Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 544pgs

The Story

Mara Dyer knows she isn't crazy. She knows that she can kill with her mind, and that Noah can heal with his. Mara also knows that somehow, Jude is not a hallucination. He is alive. Unfortunately, convincing her family and doctors that she's not unstable and doesn't need to be hospitalised isn't easy. The only person who actually believes her is Noah. But being with Noah is dangerous and Mara is in constant fear that she might hurt him. She needs to learn how to control her power, and fast! Together, Mara and Noah must try and figure out exactly how Jude survived when the asylum collapsed, and how he knows so much about her strange ability...before anyone else ends up dead!

The Review

Damn. Damn. Damn. I knew this book was so awesomely-different but damn this book was SO god-damn twisted and boy did I love it for being that twisted. So while I'm regaining my thoughts right now over this book, sometime last year I had the pleasure of reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and I thought it was one of the best - and creepiest - reads I have come across in a very long time, so of course I was looking forward to seeing what would happen in the sequel. But unlike most disappointing sequels that some series have (which I prayed over and over again that this sequel would not be one of 'them'), this particular sequel, I thought at least, was even better than the first book and surpassed it in many, many ways so I was a very happy reader by the end of this book. So yay for that!

But without spoiling everything in the book (since this book should remain a bit of an enigma for those who have yet to read this book series), all I can say is THE EVOLUTION OF MARA DYER will keep you questioning from the get-go and never do you see things coming your way. First you have your theories of what will become of Mara Dyer and her boyfriend Noah Shaw (who is so awesome in this book mind you and I love him for being the bad-boy-but-also-the-supportive-boyfriend as well), but then once another twist is thrown your way . . . you soon begin creating even more theories in your head with how the book is going to end, and to me I just love that feeling and how the mystery is not predictable in any matter whatsoever. So yeah, I really enjoyed this book, especially its characters. Yeah I'm talking to you Mara and Noah. You crazy, sexy kids. *grins*

Anyway, I think out of everything I've just read, the best part of this book was (of course) the ending. The big cliffhanger ending. Now while I was already and 'accidentally' spoiled by the ending of this sequel (which mind you was a very big spoiler) from certain someones, but even reading the ending for myself sent shockwaves on my spine and now I'm hungry for MORE! So I desperately need the next book, Michelle Hodkin, I need it now!!!!

Overall, THE EVOLUTION OF MARA DYER was an excellent sequel and considering what happened in the end, I'm already gearing up theories of my own for book three and boy I can't wait to read it!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Pages: 432pgs

The Story


Tana lived in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Review

Okay, I admit, I thought vampires were totally over and done with and la de da. But after reading this book, I have to also admit that I thought Holly Black has definitely done her own thing with the vampire genre and has definitely won me over with this book as it's my favourite book coming from her thus far, so in that respect I'm pretty happy that I really enjoyed this book as much as I did because I think many other readers will as well no matter how over we think vampires are.

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN may not have an entirely original world, but what made it creepy and magical had a lot to do with the way it was written and most importantly with its characters, and I think without the interesting characters this story would not have worked out as well as it did. But hey, we're talking about Holly Black here, so of course she knows what she's doing. 

Now in terms of the characters, while we may love some and hated to love some also, but I absolutely loved Tana as a main heroine. In the beginning she was a bit rough around the edges and let certain people influence her now and then, but as the book rushed through fast-paced action and eventually came to a close, she had finally learned from her mistakes and soon became this pretty bad-ass girl which is awesome and I loved her for being the character with faults. It was real and interesting when it comes to her. But another character I just have to, HAVE to mention is the awesome-bad-ass-gorgeous vampire named Gavriel, who completely won my heart over in this book. He is the type of character you know you shouldn't trust at all because he is a mystery all on his own and from the very beginning I thought he was someone to watch very carefully, which I was very right about because he was awesome in the end and I loved him to pieces . . . just gah. I love him. He's dangerous of course, but he and Tana just had this weird connection and yet this great chemistry together, so props to the author for having a guy like Gavriel because he was some delicious eye-candy for me.

