Monday, September 30, 2013

Consume by Melissa Darnell

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarlequinTeen

Pages: 384pgs

The Story

Tristan Coleman has survived the change from Clann magic user to vampire, much to Savannah Colbert's joy—and despair. By changing the Clann's golden boy and newly elected leader, even to save him from death, she has unleashed a fury of hatred and fear that they cannot escape. 

As the Clann and the vampire council go to war, Tristan and Sav face a new threat—a fracturing of the all-consuming bond they share. To fight for peace, they must forge a new trust and risk everything to take down their deadliest enemy, even as they must run for their lives. Soon they will learn that some bonds are stronger than love—and some battles cannot be won without sacrifice.

The Review

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

CONSUME is the final installment in The Clann trilogy, so I'll be pretty brief with this review and be spoiler-free in case any of you have yet to read this series. But over the course of this young adult series, I have absolutely loved and enjoyed the first two books and the over world the author has created, and in regards to this particular final book, while it was not necessarily my favourite book of all three books, but I certainly still enjoyed it as we learn how everything concludes in the end for all characters involved and see where they all end up.

In terms of what I thought about the third and final book, CONSUME, it definitely answered most of the questions that I had running in my head from the previous two books. It definitely did that. But as much as I enjoyed it and the characters as well, but this time I felt like there needed to be something more to the book . . . I don't know . . . perhaps more oomph from the character themselves. So while there is still plenty going on in this book and this whole war thing between certain enemies, but in the back of my mind I still felt like nothing much happened in the book (apart from what Tristan is currently going through) and everyone seemed to be arguing over inconsequential stuff really. But again, the book is still an enjoyable read and it will be the same for you if you have started the series as the finale will definitely give you a conclusion you are looking for in the end and I'm happy about that.

Overall, CONSUME may not have been the best book in the series, but I'm glad to have finished it and learn what happened to some of my favourite characters.

The Rating
3/5 stars

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Goddess by Josephine Angelini

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

Pages: 480pgs

The Story

She must rise, or they will fall ...Helen's powers are increasing--and so is the distance between her and her mortal friends. To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a dangerous traitor is lurking among them, and all fingers point to Orion. Still unsure whether she loves him or Lucas, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, or risk all-out war. The final book in this heart-stopping trilogy.

The Review

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

A few years ago I absolutely fell hard over Josephine Angelini's Starcrossed tale and it was by far one of the most amazing ideas in Greek mythology that I've ever across in a YA novel. It's one of a kind to say the least. While I found it was unfortunate to not totally love the sequel, Dreamless, or this book for that matter, but considering everything I read in this final conclusion to Helen and Lucas's tale, I'm still very excited to read more from the author because she's a great writer and knows how to twist her plots in the most unexpected ways.

GODDESS, on a whole, was quite an interesting sequel. There was a lot going on, but what I loved in particular was Helen and how much she has grown as a main character, and even how she had dreams - or rather envisions herself - of when she was Helen of Troy. Yes! I loved witnessing those rare dreams and I wished we had more of them since Helen of Troy is very well connected to the central plot and are part of the reason why things are the way they are for the characters now. But the only (small little) thing I didn't quite understand in the book was the whole visions of Guinevere and the whole Arthur-Lancelot section. I get why they were added into the storyline for purposes of why Lucas and Helen were always torn apart in very complicated situations, but I didn't really understand how that could have connected to the Greek mythology ordeal but you know that was only a small thing I didn't like so much in the book.

In terms of the characters, all of them were still pretty great and proved themselves again and again with how to handle anything that was being thrown at them. Anything dangerous I mean. Helen and Orion, in particular, were my all time favourites in this book and were the clear standouts for me. Lucas . . . well I still love you dude for being there for Helen (even though we don't really see as much of you as I wanted to) but I wasn't quite a fan of you like I was with Helen and Orion. Like in all of the books, Helen has been through many trials to get to the point of where she is now and in saying that I thought she was the main person that handled everything perfectly. She didn't freak out like other characters did, she just held her ground and stood up for what she believed in, and most importantly, she stood up for herself and proved to others how much she loved Lucas and how she was going to fight for him no matter what. And really, what's better than that? All hail true love! And of course, Orion, what can I say? I adore him. I knew he didn't have a chance in hell to be with Helen in the way he clearly wanted to be, but I still appreciated how important he was in the book and how caring he was with Helen. Big fan of his! Big fan!

Overall, while I was slightly disappointed with the ending of GODDESS as I thought more would actually happen, but all in all, I thought this book was a great final conclusion and I'm looking forward to reading more of Josephine Angelini's work in the future.

The Rating
3 1/2 / 5 stars

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Pages: 480pgs

The Story

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

The Review

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

Reminding me of the dystopian tales such as The Passage and The Road, THE 5TH WAVE is a ruthless but a completely original alien invasion novel. So if you're already a sci-fi and dystopian fan or pretty much anything else that revolves heavily around aliens and their freak-ish ways of ridding the human race, then it's a must that you read this book as well.

