Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Clockwork Prince Trailer

The wait is finally over! Here is the official Clockwork Prince trailer, which was created by none other than Dirty Robber! I was super excited to see how this book trailer would turn out and it's by far one of my favourites. You have Gossip Girl's actor Ed Westwick's voice-over, you'll see Will . . . Jem . . . Tessa . . . all sorts of secrets and lies . . . Magnus . . . kissing and some more kissing . . . and a cliffhanger at the end that made you think WHOA! You'll know what I mean when you watch this trailer!

If you would like to see my reactions in GIF mode than be sure to click this link here to direct you to my tumblr page of awesome and randomness. Plus there's a lot of emotion I put into this post so be sure to check it out. Also please comment below to tell me what you thought of the trailer? Was it good or bad? Did the actors look like the characters that lie inside your imagination? Let me know!

Nightshade by Maryrose Wood

Release Date: 7th September, 2011

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 279pgs

The Story

A dark, gothic tale of romance . . . and murder.

The latest book in the grippingly dark series, The Poison Diaries.

Sixteen-year-old Jessamine Luxton is heartbroken. Her true love, Weed, the strange and intriguing young man who came into her life so suddenly, has disappeared.

Jessamine suspects that her own father, Thomas, may have been involved. Thomas was obsessed with poisons and discovering Weed's secret understanding of dangerous plants.

This suspicion and her own growing expertise with poisons have changed her. She is no longer innocent. So when Jessamine learns that Weed is alive and in danger, she will do whatever it takes to be reunited with him, including killing whoever gets in her way.

The Review

A big thanks to Leanne from the Poison Diaries team for sending me a review copy of this book!

NIGHTSHADE is the continuation of The Poison Diaries series. In this case, I'll try to be as vague as possible in this review since I don't want to give anything away from the previous book. For those readers who have yet to read the first Poison Diaries book, then be sure to check it out when you can because it's well worth the read.

Without going into too much detail concerning the storyline, I'm going to talk about the characters themselves and their personal growth in book two. When it came to Jessamine's character, I found she was far more mature and completely different to the Jessamine you used to know in book one. Her confidence in her own skills was quite a turnaround and I really appreciated the way she handled herself and with the series of events that occured because she's no longer the vulnerable girl. And well . . . our Jessamine has now become a lethal weapon. Meaning literally speaking. As she believes her beloved, Weed, left her when she needed him the most, this then causes her to search for an entirely new identity - explore a darker side to herself. Some readers will be shocked but personally for me I loved her darker side and I'm quite interested to see what's going to happen to her in book three. Now what about dear old Weed? How could I forget him . . . So, what's going on with him? Well, he too has grown a lot as a character and his thoughts are always thinking of Jessamine wherever he is. Poor guy. While there were many reasons behind his own adventures which I won't reveal anything about since I don't want spoil for you guys . . . but you'll come to love him more. But the ending was so . . . mean.

As NIGHTSHADE introduces us to new characters and takes readers all the way through a shocking twisty-turn of an ending (there's a cruel ending by the way), I assure readers that you won't be disappointed in this book. Personally I was surprised by NIGHTSHADE since it's a lighter read but damn I liked it a little more than the first book. Unlike the first book in the series, NIGHTSHADE is much darker, different and the historical-like elements were absolutely perfect for a book like this one. I recommend this sequel to anyone who loves a Maria V. Snyder book or have already read Poison Diaries.

The Rating

3 1/2 /5 stars

Monday, November 28, 2011

Crossed by Ally Condie

Release Date: 2nd November, 2011

Publisher: Puffin

Pages: 367pgs

The Story

Rules are different outside the Society.

Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky-taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons. On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of rebellion. But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again.

Narrated from both Cassia's and Ky's points of view, this hotly anticipated sequel to Matched will take them both to the edge of Society, where nothing is as expected and crosses and double crosses make their path more twisted than ever . . .

The Review

A big thanks to Penguin Australia for sending me a review copy of this book!

CROSSED is part two of the dystopian trilogy by Condie and it takes place a few months after Matched has ended. You can read my book review of the first book here. The main heroine, Cassia, has been trying to get to the outer provinces in order to find Ky, her "soul mate". With some help from her matched partner and bestfriend, Xander, Cassia manages to get aboard on an airship which then takes her down to the provinces and to the exact location where she intends to find Ky stationed. But things don't necessarily go to plan because Ky has taken off and a lot of complications are coming on the horizon.

Here's the thing - I enjoyed the first book. It was entertaining enough, it was your simple classic dystopian society where the government is in charge of human lives, and there's always the constant danger of figuring out and knowing who to trust . . . knowing someone is always watching. But despite my liking of the first book, it doesn't mean you will like the sequel. This book falls under the title of the 'YA middle book syndrome'. The characters are going through a slow transition to get readers prepared for the final book, but for me it was so . . . I'm afraid to say . . . boring. For a much hyped-up young adult book series, I was expecting something very big to happen and while I do realize there's one more book left in the trilogy but I just couldn't - at all - connect to the story and its characters. Not even once. With very little happening in the story, with characters forever walking into the wilderness and with certain passages that made no sense whatsoever, it was a little unnerving to say the least and I found it was incredibly disappointing for a sequel.

One of the major elements I disliked the most in CROSSED was the sharing of points of view between the two main characters, Cassia and Ky. In Matched the book was only told in Cassia's POV and while it was good to see inside the mind of Ky this time round, but I would've preferred him to be a mystery like he was in the first book. I wanted just Cassia's thoughts since the two perspectives themselves made me pull out of the book constantly and I grew irritated also. Sure I found Ky's perspective far more entertaining as it contained more action than Cassia's dry dialogue and little step-by-step adventures, but I really really hope the final book sticks to one POV or else I might lose my mind completely. While I favoured Ky in Matched compared to Xander (who we didn't see a lot in the first installment), though in this book Ky did little for me. Plus, I didn't understand how Cassia is torn between both boys because it's clear to me who she wants the most . . . but maybe it's just me here thinking that.

The bottom line is: There's a 50/50 chance you're going to love this book. There's particular things you're going to love about it but there are some other things - scenes mostly - that are . . . a point of no return. However don't let me stop you in reading this sequel just because it wasn't the right book for me. While still admiring Cassia's character (even if she was annoying) and was vaguely interested in learning more about what's been going on with Ky, CROSSED was still a read you have to get through in order to finish a series and just know what's going on for the sake of knowing what's going on if you know what I mean. Despite my disappointment, I'll still be waiting to read the final showdown of book three of the series and I hope it'll be a satisfying conclusion compared to this sequel.

