Thursday, 27 February 2014

Review: Tragic

Tragic (Rook and Ronin #1) by J.A. Huss

Title: Tragic
Series: Rook and Ronin, #1
Author: J.A. Huss
Published: Science Fiction Press; 2013
282 pages, kindle edition
Source: Amazon freebie
 Description (from Goodreads):

Rook Walsh is TRAGIC

Because life so far – just sucks. Some girls get parents. Rook got the foster care system. Some girls get Prince Charming. Rook got an abusive frog. Some girls get lucky…

Rook got a second chance.

And she took it. Because when fate throws you a bone – you grab it with both hands and run.

Antoine Chaput knows the minute he spies Rook in his photography studio that she’s got The Look. The dark and desperate look he must have to land the exclusive TRAGIC media contract.

Rook is paired up with top model, Ronin, and he’s everything her abusive ex-boyfriend wasn’t. Patient, gentle, happy, attentive, and sexy! He knows exactly what to do to make Rook blush for Antoine’s camera.

Rook’s luck changes in an instant and suddenly she’s the darling of the modeling world. It’s a dream job to go with a dream guy and all she has to do is look pretty and follow directions. But there’s always a price to pay – and Rook is about to get the bill.

My Thoughts:

 3.5 stars

My first new adult book wasn't to my disappointment. I enjoyed it a lot. The romance was sweet and hot. The plotline was eventful and enthralling. The characters were amazing.

Ever wonder how they get the racy photos for the front covers of books or CDS? Well, we are about to find out.
Tragic is the story of Rook - a homeless and truly tragic girl of nineteen whose life has been anything but perfect. On the run and a little desperate, Rook is over the moon when a twist of fate presents her the opportunity for decent work, a home and just maybe, a second chance at love?

I loved the way that this was written. It pulled me under easily and took me on quite a ride. I was kept easily amused and interested for the entire book. The writing flowed fluidly so that I could flip through the pages with ease. At no point did I have to look for the plot - often the case in romance-heavy new adult books - it was always there, smiling at me, pulling me along.

The characters were emotional and had a depth that has always been absent in other books of this kind. I loved the tension between Rook and Ronin. The relationships between each of the characters is detailed and emotional... beautiful.

What didn't work for me in
Tragic was Rook's backstory of abuse. Usually new adult books contain a main character with a story like this - in this case it was a ex-abusive and controlling boyfriend. Is it supposed to enhance the relationship of the couple in the book? I don't know, but it didn't work for me at all. Rook seemed to use it merely as an excuse. She says she is hurt and broken and tragic but she never really acted that way. Sure she shies away from Ronin's touch at first but she never struck me as the broken or ruined sort. The same was with Ronin. His supposed tragic past didn't seem to equal his personality in this. It could have worked if J.A. Huss had taken more time to delve deeper into these emotions and used them to her advantage to deepen the relationship between Rook and Ronin but she didn't. Maybe she will in Manic though.

Overall, this was pretty good. I enjoyed the story a lot and I loved the characters. I will definitely be continuing the series.

Review: Being Nikki

Being Nikki (Airhead #2) by Meg Cabot
I am Nikki Howard now.
Em Watts is dead ... 

Teen supermodel Nikki Howard has a secret. She's not the
gorgeous golden airhead she seems - on the inside she's someone else. Literally. Em Watts is stuck in the body of glamazon celebutante Nikki. And it's not easy. Especially when Nikki's past is about to catch up with her, her boss is spying on her, and Em's heart wants one thing but her lips keep kissing someone else...

My Thoughts:

3.5 stars

This review contains unavoidable spoilers for Airhead.

This was a rollercoaster for me. It had a lot of ups that had me on a high, loving the view of what I thought would come but then it also had a lot of sudden dives, some low plunges into a dull monotone of Emerson constantly bitching about the state of her love life or reminding us for the five-billionth time that she is in Nikki's body - we kind of know that Emerson, haven't we spent two entire books reading about that? - and it would be ruined.

