Thursday, February 28, 2013

Giveaway Winners!

To all of those amazing people who had entered to win a copy of Catherine and Wuthering Heights - THANK YOU very much for entering! While I would love to give you all a copy of each one of these books (if I ever win the lottery I totally would) but since so many awesome books are turning me broke there can only be two winners here today. So after careful selection and picking a random number in a hat (a cliche trick I know hehe but I did it), the two lucky winners are . . .

Natalie who has won herself a copy of Catherine!


Lisa who has won herself a copy of Wuthering Heights!

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Yay! Congrats to the two winners!

I've emailed you both and will be mailing out your books today!

Happy reading!

Override by Heather Anastasiu

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

Zoe is free. She has escaped the enslavement of the Community, disconnected from the hardware that had controlled her every thought and emotion, and evaded capture by the Chancellor intent on killing her. She is finally free, but she is far from safe.

Zoe and Adrien hide themselves from detection at the Foundation, an academy that trains teen glitchers to fight in the Resistance movement. Together, Zoe and her new team of superhuman fighters must risk their lives to rescue other glitchers and humans from the Chancellor's control. Challenges abound at every turn, and Adrien, who has become silent, distant, and tormented by his visions of the future, only adds to the growing certainty of defeat. But worst of all, as Zoe's team fights against impossible odds, distrust and betrayal leads to the terrible discovery that their greatest threat could already be lurking behind the safe walls of the Foundation.

The Review

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

Here's the thing: I wasn't a big fan of Glitch, the first installment of this YA trilogy, and at first I didn't even want to consider reading the sequel because I was incredibly worried to be disappointed by the book yet again. And I don't want that at all (to be disappointed that is) because there were so many other readers who had loved the first book. But . . . I read this sequel anyway despite my initial opinion on the series and - surprisingly - I actually really, really enjoyed this book. I know, I know . . . wow, what a turnaround it was for me and about time too. I love being surprised like this!

OVERRIDE is everything I love in a sequel. Action-packed. Super-powered characters. Dangerous missions. Unexpected twists-and-turns. I mean, this book was not only a great read but it also had so much more to offer than the first book ever did, what with the author opening her world to me a far lot more and what with her characters growing up more in tow as well, not to mention there was plenty of drama to get your mind reeling from it all . . . I just loved it! The characters especially never once annoyed me like some did in Glitch and for once I actually felt the main character, Zoe, was someone who added such drive and vulnerability to the storyline, so I'm very thankful to come and appreciate Zoe's character more.

Now I don't really want to say more here in case of any spoilers, but the only complaint I have is about the ending or rather what happened before the ending actually came. I mean, something very significant happened to another character in this book and I was a bit taken back it, leaving me saying, "Well, what happens now? This character is really important and now this happens to he or she." But apart from that, it was a still a great book and a vast improvement to the first installment of Glitch. So, if you were disappointed by the first book like I was, then I would strongly suggest you pick up this sequel when its released because I rated the first book 2.5 stars and if you look at my book rating below, you can obviously see the difference of my opinion after having read this sequel. Trust me . . . it's really good.

Overall, even though I didn't love Glitch, it's fair to say Heather Anastasiu really steps up her game in her sequel OVERRIDE and surprises me throughout the entire book! It was a very awesome read and I can't wait to read the third and final installment of this trilogy! I hope everything gets much better for the characters considering what happened just before the ending really, really hits us!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Indigo Awakening by Jordan Dane

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarlequinTeen Australia

Pages: 304pgs

The Story

Because of what you are, the Believers will hunt you down.

Voices told Lucas Darby to run. Voices no one else can hear. He’s warned his sister not to look for him, but Rayne refuses to let her troubled brother vanish on the streets of LA. In her desperate search, she meets Gabriel Stewart, a runaway with mysterious powers and far too many secrets. Rayne can’t explain her crazy need to trust the strange yet compelling boy—to touch him—to protect him even though he scares her.

A fanatical church secretly hunts psychic kids—gifted “Indigo” teens feared to be the next evolution of mankind—for reasons only “the Believers” know. Now Rayne’s only hope is Gabe, who is haunted by an awakening power—a force darker than either of them imagine—that could doom them all.

The Review

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

What else to say except that Jordan Dane has yet again hooked me with her new book!

INDIGO AWAKENING, the first installment of The Hunted series, has something really exciting going for it! Even for a much shorter read, the book can still captivate its readers by delivering an interesting storyline, unique voices, quirky characters, super-awesome supernatural powers, and yet the author still manges to weave together a bit of the 'real world' into the mix of it all, which, I guess, made me enjoy this book even more than I already did to begin with!

I think what I loved the most about this book - out of everything else - was the characters. Jordan Dane, like in her previous two books, has this way of bringing such an emotional complexity to each one of her characters - ones either playing a much greater or smaller part to her story - and it is evident in this particular book that she does exactly the same thing here - she brings the emotion to the book. While I wouldn't go and say I loved every single one of the characters as some did have their very major faults, but I had much love for the two main characters, Rayne and Gabe.