The Rating 2/5 stars

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

Release Date: 2nd January, 2012

Publisher: HarperCollins Australia

Pages: 496pgs

The Story

"The body you are wearing used to be mine." So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Checquy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of Checquy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she could ever could have imagined.

The Review

A big thanks to HarperCollins Australia on netGalley for accepting my request in reading this book early!

Hearing about this book online I thought it was going to be a winner and judging by the plot itself it sounded like a really, really great read for thrill-seekers like me. And it had an awesome title that intrigued me also. Unfortunately for my high expectations and the praise the book has been receiving over the last few months, I didn't connect well to this book as much as I wanted to.

Australian author, Daniel O'Malley, delivers a debut novel that's quite entertaining in its own right and I'm sure a lot of readers will love the premise. Even though the book might have not been for me, but readers will still love the elements inside this book. THE ROOK is a supernatural detective thriller about a young woman whom finds herself alone - in the rain no less - and in the middle of a park. Left with her is a letter and whilst opening to read it, the letter simply states things like "Dear You" and "Sincerely, Me." That alone will probably peak your interest in the storyline.

In this particular letter, it informs this young unknown woman that she now inhabits the body of a person named Myfanwy Alice Thomas (strange name, yes). Then there's a second letter that gives the character a choice - to either flee London to take up an entirely new and carefree life or - to go ahead and identify the person responsible for her current memory loss. If that's not confusing enough, this young woman also learns that she is a "Rook", one of the many leaders of a top-secret government organization that protects the public from supernatural threats. Think Bourne Identity meets a hint of X-men.

With that being said, I enjoyed the novel to a certain extent. There's a lot of twists and turns to keep you wanting more and there are many great mysteries on the rise. However, I found some concepts of the book could've been developed a little bit more and perhaps could've been less confusing. Because I admit, I got a little confused towards the first half of the book and I was a 'little' frustrated. Same goes with the characters. All of them were intriguing enough much like the storyline, but I couldn't connect to them like other readers of THE ROOK whom gave high ratings in their reviews. But please don't let me stop you! Engaging with its dry wit and some clever plotting along the way, THE ROOK will definitely entertain readers and it's a great start to this Australian author's writing career.

The Rating

3 1/2 / 5 stars

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Hidden by Jessica Verday

Release Date: 1st September, 2011

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books

Pages: 304pgs

The Story

In this, the long-awaited conclusion to the saga of Abbey and Caspian, readers finally learn the truth about Kristen's death, the dark destiny that links Abbey to Caspian and the hard choices that Abbey must make if she is to accept Caspian's love and their unexpected fate.

The Review

THE HIDDEN is the final book in The Hollow trilogy and I'm going to be honest with you here, I still have no idea how to describe this book to you without falling over and laughing myself silly. It was so . . . insane! Insanely romantic and insanely awesome at the same time! I'm truly speechless on how Jessica Verday ended this beloved series of mine and every time I think about how it ended, I just have this big smile plastered onto my face. In the third installment, it has everything a girl could ask for: high-running emotions, heart-breaking and tear-jerking moments, and it wouldn't be a Hollow book without some hot Caspian-loving!

For those who haven't read this series yet (which I hope most of you have), here's the main gist of the plot. The trilogy is basically about a girl named Abbey who falls madly in love with the handsome ghost, Caspian. And well, while this may seem like impossible love . . . but it just happens. As so does the trouble that comes along with loving a ghost. Now for this book I won't spoil anything considering some of my readers may not have read this series . . . so I'll just talk about the ending. It was a perfect ending! Seriously, I've been finishing a couple of book series lately but I haven't come across an ending like this one here in THE HIDDEN and it's also a plus plus when the author writes a very romantic and sentimental ending . . . one that makes you cry and laugh and sigh and smile and cry all over again.

Like I said before, I won't try to spoil it for you guys. But just getting down to the point . . . it was just super AWESOME! For THE HIDDEN, readers will have Abbey and Caspian back, both so deeply romantic and better than ever, and you can definitely expect some amazing twist and turns in this installment - ones you least expect to happen. Now if you haven't yet read this series, then please DO because you don't know what you're missing out on! With lot's of romance, action, adventure, mystery and some very intriguing characters in the mix, THE HIDDEN will please and excite readers all over again in this final conclusion!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

Release Date: 1st December, 2011

Publisher: Doubleday

Pages: 400pgs

The Story

When Katelyn starts at her new school the only person she knows is the handsome and intriguing Trick Sokolov, an acquaintance of her grandfather. She's surprised when the popular Cordelia Fenner invites her home and when she meets Cordelia's hot brother, she begins to think her new life might be ok after all. But as she spends time with the family, she realises that the Fenners are harbouring a deep dark secret. Every bone in Katelyn's body tells her that the Fenners are mad, bad and dangerous to know - but how can she give up her only friend, and how can she ignore the way Justin sets her blood on fire with a single look? Katelyn finds herself caught between three major werewolf clans who have been at war with each other for centuries - a war, it seems, that Katelyn is destined to end.

The Review

A big thanks to Dorothy from Random House Australia for sending a review copy of this book!

If you're looking for your classic paranormal story filled with lot's of tension, suspense and a good old-fashioned romance, then this is definitely the book for you! Katelyn McBride comes to live with her grandfather after her mother suddenly dies in an earthquake. As she adjusts to her new home - away from the life she used to live back in Santa Monica - and learn to get along with a grandfather she hardly knows, Katelyn must also deal with the small town's murder mystery of a girl who was mauled and killed in the local woods. And on top of all that, there's two boys that are a mystery all on their own.

After finishing the story, I have to say . . . while I found it, on a whole, a little cliche but it was the great kind of cliche that we love to read in paranormal young adult fiction. Not to mention that it helps already being a huge fan of Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie's work - the Wicked and the Crusade series that is. When it comes to the characters themselves, I really liked Katelyn and she definitely grew on me as the book progresses, and when the several mysteries start to unfold by each chapter. One of the things I admired in Katelyn's character was that she was your typical teenage girl - someone who is still trying to find herself in the world and learning to deal with the current loss of her mother. Sure her character makes wrong decisions and trusting the wrong people, but it's completely understandable in her circumstances and it's no wonder why her emotions are over the place. But another quality that I loved was her funny side, which is always a plus in my books. Also, there's a great supporting cast of Trick and Justin, the boys Katelyn begins to have explainable feelings for.

