Monday, April 30, 2012

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarlequinTeen

Pages: 485pgs

The Story

In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle.

And one girl with search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked - and given the ultimate choice. Die or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend - a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what - and who - is worth dying for.

The Review

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

When I first heard about Kagawa's new book THE IMMORTAL RULES I was a bit taken back by what it entailed, mostly due to it being of the vampire genre. While vampires are continually being brought out in books and are not necessarily original, but with such love for Julie Kagawa herself, for her previous Iron Fey series and for the dystopian genre and all its brilliance, the fact that the author can write something both exciting and fresh, I definitely can say with all honesty that this is the best book to date when it comes to vampires. Not only does it contain a strong and a heroic young heroine, two kinds of vampires (one so dark and one so grotesque), and bringing together a storyline and characters that are none other fighting for the rest of humanity . . . but it also offers readers that rare edge about it and there's nothing more I love in a book than that edge!

Allison Sekemoto, the main character, lives on the fringe of a vampire dystopian society. Being an Unregistered citizen, defying the law and rebelling against becoming a blood bank for vampires in the city comes within Allison's nature. But when she is attacked one night while scavenging for resources with her dedicated human crew, everything goes horribly wrong. With Allison's time slowly ticking away, she is faced with a choice - to either die as a mortal or be reborn as the immortal monster she'd always feared to become. As she doesn't want to die, Allison is soon turned into a vampire despite her beliefs and with it comes many consequences lying in her wake, and once and for all, Allison will need to decide whether to accept her new destiny or continue living like a human that she will never be for the rest of her immortal life. And unfortunately for Allison, fate has other plans for her and everything will - indeed - change her forever . . .

THE IMMORTAL RULES is such a great story for horror fans like myself. There's plenty of good old-fashioned bloodshed, plenty of action, plenty of death, and even some little tiny bits of tragedy along the way, which made this book an even more perfect read for me. In most dystopian genres or in the supernatural tales, most authors are too afraid to explore the darker side of human nature and I loved the fact that Kagawa wasn't afraid to do so. Putting her character's through the most horrifying situations, challenging them non-stop, and taking them to the highest levels of choosing between what's right and wrong . . . the storyline did all of that and if not more than I expected! While I would've loved some more developed romance to take part in the story, but it didn't even matter because the storyline was what grew on me and not the romance this time round.

As for our leading lady, Allison Sekemoto, I thought she was such a beautiful character whom was completely honest and true with herself. For the majority of the book she was a total badass, but it wasn't just about her kick-assing ways of life. What really drew me to her character was her ability to survive in the dire circumstances and even when things seemed down and damn right gloomy for her . . . she still remained one of the most interesting and the most complex character's I've ever read and it's no wonder why so many readers fell in love with this one awesome chick. Just be sure to keep your distance when she's swinging that mad and super-duper Japanese katana sword around . . . because she'll truly use it when she has to!

Now onto the love interests because there's always a love interest involved in any book. In this case we have Zeke, a human boy Allison meets later in the book, who was a genuine good boy with a heart of gold. My heart may not have swooned nor skipped an actual beat for him, but he had many qualities that I admired. He's understanding, he's not quick to judge, he's forgiving in most matters but the only thing I had trouble in connecting with him was his religious ways of life. I guess when you live in a terrible society . . . people will be driven by religious beliefs but nonetheless Zeke was a great guy. But fear not my dear readers, because there's another dude on the block and I really hope he's a potential love interest for Allison in later sequels because I adore this mysterious young - I mean old - fellow. This fellow being Allison's master vampire sire, Kanin, whom is clearly the only man for me when it comes to this book. There was just something about him I was captivated by and I was soooooooo disappointed that he never got to take part in too much of the book. Only in the beginning, I'm afraid. Oh Kanin I miss and long for you! I love Zeke and all . . . don't get me wrong . . . but KANIN! I need you back Kanin in the sequel . . . we just need you back to rock this vampire-radar of the hotness charts!

Overall, THE IMMORTAL RULES is a traditional vampire story (but it's also an unique take on vampires) whom has clearly brought back what I love in vampires - all the blood and gore that I just can't get enough of. Just when you thought vampires were out of style, you need to think again readers because this book cannot be missed by you all! I think . . . I think . . . I think . . . I may even love this book a hundred times more than Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series and that's the shocking thing of all things when I finished this book!

The Rating

4 1/2 / 5 stars

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fated by Alyson Noel

Release Date: 24th May, 2012

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter's sanity, Daire's mother sends her to live with the grandmother she's never met. A woman who recognizes the visions for what they truly are - the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker - one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead.

There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness her mystical powers. But it's when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, that her whole world is shaken to its core. Now Daire is forced to discover if Dace is the only guy she's meant to be with . . . or if he's allied with the enemy she's destined to destroy.

The Review

A big thanks to Pan Macmillan for sending me an ARC copy of this book!

In Alyson Noel's newest adventure FATED, the first book in The Soul Seekers series, it tells the story of Daire Santos whose life changes dramatically when she is branded by the world's celebrity magazines as a mentally unstable, crazy young girl after an unfortunate incident that occured on her sixteenth birthday. With crows flocking toward her, with glowing people calling out her name, with visions of a hot string and a gorgeous boy with most beautiful set of blue eyes that continue to plague her mind . . . she too wonders if she's crazy like everyone else believes she is. With no choice in the matter, Daire's mother sends her to live with her grandmother - someone she doesn't even know - in a place called Enchantment, New Mexico, where she soon learns that she is a Soul Seeker and must partake in this new destiny already set out for her, in order to fight all of the evils in this small town and find love in the most unexpected places.

I have to start off by saying I wasn't a hardcore fan of Noel's previous Immortals series. I mean, I liked a few of her books in that particular series but it was an up-and-down series for me, so I really hoped this new installment of books was going to impress me. And surprisingly, I really, really enjoyed this book and loved it far more than anything else Noel has ever written. Not only does the book offer a great amount of interest to me, but there was hardly anything - if nothing at all - that annoyed me about this book and again I'm thankful for that small detail.

As for the main character, Daire Santos, I thought she rocked as a heroine and while she may have had her emotions take over at the worst possible times, but I loved her much more as the novel's voice compared to Ever - a character from her Immortals series - which is a good sign for those who didn't like that series so much. For me, Daire was a refreshing character who had some good old spunk in her. She's strong, she's opinionated, she's a free spirit, and she likes to take control of her life which I admired most. Even her supporting characters - one including a possible love interest and a possible soul mate - of brothers, Cade and Dace, were a whole heap of fun to add on to the storyline and I'm game for anything to do with a good and evil brother. The whole ordeal between these brothers - and even with Daire - was fantastic and I'm looking forward to reading more from this series!

