Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, which spotlights the releases we’re eagerly awaiting.

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19486759-the-aftermath?from_search=true
The Aftermath by Jen Alexander
Release Date: August 26th 2014

Goodreads Synopsis:
Sometimes, I dream that I'm someone else.

A girl with dark hair who doesn't worry about hunger

or thirst or running from flesh-eaters.

In her world, those sorts of things don't exist.

Since the spring of 2036, when the world changed forever, Claudia and a small clan of survivors have roamed the streets of a very altered Nashville: polluted and desolate, except for the ever-present threat of cannibal Hoarders. Together they must undergo punishing tests of endurance and psychological challenge sometimes with devastating consequences all just to live another day.

With food and water in dwindling supply, and with danger lurking around every corner, no one can be trusted. And as her world starts to make less and less sense, Claudia begins to realize something terrifying: she is just a pawn in some sort of game, and all of her actions are being controlled from afar by a mysterious gamer. So when she meets a maddening and fascinating outsider named Declan, who claims to be a game moderator, she must decide whether to join him in exchange for protection and access to the border.

If they play the game right, they are each other's best hope for survival and a life beyond the only world Claudia's ever known: the terrifying live-action game known as The Aftermath.


There is nothing better than a good dystopian book, and zombies are seriously growing on me so this looks great! The plot looks complicated, and not the standard run-away-from-the-zombies-before-they-eat-your-brains!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Teaser Tuesday (5)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read.
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18621194-half-bad
Half Bad (Half Life #1) by Sally Green

"She loved someone who killed men, women, and children, who killed the father of her children. She loved someone who ate people."

Monday, 23 June 2014

Review: Alex (Delirium Novella #3.5) by Lauren Oliver

17706571Review:
This is one of the most heart wrenching and stunning and beautiful and moving things I have ever read. The emotions feel so real, and this is not only because of Lauren Oliver but Alex. I have been in love with his character from the start and when he “died” I did to. You follow his story like it is your own and it is just as painful to read, I have so much respect and love for him it’s unbelievable; I can’t even put it into words.

It’s probably worth pointing out that this novella does not reveal anything that happened after Requiem because it is written about the Crypts and Alex’s escape to find Lena. You will have to read Pandemonium first because otherwise it kind of ruins the surprise that he’s not dead, but it doesn’t move into Requiem, even though goodreads says it occurs afterwards.
Favourite Quotes:
“In my mind, I was reliving my whole life again----slowly, taking my time.
Delaying.
Because I knew, sooner or later, I’d get to her.
And then… Well I’d already died once. I couldn’t live through it again.”

“I’d thought I would never see the sky again. Anything, anything is possible, if you can just see the sky.”

“For me the world was beginning.”

Review: Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9593913-requiem?ac=1Goodreads Synopsis:
They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every
day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven 
crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a 
disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the 
cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the 
wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.


Review:
After reading Pandemonium which is the second instalment in the Delirium trilogy I had a new found respect for both Lena, and the series in general. This meant I also had high hopes for Requiem, and I prayed that the ending didn’t live up to the endless criticism I had seen on the internet.

The book was gorgeously written, and the characters were portrayed perfectly to the point where they did feel like real people and you could feel their emotion oozing out of the page and into your heart. All except Hana. This was my first out of only 2 problems with this book, because it was written with a dual perspective from both Lena and Hana’s POVs. A dual perspective worked well in Pandemonium with Lena’s “then” and “now”, and I loved Lena whereas I simply don’t like Hana. I feel bad for admitting it but even when things were getting tough for her I couldn’t relate and didn’t have the slightest twinge of sympathy. Instead I kept thinking “that’s Karma bitch”.

But now moving on to Requiem’s ending: it pains me to say this but I agree with the majority of the criticism towards it. It had a beautiful final chapter for a book, but a terrible final chapter for a series. There was no closure; you had to read between the lines just to see who lived through it! Never mind who Lena chose, and how people handled the devastating grief after a war (that you don’t even see conclude). I read an interview with Lauren Oliver where she says “I don’t believe in happy endings”, and while this is totally respectable, does it mean she couldn’t have one? No. Was it too much to ask for a pages worth of epilogue? No it wasn’t.

The lead up was perfect with just enough tension, and it didn’t drag on to a point where you were bored or dreaded an anti-climax. The climax was all it lived up to be, it just fell short. Literally. IT WAS TOO SHORT!