Now I'm all for love triangles when they're done right and I found in UNLEASHED it was written well enough to be likeable. Trick in particular had great potential as a future love interest. He's not a loveable boy to Katelyn when she first meets him and he definitely comes across as the protective big brother that you don't want hanging around all the time, but Trick was a dear favourite character of mine. He's funny, always dependable - well, most of the time, and he isn't afraid of anything which helps us readers see major sex-appeal. *winks* Then of course there's the boy with the piercing blue eyes, Justin, who doesn't have as much appeal as Trick has. I could alone on that but whatever. *waves hand* Justin is the bad boy with a mysterious past and rides a motorcycle. Now I love boys who ride motorcycles but for some reason I couldn't connect with Justin. Maybe it's because I found him too creepy or it's because we have so very little details surrounding him except that he has a weird family and he definitely is one of the weird people IN his family. Anyway on a whole, Trick is the boy girls should be rooting for in the case of potential love triangles.

Overall the most enjoyable part of the book was the writing itself and if you love legend stories in small local towns that are at its best, then the book is clearly a winner and I highly recommend this title. Especially if you're a fan of the author's other books. If you're one of those readers unsure about reading yet another wolf-like story, I completely understand your views on that. But UNLEASHED is definitely one to keep you entertained on all sorts of levels. With plenty of action sequences, romantic scenes and intriguing mythology to keep you guessing until you reach the last pages of the novel, UNLEASHED is something you should be looking out for on the shelves because you'll be pleasantly surprised by it.

The Ratings

4 1/2 /5 stars

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Richelle Mead's Storm Born Issue #4

Book format: Graphic Novel

Publisher: Sea Lion Books

Pages: 32pgs

The Story

Eugenie Markham never asked for any of this. Until now, she's been content with her job as a freelance shaman, battling and banishing Otherworldly creatures. When a prophecy suddenly makes her the Otherworld's most popular bachelorette, Eugenie finds herself fighting off unwanted supernatural suitors, as well as the evils that begin emerging from her past . . .

The Review

A big thanks to Patrick from Sea Lion Books for sending me links to this issue!

This graphic novel series has become a dear favourite of mine and this fourth installment definitely tops the first three that have been issued. Not only do the colours pop out more and more to the readers as the graphic novel series progresses, but the writing itself is one of the best that I've seen in graphic form. The writers have managed to keep the storyline at its best - like in Richelle Mead's books - but they have also managed to keep the same old good snark in Eugenie's character, with all sorts of comments and comebacks that have made me laugh out loud on many accounts. To say the least, I'm impressed.

Unlike in the other issues of the series, this installment we finally get answers concerning Eugenie and why all the Gentry are after her . . . and how they know her name. Plus readers will also have a family secret revealed, and learn about the prophecy Eugenie is supposed to be apart of. So expect some really great stuff from this fourth issue.

On a whole, this was my favourite issue by far! Much like the other three, the artwork is gorgeous and absolutely impressive. Be sure to start this graphic novel series if you haven't already. Highly recommended.

The Rating

5/5 stars

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vanish by Sophie Jordan

Release Date: 6th September, 2011

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 294pgs

The Story

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely-guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again - and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will's memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family's. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride's heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on - that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

In the bestselling author Sophie Jordan's dramatic follow-up to Firelight, forbidden love burns brighter than ever.

The Review

I was one of those readers who fell in love with Sophie Jordan's YA novel, Firelight, and after the surprising and somewhat cruel cliffhanger that we were left with, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of the sequel. Now even before the book was released, I came across a lot of mixed reviews for VANISH on Goodreads and a lot of people said it wasn't as great compared to the first book. But being a dedicated fan to this series and have much love for dragons - no matter how cliche it was with the forbidden love story and people trying to tear two lovers apart - it came with no surprise that I too fell in love with its sequel. And honestly . . . I don't understand why readers gave this book under three stars, because the author delivers a great action-packed adventure and yet again, she delivers another cruel cliffhanger that leaves you wanting more!

VANISH starts off where Firelight had ended, where our heroine Jacinda and her family - her mother and her sister - are back under the protection and under the prying eyes of the Pride, which is the setting for the majority of the book. To me, it was a good change from the first book's setting and it was rather interesting as we didn't get to meet the Pride too much in the first book. While that was a great aspect to read about, but the main reason why I'm giving this book only four stars is because of Jacinda's twin sister, Tamra, whom had gotten on my nerves so much and it was a pity since I really liked her character in Firelight. However this time round, I found her too selfish for her own good and she has so little respect for her sister - which really irritated me throughout the book. Other than that, I loved the rest of the characters - the good and the bad. More so Jacinda, Cassian, and Will.

Jacinda had grown up a lot in this sequel, but she did go back and forth sometimes when it came to making hard decisions that concerned her love for Will and her sudden feelings for Cassian. I was totally Team Will in the first book, but clearly Cassian's character was 'shaded' from me. In Fireflight, readers probably thought Cassian was a total douche (yes, he was) who is too protective over Jacinda and you just wanted to slap him - to make him understand that she won't return his feelings. But in VANISH I saw him in a completely different light and he was just . . . a very intense character. A sexy one at that.

The thing is . . . now I've fallen for Cassian majorly! And because of this new love for him I was super mad over how Jacinda treated him and played with his emotions. First she does this and then she does that. So my sympathy is with you Cassian because in this new light of his, I got to see that he completely and utterly adores Jacinda, and while being aware of this, Jacinda still continues pushing him away. *waves finger at Jacinda* I hope we get to see more of Cassian in the next book because he's awesome. Truly awesome. And as for Will, like so many other readers, there's still plenty of him in the book but he just takes his time to get onto the damn page. But you still get him which is good.

But there's no young adult book without a major cliffhanger. Trust me here you guys there is one waiting around the corner. It was worse than the first book's cliffhanger. All I have to say is, "Well, damn". I seriously need book three now and I need it now - like right NOW! Pronto. For those fans of Firelight, everyone needs to get ahold of VANISH as quickly as possible because it's full of heart-stopping action, lot's of sexy times, two hot boys, beautiful dragons flying about, and of course, a love story that will captivate all.

The Rating

4/5 stars

Friday, November 18, 2011

Follow Friday

Today's Follow Friday is hosted by Lauren at Parajunkee's View.

This week's question: Letter to Santa: Tell Santa what books you want for Christmas!

My answer: Do you have any idea how hard this week's question is? I mean, first of all, I'm a book addict and I have an incredible amount of books that I've bought - including ones from bookstores themselves and preorders online. But . . . if I were to ask Santa for anything - that being my parents since Santa hasn't been at my house for a very long, long time - I would love to get the hardcover editions of the Hunger Games trilogy or an online gift card where I can purchase many books for next year. Not like that's asking for too much.

What's on your xmas list? Comment below.

Have a great weekend you guys!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Smoulder by Brenna Yovanoff

Release Date: 5th January, 2012

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 368pgs

The Story

Being the youngest daughter of the Devil has never been easy. Daphne's father has no time for her, her mother no interest, and her status in the upper echelon separates her from the working-class demons that populate Lucifer's metropolis.