Overall, FATED was absolutely original in its own way! From the vivid descriptions to the spirtual world the author, Alyson Noel, has cleverly created, I was so intrigued and stunned that by this book that I can't wait to see where Noel takes this series to because she sure as hell has a winner right here! If you didn't love Noel's previous Immortals series like I did, then I sugguest you take a chance on this book . . . because who knows . . . you and this book could be fated to be together! A little cliche I know but hey . . . it could be destiny!

The Rating

4 1/2 / 5 stars

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Winners of The Industry Giveaway!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered my giveaway for The Industry by Rose Foster. I got a great number of people entering the giveaway so many thanks for that high participation! Now onto the major winners and as much as I would LOVE to give you ALL a copy of this great book, but unfortunately there can only be 10 winners and they are . . .

Lisa Y.

Bree T.

Pavan H.

Shirley G.

Rachel C.

Sarah G.

Lisa S.

Katrina W.

Rebecca A.

Kimberley S.

Congrats to the winners!

I'm sure all of you are smiling right about . . . now!


(Just had to add in this gif. of Game of Thrones's Jon Snow aka Kit Harington.)

Gorgeous, isn't he? *insert sexy-smile here* Anyway, for all those who aren't the lucky winners for today, fear not! There's another amazing giveaway coming up on my blog involving a great number of copies of a sequel to a best-selling novel (which I won't name as it needs to be a surprise for you all) that I know many of you guys are dying to read this year for 2012! So be on the look out for that giveaway early next month!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Switched by Amanda Hocking

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Tor

Pages: 335pgs

The Story

What if your entire world was built on a lie?

Wendy Everly knew she was different the day her mother tried to kill her and accused her of having been switched at birth. Although certain she's not the monster her mother claims she iis - she does feel that she doesn't quite fit in . . .

She's bored and frustrated by her small town life - and then there's the secret that she can't tell anyone. Her mysterious ability - she can influence people's decisions, without knowing how, or why . . .

When the intense and darkly handsome newcomer Finn suddenly turns up at her bedroom window one night - her world is turned upside down. He holds the key to her past, the answers to her strange powers and is the doorway to a place she never imagined could exist. Forening, the home of the Trylle.

Finally everything makes sense. Among the Trylle, Wendy is not just different, but special. But what marks her out as chosen for greatness in this world also places her in grave danger. With everything around her changing, Finn is the only person she can trust. But with dark forces are conspiring - not only to separate them, but to see the downfall everything that Wendy cares about.

The fate of Forening rests in Wendy's hands, and the decisions she and Finn make could change all their lives forever . . .

The Review

SWITCHED was a delightful cutesy read for me and it was a great departure from your average YA fantasy novel that we read nowadays, and since everyone had been praising this author up like crazy, I knew I had to pick up this book no matter what book I was currently reading. And boy, I'm really glad that I did read this book. Not only has this author, Amanda Hocking, come a very long way from self-publishing and now onto the big bucks, while also becoming a great inspiration to me, but she's also done something quite remarkable and unheard of . . . to write about trolls no less and not focus on your vampires . . . werewolves . . . fairies . . . and whatever else there is out there to do with YA fantasy. I mean, I honestly HONESTLY overlooked reviews when it came to this book because when I read it was about 'trolls' or rather Trylle as the characters prefer to call themselves as, it was a big-but-nice surprise when I opened up this book. That's for sure!

While I will admit the events in this book happen far too quickly, but the storyline was always engaging and addictive because one after the other (almost like uncontrollable firecrackers), shocking twists and jaw-dropping secrets were soon revealed and they alone made you wonder and second-question whom to trust in this new mythological world the main character is about to embark on. Regarding the characters themselves, while they had their own personal issues to sort out and plenty of drama to add to the storyline itself, but they too were super addictive. For the most part, I really enjoyed entering Wendy's world and experiencing everything she's experiencing. Toward the beginning of the novel, Wendy was a bit of spoiled brat with a quick tongue but as the novel slowly progresses she matures, so it was nice to see that change in her. As for Finn, the "love interest" I suppose, I was already on his team when I met him. He had that ooh la la factor about him. In some ways you don't know whether to trust him or not, but once his heart is out on his sleeve and his fiercely protective side over Wendy escalates into something much more . . . every fibre of his being has that sizzle that you're dying to feel and trust me here . . . you'll totally be rooting for Finn and Wendy, even when it seems impossible to get them together in the same room without arguing.

Overall, it's easy for me to see why so many fans - new and old - adored this series and why it has become a MUST book to read for this year of 2012. With a consistent easy-to-read storyline, a variety of strong and handsome characters with their own set of personal stories, and a mythology and a new love to fascinate all, SWITCHED is one of those reads where you just HAVE to read it for the sake of it because when you look past its cliches, its cheese (but the kind of cheese that's tasty) and its frustrating romances . . . you can see the amazing side of what's to come from this author, Amanda Hocking, which I'm sure will be many great things in the future with her writing career.

The Rating 4/5 stars

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bargains and Betrayals by Shannon Delany

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Pages: 303pgs

The Story

Locked away at Pecan Place, Jessie finds her situation to be even more dangeorus than she feared. While she struggles to maintain her sanity and discover answers about the group that seems less and less like an legitimate government agency, Pietr fights to keep their relationship alive. But very aware that his mother's time is running out, Pietr makes a deal he doesn't dare tell Jessie about. Because the deal Pietr's made could mean the death of far more than his tenuous relationship with the girl he loves.

The Review

After reading the first two books in the 13 to Life series, I'm going to admit to you all here that I wasn't a huge fan from the very beginning. The first book was an okay read for me but offered nothing really special nor unique to the paranormal YA genre (again what doesn't lately), and as far as the sequel goes . . . things just got worse for me as I trudged through this complicated journey of Shannon Delany's. But since I like to stick with a book series just to stay, wait and hope for better things for the storyline's sake - you know give the book the benefit of the doubt, I decided to go against my thoughts (since I actually refused to read this book but I then changed my mind) and give this third book another try to understand what other readers were seeing and praising about. And judging by the majority of the reviews on goodreads, it was either an 'okay read' for them or an 'absolutely brilliant read', however for me I just couldn't see what they saw unfortunately.

