Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Review: The One by Kiera Cass

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   The One (The Selection #3)
By Kiera Cass
Released: May 6, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
eBook, 323 pages 


The highly anticipated conclusion to Kiera Cass's #1 New York Timesbestselling Selection series, The One will captivate readers who love dystopian YA fiction and fairy tales. The One is the perfect finale for fans who have followed America's whirlwind romance since it began--and a swoon-worthy read for teens who have devoured Veronica Roth'sDivergent, Ally Condie's Matched, or Lauren Oliver's Delirium.

The Selection changed America Singer's life in ways she never could have imagined. Since she entered the competition to become the next princess of Illéa, America has struggled with her feelings for her first love, Aspen--and her growing attraction to Prince Maxon. Now she's made her choice . . . and she's prepared to fight for the future she wants.

Find out who America will choose in The One, the enchanting, beautifully romantic third book in the Selection series! --Goodreads
3 Stars

Review
After sludging through the soap operas called The Selection and The Elite, I could not believe that I had the audacity to read the conclusion to the mess. Unfortunately, Kiera Cass has some magical powers that forced me to read this book. How awful, right?

In all honesty, this series taught me to never take anyone or anything seriously. If you do, you end up more miserable than otherwise. As long as you go with the flow and just take things with a grain of salt, anything remotely similar to The Selection series (ahem The Bachelor or dating shows) can be palatable. 

So we are down to 4 girls squabbling over Maxon. Normally, this would be the moment where America and the other girls would start doing the most outlandish things to win. Actually, America does continue with her irrational antics as usual. Getting shot, sneaking rebels into the castle, and sleeping with men, America is truly a migraine-inducing protagonist. Yet somehow, the four finalists actually bond together and form some strong relationships. How this happens is beyond me.... The only possible answer is puberty.... probably. Anyway, it's really adorable to read about.

There are many of these incredible moments that seem so unbelievable. Not only do America, Celeste, Kriss, and Elise seem to interact somewhat amiably, but many characters seem to swap personalities. We see Celeste treating people nicely and Elise whining like a toddler. Celeste's personality switch seems to be very popular among the YA community, but honestly it was very inorganic because it was so sudden and instantaneous. Also, America manages to sneak a rebel into the castle as a guest and the king never bothered double checking the rebel's identity? I thought the king had brains, but apparently not. Oh well, remember to just accept it all as logical.

In spite of these bewilderingly confusing moments, The One does serve as a wonderful conclusion to The Selection series. Kiera Cass has succeeded where many authors have failed when it comes to properly ending a love triangle. I was so relieved to see the end of this miserable love triangle. America continues to hurt both Aspen and Maxon, who follow her like little puppies. Seeing these puppies kicked around is painful, but America has shown tremendous growth in that she actually admits that she made at least one mistake toward both of these men. That is such a grand accomplishment, especially for America, so let's give her a little slack. 

Even now, I still do not understand how this series became so popular. There are so many flaws, including America as a protagonist and the randomly rushed details included in The One's last pages. I guess there is some magic in cat fights and finding a true love within a dystopian world. 


Purchase The One here: Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | The Book Depository

Waiting on Wednesday 7/2

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"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event that features the books that we (the bloggers) are highly anticipating. "Waiting on Wednesday" was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine.



Illusive (Illusive #1)
By: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 416 pages
The X-Men meets Ocean's Eleven in this edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure about a band of "super" criminals.

When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She's what's known as an illusionist...She's also a thief.

After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job that most would consider too reckless. The formula for the vaccine that gave them their abilities was supposedly destroyed years ago. But what if it wasn't?
The lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a deadly race against the government that could cost them their lives. -- Goodreads
Can I just say that people who can change their appearance are the coolest? But also X-Men and Ocean's Eleven? Count me in! The cover doesn't really do anyone favors because it is so bland compared to the YA's always dazzling covers. Still, the cover cannot deter me from swooning at the idea of a heist, especially while fighting the government. Thankfully, Illusive comes out in only 2 weeks!