When her brother and closest confidante leaves, life in the restrictive city of Pandemonium becomes intolerable. In an attempt to find him, Daphne sets out for Earth - and finds it larger and more chaotic than she imaginedl a dazzling expanse of noise, dirt and random violence. Despite her bewilderment, she navigates the mortal world with growing fascination, gaining an ally when she saves a dying boy from her father's minions.

For Truman Flynn, the last year has been one long downward spiral, but when Daphne arrives just in time to save his life, he finds himself unexpectedly glad to have another chance. Together, Daphne and Truman go in search of her brother, braving the hazards of Las Vegas and the perils of first love, even as it becomes increasingly clear that her brother might have had a secret and compelling reason for leaving.

Lucifer's agents aren't the only creatures on the prowl, and Daphne soon finds herself the target of a plan to rid the world of demons for good. Now she must evade a demon-eating monster, rescue her brother from an angelic zealot, and save the boy she loves.

The Review

A big thanks to Caroline from Simon & Schuster Australia for sending me a review copy of this book!

Okay I'm just laying it all onto the table - Brenna Yovanoff is an amazing young adult writer. Not kidding. She not only manages to pull of great storylines but she also has the nack for creating fairy-tale-like stories. Only they are so much, much darker. So dark in fact, that she's a legend when it come to writing her lyrical proses.

The author's debut novel, The Replacement, was a favourite book of mine last year and I believe it was a favourite for many readers judging by the gushing reviews over the internet. As much as I won't like admitting to this, but surprisingly I found SMOULDER was far more entertaining and I was engrossed from its tale right from the very first page. The descriptions were both lovely and visual, the imagery itself were dark, sharp, creepy and beautiful, and not to mention the characters were like long lost friends and were shrouded with a whole lot of mystery that you're always on the edge of your seat . . . waiting impatiently to find out more. Unlike Brenna Yovanoff's first book, this one is all about the ugly demons and highlights heavily on the worlds of Heaven and Hell. And I know what you're thinking: My kind of book, right? At least it was for me and boy was it everything I was hoping for.

The story follows Daphne, the daughter of Lilith and Lucifer. She lives in a world called Pandemonium, a city of Hell that is marked by metal and heat. As she questions about what she will become and where her life is heading, her older brother suddenly disappears and declared missing . . . so it's up to her to find him and understand what's going on. By that, I mean she has to travel up to Earth for the very first time in her existence and it's not what she expects. It's a very dangerous world out there for someone like her. However, in order to find her brother, Obie, she must seek help from the last person who had seen him - a human named Truman, a boy Obie saved from Hell about a year ago. But he's just as messed up as she is, which clearly doesn't 'help'.

Without going into further details, I found Daphne to be the absolute perfect heroine. This girl isn't entirely sure where her life is heading towards and comparing herself to her demonic family members . . . Daphne is bored of their life and she wants to be something more than to eventually become someone like her soul-sucking-succubus sisters. The only real person who cares about Daphne is her brother, Obie, and it was nice to see her love for him shine in this dark setting. As you explore her world and the world she experiences down on Earth, readers will get to see two very different sides to Daphne's character and personality, and you too, I'm sure, will fall in love with her. She's smart, totally badass (she likes a little knife action okay!), a little crazy (not like that's a bad thing in her case), and she's quite compassionate despite her demonic side. And she's afraid of nothing. What can I say except she was perfect to the very bone.

Now onto Truman Flynn. Honestly I loved Truman and he entered my heart immediately. He is a broken soul and completely messed up - there's no need to deny it. But I love him. So, so much. He's the kind of guy who seems far away somewhere in his own little world and he's someone who has gone through so much pain in his young life that words cannot describe it. It's no wonder why he wants is to escape from all that pain and end his life. But once you overlook his depression and his need to no care about anything or rather anyone, readers - much like with Daphne's character - will get to see such a strong, courgeous, and an absolutely stunner of a boy character. He is my favourite character in this novel and I just want to hug, kiss . . . and do whatever with him. He's perfect in every way possible.

Also, another bonus from SMOULDER is the one-on-one interaction between Daphne and Truman. Their relationship was cold and distant at the beginning, but once you get to know the two of them and get to know their lives that they're currently living, the intensity increases to the highest level and their sudden friendship evolves into something more that neither anticipated. Trust me here, there's a lot of fiery sparks coming off these two teenagers from two very different worlds. I mean, both characters have no idea how to love or what love exactly is, but once they find each other and explore the hidden secrets and lies . . . they are perfection within themselves. Not to mention there was perfect chemistry flowing between them. Love them to bits . . .

Overall I thought SMOULDER was a delicious, unique, entertaining, exciting, and a very captivating storyline with so many elements that fascinated me - a novel that easily becomes one of my favourites of this year. And I hope it does the same for those readers who have yet to read a great Yovanoff novel. So be sure to check it out when it's released.

The Rating

5/5 stars

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Release Date: 15th September, 2011

Publisher: Harvill Secker

Pages: 416pgs

The Story

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Reves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway - a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for their purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love - a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

The Review

I have no idea where to begin with this book review. Well, for starters, ever since I was a child I've always had an obsession over historical novels. I love them entirely and more importantly, I had a deep love over circus's. But compared to the Le Cirque des Reves circus to the modern day circus of today it's just . . . wow. Totally mind-blowing. The entire book is completely and utterly captivating from beginning to end. It drew me like a moth to a burning flame as soon as I met the characters and the lavish setting they were surrounded with. Within the vivid descriptions of Erin Morgenstern's writing of her beautiful debut THE NIGHT CIRCUS, I felt as if I was there sitting on the sidelines and watching the circus performers, witnessing the rival's challenges, feeling my heart-breaking over Celia's love for a man she cannot have, and learning new and amazing things with the daring Marco. It was a magical journey that I never ever wanted to end.

Celia and Marco - our starcrossed lovers of the story - are bound to partake in a cruel destiny, one that involves them, as magicians, to be pitted against one another until a winner takes all. They do not know of each other, but they know a challenger exists somewhere. And because of that mystery, they have to be careful on whom to trust within the circus. Though no matter the opponent they must face, both of these young magicians have been trained since childhood for this ultimate challenge, and only one can win this game and they are determined to win. But neither Celia or Marco know nor understand how this challenge will be played out or what will happen to them when one of them eventually wins this destined game of chance. But they do know one thing for certain - they are in love. From the moment Marco sees Celia across the room, he's aware that she is his opponent and as a result of watching her from afar, he begins to fall in love with her as she does with him, and there is no denying that falling in love with your challenger will end with dire consequences.

