Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 End of Year Survey

I randomly came across this end of year survey from The Perpetual Page-Turner blog and I thought it was such a cool idea and I wanted to give a crack. If you want to be apart of the survey also, you can check out all of the details here. Anyway, here are my answers for the survey!

Best in Books 2013

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist).

While some blog readers of mine have already seen my favourite top 10 books of 2013 post from yesterday, I'm still going to repeat it again and say that the best book I read for this year was The Knife of Letting Go by Patrick Ness - including its two other sequels. It was such a brilliant book series . . . let me tell you that!

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. Honestly, I thought after all the hype the book has been receiving lately that I too would enjoy the book. Sadly, that was not the case.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?
Every Breath by Ellie Marney. It really surprised me this one. Didn't think I would love it as much as I did. But damn it was SO GOOD!

4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
Considering how much I enjoyed it, it would have to be Night Film by Marisha Pessl. It wasn't my 'usual' read but it was a very exciting read!
5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas. This series definitely has a lot potential!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013? 

Shannon Messenger. I'm really looking forward to more of her books in the future - both in her YA and middle grade genres.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. I don't normally read books based on real people but this book . . . it had just really hit me with a lot of emotions and I think it's because I've always been interested in Zelda herself and her author-of-a-husband.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black. It was a real treat!

9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Dare You To by Katie McGarry. Of course!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013? 
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. Hands down!

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 

Jem Carstairs from The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. I love him to death as many of you already know. Sorry Will, but Jem will always beat you despite your love of books.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

Again, Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. I mean, that ending was such a  little heart-breaker.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?

Again, I have to mention the brilliant book Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. It might be fiction but the ending was still so very sad because the main character was based on the real Zelda Fitzgerald, which makes the story even more sadder to read about.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?

Definitely The Chaos Walking Series by Patrick Ness. I mean, what was I thinking? Why did I wait so long to read this series? Seriously . . . I should have read this series a long, long time ago.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

I have a lot of favourites with this particular question. But, if I had to choose between them all, it would be this particular quote:

“Sometimes fate or life or whatever you want to call it, leaves a door a little open and you walk through it. But sometimes it locks the door and you have to find the key, or pick the lock, or knock the damn thing down. And sometimes, it doesn’t even show you the door, and you have to build it yourself. But if you keep waiting for the doors to be opened for you . . . I think you’ll have a hard time finding single happiness, let alone that double portion. -- Just One Year by Gayle Forman.

16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

I'm not exactly sure with this one . . . but from what I can recall the shortest book for me was The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace (which was not a favourite book of mine sadly). As for the longest read for this year, it would have to be A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (for obvious reasons because his books will always be longer than most of my usual reads hehe).

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead. It had a lot of crazy moments in it - including its 'sort of' cliffhanger of an ending.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc). 

The relationship between Rachel Watts and James Mycroft from Ellie Marney's Every Breath book. I had great admiration for that relationship right from the very beginning of the book because it was a very cute friendship that they shared at first . . . then it became very sweet and romantic towards the end which was really sweet as well. It's my favourite types of romances!

Another mention would have to be the friendship between Todd and Viola from Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy series. While it was hinted at a small romance between these two characters (at least that's how I saw it by book 3), but what I really admired about these two was how much respect Todd and Viola had for each other and they were just so damn adorable together, especially when they had each other backs (like always). I just really loved those two crazy kids.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. I may not have liked the first book, but I quite enjoyed this sequel. More than I thought I would.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
A couple of readers suggested for me to read Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout and the rest of that series. Turns out I was missing out on something that was really extra special! ;)

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

Seems to be more in the fantasy genre. Yet again. Though I have been reading a few more contemporary books than I usually do in a year of reading, which is good because I'm quite enjoying the genre once again.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
This is a strange one . . . but it would be Victor from This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel. He isn't the most stable guy around but I loved him regardless. I also kind of fell for Korbyn from Sarah Beth Durst's standalone novel Vessel. I definitely had a soft spot for that guy (or rather that god of a guy).