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The Revelation of Gabriel Adam (Revelation Saga #1)
By: S.L. Duncan
Publish Date: August 12, 2014
Publisher: Medallion Press
Paperback, 384 pages


Seventeen-year-old Gabriel Adam is used to relocating a lot. When a mysterious assassin burns his home to the ground, Gabriel’s father reveals the truth of why they are always on the move: Gabriel is one of four archangels, born human and sent to stop Armageddon. Now Gabe must set aside dreams of attending NYU to try to fulfill his newly discovered role.
Racing against time, Gabe and his father travel to the English university town of Durham, hoping the last surviving member of an ancient religious sect can guide them. With the assassin in pursuit, Gabe must shoulder the weight of his new life and an impossible destiny as protector of the entire human race. --GoodReads
Hiya folks! Haven't done a WoW in a while! I've read that this is some hardcore-thriller angel stuff. I'm interested to see how Gabe- a mere high school senior - grows as a character in order to fulfill the role of archangel Gabriel. One more thing: I'm gonna geek out like Angie and tell you how much I love this cover! The watercolor combination of darker blues mixed with lighter teals and whites is just so pretty! It's as if you carved out a stensil using a wood block and dipped it into a watercolor mix of those pure blueish hues! :D Simple covers are sometimes the best option; I'm so sick of those covers with girls in dresses....

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

2 comments:
The Falconer (The Falconer #1)
By Elizabeth May 
Released: May 6, 2014
Chronicle Books
Hardcover, 378 pages

Heiress. Debutant. Murderer. A new generation of heroines has arrived.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?  --Goodreads

 3.5 Stars

Review
After taking an unofficial YA book hiatus, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by The Falconer, my first step back into the YA world. Daring, fierce, and ridiculously hardcore, Elizabeth May's debut sends its readers on a delightful whirlwind. 

From the getgo, we are introduced to Aileana, a grieving daughter who lashes out against psycho faeries. One of these faeries murdered Aileana's mother, so Aileana makes sure nearly each faery pays the price for her mother's death. Risking her life every night, Aileana lives by day as the prim and proper daughter of a marquess and by night the vicious faery-killer.

However, Aileana's moral code is befuddling. She literally kills every single faery that she sees on sight. If Aileana has two faery friends that she refuses to kill, then what gives her the reason to murder each faery that she meets for the first time. Understandably, most of the faeries she meets are evil, but that just leads to more questions.

For example, what makes these faeries so antagonistic toward humans? If there are at least two decent faeries out there, then why are the rest so evil? Are they are brainwashed by the main antagonists, the really really evil faeries? If these faeries just hate humans for hogging up all of the space, then why aren't they joining together seriously to exterminate the filthy humans? Also, when are the falcons coming back? Those were a few of the many questions that have still yet to be answered by The Falconer.

Despite my many questions, I truly did enjoy The Falconer. Aileana and her gang are so much fun, even the two "good" faeries. Derrick, the pixie obsessed with honey, and Kiaran, Aileana's bada** faery teacher, are so lovable, especially because of their mutual hatred of one another. It wouldn't be too much of a wish to hope for friends like them, right?

The Falconer is a gritty novel full of epic battles, witty dialogue, and spellbinding interactions between characters. The world-building is pretty spectacular, even though there are many questions. Since this is the beginning of a trilogy, I'm crossing my fingers in hopes that these mysteries will be answered in the following installments!


 Purchase The Falconer here: Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | The Book Depository

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review: Sekret by Lindsay Smith

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Sekret (Sekret #1)
By: Lindsay Smith
Published: April 1, 2014
Roaring Book Press / Macmillan Children's
Hardcover, 341 pages


An empty mind is a safe mind. Yulia knows she must hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive in Communist Russia. But if she sometimes manipulates the black market traders by reading their thoughts when she touches their skin, so what? Anything to help her survive.


Russia's powerful spy agency, the KGB, is recruiting young people with mind-reading capabilities for their psychic espionage program. Their mission: protect the Soviet space program from American CIA spies. Why shouldn't the KGB use any means necessary to make the young psychic cooperate? Anything to beat the American capitalist scum to the moon. Yulia is a survivor. She won't be controlled by the KGB, who want to harness her abilities for the State with no regard for her own hopes and dreams. She won't let handsome Sergei plan her life as a member of elite Soviet society, or allow brooding Valentin to consume her with his dangerous mind and even more dangerous ideas. And she certainly won't become the next victim of the powerful American spy who can scrub a brain raw—and seems to be targeting Yulia. --GoodReads

 3.5 Stars

Review


Plot: Yulia Andreevna Chernina is not your average Russian girl; she can read the minds of those around her, and even pick up past memories with just a touch. Having lived luxuriously for most of her childhood, Yulia has now been in hiding with her mother and brother for several years. Set in 1963 Communist Russia, Yulia is recruited by the KGB and forced to participate in their espionage psychic program. If she doesn't cooperate, they threaten to harm her mother and young autistic brother. There, she meets several other teens who share similar psychic abilities but all specialize in something different. Together, they must work to fulfill their mission to protect the Soviet space program from the Americans. Yulia chooses not to succumb to the corrupt government's ways -- she works to find a way to escape her psychic prison and save her family.

