Monday, July 30, 2012

Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Pages: 346pgs

The Story

I died on a Thursday - killed by a monster intent on stealing my soul. The good news? He didn't get it. The bad news? Turns out not even death will get you out of high school . . . Covering up her own murder was one thing, but faking life is much harder than Kaylee Cavanaugh expected. After weeks spent "recovering," she's back in school, fighting to stay visible to the human world, struggling to fit in with her friends and planning time alone with her new reaper boyfriend. But to earn her keep in the human world, Kaylee must reclaim stolen souls, and when her first assignment brings her face-to-face with an old foe, she knows the game has chnaged. Her immortal status won't keep her safe. And this time Kaylee isn't just gambling with her own life . . .

The Review

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

I think I'm with everyone else when I say the Soul Screamers series is one of my all-time favourite YA book series and every single book Rachel Vincent brings out just keeps getting better, better, and better!

BEFORE I WAKE, the sixth installment of the Soul Screamers series, picks up shortly after the previous book If I Die had ended, where our main leading lady, Kaylee Cavanaugh, had died and was practically brought back to become the new extractor of the afterlife. But as she must slowly come to grips with her own death, deal with a new job and a new reaper boyfriend, and with her having very little patience to deal with just about everybody else's problems on top of it all - including her ex-boyfriend Nash, things for Kaylee are about to get even more complicated when souls are being stolen and it's up to Kaylee and her friends to figure out who is behind it all, which will soon force Kaylee to make the hardest decision she's ever made before!

This new installment was yet another brilliant book coming my way and it packs quite an emotional punch if I do say so myself. I mean, the writings of these heartbreaking situations that Kaylee continuously faces with is just another one of Rachel Vincent's most wonderful trademarks and one that I personally love her for. And don't get me wrong here readers, I love to be shell-shocked by events, but man oh man . . . I can't predict what's going to happen next in this particular series alone . . . like AT ALL because it's shock-after-shock and twist-after-twist and honestly I'm really, really scared right now to read the final installment of this series next year, because I can tell that Vincent is going to make me cry harder in the future . . . I just know it! While BEFORE I WAKE may not have been my favourite of the series so far, but there's so much going on in this book and it's absolutely crazy - but I love series so much that I can handle crazy any time!

For our main heroine, Kaylee has been one of my favourite characters in YA for what feels like a very, very long time. She's strong, brave, selfless, snarky, caring, hella complexed, but most of all she's someone who accepts her mistakes and tries to move past them in the best way possible! Even if it breaks her heart doing so. But from each book and through each obstacle Kaylee faces, her character continues to grow and you are given even more reasons to love her each time . . . she's such a fine character and it's quite stupid of me to think a single paragraph is going to justify her as a great heroine. But hey - it's true. I love her to pieces!

But it's not just Kaylee growing . . . it's every other character in the book too. For one, there's the reaper Tod, Kaylee's ex-boyfriend's dead brother (yeah it's a little complicated for our girl), who shines throughout the entire book. Now I've always been a #1 fan of Tod and his superb humour to lift my spirits up, but what's changed in his character is that this time round he's actually in a relationship with Kaylee (I know finally!) after a bad break-up with his brother Nash, and while I'm sorry to not love Nash as much as I used to, but it's great to come together with other fans and praise Tod for all his hotness radiating in this book! Seriously he's so hot it's not funny and just reading about his relationship with Kaylee puts a smile on face. They are better suited than Kaylee and Nash ever were and they were all so, so good together.

Speaking of Nash's character, I do feel sorry for the guy and what happened to him in the previous book (even if it was his own fault). But I'm happy to report that he's slowly getting back on track - whatever that means - which is good to see and I hope Nash gets a good ending one way or another because he really does still love and care for Kaylee, but there's no longer that sizzle between them anymore and I think one day he'll see this . . . and hopefully get over it. Then there's Nash's ex-girlfriend and 'sort of' bestfriend Sabine. Ah, Sabine. Now I really dislike her. I mean sure, I tried to like her in this book and when I finally did . . . she just went straight back to being that nosey little teen that she is and I hate her for it. *face palm* She's annoying, okay? Can't connect with her even if I tried. Then there's Emma (Kaylee's best friend) who is supportive as ever, then there's Kaylee's dad who is so #1 on my best Dad list, and there's also so many other characters - including the baddies - who just shine in this novel as well . . . why must there be so many fantastic characters in such a short read??? Honestly I don't know how Rachel Vincent does it!

Overall, to say BEFORE I WAKE is amazing is a total understatement in my books but there's so much to love in this series and it never fails to disappoint me! If you haven't read this series yet, then what the hell are you WAITING FOR? GO READ IT NOW! PRONTO!

The Rating

4 1/2 / 5 stars

Friday, July 27, 2012

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Greenwillow

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around tehm.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club - in the depths of her own despair - Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for - no matter what it costs her.

The Review

I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book, before I even started reading it, and I knew it was a complete must for me! First let me just say that I am a huge Edgar Allan Poe fan. He has forever been awe-inspiring for me ever since Ive read his works at a young age and honest to god he was one of the main reasons why I wanted to be a writer in the first place. So, when I came across this title, seeing and recognising the title and reading that is was inspired by one of my favourite Poe stories, Masque of the Red Death, there was no denying that I was going to adore this book inside and out! And once again I was right.

MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH is a wonderfully-blended steampunk tale about a young teenage girl named Araby Worth, who lives in a plague-stricken city of New Orleans. Being the daughter of a scientist, who is now under the protection of Prince Prospero, she enjoys a somewhat 'glamorous' life athough she is still haunted by the death of her twin brother, Finn, which she can only escape from by partaking in drugs at the Debauchery Club, where her friend April also comes along with her, the niece of the Prince himself. With the city slowly deteriorating with deadly diseases killing nearly half of the population and with so very little masks to be used in order to contain these diseases alone, there is little hope for Araby to survive. But as soon as Araby decides to change her ways, she will not only encounter many dangers that could threaten her and her family, but she will also encounter many questions not only about her family and friends, but also questions about her entire city.

This book literally blew my mind. Not only could I feel the clever familiarities of Poe's story being interwined with this storyline, but I could feel the author's own story as well which was just as beautiful, compelling and seductive as the original. What amazed me with this book was that it was nothing like anything out there in young adult books and it sets itself apart entirely, with a world that is part of the past, part of the present and part of the future that is far more different to what we're aware of now. As Bethany Griffin takes us into this new world she has created, the book works like magic as you slowly begin to get sucked into this plague infestation and ultimately everything about this book from its dark world-building to the mysterious dark romances . . . there is honestly not enough to say in order to do this book the justice it clearly deserves!