My favourite part of THE NIGHT CIRCUS is the lush prose and the words alone proved that Morgenstern is a master of imagery and she has a treasured gift when it comes to her writing. She manages to create a world that is so intregrated in all its elements and she breathes life into this black-and-white circus, making this backdrop an even more magical experience for the eager readers. I mean the things that I experienced in this novel were so amazing because within the words you can actually taste the food and imagine the beautiful spectacles in each of the tents, and there's no doubt in my mind that every reader who reads this book right now will be as captivated and speechless as I am. But despite the scenery, this love story wouldn't have worked without Celia and Marco, who were the most delightful characters I have ever met. Celia has been through so much - what with her very cruel and arrogrant father - and just when she finally finds happiness with someone who loves her in return, it ends in nothing but more torture. Same with dear Marco, a boy who was also apart of a game constructed by others. In constant duels, these two young lovers fight against what seems of the impossible and when readers finally reach the final page, it's no wonder why so many thought this book was going to be the next big thing.

Despite some confusing alternative character chapters, I loved every thrilling moment of THE NIGHT CIRCUS and it's sad to know that this book is a standalone. I want MORE and I seriously don't want to leave this world of Morgenstern's, neither do I want to leave dear Celia and Marco. But good news for readers because Summit Entertainment - the production company of the Twilight films - had bought the rights to this amazing tale and honestly I'm not surprised by this. Overall for readers who love magic, love itself, and of course a great classic historical novel about things of the impossible . . . then THE NIGHT CIRCUS is highly recommended by me. And for a debut author, I expect a lot of great and wonderful things from Erin Morgenstern in the future. Or maybe that's because she shares the same name as me. haha. *winks*

The Rating

5/5 stars

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Hunger Games Trailer

You can also watch it on itunes here if this link is taken down.

So that's the movie trailer everyone has been waiting for, forever and ever. About time, too! So what did you guys think of the Hunger Games trailer? I think it totally beats the teaser that was released a few months ago . . . which is pretty obvious! Every scene, every single detail is mind-blowing!!!!

Hmmm . . . what else can I possibly say about it without people saying I'm 1) crazy and 2) that I'm so incredibly hungry for some Hunger Games? Well, first off, it's worthy of all its praise from the directors and producers, and words cannot be formed because of its movie epicness. There's so much epicness here. I mean, this time round, we get to see Katniss . . . Peeta . . . GALE . . . and so many other characters that will shine through this movie production alone! Clearly everything in this film will live up to the much beloved book series and I can definitely tell you I'll be the first in line to see this movie in March 2012! Just . . . wow. I'm so impressed. Now I must leave you will my reactions in GIF form. Enjoy this spread of love that I'm willing to give for this movie trailer.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

Release Date: 27th September, 2011

Publisher: Little Brown

Pages: 420pgs

The Story

Around the world, the black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled streets of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages - not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers - beautiful, haunted Akiva - fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

The Review

Karou is an art student in Prague and unknown to her closest friends, she has a secret life as the foster-daughter and errand-runner for a demon. You see, Karou has grown up in a shop of a chimera named Brimstone, who collects teeth (for whatever reason Karou is unaware of) and pays for them in wishes. But Karou doesn't know who she is. There is this hollow emptiness that lies inside of her - where instead, there should be something more. And everything changes when she crosses paths with an angel of fiery eyes - an angel who tries to kill her but does not succeed.

Now pardon my lack of words, but I'm still gathering my thoughts after finishing this book and there is so much to say, and it's hard enough putting it into words alone. What I can say is that I enjoyed - no, wait - I devoured this book so slowly, because I wanted to take in every vivid depiction of this story. The breath-taking storyline, the ever-so-fascinating characters, the tangled-portal streets of Prague, the never-ending twists that all connect to one thing: Karou. Laini Taylor has created a world that you never want to leave and it's no wonder why so many readers have fell in love with the devil and with the angels themselves. This book surprised me in so many ways. But who am I kidding? Judging by the cover, which is absolutely beautiful and one of the most stunning book covers I've ever seen on a young adult book, there's no mistake that DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE must be read by anyone and everyone who loves an epic high-fantasy adventure.

And the romance - oh yes, the heart-pounding romance. The forbidden star-crossed love romance was the compelling point of the entire book but it was so much more than that. So much more between Karou and Akiva. The characters are rich and full of life to a point you wished these characters were real. I mean, each character name was well-thought out and it makes me wonder how Taylor does it. Her magic is in her writing. Karou was the perfect heroine through my eyes. Her strength is shown at the very beginning and I love her fighting spirit as her character develops throughout the course of the book. Akiva's character was just as spine-chilling as Karou was. He was everything that made the book what is it - both powerful and unique. How can Laini Taylor make the word "Hello" sound so sexy and swoon-worthy each time a character says it? Who knows. I believe magic is involved.

Honestly, I'm running out of words here because there's so much to say but so little to elaborate on because, as a reader, you will need to experience this epic adventure for yourself to truly understand the power of words. The world-building took me to a whole new dimension that exists within our own - a world of life, death, magic, war, and love. Love that is at its ultimate best. This is by far one of my favourite 2011 books and if you haven't opened the 'Godly' book of the DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE, then you are missing out on an adventure that can - and will - make you lusting and longing for more!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Friday, November 11, 2011

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Release Date: 22nd November, 2011

Publisher: Harlequin

Pages: 336pgs

The Story

When her older sister commits suicide and her divorcing parents decide to divide the ashes, Harper Scott takes her sister's urn to the one place June always wanted to go: California. On the road with her best friend, plus an intriguing guy with a mysterious connection to June, Harper discovers truths about her sister, herself and life.

The Review

A big thanks to Harlequin on netGalley for accepting my request in reading this book early

This book kept popping up on my radar - after reading many fabulous book reviews - and I was super stoked when the publisher on netGalley accepted my request to review it. And boy did I love it.

Harper is more than a little screwed up. For one, her gorgeous and somewhat perfect older sister, June, takes her own life. With nothing so much as a goodbye note or any sort of explanation, her death leaves Harper in the ultimate tailspin. With divorcing parents being thrown into the loop and wanting to divide their daughter's ashes in the process, it's no wonder why Harper wants to take the urn herself and travel to the one place her sister would've loved to have gone to before her death. To California. Clearly stealing a person's ashes and going on a sudden road trip with your best friend seems like a crazy thing to do. In Harper's case, it's a beautiful thing that she does for the love of her sister and of her sister's memory.