When reading this book, I admit that I didn't really keep track of events as much as I should have. There's so many tiny events that go on, it just gets a little overwhelming. It's like - "Who's doing what now?", "Who is that?", "What does this have to do with the plot!?" and "I'm so confused..." [This happened to me several times. I had to flip back and reread some stuff] Basically, all that really matters is the relationships between characters...

It's been maybe a week since I finished reading it, and to be honest, I can't really remember much of what happened. I just know that there were a helluva lotta characters and events.... all I remember was that she had to work as a psychic spy to order set her family free and along the way she meets these 2 guys, Sergei and Valentin, both vying for her attention...



Characters:


Yulia: Yulia quickly hardens in the few years she's lived as a street rat. She learns to not trust anyone and to use everything she's got to her advantage -- even her mysterious psychic powers.  She's got her head on straight as well as her top priorities - first her safety, and then her family's. Yulia is no fluffy princess; she is quite the opposite (even if she gets swept up in a complicated love triangle...but let's face it: what YA heroine hasn't?). Even when presented the luxurious life she had once lived, Yulia yearns for something more -- freedom from the oppressed life she's been leading. 

I really admired Yulia's strength, intelligence, and persistence to seek freedom. Despite all the horrible things she experiences, she always clings to the hope of a better life. 

Sergei: Bad boy hockey player Sergei accepts his life as a KGB spy. He'll do anything to stay on the ice, even if that means turning against his friends. After all, who needs friends when you've got a rich life? It's much better to know work towards a goal than to live day by day. He doesn't understand why Yulia doesn't love her newly enriched life at the psychic school. 

Valentin: At first a seemingly distant musician with very dangerous powers, Yulia has a hard time opening up to Valentin. With time, she comes to understand his true self, and not just by his abilities as a psychic.


Overall: The whole idea of a psychic program within the government itself is just really cool. Yulia is a strong female lead -- that's also cool! A complicated love triangle is ehhh, but understandable -- it's one of the requirements of a YA novel, I suppose. However, the delivery and just number of events and people and places these spy kids needed to accomplish/meet/be at were just very overwhelming and rather... forgettable? I'm not saying this book wasn't an enjoyable read - it certainly was - but was it really worth remembering for the long run? Probably not.

BTW - a pretty generic background knowledge of the relationship between Russia and the USA after WW2 would be really helpful.



Happy Reading, folks!

Let's end with an awesome song that has no relation to the review I have just written. He talks a bit in the beginning, so I suggest scrubbing the video and skipping to about 40 seconds in.


Skip to 0:40

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Updates

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So if you haven't discovered yet, this blog has been under a tragic lull for the past few weeks. Don't worry, we've all been reading hopefully. However, the whole blogging and connecting thing that comes with blogging has been a struggle for all of us this year. You see, this coming school year is senior year.

We're all sort of like:


With all of these pressures, we've been so overwhelmed. Unfortunately, or fortunately, we can't help but continue to be drawn back into this lovely world with so many amazing people out there.

We are very sorry for our inability to be faithful to those who deserve it the most. I apologize on behalf of every single one of us. We cannot promise to be the most frequent updaters, but we just are so glad that there are people who continue to follow us in spite of everything.





Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

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Cruel Beauty
Rosamund Hodge
Published: January 28, 2014
Balzer +  Bray
Hardcover, 342 pages


Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny. Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him. With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love. --GoodReads

3 Stars

Review:


OK, so I read this about a month ago, and I've been meaning to get to a review of this... jeez, it has been a while, hasn't it? So therefore, my review isn't going to be so much of a review, but rather some kind of rant thing.... I'm just going off the bits and pieces I remember, so bear with me, folks. 