Being Nikki picks up a little after the ending of Airhead with Nikki/Emerson at a modelling job with Brandon Stark at St John in the Virgin Islands. She is clinging to a cliff face in a white bikini smiling for the camera while contemplating how best to off herself and how much she hates Stark and her life and Nikki and hatin' on everything in general. Not a great start to be honest.

Ignoring Emerson though this was actually pretty good. Yes, I know, shocking isn't it? I really did enjoy the majority of this book though. We get to meet Nikki's brother, Stephen, who was actually a really decent character. He stood up for himself, he loved Nikki for who she was and he made an effort for Emerson - I really liked him.

We also got a decent storyline this time round. We delve into why Stark organised the whole-body transplant in the first place and we go on a quest to find Nikki's (not Emerson's, Nikki's) mother who has been missing since her "accident". There is a surprising amount of suspense and intrigue. It kept me eagerly flipping through the pages, trying to sort through all the puzzle pieces in my head.

What really ruins this book, this series, is Emerson. I really cannot stand her. She goes on and on and on some more about Nikki "making" her kiss Brandon and Gabriel and whoever else she kisses. She goes on about Whitney and Frida and FONs who are all supposedly lower than the Almighty Emerson because they care about what the look like and that they like to wear designer jeans and go to celebrity parties - doesn't she realise that she is one of "those girls" now anyway, so she is hardly one to judge? Besides what does it matter if they do like any of those things? It doesn't make them any less of a person.

Emerson's constant whining about every boy falling for her and the supposed string of guys Nikki (real Nikki) was leading on made me want to strangle myself. It was infuriating. Her obsession with it drove me mad. I wanted to jump through the pages and slap some sense into her or shake her or just something! Plus the fact that she was devastated by the fact that Christopher really did love her (Emerson) and that she was jealous of that, even though its herself that she is jealous of... its just infuriating! I cannot even begin to describe how much that angered me. I mean just ahhhhhh!

The ending is what completely ruined it for me though. There was a great climatic rise towards the end and everything looked like it was going to end well but then we took another random plunge downwards...

I didn't like it all. The very, very end I mean. I cannot say much without spoiling it but who she ended up with and why - that was the part that broke my heart and made me want to throw this book at a hard brick wall. It really ruined the very dramatic and awesome ending that it could have been. It was like my rollercoaster took me on a loop-de-loop - I ended up exactly where I started in
Airhead an that wasn't what I was expecting at all.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. The intrigue kept me engaged and the mysteries were enthralling but the character of Emerson and the ending didn't work for me. I hope that the series continues to improve though. I am eager to read
Runaway and see how everything turns out.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Review: Infinite Sky

Infinite Sky (Infinite Sky #1) by C.J. Flood

Title: Infinite Sky
Series: Infinite Sky, #1
Author: C.J. Flood
Published: Simon & Schuster UK; 2013
271 pages, hardcover
Source: Borrowed from the library
 Description (from Goodreads):

When Iris' mum leaves home, her brother, Sam, goes off the rails and her dad is left trying to hold it all together. So when a family of travellers sets up camp illegally in front of their farm, its the catalyst for a stand-off that can only end in disaster. But to Iris it's an adventure. She secretly strikes up a friendship with the gypsy boy, Trick, and discovers home can be something as simple as a carved out circle in a field of corn...

My Thoughts:

I have always been wary of the contemporary genre. I have previously tried to avoid it for I always thought of it as plain fiction, as in the boring, dull, nothing-interesting-happens sort of plain. This year though I am trying to delve into the genre a bit more and try and find something that suits me. I have found that I much prefer the light-hearted romance with funny characters - such as Anna and the French Kiss or This Is What Happy Looks Like - to the sad and purposefully emotional books such as If I Stay... and Infinite Sky.

This book is about a girl named Iris. She lives with her brother and father on a small country farm. Her mother left her and her family to travel and her sudden absence is tearing them apart. When a group of gypsies illegally move into one of their paddocks her father is furious but Iris doesn't mind. She likes watching the family, seeing the way that they live so very differently to her and she soon befriends one of the gypsy boys, Trick.