This is not the only reason Requiem doesn’t get 5 stars from me, because I cannot get over Hana being a frustrating (but necessary) character, nor a lack of ending.
Favourite Quotes:
“I’m scared, I want to say. I have a bad feeling. I love you and don’t want you to get hurt. But again, it’s as though the words are trapped, buried under past fears and past lives, like fossils compressed under layers of dirt.”

“This is not the person I wanted to become: hatred has carved a permanent place inside me, a hollow where things are so easily lost.”

“We never really choose, not entirely. We are always being pushed and squeezed down one road or another. We have no choice but to step forward, and then step forward again, and then step forward again; suddenly we find ourselves on a road we haven’t chosen at all.
But maybe happiness isn’t in the choosing. Maybe it’s in the fiction, in the pretending: that wherever we have ended up is where we intended to be all along.”

Friday, 20 June 2014

Top Five Friday (1): Book Pet Peeves

Top Five Friday is a weekly meme hosted at Katieemay which lists our top 5 choices based on a bookish theme.

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This week's theme is top 5 book pet peeves, and they are in no order because all are equally annoying! I may go on a bit but my ranting could have been far worse so stick with me.

Cover Changes (Including Movie Editions)
One of my biggest pet peeves is cover changes. A lot of people have the same problem because to be honest it is a pain in the ass. When you’ve bought the first few books of a series you don’t want to have to go buy it all again because the last book is different, just to make it look good on your shelf. What’s even worse is when they change it and the originals were better (I’m talking to you Across the Universe). This includes movie editions, because never have I wanted to buy a book with the actors on it, particularly when I didn’t like the movie, and a lot of the time it’s the only copy available unless you search high and low then pay more money.

Interruptions
Another pet peeve is interruptions while I am engrossed in a book. It’s fine if it’s just a quick shout for dinner, but when you try and strike a proper conversation with me I will ignore you, no matter who you are or your reasons. I’m not trying to be rude it’s just a fact. What’s worse is when someone hovers over your shoulder to wait for you to finish, as if that’s going to make you read faster. It’s not. It just annoys the hell out of you until you tell them to go away (my favoured option) or you set your book down with a huff and demand what they want. Again, not trying to be rude, but if you interrupt me you’re going to get attitude.

Mistreating Books
I hate this about myself because it’s so fricking annoying; but I am the kind of perfectionist who if her books are not in pristine condition goes completely crazy. I will give guidelines to my brother or who whoever it is I allow to borrow my book about how to treat it so the spine doesn’t break etc, and if it comes back with so much as a scratch or dented corner refuses to let them near any of my books ever again. I cringe any time I see a dog eared page from a library book; there are such things as bookmarks for a reason! Even greasy fingerprints on shiny covers make me go crazy and I have to clean them, every… single… time…

Spoilers
Let’s get this straight I hate spoilers. It ruins a book when you find out something major that happens while talking or reading a review before hand, even synopsises of sequels contain them a lot of the time. I hate it when you are careful to read spoiler free reviews, then go to pick up your next book and pick up the sequel by accident because it isn’t clear of the order and spoil the ending. Would it really be so hard to put a number next to the title? At least that way you don’t find no point in reading the first book.

Insta-Love
I have plenty more bookish pet peeves that I could mention, but the one that always sticks with me and a lot of others is this thing called insta-love. Anyone can vouch that it is not only unrealistic but frustrating! You don’t lay eyes on someone and then decide you will love them forever, or even die for them! You can think that they’re hot, sure, and if your heart “flutters”, fine, but that’s lust not love; huge difference.

Anyway, rant over, let me know in the comments what my next Top Five Friday's theme should be.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Review: Raven (Delirium Novella #2.5) by Lauren Oliver

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16089223-raven?ac=1Goodreads Synopsis:
This captivating story set in the world of Lauren Oliver’s New York Times bestselling Delirium series focuses on Raven, the fiery leader of a rebel group in the Wilds.

As a teenager, Raven made the split-second decision to flee across the border to the Wilds, compelled to save an abandoned newborn—a baby girl left for dead and already blue from the cold. When she and the baby are taken in by a band of rebels, Raven finds herself an outsider within a tight-knit group. The only other newcomer is an untrustworthy boy known as the Thief until he finally earns himself a new name: Tack.

Now she and Tack are inseparable, committed to each other, the fledgling rebellion, and a future together. But as they both take center stage in the fight, Raven must decide whether the dangers of the revolution are worth risking her dreams of a peaceful life with Tack.