Summary Rosie-style- From what I remember, a father makes a deal with a demon prince, and it all goes horribly wrong. With demons, you gotta remember to choose your words very carefully. At the time, his wife, pregnant, was very sick, and he wished that his twin girls would come out healthy and happy. However, he forgot to wish for his wife's health, and she ends up dying. There's a catch, though. The father sealed away the fate for one of his daughters, Nyx, who is fated to marry this demon prince, Ignifex. She's super bitter about this and tries not to hate her twin sister, who got the better part of the bargain. Her sister, on the other hand, receives all the love and attention from daddy, while Nix receives the "heroic" speech stuff. She gets the "Oh it's your duty to kill the demon prince and blah blah" and is reminded everyday of her terrible fate.

So she goes and marries the demon prince, right? Except he's not exactly what she expects. No matter how many times she [pathetically] tries to kill him, she never succeeds, and every time he brushes her off like a bug. He's very compliant and has quite a humorous approach to his situation. Apparently, being a supreme ruler with awesome powers becomes very boring, so much to the point of marrying a woman who YOU KNOW wants to kill you. The demon prince, master of all deals, makes Nyx a bargain. If she can guess his true identity, she will be set free, no questions asked. BUT, if she guesses wrong, he will turn her into stone, and she will forever reside in his haunted castle unable to do anything but be aware of her surroundings. So as a living result of a bargain gone wrong, she opts for the other route and explores his castle for ways to kill him and escape. 

So the whole book is about her relationship with her sister (Nyx struggles especially with her feelings about her sister. Her feelings of love and hatred battle throughout the book) , her father (who she yearns to receive approval from), her aunt (who shacks up with Nyx's father), and Ignifex (to whom she can't resist her carnal attraction!!! ooOOOoo ♥♥♥) Oh, and did I mention his Shadow? She falls in love with his Shadow, a mirror image of Ignifiex, a seemingly more human side of him, but possibly another trapped man?

Characters: Alright, now that the summary stuff is done, lemme tell you MY impressions of the characters. 

Nyx- So she lives there for a coupla years and cannot do jack****. She stinks as an assassin, and for a majority of the book (she narrates it, she's the POV) she just complains about her situation and ponders what she can do to possibly escape it. She worries over things she can't control, and she hates herself for being attracted to Ignifex. Also, she is so indecisive!!! Her feelings about her family change from chapter to chapter - I swear - and her love from Shadow to Ignifex changes every time one of them kisses her. Or maybe from page to page. At least it feels like that...you try to root for her, but she changes her mind way too much.

Ignifex- Ok, so he's super badass, and pretty funny when needs to be. He puts up with a failure of an assassin wife. He's a thumbs-up in my book.

Shadow- Um, is it just me, or is cheating on your demon husband with his shadow kinda WRONG??

Father- 5 Star jerk. Has sex with his dead wife's sister. Feels no remorse for what he's done, inadvertently killing his sick pregnant wife while selling the soul of his oldest daughter to the demon lord, all the while telling her its her duty to save the city, AND giving all his affection to his other clueless daughter. 

Astraia- Nyx's twin sister who gets the better part of the deal. Nyx says some pretty crappy things to her before going off to marry the prince...It's not really Astraia's fault - in fact, it's her father's fault for it all happening, yet Nyx despises her sister for a good part of the novel. But then loves her sister. But then hates her. She actually is pretty badass though...

Plot- Sooo, the city they all live in is taken over by some sort of dark force/demons, and is plucked away from the normal world. Um. The demon prince controls the demons, which everybody fears because once you see a demon, you're pretty much down for the count, aka DEAD. They live in a world where it's similar to Earth, but no really. They have a fake sun and such... it's like they're all living inside the pages of a book. Or at least that's how I imagined it. It really gets quite confusing how everything is explained.

The author tries to make a mish-mash between Beauty and the Beast and Greek Mythology, but it's just kind of a warble between the two. I can see how some aspects of Beauty and the Beast play into it - the living house - and how Greek Mythology plays into it, since Nyx's family worships Greek Gods... but that's pretty much it. Hodge kind of just goes on her own path and creates a story that hits you from out of nowhere. This book will not be what you will expect....but in a semi-good way I guess?

BTW - the pace is kind of slow, but it really doesn't feel that way. Unless you hate reading about indecisive POVs - now that could go really slowly. Not to spoil it, but it does end kind of weirdly. It takes a turn that you really don't expect... deus ex machina?

