Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Cloud Hunters by Alex Shearer

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Pages: 283pgs

The Story

Hunting the skies is not for the faint-hearted. In a world where water is scarce and deadly jellyfish swim through the sky, mollycoddled teenager Christien dreams of excitement and danger. When he meets the exotic and alluring Jenine and her family of Cloud Hunters, he becomes determined to fulfil that dream. . . .

In a richly imaginative tale, Alex Shearer creates a Dahl-esque fantasy that roams through realms of magic, wonder and adventure.

The Review

THIS book right here was one of the most imaginative ideas that I have ever come across this year and I wished I'd read it sooner than I did because let me tell you, with similarities that remind me so much of the creativeness and innocence of Howl's Moving Castle (one of my favourite movies and books), I firmly believe someone should make an anime movie or something out of this book. It was just filled with so much awesomeness even for a much smaller book.

From the beginning, I found THE CLOUD HUNTERS was a very unusual book but it's also the book itself that sets it apart from all the other books I have previously that truly matters here. Containing interesting characters, beautiful world-building and a clever blend of adventure, fantasy and smaller of romances, what made me dive further into this brilliant world of Shearer's was the fact that neither unique element overpowers another which made me enjoy this book even more and it's the kind of read - a flowing and beautifully-written read - where I can see many people enjoying themselves as well. Ah, I just fell in love with this book as soon as I opened the page and I wished it wasn't over already.

But let's talk about the characters. Christien, for one, who is our main character, was a fantastic boy and I loved just how fascinated he was about the people who call themselves 'The Cloud Hunters' in the book, those people whose adventures are based solely around collecting water for their lands in the sky. Literally. In the sky. The more he thought about them, the more I wanted to know about them . . . it was a dream within itself really and I couldn't help but be swept up by it all. Janine, on the other hand, a young girl who is a Cloud Hunter herself, was perfect for a boy like Christien and not to mention the total opposite to him. While she may live a hard and rough life in the skies above alongside her family, but I loved how tough she was throughout the book and I can definitely see why Christien was falling in love with her . . . boy this book . . . I had a lot of feels in this one, especially with these two main characters so just you wait people until you read the book . . . it was so emotionally awesome in every single way.

Overall, THE CLOUD HUNTERS was a book I was so glad to have a chance to read and whether people were a fan of the ending or not, but I personally had totally loved how a simple idea - a simple but a very creative one at that - turned out to be such a wonderful journey for me and I can't wait to read more from this author!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Monday, July 29, 2013

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Pages: 448pgs

The Story

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

The Review

In the past I have read my fair share of fantasy books that have impressed me immensely, but I have to say Leigh Bardugo's debut from last year, Shadow and Bone, was and still is one of my favourite books coming from 2012 and I could go on and on about just how amazing it was. But yet again, she still continues to amaze me with her much anticipated sequel, SIEGE AND STORM, and she definitely blew me away on some plenty epic proportions if I do say so myself.

SIEGE AND STORM can be described in only two words: original and unique. Really . . . I can't form any other words than that because it's just too hard to describe just how amazing this book really is and even though this particular sequel may not have beaten my love of the first book, but it still doesn't mean it wasn't any good because it was yet again . . . incredible. Leigh Bardugo does more than continue a fantasy storyline, she does it with beautiful and delicate writing techniques, and she makes sure the reader is with her from the very beginning which she certainly got me there on that part and boy I love her for it. I just can't get enough of this particular story. It's just so . . . rich and detailed.

While I loved the storyline and pretty much everything else in it, but personally the only thing that bought my 5 star down to a 4 1/2 star book rating was the characters themselves, which I felt just didn't seem as strong nor as standout-ish as in the previous book, Shadow and Bone. Still, I love each and everyone of them. Alina, for one, was still such an amazing and strong-willed character that we cannot help but love and I actually appreciated how Leigh Bardugo brought out a much darker side to Alina's character, especially since Alina herself is surrounded by so much darkness that constantly affects her immensely in this particular sequel. It was something that I was just so interested in seeing.

Mal, on the other hand, he was the character I was most disappointed in (sorry dude because I loved you in book one). While it is hard to measure yourself up to this powerful being like Alina and the actual power growing inside of her, but Mal was a bit of a downer in this sequel and I understand why he was acting in this certain way (even though it annoyed me a bit). After all, he is only human and Alina, this person who is slowly changing because of her new-found darkness and powers, is this whole other being entirely. Still, I was missing my old Mal being well . . . not so much as a downer for Alina. And as for the Darkling, as much as I wanted to hate him in this book and all the chaos is was creating around the world, I was still totally in love with him even though he didn't get much of a part in this sequel which is unfortunate for the Darkling fans. So let's hope and keep our fingers (and toes) crossed that he gets more page time in the third and final book of the series next year. I love me some more hotty Darkling please, Ms. Bardugo.

