29 March, 2012

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Pages: 435
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Format: Paperback (UK)
Published by Egmont Books
Originally Published January 4, 2011 by HarperTeen
Goodreads // Amazon

In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.
This book was an adventurous ride! I can't believe I didn't pick it up before. I wasn't so sure about angel teen romance, but this book has me convinced unlike Hush, Hush. Because the point of view was from Clara, the teen angel-blood, we learned a lot about her world and why she was motivated to act the way she did. I think this makes it more believable this way around

I was enraptured by the romance in this book. It seemed so natural rather than the usual high school paranormal romance with their BAM, I love yous. Clara becomes entangled with Christian because he's the boy in her visions to the point where she doesn't notice Tucker, the slow flame. Two genuinely nice guys with something different to offer Clara. Usually, love triangles sort of annoy me, but somehow this one is done really nicely. I truly feel Clara's heart tugged back and forth as she battles her thoughts on where her destiny (literally, not just teenage drama) and her heart lie.

The characters were original and well done. I enjoyed Clara's two good friends Wendy and Angela. She can get help with her human and angelic problems from them. I also thought Clara's mom Meg and brother Jeffrey were great additions. Sometimes in teen novels, family just becomes a plot device, but these two each had a purpose and actually added something to the story.

Even though Clara is part angel, I still could tell that she was just a teenage girl. Her problems seemed real and she seemed vulnerable and complex at the same time. I enjoyed reading from her perspective. She's really witty and funny and written like a real teenager. She reacted to situations in ways I feel I would have. Having a purpose in life is daunting when you're only 16 or 17!

I definitely recommend this book to someone who feels that there's often something missing in teen paranormal romance. Whatever you've been missing, you'll find it here. I wouldn't say this novel was ground-breaking, but it is something seriously enjoyable like a great guilty pleasure. I'll definitely be reading the next novel and novel to come!

28 March, 2012

Review: Incarnate by Jodi Meadow

Pages: 234
Format: e-book
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Published January 31, 2012 by Harper Collins
Goodreads // Amazon

New soul
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.
No soul
Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?
Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies--human and creature alike--let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?

The beginning of this book was rather confusing to me, and to be honest, I didn't enjoy it so much. I didn't understand why Sam would just take Ana in for weeks without question. I kept wondering what was in it for him because in the beginning Ana had some real self-worth problems and was rather doom and gloom. He quickly becomes rather possessive over her because she's something new and interesting. For some reason, I couldn't help thinking that he acted rather like Edward Cullen. He even wrote her own song for her on the piano.

Halfway through the book, after Ana accepts herself, the book actually gets interesting! I'm still rather dubious about Sam and his motivation for falling head over heels so quickly for her, but I start to accept that they have a relationship. Things get exciting once it becomes clear that Ana is in danger, as many people think she is an omen of the end of reincarnation. We learn quite a bit more and the ending had me turning the pages enraptured. There were dragon attacks! That was so awesome!

Jodi Meadows isn't a perfect writer. Some of the plot had technical issues for me, but I have to give her credit for being so original! Also, that girl used tons of words that I had assumed were quite advanced for Young Adult books and she made the descriptions in her book so intelligent rather than average. Kudos for that.

It's really up in the air whether I'll read more of the series, though it does somehow leave me wanting more. How does a book that I feel so hot and cold over do that to me? Overall, if you like the twilight-esque romance (or obsession) that seems to develop rather too quickly, this book is for you! Also, I can't ignore the fact that if someone finds the premise of souls reincarnating fascinating then this book will actually be as interesting as it promises. It will be.

Waiting on Wednesday: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which bloggers post books they are eagerly anticipating to be released.

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5)
by Cassandra Clare
Goodreads // Amazon

Release Date: May 8, 2012

The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love? Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.
First of all, could that summary be any longer? They always are for Clare's books. I'm really eagerly awaiting this release and I can't wait. City of Fallen Angels ended with a bang and it made me want more! Unfortunately, I have to wait until May for this one. I adore the Mortal Instruments series, even if I've slightly given up hope on the Infernal Devices. I'm a true fan. If you haven't read the first four books, then I'd probably wonder if you've been living under a rock.

This series is highly recommended by myself! Clary and Jace's romance is strong and believable without it being too lovey-dovey and I just love every single minor character. The Lightwoods and Simon crack me up and I just can't get enough of Clary's mom and Luke. Magnus (who also appears in the Infernal Devices) is just far more entertaining in this series. To sum it up, I can't wait! I think I already said that...