Gabe, a boy also known as Gabriel, was a very striking character to me and he brought a lot to the storyline and made things . . . let's just say . . . really, really interesting and I totally loved him too! He was kick-ass for the most part and compassionate about everyone around him, even if he doesn't want to admit to this at first. Now as for Rayne's character, another one of the main characters, she too had something special about her, even if she didn't possess any supernatural power of any sort like the other teens we meet in this book. I mean, despite being only seventeen-years-old, Rayne was really strong, independent and pretty darn tough for her age, and even with no powers she can still bring the power of bad-ass totally human girl onto the playing field and really what more could you ask for than that? Needless to say I quite enjoyed her character and I'm looking forward to seeing much more interaction between her and her potential love interest Gabe. I just loved those two together!

Overall, INDIGO AWAKENING is something you just gotta read to see what all the fuss is about! With an exciting first installment and with fantastic characterization, if you love books crossed between X-men and Shatter Me, then you will definitely enjoy this one!

The Rating
4/5 stars

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Harper Teen

Pages: 361pgs

The Story

An exotic treat set in an entirely original, fantastical world brimming with deadly mystery, forbidden romance, and heart-stopping adventure.

Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.

Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.

The Review

Straight up, I will read pretty much any book with girls holding weapons and who are centered between two giant lion statues on a cover. It's a requirement to have on any book cover in order for me to buy it and I will always read those types of books because you've got to admit it looks pretty GOOD. And this book had really interested me (apart from its cover of course) because to me at least, CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS was yet another exception to buy as this book looked pretty bad-ass and the story - from what I've read of the blurb and the interviews I've read from the author in how she created this particular story - the whole idea of it all seemed pretty bad-ass all on its own. And it was to a certain extent.

So despite all of the mixed reviews I've read for this book, I thought the book by itself was good but it was also quite different compared to most Asian inspired books and pretty much any other YA fantasy book I've ever read lately. But in a very good sense of course. I mean, the storyline wasn't necessarily how I imagined the story to be like as it lacked something of the epic-sorts and it could have had so much more added onto the storyline itself to make it even better, but I still loved the overall tale it told since it was all about a young girl from a lower caste who is suddenly swept up behind a story of intrigue and deceit, and in a world that is not what it seems. I think a lot of readers, especially of the younger kind, will enjoy this one. It's a simple read with a lot of heart in it.

Nisha, our main heroine, was an inspiring character for me. She was wonderful in the sense that she never allowed herself to sink to the bottom, even when circumstances - no matter how dire they were - could make her out that way. She just continued to fight and believe in herself in every step she took so I can see why many readers really adored her character. I especially loved that she had the ability to talk to cats . . . I mean SHE TALKED TO CATS PEOPLE! Seriously, cats are my favourite animal and I wouldn't mind speaking to my own cat once in a while (though my cat's mind would probably be scary and I don't say that lightly hehe). But I just loved Nisha! On the other hand though, the boy Nisha ends up falling for . . . I didn't really see the point of that romance really . . . it never went anywhere for me nor did I feel connected with it. But what did go somewhere for me was the world Miriam Forster magically created! It was so Harry Potter like as there is different houses going on in this society, and of course, I loved the cats that hanged out with Nisha . . . they were so utterly adorable! Le sigh. Too much cuteness concerning those darn cats!

Overall, CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS was an enjoyable read and offered something different to readers. It may not exactly impress those fans of epic, high fantasy and it may not have been the story I wanted it to be like, but I still found it really entertaining on a whole and sets up a great start for a potential YA series. I'm looking forward to reading more of Miriam Forster's work because I really love her writing style!

The Rating
3 1/2 / 5 stars

Monday, February 25, 2013

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 369pgs

The Story

The final book in the  New York Times bestselling trilogy, 

perfect for fans of Battlestar Galactica and Prometheus!

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceshipGodspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.



The Review

I have loved Beth Revis's book series from the get-go because it was breath-taking, compelling, unique, and it had told quite a story unlike any other book in the YA genre. However, like some readers, I was quite disappointed with the sequel, A Million Suns. But let me tell you, after reading SHADES OF EARTH, the third and final installment of the Across the Universe series, it was most definitely worth the wait and I couldn't get enough of it!

Not only did I enjoy this final book so much more than its predecessors but it also happens to be my favourite book of the entire series. That's right folks! Who knew it would become a favourite book of mine? I certainly didn't expect it either. I mean, while SHADES OF EARTH is not entirely perfect and could have had certain sections of the book explained a little bit more, but it didn't matter to me because there was so much to love about this book and I can see why so many have praised it. It was action-packed, exciting, shocking, and for the most part completely driven by different mysteries that somehow and in some way fitted into this one gigantic - and genius - puzzle and I totally loved it!

