Friday, May 31, 2013

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Release Date: 27th August, 2013

Publisher: Katherine Tegan

Pages: 330pgs

The Story

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? 

The Review

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

I absolutely loved this book BUT I only loved the first half of it. I was totally rooting for this book (don't get me wrong here), you know? Especially when I started the book because it was so funny, so lovely, so quirky and it was such a half heart-aching storyline that I thought was never going to do any wrong and I was SO close to give it 5 stars because I loved it so much and it made me want go out and buy it too. However, like I said before, I only loved the first half of the book. The rest of the book - for me at least - just didn't go the way I hoped it would.

I don't know what it was exactly that let me down in the first place, but I felt as if everything that happened towards the end of the book was too rushed and had left me contemplating whether to like this book on a whole or not at all. It's not as if it wasn't a great book because it really, really WAS and even though I completely understand why it ended in the way it did but . . . I was still left disappointed. Left thinking, 'Why did that have to happen in the way it did?' You know, why did we have to go through all of that and come out with this strange, confusing feeling at the end of it. It just seemed like the character's actions and the situation within itself just lost the magic tough from what I felt in the beginning of the book. But regardless I still enjoyed this one. Just more half of the book than of the whole of it.

But what I LOVED about this book was our two main characters! Honestly Ezra and Cassidy were like two peas in a pod and I thought they worked perfectly together in this book. Even with their faults. Ezra was a little heart broken and well . . . broken in general. Cassidy, on the other hand, was a little strange and hid a secret that no one could really figure out. Not even Ezra could. But despite their ups and downs, the two of them just had something special about them that I loved. Ezra especially happened to my favourite character of all and went through so many transformations . . . so I loved him to bits! Cassidy, however, was loved by me straightaway and I mean LOVED by me because she's so quirky and hilarious! BUT like the storyline, the character I once loved slowly changed and with Cassidy she just became something else entirely (a whole different person) which I didn't like . . . but I still liked Cassidy (I mean of course I still do) but I just didn't like her choices that she made in the end and how her relationship turned out with Ezra.

Overall, THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING is definitely a page-turner and it's the perfect read for anyone looking for a coming-of-age story. The zing! dialogue was just faultless and it also had this similar vibe to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars which is awesome considering I love that book too! So if you love anything mixed between John Green and the likes of Gayle Forman, I would seriously recommend this one to you all despite being a little disappointed by the last half of the book.

The Rating
4/5 stars

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace

Release Date: 8th September, 2013

Publisher: Flux

Pages: 264pgs

The Story

Smart girls aren't supposed to do stupid things.

Madelyn Hawkins is super smart. At sixteen, she's so gifted that she can attend college through a special program at her high school. On her first day, she meets Bennet. He's cute, funny, and kind. He understands Madelyn and what she's endured—and missed out on—in order to excel academically and please her parents. Now, for the first time in her life, she's falling in love.

There's only one problem. Bennet is Madelyn's college professor, and he thinks she's eighteen—because she hasn't told him the truth.

The story of their forbidden romance is told in letters that Madelyn writes to Bennet—both a heart-searing ode to their ill-fated love and an apology.

The Review

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

I'm so glad some people manage to like this book because I still cannot fathom why I wanted to pick up this book in the first place or even why I had bothered with it (I guess it's because I enjoyed another book from the same author and I thought this one would be good too). There was just nothing there in THE TRUTH ABOUT YOU AND ME to make me like this book nor ever TRY to make me like it. Sure, from the blurb it sounded like a decent storyline when I first heard about it - an interesting one at that - but again there was nothing there and I should have known by the tagline that it wasn't going to live up to my expectations.

So how would I best describe this book? Well, first off, it was really frustrating. Really frustrating. As the tagline suggests, 'Smart girls aren't supposed to do stupid things . . .' and boy was the main character, Madelyn, pretty stupid indeed.

As unbelievable as it sounds, Madelyn is sixteen and is now attending college because she is sooooooo super smart for her age (which she always mentions because she is so super smart and we always need to be reminded of her super smart-ass-ness ways even if she is internally stupid as sad as it is) and it just grated on my nerves every time she talked. Even her thoughts annoyed me. Her character . . . honestly who does this girl think she is? Can someone tell me please because I just don't get her.

For someone who is so super smart, why must she string along her young, cute college professor and trick him into believing she is older than she is. I mean, seriously what is the point in all of this? He'll find out eventually, Madelyn. And speaking of Bennet, Madelyn's college professor, he must be pretty stupid too to actually like this girl to begin with. He's the smarty one here and he should have been staying well away from Madelyn from the get-go and yet he allows himself to be stringed along by this phony girl (even if he doesn't know that she is freaking 16!). Gah. I'm just so angry with the whole situation here and so many things could have been avoided. So many things. And by the way . . . Madelyn, how could you do this to Bennet and to yourself . . . because you just embarrassed yourself in the end. Gah. She's so horrible.