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman. Of course!

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

Not too sure on this one. But I did quite enjoy the world of The Elites by Natasha Ngan.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013? 

Probably Allegiant by Veronica Roth since it's the last book of the trilogy and all, and it was also the book that have everyone talking this year. You know? With the ending? Another couple of fun reads were also For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund and Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

I'm going to cheat here. It would have to be between four books that I read this year: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler, Catherine by April Lindner and Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger. I haven't heard a terrible lot from readers about this book (or maybe that's just me thinking that). But seriously this book is just insanely awesome! I would highly recommend it to anyone!

Book Blogging/Reading Life 2013

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013?

I know I followed a few new blogs this year but I don't think I can choose between let alone name them all on here. So I'll get back to you with that question.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013?

Probably my review of Clockwork Princess. There was a lot of rambling in it . . .

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

Can't really remember. At least not right now.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?

I quite liked this post titled  'The Bullies of Goodreads'. It was definitely a topic that needed to be addressed as some people can be really terrible on Goodreads. There's not liking book to really not liking that book. There is a difference between the two and voicing your opinions in a favourable manner (you know, without being too nasty).

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Due to university studies, I haven't had much time for well . . . anything event and author related. Plus a lot of events don't usually take place in Brisbane, Australia. Sadly. This is why I need to move to the likes of Sydney and Melbourne or even overseas.

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2013?

Is it wrong to say just being really committed to blogging and reviewing this year? I really tried my hardest this year to write a lot of reviews and read a lot of books for all of you guys, and I think I succeeded on that one. I 'think'.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Not entirely sure on this one (there were A LOT of views on my blog for this year), but from what I can see at the moment, my review for The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain seems to be very popular with the blog readers.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love? 

My book reviews in general. Haha. There was more viewing than commenting on my blog for 2013 but I'm totally cool with that. :)

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Better World Books. They are pretty cool and I would recommend them if you're looking for 'sometimes' cheap and  secondhand books.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I did! I manage to complete my reading challenge on Goodreads. 228 books right on the dot. I'm looking forward to seeing if I can beat that reading goal next year . . . though I probably won't due to uni studies next year. Hehe. I'm surprised I read as much as I did for this year considering how busy I was with assignments and exams.

Looking Ahead

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?

I want to read A LOT OF BOOKS next year. But come to think of it, I would like to eventually read the book Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh since I really enjoyed the first book of that series. Like very much.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)? 

Gosh, how do I choose between them all? But I am definitely looking forward to reading Up From the Grave by Jeaniene Frost (as it's the last book of one of my favourite series), Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen (as I adored the first book so, so much), and Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead (because hey it's another Mead book to read).

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? 

Probably The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings. Sounds good that one! And I'm totally digging its blood red book cover.

4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014? 

Some book series endings have really disappointed me in the past (including this year) . . . but I am looking forward to seeing what will happen in the last book in The Mortal Instrument series - City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. Mostly because that series should have ended a long, long time ago . . . though I am still hoping for the best with this last book (even though Clare herself hinted a few characters are going to be killed off) so fingers crossed on that one.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

Read more of course! But I would also like to read more books outside my usual genre. Maybe some more contemporary books or adult fiction in the mystery/thriller side of things instead of it always being in the young adult and/or fantasy genre which is always on my to-read and wishlist pile of books.

Well, there you have it with my End of Year Survey.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Top 10 Favourite Books of 2013

Each year I always like to look back on it and find my top 10 favourite books of the year. For 2013, even though I'd found some books - particularly sequels to series - have disappointed me this year (blame it on the book reading slump I have been having now and then) but there has still been many other books out there that have become favourites of mine as well, so it's been rather hard to choose between them all but here we go with my Top 10 favourite books of 2013!

10. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

I really wanted this book to be in my number 1 spot, but I had so many other favourites to fill those spots . . . still . . . this book had to make this favourites list this year. It was freaking brilliant. I rarely read books that are - somewhat - inspired by events of real life people, but let me tell you this book was more than I thought it would be. I cried a little in this book and because I've always been fascinated by Zelda herself . . . this book definitely earned this spot! It was a perfect read for me.

9. Every Breath by Ellie Marney

I have to admit - this book was uber-cool. I think out of every book I have read this year, this particular one surprised me the most. At first, I didn't think it was my kind of read but I was so wrong about that because this book was SO MUCH FUN to read! Everything from the Australian setting to the quirky and quick-witted characters is what made this book fun and I can't wait to read more from this author and from this new series of hers! Plus it's inspired by Sherlock Holmes which is another bonus in my books! ;)

8. The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman

This book was another surprise to me as well. Not only does it have an interesting tale to tell, but it also happens to be a book that has so much GIRL POWER in it that it inspires me every time I think back on the book. So it's no wonder why this book made it on my top 10 list . . . because it's such a perfect read and very cleverly told!

7. Ink by Amanda Sun

This book was just super creative! So cool and dangerous and everything in-between. It not only contains some of my favourite things about the Japan setting (which seemed very realistic in the book), but it has a concept that surrounds ink and drawing . . . which come alive mind you. So Japan and drawings (two of my favourite things) pretty much guarantees a spot on my favourite book list! But seriously . . . I REALLY need the sequel asap because this book is just . . . well . . . cool.

6. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

What can I say? This book made me feel SO MANY emotions. Whether I cried or smiled over the ending that was still so sad and yet so happy and yet was filled with so many feels at one time, this book is definitely one of my favourites coming from Cassandra Clare (it's probably her best so far) and I'm definitely going to be missing this series . . . like A LOT! I'm talking about you Jem because you were so brilliant in this book. So brilliant. And Will of course.

5. Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Katie McGarry rocks with her contemporary books. She is not only brilliant at writing a good old romance, but she has also become one of my favourite authors, especially when it comes to this book. The main characters, Beth and Ryan, had the perfect chemistry between them, so of course I had to put this book in at least my top 5 favourites. Definitely looking out for great things from this author in the future!

4. The Program by Suzanne Young

While this book contains a lot of depression (which should make yourself feel depressed and such), but I can't deny by how much I enjoyed this book and I think every teenager should read this one. It maybe fiction but I think many teens and even adults can relate to this book.

3. Prophecy by Ellen Oh

Mythology and Korea and a kickass heroine? Yeah this book has all of that in this one book. So why shouldn't it be in my favourite books list? I have also read the sequel to this series which is out now this month and it definitely doesn't disappoint!

2. Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

This book ROCKED. Simple as that. No really . . . this book was one of the most imaginative books I have come across and talk about the book having one of the most beautiful covers I have seen this year . . . so I can't wait to read more from this author and of this series. Seriously, this book should be a movie or something. Reminded me of Beautiful Creatives in fact. Only it was much more brilliant. ;)

1. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Even though this book and its two sequels didn't technically come out this year, but I finally read all of this series this year and I was left mentally kicking myself that I didn't read this series sooner than I did. But it just rocked and now I'm left wishing there were more books in this series because I'm missing all of the characters and the world already! Le sigh. It was just too perfect these books.

Some other honorable 2013 book mentions also go straight to The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead, Allegiant by Veronica Roth, Crash Into You by Katie McGarry, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, The Cloud Hunters by Alex Shearer, Oath Bound by Rachel Vincent and Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza.

Well, there you have it folks . . .

My favourite Top 10 Favourite Books of 2013!

So what do you think of my Top 10 2013?

What are your favourites from this year?

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Scholastic

Pages: 450pgs

The Story

The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after . . .

The Review

While I didn't have a lot of high praise for Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys, however, I must say that - well, this time at least - I actually came to really love this second instalment of the series.