From the description I was expecting some sort of emotional drama focused heavily on the romance between Trick and Iris, and also the emotional state of her family now that their mother (or wife) had abandoned them. I wasn't expecting this to be what it was. I don't even know what it ended up being...
Infinite Sky is a mix between If I Stay and Graffiti Moon. It had the traumatically sad and raw emotion of If I Stay and the poetic, quirky, "artsy" writing of Graffiti Moon. Iris had that mysterious and often abstract way of looking at the world that reminded me strongly of Lucy from Graffiti Moon too. The problem that I had with this was that the first three quarters of the book were extremely dull, not much happened at all. It wasn't necessarily boringly uneventful, it just made me restless while reading it - I wanted something more exciting to happen.

The writing was very beautiful though. It was addictive and enthralling, it made you want to keep reading despite the lack of plotline. I loved that it made me look at the world from a completely different view point for a change. What didn't work for me was the extreme use of local lingo in the dialogue. I think this is set in England (they said bleedy a lot) but wherever this is set it doesn't matter because I still had no idea what they were saying. I struggled through each conversation, having to check an online "slang" dictionary on numerous occasions just to try and figure out what they were saying. Even after that I remained confused for the most part.

I enjoyed the richness of the various characters though. They were deeply written and the darker emotions that they felt weren't spared so we got the full effect of every character and their real reactions.

The ending was shocking. I expected something to happen to a different character but I most certainly didn't see that ending coming at all. I loved it though. Yes, it was awfully sad but the way that it was written was done with the exact right mix of raw emotion and beautiful imagery so that it was heart-melting and soul-wrenching and enlightening and moving all at once.

Infinite Sky wasn't too bad, it just wasn't what I was expecting, or hoping for really. It did make me cry but I needed something a little more as well. The first half was just too dull for my liking. I will most definitely be picking up the second book though. I cannot wait for it to come out. Thanks to Stephen for his recommendation - much appreciated!

Review: This is What Happy Looks Like

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: This is What Happy Looks Like
Series: none
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Published: Headline; 2013
404 pages, paperback
Source: Borrowed from the library
 Description (from Goodreads):

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

It's June - seventeen-year-old Ellie O'Neill's least favourite time of year. Her tiny hometown is annually invaded by tourists, and this year there's added inconvenience of a film crew. Even the arrival of Hollywood heart-throb Graham Larkin can't lift her mood.

But there is something making Ellie very happy. Ever since an email was accidently sent to her a few months ago, she's been corresponding with a mysterious stranger, the two of them sharing their hopes and fears. Their developing relationship is not without its secrets though - there's the truth about Ellie's past... and her pen pal's real identity. When they finally meet in person, things are destined to get much more complicated. Can two people, worlds apart but bought together by chance, make it against all the odds?

My Thoughts:
This Is What Happy Looks Like is a sweet and light-hearted contemporary read about small-town girl, Ellie, and her accidental pen pal and teen superstar, Graham. It starts when Graham accidentally emails Ellie about his pet pig, Wilbur. They don't know who each other is but they connect instantly, they enjoy the anonymity of it all, and soon it blooms into a regular correspondence. They exchange random messages about everything and nothing, but soon begin to confide in each other, their fears and hopes. It takes a while but soon Graham realises he is falling for her, this girl halfway across the county that he has never met, whose name he doesn't even know. But Graham isn't going to let it stay that way for long. His next movie needs a small-town real-life set - and he knows just the place... What happens next is a funny, witty and highly-amusing story that will knock your socks off.

I loved every aspect of this. I don't know what I was expecting, something a little cheesier I guess. I mean superstar falls for the "nobody" girl? A little clich├ęd, eh? But it isn't anything like that. Its was also a story of a ordinary boy trying to discover who he really is while simultaneously trying to dodge the paparazzi and film a highly anticipated movie. His family is slowly falling apart, his manager is forcing him in directions that he isn't comfortable taking and he doesn't know what he wants anymore.
This Is What Happy Looks Like is partly a tale of his journey. Figuring out what he wants, who he wants in his life.