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Overall, THE TRUTH ABOUT YOU AND ME isn't the truth at all. It's full of lies, deception, stupid-ass characters (as sad as it is) and is just NOT what I wanted at all from the book. I mean, don't get me wrong here, I love the author's previous writing and books, but in this book's case it was a major disappointment. Sadly. With a sad excuse of Madelyn as a main character, it's no wonder why I will never look up to her or even tried to like her . . . she's basketcase that one.

The Rating
1/5 stars

Monday, May 27, 2013

Wait for You by J. Lynn

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: J. Lynn

Pages: 332pgs

The Story

Some things are worth waiting for…

Traveling thousands of miles from home to enter college is the only way nineteen-year-old Avery Morgansten can escape what happened at the Halloween party five years ago—an event that forever changed her life. All she needs to do is make it to her classes on time, make sure the bracelet on her left wrist stays in place, not draw any attention to herself, and maybe—please God—make a few friends, because surely that would be a nice change of pace. The one thing she didn't need and never planned on was capturing the attention of the one guy who could shatter the precarious future she’s building for herself.

Some things are worth experiencing…

Cameron Hamilton is six feet and three inches of swoon-worthy hotness, complete with a pair of striking blue eyes and a remarkable ability to make her want things she believed were irrevocably stolen from her. She knows she needs to stay away from him, but Cam is freaking everywhere, with his charm, his witty banter, and that damn dimple that’s just so… so lickable. Getting involved with him is dangerous, but when ignoring the simmering tension that sparks whenever they are around each other becomes impossible, he brings out a side of her she never knew existed.

Some things should never be kept quiet…

But when Avery starts receiving threatening emails and phone calls forcing her to face a past she wants silenced, she’s has no other choice but to acknowledge that someone is refusing to allow her to let go of that night when everything changed. When the devastating truth comes out, will she resurface this time with one less scar? And can Cam be there to help her or will he be dragged down with her?

And some things are worth fighting for…

The Review

After finishing this book, all I can say is the author J. Lynn (who also writes as the super-awesome Jennifer L. Armentrout) excels at only three things: 1) creating characters that aren't so perfect but rather flawed and you can still find them relatable in any sense, 2) creating swoon-worthy boys that will frustrate you on so many levels in their sexiness, and 3) writing stories that feel genuine and not pushed out of their own reality and despite the complications that comes with these stories can still make a reader's heart pulse go out of control and completely off the radar. Honestly, this book rocked for me! It totally rocked!

WAIT FOR YOU came out just about the right time for me because I've been looking for a positive and feel-good New Adult book lately and this was it for me! It was exactly what I needed to read. So while I do agree with some readers that the book may not be entirely original as others that follow similar storylines such as this one, but it was the way it was written and how the characters interacted with one another that won me over and boy did I love this book! All the angst, all the romance, all the tension, all the complications, all the characters . . . just wait until you read this book because it was so worth the wait!

Regarding the characters, I absolutely loved the supporting characters but personally Avery and Cam were my favourites and they were such a fine and lovely pair of main characters as well. And were very inspiring. So even though Cam wasn't necessarily a favourite of mine at the beginning (though he did woo me over eventually with his attempts to win Avery's heart) and while it's fairly obvious from the get-go that he and Avery were going to become a couple later on in the book (it was sooooo obvious really) but I loved the fact that they worked for their relationship - to become friends first - before pursuing a romantic relationship.  It's just something that always makes me smile because I love seeing characters grow before all of the mushy feelings come along to play . . . it just strengthens the book much more I find.

Overall, WAIT FOR YOU was a perfect read and I really wish this book wasn't over because I loved it so much and I loved the characters . . . I just loved everything about it! So next time you're looking for an addictive read be sure to pick up this book because I can't praise it enough!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Release Date: Out Now!

Publisher: Greenwillow

Pages: 423pgs

The Story

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn't die young.

Most of the chosen do.

The Review

I know, I know you guys! This book has been out for so long (like two years now) and so has its sequel too. It's just sometimes the books that are right up my alley get all forgotten about for some reason and I admit I'm a bit of a slacker when it comes to that, which is very naughty of me indeed. But thankfully my local library had a copy of the first book in the series and I'm really glad I read it now because it was actually pretty good! It wasn't a perfect book per se but I really enjoyed it nonetheless as THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS is about a young girl's journey of self-discovery, war, love and of a hidden power within her own being. It can't get better than that!