As her story hurtles back and forth between past and present, Raven transforms from a scared girl newly arrived in the Wilds to the tough leader who helps Lena save former Deliria-Free poster boy Julian Fineman from a death sentence. Whatever the original mission may have been, Raven abides by a conviction that she believes to her core: You always return for the people you love.

By turns surprising, revelatory, and poignant, Raven’s story enriches the Delirium world and resonates with a voice that is as vulnerable as it is strong.


Review:
Seeing from Raven’s perspective was incredibly interesting not only because it was good to see how her tough exterior came to be, but it was also incredibly nice to see how her relationship with Tack developed, and even nicer to see how strong it truly was. I love them together and it was not only great to understand Raven more but also Tack. You discover a lot about him (though not nearly enough) and he quickly works his way into your heart through this novella.

But since this novella is about Raven (obviously from the title) it did focus more on her and her past. It is mentioned a lot for a novella and normally I would hate this because it would seem like a pity party for one, but Lauren Oliver did it quite artfully and so it’s less noticeable.

I have to say that I didn’t really understand Raven in Pandemonium and I wasn’t following how Lena could feel so emotionally involved with her. The way she attacked Lena about Alex was also a big NO NO, I mean hadn’t the girl been through enough? But when it really counted she was there for her, though the retelling from her POV was a little bit boring because you learnt nothing new. It was the rest focused on her relationships that was the real score.

After the shock at the end of this novella and the cliff-hanger that finished Pandemonium I expect nothing less than an explosive finale in Requiem and I really want Raven and Tack to live through it. They just have to.
Favourite Quotes:
“He looks funny in a suit jacket, like a bear dressed up in costume for the circus. I would never tell him that, though.”

“A name that brings a taste of sunshine, and of sunshine raising mist from the trees, and of mist reaching toward the sky.”

“Lies are just stories, and stories are all that matter. We all tell stories. Some are more truthful than others, maybe, but in the end the only thing that counts is what you can make people believe.”

Review: Pandemonium Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9593911-pandemonium?ac=1Goodreads Synopsis:
I’m pushing aside 
the memory of my nightmare, 
pushing aside thoughts of Alex, 
pushing aside thoughts of Hana 
and my old school, 
push, 
push, 
push, 
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.


Review:
It is very, very rare for a sequel to be better than the first book in the series but this was the exception and meant that I loved it. Lauren Oliver answered my prayers because she went into so much more depth with the world she created and didn’t focus solely on the love story between Alex and Lena. This might have been because Alex was kind of dead. I actually found that I missed him the sweet relationship between the pair, but I was glad that Lena didn’t drone on about him and it was done artfully.

The new man in Lena’s life is Julian Fineman, who is the son of the head of DFA (Deliria Free America). He is not really that different from Alex, and again there is the obstacle that they are from different “worlds” that they have to overcome. Not to mention the fact that Lena keeps thinking of Alex when they’re together. Personally I don’t know how I feel about him because I was firmly team Alex in Delirium, and I think I mostly felt sorry for Julian.

Lena herself is so different than she was in Delirium and the way that she describes herself as a whole new Lena wasn’t as cliché as it could have been and this is where Lauren Oliver comes into her element. Her writing was detailed and expressive but it didn’t drag on and had enough dramatic action that the calmer scenes were a chance to breathe. I was on the edge of my seat as Lena struggled to belong to a world where nothing made sense, and the only person who tethered her to it was gone. But not all was lost as she soon made friends and there was hope for her to create a new life for herself.

My one big problem with this book was the alternating chapters of Lena when she was first stranded in the Wilds and the present, because like with all alternating chapters or POVs you always favour one and it takes effort not to skip the other. Especially when they leave you on a cliff-hanger. Especially when that cliff-hanger might result in a death.

Once again this book concludes with a major twist, and it breaks my heart all over again but not for Lena this time… I will obviously be reading the conclusion to the series: Requiem, because it just got really interesting with this cliff-hanger and I cannot wait to see how it plays out.
Favourite Quotes:
“But...books are so much more. Some of them are webs; you can feel your way along their threads, but just barely, into strange and dark corners. Some of them are balloons bobbing up through the sky: totally self-contained, and unreachable, but beautiful to watch.
And some of them―the best ones―are doors.” 

“Grief is sinking, like being buried. I am in water the tawny colour of kicked-up dirt. Every breath is full of choking. There is nothing to hold on to, no sides, no way to claw myself up. There is nothing to do but let go.”

“Don’t believe her.”