I won't get into the specific details of the storyline (I don't want to ruin this awesome tale for you) but what I loved about this book was our main protagonist, Cassie, and how she continues to struggle to survive amongst 'The Others' invading the Earth. She was just a really fascinating and real character to have behind this bleak world backdrop and I believed in her story which mattered the most to me out of everything else that I had read. While I wasn't a huge fan nor totally convinced with the other character perspectives of the story, but Cassie was the one that did it for me the most and this girl definitely mirrors other famous characters including Katniss from The Hunger Games and Katsa from Graceling. So if that doesn't make you want to pick up this book then I don't know what will.

Overall, THE 5TH WAVE was a very surprising read for me and definitely has some movie potential (so please make a movie out of this). With thrilling action, intriguing characters, freakin' twisted events and a I-want-more kind of ending, I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from this author because I'm hooked on his tale already!

The Rating
4/5 stars

Friday, September 27, 2013

Obsession by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Pages: 370pgs

The Story

He’s arrogant, domineering, and... To. Die. For.

Hunter is a ruthless killer. And the Department of Defense has him firmly in their grasp, which usually doesn't chafe too badly because he gets to kill bad guys. Most of the time he enjoys his job. That is, until he’s saddled with something he’s never had to do before: protect a human from his mortal enemy.

Serena Cross didn't believe her best friend when she claimed to have seen the son of a powerful senator turn into something... unnatural. Who would? But then she witnesses her friend’s murder at the hands of what can only be an alien, thrusting her into a world that will kill to protect their secret.

Hunter stirs Serena’s temper and her lust despite their differences. Soon he’s doing the unthinkable—breaking the rules he’s lived by, going against the government to keep Serena safe. But are the aliens and the government the biggest threats to Serena’s life… or is it Hunter?


The Review

OBSESSION is an adult spin-off book that is set in the same world as Jennifer L. Armentrout's young adult Lux series, which I'm quite a fan of as I'm sure many of you readers are also. So when I first heard of this spin-off book, I just couldn't pass this baby up (which is rightly so because the author is awesome) and I'm so glad that I didn't because it was a very enjoyable read and it was really nice getting to see more adult characters in this excellent paranormal world of Armentrout's, especially since it's far more mature.

I won't recap on anything (it's more surprisingly and enjoyable when you read the book for yourself), but I will say readers will not be disappointed. Sure, the romance that develops between Hunter and Serena may come across as a little bit 'too fast' or so on, but hey, I totally get why they would be attracted to each other and on a whole I thought they had a great relationship aside from a lot of crazy things that happens to them. Hunter, especially, was a favourite character of mine and even though he goes all alpha-male at times (which can be a little too much), but it was a real treat getting to know him and of his kind, that being the Arum, which as you know they are not exactly nice guys in the Lux series and yet there is a totally different side to them in this book. So if you're a fan of the YA Lux series, then you'll definitely want to read this book as soon as possible.

Overall, OBSESSION is such a great spin-off and I hope sometime in the future the author decides to write more from these characters or at least mention at some point in her other books because I'm going to miss them quite a lot.

The Rating
4/5 stars

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Cannongate Books

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

The extraordinary happens every day...

One night, George Duncan - decent man, a good man - is woken by a noise in his garden. Impossibly, a great white crane has tumbled to earth, shot through its wing by an arrow. Unexpectedly moved, George helps the bird, and from the moment he watches it fly off, his life is transformed.

The next day, a kind but enigmatic woman walks into George's shop. Suddenly a new world opens up for George, and one night she starts to tell him the most extraordinary story.

The Review

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

Ever since I read Patrick Ness's young adult series, The Chaos Walking trilogy, this new book of his had become one of my most anticipated books coming from this year because I knew if it was Patrick Ness writing the book, I was, ultimately, going to love it no matter what. And while this book was definitely not what I was first expected from it, but in some way I still managed to be (somehow) captivated by the story it told and in the end loving it as well.

THE CRANE WIFE from the get-go is a very different book. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is the kind of book that you will really need to pay attention to in order to fully understand the book as a whole, especially when it comes to the ending. But what I love about this 'different' side to things in this book is how the author writes and it's one of the few things I really appreciate about Patrick Ness's writing because he always goes out of his comfort zone - at least I find - and I love that it also becomes a read that is also outside my own comfort zone, which this book definitely is for me. Plus I love that the author based this book on an old Japanese folktale which is a bonus for me. Who doesn't love a good old Japanese folktale? I certainly love them!

Now regarding the characters, I certainly thought they were the most fascinating part of the book. Some are lovable, some are frustrating, and some are just simply . . . strange. But while this book has a very colourful cast of characters and each one has a personality of their own, but I think what makes them even more interesting to the reader is because of the storyline itself and how that story drives them in a certain way . . . I don't know what else to say to be honest with you because it's such a hard book to describe . . . but I think many people will come to love or at least like our two main characters, one being George, who is lovable in his own right, and also this new, strange young woman who comes into his life, that being Kumiko, who is the driving essence of this entire book and wow . . . she was definitely a character that inspired me or at least the way the author told her story . . . I just . . . I don't know . . . she was just really something special. I mean, she's weird for the most part (in a good way of course) but there's just something about her that makes me tick. Loved her and pretty much everything else about her! That's all I'll say.

