Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rogue Review: Ember

I am a deserter to my kind.
A traitor to my kind.
A rogue to my kind.

I left the organization Talon.
Became a rogue.
To take my chances with freedom.

Talon is hunting me down.
The Order of St. George is hunting me down.
But I will survive.

My name is Ember Hill.
Whoo hoo! Finally, I'm living as Ember again!

Book: Rogue
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Talon
Standing: Book 2
Setting: Las Vegas, California (modern day)
POV: first person by Ember, and bits of Riley, Garret, and Dante, past tense
Genre: YA fantasy

Reading: first time
Favorite part: no such thing. I loved the entire thing!
Rating: 5 Stars





First off, the cover is touchable. I'm not joking. I spent a few minutes stroking the cover, because it literally feels like scales. I also may have had the same issue with the cover of Talon, as it was touchable too. These physical covers are amazing. No, I'm not weird.

If you haven't guessed yet, Julie Kagawa is probably my all-time favorite author. I'm not kidding. Her works have reduced me to tears and various other blobs of non-functioning emotions. Okay, that just sounds weird.

Where to start? I suppose the logical answer would be with Ember. Life as a rogue has changed her, constantly on the run and being in danger. In this book, Ember must come to terms about the new life of being a rogue, as well as the idea of having to kill someone for survival. Not exactly light stuff. But she's able to charge right through, getting what needs to be done, done. Not once does she look back or back out. Her stubbornness is one of her greatest strengths.

Garret. That boy. I'm sad we didn't get to see as much of his POV as we did in Talon, but I'm still happy that he was there. Nicknamed the "Perfect Solider," he definitely is big help for Ember and Riley. He knows how St. George operates, and thus knows how to avoid them or get out of a sticky situation. It was a bit irritating for me at the beginning when Riley simply refused to see that Garret was a benefit to their cause.

Rogue focused a bit more on Riley/Cobalt than anything, exploring his past and how he operates his underground rogue network today. It really let readers get into Riley's head, to see how he operated. It's easier to emphasize with Riley, to see where's he's coming from. He really does have other hatchlings' best interests at heart. Which is fine, because it gives readers a chance to tear themselves apart over who's better, Garret or Riley.

"A love triangle?" someone groans. "Really?"

Not exactly. Okay, yes, maybe. But that's not the driving force here. We don't really get any huge, mind-blowing, sappy declarations of love from both sides, which all result in a big brawl between the male characters. Ember is more than capable of taking care of herself, and doesn't exactly need an overprotective boyfriend hounding her. So as great as having a love triangle is, it's not really what it's all about. If everyone would just get along and fight together, everything would be fine.

But apart from that, Rogue was everything I expected to be and more. Dragon fights, prison breaks, betrayals, traps, secrets, and questions. Oh yes, the questions. Questions the characters asks, and questions that we, the reader asks. That's what makes a good story: the implication of the reader. (Wow, I sound like an English student, don't I? But it's true!)

So my question to you all is this: would you rather be a shapeshifting dragon, or a dragon slayer? And would you ever break free of the organization you're working for?

Blurb:
Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can't forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he'd signed his own death warrant.

Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order's headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember's own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George.

A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?
 


And the rest is spoilery, so read under the cut.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

End of April Book Haul

Another book haul, you say? Why yes. Yes, indeed.

Check them out:

Rogue by Julie Kagawa: I have been waiting and waiting for this book to come out! This is Book Two in the Talon series, the first book being Talon (my 5 star review is here). It's about an ancient war between dragons and dragon hunters, taking place in the modern day setting of California. Both human-shapeshifting dragons and dragon hunters living right under our noses, hunting each other! And though they are sworn enemies, it doesn't exactly stop a young dragon from befriending a dragon hunter. Both completely unaware of each other's true identity, of course...

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: I actually got this at a book exchange. It's not exactly YA, more so adult fiction. It's about two girls living in World War II: one who is captured, doomed to be executed, and another who has a small chance at surviving it all. One of friends highly recommended it to me at the exchange. It's a sharp turn from all the fantasy I've been reading, so I'll see how it goes...

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Murder Complex Review: Meadow

I have been trained by my father.

To fight.
To kill.
To survive.

The Murder Complex controls us all.
It decides who lives.
It decides who dies.

I will live.
I have to.
My name is Meadow Woodson.
Book: The Murder Complex
Author: Lindsay Cummings
Series: The Murder Complex
Standing: Book 1
Setting: Florida (future)
POV: first person, by Meadow and Zephyr, present tense
Genre: YA dystopian thriller

Reading: first time
Rating: 3 stars

Blurb:
An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Interesting book. I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but that could be because I've been on a fantasy streak the past month. But the concept behind it is relatively neat and straightforward.