Last but not least, in terms of the ending, that was probably the main reason why I'm rating this book down from a five star to a four-and-a-half star rating. So it's not to say that the ending wasn't awesome or anything like that (because it still was so to speak), but rather it was an open 'kind of' ending which I had a problem with. Now while I absolutely love open endings depending on the book that I am reading because you have a choice to think what you will of what will happen to the characters in the future (you know, without the author giving this clean cut fairy-tale ending like some are known to do), but for this particular book . . . I don't know . . . I just kind of expected more . . . more closure I guess in the end. Again, I still liked the ending - don't get me wrong here - because I'm interpreting it myself and hoped for the best for every character, but it would have been nice to get more closure for those characters unless the author is planning a sequel which would be great even though this book is fine on its own.

Overall, I would highly recommend THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN, even if you think you're over vampires in the young adult genre because you have seen nothing yet!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Last Girl by Michael Adams

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 400pgs

The Story

The end of the world happens in the blink of an eye.

When The Snap sweeps the globe, everyone can instantly hear everything that everyone else is thinking. As secrets and lies are laid bare, suburbs and cities explode into insanity and violence. What might have been an evolutionary leap instead initiates the apocalypse.

Sixteen-year-old Danby Armstrong's telepathy works very differently. She can tune into other people but they can't tune into her. With only this slender defence, Danby must protect her little brother and reach the safety of her mother's mountain retreat. But it's 100 kilometres away and the highways are blocked by thousands of cars and surrounded by millions of people coming apart at the psychic seams.

Danby's escape is made even more dangerous by another cataclysm that threatens humanity's extinction. And her ability to survive this new world will be tested by a charismatic young man whose power to save lives may be worse than death itself.

The Review

A big thanks to Allen & Unwin for sending me a review copy of this book!

What can I say? I absolutely enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. So while I may not have heard of it before until the publisher had sent me a review copy of it, but I must say it was a very pleasant surprise for me indeed. Think an Australian Hunger Games with an Australian Katniss-like heroine. Yeah, I like the sound of that too.

As I was reading THE LAST GIRL, I may have been rolling my eyes at some point because there is so many dystopians out there already that it's hard not to compare them to other dystopian books, but what was awesome about this particular book was that it soon grew on me and that it was also set in Australia too, so you can't argue that Australia is the perfect place for a new dystopian book. One, because I happen to live in Australia, and two, there are not that many Australian settings in dystopian books so I like seeing that difference in the genre alone and boy was it great!

Now regarding the characters, while I won't give away anything about the story and such (because I think you should experience it for what it is on your own), but to be honest with you, the best part of this book was our main character, Danby, who was like a Katniss Everdeen, someone who is a reluctant heroine and yet becomes a heroine anyway without even realizing it. And I just love that the character felt like she has nothing to prove to her readers than just being her average-but-amazing self. So just you wait readers, Katniss may have just met her match in this book and you'll definitely get to see why in this new book. Gotta love this girl!

Overall, THE LAST GIRL is definitely a great start to a YA dystopian series and I'm so looking forward to reading the sequel next year which I'm sure is going to be just as great as this book was. Man, what a ride.

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Unbreakable by Elizabeth Norris

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 416pgs

The Story

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but civilisation is slowly rebuilding, and life is finally starting to resume some kind of normality. Until Interverse agent Taylor Barclay shows up. He’s got a problem, and he needs Janelle’s help. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring – kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths. And Ben, with his unique abilities, is the prime suspect. To make things worse, Janelle learns that someone she cares about – someone from her own world – has become one of the missing.

Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

The Review

To be honest with you, this book was even more disappointing than the first book, Unraveling. While I did enjoy the mystery side of things that the author wrote and seeing the main character, Janelle, become a (mostly) stronger heroine in this sequel, however what let this book down majorly was how everything played out in the end and of course who cannot forgot Janelle's love interest, Ben, who was an absolute ass in this book and well . . . I can't exactly swear in this book review but let's just say I have a ton to say about him in my head and we'll leave it at that.

Now when it comes to UNBREAKABLE's story, I think for the most part it definitely had a very different feel compared to the first book in the series and dealt with much more serious topics as well. So while that's great and all, and while I do typically feel drawn to darker elements in a book which this book definitely had, but for this particular installment it 'sort of' did and didn't work out for me. Not like the story was terrible or anything like that, but for some reason I felt like after reading this book it was almost as if I was reading a completely different book series and not one of Unraveling if you get my meaning. And, if it was my guess, this 'feeling' had EVERYTHING to do with the characters who I liked from the first book, but now . . . the are complete strangers to me, more so with Janelle's love interest, Ben.