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Review: White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6087756-white-catGoodreads Synopsis:
Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn't fit in at home or at school, so he's used to feeling like an outsider. He's also used to feeling guilty; he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.

But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas and a plan to con the conmen.



Review:
I thought there wasn’t much room left in the YA genre for a completely new prospect but I eat my words. I have not read anything like this, full stop. Holly Black has written a unique and beautiful novel that I loved a lot more than I expected!

The start was admittedly slow because since it’s the first in a series there was of course world-building; and while it wasn’t bad/boring, it was hard to get into the story and connect to the characters but it quickly picked up and from then on never let up. I loved the ever present humour and the start was brilliant, with the male protagonist hanging from a roof in his boxers… A very clear indicator that this would be a fun book. The world of Curse Workers where people can change your emotions, or turn you into a cat, or remove memories with single touch is incredibly interesting, and there’s a lot more that can come from it.

As far as characters went I thought Cassel’s family was shady to say the least. Cassel’s the only non-worker in the family and with that came a lot of secrets and dodging around the truth like it was the plague. They never gave straight answers and as con-artists were very good at lying; it all came with the job of being a Curse Worker because the second someone realised they were being Worked everything would go up in smoke and they’d be carted off to jail (Cassel’s mother learnt that the hard way, but God only knows if she learnt her lesson).

Cassel was easily my favourite part of the book because it was easy to see him as a real person: likeable but flawed (it was easy to forget it’s written by a female, so well done Black!). He’s the laid back guy who prefers to hide in the shadows where drama still manages to find him; and what’s most surprising is that he’s not the type of person you expect to rise up and be a hero, but he does even when he doesn’t think can do it himself. I really wanted things to work out for him but of course if that happened there would be no story! Instead he faces complicated obstacle after obstacle trying to cling onto what parts of himself he still had left untouched by poisonous lies.

Now while I’m not usually a romance fanatic I think it needed something more than Cassel’s memories of a girl he loved that to be honest sounded really spiteful and just plain bitchy. He didn’t drone on about her *phew* and she was mentioned plenty enough for me as is, but perhaps someone else could have added something to the story? Just an idea, but still this was a great book and if you’re dubious about it like I was just have a go and stick with it. You won’t regret it and you just might end up loving it…
Favourite Quotes:
“Apparently you can do lots of things very skilfully while asleep, Mr. Sharpe, but attending my class does not seem to be one of them.”

“Once someone’s hurt you, it’s harder to relax around them, harder to think of them as safe to love. But it doesn’t stop you wanting them.”

“The easiest lies to tell are the ones you want to be true.”

“We are, largely, who we remember ourselves to be. That’s why habits are so hard to break. If we know ourselves to be liars, we expect not to tell the truth. If we think ourselves as honest, we try harder.”

“Marks forget that whenever something’s too good to be true, that’s because it’s a con.”

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, which spotlights the releases we’re eagerly awaiting.

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19286673-loop?from_search=true
Loop by Karen Akins
Release Date: October 21st 2014

Goodreads Synopsis:
A time traveler accidentally brings a boy from the past into the 23rd century, only to discover he’s already in love with her future self and is keeping his own set of secrets.

I don’t have much faith in time travel books, because more than once they have ended with going back in time so nothing that happened actually happened. But I’m willing to give them another go, and Loop is unique itself because instead of bringing someone from the present to the past/future it’s the reverse and this looks into whole new problems...

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Teaser Tuesday (4)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read.
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16086585-amethyst?from_search=true
Amethyst (Guardian #1) by Heather Bowhay 

“My eyes widened and my stomach churned as images of his threat played through my mind. My thoughts were cut short when all at once he rushed us.”

Review: Hana (Delirium Novella #1.5) by Lauren Oliver

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12663646-hana?ac=1Goodreads Synopsis:
The summer before they're supposed to be cured of the ability to love, best friends Lena and Hana begin to drift apart. While Lena shies away from underground music and parties with boys, Hana jumps at her last chance to experience the forbidden. For her, the summer is full of wild music, dancing—and even her first kiss.

But on the surface, Hana must be a model of perfect behavior. She meets her approved match, Fred Hargrove, and glimpses the safe, comfortable life she’ll have with him once they marry. As the date for her cure draws ever closer, Hana desperately misses Lena, wonders how it feels to truly be in love, and is simultaneously terrified of rebelling and of falling into line.

In this digital story that will appeal to fans of Delirium and welcome new admirers to its world, readers will come to understand scenes from Delirium through Hana's perspective. Hana
 is a touching and revealing look at a life-changing and tumultuous summer.