But what I found compelling - even more than the storyline itself - was the characters which had really done it all for me! Especially the main characters and the newly introduced ones (even Amy's parents who were quite an interesting bunch of people). Amy and Elder for one, our two main protagonists, have both had their shares of ups and downs with me, but for once they had actually gotten their heads screwed on this time round and have finally realized of the dangers they will soon come to face and will soon put themselves in, especially with them landing on a new and unknown planet after all. Elder in particular was someone who really grown on me in this final book and I really missed him being that same old awesome character that he was in the first book. So yay for that! As for Amy, she too was awesome as well but I didn't like her flirting with this new character, Chris, but apart from that, I just loved Amy and Elder being together. They just work together, you know?

In terms of the ending, unfortunately that was probably the only complaint I really have when it comes to this book apart from A LOT of characters being killed all over the place (trust me it was like watching an episode of Harper's Island). In one way, I thought the ending was good enough and it certainly brought a smile up to my face but I don't know . . . I guess I was expecting something entirely amazing - or rather more - to happen or as others have referred to it . . . an epilogue of some sorts. I just wanted to know what would happen years later to the characters. I just felt like readers deserved that, you know? Especially after what all of the characters have been through lately. Still, on a whole, I thought it was a nice ending and one I already predicted that would eventually happen.

Overall, SHADES OF EARTH was a delightful and a very suspenseful read for me. Apart from a couple of little things, this would have to be my favourite book of the entire Across the Universe series and I'm looking forward to seeing what else Beth Revis writes up next!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Notes from Ghost Town by Kate Ellison

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: EgmontUSA

Pages: 336pgs

The Story

They say first love never dies . . .

From critically acclaimed author Kate Ellison comes a heartbreaking mystery of mental illness, unspoken love, and murder. When sixteen-year-old artist Olivia Tithe is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas Stern, it's only through scattered images and notes left behind that she can unravel the mystery of his death. 

There's a catch: Olivia has gone colorblind, and there's a good chance she's losing her mind completely--just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and falling in love all over again with) someone who isn't really there?

With the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It's the only way she can save herself.

The Review

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

NOTES FROM GHOST TOWN was really something different. I actually have quite a lot of conflicting feelings about this particular book. On one hand, I really liked how I couldn't compare any other book to this one and how it contained so much confusion and contemporary elements all into one (sometimes I like the 'what-the-hell' moments in a book), and on the other hand, I also wanted something more from the book as well. It was well-written and an okay read for me for the most part, but I just needed more from it. More depth both from the storyline and from its characters. Just more reason to care about everything going on in the book, you know?

When it comes down to it, as a mystery book I think there could have been a lot more done with it. It had a lot of potential in those mystery elements and of course there IS some mystery in the book, but there just wasn't not enough of it to make it a great mystery one. However, as a contemporary and a part-realistic fiction book, I think the author did very well in that department. There a couple of really heavy themes the characters have to physically and emotionally go through as the book slowly progresses and the author dealt with them very well, so in that aspect I enjoyed those sections of the book. Just not the mystery parts per se.

Overall, NOTES FROM GHOST TOWN is a hard book to describe to you without spoiling it. Part predictable and part confusing, on a whole I enjoyed most parts of the book only I wanted much more coming from it, especially in the mystery and character elements of the book. But I would still recommend this title because it was really interesting and really different compared to most YA books out there. And I like different.

The Rating
2 1/2 / 5 stars

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Kindle Edition

Pages: 391pgs

The Story

Sometimes discovering the truth can 

leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

The Review

I've been wanting to read this book for AGES especially since I've been a big fan of this author and of her Slammed series (which are EPIC books mind you), however her next book was only available on kindle so I was a bit 'Oh, how sad . . .' since I don't own a kindle . But, fortunately enough, I was still able to read this book as I bought myself an iPad mini just before Christmas so I was really lucky in that respect and considering the price I bought the eBook for . . . it was SO worth the money!

HOPELESS was just - to put it simply - an awesome and awe-inspiring book! Both emotionally-challenged, achingly beautiful and well-written in all aspects, the story was brilliant because of how the story was actually written and how it was completely driven by its characters and the events passing between them - the good and the bad kind So with everything coming together - the secrets and the romance, it was just yet another book gem coming from a very talented author, Colleen Hoover. She, in all honesty, has become one of my favourite contemporary authors of today and remains so with this new book of hers!

The two main characters, Sky and Holder, may not be perfect and DO have their faults, but all in all I thought they were amazing together. Even as individuals. So while these mentioned 'faults' of theirs and the causes for them are not entirely revealed until the very end of the book, but it in no way did it affect my love for them. Even when Sky became confused in her own feelings and even when Holder became aggressive and began calling Sky 'Baby' and 'Babe' most of the time, which, as you know in all of my boy characters who end up saying those nicknames end up really getting on my nerves. But as for Sky's character, I loved her a lot (despite her leading guys on in the beginning of the book) and her voice was just so . . . engaging, poignant, and so real to me which I guess made me love her even more. And as for Holder, Sky's main love interest, despite his usual guy moods and confusing feelings, he ended up becoming a really great love interest. A really supportive one at that. He was just always there for our Sky and there was this great chemistry too sizzling between them, and really, what more can you ask for than great chemistry from a guy? Yup, he was a total sweetheart and a really protective one too.