So my oh my. Ben. I mean, seriously? What the hell happened to our Ben in this book? I have no idea really but I have to mention that Ben was my favourite part of the first book, Unraveling, and I was very much looking forward to reading more about him in this sequel too. But unfortunately for me and my high expectations, Ben - like most of the other characters in this book - soon became a stranger to me and was a completely different person and has now become my least favourite character of all. I just don't understand what happened except that Ben made so many mistakes in this book (SO MANY!) and one of those mistakes was so damn right shocking to me that I can't even believe this was the same Ben we met in the first book. Le sigh. What happened, Ben? Gosh. You idiot. Also, talk about that ending . . . oh Janelle . . . just when I thought you rocked my world . . . you did the stupidest thing of all in forgiving Ben for a certain 'something' that happened in the book and for readers you will know exactly what I mean when you read this book . . . I mean what Ben did . . . it's just unforgivable really but hey . . . guess not all girls can learn, can they?

Overall, UNBREAKABLE was a disappointment. While I do give the author props for the mystery and how everything yet again 'unraveled' towards the ending, but with Ben being a jerk and all and turning into my least favourite character at the end, well . . . my rating kind of shrank to close to nothing which was the major disappointment of all in my books because I thought this book had lot's of potential.

The Rating
2/5 stars

Monday, October 21, 2013

Warrior by Ellen Oh

Release Date: 31st December, 2013

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 336pgs

The Story

First an outcast, now a hero.

But her fight rages on.

Kira, the yellow-eyed demon slayer who fiercely protected her kingdom—and the crown prince—has been proclaimed the Dragon Musado of the prophecy. With the defeated the evil shaman.

But it wasn’t enough. 

Hansong is in chaos. The Demon Lord’s minions have infiltrated the city, treason is brewing among the military ranks, and Kira is buried by the overwhelming loss of her parents. She’s also plagued by the annoying feelings that blossom whenever she’s around Jaewon. But she is determined that nothing will stop her from finding the second treasure needed to fulfill the Dragon King’s prophecy. Not even the army of half-breed demons hot on their trail. If only she could learn to trust others . . .

Her father always said one person can change the world. Will it be Kira?

The Review

A big thanks to the HarperTeen for sending me a review copy of this book!

This sequel may not have been as epic amazing as the first book was, that being Ellen Oh's debut novel Prophecy, but it was almost just as good. While I won't give out any spoilers or summaries of the book in case you haven't read the first book in the series just quite yet, but let me tell you this Asian-inspired fantasy book is definitely one that has impressed me thus far in the YA genre and considering it concerns itself with Korean culture . . . it's pretty much a bonus for me because I love that culture within itself.

Firstly, let me just say that WARRIOR would not be so amazing if it didn't have the main character, Kira, in it. Kira, in my opinion at least, is seriously one of the best kick-ass girl characters that I have come across lately and she doesn't even have to prove much of anything really because she just IS kick-ass without even trying to be. Her strength, her dedication to her duty, her mere attitude towards others and her fearlessness of her enemies just shows what a well-rounded character she is and what a lethal weapon she can be, and boy I just want to be her because she is so awesome! You go girl!

In terms of the storyline, everything is just as it should be. Interesting. Entertaining. And flawless. Ellen Oh's writing alone flows so easily as I read each and every chapter, and not once does she make her fantasy world so complicated for me to follow, at least not like how some fantasy books end up being like. So of course and yet again, I would enjoy the author's tale once more of Kira's journey and I can't wait to read more from her because well . . . I love this series.

Overall, WARRIOR was such a great sequel and a great follow-up to Ellen Oh's Dragon King Chronicles series. If you love Asian-inspired books or if you loved the author's first book, Prophecy, then be sure to not miss out on this one awesome book this December or better yet preorder this book for Christmas time!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Friday, October 18, 2013

Skulk by Rosie Best

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Pages: 387pgs

The Story

To some, Meg Banks’ life might look perfect – she lives in a huge house in West London, goes to a prestigious school, and has famous parents. Only Meg knows the truth: her tyrannical mother rules the house and her shallow friends can talk about nothing but boys and drinking. Meg’s only escape is her secret life as a graffiti artist.

While out tagging one night, Meg witnesses the dying moments of a fox… a fox that shapeshifts into a man. As he dies, he gives Meg a beautiful and mysterious gemstone. It isn’t long before Meg realises that she’s also inherited his power to shift and finds an incredible new freedom in fox form.