Overall, SIEGE AND STORM does not disappoint  its readers and I can't wait to find out more in the last installment next year. I just can't wait until we find out what lies in the end for Alina's final journey and of her other foes and friends . . . which I'm sure is going to be really dark, dangerous, and epic on so many high levels.

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tiger by William Richter

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

A vigilante fights for justice at any cost. Wallis Stoneman isn't like other teenage girls. She’s beautiful, fearless, and deadly.

Wally lives alone in her Brooklyn loft. She’d be a regular teenager, except that she’s the daughter of a Russian assassin. Crime is in Wally’s blood, but she uses her legacy for good: she solves missing persons cases for the Ursula Society, an under-the-radar organization that uses oft-illegal tactics to find people the police have given up on.

The person Wally most wants to find? Tiger, her own fugitive brother. But the closer Wally gets to finding Tiger, the more dangerous her search becomes. And Klesko, Wally and Tiger’s sadistic father, is again at large. With two highly-skilled con men against them, Wally and Tiger band together to destroy a conspiracy in which they—and their hearts—are mere pawns.

The Review

Meh. This book was . . . okay. I mean, it wasn't exactly wowing in the most epic way (unfortunately), so it does really kill me to say that the continuation of William Richter's debut Dark Eyes did not improve with its sequel. But with everything that had happened and with new characters being introduced, by all means I thought it was still just an okay sort of book and is something to read for the sake of it and for this particular series.

From last year's reads, I actually quite enjoyed the first book of Richter's Dark Eyes and despite its flaws, because it was a dark and dangerous read with plenty to offer on the entertaining side of things. And it had a great likeness to one of my favourite thriller stories of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But like what I still wanted from that very first book, I was still looking for something so much more . . . something to blow me away, so I thought this sequel might just be it for me. Unfortunately, it wasn't so. While I enjoyed getting to know our main character, Wally, some more and about her own family dealings, but in the end, I just felt like everything that happened it all happened for . . .  well . . . nothing. It was almost as if Wally went back to where she started from the first book by the end of book two, which is not always a good thing considering . . . well . . . there should be some more progression in the storyline and with its characters. Still, it was a decent read and I'm definitely going to go ahead and read the third book just to find out what happens for the end of Wally's journey.

Overall, TIGER was good but it just didn't live up to my high expectations. So whether you have read the first book or not, I would still recommend this series, especially if you're looking for a book to pass the time with or to continue the series for the sake of finding out what happens to all of our characters.

The Rating
3/5 stars

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Fractured Light by Jocelyn Davies

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

When she wakes up in unfamiliar surroundings, Skye knows something terrible has happened to her. It's not until she hears Asher, the dark, rebellious angel she fell in love with, that the memories come flooding back. She tries to put the past behind her, but she knows she'll be forever haunted by the ruthless betrayal that almost took her life.

Skye returns home, but with the knowledge of who she really is, nothing can ever be the same. As she tests the limits of her newfound powers, Skye discovers that she's capable of far more than anyone could have imagined. Both the Order and the Rebellion want her for their side as war between the factions looms. She can't forget the terrifying truth she now knows about the Order, but something holds her back from embracing the Rebellion.

The Review

Now I wasn't exactly a huge huge fan of Jocelyn Davies's debut novel, A Beautiful Dark, and for the most part it was because of the love triangle and what had occurred towards the end of that book. But despite what I thought at that specific time, I still wanted to give the sequel another chance to prove me wrong and I'm glad I did because to my own surprise the book, A FRACTURED LIGHT, was a much better book compared to the first in the series and while it did contain that annoying back-and-forth love triangle, which I still didn't like, but on a whole I thought it was a much more pleasurable book to read and a very entertaining one at that.

I don't want to give anything away for obvious reasons so I'm going to be pretty vague here, but what occurs within in this book had really kept my interest in from the very beginning and that's because, like what the main character Sky had experience, I too had no idea who to trust in this book, especially with Sky's two love interests, Asher and that other-whats-his-name guy I didn't care too much about anymore. Hehe. Trust, at least what I found in this sequel, was the main focus of the book this time round and it was very interesting to see how things would eventually play out because of this trust issue if you get my meaning. It was very interesting indeed. The ending in particular was not at all how I pictured it to be like, so in the end I was pretty happy with that part because it was - ultimately - the right thing to do in Sky's case. So whether something bigger will happen as a consequence of that final action and decision in the last installment of the series who knows, but I guess we will have to wait and see and hope for the best in the final book.

Overall, A FRACTURED LIGHT was such a bigger improvement compared to the first book in the series and I'm now really looking forward to reading the next book!