The other half is a moving tale about the discovery of love and all its possibilities. Ellie and Graham aren't a perfect couple, they have a few kinks to work out but I love the journey they travel to discover what they want. Ellie is feisty and stubborn and not afraid to say what she is thinking. Graham is funny and loyal and sweet. Together they have something beautiful...

I really, really enjoyed this book. It was light-hearted but had a serious undertone that approached some deeper subjects that I were touchingly written. I loved the characters and how they made me laugh and laugh. Overall, this was one hell of a contemporary novel that I would highly recommend to fans of
Anna and the French Kiss and everyone else really. I am definitely going to be checking out more of Jennifer E Smith's work. This was amazing.

Review: Throne of Fire

Throne of Fire (The Kane Chronicles #2) by Rick Riordan

Title: Throne of Fire
Series: The Kane Chronicles, #2
Author: Rick Riordan
Published: Puffin Books; 2012
447 pages, paperback
Source: Borrowed from the library
 Description (from Goodreads):

Ever since the gods of Ancient Egypt were unleashed in the modern world, Carter Kane and his sister Sadie have been in trouble. As descendants of the magical House of Life, they command certain powers. But now a terrifying enemy - Apophis, the giant snakes of chaos - is rising.

If Carter and Sadie don't destroy him, the world will end in five days' time. And in order to battle the forces of chaos, they must revive the sun god Ra - a feat no magician gas ever achieved. First they must search the world for three sections of the Book of Ra, and then they have to learn how to chant its spells...

Can the Kanes destroy Apophis before he swallows the sun and plunges the earth into darkness... forever?

Narrated in two different wisecracking voices, featuring a large cast of new and unforgettable characters, and with adventures spanning the globe, this second installment in the Kane Chronicles is nothing short of a thrill ride

My Thoughts:

A lot of people argue that bad reviews are the hardest to write, but, personally, I don't find that the case at all. For me it is so much easier to have to have the freedom to rant about what you didn't like about a book, you can go on and on, always finding some other little thing that bugged you but how many times can your write how much you enjoyed a book? There are so only so many times you can say amazing, wonderful, lovely, awesome... It kind of gets old quickly. We get the point that you loved it straight away there isn't any reason to go on and on about it.

Because of that, I am a little clueless about how to start this review  because I absolutely loved this. It made me laugh and smile and cry. I was never bored and I didn't want to put it down for a minute though I had to because of stupid things like sleep and school.
Rick Riordan is one of the few authors that I can honestly say nails the changing of POVs perfectly. Most authors that use this make one of their characters slightly more likeable or the POVs too similar and thus make it hard to distinguish who is who (I am glaring at you Crossed). Some authors just cannot make this work at all (yes, I am thinking about you Scarlet). Throne of Fire, however, has two beautiful points of views - Carter and Sadie - who are both equally amusing, kind, witty and lovable. I couldn't possibly pick a favourite. Both of these characters have their charms - Sadie her sarcasm and braveness and Carter his loyalty, seriousness and quick-thinking. They both hold a large place in my heart.

What I love most about this book though, apart from the lovable characters, is the mythology. If someone told me that
Rick Riordan was, in fact, a god himself, I wouldn't be surprised. How else can he absolutely nail everything about ancient mythology? The way he writes it all, it feels as if he has experienced it all before himself. He writes with such vivid detail to his works that I, myself, feel as if it is all this could be real. He ingrains such minute details into the world of Sadie and Carter you begin doubting that there really isn't such things as the Egyptian gods and the Duat, that Apophis isn't trying to swallow the sun. It has a ring of truth to it and you have to love an author that can pull you in so completely.

Overall, I really cannot say much more then this is definitely a new elite favourite of mine. It nails everything I love in a book and pulled me into its world of gods and magic. I loved it and I would highly recommend it. One hundred times better than
The Lightning Thief.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Review: In Too Deep

In Too Deep (In Too Deep #1) by Eliza Jane* 

Title: In Too Deep
Series: In Too Deep, #1
Author: Eliza Jane
Published: October 1st 2013
335 pages, kindle edition
Source: Received an ARR from the author
 Description (from Goodreads):

Gifted computer hacker Taylor is in over her head.