Now while I would love to give this book 5 stars, but I think the only thing I didn't like about this book or rather what I wished the book offered to me was for more explanations on certain things in the book, especially with what happened to Kumiko's situation, but apart from that, I still pleasantly enjoyed this book!

Overall, THE CRANE WIFE is a very different book than what I'm used to reading, but it was a very beautifully written book and I would highly recommend it, especially if you have read Patrick Ness's previous books.

The Rating
4/5 stars

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Briar Rose by Jana Oliver

Release Date: 12th September, 2013

Publisher: Macmillan

Pages: 480pgs

The Story

A dark and sexy reimagining of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale from the author of THE DEMON TRAPPERS.

For Briar Rose, life is anything but a fairy tale. She's stuck in a small town in deepest Georgia with parents who won't let her out of their sight, a bunch of small-minded, gossiping neighbours and an evil ex who's spreading nasty rumours about what she may or may not have done in the back of his car. She's tired of it all, so when, on her sixteenth birthday, her parents tell her that she is cursed and will go to sleep for a hundred years when the clock strikes midnight, she's actually kind of glad to leave it all behind. She says her goodbyes, lies down, and closes her eyes . . . And then she wakes up. Cold, alone and in the middle of the darkest, most twisted fairy tale she could ever have dreamed of. Now Briar must fight her way out of the story that has been created for her, but she can't do it alone. She never believed in handsome princes, but now she's met one her only chance is to put her life in his hands, or there will be no happy ever after and no waking up.

The Review

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

I didn't necessarily hate this book but I did have a hard time reading it. So while I've always been a huge fan of Jana Oliver's work, especially with her Demon Trappers series which was totally awesome by the way and I couldn't recommend it enough to you all, but unfortunately I wasn't a huge fan of her new title here but it happens to the best of us.

BRIAR ROSE, on a whole, has everything going for it as it is a retelling of a fairy-tale (that being Sleeping Beauty obviously) and I like the direction the author was initially going for because it was interesting and a slightly different take to the tale. But in regards to the storyline, while I liked it to a certain degree and thought it was still very well-written, but what fell flat for me (unfortunately) was the characters themselves. The characters, in my mind, were okay for a little while, but as I kept on reading and learning more about them during the book, in the end I just felt like they could have been something more, you know? I particularly felt this way when it comes to our main character, Briar, who just didn't really step up her game for me and eventually I became less and less drawn to her as a character, so for her I just wasn't a huge fan of hers. But as for the others, again they were okay but I wanted something more of them than I was given. Still, it was a decent read.

Overall, I thought BRIAR ROSE had potential only it was quite a struggle to read for me. But if you're into fairy-tale retellings like I am or are looking for something that is a little different than most retellings, then I would highly recommend this book, especially if you like one of those two things, even though it wasn't particularly a favourite book of mine.

The Rating
2/5 stars

Monday, September 23, 2013

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 432pgs

The Story

Eighteen-year-old Celaena Sardothien is bold, daring and beautiful – the perfect seductress and the greatest assassin her world has ever known. But though she won the King’s contest and became his champion, Celaena has been granted neither her liberty nor the freedom to follow her heart. The slavery of the suffocating salt mines of Endovier that scarred her past is nothing compared to a life bound to her darkest enemy, a king whose rule is so dark and evil it is near impossible to defy. Celaena faces a choice that is tearing her heart to pieces: kill in cold blood for a man she hates, or risk sentencing those she loves to death. Celaena must decide what she will fight for: survival, love or the future of a kingdom. Because an assassin cannot have it all . . . And trying to may just destroy her.

The Review

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

I don't know about this book. I really don't know. Apart of me likes it (or at least wants to like it) and the other part of me doesn't want me to like it at all. So as you can see, I'm quite conflicted with this book to be honest with you but here we go with my review.

So here's the thing I want to point out: I wasn't a huge, huge fan of the first book, Throne of Glass, but I still didn't mind it though and it entertained me enough. I mean, who doesn't love a bit of kick-ass action in a grand fantasy world? But in regards to the next sequel, CROWN OF MIDNIGHT, I still found it very hard to connect with the characters - more so the main character - and that's a major problem for me when connecting to the rest of the book that I am reading, and that's because a main character is the core of a storyline and if you can't connect with them . . . well the rest of the book isn't going to go too well for you which is what exactly happened to me with this book I'm afraid.