The Rating
4/5 stars

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Pages: 263pgs

The Story


Fourteen year old nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a reversal of family fortune, moving house, new school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and an impossible crush on Estelle, the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he's narrowed it down to just six impossible things . . .

The Review

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

I haven't read anything like this book before and I guess that's why I enjoyed it so much because what makes SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS stand out even more than it already did to me is the fact that it's soooooooo Aussie-like and like any other Aussie person I know, the book contains some clever witty writing (trust me it's so hilarious and socially awkward but in the best way possible) and through this writing alone it's told in a very honest way so of course I ended up loving it!

For one of our main characters, Dan, he is dealing with a lot of family crisis's lately, which includes finding out his father is gay (not exactly ideal right now), his parents are divorcing each other (for obvious reasons) and finding out that the family business is going bankrupt (perfect timing, right?). But apart from all of these problems he is currently experiencing, this is why I love Dan even more as a character because he is absolutely hilarious and I find his situation is just so real and brutally honest in a way that makes me connect with him instantly. He's not exactly - if at all - living the perfect life like some characters usually do, but he's trying to hold his head up high and find something to do to take his mind off things. I just loved him for that! His every action and thought, in the end, just made him such a great and a very interesting character and I think a lot of people will definitely relate to him on any level. Ah, I just loved this guy! I mean, I loved the other characters too, but Dan did it all for me and I can't praise him enough really.

Overall, SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS is a very quick-paced and quite a simple book (a great one at that), but it's one small book with so many entertaining things inside of it and will have you in stitches, so I would highly recommend this one to everyone or rather to my fellow Aussie readers. It's a real hoot this book!

The Rating
4/5 stars

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Program by Suzanne Young

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 416pgs

The Story

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

The Review

THE PROGRAM is both a book, a story and an actual program that is so gritty and terrifying to me that even I could imagine something like it to actually happen in the future. While I don't know what it was that actually appealed to me - whether it was the story itself or the interesting characters - but this book is unlike any other I have read thus far and I love how it was just so edgy, emotional, risky and yet so ideal for teenagers to read considering the subject matter it covers and how it's affecting (and still affecting) so many teenagers's lives even today.

When you sum all of that up, I guess that is why I enjoyed the book so much and why I flew through it so quickly too. One, because I already loved Suzanne Young as an author, and two, because I loved the fact that she took a risky subject matter of suicide and created a world from it, while also dealing with it in a manner that was realistic in every sense. I mean, what can I say? I thought it was immensely well-written and it was just so interesting to explore, especially with how the characters went down the path of 'The Program' and what eventually happened to them when they finally got out. Or rather . . . when they still remained locked up in the program. I admit it's definitely not the happiest read ever (it's quite depressing for the most part) but I really enjoyed it! Loved it even.

Sloane, our main character, is one of my favourite parts coming from this book. To me, she felt like a normal teenager with feelings and I could relate to her on so many levels, especially when she was beginning to lose her mind and how she dealt with things in the 'after' when one of her friends was taken away to 'The Program'. You just wanted to fight right alongside her and I loved when I became so invested with a character like that. James, Sloane's boyfriend, on the other hand, was definitely a very likable guy for the most part and I cared about him because Sloane cared about him. Sure during the book there were at times where I found myself wanting a bit more development from James's character considering he's our main character's boyfriend and all, but whenever he and Sloane were together . . . they were just so fascinating to watch as a couple and I loved how their romance played an important role in the book so in the end I loved those too.

But on a side note, there's another guy Sloane eventually meets in 'The Program' named Realm and my god I fell so hard for him in the book. So hard. He was 'kind of' working for the enemy (a slight spoiler there folks), but I didn't care who he worked for or what he's main purpose was, because I thought he had genuinely cared (and maybe even loved) Sloane more than he first lead on, and like her, I too struggled to justify what was wrong with the program and such so it's completely understandable why someone like Realm confused her at times. But in the end, I thought he was just such an interesting and mysterious character that I wanted more and more of, so I hope to see more of him in the upcoming sequel because . . . I just love him so much! FANGAL ALERT!

Overall, THE PROGRAM is definitely a read that tugs on your heartstrings (too many times actually) and maybe sensitive to some readers when it comes to the subject matter, but in the long-run this book has so many cool twists that you won't even see coming and on a whole I thought it a very unique book which I think most people will love and fan-gal/fan-boy over!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Sunday, July 21, 2013

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Little Brown

Pages: 272pgs

The Story

Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.

Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.

When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

The Review

I haven't read anything by Daisy Whitney before, but as this is my very first book of hers and from what I've heard lately of her previous books and all the praises it has been receiving, I find her writing and work to be very promising indeed.