This is one dystopian that I do not want to live in. Like, ever. I'd choose living in the Hunger Games over this one. In it, no one ever really dies due to illness, meaning everyone can technically live forever. And so to control the population, the government a) starves people off and b) introduces the Murder Complex, which selects and kills people. Don't get me wrong, this book fills the action aspect. But there's also lot of cold-blooded murders, too.

A few things that I wasn't really a fan of in the book: large margins, short chapters, constant switching back and forth between POVs, action scene descriptions, and romance aspect. I found that the large margins sort of undermined the story a bit. The actual text space of the book is a lot narrower than what I'm use to, and because of it, I was whipping through the pages one after another. I don't know, but isn't that sort of a waste of space? I'm one of those environment people, so wasted space means wasted trees. However, the author is not to blame, as they're not the ones who make book design decisions. 

As for the short chapters, I'm usually fine with them. Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me series had short chapters in it, too. But in this book, the chapters were consistently short, and they kept flipping back between Meadow and Zephyr's POV. Maybe it was just me, but I couldn't really keep up with who's POV it was, because it kept on going back and forth, back and forth. One event happens, yet it's told in five different chapters, going from Meadow to Zephyr and back again. I would have preferred just one of them making it through the entire thing before switching POV to look at the aftermath.

There was no short of action in this book. But it was a cold action, killing off one person after another. I get that it really depicts the wrongness of the Murder Complex and why it has to be stopped, but personally, I couldn't really get into it. It wasn't really my kind of book, and I'm not really into these kinds of pure dark themes.

As for the romance in it, I understood why it was there, but I also felt that it took away from the plot a little bit. Just general attraction would have sufficed. With the harsh setting of the book, the idea of love seemed a little out of place. What is love, when there is murder? But it can also be seen as: there will always be love, even there is murder. It depends on how you see it.

The book in general has a relatively good plot, and the overall themes of murder and death are well-developed. Both Meadow and Zephyr's actions are logical and straightforward, and you can relate to their situations and desperation. So if you enjoy cut-throat action (literally), gritty environments, thrillers, tough-as-nails heroine, and a big plot twist, read this book.

But overall for me, it just wasn't my kind of book. What do you guys think?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Red Queen Review: Mare

There are two kinds of people in the world:
People with Silver blood, and people with Red.

The Silvers have powers, elite warriors who rule.
The Reds are normal, commoners, forced to serve the Silvers.

I am a Red.
But I have powers.
Powers no Silver has ever seen.

I've entered a dangerous game.
The Silver king will use me.
The rebellion will use me.

My name is Mare Barrow.
Hi guys! Today, I have the pleasure of being Mare, from Red Queen!

Book: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen
Standing: Book 1
POV: first person by Mare, present tense
Genre: YA fantasy, dystopia

Reading: first time
Favourite line: "I have lived that life already, in the mud, in the shadows, in a cell, in a silk dress. I will never submit again. I will never stop fighting."
Rating: 4 stars




Funny story. I got up this morning, thought, hey, Red Queen! It's supposed to be good!, picked it up, and finished it less then 12 hours later. Which was very surprising, because I mainly only do that for heavily anticipated books that I've been dying to read (like sequels or the first book of a new series by my favourite authors). So this was new.

First off, I particularly liked the world the author built here. Yes, it's a dystopian and you have the whole rebellion-trying-to-overthrow-the-higher-class, but what really drew me to this book in the first place was the idea that people with different blood could have powers. It makes them alien, in a way. It's difficult to image people with silver blood, like how it's difficult to actually image an alien. But similarly, it's also easy to see these people with silver blood as a separate species themselves. So being a separate species, it's not too difficult to see them having powers.

What kind of powers, you ask? I'm talking about having super strength, controlling specific elements, mind control, turning invisible, you name it. But the catch here is that there's a set list of powers that exist, and you can't have one that's not on that list. That is, until Mare shows up.

Mare. Red blood, like you an me (I hope). Trying to protect her family, help in any way she can. Completely bewildered when she's swept off into a dangerous court game of pawns, marriages, etiquette, and power. Trying to do the right thing. Sometimes getting a little in over her head. But she's a quick thinker, and she's able to worm her way out of situations relatively quickly, which I like. I'm not quite sure how I myself would survive in her place, so I admire her for keeping her head (both figuratively and literally).

I never was a huge fan of dystopian, because it's generally all the same to me with the idea of a rebellion. This book didn't really offer any new spin to, but I wasn't really reading it for it's dystopian element. What I did like was this: there's a saying in the Silver court, which is "strength and power." And throughout the book, it evolves in "strength, power, and death." The evolution of the dystopian element through a saying was very effectively. It bluntly shows the increasing maliciousness of the ruling class. Funny that it doesn't catch on with the Reds, huh?