When she transfers to the prestigious Wilbrook Academy and begins working a case with scrumptious nineteen-year-old martial arts instructor, aka manwhore, Colt, hanging out with him becomes a necessary evil to get the job done. But resisting the bad-boy that is so off limits might be more than she can manage. He's one of those guys you just know isn't good for you –he can–and often does–have any girl he wants.

The deeper she gets involved in a troubling field assignment, the more she finds herself relying on Colt. If she can just figure out how to do the right thing and not fall for irritatingly hot Colt in the process, life can go back to normal. Baby steps.

My Thoughts:

In Too Deep wasn’t quite what expected, it was much, much better! I was expecting something a little more spy-ish and while it did remind me a little of Francine Pascal’s Kill Game, it was so much more!

Let me start at the beginning, this is the story of Taylor Beckett. Genius computer hacker who has just been accepted into the prestigious Wilbrook Academy for gifted students and the girl who has caught the eye of Colt Palmer.

Colt is the resident bad boy and martial arts instructor of Wilbrook Academy. A dark past has him doubting the very existence of love. He’s a manwhore who sleeps with dozens and dozens of girls and doesn’t even take the time to learn their name.

Sex was the only closeness I got, and I couldn’t give that up. And I couldn’t risk love when it had the probability of ending so badly.

But Taylor’s big blue eyes, sweet innocence and shocking immunity to Colt’s sexy smile and hot bod, leaves Colt curious… and falling for her, badly.

I couldn’t concentrate on other girls until I had Taylor. She was like a drug to me. I’d had one small taste and it was nowhere near enough.

Taylor knows that Colt is bad news from the long, long line of heartbroken girls that trail from Colt’s bedroom, and also from her own experiences, but he isn’t so easy to resist. She knows she’s falling for him too, but she knows as soon as she sleeps with him, he’ll forget her and move on. She needs him to give up his manwhore ways, but it isn’t that easy. She knows that’s she in too deep (Couldn’t help myself!) to just walk away though.

What I loved about
In Too Deep, and what made it so captivating, was the development and growth of not just Colt and Taylor’s relationship, but each of them as their own person.

This isn’t an insta-love romance. Colt and Taylor didn’t just suddenly change their ways, but during the book they begin to question why they act like that. Mainly Colt, he begins to wonder if his way is the right way. Yes, it stops the risk of pain associated with rejection and heartbreak, but is it a risk worth avoiding or is it worth it?

In Too Deep explores this very dilemma. Taylor and Colt explore their boundaries, testing what works for each other and learn valuable lessons about what it means to love someone. For Colt, is their more to relationships than sex? And for Taylor, is it possible for people to really change, and is it worth risking an already broken heart for the possibility for it to be fixed again?

And it isn’t something that is resolved. At the end of the book Colt and Taylor are quite sure how they feel and if it is going to work. But what I loved is that they are ready to try, and really, what more can you ask for.

Eliza Jane knows how to create the perfect characters with all the right ingredients to make for an enjoyable and engaging read. All of the secondary characters, excluding McAlistar, had just the right depth coupled with back stories and great personalities to give them a realistic vibe. I adored Logan, he was cute and a great friend for Taylor and MJ.

In Too Deep was brilliant, the lack of mysteriousness and espionage had me a tad disappointed. I was expecting something more complicated with a lot of cyber-hacking and covert operations. Alas, I was wrong.

The oil carrier was a little disappointing, it wasn’t intriguing enough and kind of over and done with before it even began. Plus, McAlistar was a bit of a pathetic “villain” and the twist that Colt is his so was not really that shocking, since I guessed at it early on. Taylor's reaction to it was also a little overly dramatic, but then again just when she thought Colt was beginning to trust her, she found out her had been keeping a huge secret, so I guess I do understand.