Elisa, I find, was such a great narrator! She wasn't the easiest character to love as she had her many faults but her strengths is what balanced out everything about her character. So while I didn't necessarily like her complaining and always scrutinizing herself and of her own body weight (it was like c'mon you're perfect and stop it already!), but there was a lot of growth on her part, especially as the book progresses and dives deeper into the cultured world Rae Carson has created. It was almost like she was someone else entirely by the time I finished the book because Elisa was so unlike the Elisa we knew from the beginning. And I like seeing and reading about these certain character changes! She was great!

The secondary characters were great also. Some played more significant roles than others, but I thought they  all had great importance to the storyline and helped shape Elisa into a very strong, fiery, matured character. But I have to say, Alejandro, Elisa's new husband, was someone I didn't like at all. He did have his caring and tender moments here and there, but he never particularly loved her in the way I thought he would nor did he see her worth in being a faithful wife. He was a bit of downer for me in the book since I had so many expectations of him too . . . oh well. His loss. But in terms of another two potential love interests, Hector (who I was really rooting for from the start even though some readers may not think of him as a love interest) and Humberto (who was so sweet mind you and so adorable with everything in-between), I thought the two of them were the most enjoyable parts in the book. Well, apart from the well-plotted and greatly detailed world of course!

Overall, THE GIRLS OF FIRE AND THORNS wasn't an epic book but it was most definitely a wonderful start to a trilogy and I'm looking forward to picking up a copy of the sequel very soon! With powerful magics, transforming characters, almost breath-taking setting backdrops, and intriguing political and religious propaganda, I think many people will enjoy this series and judging by the reviews I've read it definitely seems to be that way!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Saturday, May 25, 2013

None of the Regular Rules by Erin Downing

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Kindle Edition

Pages: 260pgs

The Story

Sometimes, a few dares can change lives . . .

The weekend before the start of senior year, Sophie Erickson and her best friends, Ella and Grace, discover a handwritten list of dares tucked away in the glove compartment of Sophie’s beat-up old Toyota. But this isn't just any list; it’s a dead girl's bucket list.

Sophie's beloved aunt Suzy died as a teenager in a fatal fall, leaving Sophie with an overly cautious family, a few fading photographs, and a bucket of bolts that barely passes for a car. But now, Sophie has Suzy’s list of the things she wanted to do in her last year of high school. Sophie can't help but wonder: What would happen if she tried to fulfill Suzy’s last wishes, to live out the longed-for life of her aunt, her hero?

As Sophie and her friends attempt to knock off the things on Suzy's list of dares, love blossoms in unexpected places and Sophie begins to feel that her life is finally coming together...when in fact, everything is slowly unraveling around her. When the truth about a long-held family secret threatens to shatter everything she believed to be true, Sophie is forced to question everything she knew about the life and people she believed in, and ultimately herself.

The Review

I wasn't particularly 'enthralled' with NONE OF THE REGULAR RULES, but I still enjoyed the quickness of the book and the concept of it - mostly with how three best friends try to change their lives by completing a set of dares left by the main character's decreased aunt. I will admit the storyline itself was pretty predictable for the most part although I definitely thought it did delivered cute and heart-touching little messages about friendships, first love and ultimately growing up.

I may not have connected very well with the book itself but out of all the characters we meet, I only liked Sophie, the main character, because her other friends in the book were too self-absorbed for my own liking, and Johnny of course, who is Sophie's next door neighbour and boy crush. Ultimately I thought these two characters were the driving force of the book and were the main reason why I wanted to read the book more and more, so while I would've liked more romance to be apart of the story (cause it was the only thing I wanted to read about) but it was still a good, quick read that was worth reading.

Overall, NONE OF THE REGULAR RULES isn't exactly a very interesting book but for those who enjoy a cute, quick contemporary reads will definitely love this one too!

The Rating
3/5 stars

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

Pages: 336pgs

The Story

Jade Moon is a Fire Horse -- the worst sign in the Chinese zodiac for girls, said to make them stubborn, willful, and far too imaginative. But while her family despairs of marrying her off, she has a passionate heart and powerful dreams, and wants only to find a way to make them come true.

Then a young man named Sterling Promise comes to their village to offer Jade Moon and her father a chance to go to America. While Sterling Promise's smooth manners couldn't be more different from her own impulsive nature, Jade Moon falls in love with him on the long voyage. But America in 1923 doesn't want to admit many Chinese, and when they are detained at Angel Island, the "Ellis Island of the West," she discovers a betrayal that destroys all her dreams. To get into America, much less survive there, Jade Moon will have to use all her stubbornness and will to break a new path . . . one as brave and dangerous as only a Fire Horse girl can imagine.