Our main heroine, Celaena, like what I experienced from the first book, is a very hard character to like and come around to. I mean, while she does eventually show a much more sensitive and compassionate side to her in this particular sequel, at least a much softer side than from what I've seen of her from book one where she was stuck up and cocky most of the time, but there's still something about her that I just don't like or even want to like. But don't get me wrong though, she can definitely kick ass when she wants to and I love girls like that, but Celaena . . . oh I don't know . . . this time she felt even more distant to me because she does some pretty odd things even though she is supposed to have street smarts and such, but yeah . . . it's still very hard to connect with her sadly. But apart from her, I still very much enjoyed reading the other supporting characters and the adventures they undertake, even her love interests offered something more than Celaena ever did.

In regards to those love interests, that being Dorian and Chaol, I still may like them as characters (because the boys are far more interesting than other characters), but I'm not exactly a huge fan of the whole whirlwind romance they have with Celaena. It's not full-blown romance of course, not like what we see in most YA books, but I just can't feel the sizzling chemistry between either one of those characters with our main girl. If anything, Chaol has more of a connection with our main character than Dorian ever did, even though we are told otherwise. . . but hey, maybe that's just me feeling this way. Romance is something that doesn't win me over too easily. But again, I still quite enjoyed Dorian and Chaol as characters and I'm looking forward to what they're going to offer in the next book.

Overall, CROWN OF MIDNIGHT may not have won me over, but I think this book will work best with readers who were major fans of the first book, Throne of Glass, and if so, you'll definitely will get excited over this book. As for me, I'll still be continuing with this book series in hopes that something wowing will eventually come along to surprise me!

The Rating
2/5 stars

Friday, September 20, 2013

Every Breath by Ellie Marney

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

Rachel Watts is an unwilling new arrival to Melbourne from the country. James Mycroft is her neighbour, an intriguingly troubled seventeen-year-old genius with a passion for forensics. Despite her misgivings, Rachel finds herself unable to resist Mycroft when he wants her help investigating a murder. And when Watts and Mycroft follow a trail to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion's den - literally.

A night at the zoo will never have quite the same meaning again...

The Review

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

Okay, so the publicist asked me did I want of copy of this book prior to its release and I actually declined because I was really busy at uni and I also didn't think this book was for me at the time as well. But the publisher ended up sending me a copy anyway and I was lucky enough to have some quiet time to spare, so I ended up reading this book despite what I thought and boy am I kicking myself right now and THANK GOD for the publisher sending me a copy of this book because MY GOD this book was just SO GOOD and I'm SO HAPPY I got a chance to read this one, even when I initially declined a request to read it. Ah, it's just so good!

EVERY BREATH is probably one of my favourite books coming from this year (literally!) and I think that's because, one, it is based on Sherlock Holmes, and two, because it has an Australian background setting, which we don't see very often in YA books or rather I personally don't across too many great Australian titles lately and that's a shame really because I should be reading more Australian books. But yeah, this book went beyond my own expectations and even though it's not amazing on epic, full-blown action levels, but the book is just so enjoyable to a point where you finish the book and not even realize that you've just finished the book . . . you know? It's that kind of amazing so I'm pretty impressed with this book right now.

In regards to the main characters, Rachel Watts and James Mycroft, I just adored these two characters and loved everything about them. They not only had great sense of humor and meshed so well together as a duo team, but their personalities and their mannerisms alone are so like Sherlock Holmes and Watson's characters and that's - to put it simply - truly awesome because I love the whole Holmes and Watson relationship. So just you wait readers, because Rachel and James are perfect together - whether they're in friend or cheeky-romantic mode . . . they're just lovely and the chemistry between these two are seriously too awesome to even explain in this book. They just make the perfect team you guys!

Overall, EVERY BREATH went beyond my own expectations and I love it when a book proves me wrong on so many accounts. It just makes a book even greater through my eyes and I love it for making me have all of these 'feels' right now. So this book was fantastic and I can't bloody wait for the sequel because if it's anything like this book . . . then I'm going to be crazy by the time I get my hands on the sequel! Crazy I tell you!

The Rating
5/5 stars

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Pages: 452pgs

The Story

'I have lost my father in battle, my sister to Elizabeth Woodville's spy, my brother-in-law to Elizabeth Woodville's executioner, my nephew to her poisoner, and now my son to her curse...'

The gripping and ultimately tragic story of Anne Neville and her sister Isabel, the daughters of the Earl of Warwick, the most powerful magnate in England through the Cousins' Wars. In the absence of a son and heir, he ruthlessly uses the two girls as pawns but they, in their own right, are thoughtful and powerful actors.

Against the backdrop of the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne turns from a delightful child growing up in intimacy and friendship with the family of Richard Duke of York to become ever more fearful and desperate as her father's enemies turn against her, the net closes in and there is, in the end, simply nowhere she can turn, no one she can trust with her life.

The Review

A big thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia for sending me a review copy of this book!

Let me just say I'm a huge Philippa Gregory fan and I have read most of her books out there, and I've also managed to love most of those books of hers as well. Now I've quite enjoyed her Cousins War series especially The White Princess which I thoroughly enjoyed, but unfortunately for this particular title, I found there was something lacking in this particular storyline and I'm not sure what it was exactly, but there was definitely something lacking in this book.

