Sunday, March 31, 2013

Reboot by Amy Tintera

Release Date: June, 2013

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

The Review
 
 

A big thanks to the publisher on Edelweiss & Allen & Unwin for the review copy of this book!
 
I'm not going to lie here today. This book was absolutely amazing! Amazing, amazing! I've been wanting to read this one for so long now - it seemed like forever to me, even though I've also tried to not get too excited over this book in case I ended up being very disappointed (which happens quite a lot to me lately with upcoming and new book titles). But then once I started to read the actual book and got a grip of what was actually going on in Amy Tintera's dystopian-like world, I was so caught up with pretty much well . . . everything and I was hooked immediately!

REBOOT's plot centers around people called 'Reboots'. They are children and teenagers - just like you and me - who have died and have somewhat been risen again to live as one of the Reboots. But they are not the typical human beings they once were. In fact, they're entirely different. They're better, stronger, faster, incapable of emotion and far less than human. Our main character, Wren, should know better than anyone because she's a Reboot herself. Having died and being the human to take the longest in waking up again (178 minutes to be exact), she is feared by everyone and is considered to be a monster, and is the deadliest weapon - the deadliest Reboot - in her entire district. But when 22, this boy named Callum, enters her life . . . things are about to change for Wren and for just about everyone else she knows.

Honestly I LOVED this book and reading about the story of Reboots. It was fascinating. It was terrifying. It was simply, plainly awesome! The story maybe of the dystopian genre, but whether you're tired of the genre or not, you're seriously going to love this one no matter what, especially if you love The Hunger Games and Divergent, because I certainly loved this book and I didn't want the story to end! It didn't seem long enough for me - I need more and more and more! But when it comes down to it, I just loved reading about how Reboots work and how they function in their everyday lives: How they act, how they train, how they are controlled, and how they are taken away or disciplined if they act out of line. Again, it was awesome!

Wren (aka 178) was such a fantastic character! She was ruthless, cold-hearted and seemed almost incapable of loving anything or anyone in the beginning of the book. I loved that because it's completely understandable because according to this world of Tintera's, the longer you stay dead, the longer and more likely you're going to become cold and unfeeling as a Reboot. But once we learn more about Wren, the past she left behind, and when we get to see different sides to her when this boy Callum barrels into her strict life, you just can't help but feel for this poor girl even if she doesn't feel at all (or so it would seem). It's like you had to do the feeling for her, which I loved! She was so bad-ass I tell you! BAD-ASS.

As for Callum or as he is sometimes known as '22', he too was an amazing character! But unlike most Reboots that we're introduced to in the book, Callum is so upbeat and so much more human than the rest of them. And, like most readers who have already read this book, I liked him immediately! Heck - he's perfect! He's funny, caring, loving, protective and was everything Wren was not, and with the two of them training together to make Callum a better fighter and all. . . it just worked, you know? There was great chemistry going on between him and Wren, even though Wren is doing most of the pushing away since she's not capable of loving someone. But Callum . . . oh Callum was such a doll in this book! Loved him!

Overall, REBOOT went beyond my own expectations and I actually enjoyed this book more than Veronica Roth's Divergent, which shocked me considering I love that series too. But with so much action, mystery, and adventure, I think a lot of readers are going to love this book so be sure to pick up a copy of it when it hits our shelves in May this year! It was a real hoot!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.

The Review

After loving Lauren DeStefano's debut novel Wither and not so much loving its sequel Fever (which was a pretty big disappointment on my part), I have to say I was really anxious in reading the third and final installment of The Chemical Garden series, SEVER, because it had a lot of expectations to live up to as a final conclusion and it had to do a lot of work to do to bring back my love for this series as well.

So, by the time I finished this book, I still don't know what to actually think of it (I'm kind of torn between loving, liking, and not liking it so much) except that it was certainly a much . . . better sequel compared to Fever and really thankful for it too because I love this series from the get-go! I mean sure, there was a lot going on throughout this book in particular - some really crazy, crazy events that we don't even see coming at all - but in the end I was pleasantly happy with everything and how it all ended.

As for the characters who've had their ups and downs for me, they were great also in this book because every single one of them had finally shown a different side to them. One we haven't quite yet seen before. Rhine, our main heroine, was always someone I would consider to be the strongest character out of them all and yet in this particular book she is just fighting for her life all the way and no holding back now, and I loved seeing that side to her to come back (like what I saw in Wither) because I've really missed that kick-ass girl. I really did!

Linden, on the other hand, was someone you're going to either love or hate, but I've always had a soft spot for him considering he has well . . . no idea what is actually going on in his own home, with the world and what his father, Vaughn, has been up to behind his back. He has no idea at all. But despite his naive view of the world, Linden really takes charge in this book (even if it takes him forever to do so) and I think many readers will start to really like his character even if they weren't a big fan of his from the beginning of the series. Because he really does change towards the end of the book. Even Cecily -  the girl I've always hated in the series, had started to become a much strong character as well, but I still didn't like her (I just don't like her at all) but that's just me. Hehe.

