Shadow Study. Maria V. Snyder.

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Shadow Study
by Maria V. Snyder

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

(This review was actually done last year and chronicles my reading experience!)

F I R S T  I M P R E S S I O N S

Omg so it’s true, there are three more books! Well, I can’t say that I’m not excited, because I am, and because I really love the original three, but will they live up to my expectations? Yelena and Valek are my favouritest couple ever! I guess I’m excited?? But expectations…are hard to live up to sometimes.

update–16th Nov 2015 at 00:15am
loveeedddd this! missed this world so much!! Yelena, Valek, ari, Janco, everyone and everything!

more detailed review later!

U P D A T E
– 11am 16th Nov 2015

So technically it’s 4.5 stars but in this case, the rating doesn’t really matter because as a long time fan of this series, I loved this installment a lot! And my expectations weren’t disappointed (mainly because I really was soooo in the mood to read this).

Welcome back Yelena and Valek, and all the crew of the Study series. This time though, rather than simply being told from Yelena’s perspective, the story is alternated between Yelena, Valek and Janco. This was a nice change, and while I usually have reservations about one character being told in first person, and the others in third, Snyder blended it in pretty nicely. In many ways, Shadow Study is more Valek’s story than Yelena’s, as we learn so much about him than we ever had in previous books.

It never ceases to amaze me how easily I can slip into the Study series’ world. Comprised two countries: Ixia and Sitia, one North, the other South, one organised like a military with a Commander as its head, the other more relaxed and functioning with a Council and full support for the existence of magicians. Snyder doesn’t bog down the writing with long and winded, detailed and sometime painfully irritating descriptions of the world. Yet, somehow, it’s so very easy to imagine her worlds. Her details are brief yet somehow, oddly vivid. In a way, it helps that the original trilogy was written in first person, because it does, I feel, help the reader become immersed into the world a lot easier. Plus, Snyder had a nice way of providing info without the usual infodumping (in the lessons Yelena had with Valek way back in Poison Study).

This book is set across both lands. Which is great, though still, predominantly in Sitia, I was happy to see more of Ixia, since I missed seeing it in Magic Study and Fire Study.

Yelena, Valek, Janco, Ari, the Commander, the Master Magicians are all back! Along with more familiar faces! Good guys and bad guys alike!

The only difference though, is that it’s been eight years since the events of Poison Study. And it was both odd and normal to see Yelena as a 27 year old woman. It was a little strange, mainly because she didn’t sound any different or act any different to the original trilogy, yet, she is definitely older. Though, still, sometimes as immature as before (specially when she’s around her brother Leif). I liked that she was familiar, it made it all the more easier to re-engage with this series.

Valek. Oh Valek! I learnt so much about you this time. It was really nice to see your life before Yelena, and I like also, seeing your development, after all, we never really got to get to know you before not like this. Still, I really wonder how you’ll deal with all the problems you’re facing, and are coming at you next! And not to mention the cliffie at the end of this book.

Janco–I totally didn’t expect to read from his perspective, but that was interesting! But unlike Valek’s part, Janco’s is written like Yelena’s in the sense that it was action orientated rather than character building. Though, told from third pov perspective. As one of my favourite characters always simply because he has such a big mouth and is unable to ever sit still, it was nice seeing how he thought, and his attitudes to people.

Ari, more of a support than main, poor guy he didn’t get his own personal pov, but that’s alright! The little snippets of him and Janco were, like always, absolutely hilarious. They really make a great pair, and are one of my favourite comedy relief characters, such a good broship.

Other supporting characters: Opal and Devlen return, they were great to see! Opal is so mature and nice, I’d forgotten that. Devlen is still growing on me. Leif was the best! I mean someone really needs to figure out how to plug his stomach up. The Master Magicians, helpful but had a really small role. And the Commander. Oh, the Commander, what are you planning?

This was actually quite straightforward, and a little predictable, but it has that classic Snyder flavour of twists and turns, and sudden surprises. All the study books have a focus on mystery, so I’m not surprised that the majority of this book was also focussed on a problem that’s affecting both Ixia and Sitia.

Valek’s job, while he has always cherished it, since meeting Yelena, has thought about retiring. And while he’s always been challenged, there hasn’t been a challenger quite like this one. So while he’s worried about Yelena, he must also figure out the challenger, the Commander, and figure out what’s going on behind the smuggling operation.

Yelena’s magic is suddenly blocked, why? She doesn’t know, but for the book, she’s vulnerable. This plot development early on actually gave me the chance to see a side of Yelena I hadn’t seen before. It’s funny because the last time she had no magic was back in Poison Study, and for her to revisit that feeling, it’s such a scary thing for her. Yet she remains strong, even though for the most of this book, she feels lost. So while she’s trying to figure out what secret is lurking behind the recent breakout of a notorious prisoner, and trying to figure out what happened to her powers, she’s vulnerable to anything.

Very easy to read. Colloquial and not dense at all. Descriptive without being overly so! And Snyder has a nice way of leaving each chapter ending with a hook to make you keep reading! It’s also high fantasy. Definitely YA even though the main characters are beyond YA ages, however the writing and storyline is very YA. Complex enough for the genre, but not as complex and in depth like an adult novel.


Really enjoyed this installment–my opinion ladies and gents is unfortunately very biased based on the fact that I’ve loved this series for ages! If I was’t so biased, I might have rated this lower, maybe 4 stars, maybe 3.8 because although there was a lot going on, and although Snyder does a brilliant job with switching povs, there felt like something missing. But it was only such a slight small thing (I don’t know what it is), that I guess it doesn’t matter to me!

It’s a great YA high fantasy splashed with mystery. It has one of my favourite OTPs too. And it’s got a nice mix of serious characters and humorous ones so it doesn’t feel so heavy.

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Top 5 Favourite Book Series.

Totally random post (and I have no idea what day I’m scheduling this for!), but I felt like sharing 5 of my favourite book series.  Since I’m only going for 5, they’re probably all going to be YA.  But I do have some favourite adult books and of other genres!

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  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) by J.K. Rowling

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Harry Potter! Of course, I LOVE this series. It takes an undebateable top spot on this list simply because this was the first series I ever read and loved to bits. Even though when I first came in contact with this series, I was around 7 or 8?  I had it read to me, because I was at a point where I couldn’t read it for myself yet. But by the time Prisoner of Azkaban came out, I was reading the books on my own, over and over again.  So of course, this series takes the number one spot on my top five favourite series.  How can it not?  😛

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2.  A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) by Libba Bray Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2) by Libba Bray The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3) by Libba Bray

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Next on the list would have to be the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. This is on here because it was the first YA series I read during highschool. I’d love to say I read books every single day since I first encountered HP but truthfully, I stopped for a while for a variety of reasons. And because I stopped, I wanted to get back into the swing of things. And doing that, I started with standalones like Just Listen (Sarah Dessen), The Truth about Forever (Sarah Dessen) and Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher). But the Gemma Doyle Trilogy was my first series. And I LOVED it for the historical setting. LOVED it for its gothic story. LOVED the ending even though it was somewhat heartshattering.  But it was also the first time I had ever encountered a story that did not end in happy ever after (if you’ve read this series, then you’ll understand what I mean!)

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3. Poison Study (Study, #1) by Maria V. Snyder Magic Study (Study, #2) by Maria V. Snyder Fire Study (Study, #3) by Maria V. Snyder Shadow Study (Soulfinders, #1) by Maria V. Snyder Night Study (Study, #5) by Maria V. Snyder Dawn Study (Soulfinders, #3) by Maria V. Snyder

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Next would have to be the Study Series. This holds a special place in my heart for being so awesome.  I think what I loved about this series was that Yelena is the main character.  Despite her hard history, she is able to stand on her feet and keep trying.  Although she falls in love, their romance is not the sole focus of the whole story.  I love how it’s there, and yet, doesn’t take over the whole show!  Not to mention that this was perhaps one of the first series where I decided to read it again right after I had just finished it.  How did I come across it?  I think I was looking for stories that involved assassins – in particular female, since I really was in the mood.  This wasn’t it, but it came up in the search, and I figured I’d give it a try.  It was also one of the first few books in which I actually did not mind the larger age gap between the main protagonist and her love interest.

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4. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2) by Marissa Meyer Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) by Marissa Meyer Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5) by Marissa Meyer Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

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Even though I’ve only read this series recently, it definitely deserves a place on my list of favourite series for simply being amazing.  I think it’s one of the most creative retellings I’ve ever come across in a long time.   l love the mesh of science fiction, fairy tales, and imperfect characters.  The romances are also very adorable.  But what holds this series together, is the well planned out plot.  Some of it was very predictable, but there was enough emotion to keep the roller coaster going.  I had to consume each book as quick as possible, and I think, asides from the other books on this list, this is something I haven’t done for a long time (or so it feels like!)

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5. Obernewtyn (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #1) by Isobelle Carmody The Farseekers (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #2) by Isobelle Carmody Ashling (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #3) by Isobelle Carmody The Keeping Place (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #4) by Isobelle Carmody The Stone Key (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #5) by Isobelle Carmody The Sending (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #6) by Isobelle Carmody The Red Queen (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #7) by Isobelle Carmody

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I include the Obernewtyn series here as well because I feel I need to add at least one Australian author on my list.  And there aren’t many Australian authors with series I wanted to list that I’ve finished.  But Obernewtyn, though I started it late, is definitely a long time favourite of mine.  I forgive the somewhat slow ending because I love, love love what Carmody does with her story here.  Not only is it a great story that features heavy themes about Being Kind to Animals and whatnot, Carmody does something really special with the language.  As a linguist, I don’t see this kind of creativity very often.  Most other authors who’ve written books set in the future and are considered YA don’t really give much attention to the language. But language, people! is tied with our existence, and it does not truly remain the same.  It evolves!  It would definitely look different in the near and distant future.  Carmody knows language.  It’s beautiful.  I think this was probably one of the reasons why I was really attracted to her story (that and all my favourite characters!)  She even gives the animals a really believable language system too!  And this is why I also love the Obernewtyn series (not just the story!), it’s because of her approach to the language.

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And those are my top five favourites!  What about you?  What are some of your all time favourite book series?

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Oh and to wrap up – some honourable mentions!

Night Circus. Erin Morgenstern.