THE KINGMAKER'S DAUGHTER is a story about Anne Neville, the daughter of King Richard Neville, also known as 'The Kingmaker' as he had a lot of influence over many kings. In part of King Richard's grand plans, he had used his two daughters, Anne and Isabel, as pawns and had high hopes and expectations that at least one of them would become a Queen. Now of course, like in most of Gregory's books, threats and enemies are soon made, families are destroyed, and more troubles comes in the main character's way, and this then leads to Anne, after some tragic misfortunes, to eventually marry King Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, and together they soon begin to face their troubles which is, in Gregory's usual writing style, becomes so very complicated and yet delicious because who doesn't love a bit of royal troubles with friends and enemies?

On a whole, I still enjoyed the book but like I said before something was lacking this time round. And perhaps that's because I didn't really know too much about Anne and her family, and perhaps there was a lot going on this time round . . . but regardless it was still a pleasant read like most of Gregory's books. But on a positive note, what I did like very much was Anne as our main character and I quite liked that she became stronger and stronger by the time the book ended, and that's one thing I've always loved about Gregory as an author: that she writes strong and empowered young women with a purpose. She always gets me with those girls of hers!

Overall, THE KINGMAKER'S DAUGHTER may not be my ultimate favourite book of the author, but I still enjoyed as apart of the Cousins War series.

The Rating
3/5 stars

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 466pgs

The Story

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Review

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

I hate book hype. I really do. I hate it when people - particularly those that have labeled this new author as the next J.K. Rowling - who bring up so much hype to the table before a book is even out yet because it leaves the rest of us readers with this huge expectation hanging over our heads and it frustrates me so, especially when the book ends up leaving you disappointed in the end and it's because of that hype alone. And in this case, as much as I really hate to say this, I was pretty disappointed with this book. Pretty disappointed indeed.

Now whether it was because I was not in the mood for this book right now or not, I was still disappointed in this new title which is a shame considering this was one of my most anticipated books of this year. Mostly because it sounded just SO GOOD and I couldn't pass it up! But in my opinion, I think the author will still do very well in the book market despite what I think of her book and I know many people have enjoyed this book far more than I did, so in saying that I truly do admire the author for bringing that hype because I know she'll do very well with that and her future books. She certainly does have the talent!

But for me personally, I think what let this book down - at least for me - was that it read almost like a history textbook or something along those lines (like the powers and the whole society thing are labelled this name and belong to this category and such) and also the length of the book was rather too long and rather too slow for me to get into the actual storyline. So I guess to put it simply, the whole book was just too complicated for my taste to understand and that alone made me not care about the rest of the story nor its characters, which again is a shame because I really tried hard to like this book and sadly it didn't work out for me.

On a positive note however, I do applaud the creativity of the author for creating such a world (which is why I'm giving this book two stars) and I can see why certain people have loved this book for such creativity. It's interesting and unique in its own way, and ultimately is different compared to some books I have read in the past. Now as for whether this book is going to be a seven book series or not, I'm not sure how far the author will go with that because I think three books will do that just fine, but again, I wish for the best for the author because she'll go far from what I'm seen in this book, even though I wasn't a huge fan of this book.

Overall, THE BONE SEASON may have been a huge disappointment for me and that's because I skimmed the rest of the book from the half-way point (which is such a shame too), but in the end of it all, I still think the author is quite talented and anyone who likes a different take of the paranormal genre will definitely come to love this book!

The Rating
2/5 stars

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Release Date: 5th November, 2013

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 304pgs

The Story

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they've begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn't realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

The Review

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

Whoa. What a ride this book was! I mean, if I was being really honest about this book right now, then I would have to say this one is my favourites coming from the author, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, and I'm really happy that I got a chance to read this book early because I ended up really enjoyed the story and I think a lot of readers will be pleasantly surprised by this book.

Now I won't go into too much detail with this book because it would giveaway too much of the storyline and its characters, but THE NATURALS is - to put it simply - about a group of kids who have powers and they are brought together for one purpose only: to study humans or in particular find (or figure out) serial killers and psychopaths there are out there somewhere. Some of these kids can read emotions and others can recreate the mind of a killer and so on, but what I loved was that characters alone were so entertaining and meshed so well together if you get my meaning. And I love that. Now of course, there is some cliche characters in this book like having the good girl, the bad guy, the catty girl and so on, but what surprised me even more was that, one, I didn't care all so much, and two, the book wasn't solely focused on romance. I mean, there is romance in this book or at least a potential romance, but needless to say I'm really glad romance (for once) took a backseat, so again, I was very happy about that. So whether or not the story lacks originality in some peoples' eyes, but on a whole and in entertainment-wise, I think it really nailed it in that particular aspect.