BARGAINS AND BETRAYALS, the third installment of the 13 to Life series, wasn't the worst book in the series - as it certainly got better in certain parts of the book - but it started off with a bad beginning which isn't a good thing obviously. Same goes with the entire book. The story was slowly-paced, there was nothing really exciting happening, there was far too little of life in the main characters let alone with the supporting cast, and there was a dual perspective told between the main character and another supporting character which I found had a greater effect on my low star rating than the storyline itself. Not only was this supporting character's perspective - unfortunately - boring but it just didn't make sense having that certain character's view on the world and it was quite a shame considering I usually like dual perspectives.

As much as readers love Jessie and Pietr, the main characters of the book, but my interest in them only dwindled far more in this book. Just when I thought these two characters were in a solid relationship and were going to support one another through these rough times in the book, there was just more and more of poor decision making made from them, and they rarely listened to logic which frustrated me a lot. Jessie for example was a strong girl in the first book, 13 to Life, and she may be your average teenage girl, but in this book I was very disappointed in her actions and thoughts. She was love sick and while it's good to be in love and all that shiz, but really? What's with all the melodrama? Where's the dangerous twists and lies that I was expecting? I miss the old Jess.

When it comes to another important and central character of the storyline, again nothing improves either with Pietr's character, Jessie's one and only love interest. Oh Pietr . . . you give me the creeps even though I admire you - even just a little - in the previous installments. But my main problem in Pietr's case was that his thoughts were constantly all over the place, and all he thought about was his downstairs department rather than using his head on the most dangerous and the most twisted of all situations. Yes, you know what I mean there readers and don't take it lightly. I mean, Pietr was too pressuring and dominating when it came to Jessie and I didn't like that one bit. And really, Jessie shouldn't have to give in so quickly to Pietr's frustrations because that boy needs a leash . . . seriously. So when combining a complicated girl with a very frustrating-bossy-but-also-complicated boy things just . . . don't work out for them. On the plus side though, while I did enjoy having some questions answered in this book and enjoyed some dialogues exchanged between the supporting characters, but the story shouldn't be about them . . . it should focus more on the main characters and loving them more and more than the supporting ones featured in this book. After all, the main characters's roles are to drive the novel in the right direction and make us readers care about them. But I guess it just wasn't the right read for me and whether or not I decide to will myself in reading the fourth book . . . I guess I'll just let fate decide for me when the time comes around.

Overall, readers should not feel discouraged about my review nor my book rating because clearly there are plenty of other readers out there whom loved this book and even the characters inside of it. The storyline in BARGAINS AND BETRAYALS maybe insane and leave you saying, "Oh no they didn't! Really?" but if you love some decent melodrama, some crazy scenes that come out of the ordinary, or if you have the love of the 13 to Life book series, then this book right here will be perfect for you!

The Rating
2/5 stars

Friday, April 20, 2012

Follow Friday

This weekly event is hosted by Parajunkee & Alison Can Read.

This week's question: Fight! Fight! If you could have two fictional characters battle it out (preferably from books), who would they be and who do you think would win?

My answer: Hmmmm . . . that's a tough question to answer but only two characters come to mind right now which are Rose Hathaway from Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series and Buffy Summers from the popular tv show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While Buffy is a television show however there are books (some I own), so she technically counts for a fictional character in a book. Anyway I would pay money to see a fight go on between these two leading ladies because they share many things in common - their wit, their matched strength, their skills in killing vampires and their ability to always put their friends before themselves - making this battle an almost impossible one to win . . . but who knows they might end up killing each other or more likely they would have a tie, shake hands and then become friends!

So who would be your two fictional characters in a fight?

Who do you think would win?

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

Release Date: March, 2012

Publisher: Pier 9

Pages: 364pgs

The Story

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police - instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior - instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living iwth her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.
That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings . . . the only boy Ember has ever loved.

The Review

This review is very difficult for me to write because I absolutely adored this book and every single detail inside of it. If you've heard about the hype then it's correct. It is one of the best and one of the most entertaining dystopian reads I've ever read in a while. And honestly . . . there are no words to describe this unique dystopian tale except that it's awesome, it's startling and all the words have truly hit home for me.

In the world of ARTICLE 5, the War has changed everything for mankind. With the rights of each citizen having been revoked and therefore must adhere to the current Mortal Statues, seventeen-year-old Ember soon gets her own dose of reality and with the laws of Article 5 being revised, her and her mother's life are now in danger because of it. Ember knows the true realisation of her life and the consequences she may soon have to face - where people are always arrested for crimes of the simplest of things - and yet despite knowing of those strict laws surrounding her world . . . she's still willing to put herself out there and continue to fight for justice. However as she struggles, the last thing Ember expects is to have help from a familiar face . . . a boy named Chase whom just happens to be her childhood boy-next-door neighbour and also her longtime crush. But with Chase being one of them - a military officer like so many others - Ember will need to question where everyone's - including herself - loyalties lie.

Dystopian books have become a hit or miss factor for me, either because nothing WOWS me anymore or simply because it's hard to come by an amazing and honest dystopian book. With so many greats out there such as The Hunger Games or even The Forest of Hands & Teeth, it's still really hard to compare them to others or find another title that is simply better than the rest of them. For this book however, I found that it certainly measured up to the great stars of the dystopian genre and found it was so much more entertaining and equallly as addictive as the bestsellers out there. With Kristen Simmon's debut novel ARTICLE 5 it's without a doubt one of those books that comes around unexpectedly and rocks your world forever. With the perfect blend of spine-tingling action, breathtaking and wildly-intense suspense, vivid imagery and an almost world-like atmosphere, it's no wonder why I loved this book so, so much and why so many have praised it up on the high bar!

With the storyline rocking my world (clearly) so did its main characters! Ember was straight off one of the strongest characters I've ever come across and is one of the best, too! What I admire most in my heroines is what they stand for in their broken societies and for Ember's character in particular, she was one of those few girls that stands up for herself no matter the consequences that stands in her way. Being her mother's rock and the strongest person within her family, Ember had no choice but to take charge when it was necessary and even when she faces severe series of torment - both physically, emotionally and psychologically - just by reading about her fears alone and her mere desperation to find out what happened to her mother made it so much easier to sympathise with her and I guess in a way I formed a bond with her. She's a survivor and a bit of rebel . . . my favourite kind of heroine if I do say so myself!