But if I had one complaint here, it would have to be regarding 'my boy' Gabriel, the servant boy Rhine is in love with or so it would seem. Now I don't know about you guys who have actually read the book, but I was super disappointed with the no-show of Gabriel. Well, except when we finally SEE HIM in the last few chapters of the book (maybe the author forgot all about him . . . my poor, little perfect Gabriel!). But look, while I do understand that Gabriel is not exactly a central character in the book and is more of a supporting one I guess, but if he's a love interest of the main character . . . it's . . . I don't know . . . kind of expected that he would show up at least in the middle of the book and not towards the end of it. But ah well, at least I saw a little, little, little bit of him. Le sigh. I really missed my boy and I really needed more of him!

Overall, SEVER was a great conclusion to The Chemical Garden series and it really up-stepped its game compared to the sequel that I didn't have much love for. So yay for that! But, all in all, I think many readers will be pleasantly surprised by this book and will eat this one up in no time!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Sister Assassin by Kiersten White

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 302pgs

The Story

She never chose her deadly gift but now she’s forced to use it. How far would you go to protect the only family you have left?

Annie is beset by fleeting strange visions and a guilty conscience. Blind and orphaned, she struggles to care for her feisty younger sister Fia, but things look up when both sisters are offered a place at Kessler School for Exceptional Girls.

Born with flawless intuition, Fia immediately knows that something’s wrong, but bites her tongue… until it’s too late. For Fia is the perfect weapon to carry out criminal plans and there are those at Kessler who will do anything to ensure her co-operation.

With Annie trapped in Kessler’s sinister clutches, instincts keep Fia from killing an innocent guy and everything unravels. Is manipulative James the key to the sisters’ freedom or an even darker prison? And how can Fia atone for the blood on her hands.

The Review

SISTER ASSASSIN (also titled as Mind Games in the US) happened to be one of the most anticipated books for me this year. While I haven't always been a fan of Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series, but nonetheless I was still looking forward to reading her new book because the concept and everything about it sounded awesome and it was exactly what I wanted to read right now! But unfortunately for me and unfortunately for this book, I didn't love it and I basically threw in the towel by skimming the rest of the book until the very end of it. It just wasn't my thing.

It wasn't a bad book but I still had my fair share of problems with it. A lot of problems in fact. The characters were a bit of bore. The writing style was too easy-going for my taste. And the whole thing that went down from the start to the end of the book was just . . . NOT what I wanted. Sure, I thought the dual perspectives was written considerably . . . well I suppose and were meshed together as one would expect from this writer, but it seemed to me this book still had more work needed to be done in order to make it shine and be extra special to the reader. I guess, all in all, the book was just missing something good - something epic - which is a pity considering how much I was looking forward to reading it. I mean, of course I loved the concept and the idea of it all, but it just wasn't the book for me because nothing stood out and the book seemed better suited for a younger audience judging by its own writing style, and not even the characters could make me happy, you know? So yeah, I'm really disappointed with this book. I thought it was going to offer more than it did . . . yeah.

Overall, SISTER ASSASSIN is a make-or-break kind of book. But if you loved Kiersten White's previous work, then you're going to love this one for sure! As for me though, I don't think I'm going to be reading the sequel anytime soon unless book reviews of it tell me otherwise.

The Rating
1/5 stars

Friday, March 29, 2013

Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 416pgs

The Story

Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.

The Review

OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD! This is one of the most unique books I have ever come across and it's quite honestly one of my favourites coming from this year by far. A total standout. With so much going for it - including breath-taking mythology, power-driven characters, beautiful backdrops and always surprising twists and turns hidden underneath it all, I have to say LET THE SKY FALL does everything for me and it's exactly what I needed to read right now!

Having enjoyed Shannon Messenger's debut and her first installment of her middle-grade series, Keeper of the Lost Cities, there wasn't any doubt in my mind that this title too would blow me away and once again I was right. But I think it did more than that actually because to me this book was really, really special - one of a kind in fact - and it made its own little genre and stepped well away from the usual paranormal read that we see most days and for which gets a total two thumbs up from me. I just love something really different. I just . . . can't even express my EPIC love for this book. Really it was just . . . WOW!

I think one of the main reasons why I loved this book so much was simply because of the fact that the book was separated - chapter after chapter - by two main character perspectives and, if written right, you know how much I love dual perspectives. I love them A LOT if the author gets it right and this one definitely got it right for me. I mean for me personally, Vane and Audra were the perfect main characters and while they have their flaws but there was such power and depth in their own voices, and you couldn't help but feel for them both and the situations they were constantly put into. In a way I suppose, they kind of reminded me of Beautiful Creatures's Ethan and Lena, so I think if you loved those two main characters you're mostly certainly going to love this couple as well. I just . . . again . . . can't put them into words except that there's perfect chemistry, perfect personalities, perfect . . . well . . . just about everything and I loved them both immensely because of it! Especially Audra. Damn girl . . . I want to be best friends with you!