Overall, when it comes to THE NATURALS, I think if you're big fans of the likes of Criminal Minds that is blended in with some drama such as Pretty Little Liars, then you'll definitely get this book without a doubt and get what it has to offer to the reader. There's just so much of mystery, so much intrigue, a little bit of paranormal and yet there is plenty of things - no matter what type of reader you are - that leave you questioning everything that is going on around with these characters, and that to me makes it a great book. So again, I really enjoyed one. Go read it in November!

The Rating
4/5 stars

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Sultan's Eyes by Kelly Gardiner

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 352pgs

The Story

The year is 1648 and life in Venice is serene for Isabella Hawkins and her friends Willem, Al-Qasim and Signora Contarini. Together they publish fine books like the controversial encyclopedia  The Sum of All Knowledge. When a new Inquisitor declares war on free speech however, they are forced to flee across the seas to the wondrous capital of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople, which is ruled by the infamous Sultanate of the Women. Old friends and new, including the boy Sultan and his sister, welcome them to the world′s greatest city. But Isabella is soon entangled in poisonous palace intrigues, while her friends secretly play perilous games of their own.

The Review

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

I really enjoyed this book. But this isn't exactly a great surprise to me (like not at all) because I actually really enjoyed the first installment of the series, Act of Faith, from the previous year, so of course I would also end up enjoying this sequel as well.

Looking back, I think what I liked most about this particular installment was that it was a much bigger novel compared to the first book and that the characters themselves were no longer on the run anymore but rather trying to survive within a palace setting, which I really the idea of. Now I would like to give out more details about this book, but because of spoilers and with some people not having read the first book, I'm going to keep a low profile for now with this one, but needless to say I loved getting to know the main character, Isabella, some more in this book and learning what a great little philosopher she is slowly becoming. She is a very easy character to like, which again made this book very easy to like on a whole.

Overall, THE SULTAN'S EYES will definitely be enjoyable if you were like me and loving Kelly Gardiner's Act of Faith book. If you loved that book, then there's a big guarantee that you will also love its sequel as well.

The Rating
4/5 stars

Monday, September 9, 2013

Clockwork Prince (Manga #2) by Cassandra Clare & HyeKyung Baek

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Yen Press

Pages: 256pgs

The Story

A prequel to Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, The Infernal Devices is the story of Tessa Gray, a sixteen-year-old American girl traveling alone to Victorian London who runs afoul of the city’s sordid supernatural underworld. Rescued by the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, Tessa quickly finds herself caught up in an intrigue that may very well destroy her new friends – including the two enigmatic young men, Jem and Will, who have taken her under their wing . . .

The Review

What can I say? I love manga and I love this particular manga series, and together they are two of my favourite things in the world. Honestly . . . there's nothing like a good old manga read on a quiet afternoon but when it's based on a book series . . . that's even better!

But in all seriousness, I think everything the illustrator has incorporated into this one manga volume and not to mention still manages to stay pretty close to the original story from which it is based on, that being Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series, I think all I have to say is this person is very talented (very, very talented indeed) and I enjoyed every single moment reading this book. It's almost like reading Clockwork Prince all over again and any fan of this series - anyone who is so in love with this series like I am - will no doubt enjoy and LOVE this tale as well.

Overall, CLOCKWORK PRINCE makes a perfect manga tale and I love all of the illustrations inside this second volume. It's just perfect and I admit I cried a little seeing my Jem and Will, and all of the tense moments they experience in this book. Ah, those two sure bring out the fangal tears out of me. Just perfect.

The Rating
5/5 stars

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Kiss Me First by Lottie Moggach

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Bond Street Books

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

When Leila discovers the website Red Pill, she feels she has finally found people who understand her. A sheltered young woman raised by her mother, Leila has often struggled to connect with the girls at school; but on Red Pill, a chat forum for ethical debate, Leila comes into her own, impressing the website's founder, a brilliant and elusive man named Adrian. Leila is thrilled when Adrian asks to meet her, and is flattered when he invites her to be part of "Project Tess." 

Tess is a woman Leila might never have met in real life. She is beautiful, urbane, witty, and damaged. As they email, chat, and Skype, Leila becomes enveloped in the world of Tess, learning every single thing she can about this other woman -- because soon, Leila will have to become her. 

The Review

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

When it comes to Lottie Moggach's KISS ME FIRST, I'm not entirely sure what to say about this book to do it much justice nor what could possibly explain my feelings of it as well, but what I can say is that it was certainly a very unique and different tale than I'm used to reading lately, so whether or not you're into that type of 'different' is really up to you as a reader. But, personally for me, while I did almost like the story, even just a little bit, but I also didn't like it very much either.

I don't know about other readers and what they thought of this particular book, but in my own opinion and whether it was the author's intention or not to make you feel a bit uneasy about her book, but the main problem I found and what had caused me not to like this book all too much had really nothing to do with story itself (because it was psychologically and emotionally really interesting to read) but rather it had everything to do with the two main characters we are soon introduced to - that being Leila and Tess.