She is plunged into the shadowy underworld of London, the territory of the five warring groups of shapeshifters – the Skulk, the Rabble, the Conspiracy, the Horde, and the Cluster. Someone is after her gemstone, however, someone who can twist nature to his will. Meg must discover the secret of the stone and unite the shapeshifters before her dream of freedom turns into a nightmare.

The Review

A big thanks to the publisher for providing me a review copy of this book!

For the last few days I have been on a reading slump lately and to add to that little dilemma of mine I have also found this book to be one of those kinds of reads. One that had great potential (at least from what I've read of the awesome book blurb) but, in the end, was the kind of read that just didn't live up to my expectations.

SKULK, for what it's worth, had a pretty unique tale to tell and I admired what the author was trying to do with this cool sounding idea that she had. But unfortunately, I couldn't connect with the story and its characters, mostly with the main character, Meg, who didn't do much for me. She always seemed to feel sorry for herself throughout the book and it seemed like there were so many other important things that Meg should draw more attention towards than focusing just on herself and herself only. For example, there is a high body count in this book and unlike how most people would react, Meg just got a little angry and moved on with things . . . so it's a little unbelievable from where I'm standing but I guess Meg doesn't really care about too much of . . . well . . . anything.

I think the only redeeming quality this book had (apart from the cool sounding idea) was the action scenes that occurred which were pretty cool indeed and even the world the author has created was quite fascinating as well. But like what I mentioned before regarding the characters, if I don't like any character whatsoever then the book is pretty much a hit and miss for me. Still, I didn't mind the book but I only wished for more in storyline.

Overall, SKULK was a disappointment but don't let my review stop you in reading the book as it definitely has some great things happening here and there, not to mention the world of the book is one of the most fascinating things I have come across with shapeshifters.

The Rating
2/5 stars

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

Release Date: 22nd October, 2013

Publisher: HarlequinTeen

Pages: 352pgs

The Story


After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as "normal" as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for-his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again.

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, "normal" simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all.

The Review

A big thanks to the publisher on netGalley for providing me a review copy of this book!

I've always loved Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series, but to be honest with you all, lately I have found her spin-off series to be a real disappointment compared to her original series and this book - most of all - is really lucky enough to receive even two stars from me because let me tell you . . . this next installment just gave me a headache for most of the time while reading it.

It's not to say THE IRON TRAITOR was a really bad book because it certainly has its perks, but it had more to do with how I'm struggling to connect with all of the characters and understand the things that they do. So unlike in The Iron Fey series (where they were so many likable characters around), in this particular series I've just found that most of the characters don't do anything for me, making me not care for them at all. And yet again, this has happened to me in this sequel because I just don't care anymore. The characters have no chemistry with each other, they feel out-of-place for some reason, and they do nothing to make themselves memorable.

However, even though I still don't like the characters all so much, but what has surprised me more than anything else was our main character, Ethan, whom I wasn't a huge fan of in the first book. But something has changed within him in this sequel. He is no longer the downer of the series and moans whenever he has a chance to, but rather he has now become the strength of the entire series. So yeah . . . Ethan out of everyone else has certainly changed my opinion of him (it was a what-the-hell? moment of me) and that's probably why I gave more stars for this book than I had planned to initially give. But Ethan was really something else in this book and I'm impressed.

On the other hand, Keirran, whom I've actually liked in the first book (well apart from his romantic relationship with whats-her-name girl who I just want to kill off already and I mean seriously it's more like obsession than true love with that girl), was the only character that had disappointed me the most. He was just . . . how do I put it . . . a stupid idiot. I honestly can't believe he is the child of our awesome and favourite Iron Fey couple . . . I mean how selfish is this one guy and how stupid can he really be. Oh dear lord. He, out of every other character that I don't like one bit, is the main reason why I got such a headache from this book and I seriously can't believe I liked this guy in the first book and not have liked Ethan. I mean, what was I thinking at the time? I should have known he would end up disappointing me. Oh Keirran, what happened to you? Anyway, rant over.

Overall, THE IRON TRAITOR had so much potential going for it, but like the first book it had disappointment once more and if it wasn't a spin-off series I would seriously consider not continuing the series. But, like a faithful reader and fan of Julie Kagawa, I will continue with this series and hope for a great conclusion to this series . . . so fingers crossed for me that the next book impresses me.

The Rating
2/5 stars

Monday, October 14, 2013

Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Pages: 400pgs

The Story

Daemon will do anything to get Katy back.