But things started to get complicated for young Harper. Especially when the arrogant, beau, music-crazed Jake Tolan enters the scene. Somehow, some way . . . Jake shared a connection to Harper's sister, June, and soon tags along on this road trip or rather demands to come considering he believes the plan won't go ahead without him. And as Harper, her best friend and some unlikely crew come together, the reader will begin to fall apart alongside an almost 'broken' Harper and begin to feel her pain.

Now let's talk about characters. Let's just say that I LOVED Harper completely. If I met her in real life, I would probably end up becoming her best friend. She maybe suffering in a world of grief and be whiny and argues way too much with people who care about her, but that's Harper for you. Despite all that grief, underneath it all, there lies a sarcastic and hilarious girl who makes you appreciate what you've already got in your life of family and friends. And then there's the beautiful and unusual Jake, the mysterious stranger who turns up in Harper's life and messes with it. There's so many things I want to say about Jake: one, he's hot, and two, he's a music nerd. Honestly it's hard to describe how I exactly feel about him because he's the kind of character that challenges you and you can sometimes have personality clashes with him. But on a whole, he's adorable despite his sometimes-stubborn ways of life . . . he also happens to be a character that you fall harder and harder for.

On top of it all, while I loved the concept of the story but the thing I LOVED most about SAVING JUNE was the music element that played a key role in the story. Since Jake's character is heavily centered around the music scene, we're always introduced to a lot of classic bands and for that dear author . . . thank you. Being a music buff myself, it was nice to relate to music mentioned in the novel and as the journey stretches all the way to California, I fell even more in love with the book when the mixed-CD-after-mixed-CD were played throughout the road trip. It was like you were there in the car with them. With this music in place, readers will end up finding themselves connecting more to Harper's character and even to Jake's - so you'll definitely sympathise with the light and very dark moments the characters themselves experience.

Without giving away too much of the storyline, contemporary book lovers will love SAVING JUNE because it's a book full of heart and soul. With a slow-paced storyline that builds up tension up until the very last page and with an unexpected romance coming up on the horizon, readers will not be able to put the book down. If you love stories surrounded by grief and loss, but also ones with much hope, love and life, and like stories similiar to The Sky is Everywhere, then be sure to check out this book when you can because you will definitely love this too!

The Rating

4/5 stars

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: 3rd January, 2012

Publisher: Puffin

Pages: 384pgs

The Story

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes interwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.

In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that's enthralling.

The Review

A big thanks to Tina from Penguin Australia for sending me a review copy of this book!

Ever since I heard about this book, I wanted to read it so bad that I would do anything to read it! Well, mostly anything. And no, it wasn't because of the major hype surrounding the book. It was because of the storyline itself and honestly what's not to love about it? It's a loose retelling of the Grimm fairytale Cinderella after all, and since it's one of my favourite stories from childhood, I knew it was going to be a blast of a novel. Compared to many other great books that I've read so far this year, I'm not sure how to compare this one to other legends and considering my love for the Daughter of Smoke and Bone . . . CINDER pretty much goes up to that sort of high level standard of a young adult book.

First off, let's discuss the characters. They were so well-crafted and so real with raw almost-human emotion that made your heart ache! When it came to Cinder's character, despite her being a 'cyborg' she was still a human girl possessing numerous human-like qualities: she was super-smart, strong-willed, realistic to a point that blowed your mind in all different directions, and she was also a bit of the romantic type. But what I loved most about her as the main female heroine was how she handled herself in the most difficult circumstances. Even to a point where everything seemed to go haywire for her, Cinder manages to push aside the doubts and keep her focus throughout the entire novel. She didn't even allow her feelings for Kai distract her own judgement, and while her feelings are known for him, she continues to work through what needs to be done. As you gather by my high praise about her, Cinder was a fantastic character!

And then there's Prince Kai. I guess you know what I'm going to say next . . . I'm pathetically in love with him. Not because he's a prince (okay maybe that's part of it) but because he's the kind of prince that understands what needs to be said and done for his people, regardless of the fact that sometimes he doesn't want to do the right thing. And he's cute - okay I'm kidding there, he's totally hottie swoon-worthy guy. It's pretty obvious to why so many girls were so head-over-heels for him and I could see what Cinder saw in him. Like I mentioned, he's not your ordinary prince because he's a man who is no fool and he deals with everything with a great amount of strength and courage. The other bonus was that Prince Kai had some personality too - thank GOD!

In every young adult book, there is always a romance that blossoms. In CINDER the romance that develops within the book isn't the instant love like one would expect from a futurstic novel. There are countless of times where interactions are shared between Cinder and Kai and they continued to learn about each other from these conversations rather than fall into the trap of love if you know what I mean. It gave them . . . more personality and more realism to their relationship. It was absolutely amazing on how well Marissa Meyer wrote these two characters and how well she made the readers feel the heart-ache, the happiness and I applaud her for every bit of emotion she put into this book. And it wasn't just the main characters, it was also the supporting ones too - the good and the bad - whom made CINDER shine in the spotlight.

Overall, CINDER was a remarkable debut novel from Marissa Meyer and I cannot believe the cliffhanger she pulled on us readers! It was so good but so horrible at the same time because now I'll have to wait even longer for the next sequel. That means I'll have to do something to take my mind off the long wait. *shakes head* I demand the sequel to be written ASAP. But when it comes down to it, readers please make sure you mark your calendars on January 3rd 2012 because this isn't the fairytale readers come to know. With a fantastic world of adventure, danger and a part-futuristic and part-sci-fi novel . . . CINDER is a fairytale you will never want to forget and you'll be left wanting more and more!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Win a signed copy of Nightshade!

A dark tale about paranormal romance, murder and poisons . . . if you haven't already read the first Poison Diaries book then be sure to add it to your to-read book list ASAP! In the next long-awaited sequel, Nightshade, the journey continues and thanks to Leanne from the Poison Diaries team, she's giving away a fabulous signed copy of the much anticipated sequel! So would you like to be the lucky winner? Then here's what you need to do:

Simply comment on the Poison Diaries Twitter, Facebook and website page.

For Twitter - Send an @ reply to @poisondiaries mentioning the contest with a quote of 'win a copy of Nightshade by Maryrose Wood' and mention that my blog 'Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic' had sent you.

For Facebook - Like the Poison Diaries page and quote 'win a copy of Nightshade by Maryrose Wood' and mention that my blog 'Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic' had sent you.For the Website - Enter PoisonDiaries.com website and find the plant 'Arum Maculstum' and add it to your Poison Diary - Tweet your findings again mentioning the contest and 'Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic' who had sent you.

And that's all you need to do!

This contest runs for 7 days so good luck to everyone!

Join the fun on Twitter, on the Poison Diaries Facebook page & on Tumblr.