Now for obvious reasons, Leila and Tess, once you soon learn about their dilemmas and faults, are not exactly the easiest characters to like. If at all. Leila certainly may have been a bit more relatable in a sense than Tess ever was, but there was still this uneasy feeling that I got from both of these characters and it goes for the rest of the supporting casts as well . . . there was just not a single likable character in this book I'm afraid. Yeah . . . not a single one at all. So while the story may have been interesting and all of that, but I do like to actually like at least one of the characters which sadly this book did not have for me. Again, the book was interesting and strange, but I stress it may not be for everyone and in this case it was okay but not really for my own taste in books.

Overall, KISS ME FIRST is definitely an enigma within itself and while it does take a while to get a grasp of the storyline and everything else going on in it, but on a whole I thought it was still an okay read for me and I didn't mind it.

The Rating
2/5 stars

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Vale Girl by Nelika McDonald

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Macmillan Australia

Pages: 309pgs

The Story

Fourteen-year-old Sarah Vale has gone missing in the small town of Banville. She's the daughter of the town whore so no one seems particularly concerned.

No one cares except Tommy Johns, who loves Sarah Vale with all the unadulterated, tentative passion of a teenage boy. He galvanises the town's policeman Sergeant Henson and, together, they turn the town inside out, searching for the lost girl.

The Review

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

Even though I really like the fact that the author is from Brisbane and has studied at the same university as me, but sadly I didn't like this book. Not because it wasn't any good or anything like that because it definitely has a great feel about it, but it was more of 'it just wasn't for me' kind of book. So while I do find that THE VALE GIRL will certainly appeal to a lot of other readers - particularly those of the mystery and small-time thriller type of genres, but yeah . . . it just wasn't for me.

I think the main problem for me in connecting with this book had more to do with its characters than anything else. While these characters do definitely have interesting voices and stories to tell, and I was often intrigue about what was going on inside their heads for the most time, but there were other times too where I was a little confused by certain things going on or rather I began to lose interest in what was going to happen towards the end of the book which is my loss I guess. But with that being sad, there was definitely one element that caught my interest and that was the mystery that occurs in this small town of Banville and I love it when books aren't set in big-time cities all the time. It just adds even more mystery and mistrust to a book, and I do really applaud the author for writing such a story containing such a small town because it was quite different, both in voice and in the storyline within itself as well.

Overall, THE VALE GIRL may not have been for me, but I do really recommend it to readers looking for a new Australian book with a little twist to it.

The Rating
1/5 stars

Friday, September 6, 2013

Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages: 336pgs

The Story

Lucy’s Chantress magic will make her the most powerful—and most hunted—girl in England. 

“Sing, and the darkness will find you.” This warning has haunted fifteen-year-old Lucy ever since she was eight and shipwrecked on a lonely island. Lucy’s guardian, Norrie, has lots of rules, but the most important is that Lucy must never sing. Not ever. Now it is 1667, Lucy is fifteen, and on All Hallows’ Eve, Lucy hears a tantalizing melody on the wind. She can’t help but sing—and she is swept into darkness. 

When she awakes in England, Lucy hears powerful men discussing Chantresses—women who can sing magic into the world. They are hunting her, but she escapes and finds sanctuary with the Invisible College, an organization plotting to overthrow the nefarious Lord Protector. The only person powerful enough to bring about his downfall is a Chantress. And Lucy is the last one in England. 

Lucy struggles to master the song-spells and harness her power, but the Lord Protector is moving quickly. And her feelings for Nat, an Invisible College apprentice and scientist who deeply distrusts her magic, only add to her confusion . . .

Time is running out, and the fate of England hangs in the balance in this entrancing novel that is atmospheric and lyrical, dangerous and romantic.

The Review

I must admit, the cover for this book is what caught my eye when I first saw it. But once I began reading the description and realized it was historical fiction blended with some fantasy elements in-between, I knew I could not pass this baby up and I'm glad I didn't because it was actually a pretty good read for the most part.

CHANTRESS is the kind of story that asks you the one question of, "What would life be like without music?", and I know for certain that I would definitely die if we didn't have music let alone not be able to sing along to music by yourself whenever you may be. And I think I'm not alone there. But for our main character, Lucy, she cannot sing a single word in fear that something bad will happen to her. At least that is what people keep on telling her. But once she escapes from an island that she was stuck on for quite some time (a really interesting turn mind you) and soon arrives at her old hometown of England, Lucy soon discovers she possess mysterious powers and could quite possibly save the world from utter darkness.

First of all, I have to say I really enjoyed the characters in this book, especially Lucy for obvious reasons including she's strong, possesses some cool powers and not to mention tells the tale in an unique and fascinating way. Even the supporting characters who'd played smaller roles in the book were such a great addition to the cast and the book - in particular the character Nat whom I wished I saw more of, so it'll definitely be interesting to see how the author will continue the story with those all those characters and what other parts they have to play because I still have plenty of questions by the end of this book regarding all of those characters, especially when it comes to Lucy's future and her new potential Chantress powers. They were just so interesting to read about!

