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!

Blog Tour: Storm and Silence by Robert Thier

24035804Title: Storm and Silence

Author: Robert Thier

Publication Date: March 19th 2016

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Freedom – that is what Lilly Linton wants most in life. Not marriage, not a brood of squalling brats, and certainly not love, thank you very much!
But freedom is a rare commodity in 19th-century London, where girls are expected to spend their lives sitting at home, fully occupied with looking pretty. Lilly is at her wits’ end – until a chance encounter with a dark, dangerous and powerful stranger changes her life forever…Enter the world of Mr Rikkard Ambrose, where the only rule is: Knowledge is power is time is money!

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R E V I E W

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Storm and Silence.  Robert Thier

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An unpolished version of this book is posted on Wattpad. You can check that out before making up your mind about purchasing the book, but know that the published version has extra material that you want to read. Trust me. 😉

Make sure to check out the other posts in this blog tour!

Name Date Blog Link
Jinan 19th of March LINK
Henz 20th of March LINK
Aira 21st of March LINK
Raven 22nd of March LINK
Nina 23rd of March LINK
Eti 24th of March LINK

About Robert Thier

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Robert Thier is a German Historian and writer of Historical Fiction. His particular mix of history, romance and adventure, always with a good deal of humor thrown in, has gained him a diverse readership ranging from teenagers to retired grandmothers. For the way he manages to make history come alive, as if he himself had lived as a medieval knight, his fans all over the world have given him the nickname “Sir Rob”.

For him, Robert says, becoming a writer has followed naturally from his interest in history. “In Germany,” he says, “we use the same word for story and history. And I’ve always loved the one as much as the other. Becoming a storyteller, a writer, is what I’ve always wanted.”

Besides writing and researching in dusty old archives, on the lookout for a mystery to put into his next story, Robert enjoys classical music and long walks in the country. The helmet you see on the picture he does not wear because he is a cycling enthusiast, but to protect his literary skull in which a bone has been missing from birth. Robert lives in the south of Germany in a small village between the three Emperor’s Mountains.

My Life Next Door. Huntley Fitzpatrick.

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My Life Next Door
by Huntley Fitzpatrick
My rating: 3.7 Stars!

I read this for a buddy read with Rinji for the Quarterly Book Club.

I did really enjoy reading this, don’t judge me by how long it took me to read because I was also busy with academic work and other books.

However, unfortunately, this book had to compete with Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta. It’s one of my favourite books of all time. While Marchetta’s other contemporaries are considered better, Looking for Alibrandi is a classic for a lifetime, and upon rereading it, I really, really, really enjoyed it. AS for My Life Next Door, I think it’s a good book–

——> Oh gosh, I sound like one of those old grannies who say ‘she’s a nice girl’ or ‘he’s a nice boy’ but really means, ‘that person is just not for you!’

I’m rating My Life Next Door 3.7 stars because it was in fact a really good book that by the end of it had me smiling, and appreciating the story that Fitzpatrick wove, despite the fact that it was grossly overshadowed by Melina Marchetta’s book.


The Pros

– Samantha. She has a very relatable voice, and her kind of character is one that I can really understand–she’s someone who has never really spoken up before because she wanted to help her mum and suffers under the pressure of Family Obligations. And I never once found her annoying. She has a well defined character with depth to the way she acts.

– Jase. Are dream boy next door. Ideal YA love interest. Since I have little to say about him, because he was almost perfect–training hard every day, works for the family, considering college if he can get in on scholarship, all round, the perfect kind of guy to see in a YA contemporary novel. I liked him. But, in some ways, I feel like he doesn’t have an extremely deep character, but yet is still well developed, if that makes sense?

– The family dynamics. I liked seeing the contrast between Samantha’s family and Jase’s. The reasons behind them, and how they developed.

– Supporting characters. Tim was the best! I loved him as a character the most and I would love to read about him. I mean, really, that guy was awesome. In a way, he kind of outshone Jase (not that I want him to be with Samantha, but in character development terms, he did outshine the boy). Nan. I can’t believe Nan, and actually that was something I was kind of displeased with! (More in cons.)

– And wow. There really aren’t that many pros.

– Oh wait. Sam and Jase’s relationship. I liked it. It was cute. It began pretty quickly, and progressed at a reasonably interesting pace. I like how Fitzpatrick dealt with Sam and Jase’s relationship. And I guess their relationship is one of the highlights of book. I should probably say…it’s the main highlight, bviously, because it’s a romance…

The Cons

– Clay is an atrocious, ambitious asshole who I still felt sorry for. I didn’t like him at all but knew from the beginning that he was no good (and the only con is that he’s an ass, but the pro about him is that he ended up helping Sam’s mum out, so this should also be a pro lol.)