In the case of love interests, Ember's relationship with Chase was a great thing to have in a book such as this one. You have to love those childhood friends and childhood crushes. I mean, beyond the surface of these two characters right here - Ember and Chase - and the past that they tried to leave behind them, you can immediately sense a variety of unresolved feelings rotating between the two of them, but just like Ember's character, this boy Chase manages - just barely - to keep these intense feelings hidden inside of him and that's why I loved this boy so much. Throughout the book you get to see two sides to Chase - one from the past who is both sweet and tender and the other one of the present is broken, hardened, and cold. Seeing those two sides of him only proves how well the author has created depth to her characters (really she has created so much depth to them) and oh boy Chase . . . his presence alone was incredibly intense and he soon begins to crack open Embers heart once more - the heart of the past - and morphs it into something so beautiful that I will never stop talking about it. Yup, I'm totally gushing over him right now and I regret nothing!

Overall, the author captures the brutality of war, love and a little bit of everything in between so creatively and I'm addicted to it all. Jam-packed with pulse-racing action, engaging characters, impressive world-building, skilled writing, and of course filled with a breath of fresh air to make this book come to life . . . ARTICLE 5 has definitely become one of my favourites for this year so do yourself a favour and go check it out!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 288pgs

The Story

Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach? It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Counsins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come. But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started - at Cousins Beach.

The Review

There's no doubt in my mind when I say that I've fallen in love with this series and with the characters Belly, Conrad and Jeremiah. Right from the very beginning. From the start of summer til the end of it. Not only does this series have every bit of element I love in my books - the summers, the romance, the heartbreak, the conflicts - but it only goes to show how much this one author, Jenny Han, rocks my world and yet again she delivers a fantastic novel to add to her name.

Belly had thought things were perfect after what happened during the most incredible and heart-changing summer . . . but she couldn't have been more wrong. Everything has changed now and not even her summers will ever be the same again. When one of her childhood best friends, Jeremiah, calls to ask for her help in finding his older brother, Conrad, as you can imagine, Belly is still very conflicted with her emotions regarding Conrad, especially how things ended with him from the first book, The Summer I Turned Pretty. But when you hold such strong feelings for someone, you cannot simply refuse them and in Belly's case Conrad will forever be in heart, and she will always be there for him even if it means being only a friend to him. But there's a question that still remains: Can Belly finally get some closure with her lost-love and childhood crush or will seeing Conrad again stir up those old feelings of hers and complicate matters even further than she first anticipated?

I won't go into greater detail about the plot, but it was equally as fantastic as the first installment. Han's writing alone comes alive instantly through what seems like endless of pages and flows so easily too, with each and every shining word you read. The thing I love about this author, Jenny Han, is her ability to know how to reach out to her readers on a personal level and knowing that teenagers will always do stupid things or make the wrong decisions at the wrong times, and I guess that's why I love this author so much because of the realism she adds to her storylines. Even her male characters have a touch of realism to them and aren't presented as these perfect and untouchable beings. She is instead presenting these males with some screwed-up flaws that can easily become one of their strengths. Yes, this book is perfect no matter the cracks on the surface.

Regarding the wonderful set of characters, Belly remains one of my favourite gals. She's stronger than ever before, she has a weakness for love (which we love most about her) but knows how to contain it, and she's still the same old girl who is always there for everyone else when they are in need. And while Belly has discovered many things about herself and about the boys she loves, and even about her own family and friends, but in this sequel I found that she still has a long way to go in learning about what it truly means to let go of the past and move forward with life. Same goes with the love interests of the story - Conrad and Jeremiah. Both boys have their own complications and feelings towards many different things including their feelings for Belly, but no matter the drama and no matter what comes out of their frustrating-but-sexy mouths, they will forever hook me. I admit Conrad was a bit harder in personality than previously seen in the first book and even Jeremiah has changed too, but the thing about these two boys right here, is that they come together as a team through the hardest times of life and honestly there's not one bad thing I've got to say about them. Flaws and all . . . they're perfect just the way they are and are just as perfect as this perfect book of Jenny Han's!

Overall, IT'S NOT SUMMER WITHOUT YOU was a shining star for me and was a hundred times better than the first book in the series. It was far more intense for me and because of that I cried, I laughed, I was a damn right mess and I always felt frustrated . . . but clearly this book was way, way too good for its own good if you get my meaning! If you love YA realism, beautiful romances and down-to-earth friendships and all of the little teenage drama inbetween, then this book should have a permanent place on your bookshelf because I loved every single moment of it!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins

Release Date: Out Now!

Publisher: Hyperion Books

Pages: 327pgs

The Story

Hailed as "impossible to put down", the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordianry magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies - the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that's what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn't as confident.

Sophie's bound for one hell of a ride - can she get her powers back before it's too late?

The Review

Here is yet another favourite book series of mine that has now come to an official end, though, like so many of us out there, I wished it wasn't that way. From the very beginning of when this series started, I've deeply fell in love with Rachel Hawkins's Hex Hall world and considering the cliffhanger we were left on in her sequel, Demonglass, I was dying to get my hands on a copy of this third and final installment. But once a beautiful hardcover copy arrived on my doorstep - looking like an absolute gem compared to the other two book covers - and after I closed the final chapter of this book, I can guarantee to all of you readers that you'll be left with plenty waves of emotion and will be quite sad to say farewell to our favourite characters here, with Sophie and Archer included.

The third installment SPELL BOUND picks up right after Demonglass had left off, with Sophie - whom has recently been stripped of her magical powers by the Council - traveling to find her mother, whom for whatever reason, is staying with the Brannicks, a group famously known for being women prodigium hunters. But once she arrives at the Brannicks compound and has a little run in with some werewolves and is assisted by the most unlikely of resources, Sophie will soon learn the shocking truths behind her family name and with it comes dangerous quests that will put her strengths - her powers and her no powers - to the test and possibly put an end to a massive war once and for all.

Sophie Mercer is most definitely one of my favourite heroines in YA literature. She's sassy. She's strong. She's funny. She's sarcastic. She's quirky. She's - well, basically she has a bit of every quality we love in our female heroines and if not more than that. From Hex Hall to Demonglass and now on to SPELL BOUND, Sophie's character has gone through so many physical and emotional changes in the shortest amount of time and I love to witness those types of development for my main characters especially because the author is not only being believable but she's also being completely honest with her readers, and for Sophie reminding me so much of myself, it also makes her character easy to identify with as well. For the most part, her wit reminds me so much of me which in Sophie's case, she'll always be known for possessing.