Apart from the wonderful storyline, what captivated me the most were the characters themselves, even the ones with smaller purposes to the story. Araby, for one, was such a fantastic main heroine. She was smart, kind-hearted, and she was always courgeous in every single situation she faces - no matter the danger, she's already there and prepared to fight for the cause. To some readers from what I've read in past reviews, Araby may be a very depressing character for some since for the majority of the book she continues to push herself away from others, punishes herself when she has a chance at true happiness, and at times she is still struggling to deal with the world that is withering around her and even with her twin brother's death which is the main contribution to her own depression. But damn, once this girl changes and stops hiding behind her mask, she is a reformed young woman and everything about her puts a smile on my face because she's a beautiful person with a lot in her to still love. And loved her I did.

But when there's a heroine there are always love interests involved. In this case a love triangle. I don't do love triangles as much as I used to, but this one is clearly an exception. For Araby's character she has two very worthy and hella sexy love interests - Will, the mysterious tattooed proprietor of the club whom Araby is instantly attracted to and damn I don't blame her, and then there's Elliot, the wealthy aristocrat and the brother of Araby's best friend, April, whom she's attracted to as well, only she doesn't trust him as much as she does Will since Elliot has many secrets of his own. MY GOD THESE BOYS! Where most fangals can have only one fictional boy team that they remain faithful to, but seriously . . . when it comes to Will and Elliot alone, I just can't seem to choose between them! Firstly, you trust them and you love them. And then the next you don't trust them and you want to cry in frustration because these two boys are just so insufferable but in the best possible way of course! While I feel Elliot had more of a connection to Araby than Elliot did at first, both on an emotional and personal scale, but I guess I'll have to wait and see in order to find out just which team I'm on. Oh heck - I'll just say Team Elliot right now and I'll see what happens because Elliot was the boy I was so obsessed with. Seriously. LOVED HIM!

Overall, MASQUE OF THE READ DEATH is painted as a sinister and twisted story just like the original Poe tale. Beautifully written, page-turning, and every as bit as rich and complex as I expected it to be, it's no wonder why Griffin's haunting creation is a solid novel and it deserves every single high praise it's been getting because I'm lusting, craving and WANTING more from this series!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

Release Date: 7th August, 2012

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

In the Community, there is no more pain or war. Implanted computer chips have wiped humanity clean of destructive emotions, and thoughts are replaced by a feed from the Link network. When Zoe starts to malfunction (or "glitch"), she suddenly begins having her own thoughts, feelings, and identity. Any anomalies must be immediately reported and repaired, but Zoe has a secret so dark it will mean certain deactivation if she caught: her glitches have given her uncontrollable telekinetic powers.

As Zoe struggles to control her abilities and stay hidden, she meets other glitchers including Max, who can disguise his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. Together, this growing band of glitchers must find a way to free themselves from the controlling hands of the Community before they're caught and deactivated, or worse. In this action-paced debut, Glitch begins an exciting new young adult trilogy.

The Review

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

Zoe lives in a society where order is everything in her world. Your actions. Your life. Your personality. Everything must have order. As soon as children are born in Zoe's world, everything in their lives are already planned out for them and are controlled by a simple concept of a chip that is placed inside them and are monitored by the people whom call themselves Regulators. But unlike most teenagers, Zoe has a secret to keep. She's glitching. In fact, she's been glitching for a few months now without a single person noticing. For once she can think for herself, feel what she wants to feel, and she can not be controlled by them. But if the regulators ever find out her secret, they'll have to re-program her or worse . . . de-activate her . . . for good.

GLITCH was a young adult book that has been on my to-read list for a quite some time now and I've been super excited to read it despite the average ratings it has been given previously. So when netgalley was offering up this title for readers, I just instantly jumped at the chance to read it. But when I started this book, when I continued to read through the tale, and when I ended up finishing it, this book certainly had its appealing sides which a lot of readers will love and enjoy, but the book itself was just not what I was expecting it to be like. Not whatsoever.

Firstly, the storyline starts off really slow and at some points in the book I wanted to give up. It's not a bad story . . . not at all . . . it was just slow with not too much happening. I mean, I don't mind an author taking their time to deliver a great action-packed book to their fellow readers - which Heather Anastasiu still does in a way - but sometimes slow-pacing can affect a reader for the majority of the book and in this case it did for me. The same goes for the characters, unfortunately. It took me a long time to warm up to each of the characters due to the slow-pacing.

For example, the main character, Zoe, was mostly tolerable but she also could be unlikable at times too, and I wanted more action from her than words and words. I understand she has two personas in this book, one where she's experiencing a glitch and the other one where she's trying to fight against it, but there wasn't that oomph of life I needed from her, you know? Even her love interest, Adrien, had potential greatness inside of him but, like with Zoe, he'd gotten on my nerves as well. At least when he kept saying his words of, "Crackin' Hell" which I wasn't a fan of. Trust me here . . . it was driving me crazy! See, the thing is, despite some of the funny things exchanged by the characters (for sure there was definitely some hilarious things being said and other awkward-but-funning stuff characters mentioned that related to stuff like 'pleasure' hehe you know what I mean, right? wink wink) and despite not completely falling nor caring about the characters all too much, they were still likable in their own way and it's really up to you as a reader whether or not to like this book or give it a fair go.

Overall, if you love dystopian books no matter their shape or form, then you'll love this book. It might not be everyone's cup of tea but I found GLITCH was something you need to read at the once and it offers up an interesting first installment to a YA series. While I was hugely letdown by this book, but I'm still going to give the second book another shot in the future, especially since how this book ended. It really interested me then . . .

The Rating2 1/2 / 5 stars

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Razorbill

Pages: 418pgs

The Story

The second thrilling installment in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spinoff series

Tough, brainy alchemist Sydney Sage and doe-eyed Moroi princess Jill Dragomir are in hiding at a human boarding school in the sunny, glamorous world of Palm Springs, California. The students - children of the wealthy and powerful - carry on with their lives in blissful ignorance, while Sydney, Jill, Eddie, and Adrian must do everything in their power to keep their secret safe. But with forbidden romances, unexpected spirit bonds, and the threat of Strigoi moving ever closer, hiding the truth is harder than anyone thought.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Richelle Mead's breathtaking Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive. In this second book, the drama is hotter, the romances are steamier, and the stakes are even higher.