– Jase could sometimes come across as boring…only because he seemed a little too perfect sometimes. Perfect in the sense that he is the dreamy kind of good love interest in YA contemporary novels. He doesn’t have many problems, though he does have family ones and also the fact that he’s a total family guy….(but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! I think, once again, the love interest in Looking for Alibrandi overshadowed my appreciation of Jase)

– NAN. THE F**K happened there? That TOTALLY sucked. I mean, I completely understood all the reasons why, and so on, but it just felt like a loose tie that wasn’t really tied up at the end–I wasn’t really satisfied with how they ended up. The only good part was that because of Nan, Tim looked better. But still. Nan and Sam were the weakest part in the whole book–> A Big Angry Dissatisfied Frown Here.

Overall

I did finish this with smiles and liked it all round. I would DEFINITELY go and read the companion/sequel to this because I DEFINITELY want to see more of Tim. The guy is so messed up, I want to know about him. But yeah, the sad part is that I read this while reading Looking for Alibrandi, and Looking for Alibrandi just has a deeper message, a stronger plot, and greater themes for me to relate to than My Life Next Door. That’s all. I do suggest My Life Next Door however, as a Suggestive Read, it kind of reads like Sarah Dessen (yes and no), and it’s definitely the light and fluffy kind of thing that if I had more time, I’d have read it faster!

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Dark Triumph. Robin LaFevers.


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Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read for the 4th Quarter (Historical Fiction) Read for the Quarterly Book Club!

This is also the companion sequel of Grave Mercy, the first of the His Fair Assassin Trilogy.

P L O T

The plot of this story is less like Grave Mercy than I expected. Granted, it has been so long since I read Grave Mercy, I can’t even remember the specifics except that Ismae used her body to save Duval (I actually forgot his name too before I started reading Dark Triumph), and then things worked out well in the end. The good thing is, I didn’t have many expectations for this sequel/companion novel. Apparently I liked Grave Mercy! But my review of it was sparse and detailess, so anything I really liked, loved or hated is lost in the swarm of a thousand books in my head. The downside of being a readaholic without an eidetic memory (not that I would want an eidetic memory at all–I’d like to be able to forget when I can). However, I rated it pretty good, and what I did write, did not make me any less or any more hesitant to read Dark Triumph. I think, even back then I really wanted to read Sybella’s story, mainly because she seemed so unreachable, not like Ismae who seemed so full of hope and belief and faith.

So where Grave Mercy had a more substantial plot about the world and its historical elements, Dark Triumph tends to read as a more solo, individual journey of self for Sybella. Yeah there is a plot, but not as much as the first in my opinion (or from the vague feelings I remember). In this book, the main plot is very simple. Defeat d’Albret. Help the Duchess. That kind of thing. Two sides clearly defined, and a war for Brittany. The historical elements are well tended to (I’m not a historian and have never studied history, but I do like my historical fiction novels every once in a while, and a variety at that–though usually stories older than the 20th century.)

The plot also while it is very simple, it actually doesn’t fall flat. I felt the urge to keep reading (and yeah, stayed up to like 2:30am in the morning (continued reading from like 160pages at around 11pm) to finish it all in one go (gawd I am so tired right now, I wonder why I haven’t had several micronaps by now!). Mostly, I think I was interested in when Sybella would do two things: a) Get the man; and b) kill d’Albret. I was also wondering exactly what would happen to her family, and what had happened to the family to make it so bloody twisted!

But as for the actual other non-Sybella, and non-romance parts, there weren’t actually many elements to the political plot. Like I said, it was very simple. It makes me wonder how the ending will look like in the last book.


C H A R A C T E R S

Sybella! I loved her! But only because she had such a deep character and was twisted in her own way, supported by all the dark events of the past. I hate her family though. But they did shape her. And I felt sorry for her a lot of the time, but she never wallows in self pity, and she does her best to keep trying. I liked seeing how she thinks when it comes to her family. Even though it’s all a little sickening, I liked seeing how she stays strong even when she knows she should be afraid. Loved when she had to help the Beast escape. That was funny, specially when she woke up! And while some might go and hate and be stupid, I like how Sybella does her best to put her fears aside and go with the flow. She’s a strong character, totally kickass, and not afraid to kill, even though she doesn’t always want to. And when Ismae comes back into the picture, Sybella really contrasts to her, in terms of personality. They’re similar and different at the same time.