Concerning with what happened in the actual book, even though we still have a lot to learn about Sylphs (these new beings featured in the book) and what their powers exactly entail, and even why the bad guys are still after our main characters, but I still think Shannon Messenger wrote quite a bad-ass set-up for the first installment of the series and introducing to us with what these 'beings' actually are. But, from what I can see so far, I know there is still more epic things to come considering the cliffhanger we were left standing on. Just trust me you guys, after every little crazy thing that happens in this book, the cliffhanger - even the smallest one at that - will be totally worth waiting for and will definitely leave you wanting more and more from this author!

Overall, LET THE SKY FALL lived up to every single one of my (very high) expectations and let's just say when you combine mystery, mythology, romance and some gust of wind into the mix of it all, you're going to get a mind-blowing read and will be (literally) swept off your feet!


The Rating
5/5 stars

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Rules by Stacey Kade

Release Date: 23rd April, 2013

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 416pgs

The Story

1. Never trust anyone.
2. Remember they are always searching.
3. Don’t get involved.
4. Keep your head down.
5. Don’t fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…

The Review

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

FINALLY! A science fiction book that does everything right for a change and it couldn't have come at a better time too. Honestly this book and I started off with an absolute high, and it was exactly what I needed to read at the time when I did. I mean, despite the cliches some people may point out while reading this book, but I still thought this particular book not only delivered a perfect blend of a contemporary read - as it's mostly set in a high school setting - but it also added some wonderful sci-fi elements into the mix and I fell  completely hard for it too! Even with no high expectations for the book whatsoever.

THE RULES is told from two different perspectives - Ariane's and Zane's, who were two incredibly captivating main characters if I do say so myself. Not only was this book such a blast to read through, but it was the characters themselves that did the entire 'blasting' for me and I don't know how I had reached the end of this book but . . . I guess it had a lot to do with those addictive characters after all. I mean, Ariane and Zane come from two completely different worlds - Ariane is a mystery all on her own (and perhaps not of this world) and Zane is your average jock but one with a lot of heart. And once the story is revealed - piece by piece - and when these two main characters come together and unveil this amazing connection with one another, all I can say is and without revealing the storyline itself . . . it was AWESOME and that's all you need from me when it comes to this book alone. It blew me away and I demand more from this series! MORE I TELL YOU!

Overall, this book was a very surprising read for me and delivered so much more than I first expected from it. Unique, fast-paced, suspenseful, and with some lovely hints of a great old romance, THE RULES had this cross-over vibe between Carrie and The Host, and it's definitely something you're not quite sure about at first and yet once you read it, you are soon so compelled by it until reading the very end, becoming something you must NOT miss out on! I totally loved it if you can't tell already!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

When We Wake by Karen Healey

Release Date: Out now! 

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 291pgs

The Story

The last thing Tegan remembers is the crack as the gun went off, intense pain, and everything fading to black. One hundred years later, she wakes up. A fast-paced near-future romance. 

Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027 - she's happiest when playing the guitar, she's falling in love for the first time, and she's joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice. 

But on what should have been the best day of Tegan's life, she dies - and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened.

Tegan is the first person to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity - though all she wants is to rebuild some semblance of a normal life ... 
including spending as much time as possible with musically gifted Abdi, even if he does seem to hate the sight of her. But the future isn't all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future.

The Review

A big thanks to Mandee from VeganYANerds blog & the publisher  for a copy of this book!

I have pretty much enjoyed every single book Karen Healey has ever written and I found her new title, WHEN WE WAKE, to be quite an interesting tale as well. I loved the characters because I could relate to them. I loved the setting because it's set in my own home country which is a big bonus I find since it's rare to have Australia being the setting of a book. I loved the story because it wasn't over-the-top with its futuristic elements but rather combined a bunch of realistic issues that may - and still - affect us in today's society. And I thought everything just . . . worked perfectly together as a story. So overall, I thought this book was a very enjoyable read and it was something quite different in the dystopian-slash-sci-fi-like genre which I loved!

Now when I first met with the main character, Tegan (or as she is sometimes referred to as 'Teeg') she was definitely someone who had piqued my interest straightaway in the book. Not only was she very strong in a sense of 'trying her best to survive' in this very bleak and terrifying world and starting this completely new life of hers, while also being a very likable person in general, but as I followed her story along the way I thought she was an incredibly genuine narrator too and that's a very rare quality to find in a book such as this one. I really liked her indeed.

While the story was plotted out well and worked out as well as it should, but the only small issue I had with the book was the romance between Tegan and this boy named Abdi. I really liked Abdi - don't get me wrong here because he was great and all, but while, in a sense, the small romance wasn't the whole point of this book, but I just couldn't quite connect to the romance as much as I wanted to. I would've actually preferred no romance to be included at all. Still, in the end, I found everything worked out and I'm looking forward to reading what else Karen Healey has up her sleeve next. Hopefully some more from this genre because she's really good at writing it and drawing me into it all! Loved it!

Overall, WHEN WE WAKE was a delightful little book and I would highly recommend it to readers who love books with futuristic worlds, action-packed adventures, and pretty much anything else that has a special and unique quirk about it too!

The Rating
4/5 stars

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 400pgs

The Story

As her country erupts in open rebellion, Lena fights for the resistance and must make a heartbreaking choice between two loves.