The Review

THE GOLDEN LILY is the second installment of the Bloodlines series - a spinoff series of Richelle Mead's other YA series Vampire Academy, it picks up shortly after where the first book had ended. In this next sequel however, with the Alchemists being vastly impressed with the smart and sassy heroine Sydney Sage's work and dedication with the Moroi and Dhampir community, everything for once seems to get back to its original normalcy. But when her current mission is to continue in keeping the Moroi Queen's sister, Jill Mastrano, safe from assassination and when Sydney's relationship and sudden friendship with another fellow Moroi guy, Adrian Ivashkov, grows closer and deeper each day, Sydney soon begins to question everything she grew up with - the Alchemist's old but traditional ways of serving and even her own beliefs. And what's worse . . . something sinister is lurking amongst Palm Springs and it's up to Miss Sydney Sage herself to figure it out what this danger is before everything is all too late.

As a self-professed fan of Richelle Mead, both with her young adult and adult series, I'm very happy to say THE GOLDEN LILY definitely hit the mark, and I loved it as much as I loved the first book, Bloodlines. There's just something about Mead's writing that makes you giggle like a school girl and I have no clue whatsoever on how she does it again and again, but I love anything written by her - absolutely anything. As most of you know Mead's previous Vampire Academy series was my ultimate favourite book series in the YA genre but for some reason I found that I loved its spin-off series, Bloodlines, a hell of a lot more which continues to surprise me. So with an easy-to-follow storyline, plenty of twists and turns that await at every corner and with characters developed in all sorts of ways, it's no wonder why this series beats out Vampire Academy in a heartbeat. IT'S SO FREAKIN' AWESOME!

When it comes to Sydney Sage, I love her way, way more than I ever did love Vampire Academy's main heroine, Rose Hathaway. I still love our Rosa, don't get me wrong, but Sydney is just my kind of heroine, you know? For anyone who reads this book, using myself as an example, with Sydney's character alone you are always able to find something within yourself to relate to - both physically and emotionally -with Sydney and on a personal level too. And personally for me, Sydney and I couldn't be any more different. We're like the same person for the most part and I guess that's why I love her so much. We have this quirk about us where some may not quite understand at first. We have smarts about us and we don't care that we're geeky. We also love learning about new things and embracing that. We love books (c'mon who doesn't?). But what I identify with her the most, is that we are careful with who we trust and who we allow into our lives, and that's just something Sydney and I share with our common and almost-like second natures. From Bloodlines Sydney was just a girl who was closed off from the world and that's not such a bad thing . . . but all she needed to be opened up a little bit and in this sequel that's exactly what happened - she learned about herself, what she truly believed in, what she enjoys from her life and for once she knows who she trust! Even herself. There's such a brilliant development in her character and I swear I'll stop with the high praises right here and now because I could go on for hours with just how amazing Sydney is and what an inspiration she is to me - even for a fictional character.

As much as I love the secondary characters (including Eddie, Jill, Trey and heck even the okay-but-a-total-douche and newly introduced Brayden) and as much as I loved seeing appearances coming from Dimitri and Sonya which was a very exciting moment for me since you know how much I love, love, love Dimitri from the VA series, but let's go straight to the boy we just HAVE to talk about, that being Mr. Adrian Ivashkov. Oh boy oh boy. Adrian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally Adrian gets to play more of a part in the book and get close to our leading girl, Sydney Sage.

For a complicated character such as Adrian Ivashkov, I was really surprised by how much he has grown as a leading male character and unlike in the Vampire Academy series, where he was previously going out with Rose Hathaway and trying to impress her constantly, this time round Adrian is actually changing his ways for himself rather than forcing things that shouldn't be forced on someone as reckless as Adrian was back then. So, I really liked that change in him. Adrian has come a very long way in my books and when you overlook his gorgeous looks, his humorous witty banter (which hits every high note), and even his excuses in trying to be a bad boy that we know he can sometimes be, but deep down inside, Adrian is still a caring guy and he cares deeply for Sydney. You can just see right through him in this sequel and oh Adrian . . . *cue the infinite cries*

While the storyline was awesome and epic in all the right places, but really guys . . . it was Adrian and Sydney's relationship - their new friendship they have accumulated overtime - that was the only thing running through my mind at the time of reading this book. One of the elements of the book I just WANTED to read. C'mon . . . it totally was the only thing on our minds, right?! Adrian and Sydney would seem like the most unlikely people to become friends and share some conversations with, but where there are opposites there is also some attraction in the shadows and Team Sydrian totally had its steamy chemistry as we've seen in Bloodlines. There's this tango dance going on between both of these characters and I swear they will drive me to my own insanity one day. Sydney was so oblivious to Adrian and even the way she acted around him . . . gosh . . . it made me swear all sorts of things in the air.

And then there's Adrian . . . now he drove me right up the walls, what with his words of wisdom and the way he would always make himself excuses to spend some good quality time with Sydney . . . and to us readers it was SO obvious. Argh. You characters . . . you will be the death of me. And that ending . . . that ending scenes that I wanted so badly to happen and where it had finally happened and then torn me into little pieces . . . argh . . . Richelle Mead you are truly the Queen of all Evils in the writing world. Angst. So much angst people! *let's now cue the following gif of my current feels*


Overall, THE GOLDEN LILY was everything I hoped it would be, if not it was more than I ever saw coming in the Bloodlines series. With so much happening in so little time and with a book that is like riding an emotional rollarcoaster (one that will make you sick with heart failures, with some casual strokes and with some symptoms of running noses and red eyes from all that crying), I can definitely say without a doubt that readers will not be disappointed by this sequel and I'm so eager for the third book, The Indigo Spell, even if I'm fearful to read it as well. Oh man . . . that ending . . . THAT ENDING! Angst people. ANGST!

The Rating5/5 stars

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dead Time by Anne Cassidy

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 344pgs

The Story

Rose and Joshua first met when Joshua and his dad came to live with Rose and her mum. Then their world turns upside down when their mother and father go out for dinner one evening and never return. With police inquiries going nowhere, Rose is dispatched to live with her chilly, unfriendly grandmother and Joshua is sent to live with his uncle. Then Joshua comes to London to study and Rose is witness to not one, but two murders. Why is this happening to Rose? Can it be anything to do with the investigations Joshua has been doing into the disappearance of their parents? A taunt and pacy thriller that is the start of a stylish new serieis from an acclaimed writer for teens.

The Review

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

Anne Cassidy's new book, DEAD TIME, follows a girl named Rose, a sometimes lonely and quiet young teenage girl, whom had experienced a past tragedy where her mother and her 'sort-of' stepfather disappeared five years ago. So when Rose witnesses two other murders of kids from her local high school, she is more than determined to find out who did it - which is easier said than done. But when she starts to reconnect with her estranged stepbrother and friend, Joshua, he is even more concerned and yet far more eager to find out what happened to their parents and as a result they begin investigating . . . leading to all sorts of trouble.