Even though there are certain parts of the book that can become a little confusing at times for the reader (which also happened to me when I read the very first book because the story was a little confusing for me) and while this book is much more focused on another certain character, that being Ronan, rather than the focus being on our other main leading characters - including Blue and Gansey, but on a whole, it was much more enjoyable to read compared to the first book which I'm really happy (not to mention very surprised) about since I have loved every single other book Stiefvater has ever written.

And another thing to mention and without giving away spoilers, while Ronan's character was interesting and all, but I also came to enjoy Blue and Gansey's characters. Blue was a pretty good character from the first book, but with Gansey I was a little unsure about him. But in saying that, both Gansey and Blue have surprised me in this sequel and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more about them, especially with Blue and finding out more about her 'true love' and quite possibly more about her fate with this certain special someone. Another worthy mention is Adam as well, whom was also interesting in this book though I'm kind of rooting for Gansey and Blue despite her whole 'true love' dilemma which, for those who have read the book, readers should know what I'm talking about.

Overall, THE DREAM THIEVES was a delightful book and I can't wait to find out what more the author has install for her characters in the next book.

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of my dear readers!

I hope you're all having a great Christmas wherever you are in the world (I certainly am right at this moment) and I also hope that you've had a great year in 2013! I can't wait until we bring in the new year because I know it's going to be a good one! Anyway, I wish you all a happy Christmas and I'll see you guys in 2014!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 317pgs

The Story

Deuce’s whole world has changed.

Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn't fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.

To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.

Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.

The Review

Don't get me wrong here. I really, really loved the first book in the series, but there was just something missing in this sequel. Something strong and something captivating. Or rather, I have no clue what changed in this sequel for me. But it's just unlike the first book that was packed with so much action, adventure, and so much character progression and development, I just felt as if the sequel just lost all of what made the first book, Enclave, so special and unique in its own genre, which is a real shame really because I was starting to really love this series.

OUTPOST was still interesting I suppose and left me with many questions with what is going to happen in the third and final book, but the characters and the storyline itself - at least for me - just fell completely flat. If anything, I probably blame it all on the teenage angst that constantly surrounded the characters which seemed rather unnecessary (especially between Deuce and her moody hunting partner/love interest Fade) and on the suppose 'love triangle' the main character has between two boys, even though it's quite obvious she has feelings more for one particular boy than the other. But yeah, I'm still uncertain to what I feel for this particular book, only that the storyline dragged on too many accounts and the characters in the end just didn't appeal to me this time round.

Overall, while OUTPOST was a major letdown, but I'm still hoping for the best in the third and final book and I'll be crossing my fingers that something changes my mind about this series, especially when I thought the first book had such a promising start.

The Rating
2/5 stars

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Trap by Andrew Fukuda

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

The thrilling finale to Fukuda's vampire trilogy.

After barely escaping the Mission alive, Gene and Sissy face an impossible task: staying alive long enough to stop an entire world bent on their destruction. Bound on a train heading into the unknown with the surviving Mission girls, Gene, Sissy, David, and Epap must stick together and use everything they have to protect each other and their only hope: the cure that will turn the blood-thirsty creatures around them into humans again. Now that they know how to reverse the virus, Gene and Sissy have one final chance to save those they love and create a better life for themselves. But as they struggle to get there, Gene's mission sets him on a crash course with Ashley June, his first love . . . and his deadliest enemy.

The Review

A big thanks to the publisher Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with a review copy of this book!

Bravo, Andrew Fukuda. Bravo. I applaud you for this book. Now while the first book in The Hunt series didn't appeal to me all so much, but once I read its sequel (pretty quickly too mind you), everything in this series changed for me and I just couldn't wait to read this final book because it's just . . . simply . . . awesome and I needed to know what was going to happen to our favourite characters. And boy the author sure didn't disappoint his readers and certainly not me.

THE TRAP, the third and final instalment in the trilogy, is everything you want in a final book and most importantly I found the author never held back from well . . . anything really. It almost felt like he wanted to make this book the most shocking and plot-twisted one out of all three books and he should definitely take some credit for that because this book went all out there for readers and Fukuda rarely written a boring moment in this book . . . it was just so fast-paced which made me even more invested with the storyline.