As seen in all of her novels so far, Rachel Hawkins's has written strong relationships throughout this series and has maintained those relationships on a significant level, with very little weakness within them. The reason why Sophie has been greatly loved by her readers is because of her relationships between her loves, her friends, and most importantly her family who have made her for what she is today. Archer . . . Cal . . . Jenna . . . her parents . . . even her ghostly sometimes-dead-friend Elodie that is currently haunting her . . . all of them one way or another have played some part in Sophie's continual strength and I guess that's why I love this series so much, and the supporting cast of course. With Archer, no matter how suspicious he may seem, was always loved by me because he's been Sophie's rock from day one. With Jenna, the cool little vampire sidekick, she'll always been the best friend you wished you had in high school. And as for Cal, the forever friend in your life, will always be admired greatly by me as well. As you can see by the supporting cast I've mentioned above, they all are fantastic and have grown so much just like Sophie's character has done through the trilogy series.

With a final book being highly addictive as this one - containing a fast-paced plot, some thrilling and pulse-racing action sequences and some brilliant one-liners that all characters delivered well - the only real disappointing factor for me with this fangal-swoon-worthy book was how the book concluded. After every single thing leaving me satisfied, the only thing that had disappointed me was that damn ending of Hawkins's. While many fans enjoyed the ending but part of me felt like something was missing and because a certain "something" had happened to one of my favourite characters . . . well let's just say I wanted more answers regarding that character and what happened with them. But not to worry my dear readers because feel rest assured that you'll have all of the events wrapped up nicely, even though it's really hard to say goodbye to everything you ever loved over the years with this series.

Overall, Rachel Hawkins has done it again with another seamless love story and not only that, but she has written a book full of courage, love and self-sacrifice, and it's no wonder why Hawkins has become one of my favourite YA authors and I'm sure this won't be the last you will see of her . . . because I see a bright future ahead for this talented author and I just want another novel of hers like . . . RIGHT NOW!

The Rating

4/5 stars

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

Release Date: 8th May, 2012

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Pages: 304pgs

The Story

Don't Sweat. Don't Laugh. Don't Draw Attention to Yourself.

And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them.

Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can't run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn't hurt him and he doesn't have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It's the only way to stay alive in a world of night - a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.

When he's chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene's carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him. He's thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible - and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever - but is it worth the cost of his humanity?

The Review

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

In lines with the dystopian-crazed genre and satisfying those readers of Suzanne Collins's best-selling series The Hunger Games, the debut author Andrew Fukuda has offered up an odd but a mostly interesting new take on vampires and it's far from your typical vampires that you have come to know and love over the years. While there was plenty of things in this book that sparked my entertaining side, however I did have a few issues with THE HUNT along the way as I entered this very terrifying and vicious new world.

Before I get straight into the issues, one of the things I will give the author a lot of credit for was how he reinvented everything we know about vampires - from the bad, the ugly and even the razzle-dazzle ones if you know what I mean - and making it his own kind of vampire that we haven't necessarily seen before. I must admit, hearing this book was to be about vampires made me really hesitant in reading this book in the first place, but I'm still thankful that I decided against it and read it instead. The book not only offered uniqueness but the plot went in a completely different direction than I was expecting, giving me even more reason to enjoy the book since predictability can sometimes be a book's downfall. So I'm glad for that part.

Now onto the issues side, I don't have many issues with the book per se - at least not regarding the storyline - but the main issue I had was with the characters than anything else presented in the book. Gene, the main character, is the human tirelessly hiding amongst the vampire population and he's trying his best to adapt to this very blood-thristy environment that has now taken over his human world. Literally. Not only does he have to hide the fact that he sweats, grows facial hair and is simply not as fast as the others are . . . but the list is endless and for Gene everything about his humanity is dangerous no matter where he goes. While Gene was an intriguing character but I couldn't really believe in him lasting as long as he did in this world of Fukuda's and I was surprised the vampires hadn't discovered his secret sooner to be honest with you. Don't get me wrong here, Gene was a pretty smart guy and knew how to undermine his superiors . . . but I don't know . . . I just couldn't believe in it and if I don't believe in something . . . especially in the main character . . . I often find it hard to connect with them and everything else in the book.

On a side note another character I had trouble connecting with was a girl named Ashley June, a former classmate of Gene's and someone Gene has forever had a 'crush' on. Now I didn't mind Gene and his macho exterior, but Ashley June really got on my nerves. There are many shades to Ashley's character and you do end up growing fond of her at certain times as you learn about her backstory and all that, but as a love interest for Gene - if that's what you would call it - I just couldn't see the connection between them let alone feel one coming up on the horizon. So apart from the lack of connection with the two main characters . . . this book and the story presented was still very appealing to me but if a sequel is coming, I hope for more depth in these characters of Fukuda's and some tugging feelings to make me feel more for these characters so fingers crossed for that!

Overall, despite the flaws I found in the characters, my favourite part of the book would have to be its ending alone since Andrew Fukuda wrote a shocking cliffhanger which I'm sure means this is yet another part of a book series and I'm excited to see how things plan out. THE HUNT offers a great amount of mystery, adventure and lot's of I-didn't-see-this-coming sort of moments, so if you love something going beyond those lines with an interesting twist to vampires . . . then this young adult book is definitely something worth picking up!

The Rating

3 1/2 / 5 stars

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Puffin

Pages: 276pgs

The Story

Some summers are just destined to be pretty.

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer - they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

The Review

Oh wow, why didn't I read this book sooner? I knew bloggers and other authors alike have been non-stop raving about this book since its release back in 2010 and talking about the author's talents in creating the perfect book, but for whatever reason I overlooked this title and hadn't thought much about it until now. And then after I read it, it quickly became one of those rare books that changes your life forever (well, so to speak) and it's by far one of my favourite YA romance books of all time! An unforgettable one to be honest with you.

Reading THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY is almost like watching your favourite tv program such as The OC where you're daydreaming about yourself attending those bonfire parties on the beach, hanging out with your friends like the world had stopped just for you - for only you - to enjoy those fun-filled moments that you may never experience again and falling for those beautiful boys with the timeless summer romances that comes along with them. Combining all of those elements together that's exactly what you get inside of this book and if not more than you first expect from it, and no matter the cutesy love . . . it was perfect in every single way.