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by Erin Morgenstern

MY RATING: 3 | 3.5 | 3.8. Depending on how I want to look at this story. (And this time, I’m writing three mini reviews based on how I felt, and why I would have rated it 3, 3.5, or 3.8. Since depending on the kind of reader or the shoes I decide to put on, I could have found this book mediocre, or I could have really loved it.)

Buddy read with Woolfie! for the Quarterly Book Club!

In all honesty, I am so utterly conflicted about how I feel about this book! It took me longer to read, simply because I had to put it down for a moment, and read something else. Of course, when I went to read something else, I kind of understand now the difference between this book and others. And also, what separated other more exciting books with this one.

What I do love across all my conflicted rating choices is the ‘circus’. I love the Circus in this story, and to me, it was the highlight of the story.

What I absolutely hated across all three ratings is the very fact that the alternating POVs sucked. I didn’t like it at all. Morgenstern definitely doesn’t write it well enough, nor in a way in which I could appreciate it fully.


I rated this book 3 stars on one level simply because asides from one factor, this book loses its appeal. You get dragged into this 400 something paged book with promises of a dual between two really promising ‘illusionists’ who battle it out in a circus venue. It’s a very promising start, and I must say The Prestige flickered through my mind initially. Of course, thankfully I don’t remember much about the Prestige, but one thing’s for sure, The Night Circus does not read anything like the Prestige. It’s a very disappointing comparison. Asides from a similar sounding premise, The Night Circus and The Prestige are nothing alike! At this rating I can safely say this book is very boring. It coasts for one, does not have enough highs and lows. And You are distanced from the characters, giving you very little space to actually care about them. It also doesn’t help that the style is third person and it’s written with alternating point of views. I honestly ended the story without caring much for Celia or Marco or Bailey. Didn’t really care about any of them!

The Promise of an epic contest, is actually very mild. There’s no intensity to the challenge placed on Celia and Marco. The game itself is merely enchanting etc…the details of which you won’t find out until the last 100 pages. Although it’s the most promoted part of the book, it pretty much plays the smallest role in the book. Which is a shame. I wanted someone to epically fail! (Well I won’t tell you what happens at the end, but if you’re after a plot orientated story, this isn’t it. If you’re after a epic battle, this isn’t it either.)

 Remember how I said there was a factor that stood out the most? Well, if I am a reader who is simply after beautiful writing, then this was the book that I wanted. When I say beautiful, I don’t mean loquaciously elegant, utterly stuffed and dense with metaphoric meaning – that’s writing that can and may not always be beautiful if the meaning is obscured by the overuse of language at its finest – I mean that the writing is simple yet wonderfully adorning the pages of my book with some whimsical beauty. It reminds me a little of Lauren Oliver’s (Delirium, Before I Fall) writing (of course with the different styles). Even though I felt close to nothing for the non-existent-yet-supposed-to-be-there romance between Celia and Marco, I found something sparkly and enticing in the writing style. I would definitely read another piece of writing from Erin Morgenstern just for the writing!

But of course, under this writing, my feelings about other aspects of the book don’t stray far from my 3 star rating. I still can’t tell myself that there was chemistry between Celia and Marco. I still feel the duel/battle/challenge between Celia and Marco was over promoted or at the very least wasn’t described accurately enough. The emotions just weren’t really there in the book. And I really, really, really, hated the alternating POVs. Normally I’m alright with it. But this time, I just couldn’t handle it. It infuriated me, irritated me, and seriously, I had an urge to stab the book simply because it was so jarring and choppy and didn’t really help the flow of the story at all. SURE, I loved some parts of the alternating POVs, but most of the time, I found the pov switch happened at the worst possible moments.

 This isn’t the most perfect book in the world. Yet, I can see why it’s loved. I can also understand why others have given it positive 4 or 5 ratings. This book has the potential! If I looked at this with a critical literary eye, I would say, in a way, it’s an intriguing piece of ingenuity. What this book is, is not a love story, or a romance, or an epic, or an antihero story, or a magician story. What it is, is a book about a circus, about the people in the circus, about how it became to be. It is a magical thing, full of mystery, and like the way the story is written, it is filled with many tents, not half of them possibly discovered all at once, but instead must be discovered one by one when the time is right for each one.

This is how the Night Circus unfolded.

Morgenstern weaves her story, one chapter at a time. She does not aim to shock or startle her reader with a hook at the end of each chapter. Instead, she just weaves her story, and I’m reminded of Dickens, a little, or Wuthering Heights, those old classics that are always so dense and leave me holding on somehow for weeks simply because I want to finish it. But of course, the writing of the Night Circus is simpler. The tale this book holds is something precious, and shouldn’t be read as a romance or action filled novel.

It should be read as a history of the circus, or something similar. Because that’s how it unfolds, and to me, I found that the main character in the whole book is the circus itself. In a way, there was a flavour of One Hundred Years of Solitude – not in the magical realism sense, or that Morgenstern had the same way with words as Marquez has, or that the fates of the characters are even remotely similar. What they have similar is this winding tale that lasts for a few decades. Time is and isn’t of the essence in this book, so the flow of time in the story is jumpy, choppy, and a pain to deal with.

In my other ratings, I complained a little about the style. The choppiness, etc. Well, under this rating, I can say that the style isn’t entirely worthless. A little spoiler. By the end of the book you learn that the story is actually a recount by Wdget (who he is, you’ll find out if you go read the book!). Thus, it makes sense that there’s a distance placed between him and the other characters of the story since he hasn’t been around long enough to know all the history (which also knows at the same because of his abilities). Still. For someone who was so intimately knowledgeable about characters in the book, it is a little unbelievable that there isn’t as much connection between the reader and the characters.

In saying that, even at the 3.8 rating, there are cons I can’t run away from.
– The story is a coasty. (But then, this can be a pro too if you’re after a beautiful story about life.)
– Half the flipping time, I kept getting caught up by the introduction of one character, then the sudden use of ‘he’ or ‘she’ ONLY to find that it wasn’t referring to the character I’d just been introduced too.
– Choppy alternating POVs.


Late 1800s, early 1900s. Originally set in London, but moves from city to city. The Circus is also the main setting too.


Look. This book is pretty relative. You’ll either love it. Or hate it. I liked it. But had my problems with it. The ABOVE is a very sketchy right-this-moment reflection of how I feel after finishing. BUT actually, I’m still not sure how I REALLY feel about this. I like it. But I don’t love everything about it. If anything of the above appeals to you, relates to you, interests you, then give this a go?

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Quarterly Book Updates!

First off, sorry guys for disappearing!  Three weeks of my life just came and went and I have no idea how.  I do know however I did age a year older, but really, I don’t feel much different!  (Soon I shall post my birthday book haul, most likely on instagram, but I’ll suggestive read them here if they’re any good!  One of which will be the first of a series I hope to read for the Quarterly Book Club!)

Quarterly Reads 3

Since the start of the month, it’s been that time of the year again!  What’s on the list for the second Quarter of 2016?

Well Sam and I have decided that we’re going to one quarter on Science Fiction since last year we missed out this broad genre.

So far on the poll list, we have:

I’m looking forward to the next Quarter!  It’s been a while since I read something science fiction, and personally, I can’t wait!

If you’re in the Quarterly Book Club group on Goodreads, please vote, let us know what you’d like to read! (Link)

If you’re not, tell me, what of the above have you personally enjoyed reading?  I’ve read All Our Yesterdays which I can absolutely suggest as a read!  And the first Starbound book.  Currently, I’m reading Lost Stars, and need to finish that actually! So what books have you enjoyed?

The Quarterly Book Club is designed for the busy reader, with Quarterly reading challenges as well as Yearly challenges for flexibility. It’s also a place for personal reading challenges, book discussions, and essentially sharing your book tastes with others of similar tastes. Although we mainly focus on YA novels, that does not mean that we don’t read Adult or Middle Grade novels.
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Brought to you and hosted by Sam @ A History of Books and Nina @Words that Flow Like Water
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Hopefully we’ll see you there 🙂 Sam and I will be posting the challenges that we do over on the group here on wordpress and post any book related posts in our group.  We Hope You Can Join Us!!!  We really would love to see you there!

 

The Red Queen. Isobelle Carmody.


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The Red Queen by Isobelle Carmody

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Read: 23 Dec 2015

How to begin this review/Suggestive Read? In truth, this is one of the hardest ones I’ll probably ever write, simply because this is one of the longest series I’ve ever waited end on end to read.

And yes, my rating is biased on the fact that I’ve loved this series for so long and now it’s over! If I didn’t the rating might have dropped to 3-4stars for length and odd-ish pacing.

This will probably be a sketchy review of the whole series, and an indepth-ish review of this book. I remember reading the first book thinking that it’s okay. I remember the mystery etc., and thinking, I’d like to see where this will go. When I started reading the second than third sequels, I started really falling in love with the story. Isobelle Carmody does many things with her series. She brings forward so many truths about life we should always be more wary of. Things like being kind to animals, being kind to each other, the dangers of humanity, and my favourite part–yes I know, it must seem really weird, but when I think about all the other dystopia, scifi novels, and futuristic stories set in a distant future, I think, there isn’t really many books that matches Obernewtyn when it comes to a convincing way of portraying language in a distant future. AND I LOVE THIS. Do you know why I love this? Because as a linguist, it gives me chills to see it done well. What Carmody does, is not like what other authors do, just changing a little this, or saying that the characters are speaking ‘another’ language, or have characters simply imply that there are ‘differences’ between their language and that of the past. The characters in the Obernewtyn series really uses, speaks and thinks in a wholly evolved English language. They use words that are pronounced exactly the same, yet are written differently enough that you know you’re not in the same world.

Speaking of the world.

The Obernewtyn Series is amazing. The World Building is fantabulous. Isobelle Carmody does a wonderful job in building her world. There’s various territories, the Tainted Lands from the Great White aka Great Cataclysm, etc. Because this series is set in a distant future, it feels more like a fantasy than scifi. But it’s a pretty well developed fantasy. It has the flavour of a historical fantasy, with horses being the main mode of transport, and of near (but not really) primitive means of survival, yet there is a very comfortable mix of digital technology. I really loved the smooth transition between the world that the story exists in and to the old technology of the past (which would in fact be the kind of technology we have today). I never once felt like it was out of place.

Now, since it seems like I’m writing this Suggestive Read backwards, let’s get to the Characters.