The Review

Even if the book was set in a completely different time, but this tale still resonated and reminded me so much of Mulan and since I've loved the tale of Mulan since I was a little girl and was someone who I'd always looked up to, it was such a pleasure - an absolute pleasure - to read THE FIRE HORSE GIRL as it delivered such magic that you wouldn't believe until you actually read the book. Trust me it was THAT good. Gosh I loved this book so much! SO MUCH.

Our main heroine, Jade Moon, was one of the few very realistic characters I've read in a long time and she was so refreshing on the page to say the least. I loved her to bits! There just was this magnetic and raw emotion that she put into the book and her stubbornness, fearlessness and radiance of girl power was absolutely mind-blowing. She was just . . . gah . . . so bad-ass even if she didn't know it quite yet and even when the majority of people she is surrounded with are constantly putting her down (because she's a girl and is incapable of anything but being married off to have a family). I just respected her so much as a character, mostly because she refuses to be forgotten for who she is - the cursed fire horse girl - and who she could be one day, and rather decides to finally put herself out there to make a mark on the world. So consider Jade and I best friends now after reading this book because I wanted to be that best friend to her! Just saying.

Apart from Jade Moon's awesome girl power, what I also loved was the story itself the book told to us. With the touchy subjects of immigration and the exciting opportunities awaiting in America being addressed, it felt so real to me and I believe the author dealt with such issues in the story really well. She knew her stuff and I love when authors make you really believe.

Overall, THE FIRE HORSE GIRL is one of a kind and I absolutely fell in love with it as soon as I opened the book. From the beautiful writing, the stunning characterization and the epic adventure of one girl's hardship to make something of herself is needless to say one of the best books I've read this year and I'm looking forward to reading more from Kay Honeyman. She's definitely an author to be looking out for in the future!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Collector by Victoria Scott

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

He makes good girls . . . bad. 

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn't want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

Dante doesn't know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.

The Review

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

I was very eager to start this book. At least I thought I was in the beginning. I mean, every single review I've came across so far in regards to this book have been really positive and it sounded like a great storyline too. But unfortunately for this book and my own better judgement, as hard as I tried to like this book and as hard as I tried to like the characters inside the book, I just couldn't like . . . well . . . anything really. I hate when this happens but it's the truth. I couldn't connect to anything nor anyone at all.

Let me start off by saying our main character, Dante, has a really hot name. I've always loved that name . . . Dante. It sounds dangerous and bad-ass. I totally love it! But with this particular Dante is by no means bad-ass in any way and I have to say he is one of the most conceited, selfish, irritating, sarcastic little idiots I have ever come across in fiction. Honestly, if I had to compare him to any other character he would most likely resemble Harry Potter's own self-absorbed character, Gilderoy Lockhart. I kid you not. He was exactly like him ego-wise. I get Dante is supposed to be this very good-looking guy but once you think you're the top-boss of the joint . . . all I see is red. And Dante I see red when it comes to you. He basically calls out on girl's beauty and that's pretty much all he's obsesses over, and then once he finally begins to think, 'Oh I am a self-absorbed freak', it's all running a little too late for me. Argh. Plus the way Dante talks gangsta-style . . . I can't decide whether to take him seriously or not. People get beat up for talking like that so I'm sorry Dante but you were not my cup of tea. I really tried to like you . . . I really did but it's my loss I guess.

Then of course, there's Charlie. A girl and the main target who Dante is supposed to collect a soul from. Now just when I thought Charlie was going to be my redemption for this entire book, she too was an utter disappointment. It makes me sad too. Trust me, I thought she had a lot of potential. But much like with Dante's character, I couldn't connect to her (at all) either. She was bland, irritating, naive and a plain old simpleton who can't see the good in things she already has in her life. To me, she was a beauty on the inside because she was being herself all the time but once she meets this guy geez . . . I mean, boo-whoo if you're not beautiful enough like the other girls to score an idiot like Dante. I say accept and embrace who you are instead of allowing the likes of Dante-what's-his-name to put you into an ugly stereotype of being not good-looking enough. It ain't Zoolander here. I mean, Dante is nothing special himself. Good-looking or not. Ugh. I hate when guys are like that. And honestly Charlie . . .

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Overall, THE COLLECTOR is a solid book if you like an interesting read. But as for me, while I was really looking forward to this book, unfortunately I was really disappointed. All in all, it's worth taking a risk when it comes to this book because you might end up liking it - more with the storyline than with its characters themselves - but I'm going to take a miss with the sequel.