My feelings towards this book are mixed. There are parts where I really enjoyed the plot and its main characters, and then there were other parts too, where I found myself a little overwhelmed by the book's events and was sometimes confused by them as well. While the whole mystery side to the storyline was mostly easy to follow and at times contained pretty exciting stuff, but what the story lacked was oomph from the main character, Rose, who had blindly followed Joshua's every action and move when it came to finding out what happened to their disappearing parents. I understand the connection they shared and why Rose would allow Joshua to lead the way, but for some reason I wanted more character depth from her and more strength to built up into her character, you know? But regardless of that, I still liked the book and their characters, and assuming that this book is apart of a series, I really hope there will be more improvement in the next installment!

Overall, I would highly recommend DEAD TIME for all you mystery and thriller lovers out there. With lot's of questions that are eventually answered along the way, and with many surprising twists added into the mix, readers will definitely enjoy reading this book!

The Rating

3/5 stars

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Release Date: 25th July, 2012

Publisher: HarlequinTeen

Pages: 392pgs

The Story


No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

The Review

A big thanks to Morey Media for sending me an ARC copy of this book!

The moment I saw the blurb I knew this was definitely my kind of book. As far as romances go in the young adult genre - cliche or not - I have the secret pleasure of reading about forbidden romances where two young people find themselves being opposites to one another and as much as they know they are no good together, somehow and some way they are just meant to be and go against all the odds that life throws at them. Like many of you I know, I'm a total sucker for those kind of forbidden relationships. I just can't help but love them! So, when it comes to this book, I'm happy to say I soon disappeared into the lives of Echo and Noah and Katie McGarry sure knows how to please her readers with such raw emotion and intensity.

I won't go into any details regarding the storyline, so let's talk about the characters and in particular the two main characters we alternate chapters between. That being Echo and Noah. Echo is a wonderfully portrayed young woman. She's real and she's honest, and I guess that's what added this believability to her character and it's probably the main reason why I liked her so much. She was someone who is coming to grips with who she is as a person but she's also someone who is still trying to face the many difficult times ahead of her, since she'd recently experienced a horrific event but one she cannot exactly remember. I admit, for someone so young, I couldn't imagine anything worse then not remembering something life-changing that happened to you and I just couldn't help but feel for her, especially when it came to how she's coping with her family and her friends alongside her own grief. Yeah . . . I'm sure many readers will relate to her on some personal level.

On the other hand, we have Noah. Really, what's with all these Noah names being thrown around nowadays? Out of everyone, Noah's character was the one that really surprised me in the end. He was more than his reputation precedes itself and he was an angel in some respects when it came to caring about others and for his brothers, which I didn't see coming at all. Even when he started calling Echo 'Baby' all the time (which as you know, drives me nuts and if anybody called me that I would kick his ass to the curb haha), there was just this immediate connection you had with Noah - despite all his faults - and you could understand what drove him and Echo together. After all, they both had suffered from something tragic in their past and they were still coping with their tough circumstances, even after such a long time of grieving. Honestly, they had the perfect chemistry in my books . . . even when things seemed so impossible for them to actually be together.

Overall, PUSHING THE LIMITS is unlike any other YA romance novels of today. There's no insta-love nor any love triangle placed in there to create some tension - it was just a book that make your heart ache in all the right places and it was just a book that had a little bit of everything to inspire you in your own life. So if you love stories from the likes of Simone Elkeles or Elizabeth Scott, then PUSHING THE LIMITS is a MUST read for you because it definitely pushes everything to the limits and if not, pushes you more than you would ever expect from it and I'll be very much looking forward to reading what else Katie McGarry writes next!

The Rating5/5 stars

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 464pgs

The Story

What if there were teens whose lives depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels in Sweet Evil.

Tenderhearted Southern girl, Anna Whitt, was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, and inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage, and her will-power is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

The Review

Wow, wow oh my god wow. I have read several reviews for SWEET EVIL over the last few months but never did I expect for it to be so, so good. This debut novelist, Wendy Higgins, is certainly a force to be reckoned with in the angel and demon genre, and while this book is full of teenage angst with some cliche lines in tow, but I didn't care whatsoever because this book had become such a bad influence on me - me of all people - and in the end this book right here is something that sets itself apart from the rest of YA literature . . . which I loved every single bloody freaking moment of!

Our main character, Anna Whitt, is a pretty girl who often keeps to herself. She's the type of girl who is always nice to people. She's the type of girl with a best friend that is always by her side. She's the type of girl that can do no wrong. But unlike other girls she knows . . . she's also the type of girl who can feel and see emotions and remember things when others cannot. Soon Anna will learn about her so-called 'gifts' when she meets the bad boy drummer, Kaidan Rowe, who is about to rock her world forever. Anna doesn't want to fall for his cocky charms nor be one of his casual flings, and yet she can't seem to stay away from him. But whether she likes it or not, Kaidan has all of the questions she's been looking for and soon she'll be sucked into a world full of sin because . . . her life depends on it.

What I loved most about this story was what it lacked in angels and how it focused more on the demon side of things which I'm far more interested in mythology-wise. While I'm usually wary of angel and demon stories, especially in YA fiction since there's so many of them out there, however I have to say I'm really impressed with this title. Really impressed. The concept and the way Wendy Higgins presented each type demon was one of the most creative things I've read in quite some time. Sure, angels are interesting like most mythologies are but there's just something about demons I like and I adored the way sin played a major theme in this book and after all sin is what demons are most brilliant at. We all sin at least once in our lives . . . it's perfect.

Anna was not a perfect girl but I still loved her as our main heroine. There's this somewhat sweet innocence she reflects onto the page that is always tested throughout the entire book and because she's such an interesting character too, I couldn't help but continue to turn those pages just to find out what happens to her next. Some say Anna was just another 'Bella Swan' character but I believe readers are wrong because she's far more than that Twilight girl. She's fun. She's cute. She's pretty. She's witty. But what sets her apart from the other cliche girl characters is that she offers far more to the storyline and she's not that girl who instantly falls in love with a bad boy . . . she's cautious which I love most about her.

As for Anna's potential love interest, Kaiden, which is such a very, very sexy name mind you, he is someone you're supposed to hate right from the beginning. In the though, you cannot help but love him even more and more for being SO BAD. It's his best trait. I mean, being the son of Lust (yes this part is true) there are so many complexities when it comes to Kaidan's character alone and I love those complicated sides to him. Not to mention there's so much sin floating around this hot boy on the block. But when you overlook his bad boy persona and the way he's loves em' and leaves em' and all of those other actions he takes in order to get his sins done (which are hard to read about it at times because he's so infuriating), but deep down inside he's a good guy who is just put in a very difficult situation which of course he can't help. But my god . . . he's one hottie you need to look out for fangals! That is for sure.