For me, it’s really hard to review my opinion on every single character in this book. Simply because the Red Queen features all the characters from previous stories, and for several pages, it took me awhile remember all the faces. Admittedly, I wish I had reread all the books before getting to this one, but with the limited time, and the hateful waiting for the books at the library, I forgoed it.(I would own all the books, but I started reading it with loaned books, and maybe, in the near future, I’ll by the boxset 🙂 ). But it didn’t take me long to remember, I mean with 1100 pages to read, there was bound to be a nice portion devoted to linking this sequel back to the events of the previous installments. And Carmody did, though it was a slight info dump, it wasn’t such a pain to read, nor did she do it all completely in one shot. With characters, it was a little harder. I had a good memory of most, and the more I read, the more I remembered, though of specific events involving characters, that was different. But I DEFINITELY remembered the emotions tied to each character. Specially characters like Dameon, Rushton, Dragon, Matthew, Swallow, Miryum, Maruman, and Gahltha, etc. It was great seeing them all again, and watching them develop. Especially since the whole series covers a period of around 5 years.

Elspeth is the main character though and her story is the most important. How to stop the weaponmachines from destroying the world a second time and causing a more devastating great white? That’s Elspeth’s mission. And throughout this book, we see her make choices that are sometimes cold because of her quest. Yet they always tear her apart. She always stayed true to her calling, even though in previous books, she had faltered.

Dragon, another favourite character of mine, grew a lot in this book too. She changed when she regained what was hers, but she really does become what she is supposed to be. I loved her.

And as for the other characters, it was great to read them all over again. Dameon’s crushing feelings, the ones he had to hide for so long, they were so sweetly and tenderly expressed, and as expected of an unrequited love, Dameon steps aside. I felt so sorry for him, yet by the end of the book, it is clear that he and Elspeth will always remain friends.

As for a character I wanted to see more of! RUSHTON. I was so disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of him!! He, unfortunately, only appears towards the end of the book, within the last fifty pages as a proper character, rather than just being a part of Elspeth’s dreams.

Things I want to mention

…since I can’t talk about the plot without spoiling the rest of the other books. The book is MASSIVE and it was a pain to read everything, since it took a while. I wish it was smaller, but without the size that it is, it probably wouldn’t have been able to convey everything it should and did. Carmody put so much in this book and she paced it well. The easy pace meant I didn’t feel like it was rushed or that events were being forced on me because it had to happen before the next thing could. It felt easy and tame. I still wish it was smaller though!

It was also a bit slow sometimes, if one didn’t have the patience for reading such a big book. My favourite parts were the parts when Elspeth actually did something.

Overall.

I find that this is probably one of the best Sci-fi fantasy stories set in a distant future written by an Australian author, yet first written back in like idk the eightiess??? in a long time. And I don’t think there are many Australian authors that can beat this anytime soon. I think this series is AMAZING and deserves to be read from book 1 to book 7. And no review can do it any justice at all. Not even this one. I can’t even begin to put how I felt once this series finished–let’s just say, I was so torn! But happy with the ending!

ALSO I wanted to compare this to a few things. Reading this now again after reading The Darkest Minds, I’m reminded of how similar they are a little. Mainly in terms of paranormality and also, that both series have particular categories of paranormal abilities. But both series are very different.

I also had another comparison in mind, but momentarily forgotten. Will add a little later. A lot of popular YA sci fi novels these days had elements that are already present in the Obernewtyn Series, which, has been around for sooooo long.

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These Broken Stars. Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner


These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5/idk it’s good enough to be 5 stars yet I don’t know why I’m holding back!

Really enjoyed this, eyes glued to the pages at that dangerous level of engagement (do not touch or I’ll explode kind of intensity).

I can’t even explain how I feel right now but this book is a little bit more than just a romance. It’s not even really a romance! nor love focussed yet THAT plays such a big role and the fact that there’s just two of them. Really….I think I just need to read next book and the last book to really really understand how deep this trilogy will go.

Shucks I can’t explain this right now–but I TOTALLY get what Sam’s review over at A History of Books refers to now! and I get it. I totally agree with her.

Okay a more coherent examination later. But note: while in the beginning I was reading this out of curiosity and as a recommended book, and expected more love/romance, but by the end, I was in this for the meaning. I was in this for the mystery. I wasn’t in it for Lilac and Tarver only anymore (I think if I was, I’d have rated it lower), I was in this for the ending. (Well near the ending part).

U P D A T E

From the above you can see that I ended this book really enjoying it. Hard not to when the climax of the whole novel had me in chills and goosebumps. It was creepy yet it wasn’t so creepy that it would keep you up with nightmares. Rather, it was creepy because of the implications. I mean, sure this book is sci-fi fantasy. It’s not real. But it doesn’t mean it can’t be real in the future. Scientists are always wondering and searching the world for the existence of life other than Earth after all.

P L O T

So this book begins with a scene and disaster parallel to that of the titanic. Lilac LaRoux is the daughter of the richest man in the universe and she’s on the Icarus, one of her father’s biggest luxury spaceliners, for her birthday. Tarver Merendson is a decorated war hero,a guest on the Icarus. There’s a little of instalove here, but trust me, it’s not really instalove. Anyway, so he meets her for the first time, and unaware of her identity, he shows an interest in her. Just like she shows him (though she knows exactly who he is). But it doesn’t take long before she draws a line between them, and makes it clear that he was just a game.

And then disaster strikes. The Icarus is yanked out of hyperspace, and plummets into the nearest planet–Lilac and Tarver just manage to escape in their escape pod which neither had wanted to share if survival hadn’t been at the forefront of their minds.

They are the only ones to survive. And yet they hope for rescue. So together they travel across the terrain of the terraformed planet towards the wreckage of the Icarus in hopes of being rescued. After all, the spaceliner of such a big company as LaRoux Industries carrying the daughter of it’s head, would be looked for after all right?

The plot is slow going, with very little plot. It reminds me of Blood Red Road, where the beginning of the story is focussed on the main character in search of something. There’s a very small cast of people, and it’s simply a narrative of their travels, their fears, and their discoveries. Lilac and Tarver, after their encounter on the Icarus dislike each other immensely during the first half of their trek across this unknown terraformed world. Well, they don’t really dislike each other, but rather, they dislike the hierarchy that separates them. For Tarver, he just wants to be rescued and off this planet, same as Lilac, so they stick together.

As the journey proceeds, Lilac is the first to be affected by the strange things on the planet. There are whispers, and things that mysteriously appear. As they get closer to their goal, the mystery deepens as they constantly question the existence of this planet…

R O M A N C E

I figured I’d give this its separate section since the premise of my edition heavily implies romance. I quote:

These Broken Stars is a timeless love story about hope and survival in the face of unthinkable odds.

There is a love story. But it’s not hot and heavy, nor is it fast and dramatic. It’s slow and accumulating, building over the time that Lilac and Tarver spent together. It’s not my favourite kind of love story because it focusses so much on tthe love story. I love slow burning love stories but I don’t like books that only focus on love stories (too muvh romance and not enough action sometimes!). And this book, like I mentioned earlier, is focussed on the development of their relationship as they traverse the plains of the terraformed planet, and yet isn’t so overdone that I had to roll my eyes and put it down. What I appreciated was the way Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner develop both Tarver and Lilac. They also develop the relationship between the two characters, giving them more than just an ‘instalove’ story.

But even though there’s a strong love story, I feel like These Broken Stars has actually got a stronger mystery plot. It’s a survival story too.

C H A R A C T E R S

Lilac LaRoux is a spoiled rich brat. But I figured she probably wasn’t as spoiled as she seemed. (Kind of classic YA.) She was interesting. I liked her character in the sense that I didn’t find her annoying. I like that she grows through the book. That she’s not above helping out and taking on some of the workload. I should point out though, that in the beginning, Lilac is somewhat pretty insufferable! She seems so spoilt! But she’s not really as spoilt as she seems…

Tarver Merendson is awesome. Well as awesome as a guy gets in YA. I mean he’s clever, reliable, actually capable of doing things rather than just brooding and being grumpy. But he’s a little skeptical–which, I think is a good thing since it gives him that additional dimension. I also feel this book was more his story, since his chapters seemed a lot more substantial than Lilac’s!

S E T T I N G

Futuristic world. Sci-fi. Some Terraformed planet.

W R I T I N G

Very nice. Very easy to read. Wasn’t overly descriptive, so sometimes I had to stop and reread again to see what I’d missed. But otherwise I did like the writing. This book is also sci-fi, though it’s not really a heavy sci-fi. It does deal with things you’d see common to the genre, but I don’t feel (at the moment) that it’s too much sci-fi. Meaning, even if you don’t like sci-fi, you might like this if you like fantasy. There aren’t any mind-boggling terms to work your way around, no foreign scientific hardcore jargon to burn those cogs in your head.

Also, this book is written in first person pov.

O V E R A L L

I really wished I’d bought This Shattered World the last time I went to the store. I’d have started reading that now! But well. This book….this book….well if any of the above appeal to you, then give this book a go? That’s what I’d suggest! ALSO, I have to say, I LOVE that Amie Kaufman is Australian. As an Australian myself, that makes me go gaga over wanting to read this. And wonder why I hadn’t done it earlier!

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Paper Valentine. Brenna Yovanoff.

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Paper Valentine
by Brenna Yovanoff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read as a Your Choice Book for the Quarterly Book Club 3rd Quarter Read (Paranormal/Mystery/supernatural)

Okay so I gave this 4 stars primarily because in comparison to the last book I read, this one was so much better. Once the story started flowing (thankfully within the first 50 pages), I really started getting engaged, and it didn’t take me long to finish this at all! (It does help that I had a to-and-back train ride to read.)


The Plot

The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

Paper Valentine is a hauntingly poetic tale of love and death by the New York Times bestselling author of The Replacement and The Space Between.

For a book like this, I think it was well done over all. If I compared to this another book, I’m not sure I would pick out any flaws, because there aren’t many–or maybe it’s better said that compared to the last book I read, I had a lot more to like in this book in comparison. The plot is pretty average, pretty straightforward. It takes a moment to get used to the idea of the ghost hanging around, but you know what? I think the ghost’s relationship with Hannah is the most outstanding part of this novel. The actual mystery plot was pretty predictable, but at the same time, not very. I didn’t exactly spot it until later on. Still, it was a nice twist. I was expecting it though!