27 March, 2012

Pottermore Shop

Hello all,

I wasn't planning on doing another post today, but as I check regularly on the progress over at Pottermore, I thought I'd share with you some news!

The shop at Pottermore is now open! You can now purchase digital audiobook downloads and ebooks for all platforms for every Harry Potter book! I personally think that this is huge to have ebooks available. I don't think I'll be purchasing them any time soon, but I wondered what your thoughts were. Would you buy anything from this official web store?

Go over to the Pottermore Shop to take a look!

Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Pages: 496
Genre: Paranormal
Format: Paperback, Collectors Ed.
Published by Walker Books, Ltd
First Published December 6, 2011 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.
With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.
Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.
I finished this a couple weeks ago and I procrastinated on this review. Probably because I'm not too sure how to review this one. I was super excited to finally pick this book up, since I thought the ending of Clockwork Angel, the first book, was actually really good and it must have been leading up to something. I think I was wrong, at least for the first half of the book. The first half of the book had me reading about them trying to find answers and getting nowhere in a spectacularly boring way and reading about Will and Tessa trying to deny their love for each other. Will was not very likeable and Tessa seemed like she was just mooching off of the Shadowhunters because I forgot why the bad guy was a bad guy. The villain just does not scare me whatsoever. It literally took me a month to read the first half of this book.

The second half of the book, however, really did it for me. It swiftly came back up to par with what I know Clare to be capable of. Tessa finally proves that she is useful and deserving of the Shadowhunter's protection. I'm glad she came into her own finally! A lot of the characters really grew on me. Jem is so sweet and Will shows he has some depth. I was most happy of all to see Charlotte gain some confidence in herself. She's turning out to be a good character.

The action was thrilling and the information we learned was good (in the second half). It kept me turning the pages of the book I nearly chucked aside. The evil Mortmain, or whatever his name is, didn't make an appearance in this book and I seriously wonder why the Shadowhunters even care about catching him. Please remind me in the third book, Cassandra!

Yes, despite it all, I'll be reading the third book when it's released. The ending made up for it and Clare is a little trickster who makes me always want more! Curses! I still prefer the Mortal Instruments...

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring Fever: Book's I'd Play Hooky With

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Here's the schedule. This week it's all about books I'd drop everything and read for the day. :)
  1. Insurgent by Veronica Roth- Let's just say that I will be playing hooky the day this book is released!
  2. The Giver by Lois Lowry- You can read it in a day and it's such a powerful book! My first dystopian.
  3. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien- I must reread this book this summer in preparation for the movie. I'd love to sit out on the beach and read but I don't live in California anymore! I'll have to make do with medieval ruins. Oh darn.
  4. Unearthly by Cynthia Neely- I'm reading this now and I wish I had the whole day today to finish it. Great stuff so far.
  5. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver- Just to go a long with Delirium, I need to take a day out real soon to read the second book! I can't wait... Must stick... with... queue.
  6. The Princess Bride by William Goldman- I've read this book and it is so hilarious. If you liked the movie and don't mind a narrator that gets really off topic, then you'll like this book! 
  7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- This book just reminds me of sunshine (even though it's set in gloomy England). I spent quite a lot of time reading this and Emma (which I don't like) on a beach trip.
  8. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince- This is my favourite HP book! I do sort of want to spend the whole day trying to reread the series, but I've got loads of other stuff to read and do. That's life. 
  9. The Uglies by Scott Westerfield- The start to one of my all-time favourite series and one full of rebelliousness!
  10. The Host by Stephenie Meyer- The movie teaser reminded me how much I liked this book! It reminds me of camping. Probably because the first time I read it I was living in a tent for 3 weeks without bathing properly. 
What's on your list?

26 March, 2012

Movie Trailer: The Host

So last week the teaser for The Host film coming out March 2013 was released. The trailer itself isn't so fantastic, nor am I blown away by the choice in casting (the main cast is listed over at IMDB), so I may not have high hopes!

I wasn't as into the Twilight books as I was The Host. I think aliens living in human bodies is just far more interesting and it was more my cup of tea. I have, however, seen most of the movies in the Twilight franchise enough to know that the movie adaptations weren't my favourite and I hope The Host doesn't follow down that path. It has so much more potential! What are your thoughts?