After saving Julian from a death sentence, Lena escapes with him and other members of the resistance. But as she embraces her love for Julian, a boy from her past returns and causes her to question everything. 

In the meantime, Lena's best friend, Hana, is engaged to Portland's young mayor and is living a safe, proscribed, loveless life. The story is told from both Lena and Hana's points of view.

As Lena struggles to save the people she loves, everything comes to a head in this exciting finale to Lauren Oliver's epic trilogy. REQUIEM is a sophisticated, wide-ranging novel that explores the large issues of society, government, and resistance, and of course, there is romance.

The Review

After all we've been through in Lauren Oliver's first book Delirium and its sequel Pandemonium, I thought the author was going to deliver us this mind-blowing final conclusion to her YA series with REQUIEM and make her characters shine, not to mention make us go . . . whoa, now that's what I call a final book! But, from where I'm standing, which may not be a very popular opinion for the fans of this series, I was clearly wrong. In fact, I was wrong on all accounts. I mean, just when I started to love this book more and more, and just when the action flowed seamlessly throughout it, it just all went downhill from there. Sadly.

Now don't get me wrong here: I enjoyed the book. It was certainly an improvement compared to the two other books in the series. But once the book hit that middle mark for me and landed in its so-called 'final conclusion', everything I was preparing myself for - this giddy excitement and grand anticipation of it all - just left me feeling annoyed, confused, deflated and utterly disappointed.

But look on the bright side, I really loved Lena's perspective. I wished it was ALL in her perspective. She's a great character who has finally grown up to be her own person and she has quite a lot of stories to tell to keep you fascinated all the way through the book. Especially with her latest romantic dramas between her two boys, Julian and Alex. But really? Adding Hana's perspective into the mix? I just didn't see the point of it really. I literally skimmed her chapters because I couldn't get interested in her character. I couldn't of cared less about her because I just wanted Lena. Just Lena. And, speaking of Lena's character, honestly what happened with her, Julian and Alex? First Alex comes back (a slight spoiler from the sequel) and you're like 'YES!' and then once you read this book you're like, 'WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH HIM?', and then you're like, 'I HATE HIM FOR BEING LIKE THIS!'. Then there's Julian who I love so much but then with him you're like, 'LENA STOP USING THIS PERFECT GUY!', and then by the time you're finished with the book you're left saying, 'WHY DID YOU INTRODUCE HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE?'. Le Sigh. I just don't get it and all I can say is . . . this book was not what I expected.

And to add onto this major downer of mine, I wasn't impressed by the ending either. I. Was. Not. Impressed. With. It. At. All. I mean, I literally threw the book across the room because after everything that happened to the characters and after all of the tough battles they fought through, this 'ending' just randomly hits us like a tidal wave. But wait - it was not a tidal wave, more like a passing cloud with no effect on us what-so-ever. It was absolutely terrible if I was being brutally honest here. It was so opened ended, boring and it was just like . . . nothing. Poof! Gone. Nada. No closure. No feelings. No freaking clue what-so-ever on what happened in the actual book. Honestly it felt more like a sequel cliffhanger rather than a final conclusion to a series. Argh. I don't know what to think really, other than its an editing error or something. Clearly it's not though because it's the end everyone is talking about and I'm really mad about it. I mean, was Hana's perspective too important to focus on rather than the ending itself? Was it because the book had to be a certain amount of pages that the ending had to be cut off so quickly? Man . . . I just don't know. Please explain it to me!

 photo tumblr_inline_mj96vfIxaN1qz4rgp_zpsa535660c.gif
Overall, REQUIEM was nothing like the final book I was expecting it to be like. It had its highs for sure . . . but that ending and what happened in that ending alone . . . I'm just very, very disappointed. Lena go home. Hana run away somewhere. Alex just leave all over again. Julian . . . well I miss you terribly. Where are you, my friend who is taken for granted all the time? Yeah, this book was not what I wanted at all except that there were some Julian scenes . . . so two stars are definitely worth that!

The Rating
2/5 stars

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Walker

Pages: 603pgs

The Story

In the riveting conclusion to the acclaimed dystopian series, a boy and girl caught in the chaos of war face devastating choices that will decide the fate of a world.

As a world-ending war surges around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. And as the ceaseless Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many. The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist? To save the life of the one you love most, or thousands of strangers? To believe in redemption, or assume it is lost? Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale.