Also be sure to add the book on Goodreads or read the first 2 chapters online!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Release Date: 9th January, 2011

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

Sixteen-year-old Anya becomes the head of a mafia family after her parents are both murdered by rival gangs. Although Anya is embrolied in the criminal worlds, she is determined to keep her brother and sister out of the mafia family, but her father's relatives aren't so keen to let them go. When Anya's violent ex-boyfriend is poisoned with contaminated chocolate - chocolate that is produced illegally by Anya's mafia family - she is arrested for attempted murder and sent to the notorious jail on Manhattan Island.

Eventually she is freed by the new D.A. in town, who believes she has been framed. But this D.A. is the father of Win, a boy at school to whom Anya feels irresistibly drawn to, and her freedom comes with conditions. Win's father wants to be mayor, and he can't risk having his ambition jeopardised by rumours spreading that his son is seeing a member of a notorious crime family. Anya knows she risks the safety of her family by seeing Win again, but the feeling between them may be too strong to resist . . .

The Review

Being a fan of Gabrielle Zevin's Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac book, I knew I would also enjoy and become another fan of her book with this new dystopian tale she was going to offer to readers. And I enjoyed it immensely. It's not because I have a crazy fangal obsession with the whole mafia-gangster society, but it's because of the strong entities of family and loyalty that are emphasized throughout the book. Real strong points through my eyes. For Anya, the main character, I found that she was incredibly dedicated to her family - to her grandmother, sister and brother - and she was willing to make any sort of sacrifice for them no matter that cost or consequence which made her a complete stand-out as a female heroine.

To be honest I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE because there's so many dystopian books out there in the YA world and I haven't really come across a book that was any different from the others. But this book right here could stand on its own without being compared to the likes of the Hunger Games or even the newcomer Divergent. Thank God. While I loved Anya's character both for her independance and being extremely aware of her responsibilities that were laid heavily upon her shoulders, but the only reason why I'm giving this book four stars instead of five is because of the supporting character Win. A lot of readers loved Win's character and as Anya's love interest, but for me he wasn't a favourite of mine nor Anya's best friend, Scarlett. Sure Win was a dedicated young boy and he obviously cares a lot about our Anya and what she's currently going through, but I don't know . . . I just didn't buy into his character. He was the type of guy you want around and then when he is you just don't know what to do with him. Sometimes I wanted him out of the picture. Same goes for Scarlett, who I found wasn't a great friend like she should've been to Anya. But whom I did love besides Anya was a character named Yuji Ono - the childhood crush of Anya's. I just loved him - even though he wasn't really in the book as much as I wanted him to be which was a real bummer. Maybe in the sequel? God I hope so.

ALL THESE THINGS I'VE DONE is the first in the Birthright series and with a few loose threads left untied, I could definitely see a lot of potential in the next few books. With hints of crime, family, love, lies, and betrayal being displayed throughout the book, be sure to pick up a copy of this book because it's a very enticing read for all those dystopian lovers like me!

The Rating

4/5 stars

Monday, November 7, 2011

Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

Release Date: 27th October, 2011

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

Pages: 256pgs

The Story

Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. Two weeks before the most important violin competition of her career, she has bigger things to worry about - like growing out of that suffocating "child prodigy" label, and no disappointing her mother. But it isn't just the wrong time. It's the wrong guy. Jeremy is Carmen's most talented rival, and according to her mother, he's only interested in one thing: winning.

He isn't the only one.

Carmen is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to control performance nerves. But what started a year a go as an easy fix is now a hungry addiction. Her mother insists now is not the time to quit, but Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of doing what she's told.

When the darker side of the classical music industry and her mother's ambition collide, Carmen must choose between her career and her love for music.

The Review

A big thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia for sending me a review copy of this book!

VIRTUOSITY is a great YA story that is beautifully written. With drama blended into the lulled pages of the scary-but-very-competitive world of classical music, the author, Jessica Martinez, captured every bit of emotion and reality in every way I hoped she would. Just feeling the intensity of the music and reading about the life Carmen possesses, I was one of those people who literally wanted to be sitting in the front row and to experience everything she was experiencing center stage.

Judging by the storyline you can already tell Carmen's life is an interesting one. And a hectic one at that. She has already won a Grammy. She is considered one of the best violinists. And she's the one person fellow musicians would find hard to beat in any sort of competition. But when the Guarneri competition looms over her head, coming with it is the unexpected competitor of the handsome and talented Jeremy King. This boy is everything that Carmen isn't but much to her surprise he understands her in a way her own family cannot. As their relationship is based on checking out the competition, things start to swerve into an impossible romance between two rivals of the music world.

I finished the book in one sitting and I loved every moment of it. Carmen's character was very likeable and despite her controlled circumstances - what with her controlling mother - I still found her a character easily appealing. And I hope other readers do too. But what I most admired about her character was her fierce determination and dedication to her music career, and how it affects the people in her life. Even with a possible drug addiction (drugs for her nerves), I was still enthralled by how Carmen battles the rights and wrongs of her very pressuring world. It was very enjoyable and I wanted more of it. As for Jeremy King, he was everything you want in a love interest, especially in a story like this one. Sure there was a time where he said a particular something to Carmen that surprised me and I thought "You didn't just say that, did you?", but this british lover boy will make girls hearts flutter because his main purpose in the storyline was break Carmen out of her shell - her world of music - and bring her somewhere that she's never been before - to experience true freedom for herself and herself alone.

Overall VIRTUOSITY is a book you don't want to miss out on. Being far more than just your ordinary YA love story, the book teaches 'us' readers that there's more to life than being perfect and it's a superb debut novel for Jessica Martinez. One book that I think she should be really proud of writing. While the ending may have concluded a little too quickly for my liking, but it sent off the ideal message for me which I won't spoil because you will need to read for yourself in order to feel the way I felt about this book. So well done to the author!

The Rating

4 1/2 / 5 stars

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cover Reveal

I wasn't meant to do another post today but damn I had to share this beautiful cover with you guys. This is for The Selection by Kiera Cass and it's by far my favourite 2012 cover! So what do you guys think of it? Isn't it absolutely stunning!

Be sure to add this book to your goodreads to-read pile!

Which you can do here.

Dark Angel by Eden Maguire

Release Date: 4th August, 2011

Publisher: Hodder Children's Books

Pages: 398pgs

The Story

Tania's heart belongs to Orlando. Nothing can rip them apart. Until the seduction begins in a flurry of glamour and magic, music and parties all orchestrated by the mysterious and mesmerising Zoran, an iconic rock star who has retired to a remote ranch in the nearby mountains. And there Tania meets the dark side. Can she resist the temptation?