WHEN YOU WERE HERE is the kind of story that really pulls at your heartstrings and while I wasn't mind-blown  by the story but I thought it was such a pleasant story to read about. From the authentic grief process to the setting of one of my favourite places in the world, Tokyo, Japan, I thought the author wrote a fantastic story and I think out of everything I've just read, what I really did enjoy was witnessing - and also experiencing - the life and journey of our main character, Danny, and what he must do in order to overcome his grief of losing his mother to cancer. It was an emotional story and yet a very wonderful ride that I think many readers can relate to on any level. Whether they have lost someone themselves or not.

Overall, WHEN YOU WERE HERE is a heart-breaking and yet a very beautiful story that really encourages me to read more of Daisy Whitney's work. She certainly knows how to make your heart break in the best possible way and I'm looking forward to reading more from her, especially if her books are set out in this particular way.

The Rating
3/5 stars

Friday, July 19, 2013

When Summer Ends by Isabelle Rae

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Createspace

Pages: 368pgs

The Story

Chloe Henderson has never been one to break the rules or push the boundaries… but during her summer break, she and her friends use fake IDs to sneak into a club. It’s there that she meets handsome and alluring bartender, Will Morris. The pair hit it off immediately, growing closer with every passing day. But as with every summer, it has to end sometime. 

Chloe’s senior year approaches and there’s a shock in store when she returns to do her final year at school. Will is there too, but he’s not one of her fellow students…

A tale of forbidden love, broken hearts, friendship, and rivalry.

The Review

I must say this book had caught my eye sometime last year but I didn't think it would be that interesting to read about. But judging by all of the high praising reviews I have seen over the last few months, I decided against what I thought initially of the book and went ahead to read it anyway (and it did also help that it was offered for free to read as well hehe). Turns out, despite all of the drama the characters had went through and all of the teenage angst, I actually really enjoyed this book and surprisingly I was totally sucked in right from the very first page.

WHEN SUMMER ENDS, for the main gist of it, is a story that revolves heavily around two strangers meeting at a bar and ultimately entering a romantic relationship soon afterwards. But unlike most relationships, this one starts off wrong, where the guy in this 'relationship' is a twenty-two-year-old and the girl he is slowly falling in love with is . . . well . . . a seventeen-year-old school girl which the guy doesn't find out until later. So already you can tell this is a wrong sort of relationship from the get-go and one that is based on lies. While I disapprove of the circumstances with how this relationship started, but along the way and when everyone finds out about the secrets they have been hiding, this relationship soon turns out to be one you were rooting for all the way and for me personally I just wanted these two characters, Will and Chloe, to get together despite the odds they were facing which includes them being a student and a teacher.

On a whole, this book was quite a solid one and I think the storyline was very well paced considering all of the drama and angst the book contained. And I think this particular book's strength came through the characters themselves or more specifically the main characters, Will and Chloe. Whether or not you condone their teacher-and-student relationship, ultimately Will was very well-written character and very mature for his age which was nice to see because he is a nice guy overall, and Chloe as well was again another well-written character and despite her many faults (especially when she continues to pursue Will even though Will is trying to hold back from their 'relationship') I still thought she complemented Will's character in a great way. But again, there's a lot of angst in this book and whether you're a fan of it or not, I think for a quick and completely addictive read, many girls out there will love this book and will fall for Will as well.

Overall, WHEN SUMMER ENDS may not exactly have a great message about underage relationships, but in the long-run I thought it was an awesome read and a very entertaining one at that. So I would highly recommend it to everyone!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Out of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Philomel Books

Pages: 346pgs

The Story

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. 

She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

The Review

When you read a book by an author you have already had the pleasure of reading before, you know something is going to be good from the get-go with whatever they write next. But then you have more expectations of the author because of this. Thankfully though it worked on my part because Ruta Sepetys's second book, OUT OF THE EASY, went beyond my own expectations and the writing within itself was perfect right from the very beginning. The story was emotional, the characters were realistic in every sense, and on a whole I thought it was one of the best historical and contemporary books I have come across lately and I wished I read it sooner than I did.

The reason I loved this book more than I first expected was because of the main character herself, Josie, who was the prominent part of the entire storyline. She was the reason why I kept on reading because her voice and the story she told about her own life was so interesting and completely captivating . . . plus I love the fact her journey was all about finding a new life for herself to be away from a mother who treated her so badly. And still does. It was all girl-power for me with this book and I love a character who fights for what she believes in. It's definitely something I would recommend to all girls to read as it sends this great message to girls of all ages. At least that's what I found the story was telling me personally.

But another element of the story that I quite enjoyed was the setting of New Orleans. I don't know why I love it so much or why it interests me so, but if I had to guess it would be because of the town is always known to be so colourful, vivid and so vibrant in many ways, and it is so unlike America which a lot of authors tend to choose as their background settings these days and one of which I'm quite bored of lately so I'm glad the author had chose something non-traditional-like. It just suited the story much more in the end.