The Characters


Hannah Wagner is the main character and focal of the whole story. On the whole, she’s a quiet girl who always seemed to be overshadowed by her best friend, the now dead Lillian. For a moment, I thought this story would twist their relationship and burn it after ripping up all the history between the two, leaving me with a story about a girl who actually didn’t realise her best friend didn’t like her that much and was only haunting her because she was the only girl who was too chicken to do anything. BUT. Yovanoff didn’t do that. What she did though was paint the story of a girl who had taken her own life and another girl, the one left behind, and wove a beautiful story of friendship between them. The ups and the downs, the anger and the sadness. THe loneliness and the grief. Yovanoff exposes it, and spoon feeds you as the reader, guiding you on a coaster of paranormal mystery. I really love the things that Hannah realises about herself and also, about everyone else around her, and mostly, about Lillian. It was also interesting to compare the inner voice of Hannah and her actual physical appearance. She’s described as small, and wears a lot of bright coloured dresses (influenced by Lillian), something I often forgot, since her inner voice never seemed like someone who would wear a brightly coloured dress.

Oh Lillian who I can’t remember despite just finishing this, what her last name is. Lillian is the ghost of the story. She is literally a ghost, and she is currently haunting Hannah. Or rather, more specifically, she’s watching over her (something that isn’t entirely evident until later on). She is definitely a colourful character. Certainly, a much more outstanding social voice than Hannah, yet before this book starts, she suicided, and it absolutely devastated Hannah. Yet she’s still alive six months later, albeit as a ghost, and she’s haunting Hannah. If Hannah is the main character, then Lillian is the second. And I really loved how her character developed. I really loved how much the pair mean to each other. The declaration of their friendship is so much more than the small romance in this book–the romance is nothing in comparison! It’s cute yeah, but your eyes and mind will be on Hannah and Lillian.

Other characters, all had evidently important/key roles in the story. Although with one character, I did want to kind of see what happens after the ending scene of this book, but that’s just one small desire compared to whole of the book. One small tie which well, quite frankly, it was nice to see Hannah snapping at that girl! Finny was an interesting love interest. Though, their romance was a very small aspect of the book. Ariel–love her as Hannah’s sister! As for other primary characters, they were all interesting! Specially who turned out to be the murderer in the end.


Setting

The City of Ludlow.

And also predominantly Muncy Park where most of the killings take place. At times I forgot to worry about what era this was set in, because even though it’s set in contemporary I often forgot because Hannah was always wearing some brightly coloured vintage thing. Another thing about Hannah.


The Writing

On the whole I liked the writing. First person, plain and not overly embellished with pointlessly dense metaphors. And yeah, that’s all I have to say about the writing. It was very simple, but not overly simple. It brings out the emotions which I like the best about the writing. Other than that, yeah!


Overall

I suggest this as a suggestive read. I liked it. (Even if my opinion is a little biased based on what I just read yesterday–A History of Glitter and Blood.) It’s not bad for a paranormal mystery. Simple, quick, easy, and not at all disappointing (though maybe if I’d read this another time, after a series of spectacular books, this book’s good stuff might have been dimmed in comparison).

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Lola and the Boy Next Door. Stephanie Perkins.

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Lola and the Boy Next Door
by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

I remember reading Anna and the French Kiss and thinking a lot of things about it. Lola and the Boy Next Door isn’t any different. Stephanie Perkins does something funny to me. She makes me love and hate her books at the same time. I love it for the humour, the light fluffiness, and the cute romance. But I hate them for all the little things I usually hate in books! Specially romance books!


What I loved

[1] Lola. On the whole, Lola is a well rounded character. She develops well throughout the whole book and it was a pleasure to read. At first, she comes out really strong, and then with the arrival of various characters, things go downhill for her, and I liked seeing her downhill trend, the descent of Lola into someone even she can’t recognise. I like the struggles with herself that she goes through when it comes to love, to Max, and to Cricket. The struggles are real, and very genuine. Even if a little stupid. But then, it’s a romance, and therefore, I feel, perfectly valid.

[2] Cricket. He’s cute. Adorable. Great contemporary romance love interest material. I like how Perkins’ created his character and definitely think he’s better for Lola than Max.

[3] Lindseeyyyyy! I loved Lindsey, mainly because she reminded me of me. I mean that was almost me in highschool! And also me when with my best friend. My favourite character in the whole book.

[4] Character development. I liked that each character develops throughout the story. They go from high to low then spring back up. For some. For other characters, it’s the slow unravelling of depth. You learn more and more about other characters as you go on.

[5] Diversity. This has quite a bit of diversity. Not extensively, but it’s not like a full on white cast with straight lines everywhere. You have Lola’s parents, technically her uncle and his partner, who he has been with since forever, and who took Lola off her mother’s hands and raised her as her two dads. You have Lindsey who is Korean. SO there, there’s a little bit of diversity for ya. And I guess you can count Lola, who is eccentric, diverse in her own right.

[6] Most of Perkins’ writing is to die for. I mean if it was so engaging, I would have gagged and gagged more than half a dozen times. Perkins definitely knows how to bring the teenage/young adult mind to life. All the worries are there, all the mistakes, all the selfishness in Lola’s thoughts. Perkins gives us writing that submerges you, and makes you want to like her work even if you kinda hate the story.

[7] I love the cameos of familiar characters! Loved it!!!


What I didn’t like

[1] I really, really, really, sometimes didn’t like Lola. And I mean all the stupid things that crossed her mind, which mind you are all perfectly valid, and can be reasonably explained, but still I hate that she did all those things! What Lola does in this book, reminds me of the things I really hated about Anna and the French Kiss. In Anna and the French Kiss, Anna pined for a guy who was in a relationship with someone else. In this book, it’s Lola in a relationship, pining for an old love who suddenly appears. So there is that familiarity, that kind of contemporary forbiddenness which can sometimes grate on my nerves. I know when I first started Lola, I really enjoying it, and I really liked how it began (I believe I had the same feeling when I started Anna), but then, enter Cricket, and then the messiness there, and then Lola’s feelings, and well, my enjoyment dwindled a little, before perking back up again. Although I understand all of Lola’s actions and choices in the book, sometimes I just wanted to scream at her and tell her, the answer is staring you right in the face! (Luckily, she got there pretty soon!)

[2] The obsession with the beauty and physicalness. Then again, in reality, relationships begin with attraction physically before it progresses to personality. Sometimes it’s personality first. With Perkins’ stories, it’s attraction as much as it is personality, and I wonder how many times I’ve rolled my eyes at a descriptive passage in the book where Lola is focussed on Cricket’s pants or his hair, or his eyes. Yeah. It got old. But at least Perkins wasn’t going on about how beautiful the male love interest was, not like how Maas did so with her main love interest in Throne of Glass. That was sooooo irritating!


Overall

And that is the end of my little discussion. I’d write more but for some reason, I’m feeling very very tired! And can’t be bothered writing more!

If you’re looking for a light fluffy romance read, then this is the one. If you want something that will make you smile, then you got it. While I do feel this one is probably not as ‘wow’ as Anna and the French Kiss, it does have something!

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Anna and the French Kiss.  Stephanie Perkins// @Words That Flow Like Water

The Winner’s Crime. Marie Rutkoski.

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The Winner’s Crime
by Marie Rutkoski

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh so I finished this a few hours ago, and much like the first, I was in love with it. Not to fall into all the hype I initially didn’t read the first book because I didn’t trust the hype. And now, I did, so glad I bought this book on a whim, because I don’t know what I would have done without it. I just seriously crave the last book now.

(Okay so keep in mind I did write this actual review a few month back–May 2015 to be exact but I’ve only just got round to posting it here on Words That Flow Like Water >.> I should probably be more in sync about these things, but then again, oh well!  Anyway!  This, what is written here, is and was my first impressions right after I finished Winner’s Crime, which if you can’t tell, I really, really loved.)

I have pondered on why I like this series so much. I have figured it out: I don’t know. It just has the awesomeness that I only reserve for a particular kind of books.

You see, I don’t love overly dramatised books. I like it better if it feels real. I don’t love romance plots only. I like it better if the romance is only a subplot and instead the main characters must deal with their own problems first. I don’t love war books from the sidelines. This book isn’t really ‘war’ but it also is. Kestrel is at the centre, and she’s in a place of power. Power to make or break a country. Even if it seems like she’s only surrounded by pretty things and balls and high society. But this was the life she was born in, and it’s no different to a historical. I really despise historicals that have a much too modern character at the centre of the story. I like Kestrel. She follows her rules, and also bargains with them. She is for maintaining her reputation, whilst playing the game of high society. What I like, is that at the very base of her decisions about how she acts in society is her relationship with her father.


Which brings me to:

[ 1 ] What will happen now to Kestrel and her father after what happened at the end of this book? I was so torrrnnnnnnnnn by the decision. I totally understand the power play here, understand the reasons, but still I can’t believe it happened!

[ 2 ] What will happen now between Kestrel and Arin (Well actually I can guess, it’s obvious that they should end up together at the end of the next book. If Rutkoski breaks this trope, then I shall be very surprised!)

[ 3 ] What will happen now between Kestrel and Jess? I am totally unsatisfied and wretched about what happened between them two. I feel like nothing was explained! And my rating should lose stars for that. But yet, on the whole….it was just too good.

[ 4 ] The ending. Omg the ending. Funny, it’s a very simple ending, yet it has me going ‘omg omg omg’.

[ 5 ] I suspect something between Verex and Risha.

[ 6 ] I will admit, Arin was a bit of a sob sack in this, but at least he was feeling something. He just needs to keep his head screwed on straight and read between the lines. Kestrel is strong in her own way. But she likes the political game too much. I liked seeing how she went through this one, felt the way she was crumbling under the pressure of the game. I always did like a book where there’s a strong and heavy game of politics in play, specially in a situation like this.

[ 7 ] If you loved the first, you’ll love this one even more. There’s no book that walks you over the edge in terms of intensity and politics like this one does in YA. There’s just no YA fantasy that matches up. Not even Throne of Glass.

[ 8 ] A Suggestive Read of course, and also, I want the Winner’s Kiss right now.

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The Winner’s Curse.  Marie Rutkoski// @Wordsthatflowlikewater 

End of Days. Susan Ee.

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End of Days
by Susan Ee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Angelfall will always be my favourite book of all three, but for every installment, I haven’t ever had the urge to put this down. One of my favourite series of the year, End of Days ends with a bang. This is definitely a post apocalyptic book with hope a tthe end of a book!