In this book, Mare is taken into the castle and stripped of her identity. She's "reborn" as a long-lost Silver princess in an attempt to cover up the fact that she's a Red. But Mare sort of hates Silvers, so it's not exactly an easy transition. But she doesn't exactly have much choice, as she needs to protect her family. And to protect her family, she must first protect herself, even if it is by going along with the king's orders. And thus the risky game of secrets within the palace begins...it's a place where everyone has secrets, where some, if revealed, have more dangerous potentials than others...

If you're looking for a book with a variety of awesome powers, tricky court negotiations/policies/lives, some (few, but) wicked bouts of action, and a ton of compelling trust and betrayal issues, pick up Red Queen. Believe me when I say that the action with Mare's power is something unique, so you don't want to miss out!

And the rest is going to be spoilers, so read until the cut.

Blurb:
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Bitter Kingdom Review: Eliza

I am a fugitive.
My country is on the brink of civil war.
Even my own men have orders to kill me on sight.

The Invieros have also taken Hector.
They intend to lure me to them.
They intend to kill me, and then my country.

I must save Hector.
I must stop the enemy.
I must save my country.

I am the Champion.
And I will not fail.
I am Queen Lucero-Eliza né Riqueza de Vega.
Hi guys! Today, I have the pleasure of being Eliza...

Book: The Bitter Kingdom
Author: Rae Carson
Series: Girl of Fire and Thorns
Standing: Book 3 (final)
Setting: Invierne, Joya d'Arena, Basajuan. Basically everywhere in Rae Carson's fictional land!
POV: first person, by Eliza
Genre: YA fantasy

Reading: first time
Favorite line: "But this is not about me. Our actions will not be remembered because of which blundering, disposable ruler we put on the throne. They will be remembered because they turned the hinge of history and determined whether or not the world would have peace."
Rating: 5 Stars!


At long last, I have finally finished The Girl of Fire and Thorns series. And may I start crying and bawling my eyes out, but not because it was sad. It's because I officially have re-entered the realm of book hangovers.

Eliza. Where to start? The last book left us off in a mess: her country is being torn apart from the inside out, and Hector was kidnapped by the Inviernos. It sets up the obstacles that she must overcome for this book, and it was beautifully done. Three main obstacles, which divides the book up appropriately.

Eliza's final character here really shows how much she's grown from the first book. It's not just a mental transformation, but also a physical transformation. Gone is the helpless girl who wanted, but was unable, to help. Instead, we have a strong and courageous young woman, not afraid to take matters into her own hands, willing to leap into the centre of danger to face down her enemies. Her decisions are quick and logical, and are made from both her heart as well as from a Queen's perspective. She has her kingdom's best interests, and will do anything to save it.

The characters I really liked in this book were Storm and Belén. They are awesome. Storm, because we finally get to see him in a trusting light, someone who is in the same boat as Eliza and her Godstone. He makes a strong companion, and though there are a few bumps in others trusting him, he ultimately proves himself. As for Belén, I've mostly liked him since the beginning of the series. His character goes through a few tumbles, but I love how he was able to rise above it and prove his worth. And how he acts towards Mara? Cute. They are absolutely cute.

In Girl of Fire and Thorns, we got to see the desert. Then in The Crown of Embers, we were introduced to the seas of the world. And now, in this book, we plunged into the icy conditions of the northern mountains that make up Invierne. I loved how we got to explore all the main conditions of the book's world. The setting changes book to book, and I particularly enjoyed the journeying aspect to it. It's not a stationary book, where all the characters stay in one play bickering. They're always moving, getting things done, facing new challenges, and being active participants. Everyone has to bring their A-game; you have to move on or get left behind, both physically and mentally.

If you haven't read this series yet, I highly recommend it. Tons of daring missions and challenges, lives always put on the line. It's a journey, it's a battle, it's everything in a good fantasy book. Eliza's growth through all the books is phenomenal, and I really wish I could change as much as she did. She's not your average Queen; she's a champion. And like all champions, she prevails.

Review on The Girl of Fire and Thorns is here, and The Crown of Embers is here.

And the rest will be spoilery...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Selection Movie!!!

GUYS GUYS GUYS!

Do you remember The Selection? (The review I did on it is here) A book that looks a little like this?
Yeah? Yeah?

WELL THE MOVIE RIGHTS HAVE BEEN BOUGHT. Like, it's been JUST bought.

"By who?" someone asks.

The answer: Warner Bros!

Movie! Warner Bros! Adaptor and producers already hired! 

IT'S HAPPENING!!! AND I CANNOT BE ANY MORE EXCITED!!!

If you guys remember, they tried to make it a television show. Sadly, it didn't get any further than the pilot episode, and all our hopes and dreams spiralled down the drain. 

BUT HOPE HAS RETURNED.

And now the agonizing wait begins...