Overall, OUT OF THE EASY was a delightful read and is one of the best books I've read this year. If you love the 1950's, New Orleans, strong-willed characters and an interesting-but-dangerous mysteries that the author has clearly created for her main character to solve, then I think you are all going to love this book! It certainly surprised me in many, many ways!


The Rating
5/5 stars

Monday, July 15, 2013

Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Pages: 432pgs

The Story

I left everything I knew behind. 

But it was worth it. He was worth it. 

No one thought an ordinary girl like me would last two minutes living with the Amish, not even me. There are a lot more rules and a lot less freedom, and I miss my family and the life I once had. Worst of all, Noah and I aren't even allowed to see each other. Not until I've proven myself. 

If I can find a way to make it work, we'll be NOAH & ROSE 

together forever. 

But not everybody believes this is where I belong.

The Review

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

BELONGING is the second installment of the Temptation series, telling the delightful and perhaps unusual tale about two young teenagers falling in love, Noah and Rose. Noah is Amish, while Rose is just your regular teenage girl. At the end of the first book, Temptation, we saw Rose leaving her family far behind to join Noah in his Amish community and with hopes of being with Noah as it's the only way to really be with him in his community. But instead in this second book, we now find it's not as easy as it first appears to be for Rose and even then, when she arrives at Noah's home, she begins to see this struggle of what could be . . . the rest of her life.

Now from the first book, I didn't particularly like the decision Rose had made to join Noah's community. In fact, I didn't agree with it at all. Noah is definitely a fascinating guy and sweet perhaps, but he is so different to Rose in many ways, especially with his own personal views of relationships and how he has grown up as a child in his Amish community. Of course, I respected Rose's decision to be with him because she thought it was the right thing to do at the time and because she was in love with somebody, but as far as this book goes, I just didn't believe Rose made the right decision in the end and she didn't seem to fit into this community well enough (even if she tries so hard to do so) and I only wanted her to be back home where she belongs as no guy - no matter who he is or where he comes from - is worth all of this. Not even being taken away from a normal life you're so used to living. It just doesn't seem plausible for me. But in saying that, I still immensely enjoyed the book as we finally got more of perspective of how things work within an Amish community and it was very interesting that's for sure.

In terms of the characters, I still very much liked Rose (despite her still loving Noah) because she's someone who shouldn't be messed with. Some characters, particularly the elders of the Amish community and Noah's family, thought she would crack under the pressure of the Amish ways, but instead she stayed strong all the way through the book and did what she could to prove everyone wrong. And I loved that spunk about her. Plus on many occasions in this book she has many girl-power moments and I was totally rooting for her in every single moment of those. So let's just say Rose can kick some ass when she wants to!

As for Noah, as much as I love the guy, I still don't love him completely. He has many flaws (there's no point denying it) but I guess that has more to do with how he has been brought up - how the men in a relationship control the ways of the women who are nothing more than wives and bearers of children to them. I know they care about their wives immensely and such (I mean they married them, right?) but that's just my own understanding of their ways, which I didn't like so much but it's how they have been taught to be like and you can't argue about that because I, personally, don't understand their traditions. Still, for the majority of the book I found Noah was pretty controlling and was a bit of a hopeless case when his attention is focused on another girl (which I don't want to mention since I'm mad about Noah for doing that), and I don't know . . . he just made it very hard for me to like him because I felt he was pressuring Rose into marriage (like all the time), which they are, of course, not ready for at their age. But on the bright side of this, I like him as a character for the sake of Rose liking (and loving) him, so for now I will wait until the third book to make up my mind about his character. I just hope he is much more likable in these instances because he can be a sweet guy when he wants to be. But it's rare.

Overall, BELONGING was a great sequel with plenty of twists and turns to offer - some more unexpected than others. It may have its ups and downs from time to time, but when it comes down to it . . . it's a great tale and if you love a love story that is unique and so unlike any other you may have read before, than you're definitely going to love this book without a doubt!

The Rating
4/5 stars

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Hyperion

Pages: 368pgs

The Story

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.

As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

The Review

TIME BETWEEN US features a lovely little romance and I can see why so many enjoyed it. But as far as the story went, I wouldn't necessarily say it was one of the best time travelling stories out there that I have come across lately. At least not in the lines of my favourite films and stories such as The Lake House and The Time Traveler's Wife. It was good but not as amazing as I thought it would be like.

In terms of what I did like in the book, I quite enjoyed the romance that goes on between Bennet and Anna's characters, and what happens when time begins to interfere with each of the character's own present times. It was a well-written book in those particular aspects. But what I didn't like was the fact that the time travelling concept was more a plot motivator rather than it playing a much more important role in the book. I felt like at times the romance was over-taking the plot more than it needed to be . . . but apart from that I still thought this book was a lot of fun and quite an enjoyable read.