After the successful but disastrous raid on Mount Weather, he’s facing the impossible. Katy is gone. Taken. Everything becomes about finding her. Taking out anyone who stands in his way? Done. Burning down the whole world to save her? Gladly. Exposing his alien race to the world? With pleasure.

All Katy can do is survive.

Surrounded by enemies, the only way she can come out of this is to adapt. After all, there are sides of Daedalus that don’t seem entirely crazy, but the group’s goals are frightening and the truths they speak even more disturbing. Who are the real bad guys? Daedalus? Mankind? Or the Luxen?

Together, they can face anything. 

But the most dangerous foe has been there all along, and when the truths are exposed and the lies come crumbling down, which side will Daemon and Katy be standing on? 

And will they even be together?

The Review

I was tossing between four stars and four and a half stars, but considering this book was so much better than the previous installment and entertained me so much more, I think it truly deserves four and half stars because it was definitely a game changer this book and one that you should not miss out on, especially if you're a huge fan of this series like I am.

ORIGIN, in other words, was a very intense book. It was definitely crazy, crazy for the majority of the book as there was so much happening and gave me whiplash at times because it was bang, bang, bang with surprises, and yet, at the same time too, all the crazy things that were happening were all just so compelling as well. I mean, what can I say? I loved it! So while the first half of the book is slowly built with nothing major happening, but let me tell you . . . once you go pass the half way mark THAT is when everything changes and becomes that much more serious for all of the characters involved and everything hits you all at once, leaving you in wanting more and more from this awesome author and her delicious main characters, Katy and Daemon.

While the supporting characters are not often shown as that important in this particular installment, but what was great to see this time round was Daemon and Katy's relationship being shone in a new light. There are no more games and secrets lying between them, but rather there is this strength that manages to keep them fighting for one another and for each other as well. It was just really nice to see they are doing what they should have been doing all of this time throughout the course of this series and that is getting their act together and finally BEING together. Daemon, more so, was a character that finally got his act together and it's about time too, especially when there was that possibility that he might lose Katy . . . ah he may be a stubborn young bastard (hehe) but he does love our Katy. So again, I'm glad their relationship was taken to the next level or so to speak.

Overall, with some pretty surprising revelations and some pretty intense moments between characters, I thought ORIGIN had definitely stepped up its game compared to the previous books and I'm really looking forward to the next book now because this one is very, very good.

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Saturday, October 12, 2013

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Pages: 384pgs

The Story

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

The Review

A big thanks to the publisher for providing me a review copy of this book!

While THESE BROKEN STARS fell short of my expectations - mostly due to that fact that it wasn't the type of read I thought it would be like, but for the most part I still thought it was a decent sci-fi read and one that I think many would enjoy as well.

So here's the thing: I loved the concept. It's almost like a Titanic ship only in space and I think that was a pretty rad idea indeed. But I guess what fell short in my expectations part was the story itself (which was not really what I expected cause I thought we would have more time on the ship or at least a few more chapters about it) but apart from that, I think the major problem for me was the characters themselves and how they all turned out in the end, especially with our two main characters, Lilac and Tarver, whom were the only characters we could learn more and more about.

Did I like Lilac and Tarver? Well they have funny names, but yeah, I sort of liked them as characters. Tarver mostly . . . had got my full attention. However, since Lilac got on my nerves and then when the whole romance erupts and becomes something more . . . I just couldn't feel the chemistry between the two characters - whatsoever in fact - and that's a problem in my books cause the romance was pretty, mostly, partly what the book is all about and yeah . . . I wasn't sold on it unfortunately. But props to Tarver, whom was my only favourite character in the book and to the authors themselves for writing their little twists and turns in the book because some certainly had caught me by surprise at times.

Overall, THESE BROKEN STARS is the type of book that will definitely - or somewhat - please Beth Revis's Across the Universe fans or any sci-fi fan for that matter. While I may not have been sold on the romance part of the book, but in the end it was a nice little read.

The Rating
2/5 stars

Friday, October 11, 2013

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Walker Books

Pages: 288pgs

The Story

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

The Review

A big thanks to the publisher on netGalley for providing me a review copy of this book!

I totally love Simone Elkeles as an author because she wrote Perfect Chemistry which is one of my favourite, favourite books coming from her. In saying that, like with any new book of hers that comes out onto the shelf, I had a lot of high hopes for her new book, WILD CARDS, because it sounded amazing and most reviews that I have read lately have praised this book up so much so of course I was really looking forward to reading this book because of such hype.