In terms of the characters, I have to say Gene and Sissy are my favourites out of everyone. While we do eventually get to see Ashley June again - Gene's first love interest from book one - but let's just say I never cared for that girl (hated her actually) but thankfully Sissy - another love interest who was introduced in book two - was what made this book and Gene himself stand out so much more. Sissy, despite her funny name, is my absolute favourite character in this entire book and I think if it wasn't for her character, Gene would have given up his quest long ago and he almost did in this book. She just continually challenges and pushes him forward again and again, and ultimately makes him live for something despite their dire circumstances made of nightmares (at least that's the vibe I always got from her character) which is what I've always loved about Sissy. She never gives up. She believes there's something else out there . . . which makes herself and Gene move on and push forward. Gene, of course, is a great character and I've slowly come around to liking him a lot, but yeah, Sissy was great in this book and made Gene an even more likeable character when they worked together. Just loved those two right until the end.

Overall, THE TRAP had a brilliant conclusion and I really couldn't have asked for more from this final book, so make sure you pick up this book when you have a chance to! It's definitely worth a read and it's full of so many great things!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Sharpest Blade by Sandy Williams

Release Date: 31st December, 2013

Publisher: Ace

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

Torn between two worlds.

Torn between two lives.

McKenzie Lewis’s ability to read the shadows has put her—and …those she loves—in harm’s way again and again. The violence must end, but will the cost of peace be more devastating than anyone ever imagined?

After ten years of turmoil, the life McKenzie has always longed for may finally be within her grasp. No one is swinging a sword at her head or asking her to track the fae, and she finally has a regular—albeit boring—job. But when a ruthless enemy strikes against her friends, McKenzie abandons her attempt at normalcy and rushes back to the Realm.

With the fae she loves and the fae she’s tied to pulling her in different directions, McKenzie must uncover the truth behind the war and accept the painful sacrifices that must be made to end it. Armed with dangerous secrets and with powerful allies at her side, her actions will either rip the Realm apart—or save it.

The Review

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

THE SHARPEST BLADE was a delightful end to this adult fantasy trilogy and while it wasn't exactly my favourite instalment in the series, but I was still pretty happy with how everything was concluded in the end. It was nice and clean. Straight to the point too.

Now for the majority of this series, I've always had this fondness for our main character, McKenzie, and let me tell you she was a very tough heroine throughout the series, especially in this third and final book. She was very kick-ass, in fact. Now despite her romantic troubles between two very powerful guys (which is solved by the end of this book thankfully), but when it comes to fighting against the fae and their other creatures, McKenzie never allowed anyone - not even once - to push her around and so . . . she definitely holds her own in any situation that she faces, which - I guess - is one of the many qualities that I've always came to admire about her. Another thing too, McKenzie, at least what I found, had already made her decision with who she wanted to be with between her two love interests from   the end of book one and she never regretted her choice with this particular 'love' of hers, which is a nice change to read about considering love triangles don't always end well for the heroine, so yeah that was nice.

Overall, THE SHARPEST BLADE contained so many elements that I love in the fantasy genre and I would definitely recommend this series for sure! It's such a fun, quick read.

The Rating
4/5 stars

Monday, December 16, 2013

Horizon by Alyson Noel

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Macmillan

Pages: 336pgs

The Story

Fate has bound them together—and torn them apart.  Now Daire and Dace face one final fight that will seal their destiny forever.

Daire Santos is the last of the Soul Seekers, and the only thing standing between the Richters and the destruction of everyone she loves. With her grandmother gone and Cade back in Enchantment, Daire must finally step into her destiny and lead the fight against the Richters. But what if that means sacrificing the person she loves most?

Bound to the Richters by blood, Dace struggles against the darkness growing inside him that threatens to claim Daire too. Though Daire refuses to give up on him, the choice may not be hers. An epic battle is on the horizon and the end of the world looms near. With such insurmountable odds stacked against them, is their love really enough to conquer all?