The Rating
1/5 stars

Wildlife by Fiona Wood

Release Date: 1st June, 2013

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Pages: 384pgs

The Story

Boarding for a term in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sibylla expects the gruesome outdoor education program – but friendship complications, and love that goes wrong? They’re extra-curricula.

Enter Lou from Six Impossible Things – the reluctant new girl for this term in the great outdoors. Fragile behind an implacable mask, she is grieving a death that occurred almost a year ago. Despite herself, Lou becomes intrigued by the unfolding drama between her housemates Sibylla and Holly, and has to decide whether to end her self-imposed detachment and join the fray. 

And as Sibylla confronts a tangle of betrayal, she needs to renegotiate everything she thought she knew about surviving in the wild.


The Review

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

I've heard some wonderful things about Fiona Wood's writing and considering this is my very first book that I have read of hers, surprisingly I quite enjoyed this book. It's not the usual read I would pick up but I still found it had a very fun contemporary feel to it and it's a simple story about coming of age which I always love to read about.

The thing I loved most in this book was the characters and how I could easily relate to them. They are very realistic in a sense of personality and the drama that they all went through, and the characters themselves just reminded of the good old days of being a teenager and going through the moods, the hormones, and the bickering that your average teens go through at one stage of their lives (or rather still goes through hehe) . . . yeah it was really good in that sense and I thought Fiona Wood wrote everything well.

Overall, WILDLIFE is a great, quick read and I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves contemporary themes and a bit of teenage drama in the mist of it all. I might even consider reading more of Fiona Wood's work because of this book.

The Rating
3/5 stars

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Devoured by Emily Snow

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Touchstone

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

Sienna Jensen had no plans to return home when she graduated college last spring—after all, her dreams lie in California. But when she discovers her grandmother’s Nashville home has been foreclosed, and the new owner has started the eviction process, Sienna has no other choice but go back to Music City. And she comes face to face with the flawed, gorgeous man she never thought she’d see again. The man who now holds the deed to her grandma’s estate.

When millionaire rock star Lucas Wolfe finds the outspoken redhead glaring at him from across a courtroom, he’s both infuriated and intrigued. He still can't get the night Sienna almost spent with him out of his mind, and the chemistry between them is as undeniable as it was two years ago. He craves Sienna more than ever. And just like everything Lucas hungers for, he’s determined to have her.

Now, Lucas will do whatever it takes to lure Sienna into his bed, even if that means making a deal with her: ten days with him, playing by his rules, and he’ll hand over the deed to her grandmother’s home. Though she agrees to the arrangement, Sienna is conflicted. Because of her duty to her family. Because of promises she’s made to herself and a past that still haunts her. And as Lucas’s game of seduction continues, and Sienna is introduced to his dark, erotic world and even darker background, she realizes that at any moment, she could be devoured.

The Review

I went on a whim with this book. A pretty big whim it seems. But considering the book sounded like a read crossed between Beautiful Disaster meets the likes of Easy with a slight hint of Fifty Shades of Grey and Bared to You, I just thought myself: Why not have crack at it and what have I got to lose? And it obviously paid off with my sudden whim since I quite enjoyed this book. It's not the best book I've ever read in the genre so far but I liked it well enough to finish it.

Look when it comes down to it, the characters in the book, in particular Sienna and Lucas, may do stupid things at one time or another and develop feelings (or rather lust) for each other way too quickly and are perhaps not as developed as main characters as much as I would like them to be, but I think these sorts of reads - particularly ones that go into the erotica genre - are meant to be seen as fun, quick reads if you get my meaning and to me that's the most fun part about it. They're quick, fun reads with stories with a lot, a lot of frustrating situations thrown into one to get the readers on edge and I loved that about it! The only little bit of criticism I have for this book is Lucas and his relationship with Sienna. While I don't necessarily approve of bully, bad boys who treat women like nothing . . . but Lucas is much better than some boys I've come across and he does improve later on in his bad boy ways . . . so we shall see what he's like in the next sequel. Fingers crossed that I have more respect for him in that book.

Overall, DEVOURED was a pleasant book to read with some pretty frustrating and sometimes outrageous characters. So even though I'm still not entirely sure how I felt about this book exactly (it was to be as expected considering the genre) but I thought it sets up a quite nice start to a series and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

The Rating
4/5 stars

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Hyperion

Pages: 328pgs

The Story

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

The Review

I've been meaning to start a Victoria Schwab book for quite some time now, especially with her debut The Near Witch. But I have to say I'm pretty glad that I started with this one instead. I mean, just by reading the synopsis alone and checking out the book's gorgeous cover, you're immediately drawn to this fictional and yet very creative world of Schwab's and come on anything to do with books, librarians, death, dimension-type places with very present characters to relate to . . . it's almost like a dream come true for readers like myself.