Overall- OK..... uh. If you like mish-mashing of stories you already know and don't mind indecisive MCs, then this is the book for you! One thing I really liked was the emotional progression of the relationship between Ignifex and Nyx. It wasn't supahfast like some YA novels, but was instead very realistic. The way the background info explained was a little shakey and a bit confusing. SO DON'T SKIM.

Happy Reading, folks!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: The Sentinel Mage by Emily Gee

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The Sentinel Mage (The Cursed Kingdoms #1)
By Emily Gee
Published: January 25, 2011
Publisher: Solaris
eBook, 509 pages 


Her magic may be the only thing that can save a prince—and the Seven Kingdoms.

In a distant corner of the Seven Kingdoms, an ancient curse festers and grows, consuming everything in its path. Only one man can break it: Harkeld of Osgaard, a prince with mage’s blood in his veins. But Prince Harkeld has a bounty on his head—and assassins at his heels.

Innis is a gifted shapeshifter. Now she must do the forbidden: become a man. She must stand at Prince Harkeld’s side as his armsman, protecting and deceiving him. -- Goodreads


But the deserts of Masse are more dangerous than the assassins hunting the prince. The curse has woken deadly creatures, and the magic Prince Harkeld loathes may be the only thing standing between him and death.


3.5 Stars
Review:  

With an awesome premise of gender bending shape shifting, The Sentinel Mage stands out among other fantasies. However, its somewhat repetitive dialogue and predictable plot bog the novel, which should have been so much more.

Prince Harkeld of Osgaard has been raised with the notion that mages are vile creatures that eat humans and destroy everything good in this world. So when it’s revealed that he possesses mage blood himself, he is ready to say adios in fear of his “cannibalistic” inner nature. Too bad he has far more important things to do because his blood and hands are the only things that will save the world from a centuries old curse.




Since Harkeld is going bananas about his mage blood and mages in general, the mages protecting Harkeld have to find a guardsman to protect the prince because Harkeld’s evil daddy wants his son’s blood for far more nefarious plans. The only option is Innis, a powerful shapeshifter, to shapeshift into a man to protect him. As they journey together, both Harkeld and Innis will have to trust each other in order to survive.




Although my beautiful recap of the novel is perfect, the actual book is a slightly more draggy and dull. Many fantasy novels are basically the protagonists traveling through the woods toward a goal while beating up the bad guys. The Sentinel Mage does not deviate from this common theme for the most part. Even though there were three interwoven storylines, the main story of Harkeld and Innis kept dragging down the far more intriguing storyline about Harkeld’s sister, Princess Brigitta, who is forced to marry a malicious nobleman and her guardsman.




Furthermore, the third storyline should not count as a plotline because all that happens is Jaumé walks to toward the action. He does not meet the action yet, so his chapters were basically restatements of “He walked more today” with different words. I wish there was more about Jaumé than just him walking because he most likely will play a major role in the future books of this trilogy.

Despite these few setbacks, The Sentinel Mage is a truly enjoyable fantasy. Emily Gee is a wonderful writer who knows how to create a horrifically beautiful settings and how to write characters with dimension. Brigitta’s dilemma between drugging herself or experiencing her husband raping her totally grabbed my heart. She probably is my favorite character in the series for her strength and perseverance. Hopefully the future books in the series focus more on her because she is such an awesome heroine.

All in all, The Sentinel Mage could and definitely should have been more than it was. Harkeld and Innis are really the more important plotline, but Brigitta’s conflict was far more intriguing than several people journeying to three rocks. However, if you enjoy the fantasy genre, you’re guaranteed that this will be an exciting, yet forgettable read.


Purchase The Sentinel Mage here: Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | The Book Depository

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review: Indelible by Dawn Metcalf

2 comments:
Indelible (The Twixt #1)
By Dawn Metcalf
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Released: July 30, 2013
Paperback, 384 pages
Source: NetGalley 

Some things are permanent.

Indelible.

And they cannot be changed back.

Joy Malone learns this the night she sees a stranger with all-black eyes across a crowded room—right before the mystery boy tries to cut out her eye. Instead, the wound accidentally marks her as property of Indelible Ink, and this dangerous mistake thrusts Joy into an incomprehensible world—a world of monsters at the window, glowing girls on the doorstep, and a life that will never be the same.