Loved all the characters!

More review later!

** Update **

It’s been a while since I read End of Days, but when I finished the book and realised it was finally over, my heart was just loonnnnnnggggiiinnngggg for more. There aren’t many books I’ve read this year that left me feeling like that.


What I adored
;

[1] Penryn and Raffe. I will always adore this pair. They have a romance, it gets hot and kind of steamy, and even though all these events seem to happen over a short period of time, how they developed did not seem ‘instant’. But I guess what I liked most about this pairing is that their romance wasn’t the focus of the whole story. The action is. The way it ended though, that was perfect.

[2] Penryn. Penryn is such a strong character. I love the way she focusses on her goal and aims to accomplish it. She has plenty of faults too, but mostly, I like that she stays true to herself. I also really adore that her head doesn’t go all pear shaped when a guy is involved. Sure she thinks about allowing herself to feel things for Raffe, but she doesn’t let it get to her head.

[3] Raffe! Gawd I love him. I don’t usually like guys like this, placed in the story in this manner. But usually I don’t like them because in other stories, the guy is the one that turns into a brainless, possessive, ball of mush. Raffe is a bit like that too, but he actually retains a brain. And the fact that Penryn doesn’t pull any stupid shit, no silly sacrifices made for silly reasons to make the hero chase after her. So I’m glad Raffe never had to do anything stupid. And instead, it felt more affecting, their little romance, and why I loved it a whole lot more. As a character, I liked him. He was stoic, but a nice guy. He has a goal to accomplish, and while he has feelings for Penryn, he also doesn’t want to give her hope. Yet at the same time, he doesn’t want to hurt her, so he tells her beforehand the way it’s going to go.

[4] This book is definitely post-apocalyptic science fiction and definitely not dystopia. So that was a nice change. The end of this conclusion had me feeling good. In dystopia, you get the feeling that nothing has really changed in the world, that the characters go from one hell to another, even though for a moment, it seems like it’s better. At the end of End of Days though, there’s that feeling that things are going to be better, that the world is going to rebuild itself, specially with the angels going back home and leaving the earth.

[5] The secondary characters. Oh my god, they are just fabulous. By fabulous, I mean not a single one of them were casually included. Everyone had a purpose and being. And one of my favourites of all those characters is is Belial.

[6] Rarely, rarely do I see in a YA novel, a villain character giving some justice. Belial for so long in the series, I thought he was just going to be one of those guys who did bad things for no reason except to be evil. Belial is not like that. And I wonder if perhaps he would get a backstory, particularly since he had such a big grudge against Raffe in books one and two. And oh yessss my desire was fulfilled and in the middle of End of Days, I nearly squealed with love for Belial’s backstory. It made so much sense, and believe me, it was one of the best parts of the book.


What I disliked
;

[1] I do find that the part where Penryn took over Obi’s position was kind of lame and contrived. I mean I did see it coming. At the same time,it’s not as over done as other similar scenes in other books. I also dislike how things ended for Obi, but I think the fault there is because we don’t see enough of Obi to really know the real him. Not like what we do with Belial.

Overall;

I did really enjoy this. Was sad that it ended. Totally wanted more lol.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Ransom Riggs.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1)


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My face —> -_________________________-

In truth, I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up this novel for the Quarterly Book Club’s 3rd Quarter Read. All I knew was that this book has a tonne of reviews, supporters, lovers, and is currently on sale on Book Depository (love that site!) Other than that, I knew nothing. And thus had no expectations when I started reading it. I got through 85 pages relatively engaged, but not dying to continue reading it, and then I put it down for two weeks, and sought out something else to read.

-______________________________-

Nothing blew my mind away. And with two days before Miss Peregrine’s is due at the library, I came back. I came back and finished it today, while I was procrastinating. I didn’t finish it quickly because it was the most mind blowing book I’d ever read. I finished it because I had to finish it. If I owned it, I’d probably leave it for a long time. Since really, I wasn’t overly ecstatic.

Why?

Here is why:

[1] Jacob starts as a semi-strong character. I did love him in the beginning, I did love the way he talked about his grandpa. That was my favourite part of the whole book. But then, my interest in him as a character waned. When he meets all the other peculiar children, it dips completely. If I knew exactly why I lost interest in him, this would be so much easier to explain. But it could have been a number of things. The fact that he ends up kissing the same girl his grandpa liked. The fact that I no longer felt like I was getting to know what kind of person Jacob was. The fact that of all things, Jacob’s father doesn’t really seem to care about him! That he kind of gives up, and while yeah there were so many scenes in the book highlighting how much Jacob’s father cared about him, I just didn’t feel it. Each scene felt like they’d been thrown in casually and not really useful. So by the end, I felt Jacob lacked depth.

[2] The story on the whole is nothing overly special, the plot is pretty generic, however I have no gripes about it. I never was one to really care whether there’s some fascinating plot or not. It’s the emotions that get me in books (emotions that the second half of this book really lacked). I do like that while Jacob is special, he isn’t overly special, because you see it from the beginning where his peculiarity comes from. And as for the climax, it was both unpredictable and predictable. Maybe I’m in one of those moods, and things just hit me quicker or something, because I saw the twist coming, felt the foreshadowing long before it came. So when it hit, it was only a mild surprise, but not really overly surprising.

[3] This book suffers from too much sea. It coasts. Coasts a lot. There are action scenes, and intense moments of mystery, but I never really felt the spark. For this, I feel it’s the fault in the writing. Again, it might just be because I felt that the writing was too simplistic, hence why I didn’t jump when certain things happened, or when the action kicked in. In many ways, I think I would have loved this a lot if I was younger. It just didn’t have the same excitement I’m used to feeling with a really good book.

But then again, it might just be me, ya know? One of those moods where I don’t want to appreciate something that is loved by a lot of people. Or maybe I’m just coming along with an unpopular opinion.

[4] -_____________________________- This book has been misleadingly been advertised as a horror book on Book Depository. IT IS ANYTHING BUT HORROR. Supernatural, yes. Paranormal, yes. Thriller? For like a ten year old, yes! But for me, who has seen her fair share of horror movies, I do not think it’s scary at all. Anything but. Again, I blame the writing here. It’s too simplistic. It feels like it’s constantly holding back on really bringing out the utmost potential this book has. And yet….at the same time, in my indecisive mood, this book has reached its utmost potential.

[5] Other characters. Emma was pretty kickass, but like with any book written from a male perspective, sometimes I really hate female representations. Sure, Emma was not as bad as a few others, and she was actually pretty cool, but seriously. I CAN’T TELL HOW OLD SHE’S SUPPOSED TO BE. Seriously, is she like ten? And even if she’s fifteen like Jacob, then she’s got a very sharp personality, which makes her both kickass and annoying, depending on my mood, she can be both lol.

[6] The world/mythology/fantasy. It was interesting. I liked the development, and I liked where it went with the whole ‘peculiars’ and ‘hollows’. I wouldn’t say it’s original, but I will say it was a pretty original way of executing a familiar kind of parallel of good and evil. I think I liked it more for the story that came with how hollows came about. It’s not just an ”evil’ version of peculiars. Hollows came from somewhere, and how they came to be, was something I was really grateful to see in the story. I think I liked the execution of the story as well.

Overall it was still an interesting read. I wouldn’t call it YA, or Horror, but as a teen book, aimed at a younger audience, it’s definitely a Suggestive Read. Since others might like this more than I did.

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This Song Will Save Your Life. Leila Sales.


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This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is also a Quarterly Book Club read for the 2nd Quarter of 2015 (though I didn’t read it then)

This song will save your life more like, this book has returned my faith. I will not lie, I have been struggling with book after book after book lately. It seems, no matter what I’m reading I just can’t fully get into it. Of course, I could tell myself it’s the fact that I have academic work, so obviously that’s the reason why. But no. That wasn’t it. Since my bookshelf is piling up more and more with books to be read. It wasn’t until the other day, a few weeks back did I notice something extraordinary.

There was not a single book from the library that was not fantasy, paranormal or supernatural. So I started craving something normal, something contemporary and truthfully, I thought my desire had passed when more books came from the library.

Except. The book I was and still am reading for the Quarterly Book Club, has yet to fully engage my attention even though I’ve been reading it for over a week now. But asides from it’s daunting size, I just still can’t get into it.

However, I picked up This Song Will Save Your Life on a whim, after it came from the library, for a change. And while the beginning was a bit shaky, the minute I got into Elise’s story, I was succkkkkeeeeedddd in.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I discovered that I have been DYING to read a contemporary novel. It’s like being stuck in the desert with no water, and not realise just how thirsty you become until you’re drinking the water!

Reading this, as the first contemporary novel since like November last year, had me wanting to read more. I flew through this, quickly and easily, and while my judgment is a little impaired, I did, truly love this book and I think it DEFINITELY deserves it’s four star rating.

Why?

The Plot is centred around Elise and her issues with herself. At the beginning of the novel, we’re treated with an insight into just how deep her problem went. She even went so far as to cut herself. The rest of the novel takes place some time after the incident, and follows her road to liking herself through finding her passion in DJing.

Overall, it was a well put together story. Since I haven’t read other contemporary novel for a long time, and my head is full of the fantasy worlds that fantasy and supernatural based novels inspire, it’ll be a little difficult to really praise this book. I don’t want to over praise YET this is how I feel like discussing it. In my head, right this moment, I think this novel was brilliant.

I liked that although this story is about suicide, it is more about how she gets over it. Since to begin with her suicide had been an experiment, and right after she did it, she already knew she didn’t want to die.

I liked that while there is some romance in this, it’s not really romance. Rather, it’s kinda like a first time experience thing. There’s this hot guy. There’s the first kiss. There’s the first making out. But that’s it. And when it ends, even though it hurts Elise, and happens at the moment when she needed it least, I like how it leads to Elise truly seeing and feeling how much her friends do care about her.

I liked that a strong message in this novel is that it’s not about being popular, but about liking yourself, and also knowing that the friends around you like you for you.

I’m not an expert on DJing and what not, but I liked Elise’s stepping up into a world where she was doing something she loved.