Review: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Pages: 375
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Format: Paperback (UK)
Published February 7, 2012 by Atom
First Published January 3, 2012 by Harper Collins 
Goodreads // Amazon

Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland - known as The Death Shop - are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild - a savage - and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile - everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.
This book had one of the best premises I'd seen in a really long time. Fortunately, my expectations were not just met, but completely blown away! First of all, and this is just my opinion, but I don't see this book as dystopian. I know other reviewers have called it that, but to me it's just a bit like post-apocalyptic science fiction since I didn't see the Dwellers as having the ultimate rule of the land. Yes, there is a difference between science fiction and dystopian!

The plot was fantastic. It moved at a perfect pace and I was really happy with the subplots. The clash of the two worlds was done in a simply superb way. Both the Dwellers and the Outsiders had their shortfalls, but I could see why each group of people lived the way they did. They're simply adaptations for survival from the Aether storms. Talking about Aether storms, they were actually a tad frightening and became a legitimate roadblock when one was needed in the plot. I was surprised to see some fantasy in this book as well. The Outsiders have some hidden talents sprinkled amongst their ranks. At first I thought super senses were a little hokey, especially the ability Perry has. Super Scent (of all the possible senses) just seemed a little lame at first, but I was definitely proven wrong.

The characters were just awesome. I loved Aria's endearing ignorance and Perry's frustrations. They were both quite complex and carried out their clearcut motivations through the entire novel without wavering. Well done there, Veronica. Not once did I think someone did something out of character. The book alternates between the two main characters' point of view and for once, I don't have a single gripe about that. That usually irritates me, but I thought it was very well executed. Also, the supporting characters were very entertaining, especially Roar, whom I grew a soft spot for. Well, to sum it up, the characters were very strong and I think one of the best parts about this novel.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but the romance was just so right. I could see the evolution of Aria and Perry's love for each other right before my eyes. I was practically cheering when I realised that this wouldn't be a novel where the characters decide (for reasons unknown to the reader) that they have a thing for each other and I just couldn't be more glad. The romance between them was slow and sweet which I find to be a rarity in this YA genre. It definitely makes it all the more believable.

Overall, this novel is just a stunner in my book. I can't wait to get my hands on more writing from Veronica Rossi. This is her first book! I can't believe it. I whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone trying apprehensive about sinking their teeth into some science fiction, as it does have a hearty amount of romance and fantasy as well.

25 March, 2012

In My Mailbox (#2)

This is just a post to let my readers know what books I've acquired this week. It's a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. I'll include the blip on the back cover as well, just as if you were looking at the book yourself. All of the covers are of the edition I have acquired. :)

Let me know if you've read any of these!

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Format: Paperback

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim. Then Aria meets an outsider names Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild- a savage- but might be her best hope at staying alive. - Back Cover

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
Format: Paperback

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? Not like it's all that dangerous - the only neck I risk is my own. Until I accidently start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution. I should have just said no... - Back Cover

Unearthly by Cynthia Neely
Format: Paperback
In the beginning there's a boy standing in the trees. He's around my age, in that space between a child and man, maybe all of seventeen years old. I'm not sure how I know this. I can only see the back of his head, his dark hair curling damply against his neck. There's a strage oragne light filling the eastern sky. There's the heavy smell of smoke. I take a step toward the boy and the ground crunches under my feet. He hears me. He starts to tur. One more second and I will see his face. That's when the vision leaves me. I blink, and it's gone. - Back Cover

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Format: e-book

Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Format: e-book

24 March, 2012

Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Pages: 371
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Paperback
Published by Chicken House
First Published October 6, 2009 by Delacorte Press
Take a look: Goodreads // Amazon

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.
Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.
James Dashner does a little bit of amazing with this book. He uses a whole lot of trickery, in the best of ways, to keep the reader reading. You know those books with the impossibly short chapters that leave you saying "just one more, it's short"? This is one of those books! The chapters are so quick, I found myself reading on and on until I was halfway through the book. How very sneaky, Mr Dashner.

The book itself is nothing short of awesome. In the beginning, the reader knows just as much of what's going on as the main character, Thomas, does. Thomas wakes up with his memory wiped and has to learn how to survive. I truly enjoyed learning about the Glade and the Maze where these boys live through the eyes of Thomas who also is figuring out why he's there. The characters are very likeable because they seem real. Every single one of them has a flaw and complexity to them even if they don't have any memories outside of the Maze.  The setting is superb! The Maze feels so eerie and dangerous while the Glade feels like home.

The beginning of this book may seem slow to readers who like to completely immerse themselves straight from the first page. As Thomas knows nothing, it does take a long time for him and the readers to catch their bearings. I personally found this experience intriguing, but I understand that it's not for everyone.