Now, Joy must pretend to be Ink’s chosen one—his helper, his love, his something for the foreseeable future...and failure to be convincing means a painful death for them both. Swept into a world of monsters, illusion, immortal honor and revenge, Joy discovers that sometimes, there are no mistakes.

Somewhere between reality and myth lies…

THE TWIXT -- Goodreads

Purchase Indelible here: Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | The Book Depository 

 3 Stars

Review:
Paranormal has almost become a washed out genre within the YA world due to the inundation of them post-Twilight years. Now, it is probably impossible to find one in the midst of the new dystopian-fantasy rage. However, in spite of all of these drawbacks, Indelible has reminded us of the fun in paranormals: the budding cross-species love (this sounds so inappropriate >_<), the ever adorable family of paranormal creatures, and the adorkable mishaps.

Indelible follows the adventures of Joy and Ink, who are brought together by the most unfortunate of circumstances. When Ink discovers Joy has the power to see him and his sister, he idiotically decides the "best" method of dealing with Joy: blinding her with his knife. In a somewhat cynical happening of events, Joy and Ink end up faking boyfriend and girlfriend to prevent Ink from being punished for inadvertently marking Joy with his little signature when he assaulted her.

Honestly, these events are hard to decipher. On one hand, I found this book hilarious because of the ridiculousness of it all. Faking girlfriend and boyfriend? Almost killing someone, but ending up having her follow you everywhere? Ha. Too bad, this book seemed to take itself incredibly seriously, to the point where it was difficult to be sure whether this was a comedy or a grand scale adventure. In reality, Indelible is most likely one of those more serious novels out there.

The only major problem that was aggravating was the flow of the novel. For some reason, Indelible never followed an explicit plot. Rather than a cumulation of events, Indelible was more of a series of events that felt disjointed when put together. There are villains and battles throughout the story, but the book does not truly follow the blurb given to us. The book claims that the main focus is Joy helping Ink out while faking being in love with him, but the book mainly consisted of Ink teleporting Joy around the world. Only until the last fifty pages does the book begin seriously focusing on the main villain, causing the climax and ending to feel rushed and rather incomplete. 

The characters of Indelible are undeniably the most entertaining of all paranormals. From the snarky protector Ink to the flamboyant party-goer Inq, there is always a character that will please the crowd. Joy was a strong female heroine, but did not have any extraordinary characteristics. Yet this fact let her stand out among the crazy magical creatures of Indelible. If only more paranormals had this many fun characters to hang out with...

Indelible was probably one of only a handful paranormals released for good reason. With a unique concept of tattoos marking you, the world was intriguing and fascinating to visit. There could have been some more world-developing because some details are still a little fuzzy. Regardless, Indelible is a cute read if you want to revisit the old paranormal days.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Review: Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep

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Killer Frost (Mythos Academy #6)
By Jennifer Estep
Published: February 25, 2014
Publisher: Kensington Teen
ebook, 384 pages
Source: Online Library 

I’ve battled the Reapers of Chaos before–and survived. But this time I have a Bad, Bad Feeling it’s going to be a fight to the death … most likely mine.

Yeah, I’ve got my psychometry magic, my talking sword, Vic–and even the most dangerous Spartan on campus at my side, in Logan freaking Quinn, but I’m no match for Loki, the evil Norse god of chaos. I may be Nike’s Champion, but at heart, I’m still just Gwen Frost, that weird Gypsy girl everyone at school loves to gossip about.

Then someone I love is put in more danger than ever before, and something inside me snaps. This time, Loki and his Reapers are going down for good … or I am. --Goodreads
Purchase Killer Frost here: Amazon | Barnes & Nobles | The Book Depository 
 
 4 Stars

Review
All wonderful things must sadly come to an end, including the fantastic Mythos Academy series. Despite my initial disappointments, Gwen and her gang have easily become part of my book-loving heart. Facing high expectations as the final book, Killer Frost defies these expectations and delivers an epic climatic finale.

After facing the Reapers in five books, it's wonderful to finally see the good guys fighting back at the Reapers, rather than just responding to their catcalls. This time, we see Gwen and the rest working to ultimately bring an end to Loki and his nefarious gang, instead of just holding off the next Reaper plan. Then again, we should feel pity for Loki. He's a poor god whose face is half burned off and just can't get the plastic surgery to fix his face. Loki just can never catch a break, can he?