Belly, the main character, tells her story through the present times and through several flashbacks of past summers - the different memories she had whilst growing up as a kid. Not even once did this distract me, switching back-and-forth, because all of her experiences and memories were needed to truly understand what Belly was going through in the actual book. The heartbreaks she's suffered, the intense feelings she had - and still has - for her long-time unrequited love, and also the strong bond ties that she's never dared to cut with her childhood friends. In this present times story of Belly's, she is now sixteen-years-old and has returned with her mother to the beach house where she used to live in from past summers, and she soon reunites with her friends, brothers named Conrad and Jeremiah. Upon seeing them again, everything from the tension, the jealousy and the heartbreak will soon come to a head, and Belly will need to find out what exactly 'growing up' means for her and for everyone else.

While I do enjoy the summer romances and the teenage themes displayed throughout this book, but what made this story even more remarkable than it was already was the characters and the realism the author brought into her characters - both in the boys and in the girls. For Belly as the main narrator, she was such a gem and was presented in a way where I, myself, could relate to her on many levels. I may not have had two gorgeous brothers as my best friends in my own childhood but her strength to keep going, believing in the best of everyone, and her capability of dealing with the most difficult of all things - love - is something to really admire about her. Some reviewers suggested Belly was 'too whiny' for her own good, but I say she was a girl who was still trying to find herself in the world like all of us must do eventually and no matter the angst she experiences . . . that's what teenagers are. Whiny. Complicated. Confused. Angry. Self-doubting. Naive. It's all written in this book in a way of today and come on . . . we've all experienced teenage angst at least once in our lives.

Lastly, I need to mention the two leading young men of this story. The dark, the alluring, the mysterious, the bad-boy Conrad (the unattainable one Belly has FOREVER loved) and his funny, doting, and charming brother Jeremiah (the one Belly had her first kiss with). In my own past time I've read about many boys with their own sets of appeals, but these two boys right here have really cut it for me - to be one of the best and the most honest of them all. With Conrad's character, he maybe frustrating for the most part, but there's so much more to Conrad's character and personality than meets the eye. After all, he's dealing with a lot of heavy stuff. Whereas Jeremiah, the good guy, is the exact opposite of Conrad. He's the boy that would make any girl happy to be around with. He's the boy that mother dearest would approve of. But like so many fangals out there of this series, it's Team Jerad because you change your minds with who you love more with both of the boys like . . . constantly. Especially when it comes to the boy's love of their mother. For those who've read this book already and have witnessed how the boys love their mother . . . it kind of hits home for me.

Overall, THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY is an absolutely solid and splendid summer story. It's about a young girl deciding to grow up and take control of her live, but also falling in love all over again and find out what it means to be loved by somebody. If you love those sweet romances with the sweetest boys ever presented in a contemporary YA novel, then this book is most definitely something for you! I'm still deciding who I like best - Conrad or Jeremiah? Hmmm it's very hard to choose between them let me tell you!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Monday, April 9, 2012

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Harvill Secker

Pages: 925pgs

The Story

This edition contains Book One, Book Two, and Book Three.

The year is 1984. Aomame sits in a taxi on the expressway in Tokyo.

Her work is not the kind which can be discussed in public but she is in a hurry to carry out an assignment and, with the traffic at a standstill, the driver proposes a solution. She agrees, but as a result of her actions starts to feel increasingly detached from the real world. She has been on a top-secret mission, and her next job will lead her to encounter the apparently superhuman founder of a religious cult.

Meanwhile, Tengo is leading a nondescript life but wishes to become a writer. He inadvertently becomes involved in a strange affair surrounding a literary prize to which a mysterious seventeen-year-old girl has submitted her remarkable first novel. It seems to be based on her own experiences and moves readers in unusual ways. Can her story really be true?

Both Aomame and Tengo notice that the world has grown strange; both realise that they are indispensable to each other. While their stories influence one another, at times by accident and at times intentionally, the two come closer and closer to intertwining.

The Review

The author, Haruki Murakami, has become an international bestseller for his novel 1Q84 and it's no wonder why this is so true, and why so many other readers have raved about it endlessly and recommended to me. This book right here in my greedy little hands is the weirdest, the oddest, the most-confusing but equally as brilliant and unique than anything else I've read before, and when combining those elements together. . . it has ultimately created one of the best pieces of literature I've ever read in my entire life and it will certainly not be the last piece of work I'll read of Murakami's because he's amazing and it was mind-blowing to be honest!

In my hardcover edition of 1Q84 it contains the complete set of books 1-3, so I won't giveaway any specific details about the book, only about the amazeballs of the storyline and everything inside of it. If you've ever seen this book in person or have checked the page count, comparing it to the Harry Potter length and weight, this is an immensely long and heavy book, and probably the longest I've ever read for an adult book! While that may overwhelm readers at the beginning and may you think "Hell no!" but trust me here folks . . . it's well worth reading the three volumes all in one and will leave you speechless.

Now I wouldn't be the only person that will find it hard to explain this particular book to you - so my readers can understand what exactly is going on - and everything twisty and confusing in it, so I'll try and do my best to sum it up in one paragraph. Okay here goes nothing. In the book of 1Q84, the story is set in 1984 where Tokyo is split into two different parts and is told through dual perspective. One part follows Aomame, a young woman who is involved with some serious dubious secret work which will be later revealed in the book whereas the other main character, the other half of the story in which it is told by, is an average young man named Tengo who is a teacher and an unpublished author whom finds himself captivated by a seventeen-year-old girl's novel which ends up having a unusual effect on him and opens up plenty of secrets of his own world around him.

While this book is nothing like anything else that I've read before, I think the main contributing factor to this realisation of mine (you know being officially 'mind-blown') was all due to Murakami's writing within itself. The author possesses this somewhat strange, unnatural and rare gift of knowing how and when to use his suspenseful storytelling at the exact right times and never did I find myself distracted - not even once and not even by the book's length. There was also just something really Japanese about it (an obvious one since the author is japanese himself) and there was something so surreal about the book's own world which I guess captivated me even more, and gave me more reason to continue with it. But it wasn't just those parts that I loved, it was also the structure and how the author layered it out for his readers . . . the language he uses . . . the characters he writes down onto paper . . . the way he shortens chapters to only give you an excuse to keep turning those damn pages . . . and it was needless to say such a brilliant concept and even if the book wasn't as fast-paced like one would hope for, but there's honestly nothing bad I could say about this book except that now it's over and I'm left empty handed. So well done to the author to force me in praising up this highly acclaimed novel because it's pure perfection!