Overall, Wendy Higgin's SWEET EVIL is a mind-blowing debut novel! I didn't expect to love it as much as I did nor cradle this book in my arms with a whole lot of Squees! but I loved it and I literally can't wait to read the next installment because I'm sure it's going to make me want to sin after I'm done reading it!

The Rating 5/5 stars

Monday, July 16, 2012

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 353pgs

The Story

What happens when happily ever after . . . isn't?

Delilah hates school as much as she loves books. In fact, there's one book in particular she can't get enough of. If anyone knew how many times she has read and re-read the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially the popular kids, she'd be sent to social Siberia . . . forever.

To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there's a handsome (well, okay, hot) prince, and a castle, and an evil gvillain, but it feels as if there's something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they're from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?

Together with her daughter Samantha Van Leer, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult has written a classic fairy tale with a uniquely modern twist.

The Review

A big thanks to Allen & Unwin for sending me a review copy of this book!

I was pretty skeptical of this book when it landed on my doorstep. With not having read any of Jodi Picoult's previous work and not having a fair enough opinion of her work to then compare to it this young adult novel of her and her daughter's (I mean, seriously, how cool that her young daughter co-wrote this book with her mother!), I will have to admit that I would have probably not have read this book if it weren't for the publisher who'd sent me it to me. But boy oh boy, I'm so very glad they'd introduced this book to me because I ate this book right up from the beginning - the words, the illustrations, the fairy tale within itself - and it is one of the most unique books I've ever come across and it will remain one of the best titles that I've ever read.

BETWEEN THE LINES has this fairy tale vibe to it and you know how much of a sucker I am when it comes to my fairytales. Now with this book however, it is told between alternating two main characters and it's the kind of book that's a story within a story within another story which is the most exciting part of all. Firstly we have Deliah, a teenage girl who is in love with a fairy tale book and whom can't get enough of it, and secondly, we have another main character, Oliver, a charming prince of the actual fairy tale book and one of whom is so very real in the book. The thing I loved about Deliah and Oliver was how real they seemed to me. Deliah, for example, was someone who I could easily connect with, especially when it came to her love of books and reading. And Oliver . . . well, he was such a charming prince and I loved him to bits. The relationship Deliah and Oliver shared, no matter the cliche romance lying between them, but I adored them so MUCH! Together or not, they were such awesome characters and I just didn't want to let them go in the end!

Aside from the characters and the storyline, what really captivated me was the illustrations. The illustrations alone was what drew me in and it was what made this book so very unique. I mean, some of the pages were filled with fairy tale sketches of the prince in question, the full-size coloured printed variety kind of sketches and they were so "oh my god" beautiful. I just wanted to reach out and touch them, hoping for the magic to get to me too. Then there were other illustrations - the small and the black-and-white variety kind of illustrations, that were displayed on many edges of the pages and ones that translated to what was actually happening in the storyline which were equally as beautiful as the full-page coloured ones. Honestly, I just couldn't get enough of this book and everything single page in it. It wasn't just your average young adult read with a bit action here and a bit of romance there. It was and is a fairy tale book of magic all on its own and it made me want to be a child once more. Seriously it was that good.

Overall, BETWEEN THE LINES may be something you will overlook in a bookstore but it's definitely a read you wouldn't want to miss out on. Both adorable and out of this world, this book was the perfect escape for me and with a mother-and-daughter duo writing it together for the very first time, I'm sure you too will want to escape along with me and this book . . . it was so beautiful!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Friday, July 13, 2012

Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Egmont

Pages: 314pgs

The Story

Mirabelle's past is shrouded in secrecy, from her parents' tragic deaths to her guardians' half-truths about why she can't return to her birthplace, Beau Rivage. Desperate to see the town, Mira runs away a week before her sixteenth birthday - and discovers a world she never could have imagined.

In Beau Rivage, nothing is what it seems - the strangely pale girl with a morbid interest in apples, the obnoxious playboy who's a beast to everyone he meets, and the chivalrous guy who has a thing for a damsels in distress. Here, fairy tales come to life, curses are awakened, and ancient stories are played out again and again.

But fairy tales aren't pretty things, and they don't always end happily ever after. Mira has a role to play, a fairy tale destiny to embrace or resist. As she struggles to take control of her fate, Mira is drawn into the lives of two brothers with fairy tale curses of their own . . . brothers who share a dark secret. And she'll find that love, just like fairy tales, can have sharp edges and hidden thorns.

The Review

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

For those who know me very well in my book tastes, you would know straight off that I love anything to do with a modern twist to some of my favourite classic fairy tales from my childhood and I hoped this book was going to blow me away, especially since the plot sounded awesome and was exactly what I was looking for right now! Unfortunately I wasn't too impressed by the book itself, however it did still offer up something completely unique not to mention original and I can see many readers who love fairy tales - as much as I do - loving this book!

KILL ME SOFTLY is a young adult novel mixed between Grimm Brothers and something along the lines of the popular tv show Once Upon a Time, where fairy tales aren't just old stories anymore in ancient books . . . they're in fact just old curses that are repeatedly placed upon descendents of fairy-human hybrids. For the main heroine, Mira, she's about to turn sixteen and for once in her life she's breaking one of her grandmother's strictest rules . . . to return to her hometown of Beau Rivage, where her parents had died in a fire years ago when she was just a baby. So, one night Mira runs away and upon the arrival to her old town, she encounters many enchantments, curses and teenagers with very mysterious marks . . . one she has too. And in tow, Mira also meets a girl named Vivian, whom has a wicked stepmother and a fetish for apples, and a boy named Blue, whom does his best to run Mira out of town while she still has a chance, but then she meets his brother, Felix, whom is more trouble than he first seems.

With a very different take on fairy tales, what really appealed to me the most was the supporting characters alone. Sure, none were particularly a favourite of mine nor did I care for them deeply in the way I should have as a reader, but they were still very entertaining and had their purpose to make some good progress on the storyline. With that said, I couldn't connect strongly with the main character, Mira, and I really tired to . . . but I just couldn't. She made a lot of poor decisions not to mention wild assumptions of certain things that happened along the way, and she was incredibly easy to manipulate which wasn't fun at all. The only redemption the character had was her feelings for Blue, who was the only character I wanted to know more and more about. He was the reason why I kept reading. He was a whole ball of trouble - and fun if you know what I mean - and he had that badass attitude I love in my hot fictional guys. Oh and he had piercings too . . . yeah they are so likable okay!