Overall, HOPELESS offered more than I originally bargained for and the twists in it alone will make you desperately gasp for breath. So be prepared for a real shocker reveal for the main characters because it's quite heavy to even comprehend. All in all, if you love Colleen Hoover's books already or are looking for another great and emotionally-driven contemporary read with great characters with great chemistry, then I would highly recommend this book to you all! It was an absolute standout for me!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rise by Andrea Cremer

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Atom

Pages: 464pgs

The Story

The sequel to Rift and the prequel to the New York Times bestselling novel Nightshade.

Everything Conatus stands for is at risk. Hoping to gather enough resistance to save their order, Ember and Barrow attempt a desperate escape. But fate offers little mercy. When their mission is exposed, the  couple face relentless pursuit by the supernatural horrors that act on the commands of Eira’s ally: the mysterious Bosque Mar. A shocking revelation forces Ember out of hiding, sending her back into the heart of dark magic at Tearmunn keep, where she must convince her old friend Alistair of her love or face dire consequences. Ember’s deception offers the only chance for the resistance to succeed, but what she discovers in the shadows beneath the keep will shatter her world and bring about the Witches’ War.

Richly sensual and full of magic, action and danger, Andrea Cremer's fifth book set in the Nightshade world is an edge-of-your-seat page turner.

The Review

After loving Rift, the first installment of Andrea Cremer's prequel Nightshade series, even more than the Nightshade series itself, I knew she was going to impress me with her next sequel and she sure did!

What I love most about RISE and with this series is the fact that the mythology, the storytelling, not to mention the origins (ones that somehow connect the dots to the author's previous Nightshade series) are so fascinating and so rich in the details. I mean, it's so easy to get caught up into Cremer's world and loving it immensely in the process. But not only that, but the characters are what makes this series stronger and shine more than they ever did before!

Ember, the main character, is someone I fell in love with from the get-go. I could honestly go on and on about her character! Both passionate in her duty and within herself, headstrong in her beliefs, and fiery in every dangerous mission she partakes in, Ember is someone who has grown up so much within this series (even in two books) and is someone I greatly admire as a main heroine! She just rocks in my books! There's just something about her that readers love and get captivated by, and in the end . . . you always want her to succeed in everything she does so just you wait until you read this sequel . . . she will really, really surprise you! And as for her love interest, Barrow, man oh man . . . I want a piece of that hunky dude! He's so protective and so manly with his romance with Ember . . . I just wanted those two together all through this book! They just belonged together, you know?

The only real complainant I had with this book was the other points-of-view that we get from a variety of characters. Most of them were villains if you would call them 'that'. Yeah . . . I wasn't a big fan of those perspectives except for Alistair's (you know the guy that is so obsessed with Ember but I won't get into that now) who was actually pretty fascinating to read about. Oddly. But apart from his character, the other perspectives didn't do too much for me I'm afraid, mostly because I wanted a Barrow chapter for once . . . he just really needed more lines! I seriously love him.

Overall, RISE delivers a very satisfying sequel with plenty of romantic moments here and there, and not a single dull moment in the fast-paced action sequences. But while that's great and all, I'm still sadden by the end of this sequel as I was recently informed that this series was only going to be a duology so on that part my excitement has been deflated. Still, I love this series . . . GO READ IT!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Shadowlands by Kate Brian

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Hyperion

Pages: 336pgs

The Story

Rory Miller had one chance to fight back and she took it. Rory survived… and the serial killer who attacked her escaped. Now that the infamous Steven Nell is on the loose, Rory must enter the witness protection with her father and sister, Darcy, leaving their friends and family without so much as a goodbye. 

Starting over in a new town with only each other is unimaginable for Rory and Darcy. They were inseparable as children, but now they can barely stand each other. As the sisters settle in to Juniper Landing, a picturesque vacation island, it seems like their new home may be just the fresh start they need. They fall in with a group of beautiful, carefree teens and spend their days surfing, partying on the beach, and hiking into endless sunsets. But just as they’re starting to feel safe again, one of their new friends goes missing. Is it a coincidence? Or is the nightmare beginning all over again?

The Review

The first reaction I got after finishing this book was: "AHHHHHHHHHHHH! I KNEW IT! I KNEW THAT WOULD HAPPEN! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH UN-FREAKIN-BELIEVABLE! IT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. WHERE IS BOOK 2?! I NEED ANSWERS STAT!" Yeah it was that kind of reaction where I predicted the ending only I still didn't believe it would actually happen to me only it did anyway.

With a very similar vibe and tone to Kimberly Derting's The Body Finder and Laurie Faria Stolarz's Touch series, SHADOWLANDS has everything going for it in the psychological thriller and part-dark contemporary genre department! It was just all SO GOOD! I can't even explain it really. But I think what made enjoy this book more than I thought I would was the fact that even for a much shorter read it still managed to have me on edge on every single page I turned . . . always making me want to know more and more about what was going to happen next to the characters and whether any of them were going to survive in the end or just . . . mysteriously disappear on me. Not to mention the characters alone - even the smaller role characters - were so intriguing! Even the serial killer (who has his own chapter or two in the book) was addictive to read about too. Just whoa. I loved it!