There was so much I liked about this book, I have barely any things I didn’t like. Except yet, I didn’t give this book a full five stars. This is because there were some things. Some times I felt like some issues weren’t covered fully. Most of the suicide problem for Elise was mainly dealt with by her, though there was engagement between her and the parentals, but I just felt it was slightly off. HOWEVER, I did not feel like this was a major concern, it certainly didn’t bother me as I read it. And the other thing, the romance, I mentioned it before, but while I think her relationship witch Char was plain and set in a way where it was evident they would eventually break up, and though I actually really liked it, like I said, it’s not really a romance at all.

The Characters, who I really wanted to add in the section above, I did not because they deserve their own section.

Firstly, Elise has a really relateable voice and for someone who attempted to suicide, she’s also quite strong. It’s kind of a contrast, I feel, yet reading from Elise, I liked her. I really did.

But more so, I liked her and Vicky’s friendship. Even though Vicky and Pippa were just a pair of girls she randomly met, they grow on her, and also, they grow on me. I liked Vicky a whole lot more of course, but this might be because we didn’t see as much of Pippa as I would have liked.

Seriously though, when Elise and Vicky bantered, it was awesome. And you know, I really liked Vicky’s story. I think it was great. I think too, that she’s a great friend for Elise.

Char, was, without a doubt kind of a dick — scuse my language — but he’s the kind of guy who just doesn’t really care. He’s not like mean broody kind of guy. He was actually nice, but he kept making mistakes and was a little bit of player and well, truthfully, just like an every day average guy, specially when Elise asked him about Pippa, and he said, ‘because she’s hot’.

The parentals play a nice key role in this story, I liked seeing them.

And the cast of minor characters, at Elise’s school — they were….interesting, and I liked how well formed they were. None were useless, so that was a plus, and all had a role in Elise’s life that was NOT pointless added in.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book as a suggestive read, specially if you’re like me and have been reading too much fantasy and paranormal and supernatural and have gotten into a reading funk because of that, and you DEFINITELY need a change. I will also now be going on to read any of Leila Sales’ other books that catch my attention.

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QBC Updates!

Quarterly Reads 3

For me, it is currently April 1st, for almost 12 hours now.  And I am excited to announce that the Quarterly Book Club will be reading The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand, and I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson as the main two reads for the 2nd Quarter (Contemporary YA reads).   The other two, are free choice from the poll list (but judging by the books that have coming in the library for me, I will probably be reading more than just two free choice lol.)

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If you’re on Goodreads and want to join our group here is the Link and look above for the Header and below for the Logo.

"The Quarterly Book Club"

The Quarterly Book Club is designed for the busy reader, with Quarterly reading challenges as well as Yearly challenges for flexibility. It’s also a place for personal reading challenges, book discussions, and essentially sharing your book tastes with others of similar tastes. Although we mainly focus on YA novels, that does not mean that we don’t read Adult or Middle Grade novels.
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Brought to you and hosted by Sam @ Poison For the Senses and Nina @Words that Flow Like Water
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Hopefully we’ll see you there 🙂 Sam and I will be posting the challenges that we do over on the group here on wordpress and post any book related posts in our group.  We Hope You Can Join Us!!!  We really would love to see you there!

 

The One (The Selection #3). Kiera Cass.


15844362The One
by Kiera Cass

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three stars is a generous rating from me, I think. Even though this book does have its pros, alot of the time, I was banging my head on the desk asking myself, why is America so hard to relate to? Why is she so damn perfect? There is one thing that I really hate in this world: A Much Too Perfect Protagonist. If the main protagonist can do everything in a very mary sue/gary stu way, then really, what’s the point of reading the book? It’s even worse when the personality of that character is absolutely charming and has the most personable personality in the world. IT DRIVES ME NUTS.

And This Is Why The One In All It’s Perfect Glory Lost Me.

From the very beginning of this series, I haven’t loved the story. It’s the Bachelor reworked and something like the Princess and the Pea all messed up. It’s a love story plain and simple, and while it’s fair enough that it needed three books to explore the relationship between America and Maxon, I also felt it was highly unnecessary.

First off, let me talk about the pro: I have tried. I have really tried to find at least one pro that I could talk about for this book. And I found one. Barely, but after thinking over it, it is a pro. What the One and the whole Selection series does really well is explore the relationship between America and Maxon. Ignoring for a moment the extra unwanted limb that makes up the compulsory love triangle, Aspen, then you have a good relationship going on between America and Maxon. They don’t immediately fall in love in The Selection. They don’t even know each other, and what’s more, after reading The Prince short story, I actually really appreciate how Maxon first meets America. In fact, I actually liked Maxon more than anything and would gladly read a whole novel about him, given that he retained that sense of vulnerability and weakness that I saw in his short story. Maxon and America have my vote as a good couple. I like that it wasn’t insta-love (well, there was attraction, but America admitted that she couldn’t love him at the start which was wonderful, I liked that). So this is the one pro that I enjoyed about The One and the Selection as a whole.

And Now For The Cons. If you love these books then STOP READING RIGHT HERE because you won’t like what I’m going to say next, and it’ll sound more like an angry hate rant than anything else even though I promise, I am trying to sound as rational and as calm as possible.

My biggest pet peeve with THE ONE is AMERICA SINGER. How many times have I come across a character like her? Many, but there are only a few instances where I get to my current level of annoyance. America Singer is the epitome of perfection. Even though she whines about being flawed and the other characters whine about how low class she is, America is considered perfect in my eyes. She can’t seem to do anything wrong! And furthermore, everything seems to happen to her at the perfect time. Some might say she was clever in finding ways out of the King’s little tests, others might say that she was lucky, me: I don’t believe it. She wiggles her way out too many times and it always seems to win over the people of Illea. Fine. I get it, that’s the whole point of the story. That’s what makes her so loved and perfect to be Maxon’s wife and the Illean princess. But really…really???? It’s just so easy for her to whine about convicting a man to death, and then standing in the spotlight….she has inspiration and saves not only the man in front of her, but makes everyone love her even more. And how does she do that? America gives the man the means to do so. Tell me this did not happen? And yet it definitely did. Oh what else?

Her love for Maxon. Sometimes…I can’t even tell if America even loved Maxon. Sure she said it, and thought it, but America was like the most selfish character I have ever scene. So selfishly selfless, always putting someone else before herself, it was like she was the only one who could possibly think about these things and that no one else does. You know, I really hate these kinds of characters. I don’t think it hurts if the character is jealous or envious or selfish or in America’s case, be a little obedient. I feel like America wasn’t as smart or clever or even as stupid as the author was trying to portray her. I felt like there were too many moments when “America” had no personality, and if it weren’t for the bland characters that were in the Selection with her, she would have bored me. But because everyone was so bland and two dimensional, America could look wild and interesting, even when I felt like she had no personality.

I just couldn’t relate to America. I couldn’t relate to her exceptional perfectness. I couldn’t like the fact that everything she did, rather than hindered her, aided her. Not to mention the overly cheesy or roll your eyes moments that came from America’s perspective. For example, the first scene where I was once again introduced to America and her participation in the Selection. In this first scene, at first I don’t have any against the dress that America wears or what she tries to do, I only care about when Kriss says so bluntly, “you look like a whore.” *Facepalm* I would’ve have thought anyone who was in the Selection to be the Princess alongside Maxon would have held their tongue and used a word less….vulgar But okay, so that happened and well America sows off her leg in that sexy red dress of hers and lures Maxon to her bedroom where she proceeds to try and seduce Maxon. Except Maxon knew and laughed it off. This should have made me fangirl or something, but I. FELT. NOTHING. How can I feel anything when during those first four or so pages I already did not feel like I was within the mindset of the one called “America” in The Selection and The Elite? If anything it felt totally and completely out of character. That was one scene but there’s more. More of this OOC action. And then there’s the stuff that’s in character. OOC stuff gives me a headache. I call it OOC because it can’t possibly be in character if I can’t read her! It gives me a headache because I can’t relate to her, and it frustrates me when I’m faced with a situation in which I cannot feel a single thing for the character in question. I rarely have this problem. But you know what makes it even worse than getting a headache from OOC action? It’s getting a migraine {figurative of course, but well,it’s not that far from the truth} from a character who never seems to fail the people even though it’s against the King. I might have been more acceptable if throughout the story, I actually cared about America more. And clearly…I did not give a damn about her. Especially when there were so many perfect moments, so many moments where I didn’t see her real flaws shine. And her worst flaw…it’s thinking that what she did had to be done. Honestly, I completely agreed with the king, I don’t think she deserved to be princess at all, what makes her a princess?? When she was given a choice to bring the country together as a display of her love for Maxon or to face the other option…Maxon believing that America didn’t love him at all, she chooses the latter. Fair enough. And while for some heroines, I would agree this is the best option, for America….I WANTED TO SEE HER ACCEPT IT AND SEE HOW SHE DEALT WITH THE PEOPLE OF ILLEA RATHER THAN GOING THE PRISSY MARY SUE WAY. I wanted to see America MAKE A BAD MISTAKE, made because she thought she was doing something right, and learning what was wrong about it rather than seeing her make the right decision for a reason that’s just so……you should just leave this Selection.

But then, the only reason why America can even get away with such a thing is because the whole series is centred on two things “a harem of girls for the Prince to choose from” and the idea of “love”. Funny, the Selection is also about finding the right woman to stand by the Prince and help rule as a Queen in the future…why do I feel like I never really saw any moments where the girls actually learnt how to be a proper princess??

ENOUGH I say, I have ranted about how much I dislike America enough. Let’s move on to the other aspects.

On top of America’s flawed flawlessness, I found the end of The One to be the most interesting. I actually really liked the action at the end. I liked how there was so much action…action that the rest of the book lacked, and I sorely hate how short it was, and I really hate how America was saved, and Maxon was left, shot elsewhere…? I do like how there was that rebel stuff happening relating to America’s father and to a number of people in the palace and whatnot. HOWEVER. Why does it feel like it was just brushed off? Why do I feel like I wanted more about it and yet….there was hardly anything? And then the book ended with America and Maxon getting married. And that was it. -.- <—That’s not my happy face. That’s my disappointed annoyed face.