The Review

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

After reading the Immortals series, even though that particular series didn't work out so well for me after six books or so, but I was so glad that Noel's other Soul Seekers series did work out in the end. It was very entertaining to say the least (more so the mythology side of it) and even the final book offered a nice - but an also unexpected - ending, which was much better than the Immortals series ending ever was. So I was rather glad for that.

While Daire, the main character, had her ups and downs in this book, but soon as the last half of the book came to a head, she soon grew back into her own once more and made all of the right decisions. Dace, her love interest, on the other hand, was still an alright kind of character and I always liked him as Daire's love interest, but he was probably the only disappointing factor of the book and that's probably because I expected so much more from him in this particular book. But regardless of that, everything in the end worked out the best for everyone . . . mostly.

Overall, HORIZON was a very entertaining book and while the ending (even for a final book) did end with a small plot-twist, but it was still a great read.

The Rating
4/5 stars

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Pages: 464pgs

The Story

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning . . .

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he's also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.

The Review

I know Sherry Thomas is a well known author to most readers, but this is the very first book that I've read of hers and I have to say I'm pretty impressed. While her newest YA book, THE BURNING SKY, the first in the trilogy, did contain some slower parts in some particular scenes and the first few chapters were a little rocky for me at first until everything else came into place, but for the majority of it I was pretty entertained by everything in this book, especially the last half of the book where scenes became so much more action-packed and exciting.

THE BURNING SKY definitely had a great concept going for it, but aside from the mythology side of things, what I was even more entertained and delighted by was with our two main leads, Iolanthe Seabourne and Prince Titus, who made this book shine so much more. For one, Prince Titus was such a serious guy and a very guarded young man (sometimes a little stubborn too) which I liked about him because his story slowly unfolds throughout the book and I like that sort of development in a character, but out of everyone, I thought Iolanthe's character had totally won me over right from the very beginning and she is what made me want to read more and more of this book. 

Iolanthe is the kind of heroine I wish most heroines were always like: smart, resourceful, witty, has good values and most importantly makes good decisions for others than just thinking about herself all the time. I also like that she wasn't shy in any sense and was confident in her own skin, which is always a bonus for me with heroines. Even her banter with Prince Titus was absolutely hilarious. And speaking of Titus, I loved the way he and Iolanthe interacted in the book. It wasn't insta-love or anything close to that, but rather a friendship that slowly become romantic. It's a subtle romance which is great to see and I seem to have more respect for those as sometimes romances in YA books can be overdone and suffocate the book, you know? So I definitely loved that subtlety of the romance and I'm looking forward to reading more from this new couple in the future books.

Overall, THE BURNING SKY was a pleasant surprise for me and I would definitely recommend to readers who love a good old adventure with plenty of fantasy elements to keep you entertained until the very end of the book!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 416pgs

The Story

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

The Review

Okay, so I was a little torn between giving this book a 4, 4.5 or a 5 star rating, but oh what the heck . . . I'm giving it a 5 stars because of that freakin' awesome ending Richelle Mead delivered to us and all of those Sydrian feels that I felt, which I'm sure many of you are also feeling right about now when you're thinking back and reflecting on this book. OH MY GOSH THERE ARE SO MANY FEELS I TELL YOU IN THIS BOOK! And boy was it so much better than the last book, The Indigo Spell, which I was a little disappointed with.

But before I get into this review, I have to say I was a little worried when I first heard the author was writing Adrian's point-of-view for this new instalment as well as Sydney's. Now I don't know why I was so worried (because most of well . . . just about anything Mead writes is always awesome and has that tick-approval sort of thing going for it) but if I'm guessing here, I was probably more worried about the fact that being inside Adrian's head would not be as awesome as I wanted it to be or rather it was because I was worried that I would like him less because of his POV which can sometimes happen to me like what happened with Veronica Roth's Allegiant book with Four/Tobias's POV . . . but I was wrong on both accounts. While Adrian is a bit light-hearted on his new romance with Sydney and perhaps a little cheesy at times and vice versa, but it was very nice to read more about him inside his own head and learning about what he's going through with his spirit abilities . . . which was heart-aching at times. So yeah, I was very surprised with his POV.