Overall, SHADOWLANDS was such a fantastic read and as much as I want to talk about it more . . . I just can't spill because it would giveaway major spoilers! So in any case, I think any fan of psychological thrillers, mysteries, suspense and pretty much everything else with a mind-boggling cliffhanger at the end will have such a kick with this book right here because I certainly did! That ending . . . I TOTALLY SAW IT COMING BUT . . . WHOA!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Prodigy by Marie Lu

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Penguin

Pages: 384pgs

The Story

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long. 

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.

The Review

A big thanks to Lux on Goodreads for swapping books with me for a copy of this book!

Prodigy is finally here and by god was it good! Only after reading a couple of pages of my copy of Prodigy, I was already glued to this book from the get-go and was anxious - and not to mention scared out of my freakin' mind - to read about the next dangers and missions in the everyday lives of Day and June's pretty kick-ass adventures.

With so many readers praising Marie Lu's very creative dystopian world and debut of Legend, I, on the other hand, thought it was a decent read but I wasn't exactly wowed by the book as others were. I just wanted more from it - both from the world and from its characters, you know? But here's the thing: I got that MORE and WOW factor when it came to its sequel, PRODIGY, and it was far more than I expected to be honest with you. The author has really raised the bar and the high stakes with this one! More action. More danger. More romance. More secrets. More tension. And just more of . . . well . . . everything else you could possibly think of! I loved it!

I think what this sequel did - unlike the first book in my opinion - and what had made me love this sequel more was how it delivered two major things that I was really looking for from the beginning in Legend. For one, I was looking for a far more realistic romance between the two main characters, and secondly, I wanted to see the two perspectives of the main characters be more ground-breaking and make a big impact on me, and thankfully it did all of that!

In terms of the romantic relationship between Day and June, we all know both of these young teens are attractive, brave, kind-at-heart, and are simply two people who have an undeniable connection with one another. But, despite what people thought about that, I still felt as if the romance between Day and June happened rather too easily and too quickly too, but in PRODIGY it proved me wrong and it gave me more reason to see WHY they fell in love in the first place because while the relationship seemed very clean cut in the first book, but we now get to see some of that great tension rising between Day and June, especially since both have vast differences in how they were brought up as individuals in different society circles and what their beliefs are for their dystopian world (what they're really fighting for) which really gave the characters a more authentic feel and I appreciated that. Relationships after all need some fight in them. They can't all be rainbows and sunshine.

As for the perspectives rotating between Day and June . . . let's just say they were effortlessly written. I actually came to love Day and June's characters more because they were so kick-ass in this book and stepped up their game (and laughed at the face of danger at least that is what I thought). Their voice seemed much more stronger in this sequel too and I believed in them more - so YES for that! But Tess, that kid character we met in Legend, I thought she was super cute in the first book but now in this one . . . I just wanted to strangle her to death or say to the enemy, 'Take her already!' So not cool Tess with what you did in this book . . . filling Day's mind with constant doubts and uncertainty about June. So not cool at all. But thank god for the character, Anden, who surprised me out of everyone I've met in this book because as a character I actually really LOVED him to bits and I kind of ship him and June together . . . sorry Day (I still love you). Hehe. No really, I love Anden and June together this much. *spreads arms out*

Overall, PRODIGY surpasses Legend within a heartbeat. With a cinematic style, complicated characters, effortless writing, complex and almost-nail-biting scenes, and that OH-MY-GOD-NO-WAY cliffhanger at the very end, it's needless to say that this sequel of Marie Lu's is surely not be missed out on!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: ATOM

Pages: 368pgs

The Story

Schuyler Van Alen is running out of time. The Dark Prince of Hell is storming the Gates of Paradise, intent on winning the heavenly throne for good. This time he has his greatest angels by his side, Abbadon and Azrael, or as they are known in this world, Jack and Mimi Force.

Will Bliss and the wolves she has recruited to join her win the battle for the vampires? Is Schuyler prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice?

Love and vengeance, duty and and loyalty, life and death, are all at odds in the gripping, heartbreaking finale of the Blue Bloods series.

The Review

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

I've been with the Blue Bloods series right from the very beginning and it's been quite the ride for me and for many other readers too . . . I'm sure of it. So as we finally arrive to the point of the seventh and final installment  of the series, I have to say, while it's sad to say goodbye to some of my favourite characters, Melissa de la Cruz sure doesn't disappoint her readers as this book clearly outshines like no other within this very popular vampire YA series!