Readers may compare the book to The Hunger Games, but I don't see that many similarities. Sure, there are a bunch of teenagers, but they're trying to solve a maze, not kill each other for someone else's amusement. I feel like there is a complexity and mystery about it that the Hunger Games doesn't have, as the maze is a giant puzzle. Nonetheless, it still is a great read for fans of the Hunger Games who enjoyed the action of the arena.

23 March, 2012

The Hunger Games Movie

Since today is the official release of The Hunger Games movie, I thought I'd dedicate a little blog post to it.

I bought my tickets early for this movie! I'm seeing it tonight and I hope you get to see it soon. I'm very excited, as there are some pretty darn good reviews going for this film. I usually check Rotten Tomatoes before I commit to watching a movie, but that's hard to do when I buy tickets in advance.

I seriously hope this movie lives up to its months and months of hype for the sake of the franchise.

"May the odds be ever in you favor."

Oh, and Team Peeta all the way.

Flashback Friday: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Flashback Fridays is a blog feature started by myself. It's a weekly post where I feature books from my past that have impacted my reading tastes today. 
A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L'Engle

Originally Published: 1962
Genre: Science Fiction
Age Group: Middle Grade
Age When Read: 8

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn't know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L'Engle's unusal book. 

I remember going to the old Barnes and Nobles in my hometown when I was eight years old. I'm pretty sure I was eight. My mom often took my brother and I (and later my youngest brother) to the bookstore and let us pick out whatever we wanted and we could easily spend hours there. I specifically remember this trip and buying two books: A Wrinkle in Time and Island of the Blue Dolphins. I don't remember which I read first, but I remember how much of an impression A Wrinkle in Time left upon me.

I think this book was one of, if not my first Science Fiction book. Though the setting was a bit fantastical and the plot unrealistic, I seriously identified with Meg. She wasn't the girly girl who had tons of friends, in fact she was rather a nerd! I also completely understood her love and responsibility for her little brother, Charles Wallace and I wanted to be just like her. Crossing time and space on an adventure to save her brother and everyone else from a seriously dark force. I also had a major thing for Calvin, who liked Meg the way she was, braces and all. This book taught me that science fiction is really cool, and that it was okay for me to enjoy being a nerd while my friends at school were reading about kittens and princesses. Not that I didn't go through my own princess phase... *ahem*.

This is a book I would love to pick up and read again. I know I re-read this book in high school, but a fresh take on it would be lovely.

22 March, 2012

Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Pages: 455
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
Format: Paperback
Published by Scholastic
First Published August 24, 2010 by Scholastic Press

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains - except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay - no matter what the personal cost.

This book, simply put, was a spectacular finish to the Hunger Games trilogy. Throughout the book, I truly felt the pressure and responsibility placed on Katniss's shoulders. There is pressure from the Capitol and President Snow who want to snuff out the hope stirred by the Mockingjay. There's pressure to perform well and act as a beacon of hope for the other districts starting to fight. And of course, there's pressure from District 13 and Katniss must act like their puppet in order to ensure the safety of those she cares about.

Mockingjay is filled with so much angst from so many directions I felt as though I might explode! This complexity of a sort is absolutely brilliant. Collins writes the finale in a way that makes the reader become emotionally invested in all the characters and the rebellion itself. The plot became numbing when Katniss herself was emotionally numbed and it became thrilling when Katniss was a daredevil. It definitely became an emotional roller coaster right off the bat.

To be honest, I wasn't too into this book until halfway through when the action picked up. That was when it became apparent that many people were going to be sacrificed for the sake of the rebellion. Some of the deaths really tore me up, while others I had predicted as I knew how they would affect Katniss. These are characters that you've emotionally vested yourself with and they perform brilliantly and your heart breaks with theirs. I truly felt like this story was a broken bone that had to be re-broken just to heal properly. So much damage has to be done before Panem can heal.

While this book was certainly more emotional that the previous two, I just didn't like it as much. The characters had truly grown past their witty and marginally happy selves (if you can believe that) and had significantly changed with the rebellion dangling in their face. This is completely justified, however, as anyone would change with such a daunting task; I simply enjoyed the atmosphere of the first two books.

Despite my small nitpickings of this book, this is a truly smashing hit of a finale to a terrific series. I would recommend it to anyone who may have thought the first two books were not death-ridden enough!