Lastly, I want to point out, if you don’t like pointless deaths, THEN DON’T READ THIS. The last chapter or two is filled with pointless deaths. Seriously. I feel sorry for all of them, and feel like it was a sad way to leave the story. Specially in Celeste’s case. Really, I would love to see and know more about Celeste mainly because she was (up until midway through) the only character that remained consistent. **Spoiler Bit*** Her death at the end was unfair and it was an easy way out of the problems that she whined about partway through the story to America. I really wished I hadn’t read that. It’s even worse that after people died, there was time for a marriage. **End Spoiler Bit**

OVERALL
I gave this 3 stars because for readers unlike me, you might enjoy this. It’s not bad. It’s just not to my tastes or perhaps I read it at a bad time. Yet, it does end well, I don’t enjoy the fact that there’s a sequel after this one featuring America and Maxon’s child. I don’t want to read it, yet at the same time, I want to read it because it’ll be a reverse harem and who doesn’t want to be surrounded in gorgeous men? But really…it does take the notion of ‘love triangle’ to the extreme.

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Other Worthy Reviews:

Split Second (Pivot Point #2). Kasie West.


15792316Split Second
by Kasie West

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved it. Omg just loved it. Staying up to read it…god I want to read Laila’s side again. Review In Full when my brain isn’t tired or spinning with how much I’m fangirling right now, and I seriously do not fangirl that much on the whole.

2 points: 1) the twist was different to PP and while predictable it was still surprising and 2) the romances were both to die for this time. Oh and 3) Duke is such an effing jerk!

**Updated Review**
I don’t want to tell you that this is something that you as a reader of YA should read, because really, that’s just not cool. You can read what you like when you like. But yet, in me is a fan of a good story and a good non-eye rolling romance and this little fan of mine is telling me to tell you, a reader of YA fiction, that you need to read this series. Oh yes. This is a must read. because in my opinion, it’s very rare for me to find a book that actually reaches the expectations placed on top of it. This series was recommended to me by a friend and so it came with a lot of anticipation and expectation even though I told myself to begin with, don’t get overly excited, or you will disappoint myself. But really, who has ever managed to not get overly excited after being told that something was really awesome and then when you go to try it out for yourself, you get…disappointed? That is so me. And it happens a lot because I love getting excited, and I love having expectations met. But most of the time, they don’t. With Pivot Point and Split Second though, I was literally blown out of my seat. Though how can I have literally been blown out of my seat? I should have been more specific. It was my mind that had been blown out of its seat. Seriously, I haven’t read a story as entertaining intense as Pivot Point and Split Second for a long while. Both books, I must say felt perfect.

The plots, though you think they’re predictable and probably are, were just as astonishing upon the reveal anyway. This is one thing I absolutely could not make up my mind about since I really thought I had guessed it, and then things cooled down, and then bam, I was totally hit with my previous guess, a guess I had dismissed when I was so sure the story was about to finished. SO yeah, I’m a bit stunned over that little bit in Split Second. I guess, I give West credit points for that. Split Second though takes a slightly different approach in relation to plot. Rather than two parallel stories that eventually meet at a point of no return, SS’s plot is told from two perspectives, Addie/Addison and Laila, and they are both unravelling the same thing. So truthfully, it was not as exciting as Pivot Point’s plotline, but it was still exciting nonetheless. What I liked came in later on. I liked the unravelling of the backstory between Laila’s love interest and Laila’s brother and a number of other characters. I thought that was really awesome, and I loved the bit of world building there. It does kind of suck a little that this kind of world only gets two books. But hey, I actually love it when an author does not continuously write stories in the same world, adding more and more. Not that Im complaining because there are some worlds that are just so …. unbelievably built, they need all those extra trilogies and sequels. And I feel that the world in Pivot Point and Split Second could definitely be built into something bigger and greater and developed even more than what we have already seen. But well, West only intends to write two books, sad, but that brings me to the next point:

THE ROMANCE dun dun dunnnn!

I make a big deal out of this, because from the get go, the romance was a big part of the series. In Pivot Point Addie had chose between living as a Para and living as a Norm, and ultimately, she was choosing which relationship to get into, the one with Para Duke or the one with Norm Trevor. Now if you’ve read my review/suggestive read of Pivot Point you would have noticed me gushing a little about Trevor. His introduction to Addie was just to die for. The description, however normal it seemed, seemed to actually make Trevor seem so much hotter, and trust me, I don’t usually take lightly to cowboys since well, where I live, cowboys are rare and imagery of them is generally twisted, and well, they can be smexy but sometimes they can be just…*facepalm*. But with Trevor, Kasie West made him look so attractive from his first meeting with Addie, and well, I was totally rooting for them, and not just them, I was rooting for Trevor in general. So it sucked a little that I didn’t get to have a little reminder description of Trevor in Split Second. Still, Trevor was awesome as usual in Split Second. But he wasn’t who I ended up focussing on in Split Second, oh no, it was the other one, it was Laila’s story and Laila’s love interest that I was totally focussing on. We all knew (no lie or spoiler about it) that Trevor and Addie were eventually going to get together, and that through the course of the novel, Addie would eventually remember him and in some way she would convince him to accept her Para-ness. So yeah, I was definitely more drawn to Laila’s story.

And yep, remember the thing about cowboys?

Well, Laila’s love interest, Connor (I know, it feels like a spoiler right? But really…it isn’t, you can tell right from the start that it’ll happen. So it’s how it happens that had me going) is actually more the type of guy I would be drooling over in a book. He’s definitely my kind of book crush, just like Trevor is definitely Addie’s type of guy. And I absolutely loved him with Laila. He comes across as totally badass to begin with, but as the story goes on and things develop, you come to realise all those times he had been badass with all his badassery, he had either taken a guess or had kinda misread the situation or was totally leading Laila on. Laila, the kind of girl who loves no man choosing to hold power over them anyway she can. And of course (just a little clichéd, but without it, you wouldn’t have this awesome romance) Connor is the one guy who doesn’t make sense and doesn’t immediately fall for her charms. There are so many scenes right now I could just replay and die over, because they just ramp up the chemistry between both Laila and Connor so badly…….oh damn….now I’m drooling.

My point is, a good romance is always welcome. Heh and lately the bar of my expectations has been Ruby and Liam from The Darkest Minds and Sydney and Adrian from Bloodlines. There are a few other favourites, but those two are standing out for me, and well…now both the relationships in Pivot Point and Split Second are joining the list. Because really, sometimes I find it very hard to not roll my eyes over the cheesiness of romances in YA. And sometimes it’s hard not to get bored about how simple some of the relationships are. But Both Addie’s and Laila’s relationships are straightforward (without a doubt and no real triangle, since really…Duke never had a chance to begin with) so I don’t have to roll my eyes over stupidity and actually believe in the romances, and also, these romances in PP and SS don’t overshadow character personalities or other major plot lines. Which is perfect.

Yep definitely perfect.

So if you want a good fast read with a good romance and plot too, then you should definitely give this two-book series a try. Definitely.

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Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1). Kasie West.


Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)Pivot Point
by Kasie West

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had quite a time deciding how I should write this review. Honestly, I have no qualms about spoiling anything, mostly because I am the kind of person who would be more than willingly listen to and read about spoilers simply because they make me more excited about the book or movie in question. However, I won’t destroy it for others. In fact, I want you whoever you are, to go out there and read this. If you’re someone who’s a fan of plot twists and paranormal abilities, then heck, this will definitely keep you guessing and interested. Well you might guess which it is until the end anyway.

The end was shocking.

You see, Addie has the ability to see the future. However, its not the kind of precognition ability that allows her to see all futures. Oh no, Addie’s ability is far from that. Addie can only see two futures and make her decision based on that. But when neither of the two futures look appealing….what do you do? So Addie rarely uses her ability. Even though the people around her, other genetically superior individuals with powers, who live in the compound, and are isolated from the rest of the world in order to preserve their uniqueness.

In Pivot Point, Addie reaches a point early on in the story where she must search her future and decide which is better.

From that point on, the story alternates between her future norm life — when she decides to go with her father after he divorces her mother — and her Paranormal life, that is if she stayed back in the compound.

Of course at first, either path seems very ordinary, and while there are two (I suppose) delectable guys to get to know and date. Duke (para) is overly nice and much too flirty. While Trevor (norm) is not like Duke at all, and more like Addie’s kind of guy.

The Guys
Okay, I wont lie, I really loved meeting Trevor for the first time. Not only was the description to die for, but Addie’s first words to him:

“Your eyelashes make mine want to commit suicide from shame.”

….was awesome! But really, I won’t lie, I will gush a bit about Trevor, since, well, even if guys in boots can be smexy, the way Kasie West wrote Trevor was somewhat even smexier. To add on top of this already smexy image, the fact that he used to be quarterback, and has a injury, and well he’s secret cartoonist too, it’s not really a surprise that Addie likes him. And that’s not a spoiler peoples! Because really…it’s obvious from the beginning, and while I could have rolled my eyes, their side of the romance was really cute and easy going, and well, likeable, I was more interested in the other stuff…

On the other side, you have Duke. Also on the team, and with telekinetic abilities. Not to mention that he whacked Addie in the face with a ball to begin with too. If Addie stayed on in the compound, and continued living as a norm, then she would have started dating Duke. And while it’s cute to begin with, as the novel progresses, things don’t look or feel as crystal clear any more, with a series of other events happening Addie doesn’t notice it immediately. Unfortunately, to be honest, despite the parallel futures, Duke pales in comparison to Trevor in terms of ultimate romance. And while it was cute for when it lasted, and the same goes to Addie’s romance with Trevor, I really became wayyyy more interested in the other stuff.

The Other Stuff aka The Plot
So, my favourite kind of plot is the kind that takes off from the ground and does nothing but go up, up and even higher, climaxing, before dropping steadily. I don’t even mind if it goes up and up, before lulling, and then rocketing right up there again. Because really, so long as it had a lot of action, then it was definitely going to keep me interested. This started slow. There’s no denying that West spends a good portion of the first 100 pages setting up Addie and setting up the two alternate futures. Once she is established in both futures, then the story gets really interesting. And believe me, the interesting part is not directly to the guys. It’s rather related to her father’s work and the thing is, at first, when you read this, you see the similarities in the two parallel futures. You see the same characters, but that’s it. It’s not until 2/3 into the book does everything seem to line up, and well, you gotta say, whenever someone writes a story like this, it’s just genius really. Genius when done well. And West did it really well. So well, by the end, you really feel the weight of Addie’s choice and know that Addie had no other choice.

Wow, that’s my blabbering on there, just goes to show that it’s a story to die for. Nah, it’s a twist to die for. I’m not usually a champion of plot twists (since really, some are very easy to see through), but this one was pretty good.