Anyway, I wasn’t disappointed for too long. The characters were just too mesmerising and I had to keep reading. I definitely recommend this to all contemporary romances fans, especially those who love their boys tall, dark and handsome. This just isn’t for fans looking for a spy thriller – you aren’t going to get that here!

*Note: An ARR was provided by Eliza Jane through the YA/NA Fanatics Group in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given or received in this exchange.

Review: The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins
Title: The Hunger Games
Series: The Hunger Games, #1
Author: Suzanne Collins
Published: Scholastic; 2009
454 pages, paperback
Source: Bought; own physical copy
 Description (from Goodreads):

Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she see it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature

My Thoughts:
(Second time reading)


5 brilliant stars

I read this back in grade five when it first came out. I enjoyed it. I mean it was good. Nothing too amazing, nothing too terrible.

I buddy read this with
Mei awhile ago and wow! I loved it. What was wrong with me last time, I don't know because I could barely put the book down this! Yes, obviously I already knew what would happen, but I was seriously enthralled, enraptured. I just need to read more and more. It was bloody brilliant.

Katniss Everdeen lives in District Twelve of Panem. A dystopian city where the Capitol controls the lives of its citizens. Each year the Hunger Games are held. A reality TV show where twenty-four boys and girls (one of each for all of the twelve districts) aged between 12 and 18 are selected to battle to the death. There can only be one winner.

Katniss volunteers to take her sister's place in the games and is thrust into a world where no one is who they seem, where everyone wants her dead and only the fittest and smartest will live.

But Katniss is a survivor. She isn't go down without a fight.

It takes a certain strong personality to get through something as utterly brutal the Hunger Games and be able to come out the same person.

Katniss is as tough as nail. She's kickass. Strong. Resilient. And not one to cower from fear. I loved her. She been though hell. Her father died in a mining accident. Her mother shut down with grief. She is forced to hunt illegally everyday with her friend, Gale. It's a struggle to survive. But she doesn't dare give up. She's a fighter.

Though Katniss can be a bit of a cow at times, I will say that straight out, she's focused on surviving not the feelings of people. And you know what, isn't that what would happen in real life!? Your not going to allow yourself to worry about feelings of love and whatnot while simultaneously trying to figure out how to survive the next hour without having to murder your fellow tributes in cold blood on live television.

I really cannot say how much I admire Katniss' strength of character. I would not last a minute her position.
Collins has done an amazing job constructing a wonderfully realistic and true heroine.

The rest of the charters make a perfect cast. There is every sort of personality and each manage to complement each other as well as Katniss.

Peeta. He's sweet. Kind. Caring. Utterly charming. Yet, I couldn't quite connect to him. We are constantly wondering about his true intentions, but also know that he's totally heads over heels for her.
I don't really know what to feel about him.

The plotline and the suspense is what keeps you gripped with this book. There isn't a page were something doesn't happen to keep you on your toes. Getting a little dull? Lets thrown some fireballs in. No? What about mutant dogs? Yes? Yeah, that ought to do it!

I couldn't shut the book for fear of missing out. What would happen next? Who is going to survive...?

I love that throughout
The Hunger Games we have parallel stories running. It isn't just a survival story or a dystopian book. There are subgenres of romance (slightly), political intrigue, mystery and so much more.

I cannot believe I didn't really enjoy it that much the first time round. This book took me on a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings. I loved it.

I am eager to reread
Catching Fire

Review: A Very Civil Wedding

A Very Civil Wedding by V.T. Davy
Title: A Very Civil Wedding
Series: None
Author: V.T. Davy
Published: Liberation Publishing; 2013
268 pages, kindle edition
Source: An eighty-paged ARC preview of A Very Civil Wedding was provided by V.T. Davy and Liberation Publishing in exchange for an honest review. (A complete paperback copy provided at a later date.)
 Description (from Goodreads):

 When Princess Alexandra, the eldest daughter of the Prince of Wales, wishes to marry her long-time partner, Lieutenant-Commander Grace Stephens, their wedding has the potential to cause a constitutional crisis. When the couple go further and request a blessing by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the British establishment must find a way to accommodate the wishes of the woman who will one day be the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

In this thoughtful and thought-provoking novel, V. T. Davy examines the relationship between the monarchy and the church; the arguments for and against same-sex marriage; how some of Britain’s oldest and most revered organisations have acted to give equality to homosexual men and women, and become stronger for it; and, what happens to institutions when they refuse to embrace the demands of an enlightened society. The novel’s surprising conclusion is that those most damaged by institutionalised prejudice are often the people you would least expect.