The Review

I don't like criticizing a book especially when I was a fan of the author's previous work - for that being Eden Maguire's Beautiful Dead series and for those who haven't read them yet then please do they're great reads. When I heard she was writing another book series I was really looking forward to it and while I admit that now but . . . for her new DARK ANGEL book, all I have to say is that it's not very often where I come across a book that frustrates me in more ways than one and usually I stop reading the book up to this point. However, I did force myself to continue because like I said, I loved Maguire's previous work. Unfortunately for her, this particular book title could not - at all - connect with me and it was mainly because of the main character rather than the creative storyline and the little mysteries within it.

The storyline certainly had its good points about it - what with certain dreams that were more like super creepy nightmares - but the characters were the major problem for me. The main character, Tania, and her boyfriend, Orlando, in particular. Both of them really made me mad and not to mention annoyed me on so many accounts. When it comes to Tania, she's naive to think her boyfriend really loves and respects her in a way she SHOULD be treated. But she's clearly blind through my eyes. No, no . . . Orlando is the type of guy who thinks the world revolves around him and while his character proved himself a little more towards the end of the book, but he just didn't cut it for me and I can imagine a lot of readers disapproving of him too. The way he treated Tania and even the way Tania herself foolishly thought he even gave her a second thought . . . argh! I just can't put my emotions it into words.

The reason why I'm giving two stars to DARK ANGEL is merely because of the setting and the way the twists and turns worked out. Those two mentionings are probably the only thing I liked about the book - to keep it all interesting. Except for the characters. They . . . well, I recommend this book to all fans of Eden Maguire's other series or if you like something with a little 'angel' element in it - the whole good vs. evil thing - then it's worth giving this one ago. But be warned . . . it's a little different compared to most paranormal stories out there.

The Rating

2/5 stars

Friday, November 4, 2011

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Release Date: 6th January, 2011

Publisher: Mira Books

Pages: 400pgs

The Story

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince - leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because of the price of peace may well be her life . . .

The Review

A big thanks to Gabrielle from Harlequin Australia for sending a review copy of this book!

TOUCH OF POWER is the first book of the new Healers trilogy. When I was sent a lovely package from Harlequin Australia, I was literally over-the-moon when I got an ARC copy of this book because everyone knows how much of a fangal I am of Maria V. Snyder. She's not only a fantastic author but she's the kind to always surprise me and indeed she did in this new, thrilling, and adventurous trilogy!

In the book TOUCH OF POWER it tells of a tale of a young girl named Avry, who is a healer and is the last of her kind. She has been on the run since the healers were blamed for the plague, killing thousands in their wake, and Avry has managed to hide her abilities and go under the radar for a long while - until now. Avry is soon kidnapped by a group of rogues who decide to use her 'abilities' on their terms, instead of killing her like most people would if they found her. And with that, Avry must decide whom to heal at the expense of her own life.

Seriously this book is back to the high quality of Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study series. It may not be as good as the Poison Study series but it's not so far behind. Avry in particular was the main reason why I loved this book so, so much. She's a very strong-minded character with a lot of fight in her and she's one of those young women you can't help but admire. And she's smart which is always a good trait for a female heroine to possess. Same praise goes to the supporting cast of followers in the book, who have just the right amount of purpose and have individual personalities that intrigue you in all sorts of directions.

As for the storyline itself it was absolutely brilliant in its fantasy elements without going too overboard. But considering that we're talking about Snyder here, as a writer she can go overboard as much as she likes because much like the story she's a brilliant writer. Not to mention I will read anything of hers. With enough action, adventure, magic, and war explored in the novel, there was plenty of things to fall in love with and Snyder explores a well-established world forging together something of the old and something of the new to create something that is beautifully different compared to most books of today.

Overall, TOUCH OF POWER may not be your Poison Study but by the end of the book fans of Maria V. Snyder's writing will be satisfying in all accounts. As you slowly become fascinated with the blended mixes of fantasy and experience what Avry must go through in the fight of her life, by the end of the book you will be left wanting more and more of this series. And boy did I love every moment of it. I can't wait for the next book now!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Release Date: 25th October, 2011

Publisher: Harlequin

Pages: 361pgs

The Story

Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything.

His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty - all for a girl.

And all for nothing . . . unless he can earn a soul.

To the cold, emotionless faery prince, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought . . .

Then Meghan Chase - half human, half fey - smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. But Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a quest to find a way to honour his solemn vow to stand by Meghan's side.

Then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

The Review

A big thanks to Gabrielle from Harlequin Australia for sending me a review copy of this book!

I honestly have no idea what to say in this review - where to begin and what parts to mention - and I don't think any sort of praise could justify how awesome this book series has been, and how great Julie Kagawa is as an author. For those who know me well enough, the Iron Fey series has been one of my favourite fairy young adult series because each book that has been brought out keeps getting better and better, and talk about the utterly gorgeous covers! And, like so many other readers who have already read The Iron Knight, I'm glad to say that without a doubt, Kagawa's fourth installment of the series has blown everything we know about the storyline . . . right out of the water!

Unlike those Ash fangals who can't stop gushing over him in the book community, I'm not afraid to admit that I've always been Team Puck. He's just my kind of guy to have around. But ever since reading Ash's point-of-view in The Iron Knight and seeing all the sacrifices he is willing to give - all in the name of love and true happiness - I was straightaway mesmerized and drawn into Ash's icy, daring eyes and into the world he now faces alone. He was just an amazing character - even more amazing in this installment - and I absolutely loved his perspective, even though I missed Meghan's voice like crazy. But my god! The tears . . . the smiles . . . the laughs . . . the passion . . . the love . . . everything is put to the ultimate test in this novel and Julie Kagawa never shys away to make your head spin heavily in-rotation. Not to mention that scene involving Ash and Meghan. I think you guys know what I mean. *winks* That was just perfect in its innocent way.

Not only am I sad to say a sweet goodbye to these characters (Ash, Meghan, Puck, Grim . . .) but I'm also sad in not having enough time to spend with them. Because they are just amazing, well-developed characters that you can never get enough of. And with an upcoming spin-off series in the works, I just don't want this to be a final farewell. But like most beloved YA series of mine, 'us' fans must cope somehow. Not sure how though. Still figuring that out.

Overall, The Iron Knight has gone beyond my own expectations and despite my fears of how this series would conclude, I was happy in every bit of the journey Ash experiences and each choice he made lead to an ever-so-amazing showdown that won't disappoint readers. Not by a long shot. Last but not least, I want to say a big thank you to Julie Kagawa herself for captivating, compelling, and writing for us to love and enjoy these books of hers! And I grant her many best wishes in her writing career because this gal will go far in the future.

The Rating

5/5 stars
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