I won't be the first to admit that THE ARCHIVED was definitely a very different book compared most I've read in the past. But that's the beauty of it really because it had this Doctor Who vibe about it and don't get me wrong here, whether you're a fan of it or not, there are still plenty of aspects to be wowed by and I love how the author took risks with her book. It was definitely a wonderful little treat this book especially when it comes to the characters inside of it.

Our main protagonist, Mackenzie Bishop, is such a solid character. She's interesting, spunky, straightforward, surprisingly normal (well mostly normal), and stays completely true to herself as a person which is rare to find in our leading characters lately. At least that's how it felt for me. I mean, sure, Mackenzie makes some pretty silly decisions at a certain points in the book and may trust the wrong people, but ultimately she is still a strong character who can hold her own in many dangerous and complicated situations, and I just love reading all about her little adventures that she goes on when it comes to THE ARCHIVED world. It's just so . . . interesting.

Then there's that boy Wesley freakin' Ayers! At first I wasn't entirely sure about Wesley's character because he was all mysterious and strange for the most part, but once he and Mackenzie meet and begin interacting with each other and once his own secrets are gradually revealed, I couldn't help but love Wesley for being such a goof and boy I wanted more from him. He was like the comic relief in the book and thank god for it. And . . . he was genuinely charming too and has spiked black hair AND has guyliner which gives him a big old tick in my books. Wes, on a whole, was such a sweetheart and I'm looking forward to reading more about him in the next upcoming sequel.

Overall, THE ARCHIVED definitely sets up a great start to a YA series and I'm delighted to say I'll be reading plenty more from this author because I love her work already!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Monday, May 20, 2013

In the After by Demitria Lunetta

Release Date: 25th June, 2013

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 400pgs

The Story

They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

The Review

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

The first word that comes to mind with this book is . . . intense. At one moment, I thought the book was going to go one way but then the next thing I knew it went in a completely different direction not to mention in a completely different genre than I first expected of it and I SO loved being surprised like that. I think a lot of readers will definitely be satisfied with this book right here!

IN THE AFTER was a very haunting and smoothly-written book that hits all of the high notes for me. With just enough description of things without going overboard and with just the right amount of characterization and depth added onto the storyline, I thought this book was definitely well-written in all aspects. So while some elements of the book may not entirely be original to some readers, but I think what readers can take away from the book and what they will love the most of all is seeing our main heroine, Amy, grow throughout the book from this toughened teenage girl to this young, all-inspiring young woman. It's definitely one of my own highlights out of everything I just read. I just love seeing my main characters grow!

Amy, our leading girl, is a fantastic young main heroine. Right from the beginning she's this tough, very harsh and a very unforgiving girl who has a very little - if no - connection to other human beings apart from this little girl named Baby, and I think that's why I loved her as a character. I think pretty much anyone in her position would be exactly like that considering the world she lives in is crumbling all around her and it just gives off this realism vibe which, I guess, made me enjoy the book even more than I already did. Her sacrifices, her survival, her mere determination in everything that she does . . . it's definitely something you can't loose respect for in a main character . . . it just makes you love them even more for being as strong as they are and Amy is one those kind of heroines. She never stops fighting!

Overall, IN THE AFTER is a pretty graphic and a somewhat very terrifying world that the author slowly opens  up to us all. With a fantastic crossover between I Am Legend and The War of the Worlds, I think any sci-fi and dystopian fan will definitely love this book and the story it tells. It's definitely something you cannot miss out on!

The Rating
4/5 stars

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 310pgs

The Story

When does obsession become madness? Tragedy has forced sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein to swear off alchemy forever. He burns the Dark Library. He vows he will never dabble in the dark sciences again—just as he vows he will no longer covet Elizabeth, his brother’s betrothed.

If only these things were not so tempting.

When he and Elizabeth discover a portal into the spirit world, they cannot resist. Together with Victor’s twin, Konrad, and their friend Henry, the four venture into a place of infinite possibilities where power and passion reign. But as they search for the knowledge to raise the dead, they unknowingly unlock a darkness from which they may never return.

The Review

In the next installment of Kenneth Oppel's Victor Frankenstein series, SUCH WICKED INTENT, is just as well-written as the first book of This Dark Endeavor which I loved immensely. Mostly because of Victor himself  (cause I really love him and his inner demons!). But for some reason I didn't quite find this second installment to be as satisfying as the first book nor was it a book that stayed necessarily on course of its original source of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but regardless of that, I still found it was was a very well-written book with a lot of unexpected twists and dark adventures in it that I think any Gothic fan will love and eat right up!