Plot twists have become a staple in the book industry. Jennifer Estep is a master at surprising her readers. Continually, time and time again the Mythos Academy series has shocked me with its unpredictable, yet believable stories. Killer Frost has continued this legacy with its impressive intricacy of the plot. The realistic unexpected is always a plus in a world soaked with  "been there, done that".

Although Killer Frost does have a reasonably decent conclusion for the major characters (Gwen, Logan, Vic, Daphne, etc.), there should have been more closure to some other minor characters. The happily ever afters are sweet, but I wish there was more time spent developing Rory and her aunt. Rory and her aunt were both pivotal figures in the previous book, Midnight Frost. If there are characters introduced later in the series, these characters should be given more important roles to justify their late introduction. Besides, Rory is a kickbutt heroine, who really should have a spin-off series based on her. *crossing my fingers*

Overall, the Mythos Academy series has blossomed into a magnificent series. Even though it is bitter to say goodbye to Gwen and the gang, concluding the fight against Loki is definitely helping my heart. If you haven't picked up this series yet, this series is totally recommended!



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: The Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly Oram

4 comments:
By Kelly Oram
Published: May 4, 2013
Publisher: Blue Fields
eBook, 278 pages 

When Avery Shaw’s heart is shattered by her life-long best friend, she chooses to deal with it the only way she knows how—scientifically.

The state science fair is coming up and Avery decides to use her broken heart as the topic of her experiment. She’s going to find the cure. By forcing herself to experience the seven stages of grief through a series of social tests, she believes she will be able to get over Aiden Kennedy and make herself ready to love again. But she can’t do this experiment alone, and her partner (ex partner!) is the one who broke her heart.

Avery finds the solution to her troubles in the form of Aiden’s older brother Grayson. The gorgeous womanizer is about to be kicked off the school basketball team for failing physics. He’s in need of a good tutor and some serious extra credit. But when Avery recruits the lovable Grayson to be her “objective outside observer,” she gets a whole lot more than she bargained for, because Grayson has a theory of his own: Avery doesn’t need to grieve. She needs to live. And if there’s one thing Grayson Kennedy is good at, it’s living life to the fullest. --Goodreads 
4.5 Stars

Review:
Contemporaries are always hits or misses. There are always those contemporaries that make us want to swear to never read another contemporary, but then there are the awesome romances that make us scream for more. The Avery Shaw Experiment is an adorably hilarious contemporary that totally belongs in the latter category.

Avery Shaw is the average nerd. Science club president, straight A student, she's a nerd through and through. When her best friend decides to push her away, Avery decides to use her anguish for her upcoming science fair experiment. Roping in her ex-bestfriend's playboy brother, Grayson, Avery is determined to deal with her inner pain scientifically. Too bad Grayson has far more daring ideas...

At first glance, The Avery Shaw Experiment is one of those nerd to popular books. We see Avery receiving a makeover and turning from a nerd into one in the popular crowd. However, Avery's transformation is more than physical; Avery gains confidence and develops stronger relationships with those around her. There isn't any of the cheesy scenes where the girl screams/attacks her bullies to show her strength. Avery does not need any of that crap to showcase her inner strength, making her transformation all the more compelling.

Grayson is so lovable! I'm so glad that Kelly Oram had the genius to write half of the book from his point of view, so the readers could fall deeper in love with him. He isn't perfect, in fact he has tons of flaws including his shame toward joining the science club. However, his reluctant acceptance makes his little gifts to Avery so much more romantic. His actions aren't really as heroic as fighting dragons or witches, but their total worth is so much more by helping Avery break out of her shell. If only there were more Graysons out in the world...

If there were a list of the must-read contemporaries, this book would have to top this list. With its hilarious adorkable side characters, such as Avery's best friend, Libby, to the wonderful parents who support their children all the way, The Avery Shaw Experiment is a witty coming-to-age story that leaves the rest behind by a long shot.

Favorite Quote:

"Your loss. I happen to have the spirit of a wildcat. I could take you places sexually you never knew existed." 
This time even the nerds gasped. 
"Libby!" Avery cried."What? When a girl knows what she wants, she should go for it." Libby waved a hand at Owen. "Look at those abs! Libby definitely wants." She glanced up at Owen. "Can I feel them?"