Overall, if you haven't heard of this book, if you haven't considered picking it up, or if you're really looking for the need to be weirded out by true greatness, then I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you - all three of the books in fact - within a heartbeat. Not only does this book make you laugh, cry, ponder and question every single little detail and action and twist-turn the author writes at the most unexpected times . . . it's a truly amazing piece of adult literature and no wonder why it was a big hit despite its critics! LOVED IT!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

Release Date: 21st August, 2012

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 231pgs

The Story

Robie, 15, lives with her family on the Midway atoll, a group of islands in the middle of the Pacific. Her parents are scientists; it's an isolated life. Robie enjoys visiting her aunt in Hawaii - she gets back and forth on a cargo plane that brings supplies to Midway.

During a visit, her aunt is called to the mainland for a work emergency leaving Robie to get home on her own. On her flight back to Midway the cargo plane hits nasty weather, and goes down. It's juust Robie, the pilot, and Max, a co-pilot she's never met till this flight, on board. Robie is pulled aboard a raft by Max, who is injuried and slipping in and out of consciousness. They have a bag of candy and very little water between them. When they finally reach an island that seems abandoned, Robie hopes they'll be found quickly. But she's not sure she was even on the flight manifest. Her parents must be looking for her . . . aren't they?

In The Raft, S.A. Bodeen creates a hair-raising suspense story that will have readers agonizing over the same question as Robie - how long can they survive?

The Review

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

So, when it comes down to S.A. Bodeen's novel THE RAFT, I was mostly intrigued by the cover and soon after quickly reading the blurb, I was more than happy to read anything in a book that has a little bit of survivor skill and instinct in them. Honestly, who doesn't love survivors and the depths they go to in order to stay alive in the most dire of all circumstances? Take for example Hunger Games . . . Lord of the Flies . . . Battle Royale . . . you name it because we love those named titles and the strengths in their characters. However, with my love of contemporary novels combined with my love of the survival elements, and while this may not be your typical survivor storyline, unfortunately this was one of those books where I found myself not loving nor feel any connection with. The book may appeal to many other readers and it certainly did have some promise as I reader further into the book, but for me the execution of all of the events that occured just didn't do it for me. I struggled most with the believeability of it.

I understand there's not a lot to do when the central characters are stranded on a floating boat or are stuck alone on an island for quite some time - without food, without water, without shelter and without any help of another human being whatsoever - but the point of books is to connect with its characters and make you somewhat feel for them. For Robie's character in particular, the story's main protagonist, I wanted to care about her situation but with so many wrong decisions made by her well . . . there was not enough there to make me like her. While we do receive plenty of information about her life - before and after the crash - but there was again no interest from me in her character. Robie does grow towards the end of the novel, but she was a hard person to like and grow fond of.

Other than her character, we also meet another - the co-pilot of the crashed plane, a young man named Max. Now unlike Robie's character, I really enjoyed the oddness Max had brought to the storyline. He was quiet, he seemed to know what to do in the most deadly situations, but most importantly he was someone you felt comfortable to be around with. But when trouble arises, though, Max soon becomes to only person Robie can depend on and not to mention he has secrets people . . . lot's and lot's of secrets. As much as I hate to say it, but if it wasn't for Max's character, I don't know if I would've been able to pull through this book like I did. So pretty much like with Robie's character, you had to count on Max to save the day and I loved him for it to make me continue with this novel.

Without going into further and spoilery details, let's just say the ending confused the hell out of me. It took me a few moments to comprehend what exactly happened to the main character and her co-pilot Max, but once I got myself a full explanation and took a few deep breaths, I was eventually happy. So don't fear you guys - there's still interesting twists in this! Overall, THE RAFT was an intense YA survivor story and while the reaction I'd gotten from the book wasn't exactly a great one, but it was still a nice read to read for the sake of it. You know, one of those books that remain once-reads. But if you choose to read this book, please don't judge it based on my lower star rating because I could definitely see many readers still enjoying this one. Just be prepared for a thrilling ride of self-doubt because you will need that lifeboat the character's are on as you dive deeper and deeper into the dangerous waters of THE RAFT because it's by far one of the craziest books I've read in a while!

The Rating

2/5 stars

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Release Date: 8th May, 2012

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Pages: 373pgs

The Story

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She's survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she haws a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn't who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

The Review

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

As soon as I began reading the opening lines of STRUCK, I knew I was going to love it no matter what the book was going to throw at me next. Even the main character, Mia Price, could strike me down with some lethal lightning of her own and I would still want more and more of this book. I just couldn't get enough of it. I mean, just by judging this book by its cover - both beautiful and striking to the human eye - and the storyline itself, you knew it would be a whole ball of fun for the reader and after physically reading the book . . . it only proved to be worth its true greatness and I can definitely guarantee readers that this book will be filled with plenty of awesomesauce and trust me here . . . it will deliver. Not only was this book twisty, edgy and hella crazy, but it was also completely original and that's as good as it can get!

What really drew me into this book was the girl in question. Mia Price. With her being a lightning addict and all, I knew I needed to read this book. I mean, who in their right mind would want to be "struck" down by lightning? Mia Price, obviously. But the main question I was asking myself repetitively was this one right here: Who in their right mind would want their own character to be damn right crazy and be "struck" down by lightning? Jennifer Bosworth - that's who! Mia Price, the main heroine, has a strong connection to the storms that caused a major earthquake that devastated the entire city of L.A., and she doesn't know why. But when two cults are rising to power and claim they have the answers she has been looking for, Mia is interested. But when the alluring Jeremy arrives and warns her to stay away from the two cults, the young Mia will soon need to question where her real loyalities lie because her loved ones and not to mention the world depends on her final decision. Because if either cult discover her true power and use it . . . she could either save the world or destroy it!

Mia Price is the leading star of this striking tale and she's the kind of character I cared a great deal for because I couldn't help but love everything about her. She's incredibly strong, intelligient, caring, and above everything else she's a survivor. Honestly, what's not to love? Jennifer Bosworth does such an amazing job in developing Mia's character from start to finish and I'm not kidding here because she has not only managed to grow her character to her full potential but she has also portrayed Mia's character in a realistic light while giving her some extra flaws along the way as well. Good and human flaws that we all can relate to on some level. I love a lot of female heroines in my past times but Mia is definitely one to trifle with.