For whatever reason I found GATES OF PARADISE to be an absolute breath of fresh air and containing a somewhat different feel to it compared to what I have previously experienced from the other six books in the Blue Bloods series. If I had to guess and put my finger on it, I think this 'different feel' had a lot to do with the characters this time round and how advanced they are now in this final book - all matured-like, knowing who they are as individuals and how well prepared they are for this final fight of their lives, you know? But not only that, I also found the storyline to be very intricate and equally as engaging as the rest of the books in the series, so I think Melissa de la Cruz has clearly outdone herself to say the least with this book and boy did I love it! And now this series is all over . . . le sigh.

As I mentioned before with the characters, the one character that never disappointed me was Schuyler, our main leading heroine of this vampire tale. Having been through so much already with her past loves and friendships, Schuyler has finally come into her own and has become stronger unlike any other character in this series. Personally Schuyler was always such an unique character for me and one I think dearly of, so I'm really glad to have read her story and see it come to a very satisfying conclusion. Whether it's a good or bad one for some characters, as long as Schuyler and her love interest Jack (who I could go on and on about) are fine . . . on a whole I was fairly happy with this final book. Ecstatic even.

Overall, despite the ups and downs of the series and in this book (trust me there are a lot of complications for the characters in this one), GATES OF PARADISE was such an awesome book and one that was a very perfect and satisfying final installment of a YA series, so thank you very much to Melissa de la Cruz! I can't wait to read more books from you in the future!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Prey by Andrew Fukuda

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 336pgs 

The Story

For Gene and the remaining humans—or hepers—death is just a heartbeat away. On the run and hunted by society, they must find a way to survive in The Vast... and avoid the hungry predators tracking them in the dark. But they’re not the only things following Gene. He’s haunted by the girl he left behind and his burgeoning feelings for Sissy, the human girl at his side.

When they discover a refuge of exiled humans living high in the mountains, Gene and his friends think they’re finally safe. Led by a group of intensely secretive elders, the civilisation begins to raise more questions than answers. A strict code of behaviour is the rule, harsh punishments are meted out, young men are nowhere to be found—and Gene begins to wonder if the world they’ve entered is just as evil as the one they left behind. As life at the refuge grows more perilous, he and Sissy only grow closer. In an increasingly violent world, all they have is each other... if they can only stay alive.

The Review

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

Last year, Andrew Fukuda's debut novel The Hunt was an enjoyable read for me and incredibly unique in its own genre, but it just wasn't something that had completely won me over. At least not in the way it did with some other readers who loved it. So when I received this book in the mail I was quite anxious in reading it because it was either going to be a 'make-or-break' book for me and I really wanted to love this sequel considering this series had such great potential. But surprisingly though, not only did I find this book to be so much better than the first of the series, but I also thought it was stronger, triumphant, and straight up addictive! Yup, I totally loved this book and about time too!

Both action-packed, engaging in storytelling, and completely driven by a great assemble of colourful characters (the good and the bad kind), THE PREY had everything going for it for a sequel! I think what happened, unlike in the first book The Hunt, what had changed my mind about this series (a complete turnaround for me mind you from my 3.5 star rating of the first book) was how connected I felt with all of the characters. How they were much more stronger and how much more I began to believe in them. Even how much more I loved them too. Even Gene. So not only do I feel great for loving this book but I'm also thankful too because I now can join the fans of this series! Yay!

Gene, the main character, is quite a force to be reckoned with, especially in this sequel. While I did love him in the first book as he possessed a great voice, but he really did shine in this second installment of the series. He was stronger, much more independent, raw and perhaps a little bit broken, but I think what changed within himself in this particular sequel and why I probably loved him more was how he became so open to people and how he placed his trust in them . . . even when trust seemed really hard to find in this bleak world of Gene's. Now from the previous book, he had this suppose 'love interest' named Ashley June, a character I couldn't stand in The Hunt. I saw her as a pretty pointless character but once she was 'sort of' out of the picture, for the most part at least, I'm really glad to have this other girl character, Sissy, to take Gene's mind somewhere else and away from that annoying Ashley June.

Sissy, without a doubt, was the best character in the entire book! I'm not kidding here. Sure her name is different but not only is she a lot like Gene - both independent and completely headstrong in most matters that they face together - but she truly had something special about her and I was right. She was special. Honestly I couldn't wait for Gene to forget all about Ashley June because he and Sissy have this perfect connection with one another . . . it's not true love or anything close to it, but there's enough there to say they make a great team and a great friendship too, so I loved that element throughout this entire book. I loved it very much!

Overall, even with a lot happening in the book, THE PREY was such an awesome read. It was really fast-paced and really entertaining which I'm grateful for because this sequel has placed a lot more of my faith into this series, so I can't wait to read the third and final installment which can't come any sooner!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Blogspiration (6): Outside This Zone

Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YA & Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers & writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author’s choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation & just a little SOMETHING.

This is my sixth blogspiration post! I hope you enjoy this next quote!

Take a good look at this. No seriously . . . take a good, long, hard look at it. It's more than just white space. It's the unknown. It's your potential. It's your way of stepping outside of your own comfort zone. It's okay to be afraid of it. Those white spaces are quite intimidating as silly as it sounds. But something, whatever it is, is really there.