For the official announcement, go to http://deadline.com/2015/04/the-selection-keira-cass-katie-lovejoy-warner-bros-1201413855/

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Earth & Sky Review: Skylar

I've been noticing things.
The wrongness of things.
Like they shouldn't exist that way.

Turns out I was right.
Those things aren't right.
Earth is just a playground.

Everything is being manipulated.
The fabric of the Earth is being played with.
And now, it's starting to unravel.

I'm the only one aware of this.
I will help set things right.

My name is Skylar.
Hi guys! Today, I'm Skylar, from Earth & Sky.

Book: Earth & Sky
Author: Megan Crewe
Series: Earth & Sky
Standing: Book 1
Setting: hard to pinpoint, because there's a lot of time travelling. But Skylar lives in modern day Earth. I wasn't really paying attention where she lived, but it's somewhere close to Miami
POV: first person, by Skylar herself
Genre: YA sci-fi

Reading: first time
Favorite line: "I am not a shadow; I'm a human being who's spent the last two days fighting to liberate my planet, and I am not letting it end like this."
Rating: 3 stars


Definitely an interesting book, with a neat concept of time. Yes, there's time travel. Not to use a bad pun, but the past holds the key to the future, after all. I had a few slight issues the concept of time travelling in this book, though it's mainly because the ideas in it sort of bashes heads with other concepts on time travel in other books. But overall, it's neat.

Skylar is a human with a heightened sense of awareness. She notices things, or even people, that don't quite belong, and when she does, her mind screams wrong! WRONG! It can be a little overwhelming at times, and she's always having to calm herself down before it escalates into a panic attack. The motif of three comes up a lot, mainly because Skylar uses it to calm down the sense of wrongness she keeps on feeling. What do I mean by that, you ask? Well, during a wrongness attack, she focuses on multiplying things by three. Example: three times three is nine. Three times nine is twenty-seven. Three times twenty-seven is eighty-one. Three times eight-one is...

Math geek? Maybe. But keep in mind that three happens to be the number of perfection, so it fits relativity in opposition to wrongness. What better way to combat wrongness with perfection?

I wasn't totally sure about how the time-travelling aspect worked. It was explained, but I felt like there were a few gaps that made it a little hard to follow. It's more restricted than you'd think it would be. But what I did like about it was the idea of being "doxed" (short for "paradoxed"). Basically, it's a physical restraint that prohibits someone from meeting themselves in another timeline, like meeting your past self. But where it gets confusing is that it also prohibits someone from meeting someone from the same timeline the time traveler came from. As in, say my friend went back 20 years, and then I decide to go back 20 years too. If we get too close to each other, one of us get doxed, because our time "bubbles" bump into each other. A little confusing.

What I did like was the idea of having your time jumps being tracked. Skylar and her companion, Win, are also running from the Enforcers, who are sort of like the police. Meaning they're being chased, not just through place, but also time. That being said, not once do they go back to the time before the Enforcers caught up with them...

The one main issue I had with Skylar was her dependence on Win. Yes, he's the one who can operate the time-travelling machine, but by doing so, Skylar is completely helpless without him. As in, she can't get home, can't escape the Enforcers if she's found alone, etc. I guess that's a risk she had to take when she time jumped with him, but I don't quite like it.

But the idea of human history being controlled and manipulated is very neat. Human life only being an experiment...yikes. Because if human history is in fact being conditioned, well, things just got a lot creepier here on Earth...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

End of Semester Book Haul

Okay, I'm almost at the end of my term. My motivation to make it through? THESE TWO.
Yes. Yes. YES.

The Perilous Sea, by Sherry Thomas
Remember the review I did on The Burning Sky? This one? Yes? Then you'll recall that I loved it. So much that I had to buy it. Meaning, naturally, I had to get the sequel too. I'm ready to return to a world of magic, one parallel to London 1883, to dragons and elemental magic! (The last book, The Immortal Heights, (check out my cover reveal here) comes out October 13th, 2015, so I'd advise reading The Burning Sky and The Perilous Sea in preparation!)

The Falconer, by Elizabeth May
You may have noted that this book was the last book I reviewed, in which I gave it 5 stars. So yes, I went and bought it. Why wouldn't I? It has an exceptionally strong heroine, tons of action, double lives, basically everything I love in a book! Does it sound like your kind of book? If so, I highly recommend it! To read more, go here :)

That's it for now!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Falconer Review: Aileana

I am the daughter of the Marquess of Douglas.
I have everything: money, wealth, beauty.
Everything expect vengeance.

I lead a double life.
I am not just an aristocratic lady.
I am also a murderer of the fae.

My mother was killed by fae.
Since then, I have been hunting them.
And I will not stop until I avenge her.

I am the only one left.
The only one able to sense the fae.
The only one able to fight the fae.