21 March, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Above by Leah Bobet

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which bloggers post books they are eagerly anticipating to be released. 

by Leah Bobet
Release Date: April 1, 2012

A gorgeous urban fantasy about dangers outside and in.
Matthew has always lived in Safe, a community hidden far beneath the pipes and tunnels of the city Above. The residents fled to Safe years before to escape the Whitecoats and their cruel experiments, and now Matthew is responsible for both the keeping of Safe’s stories and for Ariel—a golden-haired shapeshifter, and the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen.

But one horrifying night, an old enemy murders Safe’s founder, Atticus, and the community is taken over by an army of shadows. Only Matthew, Ariel, and a handful of friends escape Above. Now they not only have to survive in a sunlit world they barely know, but they must unravel the mystery of the shadows’ fury and Atticus’s death. It’s up to Matthew to find a way to remake Safe—not just for himself and his family, but for Ariel, who’s again faced with the life she fled, and who needs him more than ever before.

An urban fantasy and a love story, Above is the breathtaking debut of an extraordinary new voice.

The cover is what drew me into this read. I love her wings and the buildings in the background! The premise of this book sounds exciting. It seems to be a mix of urban fantasy with some dystopian aspects thrown in. My cup of tea! The reviews on this book are stellar and I can't wait to get a hold of this book. Readers, this book also counts towards the YA Debut Authors Challenge and it looks like a good one!

20 March, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring Reads

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week I'm listing my top ten books I'm looking forward to reading this Spring. Some of them are new, while others have been in my book queue for awhile.

  1. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (released May 1, 2012)- I am so excited for this series' second instalment! I've been waiting for months and I can't get over how amazing the first book was. No brainer, my most anticipated read.
  2. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare (released May 8, 2012)- Sooo ready to read this book! 
  3. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi- I've heard nothing but great things about this book!
  4. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver- I finished Delirium this weekend and the cliffhanger ending is killing me!
  5. Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris (released April 24, 2012)- The reviews are coming out and it looks like a stunner!
  6. Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (released May 1, 2012)- Third instalment in her sort-of triology and I've been waiting since Fire
  7. Above by Leah Bobet (released April 1, 2012)- Can't wait to read this. The cover totally draws me in. 
  8. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin- I've been meaning to read the second book in the series since I finished Game of Thrones in November.
  9. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows- The premise of this book just sounds amazing!
  10. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand- I ordered this book (I know, finally). I've been meaning to, I swear!
What do you think of my list?

Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Pages: 393
Genre: Romance, Science Fiction
Format: Paperback
Published by Hodder
Goodreads // Amazon // Book Depository

Lena Haloway is content in her safe, government-managed society. She feels (mostly) relaxed about the future in which her husband and career will be decided, and looks forward to turning 18, when she’ll be cured of deliria, a.k.a. love. She tries not to think about her mother’s suicide (her last words to Lena were a forbidden “I love you”) or the supposed “Invalid” community made up of the uncured just beyond her Portland, Maine, border. There’s no real point—she believes her government knows how to best protect its people, and should do so at any cost. But 95 days before her cure, Lena meets Alex, a confident and mysterious young man who makes her heart flutter and her skin turn red-hot. As their romance blossoms, Lena begins to doubt the intentions of those in power, and fears that her world will turn gray should she submit to the procedure. In this powerful and beautifully written novel, Lauren Oliver, the bestselling author of Before I Fall, throws readers into a tightly controlled society where options don’t exist, and shows not only the lengths one will go for a chance at freedom, but also the true meaning of sacrifice. --Jessica Schein
Delirium is the kind of book that plays with your mind long after you've put it down. It's a very emotional and chilling tale that puts you right in Lena, the main character's, mind. It's somehow becomes an amazing addition to the YA dystopian trend while remaining different at the same time. This isn't an extremely action-riddled story nor are there aggressive science fiction additions to this dystopian world. It's actually a romance. And an ridiculously well-written one at that.

I absolutely gobbled this book up, immediately immersing myself in Lena's life because she's just so darn likeable. There's nothing remarkably special about this girl other than her curiosity and I feel that most readers would actually relate to her. Everything she does is believable and I think that's what sucks you in. She isn't a kick-ass fighter or a tough chick of any kind, she's simply Lena. She's very easy to get wrapped up in. And Alex, oh Alex! He's mysterious in a non-hokey way and just so darn understanding of Lena's reluctance to break from the status quo. Get excited, because that's exactly what she does in this book!

The plot really picks up in the last third of this book. I only put the book down for the necessary breaks that human beings need and devoured the ending. The very end of this book is an amazing cliffhanger of the worst kind! Gah! This means that I'll have to pick up Pandemonium, the second book when I can.