Now regarding the plot, while the pace was slow at first, but on a whole I think the author did a really great job in plotting every single detail possible to the storyline and developed them as much as she could for the story and its characters, so I applaud her for that part. On another side note, I was also happy with the storyline itself which was both original and unique, and I do certainly hope there is a sequel in the works right now because I don't think I'm ready to leave this world just quite yet so fingers crossed a sequel is coming our way soon!

Overall, CHANTRESS was a delightful read and fans of the fantasy and historical genre will most definitely come to love this special little unique tale it offers.

The Rating
4 1/2 / 5 stars

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Houghton Miffin Books

Pages: 385pgs

The Story

Sybella's duty as Death's assassin in 15th-century France forces her return home to the personal hell that she had finally escaped. Love and romance, history and magic, vengeance and salvation converge in this thrilling sequel to Grave Mercy.

Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, as one of their most dangerous weapons. But those assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

The Review

I adore pretty much anything fantasy or historical-like, so I knew from the get-go that Robin LaFevers had something really special with her new series, especially after reading the author's book, Grave Mercy, which was such a brilliant, brilliant read. So while this sequel might not have necessarily be my all-time favourite book (really nothing I think can beat my profound love of the first book), but I have to say DARK TRIUMPH certainly knows how to push everything to the ultimate limits and when you combine great writing, a great plot and some pretty great - not to mention kick-ass - characters together and wrap them all into one, then you're definitely going to get an awesome read which this was all the way through til the end.

After finishing the book, straight up I thought DARK TRIUMPH was such a great book and such an enjoyable one as well. While I may not have connected as well nor as deeply with the characters in this particular sequel (at least not like I did in the first book of the series) but I still definitely loved reading about Sybella's new journey and figuring out for myself with how different she is compared to our first leading heroine in Grave Mercy, Ismae, which was a pleasant surprise indeed because I like seeing these differences in different main characters. I mean, Sybella is a lot different compared to Ismae's character and personality, and yet she also possesses this very strong essence and build much like Ismae did in the first installment of the series. Sybella, I found, is yet again another girl so capable of . . . well . . . pretty much anything and really what's not to love about that? I like it when these girls are not holding back but rather fighting back with everything they got no matter the hardships they soon come to face.

Overall, DARK TRIUMPH was another strong installment coming from the author and I'm looking forward to reading more from her in the future and from this series.

The Rating
4/5 stars

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hereafter by Kate Brian

Release Date: 1st October, 2013

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

Rory Miller thought her life was over when a serial killer set his sights on her and forced her into witness protection. But a fresh start on Juniper Landing Island was exactly what she and her family needed. For the first time in years she and her sister hang out at the beach, gossip about boys, and party together. She's also made friends with a local clique--including a magnetic and mysterious boy named Tristan.
 
But Rory's world is about to change again. Picturesque Juniper Landing isn't what it seems. The truth about the swirling fog that rolls in each morning, the bridge that leads to nowhere, and those beautiful locals who seem to watch Rory's every move is more terrifying than being hunted by Steven Nell. And all Rory ever wanted was the truth. Even if it means learning that she can never go home again. From the best-selling author of the Private and Privilege series comes the second novel in a heart-stopping trilogy about a girl who must pick up the pieces after the only life she's ever known ends.

The Review

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

Earlier this year I read Kate Brian's Shadowlands and I had thoroughly enjoyed it. The story was well-plotted, very eerie, contain some really great characters and not to mention the book itself just had a very deadly, killer cliffhanger that made me even more excited to pick up its sequel.

In general, I thought the sequel was definitely a good little read. I mean, HEREAFTER may not have been my favourite book thus far in the series (which you can blame on the characters themselves because I had no idea who to trust or like for that matter) as it wasn't the same great read like its predecessor was, however it was still very strong in the creepy factor and I guess on a whole I was still very entertained by this book and what it had to offer, especially when it yet again delivered another killer cliffhanger that made me somewhat shocked and somewhat disgusted by a certain character of Brian's and what he or she had done by the end of the book. Yeah it's very complicated this sequel and it definitely gave me some greater perspective that I had needed from that particular character in question . . . that's for sure.

But apart from that character whom made me so mad by the end of the book, what I did love about this book was the main character and how strong she has eventually become. That being our main leading lady heroine, Rory. She may have made some pretty silly decisions now and then in this book, and perhaps trusted the wrong people (especially of those closest to her), but in the end of it all I still felt like she had grown as a character and that's what I can always truly appreciate in a sequel and really that's all I want from a book. Progression and development. However, I have to say the other supporting characters such as Rory's sister, Darcy, and Rory's love interest in particular, had really got on my nerves this time round and even more than they did in the first book. But . . . I'm still excited to see what the author has install for the rest of the characters in the third book coming next year, which I'm guessing is going to be a major and a mind-blowing kind of book. Especially after that cliffhanger we got in the end. It was like whoa.

Overall, if you liked Shadowlands then I would definitely recommend HEREAFTER as it does a nice job in the continuation of this series.

The Rating
3/5 stars
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