In terms of the book itself, I thought it was - on a whole - a really good book despite there being less action in the previous books than I initially wanted as it's book four now. But in saying that, THE FIERY HEART was still a very enjoyable storyline with a very different feel to it and I liked how it focused more about the emotional sides of the characters and also the psychological side as well, especially when it comes to Adrian and his 'darkness' that is always overshadowing him. Another thing as well, I liked that Sydney and Adrian showed their readers a completely new side to them (more so in Sydney's case) and a much more romantic one as well, which I'm sure all of us readers can appreciate as we wanted these two characters together for SO LONG now, so again, it's great to see these two crazy kids finally (well sort of) be together and no longer avoid each other feelings. Even if it's a 'secret' relationship at first.

So without spoiling things for you, all I can say is that the ending was a real killer. While I already saw it coming from book one and from the many things that were hinted throughout the series, but still . . . it was hard to actually read that ending . . . and my gosh I cannot wait to see what else Richelle Mead has up her sleeve, though I'm sure there are many other heart-breaking twists coming our way. Just read some of my gif comments HERE on Goodreads to know how I'm feeling and STILL feeling right now. Yeah, that ending was a killer.

Overall, THE FIERY HEART is a book that should not be missed by any Richelle Mead fan and let's just say BRING ON BOOK FOUR BECAUSE I'M READY TO READ IT NOW!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Monday, December 9, 2013

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 544pgs

The Story

One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

The Review

Love it or hate it . . . I just have to say that I really enjoyed this book. Even when it comes to that ending that everyone can't seem to stop talking about and even when it wasn't my favourite read out of all three books. Still, it was enjoyable for me.

While I won't get into the major plot details of this book (don't want to spoil you see - that is, if you haven't been spoiled already) but what I am going to talk about is a little bit about the book and well . . . mostly about the ending ordeal thing because I must talk about that! But before I get into that, I have to admit that while I wasn't a hardcore fan of this series - at least not in a big, big way like everyone else was as I was more a Hunger Games dystopian kind of girl than a Divergent girl - but like with those many other readers that were onboard with this series from the get-go, I still very much enjoyed this series and come to appreciate - and even love - all of the characters we were introduced to from book's one, two, and three, and how much they have grown within those three books . . . so I totally understand why so many readers were so passionate and invested with this series. I totally understand in that viewpoint.

So in saying that, it's no surprise to me that this book had really took us on a really wild roller-coaster ride. It's no surprise at all really - in fact I expected it to be quite over-the-top - because when you consider and look back on everything the character's have been through and all of the sacrifices that needed to be made by those characters in question . . . it should not be all that surprising to us when the author, Veronica Roth, decided to take her book's final ending to a very extreme level for this final book, even when she will probably know that most of her readers will not necessarily agree with it and will only want that happy ending thing. It's not our fault for wanting that. We're readers after all. We invest so much time in many, many book series so it's our given right to hope for the best for our favourite characters. Readers after all always want our characters to deserve those kinds of HEAs when the characters have went through hell and back to get to the final point of the book. So yeah . . . I understand that. Completely. But what I really don't understand is all the backlash Veronica Roth has been receiving over the past month. Of course I understand where the readers are coming from and all of that, but this whole death-threat thing (trust me some things that have been said were quite ridiculous) is just something I just don't understand at all. We maybe readers but we're not authors. It's Roth's story after all and she can do anything with it. Even when it's a killer.