The Review

This third and final book of Patrick Ness's brilliant-epic-amazing-riveting Chaos Walking trilogy, MONSTERS OF MEN, had really pushed everything over the limit (I mean really, really pushed it with just about everything its got) and by the time I started this book, the sooner I finished it not even realizing just how quickly I read it to begin with. It was crazy I tell you and my god, my god, my god, MY GOD. And what a book this one was! It was action-packed, adventurous beyond belief, emotionally-driven by all of its characters, mind-blowing, and just to sum it all it up . . . it was just like . . . WHOA. Consider myself speechless.

 photo tumblr_inline_migdo9lqCI1qz4rgp_zps062d2832.gif

First off, let's talk about Todd and Viola. Honestly these two are the real thing when it comes to main characters and are the main reason why I loved this series as much as I did. So really, it pains me that I never picked up this book series sooner than I did, even after hearing so much about them. I mean, where has this series been hiding all of my life? I want to know because when it comes to Todd and Viola they are one of the strongest characters I have ever met in fiction and even for very young teenagers with so much more to learn . . . they just have this personality that makes them seem quite older than they are and whether they are apart in the book or are working together against crueler forces . . . they still manage to pull through just about everything that is thrown at them and be this unstoppable duo team who are full of courage, heart, intelligence and love. And speaking of love, Todd and Viola's love for each other and their impeccable sense of friendship was one of the most sweetest ones I've ever come across and what I can I say? I'm obsessed with them. Totally obsessed and I'm going to miss them terribly because honestly . . . if they were real people I would be stalking them right about now!

 photo sneaksy.gif

As for the most hated character in the entire book, that being the Mayor, I have to say his character out of everyone had really surprised me in this particular book - at least in a sense that he wasn't what we always thought him to be like. Sure he is what a typical villain should be like and he perhaps never made any heroic attempts to become a better man for everyone else involved in this war going on around him, but I actually felt really sorry for the guy, especially when he started to treat Todd like a second son and make a replacement out of him for the son he had killed in the second book. Yeah . . . he's a different kind of man Mr. Mayor.

Anyway, I don't know why I liked him so much in this book because it was like he was begging for me to hate him, but you could just tell that he loved Todd and admired him so much for his courage in war, and how he kind of wished for him to be the son he always wanted to have, even in his own twisted ways. So I really enjoyed his character despite him being the villain and all. He was - and still is - always interesting to me and is one of my favourite villains til this day and to me he is almost like Javert from Les Miserables - someone who isn't entirely a meanie, just someone who is misunderstood. Well, mostly. It's like, after reading this book, the Mayor was saying to me . . .

 photo tumblr_mgrzo7GWmO1rlav4ko2_r2_500.gif

Then there's that cliffhanger! Oh that cliffhanger of an ending killed me! Literally. While the ending - to me at least - felt like an open ending for a possibility of another book (though I highly doubt it) but I also think it's the kind of ending where we, as the reader, interpret it in our own way with what happened and in my mind the ending ended perfectly and in a way that surprised me. It was really cruel of course this ending, but mostly it was perfect and was quite clever too. Not to mention completely different to most endings in YA book series and I like that difference. It makes this book stand out even more . . . just . . . gah. I still can't explain my feels on this one without doing it justice.

 photo tumblr_m87gucy94y1qhhxd4o8_r1_250.gif

Overall, MONSTERS OF MEN was so darn good and I can't even think straight because I'm mind-blown by everything that I have just read. So I'm incredibly happy with this book but I'm also incredibly sad too because this series is now over and I just don't know what to do with myself anymore . . . there's this void in my heart and I just don't know how to fix it! I just don't know.

 photo tumblr_lmrqzuYKsW1qzwwa2.gif

The Rating
5/5 stars

Monday, March 25, 2013

Losing It by Cora Carmack

Release Date: Out Now!

Publisher: Ebury

Pages: 288pgs

The Story

Love. Romance. Sex. There's a first time for everything...

As far as Bliss Edwards can tell, she's the last virgin standing, certainly amongst her friends. And she's determined to deal with the 'problem' as quickly and simply as possible.

But her plan for a no-strings one night stand turns out to be anything but simple. Especially when she arrives for her first class and recognizes her hot new British professor.

She'd left him naked in her bed just 8 hours earlier . . .

The Review

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

Lately in the blogging world I've heard nothing but amazing things and all of this 'buzz' about Cora Carmack's debut book, LOSING IT, so I just knew I had to read it no matter what! And, after reading the book in one sitting, I definitely can see why so many enjoyed this particular title as I, myself, am really loving this New Adult genre as I can relate more to these kinds of books as they deal with much older teen themes. But in saying that, I'm quite torn about this book. Part of me really enjoyed it but another part of me just wished for more to actually happen in the book storyline-wise as the book focused much more on the romantic side of things rather than on an actual plot itself. Still, I quite enjoyed this book!

Bliss Edwards, the main character, was absolutely hilarious! She's strong, smart, painfully awkward for the most part (that's for damn sure) and she has her own set of flaws that show up now and then, but she's still hilarious and it was one of the main reasons why I liked this book. All because of her wit and the fact that she adopted a cat sooner after telling her soon-to-be love interest, Garrick, that she had a cat only she didn't actually have one in the first place. Yeah . . . she was quite a strange person our Bliss.

Garrick on the other hand was a little hard to like at first. For sure, I may have already had a big thing for British boys (I mean seriously who doesn't have a thing for British boys?) but Garrick for me was . . . something else entirely. While I did like how caring he was about Bliss and his own serious side, but I just couldn't quite feel the burning connection going on between him and Bliss (maybe that was just me not thinking it was believable enough) but . . . in the end I eventually came around and I just couldn't help but cheer for them both to get together (finally!). And honestly . . . I think any girl would fall hard for a Garrick person easily. Maybe it's the accent? I don't know.