Pretty Good is an understatement to some, and probably an overstatement to others but this is my opinion, and I really would recommend this to anyone who wants a story that has both action and romance (of an equal quantity) and well, more action, and a character who (while sometimes I might question her choices, eventually I accepted them because the reasons behind why she would make those choices became very clear) is not whiny or a pain, and who I actually quite liked, mostly. I think her character is interesting, and I felt she was a well thought out and rounded character overall. What’s more I liked the friendship between her and Laila, and the sequel, Split Second, will be told from both their perspectives rather than just Addie’s (which I’m definitely interested in seeing! Even though normally I raise my brows at the sudden additional voice. But this is different since Pivot Point was told by two Addie’s (technically), so it makes sense that Split Second is told from two perspectives as well).

Overall, yep, I definitely recommend this. Something new, and interesting and makes me wonder where Split Second will go, and if there are additional sequels, where they would go too. It’s kind of a nice refreshing change from dystopia.

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Princess of the Silver Woods. Jessica Day George.


12873027Princess of the Silver Woods
by Jessica Day George

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great third book. I loved it.

This is Jessica Day George’s retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. It’s also the third book in her Princess series and well, it’s justone step better than Princess of Glass, a book that I absolutely loved. Like Princess of Glass, Princess of the Silver Woods is another companion novel to Princess of the Midnight Ball. And like it’s predecessors, it’s a retelling of an age-old fairytale.

Quite frankly, even though there’s a lot of Red Riding Hood in this, there is also very little. Because there are so many events in between the moment when Petunia first set out to the moment when she walks through the woods, or in this case, the silver woods.

At First, I was a little confused too with the chronological order of the time line between the first book and this book. But once the recap was over, and the story started moving, it couldn’t be helped that I got into it right away.

Sure, the romance happens fast, just like the previous two, but I’ll say this: because it’s a fairytale retelling, I’ll let the whole instalove thing slide. Though, it’s not really instalove, because neither Petunia nor Oliver really want much to do with each other at first. It’s only after Oliver begins to understand what Petunia and her family are going through does he begin to like her like her. That or well, he’s highly chivalrous.

And Then. The plot, I love how George writes her fairytale retellings. It definitely different from other stories, and it’s definitely more than a ‘fairytale retelling’. It’s also fantasy and also has that kind of historical feel to it as well. I think I remember reading somewhere, the world of George’s Princess series is actually based on the world as it is today, just slightly different names.

But I thought it surprising, we see a return of some unsavoury characters from Princess of the Midnight Ball in this book, where in Princess of Glass, there was nothing like that. SO that was interesting. In many ways though, it makes it feel like a conclusion.

Oliver and Petunia are very cute together, much like Poppy and Christian from the previous companion novel. Although, I’ll say, since I forgot the order of the princesses and most of their names, Petunia was supposed to be youngest, but I swear at one point Oliver comments that Pansy was one year younger.

Oh Well. To end, Princess of the Silver Woods is a great fairytale retelling. I love it. And I would definitely suggest it to other lovers of fairytale retellings, and to those who have read and loved the other two companion novels.

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The Fiery Heart. Richelle Mead.


9833184The Fiery Heart
by Richelle Mead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Omg omg omg omg omg omg omg, How I want Silver Shadows right now. Omg.

(I’ll say I don’t like this cover as much as the others but….)
Even though I’d heard that this was not as great as the others, and even though I heard it trumphed thelast one in surprises, I have to say, the ending frustrated me and left me wanting for so much more.

HOW can words even explain how I feel about this latest installment of the series.

I remember commenting about the change in style of the narration in my status update, before I stopped making any statuses at all. IN this installment, the story is told from both Sydney’s and Adrian’s perspective, which at first, I found strange because I was so used to Mead’s usual style of telling the story primarily from the female protagonist’s perspective. But even though it was weird, I got used to it after a while, and well, then it was just like any other Bloodlines novel.

Adrian was an interesting mind to be in, but all the things that annoyed me about him in the book before, I liked in his this time. I got to see that even though he was more mature, he was still the same old Adrian. Being in love, made Adrian loveable, even though he had always been loveable, but he seemed almost a little distant, and untouchable. But now, and I guess it’s because of the different narrating perspectives, I got to see that same Adrian, but more mature and clearly in love with Sydney. What’s more it wasinteresting to see the effect of Spirit. What was obvious to Adrian, and difficult to understand for Sydney also adds to the drama of the story and well, yeah, their love affair.

The plot. At the start it’s very slow moving, Mead takes her time introducing the elements of the plot, preparing the base and then the layers on top, adding layer by layer until BAM! the climax hits and we’re left with a cliffhanger. Typical Mead writing, and I totally loved it. She definitely knew how to keep me wanting more, since I won’t lie, this was the book that took me the longest to read over the last week (and only because I was busy!) even though I wanted to eat it up.

Intertwined with the main plot, was obviously the romance between Sydney and Adrian. Since it’s been a while since I read The Indigo Spell so I forgot a bit of what had actually happened between Sydney and Adrian. SO I was surprised by how fast their relationship progressed by the looks of the first chapter. Of course, when you’re an Alchemist, in love with a Vampire,and not even a Dhampir at that but Moroi, it’s bound to be dangerous. Between Sydney and Adrian, their relationship is squashed into the free moments when Sydney can get away from her sister,Zoe who turned up at the end of the last book, and others problems that turn up. Yet even despite all these problems, they manage to move their relationship forward. And during the moments when their relationship can be nothing but perfect, I felt like I was being lulled into a false sense of security, which I was, despite various other important and tense events taking place in between the beginning and the climax of the story.

I remember this moment, when I put The Fiery Heart down for a moment and I looked at the back cover and saw the tag line for the Bloodlines series once again: Blood Doesn’t Lie… and I couldn’t help but think about how awesome Mead is at being the master storyweaver that she is. She certainly does a wonderful job sticking close to the theme of the series, weaving a believable plot and creating intricate relationships between the characters. I still can’t wrap it around my mind, even though I’m reading about Sydney mixing chemicals for tattooing and so on. But I do find myself thinking, that Mead doesn’t slack on the detais.

Lastly, Zoe is such a little, try hard brat who has yet to prove that she’s worthy. I swear she’s so completely jealous of Sydney that I can’t like her! I also thought that the “my parents are divorcing” plot that Mead added into the story of the Sage family, was a bit ehhhh in my book, because it’s such a dramatic move, even for Mead. Yet, it’s a plot point that remains the centre for the cause and effect of the final cliffhanger. And if I hadn’t been convinced at the start, I sure was convinced at the end.

OH BOO. I’m hardly doing this installment any justice at all with this review yet I don’t want to spoil it much at all. This book desserves a better review than I can give. But omg, it’s worth reading because it’s a Bloodlines book!

I seriously cannot wait until July when Silver Shadows, oh hell, I want to know now what happens next!

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Clockwork Princess. Cassandra Clare.


6131164Clockwork Princess
by Cassandra Clare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This has GOT to be one of the longest novels I’ve read in a long time. I’m surprised, I’ve been getting annoyed at Cassandra Clare’s many works…and Clary and Jace from her other series, but I always did say the Infernal Devices were better than the Mortal Instruments. Still, I was surprised by this one. I didn’t expect to like, nor did I expect it to drag on for so long at the end. But still, I liked it. I liked Will to begin with, because he is and always will be the dashing, smart mouth, brooding love interest. But I liked Jem too…to be honest I thought he would lose out to Will like Simon lost to Jace, but he didn’t. And I liked how it ended…but it really must suck to be Tessa.  You know, she knows she will lose Jem again, because she’ll live for a lot longer, but she still wants him. And it was so sad seeing her life flash forward, and seeing Will die, I can’t believe I’d feel anything for him, despite his dashing charm.

My one annoyance with this entire book was the last two or three chapters. Everything before that was bam, bam, bam. But then, the climax was reached, Mortmain was defeated, and I felt it should have ended there. Except. It didn’t. And then I spent another seventy pages reading about what happened which was great and all, but it felt so final. WHICH is ALSO great, but I can’t believe I’m actually complaining how final it sounded…since I was so annoyed that the Mortal Instruments became a series of six books instead of three. But I’m glad this ended like it did. You know, I wasn’t going to read the proposed trilogy that’s set after the Mortal Instruments, but after Clockwork Princess, I think I might!

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Touch of Power. Maria V. Snyder.


10445208Touch of Power
by Maria V. Snyder

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So I read somewhere in a review that the reader didn’t feel the love between Avry and Kerrick, and sad as it is, I also felt that way. Sure there were sweet and mushy moments, as well as moments that were heavy and tense, but I didn’t quite feel Kerrick’s change.

The Plot
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life….

Plot: full of twists and plots that intrigue. That’s what I love the most about Maria V Snyder’s works.
Magic: Was cool, but like I’ve mentioned before somewhere, it sounds like the same healing system in The Shifter. Then again, it’s also different, because Healers in this series are constantly healing themselves, but in The Shifter, if I’m not wrong, the healers could only heal each other and not themselves.

The Characters
Avry reminded me alot of Yelena from Poison Study, they’re very similar yet they are also quite different. While liked her overall, I didn’t feel like her reason for disliking Prince Ryne was strong enough. I was constantly looking for that reason for her strong hatred, and yet…when the reveal came, I felt hardly a thing. Sure it was a reasonable reason, and I get her pain, but it didn’t seem bad enough for her to really hate him.
Kerrick was a bastard at the start. For a smart guy too, he also fails to perceive one of the many reasons why Avry refused to heal Ryne. Yet, while I did say I didn’t really feel the change between Kerrick and Avry, I didn’t think he was a badly created character, just not the best.
Supporting characters are a bunch of males, fellow soldiers who follow Kerrick and are around to keep an eye on Avry. Belen is Avry’s strongest ally despite being Kerrick’s man. He watches over Avry, advising her whichever he could. Flea reminded me of a little brother-like figure. (view spoiler)

The Setting
The Fifteen Realms.

The Writing
Is exactly like what you see in Poison Study, simple, yet imaginative. There’s no flowery poetry, there’s nothing fancy. The language is straight forward, with a strong, female voice.

Overall
I’m intrigued. I do love the adventure I get when I read Maria V. Snyder‘s works, and I am curious enough to read athe sequels of Touch of Power.

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