Overall, this book wasn't a bad one because I still finished it and I still enjoyed it which is the main point I'm trying to make here. With some surprising twists and a great set of supporting characters that will make you laugh out loud and cry in frustration, KILL ME SOFTLY is highly recommended by me if you love anything to do with fairy tales or merely a book with some originality added to it. If you love either of those two aspects in a book, then you'll definitely love this book right here! So . . . GO FOR IT!

The Rating

3 1/2 / 5 stars

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Macmillan

Pages: 503pgs

The Story

Can true love be forgotten?

As the only Scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.

Just as Helen iis pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out - a ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies' cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen's sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.

Josephine Angelini's compelling saga becomes ever more intricate and spellbinding as an unforgettable love triangle emerges and the eternal cycle of revenge intensifies. Eagerly awaited, this sequel to the internationally bestselling STARCROSSED delivers a gritty, action-packed love story that exceeds expectation.

The Review

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

I absolutely adored Starcrossed when I read it last year. It became one of my personal favourite debut novels in fact. The author, Josephine Angelini, had taken the fantasy and the mythology genre to a whole new level in YA fiction, and I was very much looking forward to reading her much anticipated sequel. As a result I had very, very high expectations and unfortunately DREAMLESS just didn't live up to those expectations. The beginning was a struggle for me but as soon as I hit the middle section of the book and read til the end, things had gotten even more epic which only goes to prove that this book wasn't bad at all . . . it just wasn't as good as the first.

The second installment DREAMLESS continues on from where Starcrossed left on from. With an ancient prophecy still lying heavily upon Helen's shoulders, where it's foretold that she must free the Scions from their bloodied debts owed to the Furies, she must, as a Descender, cross through the Underworld every night to find and defeat the Furies's quest of vengeance before killing each other in the process. But night after night, nightmare after nightmare, Helen struggles to keep everything together, even her own sanity until she meets another Scion - one she's never met before - who might be the only one who can help and save her. But with Lucas, the suppose love of her life, trying to keep clear of her as much as possible and with secrets unveiled at every turn, and with so many duties that she must undertake, the question remains to be . . . can Helen fulfill her prophecy or is it just a little too late for her to do so?

Firstly let me just say I was completely heartbroken over the whole Helen and Lucas relationship, especially since everyone seemed to think they were 'cousins'. So not cool. From the first book I was so in love with them and I desperately wanted them to find each other and be happy again, but it just didn't work out that way I'm afraid. And sadly, nothing much progressed in their relationship in this book either. Helen, the main character, still remained a great main heroine although for the majority of the book she was being wasted away. Literally. Since her trips to the Underworld are taking their toll on her and making her really thin and almost sick-like, and having the constant thought of your 'true love' being your cousin, Helen's character is pushed to the ultimate limits. But regardless of those matters, Helen has developed a lot more in this sequel which was a great thing to witness. She's being cruelly tested but that's not such a bad thing since it tests Helen in a good way. As for Lucas's character, where the hell was he? He was hardly in this book which was a such a disappointment. But when we do finally get to see our dear, dear Lucas, he too has changed like Helen. Lucas mopes around a lot for all good reasons I suppose but instead of being that charming guy he has always been, he has now become someone losing control which for him is a first. So it was also great to see some emotional sides to him but with that said, I still want more of Lucas in the third book. Way, way more of him.

What's even more interesting was that Josephine Angelini - like many other authors have done - have introduced a love triangle into the Starcrossed series. A thing I didn't expect from her at all. I may not have been jumping for joy over this but I was still interested in where she would take this new love triangle to. But despite my negativity towards love triangles most days (cause c'mon it's all been said and done), I was still pretty amazed to actually like - no love - the second love interest, Orion, the Scion boy Helen ends up meeting in the Underworld. Orion was simply wonderful and he was one of the main reasons why I kept reading and reading this sequel. I mean, as soon as Orion and Helen shared interactions with one another, I had become so invested in them and I know Lucas is still around and I should be loving him, but Orion has totally stolen my heart and if nothing can be worked out between Helen and Lucas, I really hope she gives Orion a chance. He's the better guy in this sequel and he really steps up his game!

Overall, DREAMLESS offers up yet another entertaining sequel and while I wouldn't say it was better than Starcrossed - because it's not - and while it may not have WOWed me like I hoped it would, but I'm still dying over here for the next book to come because the ending . . . it has left me wanting more!

The Rating 3 1/2 / 5 stars

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers

Pages: 314pgs

The Story

Grief brought Finley to Ireland. LOVE WILL LEAD HER HOME.

Finley Sinclair is not your typical eighteen-year-old. She's witty, tough, and driven. With an upcoming interview at the Manhattan music conservatory, Finley needs to compose her audition piece. But her creativity disappeared with the death of her older brother, Will.

She decides to study abroad in Ireland so she can follow Will's travel journal. It's the place he felt closest to God, and she's hopeful being there will help her make peace over losing him. So she agrees to an exchange program and boards the plane.

Beckett Rush, teen heartthrob and Hollywood bad boy, is flying to Ireland to finish filming is latest vampire movie. On the flight, he meets Finley. She's the one girl who seems immune to his charm. Undeterred, Beckett convinces her to be his assistant in exchange for his help as a tour guide.

Once in Ireland, Finley starts to break down. The loss of her brother and the pressure of school, her audition, and whatever it is that is happening between her and Beckett, leads her to a new and dangerous vice. When is God going to show up for her in this emerald paradise?

Then she experiences something that radically changes her perspective on life. Could it be God convincing her that everything she's been looking for has been with her all along?

The Review

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

With a beautiful setting that I have always been obsessed with and some very amusing and clever situations the characters seem to find themselves in, I can definitely guarantee that many young adult readers with fall in love with this book. While I may not be a religious person - like not at all - but there is quite a lot of spiritual and religious entities displayed throughout the book, but despite that small factor, I still really enjoyed this book.

THERE YOU'LL FIND ME is all about forgiveness, dealing with grief and discovering for yourself who you truly are as a person. So, for an eighteen-year-old girl named Finley, she's still a broken mess after her brother had died about a year ago. But when she has hopes to experience the presence of God in the same way her brother had done when he studied abroad, she soon decides to go to Ireland in order to put her life back together - for good this time. But on her plane ride over to Ireland she is seated next to the one and only Beckett Rush, who is not only a Hollywood teen movie star but he's also known for being a playboy, a player and the complete charmer. Unlike most of Beckett Rush's fangals, Finley refuses to be charmed by him but before she even knows it . . . this one journey together brings them closer and closer, and Finley will end up truly finding out whether God was always with her all along.