Monday, February 17, 2014

Review: Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

2 comments:
Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars #2)
By Diana Peterfreund
Published: October 15, 2013
Publisher: Baltzar + Bray
Hardcover, 464 pages
Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine. --Goodreads
Purchase Across a Star-Swept Sea here: Amazon/ Barnes & Nobles/ The Book Depository

5 Stars 


Review 

Across a Star Swept Sea is a beautiful gem among the masses of dystopians, which I fondly refer to as the “world sucks, so let’s blow it up” stories. However, this novel succeeds not only as a dystopian, but also as a compelling retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel. 

Honestly, I had never even heard of The Scarlet Pimpernel until I came upon the blurb of this book. In preparation for the amazingness of Across a Star Swept Sea, I read The Scarlet Pimpernel, which was a fantastic read (great recommendation if you’re into the classics). The funny thing was after I read The Scarlet Pimpernel, I was prepared to dismiss any retelling because of the complexity of the plot. Classics like Pride & Prejudice are easily translatable into the modern world, but The Scarlet Pimpernel seemed to be impossible to retell properly. Thankfully, Across a Star Swept Sea dismissed any of my initial skepticism easily after one chapter.

Persis Blake stars as the Superman of her world: pretending to be a ditz during the day, while rescuing Galatean nobles at night. Unlike most dystopian heroines who are portrayed as fierce but usually are whiny brats, Persis is ferocious and intimidating. There is no stopping this girl from doing as she pleases, as she runs around saving people at the cost of her own health. 

Sometimes though, Persis is a flat character because she doesn’t seem to have any faults. Even her weaknesses aren’t really weaknesses because Persis’ suicidal nature is implied to be part of her unselfish nature. Admittedly, most people, including myself hate selfish characters but I wish Persis had some flaw to make her more human.

The writing style is spectacular with its vivid descriptions and witty dialogue. The alternating points of views between Persis and Justen were great because we could see the romance developing, which would have been impossible if there was only one POV. After all, when both people in a budding relationship are lying to each other, it’s impossible to witness the awkwardly hilarious inner turmoil. 

For any For Darkness Shows the Stars fans, no fear for Elliot, Kai, and Ro make special appearances in this companion novel. They’re not the primary characters evidently, but they do play a major role. Their appearance was exciting to read, but I wish that there were more interactions between Elliot and Persis because they would make an awesome duo as two fierce ladies.

There have been very few books published in the past year that are as spellbinding and beautifully written as Across a Star Swept Sea. With a beautifully woven world (not to mention cover) along with romance fluttering off the pages, this book stands out as one of the best dystopians of the YA world.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

We're Back!

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So we've been kind of slacking on the blog, as you most likely know. We offer no excuses whatsoever because honestly, we've been sort of lazy. Then again, my fellow blogmates will force me to list excuses, so here they are:


1. Junior Year of High School -- Self explanatory, isn't it? 




2. Break from YA book world -- We love reading, but during these past months there hasn't really been a book that has won our hearts. 



  3. Our parents are torturing us with the college/career lectures.
Perhaps not to this extent...


4. Angie (me) watches too many Korean dramas -- The pretty people are too pretty.





5. Rosie has found a new love....in mochi and real chocopies. 


  6. Jenny is sick. She's sort of like this...



  7. ~M's life is frightening. Too frightening to even start describing....



However, we now plan to update more often! We probably won't update as frequently as we used to, but hey it's better than never, right? Riiiiight?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hey there! Rosie speaking. Just wanted to let you all know that we've decided to tweak the blog a little bit. In the past, we were heavily focused on Waiting on Wednesdays / Giveaways / Bookish Goodies and basically a bunch of stuff that wasn't really about READING A GOSHDARN BOOK. So we took a step back (our huge "break" that ended up being practically a year) and just stopped blogging for a while. We realized that the most respectable thing about a really good book blog isn't the number of giveaways, friends, authors requesting us to review books, or even the amount of people that visit our site. 

We decided that we were going to become an honest-to-goodness book blog. One solely focused on sharing our opinions on the books that we love to read. That's why we chose to stop doing weekly/daily "Givaway" this or "WoW" that. It just became too much for us to handle, and, well, you see where that led us? We planning on taking things slowly, really just enjoying the process of reading/ranting/reviewing. We hope you all understand! I'm not saying we'll NEVER EVER do a giveaway or WoW EVER AGAIN EVER. It's just that we think a true book blog should build a community basked on our love for reading books, not to gain more viewers by attracting giveaway-stalkers.
   
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