I am a Falconer.
The very last.
And the fae know it.

My name is Aileana Kameron.
Hi guys! Today, I'm the fierce Falconer, Aileana!

Book: The Falconer
Author: Elizabeth May
Series: The Falconer
Book Standing: Book 1
Setting: Edinburgh, Scotland (1844)
POV: first person, by Aileana.
Genre: YA urban fantasy, steampunk, historical (just a bit)

Reading: First time
Favorite line: 
"I'm not here to apologize."
"Wonderful. Thank you for confirming what I had already assumed," I say. "There are two exits out of this room. Choose one."
Rating: 5 stars!


Welcome to Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844! It's so nice to see readers being able to travel the world a bit!

This book has EVERYTHING I love in a good story: badass heroine, double life, family/day life restricting the heroine from saving the world, the fae, vengeance, nifty weapons, tons of action, nightly hunts, EVERYTHING.

Where to begin? I suppose the proper place would be Aileana herself. She's burdened by having witnessed the murder of her mother, and ever since then, she's been on the hunt for the fae that killed her. She spends one year training, and emerges as an incredibly fierce and determined warrior. Swords, daggers, guns--she's got it all covered. Add that to the fact that she's an engineer, and her arsenal of weapons just got a whole lot bigger. Aileana is pulling out sound canons, grenades, practically everything and anything she can invent and build to hurt the fae. She has a whole lot of weapons at her disposal, and she is by no means afraid to use it. Damn, is she badass.

The rest of this post contains spoilers, because I absolutely adorned this book and I need to vent.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Young Elites Movie!!!

Guys guys GUYS.

Remember Marie Lu's The Young Elites? That epic book that looks a little like this:
Enter Fox and Temple Hill. Sound familiar? That's because between Fox and Temple Hill, they've produced The Maze Runner (by James Dasher), The Fault in Our Stars (by John Green), and soon-to-be-out Paper Towns (by John Green)! And now, I'm excited to say that Fox and Temple Hill have bought the movie rights for The Young Elites!

That's right. We might be seeing a certain white-haired, eye-scarred malfetto on the big screen soon! SO EXCITING!!!

That being said, this is one of the very first stages of movie production, meaning we have an eternity to wait before anything really happens...and then another lifetime to wait before it even comes out...

Sigh.

But it's better than nothing, right? Because I'm down for waiting (patiently) if it means that we'll be seeing a wickedly cool and awesome Venetian-styled fantasy world filled with malfettos everywhere...

I'll keep you posted!

For the official announcement, go here.

Check my review on The Young Elites. Also, don't miss out on the cover reveal on The Rose Society!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cover Reveal: RISE

Do you love mythology?
Maybe modern twists on mythology?
How about Japanese mythology?
Do you love Amanda Sun's Paper God series as much as I do?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then please join me in squealing in delight at the cover of the next novella, Rise!
IT'S ORANGE. That alone makes it SPECTACULAR. (Notice how it matches my blog very nicely :D )

Okay, okay, I'm being an itty bitty biased here. But honestly, how many orange covers are out there? How many good orange covers are out there?

The answer: not a lot.

Did I mention the butterflies? There are butterflies. Painted butterflies. Orange painted butterflies. My life is officially complete.

This book will be FREE as e-novella(!!!) on May 1st, 2015. Yes, that's coming up pretty soon! It's also book 2.5, meaning it's the book that slips in-between Rain and Storm (which comes out June 30th 2015). So get ready to plunge back into Amanda Sun's world of gods, kami, and who knows what else!

Official blurb, courtesy of Goodreads->https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25214707-rise

A long, long time ago, before the world was as we know it, Izanami and Izanagi came into being. Two of the first of the ancient gods of Japan, they crafted the world from ink and their own imaginations. Izanagi wants, more than anything, to be with Izanami—but one moment of pride could tear them apart forever.

Yuki and Tanaka have been friends for as long as they can remember, but lately deeper feelings have been bubbling beneath the surface. How do they navigate the transition from friendship to true love without destroying the powerful bond between them?

Set a millennia apart, can these two couples, living parallel love stories, find their happily-ever-afters?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Pushing the Limits Review: Echo

No one knows what happened that night.
No one knows why I now have scars on my wrists.
Not even me.

I'm trying to gets things back to normal.
To have friends again.
But it's not working that great.

Enter Noah Hutchins.
We couldn't be any more different.
Yet there's something going on between us.

We both have secrets.
We both have different issues.
We both will find what our limits are.

My name is Echo Emerson.
Hello! Today, I'm Echo from Pushing the Limits!