Like I mentioned earlier, I'm not a religious person but I respected the main character's beliefs. And the thing is, I really liked Finley as a main character and she seemed like a pretty simple and a realistic character as well. She has a strong personality which I admired and she always loved to speak her mind, and one way or another I truly believe most readers of this book can find something about her to relate to. In saying that, Beckett was the real charmer of this book (this surprised me by the way) and I can see why Finley was a bit hesistant about him at first . . . though in the end he was a completely genuine, nice and a super-sweet, down-to-earth kind of guy. Finley make have taken her time in trusting herself with Beckett but she finally came around to him so way a go Finley for that!

Without revealing too much of the book, I thought THERE YOU'LL FIND ME was a quick, fun read that had a very thought-provoking element about it. While the religious parts may put some readers off the idea of reading the actual book, but since I'm not religious person and since I still managed to really enjoy it despite that factor, I would still highly recommend that you give this book a go as well! It might even surprise you!

The Rating

3 1/2 / 5 stars

Monday, July 9, 2012

Until I Die by Amy Plum

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: ATOM

Pages: 320pgs

The Story

Kate may have defeated her boyfriend's nemesis, showing off her sword skills in the process, but Vincent is sure taht she will be at risk as long as they stay together. What's more, it's becoming clear that their relationship might prevent him from fulfilling his true purpose: saving the lives of others.

They might have the romance of the century, but will that be enough?

The Review

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

UNTIL I DIE is the next much anticipated book of the Revenants series and it is the sequel to last year's book Die for Me. In this second installment, readers will return back to Paris where Kate and Vincent are so ever desperately trying to find a way in making their relationship work for a change, despite all of the dangers that constantly surround them. But like with any other paranormal couple, there are challenges ahead and just when reality starts to kick in and when the bad revenants called Numa have a new leader, Kate and Vincent's relationship will be put through the ultimate test. But the question is: Will they survive this new danger or will it end their relationship . . . possibly forever?

I'd immensely enjoyed Amy Plum's debut novel, Die for Me, last year as the entire storyline was built around a very interesting and refreshing mythology of revenants, whilst putting this myth behind a modern day and beautiful city of Paris. Now because of that cool factor, I was really looking forward to seeing what else would evolve from that mythology in its upcoming sequel and while I liked this book for what it is, but for me it was lacking something important . . . such as moving forward and progression for the series. Aside from the further backstories being added to the plot and some further character development that is simply there to satisfy readers in the romance department, however I found UNTIL I DIE suffered from the middle-book syndrome, putting its readers in their place so they can slowly gear up for the final installment of the YA trilogy. It wasn't necessarily a bad book, it was just disappointing. There was hardly anything solved in this book - at least for me - and there was more talk than action. But . . . I still have faith in the final book.

For the character side of things, I thought the secondary characters were absolutely spot on, but the struggle for me was the whole relationship between Kate and Vincent. On one hand, I loved the cutesy scenes they'd shared now and then, but on the other hand, sadly . . . I found this couple just didn't have that same old spark that they had as witnessed in the previous book. They lost the spark I'm afraid. It fizzled out as the book went along. I mean, I love Kate for her positivity and strength for the group of friends and I also love Vincent for his complete devotion and dedication to Kate and his friends. But honestly . . . what happened to them? They were so busy trying to make things work, though with Kate she was doing most of the work in this book and Vincent was just off doing God-knows-what. I love them but . . . I don't know . . . I just couldn't see how this pair was going to make everything work between them. It seemed impossible and it IS.

Overall, while using the clever trick of a very shocking cliffhanger at the end, UNTIL I DIE will certainly please many of its readers and will leave you wanting more! Both entertaining and having a few unanswered questions answered like one would expect from its sequel, while I may not have enjoyed this book as much as the first, but if you loved Die For Me then you're going to enjoy this sequel as well! Just be aware . . . there's lot's of teen angst.

The Rating

3 1/2 / 5 stars

Friday, July 6, 2012

Follow Friday

This weekly event is hosted by Parajunkee's View & Alison Can Read.

This week's question: Jumping Genres: Ever pick up a book from a genre you usually don't like and LOVE it? Tell us about it and why you picked it up in the first place.

My answer: Hmmm let's see . . . honestly it would have to be contemporary! I'm a huge fantasy and sci-fi fan you see, so I don't usually read outside those two genres, especially when it comes to YA books. But lately, like over the last few years or so, I've read many contemporary books (mostly because I heard so many amazing things about this genre and I felt like I was missing out) that have suprised me a great deal.

To name a few books they are . . . Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Epic Fail . . . the list is endless. And, I even love books written by some of my favourite contemp. authors which include the likes of Sarah Dessen, Elizabeth Scott, and Jennifer Echols!

What genre surprised you the most?

Have a great weekend you guys!

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Pages: 269pgs

The Story

'It is never what you worry over that comes to pass in the end.

The real catastrophies are always different - unimagined, unprepared for, unknown . . .'

What if our 24-hour day grew longer, first in minutes, then in hours, until day becomes night and night becomes day? What effect would this slowing have on the world? On the birds in the sky, the whales in the sea, the astronauts in space, and on an eleven-year-old girl, grappling with emotional changes in her life...? One morning, Julia and her parents wake up in their suburban home in California to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth is noticeably slowing. The enormity of this is almost beyond comprehension. And yet, even if the world is, in fact, coming to an end, as some assert, day-to-date life must go on. Julia, facing the loneliness and despair of an awkward adolescence, witnesses the impact of this phenomenon on the world, on the community, on her family and on herself.

The Review

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

This book has received many high praises over the last few months or so and when I received a review copy of this book I was really looking forward to reading it because let's face it . . . I had no idea whatsoever what it was actually about. But when I quickly scanned the plot online, I liked how the storyline reminded me a lot of the film Melancholia were there's a weirdness element to it and the possible chance of the world coming to an end, only everyone around you is not quite sure when or whether it will happen.

THE AGE OF MIRACLES is set in the sunny and southern setting of California. But in a very quiet neighbourhood. Everything seems perfectly normal until "The Slowing" begins, where the Earth is reportedly slowing down and where the days and nights grow longer - longer until the human world soon forgets the 24 hour days. Julia, our main protagonist, is your average eleven-year-old girl when you first meet her and later in the book it's then told through an older Julia whom looks back on the events of "The Slowing".