Overall, with a nice little story about first love, growing up and becoming your own person, I thought LOSING IT was a great read and I can see its appeal with a variety of readers. It may not have WOW-ed me exactly nor in the sense of its storyline but the romance department is definitely something worth the while in reading about, and if you love British boys like I do then you're going to love this too!

The Rating
3/5 stars

Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Release Date: 7th June, 2013

Publisher: Mira Ink

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does . . .

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all . . .

The Review

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

Whoa. Whoa. WHOA. Okay so I absolutely loved Katie McGarry's debut, Pushing the Limits, as did others judging by the many, many high praising reviews it received and it too had become one of my favourite contemporary YA titles from last year and one that was pretty much unforgettable for me. But just when I thought her sequel and companion book to the series could never ever beat my epic love of her debut book and its featured characters . . . I was clearly wrong - DEAD WRONG - in all respects and I totally mean in ALL respects possible because my mind was blown!

DARE YOU TO continues the Pushing the Limits series with Beth, a very misunderstood teenage girl who we were introduced to in the first book. Now coming from a deadbeat family with a mother who couldn't care less about her and with no father present, Beth has a very little chance of a great life. But when she is arrested for something her mother and her mother's lowlife boyfriend did (only Beth takes the blame for it), Beth is soon reunited with her wealthy Uncle, someone she hasn't even seen since she was a kid and whom decides to let her live - or rather force her to live - with him and his new wife. As she's taken away from everything she knows dear including her best friend Isaiah, Beth is quickly enrolled into an entirely new school and meets the golden boy of the town, Ryan, someone who doesn't mind a good old dare. So when Beth becomes one of Ryan's dares, she is soon challenged in every aspect of her new life - in family, friends, and most importantly, in new love. But the question is: Is Ryan the perfect start to her do-over life or is just the beginning of even more trouble for Beth and her family?

Despite what I felt for the first book in the series, never have I felt this way about another contemporary YA book before! You know, the way where you just sit there in one place, on a bed, and keep on reading a book until you finish every single page of it . . . even if it means no food or water in-between those chapter breaks? Yeah . . . that was the exact feeling I got from this book and boy this book was totally worth my time! DARE YOU TO deserves more than this blabbing review because the book releases all sorts of emotions within me - the emotions that had everything to do with the sexy tension, the sizzling chemistry, the sometimes exuberant characters, and a strongly-driven storyline. And in the end, I guess what surprised me even more when it comes down to this book was that I LOVED this sequel way more than the first book, Pushing the Limits, and who would have thought, right? I know . . . I had no idea Katie McGarry could outdo herself with this one!

I think what made this book shine even more than it already did was the dual-perspectives that was told from the characters, Beth and Ryan. Both of the narratives told from these two main characters, I find, was so . . . intense and yet so emotional too. It was almost as if these people were actually real to me and were among my own company of friends, so that's a very rare feeling to get from a book alone so the author clearly did something very right in that respect. 

Now Beth for me was someone so rough around the edges and doesn't know love at all - even if it hit her right in the face - and yet she possessed every single quality that I love in a good, strong and a very inspiring main character - honesty, loyalty and a feisty personality - and when she is with her potential love interest, Ryan, her character just keeps on getting better and better. As for Ryan, he was another character I could respect and he's exactly what I love in a love interest - someone who isn't all what he seems but is caring for the most part. I just absolutely loved him to death. LOVED him! I mean, much like with Beth's character, Ryan did everything right for me and it's great to see his own company of friends to be . . . well . . . really good friends and not total idiots.

Overall, I could go on and on about this book. Forever even. I mean, DARE TO YOU delivers more than just a regular YA contemporary storyline . . .  it actually breaks you down in all of the emotion it contains and in the best possible way too. So if you loved and had many 'feels' for the first book in the series, Pushing the Limits, then be prepared for its sequel. It's a real heart-aching and an emotion kicker, and I can't wait to get Isaiah's side of things in the third book continuation of Crash Into You, which should be coming out sometime next year! Can't wait!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Witch Alone by Ruth Warburton

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Hodder Children's Books

Pages: 400pgs

The Story

Where do you go when your heart has been ripped out?

For Anna there is only one answer; into her past, where the truth about her mother, her power, and her real identity lie hidden.

But as Anna delves deeper into her history, she begins to fear that the truth about what set her mother running may be darker than she ever suspected. With the witches of the world on the brink of war, Seth gone, and her friend Abe wanting more from her than she can possibly give, Anna is in crisis.

As the clouds around her gather, Anna is torn between friends, family and rival tribes of witches and – at the last – between love and magic.

The Review

I was already dying to get a copy of A WITCH ALONE, especially after what I read at the end of the second book. It was quite the cliffhanger to say the least. So, after reading and finishing the third and final installment and taking all of the crazy events in, I think the author did a splendid job in concluding this series and I'm sure plenty of readers will be very happy with it too!