Beast. Oh the Beast. Described as ugly, but really, overall has a really nice personality. And I liked him! And I love that Sybella notices how even after they sleep together, he doesn’t look any prettier (I love how normal that sounds, rather than the usual flowery, he looked beautiful even though he was ugly crap). Beast is Beast. He is scarred and considered ugly, but he is beautiful deep down. Which his actions show, and there’s no need to dress up his ugliness in pretty descriptions. If that makes sense? I just liked how LaFevers depicts Beast. And also depicts and develops his relationship with Sybella.

THE D’ALBRETS. Gawd. That is one twisted family. Only the sisters are harmless. Being young and isolated, protected from the merciless elder brothers and their father. Sybella is a d’Albret, but she hates that she is. And she hates remembering it. Yet, she is, and because she is, she must use it to her advantage for the convent. Her older brothers are asshats. And Julian, her older brother too I think, but like with her other siblings, is a half brother, was both someone she loved and hated. The relationship between them is….well….a bit incestuous, and at the same time….and I hate saying it, but the ending at the end, resolves it and makes me feel abit better. Then again, how LaFevers treats the whole family dynamic, she treats its carefully and thoughtfully. She puts all the necessary emotions in there so that one should feel how Sybella feels about everyone and everything related to her family. There is so much hate there, and there is also, so much she wished she hadn’t done. Sybella’s father though, is the worst out of all of them though. He’s cruel and callous, and he doesn’t care who he uses, hurts, in order to get what he wants: and that is the Duchess’s hand in marriage. I think d’Albret is based on a real historical figure. I’m not too sure, but well. LaFevers did well with being creative with this whole period of history.

Supporting characters and return of the old. Loved seeing Ismae and Duval again! That was awesome! They’re so cute together. The Abbess has me frowning as always. And we hear about Annith again!


S E T T I N G

Morlaix, Nantes in Brittany.  Year: 1489


W R I T I N G

I can’t remember what I thought of LaFevers’ writing previously, but I enjoyed reading it last night! Maybe it was Sybella, or maybe I just needed this kind of writing at that moment. Either way, I did really like her writing. Written in first person, LaFevers mixes both historical language and contemporary language well. The style of writing has a taste of formality to it, yet isn’t dense and a pain to read. Which was beautiful. I almost cried (after all I did lament a bit about this when I was reading the Witch Hunter). It was great. I loved it.

O V E R A L L

I really enjoyed this one! Though now after writing all of the above, the ending while it was nice, I was already happy a few pages before the end of the book lol. Anyway, yes, a suggestive read. And looking forward to Mortal Heart.

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Burn For Burn. Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian.


13406425Burn for Burn
by Jenny Han

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this, I really got sucked into this in the end, and like all the reviews that I’ve read, there is a bit of supernatural, but it’s such a small bit that you don’t notice it until the very end, and then it’s like bam! So I found it really hard to describe/allocate this book into a genre, is it contemporary? Is is supernatural? Is it what? So I’m just going to combine it and say it’s a contemporary supernatural. But really, it’s such a contemporary novel, such a YA fiction that I find it hard to see it as a supernatural story…and yet I’m curious about the supernatural element.

The Plot
BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY…
THEY GET EVEN.

Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she’s ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. And she’s ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won’t stop until they each had a taste.

The Characters
Lillia > the kind of character who’s part of the bitchy crowd, yet she’s not half as bitchy as the rest of them. Not only that, she has something to protect, and I don’t hate her. I find myself, instead liking her. Also, even though she acts against Alex, I think I really would like to see them get together.
Kat > The cool kind of ostracised girl, who kind of doesn’t care about what others think about what others say about her. I loved learning about her past with Rennie in pieces. That was cool. Plus she’s not so bad, she’s actually pretty nice.
Mary > Mary was so whimpy. But because of the changing perspectives of the three main girls, I didn’t get half as annoyed at Mary. In fact, I liked her more. In fact, I didn’t even feel as though she was just whimpy, rather she was whimpy with a very good, very valid reason – though I have to say, to begin with I thought her reason was more than cliched, that is, until I saw more of her past, understood more about her relationship with Reeve.