So now that I've got your attention, can you see your dream outside that perfectly-rounded circle zone? Yes? No? Maybe? Well, I may not be able to see yours right now but I can see mine and it's up to me - and to you as well - to fill in those white spaces. Let's start today! Let's make those white spaces colourful for a change and break that circle to allow the opportunities to fill it in.

So what about you? What inspires you today?

The Skeleton Key by Tara Moss

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

Pages: 290pgs

The Story

In the third Pandora English mystery, Pandora is still negotiating her double life as a lowly assistant at a New York fashion magazine with the reality that she has great supernatural powers and responsibilities.

With the full moon set to rise once again, Pandora has a very special date looming. Her beautiful spirit guide, Civil War soldier Lieutenant Luke, will be a flesh-and-blood man, if only for the night, and she hasn't been able to stop thinking about it. But a chance encounter with playboy Jay Rockwell sees that very human attraction start all over again – even though Jay doesn't remember their previous relationship, or the fact that Pandora saved him from a gang of ill-tempered undead supermodels.

Meanwhile, Pandora – with her special skeleton key – is slowly unlocking the mysteries of the haunted mansion where she lives with her great aunt Celia. What sinister experiments did the architect Dr Edmund Barrett conduct there before he died? Where is his laboratory? And what are the strange noises emanating from the basement?

On the centenary of the mysterious fire that supposedly killed Dr Barrett, he returns to the mansion. He has a message for Pandora. But he has brought with him a dark force that threatens to tear apart the delicate balance between the worlds of the dead and living...

The Review

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

When I received this book the mail I was really stoked since I had read the first two previous books in the series very recently, so I was pretty up-to-date with the books and didn't need to worry too much in catching up with the events of Tara Moss's paranormal world. But while I knew I would enjoy this book as much as the the others, but, even to my own surprise, I had actually found that this new and third installment would have to be my favourite book by far in this series and I love those neat little surprises unexpectedly heading my way!

With THE SPIDER GODDESS, the third installment of the Pandora English series, following very closely to the other two books, it was still great to meet up with narrator and main heroine character, Pandora, once more. Stronger, clever, beautiful, and witty as ever, it was refreshing to read about her new adventures and see what's she's up to now in this third book. But while part of the reason of why I enjoyed this book much more than the first two had a lot to do with Pandora's growth as a strong female lead, but I'd actually think it had more to do with the humor present in this book. There's a lot of irony scenes in this book, and even with some creepy moments woven into the storyline, the humor alone made every bit of the book shine so I'm very thankful that this is my favourite book of Moss's paranormal series! I quite like it despite its critics.

Overall, THE SPIDER GODDESS is yet again another entertaining read and I'm looking forward to reading more from Tara Moss!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Tiger's Destiny by Colleen Houck

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Pages: 447pgs

The Story 

With three of the goddess Durga's quests behind them, only one prophecy now stands in the way of Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan breaking the tiger's curse. But the trio's greatest challenge awaits them: A life-endangering pursuit in search of Durga's final gift, the Rope of Fire, on the Adaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. 

It's a race against time--and the evil sorcerer Lokesh--in this eagerly anticipated fourth volume of the bestselling Tiger's Curse series, which pits good against evil, tests the bonds of love and loyalty, and finally reveals the tiger's' true destiny once and for all.

The Review

This ending is pretty close for this series and my heart already feels it coming, waiting in anticipation that hurts way too much. I've been a big fan of this series for quite some time now and in the fourth installment of The Tiger Saga series, TIGER'S DESTINY, it's all about where Ren and Kishan go looking for Kelsey Hayes after Lokesh kidnapped her. So with many new adventures ahead, new alliances aligned, and some really sweet and tender moments between some very extraordinary characters, it's fair to say this book is my absolute favourite of the series by far and one that sets your own heart racing a million miles an hour! There's no doubt about it because it's a heart-string-tugger this one!

Much like what I've read in the previous books, TIGER'S DESTINY has once again filled my heart with its never-ending cycle of fantastic adventures and it's awesome, lovable characters. I won't get into too much detail with this book but oh my gosh all of the characters are just too perfect! While the main character, Kelsey seems immature at times and can be annoying for making some rash decisions here and there, but everything changes for her in this book and we all finally get to see a much more mature side to her, one we can all respect her for. But it's more than just Kelsey's growth in this book - it's Ren and Kishan's love for her and the ways they want to protect her from harm, it's just so . . . HOT.

But here's the real kicker for me: I was a total Ren fan in the previous books and yet I started to fall even harder for Kishan. Especially in this book. Especially, especially, especially in this book! Honestly what's a girl to do in a situation such as this one? Two hot guys. Two lovely and sweet hot guys? But yeah, like I said before, I won't mention any spoilers here, but those Ren fans out there - ones like me - who have lot of trouble in trying to hate Kishan's character, let me just say Kishan will make your heart melt because he was such a sweetheart and a total standout for me in this book. I mean, of course, I still love you Ren but you know . . . you can't be the only hot guy I'm allowed to love.