Unfortunately, as much as I hate to say it and admit to myself (and let me tell you I really hate myself right now), I didn't like this book. Like at all. I know it sounds horrible when I put it bluntly like that, but I truly did not like this book at all. At first, before even reading this book, the one thing it had going for it was that a girl was playing football and like any reader I thought it sounded amazing already. However, like with some books out there, I guess the execution of the book that sounded amazing at first just didn't play out that way for me and it's sad because this book had a lot of potential but in any case that's how it is.

Now the main reason why I didn't like this book was because of the characters. All of them, especially our main characters, had no likable quality about them whatsoever, even if you tired really, really hard enough to find a reason to like them. Just my god . . . the characters . . . what happened to you guys and yes I'm mostly talking to you main characters, Ashtyn and Derek. Those two were just so frustrating out of everyone else! I tell you, Ashtyn and Derek were so annoying with their up-and-down insta-love relationship and they did absolutely nothing to make me feel otherwise.

So initially, the book gave me this idea - this impression - that Ashtyn was supposed to be this superstar girl football player and yet she was nothing of the sort. Sure she practiced with 'the guys' now and then, but really all she did was whine and moan when the guys treated her like crap - especially her current jerk of a boyfriend - and for someone who is supposed to be 'tough' and all of that, she should have stepped up her game which she clearly didn't. So yay for non-existent girl power! Then there was Derek who was another prime example of least-interesting-male-character-ever. He was seriously messed up that one. I mean, this book should have been more about Ashtyn's triumph in football rather than Derek's me-me-me-all-about-me-I'm-seriously-too-cool-for-school type of book. Seriously, words can't describe how much I hated Derek. I seriously loathed him because he was labelled as a 'bad boy' but from what I've read he was anything but that . . . just someone who continues to annoy me like Ashtyn does with their romantic antics. Just argh. What happened to these guys? I wanted to love them so badly but . . . they do so much to my brain that made me rant like this. Ugh.

Overall, my review turned out to be more of a rant than a review, but for me WILD CARDS was not the book I thought it would be like and that's a major disappointment on my part.

The Rating
1/5 stars

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Macmillan

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of 
civil war looms over the Shima Imperium. The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken 
dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires 
nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.

Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé
rebellion. But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the 
thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control. Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, 
the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches. But Kin has his own secrets, 
and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins. 
A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire. A new enemy 
gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to 
survive. And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no 
katana or talon can defeat.

The ghosts of a blood-stained past.

The Review

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

You know what folks? I didn't have EPIC love for Jay Kristoff's Stormdancer like everyone else did and that's okay because we can't love everything in a book, even though I love this type of world the author created and the whole Japan thing (I'm obsessed over Japan in fact). But you know what else? Well, after reading the sequel to Kristoff's series, not only was it interesting but I actually came to really, really enjoying this book and when you consider my 3-something star review for the first book to this sequel which I'm happily giving it 4.5 star rating . . . well that's really saying something about the sequel if I do say so myself and I'm just happy about that.

KINSLAYER is the second installment of The Lotus War series and there's a whole lot going on around you (which I won't spoil because that would totally suck for you guys who have yet to read it). But once you turn the pages of this pretty big book, you will not only be reunited with many old friends and foes, but you'll also be sucked back into this fantastic and well-written fantasy world once more and let me tell you there are plenty of times you are either yelling or cheering the characters on . . . so again I really enjoyed this book and even more so than the first book so yay for that!

In terms of what I liked in this book, apart from the obvious characters, what I enjoyed the most was how well fleshed out this next adventure was and I honestly don't know how the author does it because there's a lot to take in. But in saying that, it's wonderfully written and almost like poetry, so considering what occured by the end of the book, I'm just really looking forward to the final book in the trilogy just to see what happens to our characters and especially the enemies they seem to make in the sequel. So yeah, I'm really looking forward to that final book.

Overall, KINSLAYER was such a pleasant surprise for me and I'm really glad I enjoyed it more than the first book, Stormdancer, because it has finally made me understand what I was missing out in Jay Kristoff's current fangal/fanboy fanbase.

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 214pgs

The Story

When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.

The Review

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

Trish Doller definitely has a great story idea going for her, one that particularly focused hard on grief and guilt that war generally has on people. In that aspect and personally for me, I initially loved that direction that she went for for this particular storyline as it is very relevant for today's world of war and the effects it eventually has on our young soldiers and so on. So while I did like that take in this new contemporary YA book, but by the time I finished this book, I didn't particularly feel anything from the book nor did it have a big impact on me. At least not in a way that would make me recommend the book.

SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL, again, had a great idea initially but the characters were the main problem for me when connecting with this particular book. Travis, in particular, was one of the major problems for me. While I liked his voice in the beginning, but slowly as I began to read further into this book, I soon became to feel very distant with his character and the problem is I don't why exactly.Yeah . . . it's something that I feel very iffy about lately because I don't know how to feel about Travis. One moment you think you might like him, but then he does something or you learn something about him that makes you turn off him again. But all in all, I think perhaps the character just didn't do anything that made me take more notice of him . . . or perhaps it had something to do with his new romance with Harper, a girl he once knew in his past.

Now as for Harper, she too was someone I felt pretty iffy about sometimes. I mean, I did connect with her and I did begin to actually like her as a character more so than Travis, but again my problem with Travis had something to do with her all the time. The thing about Harper is that she hated Travis (or that was my impression at least at the beginning) and that was because before Travis left to enlist as a soldier, he had spread a certain 'rumor' about her which instantly made me not like him one bit. But, as I began to like Harper, for some reason she quickly forgave Travis for what he did which is rather hard to believe because anyone in her shoes would not forgive so easily or at least that is what I would do if someone spread a rumor that had a great effect on me. But . . . that's Harper for you. Sure Travis had his problems and some people may forgive him because of that, but I thought Harper didn't have a great connection to Travis and I thought she forgave him for certain things way too easily. But that's my opinion.

Overall, SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL was decent contemporary book, but wasn't the book I thought it would be like. But if you like contemporary reads that do explore grief and guilt, along with a little bit of subtle romance on the side, then this might be right up your alley.

The Rating
2/5 stars

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Monsters by Ilsa J. Bick

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: EgmontUSA

Pages: 821pgs

The Story

The Changed are on the move. The Spared are out of time. The now. When her parents died, Alex thought things couldn't get much worse-until the doctors found the monster in her head. She headed into the wilderness as a good-bye, to leave everything behind. But then the end of the world happened, and Alex took the first step down a treacherous road of betrayal and terror and death.

Now, with no hope of rescue-on the brink of starvation in a winter that just won't quit-she discovers a new and horrifying truth.

The Change isn't over.
The Changed are still evolving.
And...they've had help.

With this final volume of The Ashes Trilogy, Ilsa J. Bick delivers a riveting, blockbuster finish, returning readers to a brutal, post-apocalyptic world where no one is safe and hope is in short supply. A world where, from these ashes, the monsters may rise.

The Review

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

I absolutely loved Ilsa J. Bick's Ashes book, which ended up becoming one of my favourite, favourite dystopian books of all time. Unfortunately for its sequel though, I was pretty disappointed in it. But, like any other reader I know, I still continued to hold some hope that I would come to love this series again when I got to read the author's final installment. So in saying that, I just was so pumped (not to mention so excited) to read this particular book and to also find out what happens to our fantastic mix of characters in this very scary and yet terrifying world of Bick's.

Unfortunately on my part, the last installment, MONSTER, was a major disappointment. A major disappointment. While we get a few answers to some questions I had from the previous two books and had learned some new things here and there - along with some great imagery and gory scenes that I love to love, but apart from that, this book was a huge page of words. I kid you not. This book was so freaking HUGE that I was left going, 'Whoa' with its 800 page length. It's not that I don't like huge books because I really do, but this one was a book I just wanted to end so badly and I'm surprised I got through this one to honest with you. But when you add tons of perspectives (whom I've already forgotten by now) and then add a lot of other confusing scenes . . . it just doesn't go down well for me and it ruins my enjoyment of the entire book. So it's pretty sad for me, especially since I loved the first book so much. Ah well. Guess I'll just remember the good times I had with the first book and not reflect on the rest of the series . . . and I really feel bad about that cause I love this author's writing just probably not with this book.

Overall, MONSTER was a monster in book length and by the time I finished the book I just had no clue what was going on . . . so unfortunately I have no idea what to say about this book except that I finished it and the series, and we'll just leave it at that.

The Rating
1/5 stars

Monday, October 7, 2013

Keeping Her by Cora Carmack

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Ebury Digital

Pages: 176pgs

The Story

What happens after the happy ending?

Garrick is over the moon that his girlfriend, Bliss, said yes. He's finally found the love of his life. That means his worries are over, right?