Review:
A lot of the time I get frustrated with short stories (because they’re so short *eye roll at myself*) but this is Lauren Oliver we’re talking about! If anyone can do it well then of course she could! Based from Hana’s POV it retells events from the book Delirium which you will have to read first to understand this novella.

I had expected this novella to go into more depth on Hana’s character and provide the explanations of why she was rebellious against the rules then still followed them when it really counted. But instead it focused a lot more on Lena, even though it was still from Hana’s POV, and while I preferred this, I don’t think fans of Hana will (if there are any).

It described a lot about the changes in Lena, and it truthfully changed my perspective of her because while I was reading Delirium I wasn’t on her side at all with the opinion that she was too bland and wary. Now I really don’t, and instead see how she was so brave to go against what she had been brought up to believe.

Hana on the other hand, well I just don’t like the girl. She didn’t seem important enough in Delirium to dwell on her character development which was a bit sketchy and I don’t understand her now. She went from pining over Lena like a lost puppy to change into a complete jealous bitch, which may seem harsh but you’ll understand after you’ve read it. I can’t get over the ending, and for once I really hate being right, because I imagined that Hana would do something drastic because of her hot-and-cold personality but seeing it written down was so much worse.

But apart from the fact that I don’t like Hana this novella was actually quite interesting and easily a must read for fans of the series.
Favourite Quotes:
“Perfect. There’s the word again: a locked-door word – stifling, strangling.”

“It’s worse than a disease. It’s a poison.”

“The flyers lift and sigh in unison, like a thousand people waving white handkerchiefs, a thousand people waving good-bye.”

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Review: Annabel (Delirium Novella #0.5) by Lauren Oliver

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15820492-annabel?from_search=trueGoodreads Synopsis:
Lena's mother, Annabel, has always been a mystery—a ghost in Lena's past. Until now.

Discover her secrets in Lauren Oliver's brilliant original digital story set in the world of New York Times bestsellers Delirium and Pandemonium.


Lena Halloway's mother, Annabel, supposedly committed suicide when Lena was only six years old. That's the lie that Lena grew up believing, but the truth is very different. As a rebellious teenager, Annabel ran away from home and straight into the man she knew she was destined to marry. The world was different then—the regulations not as stringent, the cure only a decade old. Fast forward to the present, and Annabel is consigned to a dirty prison cell, where she nurtures her hope of escape and scratches one word over and over into the walls: Love.

But Annabel, like Lena, is a fighter. Through chapters that alternate between her past and present, Annabel reveals the story behind her failed cures, her marriage, the births of her children, her imprisonment, and, ultimately, her daring escape.


Review:
This novella was done beautifully to put it simply. The writing was once again fluent and full of emotion that resulted in a really moving piece. It was really interesting finding out Annabel’s full story and from her perspective; not people twisting it to make her seem like someone she wasn’t or tales based on misguided emotions.

But what I loved the most was how normal the voice of Annabel sounded. I never expected her to be the happy-go-lucky mother from Lena’s memory but the fact that the Crypts never broke her and she remained sane shows how strong she was.

This novella is told before Delirium, but I think it is best that you read Delirium first and get everything from Lena’s POV beforehand. Delirium also contains all of the world building and gives you a feel for the characters and their world, whereas this novella Annabel was more character development for Annabel (of course).
Favourite Quotes:
“It is my pen, too. With it, I write my story, again and again, in the walls. So I don’t forget. So it becomes real.”

“That’s what time does: We stand stubbornly like rocks while it flows all around us, believing that we are immutable – and all the time we’re being carved, and shaped, and whittled away.”

“That’s the easy thing about falling: there is only one choice after that.”

Review: Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

11614718Goodreads Synopsis:
Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.


Review:
The concept of love being a disease drew me in straight away, and with the hundreds of amazing reviews it was a no brainer whether I wanted to read it. I don’t know why I put off reading it for so long, but I think I was simply intimidated by a 400 page love story.

Anyway, now that I finally have I’ll admit that this book started off rather slow and it wasn’t because of the world building, which was actually done fluidly (and the excerpts at the beginning of each chapter from fictional documents about the dystopian world such as The Book of SHHH which is kind of like their bible, kept me interested though it did make me want more of the dystopia side of it) but I think that because it is a dystopian romance novel it didn’t kick-start until the romance did.