Overall, with action-packed adventures, beautiful storytelling, invigorating characters, and shocking moments all in-between those elements, Colleen's fourth installment of her series, TIGER'S DESTINY, really sets the bar up high and it'll be interesting where the last book takes us to next considering this book closes off very nicely with such a bittersweet feeling in the air!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Friday, February 15, 2013

Prophecy by Ellen Oh

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 312pgs

The Story

The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms... is a girl with yellow eyes.

Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope...

Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King Prophecy, but the missing treasure of myth may be the true key. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.

Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy.

The Review

Maybe people just didn't like this book and were blinded by how awesome this book really is . . . I really don't know. I guess some people will love a book and others won't. It's completely fine by me. Look at the book Stormdancer, a book I thought I would totally love but didn't. But you know what? Despite the average reviews I've read online recently, I actually liked - no loved, this book. Prophecy was such a smart and a very compelling YA fantasy read for me, and it's about time an Asian-inspired book blew me away and had not disappointed me!

In PROPHECY, the first installment of a trilogy, there were so many elements that I enjoyed and it kept me there til the very end of the book. I liked how the story flowed both fast-paced and thrilling in the details. I liked the action and the suspense it upholds. I liked how the characters had all sorts of different purposes to the world they lived in. I liked how delicate the Korean culture was and the sufficient amount of research that was done for it. But most importantly and what I loved out of everything I read was the main character, Kira, and how bad-ass she was throughout the entire book. I mean, finally . . . a non-white girl who can seriously kick some demon and non-demon butt, and be awesome while she's at it!

Honestly, the girl with the yellow eyes, this wonderful girl named Kira, was such a legit bad-ass through my eyes and she sure showed those little boys (those pathetic little men) whose boss around her kingdom and had really made sure they showed her some respect for a change. She maybe a girl but she's not weak and reading about her life was just awe-empowering not to mention a great example to use for girl power in books! I just loved her to bits! While the other supporting characters like Kira's brothers, her little kid prince cousin and future king, Taejo, and even a newly introduced character, Jaewon, were super duper characters too but nothing could ever compare to Kira. I really want to give that girl a friendship bracelet or something . . . because I want a friend like exactly like her! Someone cool, sarcastic, fierce, protective and just plain old bad-ass! You would certainly want her on your good side let me tell you!

Overall, I could gush all day about this book and I'm so sad it all came to an end so quickly too because I need more of it (blame it on my one sitting read of this book). But in any case, while some readers may compare it to titles such as Graceling, Eon and Stormdancer, and say it's same old same old, let me tell you something . . . PROPHECY clearly earns its own merits and stands on its own as a very strong debut. Not only am I eager to get my hands on the sequel but I'm also SO excited to see where else the author will take us to next which I'm sure is going to be epic as it's side-by-side with an awesome and a very bad-ass heroine named Kira. Just loved her and this book!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

The Review

I liked Veronica Rossi's debut book, Under the Never Sky, well enough to continue on with this series but I didn't necessarily love it either. But with so many other readers loving and throwing high-praises at me with its second installment, I knew there was going to be something special coming my way from this much anticipated sequel, THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT. And there was definitely something special for sure - even to my own surprise - because I actually enjoyed this book much more than the first book and that's saying something for me. Really saying something.

First and foremost, I have to say the character highlight for me was Roar, Aria's amazing and unwavering friend who is always there for her no matter the drama going on in her life. I love you, ROAR <3. I mean, I liked his character from book one but he completely blew me away in this sequel and I know I'm not the only one here feeling the same way as me. He was just completely adorable and deserved so much more than that Liv character, the person he 'loves'. But just so you know . . . I totally ship Roar and Aria - even if it will never, ever happen. Anyway, apart from him, the other characters were definitely more driven this time round in the sequel and you can clearly tell they have grown up so much and have matured too as individuals, so I'm really glad there was more character development in those respects. Take for example, Aria, the main character, who was really great and so was that Perry dude, although Perry still makes me mad over certain things because he questions Aria quite a lot . . . boy you really need to trust Aria. Fully now. Trust those creepy smelling scenes of yours because that girl loves you without a doubt even though I would much prefer the fantasy of Aria and Roar getting together. Oh, my poor, now sunken Aria/Roar ship.

But the real difference I felt from this second book compared to the first (which was perhaps the main reason why I liked this sequel much more) was its fast-pacing and how there was a lot going on all at once in the book. It was exciting and refreshing, and totally addictive. I just couldn't stop reading this book . . . not once. Whereas the first book I had to put it down and then force myself to read some more, you know? So I'm very happy that I got the complete turnaround from this sequel. I really needed it because I would have a lot of readers breathing down my neck if I didn't love this sequel. I just know that would have happened.

Overall, THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT really showed me what a standout this YA book series really is and I finally understand why readers are so obsessed with it. I am now and for that I'm glad. Now bring on book 3 I say!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars
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