Book: Pushing the Limits
Author: Katie McGarry
Series: Pushing the Limits
Book Standing: Book 1
Setting: Kentucky (modern day)
POV: first person, by Echo and Noah
Genre: YA romance, contemporary

Book reading: first time
Favorite line: "Either I'd solved all my problems or I'd created a whole new set of them. It didn't matter. I was done living like a coward. It was time to be strong."
Rating: 4 stars



This was another book recommended to me by my good friend Bridget. Thank you!

Okay, I've told you guys that I'm not really a huge contemporary reader. The repetition of the whole good-girl-dates-bad-boy-and-lo-and-behold-it-somehow-works-either-through-peer-pressure-or-because-they-don't-have-any-two-living-brain-cells-to-say-no sometimes drives me crazy. Yes, that might be partially influenced by Grease. Bottom line is that I'm not a huge contemporary fan because a) it's too realistic b) those happily-ever-afters only star the rich and popular girls. Am I thinking of a book or two in particular? Maybe.

This is not that kind of book. And thank god.

In this book, we have Echo and Noah. Yes, we start off with the whole she's-a-good-girl-and-he's-a-bad-boy-and-there's-no-way-it's-going-to-work-out-but-being-readers-we-know-it-will kind of thing, but immediately, we find out that there both are dealing with issues. And these aren't your normal issues found in contemporary books. No, these are legit serious issues. Issues that take both a mental and physical toll on the characters. Extremes that readers can relate to. It's not one of those books where the big secret is something simple and one-sided, like someone is depressed or is cheating. It's a lot deeper than those simple issues.

Both Echo and Noah have their own arcs. Echo's is about memory, truth, and forgiveness, whereas Noah's is about love, acceptance, and sacrifice. And they both parallel each other, in a way. Especially since they agree to help each other out in the beginning...sort of like a symbiotic relationship, in a way. Which kind of grows more into a love interest thing.

Rest is spoilery. Sorry about that.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Crown of Embers Review: Eliza

I defeated the sorcerous army of Inviernos.
I kept my people safe.
But I'm the least safe of them all.

Enemies are everywhere.
Spies from Invierne posing as my people.
Traitors within my own court, who want my throne.

I must fight them off.
I must learn to harness the power of the Godstone.
I must continue with my destiny.

God has chosen me.
I am his champion.
And I will not waver.

I am the queen of Joya d'Arena.
And my name is Eliza.
Hello! I am once again Eliza from The Girl of Fire and Thorns series!

Book: The Crown of Embers
Author: Rae Carson
Series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Book Standing: Book 2
Setting: Joya d'Arena, the sea, and a relatively mysterious island
POV: first person, by Eliza
Genre: YA fantasy

Reading: first time
Favorite part: there are way too many good parts.
Rating: 5 stars



Wow. I must say, I was originally skeptical of how much Eliza could grow more in this book. I mean, she accomplished a pretty remarkable feat in the last book, so the question was: how was she going to top that one?

The answer to that fantastic question: the true makings of a queen. She's a queen, and we finally get to see how there are different types of queens. Eliza begins off as being a good queen, but she ultimately evolves into a strong queen. And there's a huge difference between those two. Sure, being a good queen means pleasing her people, but being a strong queen means that she will make the right yet hard calls, and ultimately lead her nation to both victory and prosperity.

I also loved the further exploration of this world. In the last book, Eliza ventured out into the desert. In this book, we find ourselves at the complete opposite: the ocean. It's really nice to see the author's rich descriptions of both these geological places. Brings diversity to the setting, rather than just always exploring the same place over and over again.

We obviously see new and familiar faces again, whether we want to or not. Enemies emerge, spies are found, and loyalties are questioned. In the situation Eliza finds herself in, trust is essential. We already know a few of the people she trusts wholeheartedly, but that number is small. I'm happy to see that it grows in this book.

I also want to address a few perks of being both a well-known hero and a queen: a) not being helpless. Far from it. Eliza is in no way cowering with her people. No, she's right there, in the front lines, doing what she can. She knows when she's being manipulated, knows when it's time to start excluding certain people from specific plans, knows when to play the strong and unwavering role of the queen. She has the mind of a warrior, of a champion. And that makes one brilliant queen. b) A Royal Guard. That's awesome. As queen, Eliza has her own personal guard, composed of roughly thirty-two people (technically, it should be bigger, but hey, that's way more than I have), all hand-picked by the Lord-Commander Hector, and sworn to loyalty. That is impressive. Especially since Eliza doesn't really need them, as she's perfectly capable of handling herself. They're all practically gone from the picture (as in not with her! They're not dead!) when Eliza sets off on her journey. See? She doesn't need their protection. c) wisdom, knowledge, and power. Wisdom, because Eliza knows things from experience. Knowledge, because she is God's chosen one, and only she can lead herself to her destiny, and ultimately the fall of Invierne. And power, because, well, she bears the mark of God. And she's killed people with it, too. She's not to be messed with.