Throughout the book, Mia is introduced to a variety of colourful characters, ones with their own minds, beliefs and agendas that always made a great impact on the storyline's turnpoints. Especially the evil preacher ones . . . they were the best things ever. One of the most honourable mentions of supporting characters goes to Mia's brother, Parker, whom was a perfect contrast to Mia's character. He's a young teenage boy who might have a lot of things to learn, but I loved his sensitive personality and the ways of wanting to help out everyone around him whenever the chance arises, and I really admired that side of his character. I really did. He maybe naive to understand Mia on how she just wants to move on with her life, hide her secret and protect him from all of the evils of the new world, but without Jeremy I think we wouldn't have such a strong Mia Price so Parker . . . we love you dearly and your sensitive side.

Another character I deeply loved was the mysterious and alluring, Jeremy, a boy whom later becomes Mia's potential love interest. While I was attracted to his character, but he always had me questioning him on whether he should be trusted or not. But damn - I loved this boy so much! There were plenty of reasons to not trust him, but in the end he really came through and made things interesting and shocking. Sure, there weren't exactly sexy romantic scenes in this novel but the connection shared between the two of them - Mia and Jeremy - was absolutely outstanding and I could see why they ended up falling for each other . . . even though they took their damn time to form a relationship. But moving past that, I really loved and admired Jeremy's character and he was an awesome person with a heart full of gold. So fangals . . . trust me you're going to love him!

Overall and without revealing spoilers, I thought Jennifer Bosworth has created a mind-blowing debut novel and she's very gifted in her storytelling! Both cleverly written, intense, fast-paced, action-packed and containing all sorts of awesomeness that readers can appreciate, I can definitely guarantee you that this book is going to become a classic hit with young adult readers! With a city in chaos, two rival cults battling each other to get what they want and with an average-but-somewhat-very-strong young woman whom holds the key to how the world will end . . . if you're looking for something crossing between the likes of X-men and Dark Angel, or are looking for a very daring post-apocalyptic world awaiting for Doomsday to finally hit (you gotta love the doomsday element), then STRUCK is you're kind of read for sure!

The Rating

4 1/2 / 5 stars

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 303pgs

The Story

Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he's pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren't bad enough, now he's depending on Hartley to clear his name. Seriously? Not cool.

But as much as Hartley wouldn't mind seeing him squirm, she knows he's innocent, and she's the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school's resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer's next victim.

The Review

Nancy Drew . . . Veronica Mars . . . I honestly love those two and they're both great girls who have written themselves into our history books. They'll always be legends to me. But now, let me introduce to you yet another one into the mix - that being a girl named Hartley Featherstone. I don't know about you guys, but there's just something about a smart, snarky, and a sassy girl detective that always gets to me. While the other famous heroine detectives may live in really complicated lives but for Hartley Grace Featherstone's life couldn't get any worse than it already is. Firstly, she finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her. Sad but true. And secondly, she also finds out that one deadly corpse likes to visit her now soon-to-be ex-boyfriend's bedroom. And that's exactly what happened here folks - there was a dead body in her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend's bedroom. But it wasn't just any body . . . it was the body of the girl whom was suspected of being with her boyfriend before their breakup. And in a moment of mere desperation, even if he doesn't deserve it, Hartley's ex begs for her help to clear his name of the murder and like all sassy girl detectives do . . . they try and solve the mystery!

Before considering reading this book, I heard nothing but great things about it. However, it wasn't until I started reading it when I finally realized what a ball of fun this book was! It might have been predictable. It might have been a tad bit cliche. It might have been cheesy at times . . . but that's the whole entire point of a YA mystery novel and you gotta love them no matter what happens! What I loved most about this book was the fast-paced storyline and the fact that not even once did I find myself bored with it. I mean, there's just something about Gemma Halliday's writing that made Nancy Drew and Veronica Mars both proud and nodding their heads in approval . . . so my hat goes off to the author for having the ability to do that for me.

When it came to the characters, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect of them. Hartley in particular. Some reviews I read in the past didn't have a lot of nice things to say about her character and sure she might have her own faults (after all she's helping out her cheating ex-boyfriend and no one in their right mind would do that) but personally for me, I found her to be freaking hilarious! And she was strong-minded too and didn't take any crap from anybody . . . which I loved about her even more! Along with an entertaining supporting cast, another character to shine in the book's spotlight was Chase - the typical bad boy with a lot of sass in him as well. Now before you go rolling your eyes and having a good old chuckle about the cliche bad boy being in the picture, trust me here you guys . . . Chase was far from that typical bad boy character. He was a helpful one and actually cared about Hartley's wellbeing. While I was totally rooting for him and Hartley to get together and hit it off with those clear sexy sparks flying off them, but considering the way things had ended in the book, I wasn't so surprised by the choice Halliday had chosen for both of the characters. It'll be interesting whether anything develops in the sequel or in future books . . . I really hope there is more development because Hartley and Chase are a perfect match.

Overall, despite the mixed reactions regarding this book, I surprisingly thought DEADLY COOL was a rather fun super mystery and definitely holds its own! With a nice crossover of Nancy Drew meets Veronica Mars, and a nice touch of a spunky heroine and a keep-you-guessing fun-filled mystery murder investigation, I'm sure this book will be loved by any reader! Mystery fan or not . . . you're going to love it!

The Rating

4/5 stars

Monday, April 2, 2012

Giveaway - The Industry

Thanks to the amazing publicist Lara from HarperCollins Australia, I'm giving away on my blog not one but 10 copies of Rose Foster's debut novel, The Industry. That's right you heard me folks . . . there will be 10 COPIES for 10 very lucky Aussie readers! You can check out what the book is all about here and you can also read my book review of it here.

So you want to win one of 10 copies? Well, here are the basic rules:

1. One entry per person.

2. There will only be 10 awesome winners.

3. Giveaway is AUS only. Sorry internationals!

4. Contest ends 24th April 2012!

5. Winner will be chosen by and will be announced on the 25th April.

6. Winners details will only be shared between me and the publisher who will then send out your books ASAP!

7. You must fill out the form below!


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Winner of the Nightshade Trilogy Giveaway!

Before I announce the winner, I just wanted to take the opportunity to say a BIG thank you to everyone who'd entered my Nightshade trilogy giveaway! I'd gotten a great number of entries so thank you again for that however there can only be one winner for today! Using a random generator the winner is . . .


Ellen H.


I've sent you an email Ellen and you have 2 days to respond so I can have your books sent out ASAP or else another winner will be chosen. Anyway don't worry my other blog readers who didn't win this time round because this month (this week in fact) and the next month after that, I'll be having two more giveaways for you guys that I KNOW will totally rock for my aussie readers . . . so be on the look out for them in the future!
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