Overall, TIME BETWEEN US may not be a favourite book of mine, but I'm happy to have read it and I would definitely recommend it if you're looking for a much lighter read.

The Rating
3/5 stars

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tidal by Amanda Hocking

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Pan MacMillan

Pages: 342pgs

The Story

Her only hope lies with her greatest enemies.
Gemma is facing the fight of her life. Cursed by beautiful but deadly sirens, her extraordinary powers have a terrifyingly dark side, and becoming human once more is proving her greatest challenge yet. As she struggles to break the curse, the sirens, Penn, Lexi and Thea are determined to kill her before she can set herself free.
Gemma’s only allies are her sister, Harper, and Harper’s boyfriend, Daniel. Together they must delve into their enemies’ mythical pasts – to discover their darkest secrets. But Penn has also set her sights on Daniel. Soon, the sirens threaten everything Gemma holds dear: her family, her friends, her life, and her relationship with Alex – the only guy she’s ever loved. Can she save herself and those she cares about before it is too late?
The Review

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

While I may have been a little disappointed with the third installment of the Watersong series, but I still thought TIDAL was a great book with higher stakes than ever before. And I also liked the fact that the story solely (or mostly) focused on the siren sisters this time round and on their histories rather than on the romances of the series which was featured much more in books one and two. It was a nice change for the series (that's for sure) and I love getting to know those siren sisters a bit more and getting to know what came before Gemma entered the picture.

Also, what I loved about this book compared to the other sequels was seeing how the romantic relationship between Gemma and Alex (the boy next door) no longer existed because of Gemma's siren song, which made Alex forget that he even loved her in the first place. It was a great twist for me and a sad one as well. So while I may not have always loved Gemma or Alex as main characters - or more so the drama they have brought into the series recently, but once we see how much Alex has changed in this book - in terms of personality and how he's no longer the sweet guy we used to know - it was sure a nice change up for me because you can see why he is the way he is. Sure, Alex didn't appear as much as I wanted him too but when he did it was . . . interesting and fun to read about.

Overall, I can't say too much without spoiling the book, but if you loved the previous books in the series, I think TIDAL will be yet another great installment for you also.

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Elite by Kiera Cass

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 272pgs

The Story

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

The Review

Everyone should know by now with how much I loved Kiera Cass's The Selection book (cue angelic music right now) because I thought it was such a guilty pleasure of mine and not to mention I was totally surprised by the book considering its many critics were not so nice to begin with. So you can only imagine how excited I was to finally get to read it sequel and let's just say as soon as I opened the pages I was so . . . there with the story and I couldn't wait to find out more about America's next journey.

So as I read this book, I thought THE ELITE was most definitely a better sequel than most sequels I have read lately (which have disappointed me on so many levels cause the sequel always has to top the first book) so I applaud Kiera Cass for writing so many unexpected twists and little surprises in this book alone because it was a whole lot of fun to read. But in terms of comparing the first book to this sequel, I have to say . . . I'm on the fence with this one. It was really good for the most part, but then again it wasn't as good as the first book. I guess you can blame this on America herself and on . . . sadly . . . Maxon.

Don't get me wrong here, I still love America because she is still flippin' awesome in this book and I understand why America was switching back and forth between her lover boys, Aspen (gosh I hate you and I still hate you even though you slowly made my heart flutter but only for a moment or two in this book) and Maxon, but girl you seriously need to make your mind up asap! I mean, it took her forever to make her mind up on the two boys and it was just annoying to me. However, considering what happened and all the other drama that occurred with the other girl contestants, I will forgive her for her actions and for now whatever decision she has finally made in the end of this book, let's just hope she sticks to it in the third and final book, The One, because I don't know what I would do if she changed her mind yet again. Because I will be really angry.

But what was disappointing most of all was MAXON!!!!!! What happened to my beloved Prince Maxon?!?! Did he lose his heart or something along the way? I mean, why make me fall in love with him only to confuse and break my heart all over again? Oh Maxon. *Shakes head* What surprised me about this book was all the lies and deception Maxon carried and hid in this particular book. I actually thought he was a pretty amazing guy in the first book and that was due to the fact that he really took care of our America and wanted to support her in any way he could. But, even to my own surprise, readers will get to see a whole new side to Maxon and it's quite a shocker too, especially if you were Team Maxon all the way like I was.

But in saying that, what I hated the most was this girl named Kriss, another girl vying for Maxon's heart and honestly what does he see in her because let me tell you I hope she gets hurt or kidnapped or worse in the next book because she was on my nerves every single time she came onto the page. Just . . . argh. Poor America. I understand why Maxon is looking for other girls (since America is confusing to read at times) but oh Maxon Kriss is just too nice and that can be annoying because she is also a girl with a hidden agenda too. Just . . . argh. America you fight for your man in the next book . . . just fight for him so Kriss can go away forever. Please, just do something! Okay, my rant is over. For now at least.