Others – The Targets of Revenge:
Alex > is the nice kind of guy, who is really good friends with Lillia, and who I suspect, is in love with her. Throughout the whole novel though, I felt as though there was too much revenge on Alex over the other two revenge targets. It’s weird since out of Alex, Rennie and Reeve, Alex perhaps has the least reason for any of the girls to be mad at. BUT. In saying so, while there was so much going on, so much development in character for every main character, development of relationships, of the past and the present, I still think there’s a long way to go to full understand and unravel the stories between these six characters.
Rennie > is the bitch and self-professed Queen of the School. She’s also Lillia’s best friend and Kat’s ex-best friend. And Kat”s after her. See this here is the dilemma, right now, right til the end of Burn for Burn, Rennie is still your 2D kind of mean girl, except you can tell she’s also not, and somehow I feel in subsequent novels to follow, I can’t wait to find out more about her.
Reeve > is probably my favourite out of all the revenge targets. Why? Because even though he’s your average jock asshole, through Mary’s memories, he becomes some one else entirely, and that’s when I realised, I might actually like this character more than any other character in the story. When he blurts out “Big-Easy” at the end of the novel, right before he passes out and is sent out to the hospital (an outcome that was not supposed to happen as a result of Kat’s, Lillia’s and Mary’s revenge), I was like *gasp* and then, flipping over the final pages, I see Mary in shock and grief, and then it ends. And I’m like OMG. What the hell did that mean? Does that mean Reeve recognise the now gorgeous and thin Mary? Or was he thinking about her? Or what??? I AM DYING TO KNOW> so Reeve, is officially the character I’m genuinely most interested in, second to Mary, Lillia, Kat, Alex and Rennie.

The Writing
Look when it comes to Jenny Han, you know you’re in for a rollercoaster of ups and downs, past and present. You’re never gonna be wanting, and you’re definitely not short on character development. That’s what I love about her work. But this is a combined work. Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. I’ve never read Ms Vivian’s work, but I have read Ms Han’s. SO as a combined work, for me I can only judge from one perspective, together, though, they’re brilliant. I loved the writing in the novel, I thought it was wonderful, delectable and page-flipping!

Overall
Loved it, loved it, loved it. Absolutely cannot wait to read Fire with Fire and no doubt the one after that Ashes to Ashes.

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Cate of the Lost Colony. Lisa M Klein.


7936035Cate of the Lost Colony
by Lisa M. Klein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This caught my attention even though it was a historical. It seems lately I haven’t really been reading historicals, yet they are one of my favourites types of reads. This is an example of a good historical. It seriously made me want to know more about this particular piece of history.

Plot
I quite liked the plot overall. It is well paced and well plotted, there is drama and at the same time (which I thought was a winner) the character’s feelings reason out the dramatic events. So I didn’t get angry because of something stupid. Instead felt the need to keep reading for the purpose of feeling comfortable. I really wanted to experience Cate’s life. I wanted to know what happened.
(view spoiler)

Characters
Cate: Or Lady Catherine is an destitute, but well-born daughter of society who was given the chance to be one of the Queen’s ladies. Taking the chance, she debuts in court and spends life loving and caring for the Queen. She makes friends and enemies, and becomes a favourite of the Queen. She has a strong personality, and though I feel that sometimes she’s naive, most of the time, she acted out of good intentions. I thought she was a rather well rounded character, strong, wilful, yet wary and sharp. I enjoyed reading about her.

Sir Walter Raleigh: As a historical figure, generally I never thought he could be written so well, or so convincingly. But I liked this interpretation of him. I loved Klein’s approach to him. It made me want to fall in love with him too (especially when she added the little memorandums and notes from his travel log).

Manteo: Honourable and clever, kind and good, Manteo is the good guy. There isn’t much in his pov, yet, throughout the story, you can’t help but cheer for him too. Especially when he starts calling Cate (in his head) his “Moon Maiden”.

Setting
1587 England and the colony settled in Virginia.

Writing
This is one of those historicals that were written so well, and so accurately (though I don’t much about this particular piece of history since it was not in my study curricula) that makes me want to know more. I really have the urge to go and do a bit of research. Lisa M. Klein did a wonderful job! Her writing is exquisite in bringing Cate, Raleigh and Manteo alive, and she never spares a chance for detail. There is just so much detail, it felt so real.

Overall
If you like historical fiction, this is a must read. If you like a sweet romance, this is a must read. If you like a coming of age story, this is a must. This is a must read, period.

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Pandemonium. Lauren Oliver.


9593911Pandemonium
by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked Delirium better. There was something more alive and magical about it. I wasn’t very convinced in this one. I kept wanting to go back to Ally Condie‘s Reached and rereading various passages. But, I will say, the cliffhanger is just making me want to read Requiem and rumour has it that it’ll be divided between Lena and Hana. Makes me wonder who Alex will end up with and who Lena will. I did like Julian but he sounds a bit whimpy, but nice. I like that vulnerability. I was annoyed by Lena, but unlike Tris from Veronica Roth‘s Divergent, Lena stays true to her character, her thoughts, loves and fears. She’s great in a way, but still not my favourite female character.

This was a good read, I’m dying for the third book. I want to know what happens. And I want to know now.

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