I know a lot of books where becoming the queen is the ultimate goal or reward for the characters, and it's how a few series end. However, as Eliza became queen relatively early on, we get to see that being the queen isn't always a good thing. Suddenly, she's put right into the spotlight, where she's being monitored carefully and watched by everyone. The restrictions that are on Eliza are extremely frustrating as a reader. The entire time, I wanted to slap a few of her subjects and tell them to just let Eliza do it herself. But being queen means that she orders people to do it, not doing it herself. And even then, it doesn't always work out. There's the whole matter of gaining approval from the Quorum lords, meaning that if Eliza must go with the overall decision of the counsel. She can't break it, because by doing so, she would be going against everything that she, as a ruler, stands for. See the predicament? Things are much easier when Eliza is able to get away, when she's able to respond to things freely.

Eliza's growth as a queen is truly remarkable and admirable. As one of my favorite quotes go, "Whoever said being a queen was easy clearly had no idea what they were talking about." Though I must say, a mighty fine queen Eliza does grow into. I would willingly pledge myself to her service, if her Majesty would have me. ;)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cover Reveals: EVERY LAST BREATH, and the rest of the Dark Elemental series

The final book cover of Jennifer L. Armentrout's The Dark Elements series is here!

Observe:
Okay, you're all wondering, "What? That's completely different from the other covers!" And you're right. 

So what happened? New covers.

If you're a Jennifer L. Armentrout fan like me, you'll probably know that the same thing happened to her last series, her Lux series, in which Opposition suddenly got a new and different cover, with the rest of the books beforehand following suite. Basically, the covers were consistent until the last book, in which the entire series got a makeover to fit the new look of the last book.

Here's the new looks of the previous books in the series:
Bitter Sweet Love (prequel)
White Hot Kiss (book 1)
 Stone Cold Touch (book 2)
And put together, the final complete set will look a little like this:


The consistency is nice. I just wished they stuck to a consistent cover theme from the very beginning.

In comparison, here's what the old covers looked like:
And, onto my typical ranting:

The new covers:
1. It really focuses on the individual cover models, rather than having the whole two-person vibe going.
2. I'm not too crazy about the cursive-like font of the new cover. I mean, the titles of the books alone make it seem like this is a contemporary romance series, but it's not. The cursive font only enforces that idea. It gives no indication that it's actually a paranormal book. Sure, romance plays a role, but it's not the main plot here.
3. That being said, the lack of two-people-looking-intensely-at-each-other helps to sway the assumption that it's a pure romance novel. But...
4. The whole light theme still going on, which is nice. I'm glad they stuck to it on both the old and new covers. It will help...ease the transition...okay, not really.
5. Did I ever mention that the cover model for Roth is rather fine? And now that there's a close-up of it...well...
6. Speaking of Roth. Why did they take out Bambi? Where's Bambi here?

On the old covers:
1. I liked the bold font more. It seemed more...earth-shattering in comparison to the girly cursive font.
2. I was really looking forward to the final cover, mainly because I was hoping for a green cover. But oh well.
3. It really depicted the whole Layla-can-kiss-Roth-but-not-Zayne thing going on. Which was kind of important.

Okay. I confess: I like the old covers better. But I know that this is NOT the author's fault, and it in NO WAY changes the story that is contained in those pages. It's just a cover. It's not the story. And honestly, anyone who refuses to read the book simply because of a non-matching cover seriously needs to get over it. Though, I am a little annoyed that this happened to the author's last series too. Dear publishers, please cut the author a break. She's dealt with unhappy fans over sudden cover changes not once, but twice now.

Every Last Breath, the stunning conclusion to Jennifer L. Armentrout's The Dark Elements series, hits shelves July 28th 2015! What are your thoughts? Excited for the soon release date? Do you like the new covers? Let me know!


Some loves will last ’til your dying breath

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust. Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction. Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Gates of Thread and Stone Review: Kai

The power of magic.
It's possessed only by the leader of the city.
Or so it's supposed to be.

I have a secret.
A secret that might kill me if anyone finds out.
I can see and manipulate the threads of time.

I live with my adopted brother.
He's the only family I have.
I owe him everything.

But now he's gone.
Kidnapped.
And I intend to find him.

I will do anything to get him back.
I have power at my disposal.
I will use it.

My name is Kai.
That's me! Kai :)

Book: Gates of Thread and Stone
Author: Lori M. Lee
Series: Gates of Thread and Stone
Book Standing: Book 1
Setting: Ninurta (fictional world)
POV: first person, by Kai
Genre: YA fantasy

Book reading: first time
Favorite line: "I would be strong enough. I was strong enough."
Rating: 4 stars





My god, guys. This book. That ending. The plot twists. The brilliance. EVERYTHING.