Lauren Oliver’s writing is a masterpiece, it’s so fluent and beautiful that I wouldn’t be surprised if she could turn a sentence about a dog pooping into something tear-jerking. She writes like a poet, and deserves all the positive feed-back she’s getting from her books. I’m not sure whether it was a good or a bad thing but I preferred her writing to her actual characters, because while her writing was rich with beautiful depth and imagery, her two main characters Lena and Alex were a little flat. I am sure that this will change as the series continues and Lena has already developed so much after one book. She was originally just a simple girl who was a sucker to the rules because she didn’t know any differently, but she is stronger now and throughout her journey you relate to her impeccably. That is why my heart-breaked just as hers did at the end of the book. Now, now, don’t jump to conclusions.

I would recommend this book to readers who like love stories over people who like dystopias because I feel as if it fell short in this aspect, but I hope Lauren Oliver will pick this up in book 2 of the Delirium series: Pandemonium. Which I will definitely be reading, even if it’s only to find out the result of the cliff-hanger which has left my heart racing.
Favourite Quotes:
“Then he does the absolutely, positively unthinkable.
He winks at me.”

“Snapshots, moments, mere seconds: as fragile and beautiful and hopeless as a single butterfly, flapping on against a gathering wind.”

“I know that life isn't life if you just float through it. I know that the whole point - the only point - is to find the things that matter and hold onto them and fight for them and refuse to let them go.”

“You may think the past has something to tell you. You may think that you should listen, should strain to make out its whispers, should bend over backward, stoop down low to hear its voice breathed up from the ground, from the dead places. You may think there’s something in it for you, something to understand or make sense of.
But I know the truth: I know from the nights of Coldness. I know the past will drag you backward and down, have you snatching at whispers of wind and the gibberish of trees rubbing together, trying to decipher some code, trying to piece together what was broken. It’s hopeless. The past is nothing but a weight. It will build inside of you like a stone.
Take it from me: If you hear the past speaking to you, feel it tugging at your back and running its fingers up your spine, the best thing to do—the only thing—is run.” 

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Review: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/256683.City_of_Bones?from_search=trueGoodreads Synopsis:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know... 

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.


Review:
By the angel, City of Bones is pure YA perfection!

I devoured this book with its stunning romance and nail biting action; there was never a dull moment in poor Clary’s life and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what happened next!

She can’t complain though really, after all with the Shadow World comes Jace. Ahh Jace *heartfelt sigh*.  In books I usually want to the female protagonist to go for the tough-on-the-outside-gooey-on-the-inside guy, but Jace threw all this out the window with his arrogant attitude and stunning looks. I completely fell for him and there’s much more to him than meets the eye (not that what you see isn’t perfect)…

Clary herself is surprisingly tough as she’s thrown blind into this new world full of danger, where nothing is as she thought: “all the stories are true.”  You witness her character grow and meet new people who are all amazing in their own way *cough*Magnus*cough*. Everyone has their part to play in this magnificent story set in a beautiful world I love to live in.

Cassandra Clare does a great job drawing the reader in from the first page and keeping their attention with the twists and turns that even if you predicted/read previously still surprise. She’s written a fast-paced but humorous novel that I would recommend to anyone and everyone who needs their fix of fantasy.
Favourite Quotes:
“You guessed? You must have been pretty sure, considering you could have killed me."
"I was ninety percent sure."
"I see," Clary said. There must have been something in her voice, because he turned to look at her. Her hand cracked across his face, a slap that rocked him back on his heels. He put his hands on his cheek, more in surprise than pain.
"What the hell was that for?"
"The other ten percent.”
 

“Is this the part where you start tearing off strips of your shirt to bind my wounds?"
"If you wanted me to rip my clothes off, you should have just asked.”

“It means 'Shadowhunters: Looking Better in Black Than the Widows of our Enemies Since 1234'.”
“The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he'd learned: that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed.”

 “If there was one thing she was learning from all this, it was how easy it was to lose everything you had always thought you'd have forever.” 

Review: A Very Hexy Valentine’s Day (Hex Hall Novella #3.5) by Rachel Hawkins

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17374038-a-very-hexy-valentine-s-day?from_search=trueGoodreads Synopsis:
As a Valentine’s Day Treat, please to enjoy a certain couple from the Hex Hall series enjoying their first Valentine’s Day. If you haven’t read the last book and don’t know who Sophie ends up with, beware spoilers.