After putting down this book at the end, I can definitely say I enjoyed the concept and the interesting characters that I was introduced to along the way. The author, Karen Thompson Walker, did an excellent job in describing the unusual events of "The Slowing" and how it affected the population - and Julia in this case - and I even enjoyed how multi-layered this book ended up being like towards the end. But, unlike the fans out there in cyberspace, sadly I found this book was not of my book taste. I mean, I do love some wonderful books with their weird-but-very-original concepts (which this book is in the best possible way), however this book just didn't hit home for me especially with the weak ending it offered. The book contains so many wonders of this changing Earth that we know of today but then all of a sudden the ending changes things . . . not for the better I'm afraid. I was a bit confused. Actually . . . I was confused a lot. But it despite my rating it's still good. Weird but good, only it just wasn't my cup of tea. Maybe it can be yours?

Overall, THE AGE OF MIRACLES was a thought-provoking read that questions everything you could possibly imagine and I would highly recommend this book if you love coming-of-age stories or something along the lines of the post-apocalyptic kind!

The Rating

2/5 stars

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 525pgs

The Story

One choice can transform you - or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves - and herself - while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebrationn and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable - and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

The Review

Veronica Roth's debut novel Divergent had taken the book industry world by storm and because of such high praises, everyone couldn't wait to get their hands on her next upcoming sequel, INSURGENT, which was one of the most anticipated books of 2012! Not only did this book step it up a notch but it also delivered something of the epic factor and if not more than that!

INSURGENT begins shortly after Divergent had ended at and it instantly grabbed my attention from that point onwards. For the remaining and surviving characters, Tris, Four (Tobias), Marcus, Caleb and Peter, having just narrowingly escaped the horrors of Erudite's attack on the factions, the group start to head towards the faction of Amity where they try and seek refuge from, only there are all sorts of trouble that follows them into the unknown. I won't get into too many details concerning the plot but every bit of this book was well worth the wait and it's emotionally and just as thrilling as the first novel was in this dystopian series! I utterly adored this sequel!

Tris is a great heroine. There's no doubt about it. After everything she's been through, what with the death of her fellow faction peers and not to mention with the death of her parents, she still remains to be one of the strongest heroines I know of, but she doesn't go without her faults which makes her even more human to me and someone that I can relate to one way or another. For the first half of the book, Tris is a very difficult character to begin withm, as she's still fighting off the grief from book one, and despite many other tortures that she will soon experience in this sequel, she still manages to push through those tough boundaries that she has because . . . she's a survivor. In its her nature. It's in the inner core of her character arc. While at times I disagreed with how she dealt with some situations and even how she pulled away from her love interest, Four (Tobias), but she is a character that is constantly changing for the better and I love her for that.

As for our delicious, adorable and total hottie on the block Four - or Tobias as he's now often referred to as, he was someone who'd totally stolen the spotlight for me! More so than Tris ever did. He was a true soldier in this book and a boy with a true heart of gold, and much like Tris's character, he had also matured far more in this installment and had developed into someone I could respect because he used every bit of his street smart that he possessed, leading him to make the best decisions possible. And really, Tobias was the only person using his brains and I didn't find Tris appreciated him for that - not like she should have in the first place. But hey, what's love without their complications, right?

Overall, Veronica Roth's INSURGENT was a non-stop wrecking ball machine with action scenes, romantic one-liners and earth-shattering secrets that were flying out in all sorts of directions! If you loved the first book Divergent then what are you waiting for?!?! Go grab a copy of this sequel pronto if you haven't already done so!

The Rating

5/5 stars

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Glimpse by Claire Merle

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Pages: 432pgs

The Story

Once you've seen into the future, can you change your destiny?

In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.

Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana's condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana's joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a 'normal' life. But then Jasper disappears.

Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper's abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before.

The Review

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

Only having read a couple of reviews for this book and loving the simplistic cover I've seen around the internet, I didn't necessarily have any too many high set expectations for this new YA dystopian novel and perhaps this was a good thing on my part. After reading this book, while it certainly had its entertaining elements, however I was a little disappointed by this book but it was something different which added a more likable factor to it.

THE GLIMPSE had a wonderful but an also terrifying world that I could see many of its readers loving and becoming very interested in throughout the book. For you see, the main character, Ana, whom reminded me a lot of the main heroines from Veronica Rossi's Under the Never Sky and Lauren Oliver's Delirium series, lives in a dystopian world where a simple test must be taken by young children in which determines whether someone is crazy or not. Or, as the book calls them, you can either be a Pure - someone who can stay within the walls of the city and live a very comfortable life - or be one of those people called the Crazies - someone who will eventually be casted out of this so-called perfect society and be forced to survive in a dirty and an unregulated world . . . which by popular opinion is almost like sending someone out for a death sentence for such citziens receiving that result. But in Ana's case, she soon learns her test results were altered by her scientist of a father and if that information is exposed to the public and if she doesn't join with her "betrothed" Jasper in marriage on their due date, it could mean deep trouble for her and for her future. Problem is Jasper is missing and as Ana sets off to go and find him, she not only begins to question the truth of her city but she will also question her heart in the process.

Now much like what the other readers experienced, I struggled quite a lot with this book - more than I hoped I would, unfortunately. I mean, the storyline is bloody awesome and I wished I thought of it myself, but there just wasn't that strong connection between me and this book. However, even with the first half of the book being uninteresting and a little 'yeah yeah' at times, but once I reached the second half of the book . . . my god, my opinion of this book changed completely. Everything from the second half til the end was a non-stop, plot-twisting, cliche romantic ball of surprises and I was so glad this book started to have this opposite affect on me because from then on I wasn't able to put the book down which is a good sign I guess.

Character-wise, everyone seemed okay to me. I might not have gotten to know them nor cared about them all too much - especially with the main character, Ana - but once she met a possible love interest in the storyline, a boy named Cole, and as she searches for her missing Jasper, I soon began to warm up to her character and began to understand her as a person, and why she was risking everything for freedom and for love. But all my high praises go straight to our boy Cole, whom I just couldn't get enough of and honestly it was a real pity that his character didn't get to shine a lot more in this novel like he deserved. Even with a romance blossoming between him and Ana (which was slowly built up and perhaps was a little too 'insta-love' for me), but I loved Cole which is the main point I'm trying to make and the mysterious side of him that he offered up onto the table. Two thumbs up for him fangals out there!

Overall, Claire Merle's YA debut novel THE GLIMPSE leaves her readers with plenty of unanswered questions and solved secrets that I'm sure will make everyone want the sequel more and more when you too will begin questioning this dystopian society of Ana's. The book may not have been the most amazing thing I've read so far in the genre, but the storyline slowly comes into its own and fans of The Hunger Games, Delirium and Matched will definitely need to pick up a copy of this book as soon as possible!

The Rating

3 1/2 / 5 stars
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