First off, Kai. The name Kai actually has a special place in my heart, so it really resonated with me. I loved Kai's character. Her determinism to do whatever it takes to get her brother back? Yes. That is what family is supposed to do. And even when she hears that there's little to no chance that she'll see her brother again, she doesn't give up. She does what no person has done before, and ventures outside the city to find him. It's a risky move, but if it will bring her one step closer to finding and rescuing her brother, she'll take it.

I love Kai's power: the ability to see and manipulate the threads of time. She can't full-on reverse time, but she can slow time down. I loved the description of time being like a river, ever flowing, and after you slow time down, it comes with a relapse. It's so cool! I don't think I've ever read a book this descriptive about someone controlling time before. Wouldn't it be cool to control time like that? Or at least slow it down? It works great for Kai during fights, because though everyone else is slowed down, she's not. Meaning she can get in a few hits before time relapses again.

The world of Ninutra itself is quite neat. A world based off of both technology and magic? That's cool. But like other stories, we have the main characters living in the lower end of the city. Money, or credits, are hard to come by, but Kai makes do with her brother. Even if they don't have the luxuries that other people have, they still have each other.

Can I talk a little about G-10, now known as Mason? He's awesome. He's not the love interest, no, but I still love him. Mason and Hina. I love those two! They're fully supportive of Kai, and they're butt-kicking too. Mason is just sweet. I'm getting the sense that he likes Kai. But he knows that Kai's interested in Avan, so he doesn't press. He still remains as her friend, supportive and awesome. Hina's terrific too. She's Kai's friend, someone who will seriously miss her. Together, Hina and Mason make up a great support base for Kai.

And now...the rest is spoilers. Don't read unless you've read it, or want the story to be spoiled. (I don't recommend that, because you should just read the book instead)

Easter Book Haul

Hello Easter, and hello BOOKS.

Ogle at my new beauties!
AH, I can't wait to read them!

The Red Queen, by Vitoria Aveyard: I've heard so much good stuff about this book! It's about a world where your class is dictated by the color of your blood. Silver blood means you're part of the elite class and have powers, and red blood means you're part of the serving class, without powers. The story is about a girl, Mare, who has red blood, yet has powers. That's supposed to be impossible, but it is...

The Burning Sky, by Sherry Thomas: I loved this book so much that I had to buy it! It mixes fantasy and 19th century London in an epic magical tale. You have disguises, elemental magic, prophecies, portals, powerful mages, everything! To read my review, go here!

Fall With Me by Jennifer L. Armentrout: okay, it's technically a NA book, not a YA book, but hey, I do love myself some more Jennifer L. Armentrout books. You can't blame me for loving an author. 

And there you have it. My new lovelies! Have you read any of these? If so, let me know so that we can chat about them! :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Insurgent Review: Tris

War.
Death.
Loss.

My last day of initiation.
It should have been a celebration.
It wasn't.

War happened.
Death happened.
Loss happened.

I am on the run.
Running from my faction.
A faction full of traitors.

My name is Tris.
Hi guys! Today, I'm Tris from Insurgent!

Book: Insurgent
Author Veronica Roth
Book Series: Divergent
Book Standing: Book 2
Setting: Chicago (dystopian)
POV: First person, told by Tris
Genre: YA dystopian

Reading: re-read
Favorite line: "You will never control me."
Categories: book-turn-movie!
Rating: 4 stars





I know what you're all thinking: I'm a little late on the whole Divergent bandwagon. That's not true. Note that I categorized this as a re-read. Why? Well, that should be obvious. The movie came out. Which is the perfect excuse to crack open this book for a re-read.

In the first book, Divergent, Tris evolved as a result of her struggle to find her identity: Dauntless, Abnegation, of Divergent. In Insurgent, her identity crisis is over. But now she has a new crisis to mull over, one that involves guilt and sacrifice. She's pushed to think about things she's never had to, like what it means to be a divergent running from someone who's desperate to hunt all the divergents down, all while trying to figure out to cope with the deaths of the people she loves. Not to mention how to avoid future deaths of people she loves. This book depicts Tris' emotional turmoil and the hardships she must endure while being in the middle of a war.

I liked how in this book, we got a bigger taste of the other factions. In the first book, we were only restricted to learning about the Abnegation and the Dauntless factions. But in Insurgent, we get to see and explore all the other factions: Candor, Erudite, Amity, even the factionless. We're finally coming full circle.

The serums. There's a serum per faction, which is super neat! Okay, maybe not Erudite, as they're the ones that sort of make the serums, but still. Pretty cool! We already know a little about the different serums, but in this book, we actually get to see how they play a role, and even experience what the characters go through under the influence of the serum. Simulation serum, truth serum, all that fun stuff...

I'm going to keep this post short, because there happens to be a movie I'm heading off to see. The title of that movie? INSURGENT.