Review:
I was expecting a proper short story for this novella because I was really stupid and didn’t read that it is in fact only 3 pages long. Otherwise I think I might have enjoyed it a bit more. As is it was more of a reminder of the characters in the amazing Hex Hall series. I do love seeing what happens to the characters after a series finishes, especially when you loved Archer the series as much as I loved Hex Hall so this was a really nice pick me up for a gloomy day (also known as the day I finished the series *sigh*).


Favourite Quotes:
“You me, Applebee’s, a little bit of ghoul hunting…,”

“I couldn’t even get into my room this afternoon because it was filled with roughly ninety bajillion pink balloons. And we’re not even going to get into the current Glitter Situation.”

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Review: Spell Bound (Hex Hall #3) by Rachel Hawkins

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11454587-spell-bound?ac=1Goodreads Synopsis:
Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humour, this third volume will leave readers enchanted.

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenceless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident.

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?


Review:
Spell Bound is an amazing climatic conclusion to Hawkins’s series and it did not disappoint in the slightest. It continued with the twists and turns around every corner, so you never knew where you stood or what would come next. The characters are also just as awesome as before, I loved seeing their dynamics and I simply loved their personalities which always shone beautifully through in both the drastic situations and the “relaxed” ones. There wasn’t much time however for relaxing in this novel for neither the characters nor me, because its fast pace and constant action made it impossible to put down and for the characters downright impossible.

The characterization was even better than the previous books where it reached the point that you could understand their thinking even though you couldn’t always predict their actions. This is why the ending was so great because it answers all of your questions about the characters you’ve grown to love and/or hate, tying all the loose ends together while making sure no one is forgotten. But you don’t just find your answers about the characters; all your misunderstandings and unanswered questions towards the plot are put right and you’ll look back thinking “oh I hadn’t even realised that was important” or “that was so subtle and incredibly clever”.

This review has ended up being quite general and focusing more on the book/series as a whole, but I do think it is worth mentioning perhaps one of my favourite characters: Sophie Mercer. She is the kind of heroine that you can not only look to but relate to, and with her snarky comments you can’t help but love. She’s heroic without realising it and since you read the story from her POV it really only hits when other people talk about her.

Anyway this series has captured my undying attention from the get go with its enigmatic characters and thrilling plot, and the ending even as bitter sweet as it was left me with a smile on my face. Sure the series wasn’t perfect but up until the last page I had no ground-breaking complaints, and my only complaint was that it was the last page! Even the death(s) I felt were done well and I almost feel bad because I know I shouldn’t have presumed otherwise but this was a huge surprise. It was pulled off by the way the surviving characters dealt with everything, and the death(s) turned out honourable so I had new respect for the character(s).

The Hex Hall series are light and quirky reads combined with a lot of action and mystery through the plot and its characters. I think any YA fan will find something to like in this series because it’s such a mixture of everything from a high school for misfits, to a forbidden romance, and a full on war.
Favourite Quotes:
“Great I was going into shock. That was just… so inconvenient.”

“I can fathom all kinds of things,” I told him. “Try me.” I think I might have seen pride in my Dad’s eyes. Or maybe it was just a gleam of Why is my offspring so insane?”

“Didn’t I promise you we could make out in a castle?” Chuckling, I drew my hand back. “You did. And to take me on dates. Real dates with no swords or ghosts or angst.”
“Well, there you go,” he said. “As soon as we’ve saved the world from a demon invasion, it’s you, me, and Applebee’s” I rolled my eyes, but I was grinning now. “Oh, the romance.”

“I think I can hold my own in smartassery.”

Review: Demonglass (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins

8428064Goodreads Synopsis:
Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch. That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (a.k.a. witches, shape-shifters, and faeries). But then she discovered the family secret, and the fact that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie's a demon, one of only two in the world-the other being her father. What's worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will either destroy her powers for good-or kill her. 

But once Sophie arrives, she makes a shocking discovery. Her new housemates? They're demons too. Meaning, someone is raising demons in secret, with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they're using Archer to do it. But it's not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?


Review:
This book picks up a few months after Hex Hall finished at the end of the school year. But do not fear there are plenty of new creatures to take the students places where Sophie’s going; to live with her mighty demon Dad. I think it’s fair to say she’s not very excited about it, especially after she made her drastic decision in Hex Hall at the end of the book and so she’s back as snarky and sarcastic as ever.

She is a great character and I love her attitude because it can turn a really dark scene into something humorous while still keeping the tension, if not increasing it because you can tell that’s just the way she responds. Both Jenna and Archer also make appearances in this book, and I love the different relationships they have with Sophie. For once an author doesn’t just focus on romantic relationships putting friendships on the back burner, and they both play big parts. Jenna herself is the perfect best friend, while Archer… well let’s just say I am team Archer all the way. You finally uncover his secrets so you can actually decide what you think of him; instead of making rash judgements along with Sophie (although of course she had reason).