Overall, while THE ELITE may not have a solid storyline nor did much really happen, but I'm still extremely excited (and scared) to read the last installment, The One, and let's hope America gets the man she desires the most and let's hope Kriss is out of the picture very soon so we can have our old Maxon back once more. Because I really miss the old Maxon in this book you guys, not the one we got in this book. Seriously Maxon . . . we need you back asap!


The Rating
3/5 stars

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ink by Amanda Sun

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarlequinTeen Australia

Pages: 384pgs

The Story

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

The Review

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

Wow, what an amazing and imaginative storyline! I kid you not. This book is definitely one of my favourite debut novels coming from this year because the story is just so beautifully-written, captivating, lush and it's almost like the story comes to life right off your own pages as you slowly begin to discover Amanda Sun's Japanese and wonderful mythology of the paper gods. Jush . . . oh so many high praises for this one! And it's about time another Japanese-like story comes my way because I've been really, really wanting to read more books such as this one right here and boy I was so in love with it!

One of the things INK had going for it was the characters and the combination they all seemed to come in. All of them, I find, were particularly and wonderfully portrayed, strong, interesting, colourful and for the majority of the book they were very conflicted with everything around them, which ticked all of the boxes for me in my books. Katie for one, our main heroine, is someone I could easily relate to, especially as she struggled between her heart and her head. It's one of the things I loved most about her actually. But what's so rare about her character is how easy she was to like and I love reading about her self-discovery as she learns to adjust to a completely new culture and a new language, and while on top of it all still work through all of the grief that came from her mother's recent death. She was a pretty amazing character if I do say so myself!

Tomohiro, on the other hand, read almost like one of my favourite mysterious anime type of characters that I love so much from anime shows. You know, the ones where you have no idea what he's all about and yet you feel so compelled to find out more and more about him. Yeah . . . Tomohiro was awesome! Apart from Katie's character, Tomohiro was my favourite part of the book and he definitely makes it onto my list of hot fictional boys this year! I mean for sure, at first glance he may come across as a complete jerk (and maybe he is) but even from then on, as you soon learn about his own personal struggles and becomes this not-so-bad person and this strange - and somewhat - well-rounded guy with a very beautiful-but-a-very-dangerous talent, Tomohiro is the one who makes reading all of this book til the end worth the wait! Just you wait yourself . . . he's amazing!

Overall, INK is everything I wanted from it. Everything. And more! With a beautiful incorporation of Japanese mythology (which was flawless mind you) and with an author paying great attention to the details and doesn't leave anything untouched, I think this book is going to become a big favourite for YA readers because I thought it was brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Sunday, July 7, 2013

False Sight by Dan Krokos

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Hyperion

Pages: 336pgs

The Story

All Miranda wants is a normal life. She's determined to move past the horrible truth of her origin as a clone so she can enjoy time with her boyfriend, Peter, and the rest of her friends at school. But Miranda quickly learns that there's no such thing as normal - not for a girl who was raised to be a weapon. When one of her teammates turns rogue, it begins a war that puts the world in jeopardy. Now Miranda must follow her instincts - not her heart - in order to save everything she's fought so hard to keep. with the image of a terrible future seared into her mind, what will she have to sacrifice to protect the people she loves?

The Review

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

Before reading this book, I have to say I absolutely LOVED Dan Krokos's debut novel, False Memory, despite its hard review critics because his debut was fast-paced, exciting, contained awesome characters not to mention awesome cryptic mysteries along the way, and - to put it plainly - it was just a really fun, intense read that made you want to read more and more of it. But when it comes to the sequel however, FALSE SIGHT, the only thing I was left asking was, 'What the hell just happened?'.

Now I really do hate moments like this when you fall in love with the first book in a series only to find its sequel totally bums you out. It's sucks . . . so unfortunately for me and unfortunately for FALSE SIGHT it happens to fall into that category of 'I-wanted-to-like-it-but-I'm-so-disappointed'. While I did like the creative direction the author was heading towards and how the characters interacted with the storyline, but to be brutally frank with you all if I had to explain what actually happened in the book let alone try to comprehend myself on what just happened . . . I just can't even fathom it. I honestly had no idea what happened in this sequel and whether that's because I lacked some attention or I missed out on something totally important that I can't seem to remember right now, but there was just something missing here and it left me with an empty feeling which I guess has to do with my high expectations after reading the enjoyable first book.