Honestly with this particular 'ending' of Roth's, you have to admit that it took guts to write an ending like THAT. Lot's of guts actually. And boy I do love author's who take risks like that. It just makes me admire and respect their writing style even more than I did previously. So while ALLEGIANT's ending was heart-breaking, shocking, unsettling and well something that may not have been totally expected by most readers, but it was written in that way and I totally respect it. For sure, it was definitely sad but I did suspect this ending was coming our way (from the sequel you could definitely tell something major was building up to the boiling point for the final book) and for sure I didn't really want my predications to come true because it's just . . . awful, but in the end if the author thought that this was the ONLY way to end her beloved series . . . then again I respect her in many ways for that decision. Inspires me actually in my own writing.

But moving along, while I really liked the ending (well maybe not the epilogue because I kind of wanted to see more emotion from it), I think the only reason why I'm not rating this book five stars is because of Four/Tobias's perspective that we finally get to read in this book. Now I've really come to love our main character's perspective, Tris, because her voice was so interesting and so honest, but for some insane reason and as much as I love Four's character, his perspective kind of ruined my enjoyment of the book. Of course I still enjoyed this book as previously ranted on above, but I felt - at least for most of the time - that Four's perspective was completely unnecessary. And perhaps had made me not like him as much as I did in books one and two. Still, Tris is what made this book extra special and in the end it only showed me just how much she had grown in this series. She's definitely going to be a well-respected heroine by the time you finish this book. So whatever happened to her and to the other characters around her, especially in the end which I don't want to giveaway, but Tris, in the end of it all, had really showed me what it takes to be selfless and brave . . . and I respect the author for how she dealt with Tris's character. It was brave indeed.

Overall, ALLEGIANT may leave you with many emotions indeed and whether you're a fan of the ending or not, I really came to enjoy this book and I'm looking forward to reading whatever else Veronica Roth has up her sleeve next. She's a gutsy author  - that's for sure!

The Rating
4/5 stars

Friday, December 6, 2013

Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder

Release Date: January, 2014

Publisher: HarlequinTeen Australia

Pages: 458pgs

The Story

She's fought death and won. But how can she fight her fears?

Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he's gone forever.

But there's a more immediate threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry's healing powers are needed now more than ever.Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully. For the future of her world depends on her decision.

The Review

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

Even though this series wasn't my favourite series from the author, but I still have come to really enjoy Maria V. Snyder's Healer series. Well, pretty much every book of hers is always enjoyable for me, no matter the story. But in regards to this particular book, all I can say is, at least after finishing this third and last instalment of the series, is that the ending was absolutely bittersweet for me and while this book may not have been my absolute favourite out of all three books but . . . yeah that ending had certainly turned me into a giggling schoolgirl. Hehe. It was just too damn perfect to handle in a serious matter (you'll know what I mean when you come to read it).

Now in terms of the actual storyline of TASTE OF DARKNESS, I thought it was such a really good story for the most part, especially considering the way things had ended in the previous sequel (you know with the whole Kerrick being poisoned thing and his disappearing act that left readers like me in disbelief over the whole idea of it all). But yeah, the storyline was definitely what I was come to expecting from the author and with this series so I'm really glad about that. And another thing to add about this book is that it was much darker compared to the three other books in the series which I was all for because I do like a darker side to things, so with that particular element in mind I thought the author had done a brilliant job with that and I really liked that different 'feel' to the books.

Like what I already expected in this final conclusion, our two main characters, Avry and Kerrick, who were my main focus while reading this book, were pretty awesome this time round and I just completely adore their relationship together. They just have this great form of respect for one another (like with most couples in Snyder's other series) and even when they are separated in the book, there's still this great sense of hope that surrounds them as they fight their individual battles and it's just lovely to witness such a romance and friendship play out til the end. Le sigh. This book definitely gave me many Avry and Kennick feels. I can definitely tell you that!

Overall, without spoiling things, TASTE OF DARKNESS will certainly not disappoint its readers and if you're like me with the whole romance thing between Avry and Kennick, the ending will definitely have your hearts racing in a foolish fangirl sense hehe.

The Rating
4/5 stars
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