Other characters were also introduced and others were developed more fully, and when I say this I mean you have to double take at their true personalities and at their involvement in everything.

This made the plot just as engaging as the first book, and Hawkins did a perfect job of mixing both light scenes with the heavy and dramatic ones, it was also the only way I could put the book down otherwise I wouldn’t have done anything including eaten since I picked up the series! There were too many twists and turns and revelations to count which I loved, and it was really interesting how Hawkins occasionally lulled you into a false sense of security until BHAM! Everything went haywire.

Once again we are left on a cliff-hanger, so the second I finish this review I’m picking up Spell Bound. This is the moment when I am thankful for putting off the series until all the books were out; otherwise I would probably be going crazy! I swear authors like torturing us with these cliff-hanger endings and one thing’s for sure, and that’s it definitely makes us pick up the sequel.
Favourite Quotes:
“None of this makes any sense.”
“I’m beginning to think I should make that the title of my autobiography.”

“You think you’ve accepted that someone is out of your life, that you’ve grieved and it’s over, and then bam. One little thing and you feel like you’ve lost that person all over again.”

“Without thinking, I reached out and grabbed Nick's free arm. His wet white T-shirt and jeans rippled, and suddenly he was wearing a Day-Glo yellow tank top and acid-washed jeans. "And you look better like this."
(…) As Daisy hooted with laughter, Nick narrowed his eyes at me. "Okay, now you're in for it." He waved his hand, and suddenly I was sweltering. When I glanced down, I saw that it was because I was now dressed like the Easter Bunny. But with the flick of one fuzzy paw, I'd transformed Nick's jeans and tank top into a snowsuit.
Then I was in a bikini.
So Nick was wearing a particularly poofy purple prom dress.
By the time he'd turned my clothes into a showgirl's costume, complete with a feathery headdress, and I'd put him in a scuba suit, we were both completely magic drunk and giggling.”

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Review: Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins

5287473Goodreads Synopsis:
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Review:
This book was everything I expected because it was a fun and enjoyable read, with the hint of something darker always on the horizon. It left me smiling frequently particularly at Sophie’s character but there were a few gasps thrown in here and there when Rachel Hawkins threw a twist that I didn’t expect. The second you get comfortable with the school drama and classic bitchiness from the “mean girls”, something happens or some revelation comes to light.

The characters were just as good, and not the one-sided people I expected (I don’t even understand where I got these presumptions from but someone had me believe they would be pretty simple). Sophie who’s the main protagonist is easy to relate to because who hasn’t been the new girl, and it makes her easy friendship with vampire friend Jenna believable. You understand where she comes from as she sticks up for her friend, even knowing the alienation that would follow. She’s also a complete goon but be honest, it’s inside all of us, and it was nice to see it come out in a book character and see that they’re not all the perfect idols you dream of becoming, and they’re actually, well real.

The other characters were just as interesting and you have to get over face value because this book truly teaches you not to judge a book by its cover (and I mean the characters not the actual book; just clarifying). It leaves you wishing that hot warlocks paranormal creatures/people were real (sorry for bursting anyone’s bubbles there) and there was a school you could go with the fancy prom and midnight coven meetings.

This book is for anyone who missed their letter to Hogwarts and needs a hit of supernatural boarding school.
Favourite Quotes:
“Once a boy has slammed his kneecap into your rib cage, I think any romantic feeling should naturally go the way of the ghost.” 

“Oh my God. Regret cake? Whatever was about to happen must be truly evil.”

“Welcome to The Twilight Zone!”
The “Holy-crap-that’s-a-lot-of-pink” Zone would have been a more accurate description.”

“So I have a destiny, I said. “Crap.”

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine, which spotlights the releases we’re eagerly awaiting.

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18634726-the-vanishing-season?from_search=true
The Vanishing Season – Jodi Lynn Anderson
Release Date: July 21st 2014

Goodreads Synopsis:
Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter's come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I've watched the danger swell.

The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I'm the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I'm tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.

I'm tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don't know why. I think it's because death is coming for one of them, or both.

All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.

From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind.

Just reading this synopsis gives me chills and while it doesn’t come out and bluntly state what the book’s about, you can tell so I’m not only looking forward to this book but more from the author.