Overall, FALSE SIGHT was a very different book. Unlike the first, there are major events that occur that are so confusing and too major to even comprehend which is very disappointing for me because it had so much potential to be full of greatness. So should I continue with the series? Yes, I will still continue with this series in hopes of a better future for the characters considering how it all ended in this sequel, but I really do hope my love for this series comes back again from the final book because I miss my old buddy characters and their freaky situations.

The Rating
1/5 stars

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My Blood Approves by Amanda Hocking

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Lulu

Pages: 261pgs

The Story


Teenager Alice Bonham's life feels crazy after she meets Jack. With his fondness for pink Chuck Taylor's and New Wave, he's unlike anyone she knows. Then she meets his brother, Peter. Even though he can't stand the sight of her, she's drawn to him. Falling for two guys isn't even the worst of her problems. Jack and Peter are vampires, and Alice finds herself caught between love and her own blood.

The Review


Don't get me wrong here, I absolutely love Amanda Hocking as an author and in particular her very seductive Watersong series and her wonderfully creative (and my favourite series coming from Hocking) the Trylle series, but as much as it pains to me to say this in a book review of mine, I thought the first installment of her very first book series I believe, MY BLOOD APPROVES, was an absolutely terrible, terrible book and I don't know what to say about it without sounding like an awful person except that I can't believe I actually finished it to be honest with you. It was just so painful to read and I'm so glad I got this one for free when I did instead of buying it. It was just . . . oh dear god why?

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While I didn't mind the direction the story was going in, but the book had two terrible faults even before getting halfway into the storyline. For one, it resembled Twilight (of all things!) like it was a mirror of it and all of the characters were exactly like Twilight's characters and let's just say when you combine those faults together . . . it was not exactly a great start for me and it continued being this way until the very end of it, so I'm sure I'm not the only one to say it was again terrible. Not even the simplistic writing or its idiotic characters like Alice and Jack-whats-his-name could save it. However, the one positive thing I could say about this book is that it made Twilight's Edward and Bella look like a sane and normal couple which is surprisingly considering . . . they aren't exactly . . . well . . . "normal".

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Overall, MY BLOOD APPROVES was obviously NOT for me but if you love reading something that's more fan-fiction than anything else you may like this book. But I wouldn't bet on it which pains me because I have loved all of the other works by Amanda Hocking so in advance I would like to apologize because I really did try to like this book (I honestly really, really did). It was just Jack and that Alice girl . . . they just made me feel this way . . .

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The Rating
1/5 stars

Friday, July 5, 2013

Mystic by Alyson Noel

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Macmillan

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

After experiencing terrifying visions, Daire Santos goes to live with her grandmother in the dusty New Mexico town of Enchantment. There she discovers that she's a Soul Seeker - a person who can navigate between the living and the dead.

Guided by her grandmother, Daire has learned how to harness her powers - just in time. Enchantment is controlled by the evil Richter family, who are determined to rule over the Lowerworld, Middleworld and Upperworld - upsetting the natural balance and causing chaos. 

Daire is the only person who can stop the Richters, but there's one problem: she's in love with Dace, whose twin brother Cade is a shape-shifter, out to steal Daire's powers.

And both boys belong to the Richter clan. Can Daire fulfill her destiny without destroying her one true love?

The Review

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

What more can I say? I loved this book and I love this series. Alyson Noel has a great knack for writing and I'm glad to discover this now because I wasn't a huge fan of her previous series, The Immortals. When I first picked up this series I was blown away by how much I enjoyed it and even though the sequel had let me down compared to that first amazing book that I had read, but I'm happy to admit the author has made me fall back in love with the series again and I can't wait to read more of it.

I can't point towards what exactly had made me love this book even more than the sequel, but if I had to guess it would probably be the the relationship between our main character and her love interest, that being Daire and Dace. I found, at least this time round, their relationship was much more focused and I felt their relationship was developing into something much more stronger which I always like to see with my characters, especially for a couple. It's something that feels more realistic, you know? And I like it more that way.

Another thing too, Daire is a really cool heroine. Sure she makes mistakes from time to time and knows sometimes her actions will have many consequences because of those 'certain' actions (this was proven in the previous sequel), but now Daire has become so confident within her own powers and has love to push her further to the limits than she has ever gone before, and she is now willing to fight for her loved ones no matter the costs. She's a fiery little one in this book . . . I can tell you that. Dace as well, Daire's boyfriend, was a stronger character too in this book. Plus it was really nice to see him not always being the golden 'good' brother all the time. It's nice to see the darkness inside of him grow (mostly because of his brother who causes him to act this certain way) and I thought it sort of balances him out as a character and I do like a bit of darkness in a boy from time to time hehe.

Overall, MYSTIC was a great third installment to the Soul Seekers series and offers so many things to keep you entertained (and shocked) until the very end of the book. So right now I'm patiently waiting around and looking forward to the fourth installment of the series because I NEED more of this story asap!

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars
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