From the previous book, I absolutely loved Victor's character and everything he represents (even if he does frustrate you in everything he does and the dangerous actions he takes). And even in this book I loved the fact that the author still fueled his burning passion of science, schemes, manipulations and such because it's just . . . so Victor, you know? But in this sequel I felt really sorry for Victor because, one, he's dealing with the death of his twin brother, Conrad, will he blames himself for, and, two, he's still struggling with his romantic feelings for Elizabeth, his distant cousin and the girl who was set to be betrothed to his brother which has many complications of its own considering Elizabeth did love Conrad. Victor just has all these torments in him in this sequel and I wanted - so badly - for him to be happy for once in his life but it's hard to be considering his ultimate fate in Frankenstein but I still love him.

The only kicker for me in this book was Elizabeth. Now I haven't always loved Elizabeth because she a bit of an over-the-place kind of girl and she's always hard to read as a character (I just don't know whether to like, love, or loathe her really), but she is the main link to Victor's obsession and desire, which I cannot help but love. So while it is apart of the storyline - Elizabeth and Victor's relationship - and part of the reason why many conflicts come Victor's way, but Elizabeth is this very selfish young woman and I think she treated Victor horribly in this book by playing with his mind. I mean, Victor, of course, is not entirely innocent and Elizabeth has always refused him with his feelings for her as well, but still . . . I don't like girls playing with guys minds . . . it's unfair and it's no wonder why Victor was a madman at times - all because of her. Still, I loved Victor and his obsessive nature. It's part of the reason why I loved the classic of Frankenstein.


Overall, SUCH WICKED INTENT may not have entirely won my heart like the first book did but it definitely sets up a nice sequel and I'm really, really hoping there's another book in the works because I'm really, really missing my dear Victor and his scientific obsessions of creation.

The Rating
4/5 stars

Saturday, May 18, 2013

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 298pgs

The Story

Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein. They are nearly inseparable. Growing up, their lives are filled with imaginary adventures...until the day their adventures turn all too real. They stumble upon The Dark Library, and secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies are discovered. Father forbids that they ever enter the room again, but this only piques Victor's curiosity more. When Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is not be satisfied with the various doctors his parents have called in to help. He is drawn back to The Dark Library where he uncovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life. Elizabeth, Henry, and Victor immediately set out to find assistance in a man who was once known for his alchemical works to help create the formula.

Determination and the unthinkable outcome of losing his brother spur Victor on in the quest for the three ingredients that will save Konrad's life. After scaling the highest trees in the Strumwald, diving into the deepest lake caves, and sacrificing one’s own body part, the three fearless friends risk their lives to save another.

The Review

If you are familiar with Mary Shelley's masterpiece of Frankenstein, then you'll know this series and the events that follow it will lead to some sort of tragedy. So when I found out about this series and the fact that it followed a young Victor Frankenstein in his teenage years, I've been dying to read it not to mention been meaning to start the series a few years ago since I love Frankenstein, but in the end I just never got around to it. Until now that is. But now after reading the book, I can see what all the fuss is about and I became so addicted to it all!

Staying true to the original source of science, love, betrayal and the darkness that comes with all forbidden and out-of-this-world alchemical creations, THIS DARK ENDEAVOR writes itself up to become this fantastic Gothic tale by retelling a classic and telling a new one with the whole search Victor, his friend Henry and Victor's distant cousin Elizabeth go on for the Elixir of life in order to save Victor's twin brother from death. Just let me tell you this book was just so . . . fascinating and I certainly enjoyed every bittersweet moment of it.

I think out of everything what I loved about this book was Victor. I guess that comes from loving him already from Mary Shelley's classic book. So despite this Victor being not the easiest character to like or even love, but I still loved his angsty personality and seeing him as this part-innocent and part-dark teenager, and how it all began for him before the actual events of Frankenstein. In the book, I found, you can definitely see why and how he came to be this God-like scientist who takes risks despite their dangerous consequences. You could see how obsessed he had become which I secretly loved (because they were pretty dark obsessions)! I also came to love the other characters too - including Victor's friend, Henry, who was very charming and funny, and Victor's distant cousin, Elizabeth, who is quite a force to be reckoned with and I can understand why Victor was seeing something special about her.

Overall, THIS DARK ENDEAVOR was quite a surprising little read and any fan of Frankenstein or pretty much any fan of any other Gothic-like tale will be damned to miss out on this book right here! It was such an awesome read and I hope there are more books to come. Loved it!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Friday, May 17, 2013

Summer's Desire by Olivia Lynde

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Kindle Edition

Pages: 303pgs

The Story

A girl who's lost her voice, and a boy who carries a world of anger bottled up inside.