Anna, Anna, Anna. I've always loved Anna as a main character and I really felt for her in this particular book too. My heart just broke for her because she was so broken herself and so defeated when her love, Seth, had left in the previous book, and even though she continuously allows herself to be swept up into many situations with very, very dangerous consequences in them, but considering everything she has been through it's easy to see that her head is not so clear at the moment, making it nearly impossible to make a proper decision now and then. But, despite all of that drama, Anna made me proud in this book because she always puts herself out there to protect those she loves and really what more can you ask for from a main heroine?

Seth on the other hand, and unfortunately, was the only downer of this book. He was probably the only reason why I didn't like this book as much as the first two. I don't know what it was about him and what changed, but the Seth I loved at the beginning of this series isn't the same Seth at the end of this book. So while I understand why he too is just as broken as Anna was and was in a foul mood most of the time, especially when he was reunited with Anna again, but he just kept blaming Anna for basically everything that was going on around him and he also made himself this lame pity party . . . so I didn't really want to be apart of it in any sense. Honestly Seth - what happened to you? I get you were over the whole Anna and witchy power side of things but seriously? What happened to you? Le sigh. Go back to your pity party.

Overall, I loved the fact that this book was much darker, twisty and had so many interesting tales to tell, so if you love something that is all of that then I suggest you quickly go and read A WITCH ALONE. It was a final book with a very satisfying conclusion on the most part and one I was was pretty happy about with all things considered! Well, despite Seth's pity party thing.

The Rating
4/5 stars

Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Pages: 448pgs

The Story

In Victorian London, if you’re not a blue blood of the Echelon then you’re nothing at all. The Great Houses rule the city with an iron fist, imposing their strict ‘blood taxes’ on the nation, and the Queen is merely a puppet on a string…

Lena Todd makes the perfect spy. Nobody suspects the flirtatious debutante could be a sympathizer for the humanist movement haunting London’s vicious blue blood elite. Not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can’t twist around her little finger, and the one man whose kiss she can’t forget . . .

Stricken with the loupe and considered little more than a slave-without-a-collar to the blue bloods, Will wants nothing to do with the Echelon or the dangerous beauty who drives him to the very edge of control. But when he finds a coded letter on Lena—a code that matches one he saw on a fire-bombing suspect—he realizes she’s in trouble. To protect her, he must seduce the truth from her.

With the humanists looking to start a war with the Echelon, Lena and Will must race against time—and an automaton army—to stop the humanist plot before it’s too late. But as they fight to save a city on the brink of revolution, the greatest danger might just be to their hearts . . .

The Review

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

I absolutely loved the author's debut novel, Kiss of Steel. It was so fun, witty and upbeat, you know? So while this sequel didn't necessarily beat my love of that first book in any sense, but I still thought this book was a pretty great continuation of this adult paranormal series and it offered quite a few interesting secrets that we weren't aware of at the beginning of the series, even with two very different characters taking the reins this time in the second book.

When it comes to the main characters, I wasn't entirely won over by Lena's character. She was great in being bad-ass and being always persistent in pursuing a relationship with her brooding leading man, Will Carver, who isn't an easy man to like, but I don't know . . . there was just something I couldn't quite connect with, at least not in the way I connected with her older sister, Honoria, who was the main character in the previous and first predecessor book, Kiss of Steel. As for Will, like I said, he wasn't the easiest man to love but when he begins to prove himself and begins to fall for Lena's character, I have to say many ladies, while reading this book, will be very happy with him because well . . . he is like the paranormal Pride and Prejudice's Mr. Darcy but without the whole general grace and human type of thing considering he's a werewolf and all.

Overall, HEART OF IRON was a non-stop read with plenty, plenty of action that continued to fascinate me all the way through the book and I'm pretty excited to see what else Bec McMaster has next up her sleeve in this series considering what happened at the end of this book. I'm pretty excited indeed.

The Rating
3 1/2 / 5 stars

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens

Pages: 240pgs

The Story

When Jason Milwaukee’s best friend, Sunshine, disappears from the face of the earth, the whole town, including Jason, starts searching for her. But the insistent voices in Jason’s head won’t let him get to the heart of the mystery—he’s schizophrenic, and the voices make it hard to know what is real and what is not. As the chase becomes more panicked, Jason’s meds start wearing off, and he is looking more and more guilty. But of what, exactly?

Both brilliantly witty and intensely honest, this poignant novel draws upon the author’s many years as an adolescent psychologist, but it’s Vaught’s powerful voice and expertly crafted mystery that will keep the pages turning.

The Review

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

This book is definitely one of the most interesting and special reads that I've read so far this year. The whole aspect of mental illness, how it's presented and how it all affects our main character really sets off this quite unique voice and - even to my own surprise - I really enjoyed reading this book immensely.

Jason, our main protagonist, suffers from schizophrenia and he is constantly hearing voices (and strange thoughts as well) even though he's medicated to stop them. But when a girl he knows and deeply cares for, a girl named Sunshine, mysteriously disappears out-of-nowhere, Jason's world is soon flipped upside down and makes his constant struggle between being on medication and being off it that much harder for him to handle.