But when he invites her to visit London and meet his family, he is presented with a whole new set of problems. How will his privileged and wealthy family react to Bliss's unique brand of awkwardness?

The Review

A big thanks to the publisher on netGalley for providing me a review copy!

This book is a novella that gives us a short story about what happens after the events  of Cora Carmack's Losing It book and what goes beyond with Garrick and Bliss's relationship.

I quite enjoyed the story of Losing It as I'm sure many others have also. So when I saw there was going to be a small short story to continue on with the two main characters of Losing It, I decided to go ahead and read this short story, mostly just to see what the main characters, Garrick and Bliss, are mainly up to now and to see how their relationship is going whether it was stronger than ever or merely the same. Now while I wished the novella focused on more important things and such, but readers do get to see Bliss finally meeting Garrick's family and friends which is troublesome for Bliss, at times, considering how hers and Garrick's relationship first started as a teacher-student thing. In that certain aspect, I think many readers will find it very entertaining in seeing how Garrick's family - mostly his mother - react to the news of Garrick's engagement to Bliss (slight spoiler here). But as for and what I thought of the novella, I didn't mind it so much because we saw more of these two main characters together, but as far as the story goes I didn't really see the point of it really . . . only that we met Garrick's family briefly and learned that there was slight troubles for the newly engaged couple . . . but that was about it. It was fun to read, of course and don't get me wrong here, but I wished for more to happen even for a short story. But that's just me being picky.

Overall, KEEPING HER will definitely be a great short story for those wanting more of Garrick and Bliss. It was nothing ground-breaking or anything like that, but I enjoyed it regardless.

The Rating
3/5 stars

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Extreme Love by Abby Niles

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

New body. New clothes. New men.

Used to the average Joe, Caitlyn Moore is overwhelmed when the supremely masculine Dante Jones walks into her life and expresses an interest in her. At first she pushes him away, refusing to encourage the attention of a cage fighter. Then she learns Dante has a love ‘em and leave ‘em reputation. What better way to fine-tune her non-existent flirting skills than with a male who won’t stick around? But Dante has no intention of being a practice dummy; he’s out for all or nothing. Now Caitlyn must accept Dante—violent career and all—or let him go.

Dante “Inferno” Jones has one goal: win the Welterweight Championship. At a time when focus is crucial, the last thing he needs is a distraction. Yet Caitlyn Moore becomes a challenge he can’t resist. When the light-hearted pursuit shifts to a battle to win her heart, his focus is shot. Faced with losing the biggest match of his career, Dante must decide if his extreme life also has room for Extreme Love.

The Review

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

I don't know what I was expecting from this book in the first place, but I mainly wanted something fun to read and pass the time with. So don't get me wrong here, the book was definitely well-written in certain aspects, I enjoyed it to some degree, and it definitely had some potential in the storyline, but when it comes down to it . . . I just found the book wasn't realistic in any sense.

The main thing that irritated me the most and was the main reason why I didn't like this book as much as I wanted to . . . all had to do with Cait, our main character. I get she used to have - or rather still has - insecurities about her own body image, but there's a point in a book where that issue can only go so far and to me the author took it a bit too far where it got kind of boring and repetitive. I mean, of course it's great to talk about body image and reflect it in a ugly light, but hearing other characters call out on Cait's 'weight' . . . like all the time . . . just didn't feel right to me and never in my life have I heard people point out someone's weight like these people did in the book. Like right to someone's face. But in saying that, Cait rarely stood up for herself and ran away whenever things got tough. Now I get where the author is coming from in Cait's perspective, but it's not by any means something that would inspire me and personally characters should be inspiring in a certain sense.

Dante, on the other hand, this fighter dude who is pretty up-himself for the majority of the book, is someone you love to hate. I get he's good-looking, has a decent body and likes a good old challenge with the opposite sex - particularly when it comes to Cait not wanting him like all women supposedly do - but despite his super cool name, I thought Dante was a bit of bore. I mean, I admired him in standing up for Cait whenever one of his idiot friends and embarrassing exes call Cait names, but Dante thought he was all that, you know? It's great to love yourself but . . . not too much, okay? Hehe.

Overall, EXTREME LOVE is definitely extreme for the most part but if you're looking for something fun to read like I was wanting, then this book would be great to pass the time with. It's not by any means realistic but it's fun to read and frustrate over.

The Rating
2/5 stars
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