A girl haunted by soul-crushing guilt and regret, and a boy who knows he can't afford the weakness of feeling—not if he is to survive.

They meet by chance and are unwillingly fascinated with each other. They become unlikely friends, and in each other, they find redemption.
Until they are betrayed.

Can they ever regain their friendship? And if they do, can they trust each other enough to take the biggest risk of all: falling in love?

The Review

A big thanks to the amazing author herself for sending me a review copy of this book!

I don't know what is that drew me into this book (I didn't know what to expect from the very beginning of it) but I must say the author sure knows how to grip her readers with a powerful and heart-breaking tale about one girl's journey of self-discovery and the hardships she faces from first love. It was just something so addictive and something I couldn't get enough of!

SUMMER'S DESIRE is about an orphaned girl named Summer whom suffered - and still suffers - from night terrors (for reasons we do not know yet) and because of it she has been kicked out of a lot of foster homes which is easier said than done. Seth, on the other hand, a young boy with a neglectful, drug-addicted mother, has never had an easy life until his grandmother comes into the picture and takes him in. So when Summer and Seth meet, her at 5 and him at 7 years old, there's this undeniable connection they share, even for kids so young. But when this new-found bond and friendship is torn apart and when Summer moves away, Seth is left broken and missing his Summer. But when Summer returns several years later . . . things are about to change - for better and for worse - and so many unanswered questions will be revealed.

I've read quite a lot of interesting YA books lately, particularly those of best friends turned romance type of books, but wow oh wow, I was completely blow away by this book. The hot, hot, HOT chemistry between Summer and Seth's characters was just so overwhelming and incredibly intense . . . but in a good way of course and boy did I love it. Now I don't know how Olivia Lynde does it - how she can write so good - but she definitely knows her characters very well and knows how to make her readers go crazy with all of this maddening sexy chemistry! So well done to Olivia Lynde in making me want more and more from this book! Honestly it was a very exciting read - crazy for the most part - but so exciting indeed!

Overall, SUMMER'S DESIRE is something of a mystery but once you dive into the story and begin to understand the character's and their dark pasts, you'll definitely not want to miss out on this book because it was brilliant and totally gets a two thumbs up from me! Loved it . . . A LOT!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pivot Point by Kasie West

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

The Review

PIVOTAL POINT . . . I'm not quite sure what you are exactly nor am I sure what to say about you quite yet but . . . I think I love you very much. Very much indeed. Now I don't know know about you guys who have actually read this book right here, but I found it was the type of book that is a really, really hard to explain, which isn't a bad thing at all. From reading the blurb you're totally expecting this sci-fi-like story and yet once you keep on reading it . . . it also reads more like a contemporary title as well, so I guess you'll have to read this book to find out for yourself what exactly I'm talking about here. But to sum it all up for you: It was a real enigma this one!

I won't get into the major details but throughout the book it's told by two Addie's (our main character) whom have two entirely different futures and yet these two futures are somehow - in someway - are told into one full story and the main character (to get to the gist of it) needs to figure which future she wants to go with. Think of the movie (and one of my favourites too) Sliding Doors. If you know that movie well enough, you'll totally GET this book. Personally the way this book is told is one of the most unique ways to tell a story and I thought the author was very clever too in how she wrote it because not many authors could tell it so effortlessly like she had done without confusing you, you know? Yeah, I thought it was really well done.

But what I loved most about the book - apart from its witty dialogue, unique storyline and the whole development of the storyline itself - was the characters! Now I absolutely loved the characters! Addie, especially, was such an awesome main heroine to have and - like her - I too, was struggling to cope with what future she was going to end up with. I mean, one moment you think she's going to pick Future 1 and then as you keep on reading her choices keep switching back-and-forth and I wanted her to go with Future 2 then but then back to Future 1. Argh. Such a little twister this one! But I think out of everything, what people will take away from this book is Mr. Hottie Trevor and how cute he is! Oh Trevor . . . you made up for everything in this book because Addie had this other guy 'Duke' and I absolutely hated him. But oh Trevor . . . you're so super shy and so super-powered in super sweetness. I just want you all to myself. When you read this book ladies . . . you'll get what I mean. Trevor is every girl's dream . . . well, he is for me! Hehe. C'mon he DRAWS, loves COMICS and ultimately he is just a SWEET guy all round. Perfection.

Overall, PIVOT POINT was such a unique book and I loved how the main character's own feelings never once dictated her with which path she would end up choosing in the end. So, if you love a book crossed between X-Men and Sliding Doors, then I think this will be the perfect book for you because I'm sooooooo ready for the next sequel! Bring it on I say!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars
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