, or will the magic in his steadfast heart be enough to grant them their happy ever after?
Aurelia by Japonicus

Aurelia had never, at any point in her entire young life, been anyplace that could be called "fun". Not that it mattered, anyway, since she'd been devoid of life for quite some time.

A drowned child, her spirit now flows wherever the currents take her. Confused yet strangely unconcerned about her circumstances, she was quite content to just be… until one day a theme park's intake pump suddenly suctions her out of the bay and into "The Most Amazing Aquatic Experience Above the Sea!"

Now, for the first time in her afterlife, she finds herself in a happy place where everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, and she decides that she'd like to have some fun, too. Yet as she explores the ins & outs of this park, she notices that what happens after the park closes is not quite as joyful as during normal visiting hours, and she slowly comes to realize that one person's fun might have been paid for by another's misery.

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