Lauren Oliver is just a simply amazing author. The plot line is somehow this perfect medium of complexity and simplicity and her writing is just beautiful. There is this sense of a quiet before a storm. I would seriously recommend this book to any reader, especially someone who is an avid YA Contemporary reader looking to dabble in some dystopian fiction.

19 March, 2012

Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Pages: 391
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
Format: Paperback
Published by Scholastic
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Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before... and surprising readers at every turn.

This book was a spectacular follow up to The Hunger Games. The end of The Hunger Games washed a sense of relief over me as I got the ending I was hoping for all along. The action picked up rather quickly after a brief setting of the scene. Every sliver of relief is very soon thrown aside as Katniss and Peeta are plunged back into the horror exponentially worse than the first book. Katniss and Peeta are called back into the Hunger Games by a twist of events. President Snow does not like Katniss and every reader can tell! The contempt seeps through the pages. The 75th Hunger Games is a special anniversary called a Quarter Quell and the entertainment is supposed to be far greater for those watching the games.

I could not put down this book. At. All. The characters introduced in this book are just fabulous and Katniss does not know who to trust or who to kill. Finnick quickly becomes my favourite as his charm is funny and endearing and his past makes him extremely likeable. Whispers of rebellion trickle through the Districts and Peeta and Katniss' refusal to give in inspires the readers as well as the fictional hopeful rebels. However, this ain't no fairytale. The plot begins raging out of control (in a fabulous way) as Katniss feels the rebellion creeping up on her heels watching every move she makes. Whatever sense of responsibility Katniss felt for the hope of the Districts is proven to be far greater than she expected.

Peeta makes me like him even more. His emotional strength and love for Katniss has absolutely no bounds in this book. I admire his determination and wrinkle my nose at Katniss' inability to see how much he loves her. Yes, Gale quickly becomes a stronger suitor in this second instalment than in the first, but I can tell you that I'm definitely a Team Peeta supporter!

This book is nonstop action and absolultely brilliant. I don't think this book is as jaw-droppingly fantastic as the first, but the cliffhanger ending will leave every reader begging for the third book and proclaiming this series as fantastic.

18 March, 2012

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Pages: 476
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: ebook
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Goodreads // Amazon // Book Depository

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
Upon hearing of a prequel of sorts to the Mortal Instruments series I was absolutely elated! I loved the idea of Shadowhunters in Victorian London and I felt like it would be a lot of fun. What's not to love about Cassandra Clare's books? When I actually started reading the series I really wasn't sure of what I was reading.

The book's saving grace was that it wasn't that slow to start. It had a decent pace and I was keeping up with everything, enjoying it for what it was. I was however, very disappointed with the characters. I only came to like Jem. Tessa has all of the makings for a good heroine, she just needs to grow some lady balls. Perhaps this is just the way Tessa starts the series and we'll see a really nicely rounded character evolution. Who knows! Will simply irritated me. I rolled my eyes nearly every time he walked into the scene, because his character was so dramatically arrogant and annoying. There's a hinting to some depth that may be revealed later on, but for now I can't stand his "I have a major thing for you but I'm too much of an arrogant jerk" act. The way he talked about himself was also just too similar to Jace's character in the Mortal Instruments to be ignored, save Jace was actually a bit funny when he did it. The minor characters didn't seem as strong as the minor characters in the Mortal Instruments. I don't think I'd want them to watch my back in a fight.

The "historical" fiction aspect of it was really fun at first, but as I kept reading it just seemed rather forced. I don't think it was necessary to describe social decorum the way it was every time it came up that something was different in the Victorian Era. I prefer figuring it out from the action and dialogue rather than being told. I took the historical accuracy with a grain of salt, so I don't have complaints about that like some people might. After all, this is a book with warlocks and demons, okay?

The action really got rolling in the end and it really brought up a lot of questions to my mind about Tessa. Who is she really? And what do these bad people need her for? I really hope these get answered as I read the second book, Clockwork Prince. Often, as one book follows another, a lot of connections are made and things start to make sense.

Overall, it's a decent addition to the world of the Shadowhunters, but I just don't think it does a lot for me. I much prefer Clary to Tessa and Jace to Will... and heck even Simon to Jem. I'll still read the second one, but if I'm disappointed I think I'll be done with this series. Don't waste your money if you're not crazy about Cassandra Clare (even though I am). Borrow it from a friend.