Now I really liked Jason's character. You really felt for the guy. But while some may find his prose a little hard to get used to, but personally for me I found it completely riveting and it's great seeing things in a completely different light than of your regular teenager boy. He just had this honest and real emotional side to him that I loved and I think a lot of readers will love him too. And as for the remaining characters including a selective mute, Sunshine, and a ADHD named Drip, I thought they were pretty well done too and really hits the mark for me.

Overall, FREAKS LIKE US cleverly combines the mystery-thriller genre with a very strong - and sometimes subtle - psychological element that is, in my opinion, executed perfectly in its own prose. Sure the book maybe a shorter read for some and perhaps a little unusual for its genre, but I definitely can see many people liking it too because it's different. And I like different.

The Rating
4/5 stars

Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 240pgs

The Story

Megan Bright and Jackson Dawes are two teenagers who first meet each other on the hospital ward where they are both being treated for cancer. Megan is scared and worried about her illness, but Jackson seems to be an old hand, having been on the ward for ages. And everybody loves Jackson! He is a whirlwind of life and energy, warmth and sparkle. Megan will need to borrow some of Jackson's extraordinary optimism to face her and Jackson's future. A moving story of first love and a remarkably powerful debut novel.

The Review

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

I haven't heard much about this book before reading it, but it was actually quite a nice little read for me and it all flew by so quickly too. Now I will admit, I don't exactly like reading sad books dealing with very heavy topics like cancer because I will most likely start to cry once reading it and it will be a whole bloody mess in the end since I only - and rarely - cry when it comes to these sorts of books. Naturally. I just can't help it, especially if they're sad books containing characters still so full of life despite their dire circumstances, you know? It gets quite depressing for me.

When it comes to this book in particular however, I think I liked the concept more than the execution of it. I don't know why (I can't really put my finger on it) but I felt like the story it told just wasn't as interesting as I thought it would have been like and there could have been so much more development in the story as well to make it shine even more, you know? But, in any case, I still managed to really like this book and I think it had a lot to do with the main characters, Megan and Jackson, who were shining stars all on their own.

Personally I found Megan was such a delightful young character and she was pretty believable through my eyes too. She had this great innocence about her that I think a lot of readers can identify with and not to mention cannot help but feel her pain about being all alone in a hospital room. It was quite an emotional kicker as you immerse yourself into her own personal story. But then there's Jackson, the boy Megan doesn't like at first and yet he slowly grows on her. For me, I absolutely loved Jackson from the get-go and his witty ways. He was just so honest in the book and so upbeat with pretty much everything - even with his own pain, and it's quite easy to be drawn towards his cheerfulness and his character alone. I just loved him!

Overall, while ANTHEM FOR JACKSON DAWES didn't blow me away but I think anyone who likes John Green's The Fault in Our Stars will have a slow and burning love for this book too. It's cute and sad, and a perfect well-rounded book!

The Rating
3/5 stars

Friday, March 22, 2013

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Little Brown

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to finishing school.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother's existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea--and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right--but it's a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine's certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.

First in a four book YA series set 25 years before the Parasol Protectorate but in the same universe.

The Review


I am a huge fan of Gail Carriger. A huge one. Her adult paranormal Parasol Protectorate series was an absolute delight to read, so I was extremely excited to see what else she would come up with next - which in this case, was her first young adult book of series that is based in the same paranormal world that the author has already created in that adult series of hers. Now I will admit I mostly bought this book (as an excuse really) because of its gorgeous cover and it would look so neat to have on my bookshelf too (which, of course, it did) but regardless of that, I have to say I quite enjoyed reading this book as well. It wasn't necessarily perfect like her adult books were but it was still a super fun read that had this 'funk' about it!

Personally, I thought ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE read more like a middle grade book than of a young adult one. It wasn't a total shocker on my part considering it was something I was already expecting as I've read countless of reviews who had made the same mentions of it as well, so I already knew what I was getting myself into, you know? And okay, the story may seem silly to us at times and perhaps not a lot happened in the actual book (which was a bit of a downer), but when it comes down to it, I still really enjoyed the storyline because Gail Carriger has this very unique style of writing with dashes of wonderful humor and steampunk elements into the mix, so whether or not you're into the historical genre - or are not a fan of Carriger's previous work - just give it some time because it will eventually woo you over.

Even with characters with some pretty outrageous names (it's one of those things that Gail Carriger does all too well with), I thought every single one of them were quite entertaining. Especially the main character, Sophronia, who is super funny in all respects, and her much smaller supporting character, Pillover, who wasn't really in the book per se but I really hope he makes an appearance or two later on in the series because I absolutely adored him when he came onto the page, even with not knowing him so well yet. And honestly, if it wasn't for these characters, the story would have fell short for me so I'm glad to have a lot of these outrageous-named characters with their unique quirks and who made me laugh like . . . all the time! I'm sure they will be quite a hit with us modern day ladies! Hehe.

Overall, if you enjoy some fabulous humor and some outrageous characters with outrageous name, I think you're going to love ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE without a doubt. Think of the mysteries of Nancy Drew meets the quirks of The Iron Thorn meets the writing humor of Jane Austen. Intrigued yet? Well, go out and pick up a copy! The book is quite a hoot!

The Rating
4/5 stars
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...