It is a book that will test the opinion of every reader wherever they stand on these issues.

My Thoughts:

 Charming, charismatic and thought-provoking A Very Civil Wedding was so much more than I thought.

It presents an interesting premise: what if one of the Royal family of England was gay? Would "their" children be legal heirs to the throne? How would it effect the citizenry? The crown's relationship with the Church of England?

Could it ever be possible?

This book will sure start you thinking. I loved it because of that very fact. I spent nights pondering and pondering because isn't it truly a realistic circumstance?

This book takes place in late 2014, after Princess Alexandra becomes engaged to Lieutenant-Commander Grace Stephens. The problem? They want their civil wedding to be blessed by the church.

Cue the controversy, because it isn't that simple.

What I loved about this book was the fact that I felt everything about it. I could feel the characters, I could feel the stress, the very fraught situation in the air. The electricity of it was amazing!

I love how
V.T. Davy was able to show, relay and ponder every angle of the situation from every point of view. We are shown the inside thoughts of every person involved in the process of making it possible.

You will have to read this book to discover its outcome, but I will say that I utterly love this book. The characters were real. Very real. The problem was real too. Mainly, I love this book because it made me think, deeply and whole-heartedly about what it means to love someone. Really love someone.

And I am excited to get my hands on a full copy of this book!

Review: Dreamland

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

Title: Dreamland
Series: None
Author: Sarah Dessen
Published: Speak; 2004
250 pages, paperback
Source: Borrowed from the library
 Description (from Goodreads):

Wake up, Caitlin

Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He's magnetic. He's compelling. He's dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else--her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

My Thoughts:
See you in Dreamland.

My first
Sarah Dessen novel had a very high bar to surpass since I have heard nothing but the highest of praises about her books. She is practically worshipped as the Queen, no Goddess, of Contemporary. She is loved and read by all so I was expecting something pretty damn amazing... and that is exactly what I got.

Dreamland is the story of Caitlin. The second-best, straight-B student who lives in her brilliant sisters' shadow until one day, Cassandra runs away. Perfect, studious, beautiful, over-achieving Cass. Their mother who has spent the past eighteen years controlling and shaping her daughter's life is devastated. Cassandra's absence leaves an empty void that now only Caitlin can fill.

It's so easy to get caught up in what people expect of you. Sometimes, you can just lose yourself.

Caitlin's life begins to spiral but she finds solace in Rogerson. A mysterious boy with a wild glint in his eye and a captivating aura. As she begins to spend more time with him she finds herself slipping into a dreamland where she is scared she will lose herself, if she isn't careful.

Wake up, Caitlin... but what he didn't under­stand was that this dreamland was preferable, walking through this life half-sleeping, everything at arm's length or farther away.

I loved that
Sarah Dessen made this story unfold in a way that felt so natural, it was almost as if the story was being written right as I read it. She has the most beautiful prose that flow with such fluidity that I managed to easily read it in a single standing.

I loved the characters. I loved that for once of main characters is flawed, she isn't one of those stupid special snowflakes that has to be the best at something, is flawlessly amazing or stunningly beautiful. Caitlin isn't anything like that all. Caitlin struggles to make it through each day, she makes some dumb choices, she has to pay for the consequences but I am glad she does. That way we get to take this gorgeous journey with her. This is one of those touching and moving books. The ones that makes you stop and think for a second, appreciate the moment, realise how lucky you are that you have it so good.

By the end of this book I had to take a deep breath. I was crying, I was upset but I felt so good about it all. This is a powerful book. I loved it. A lot. I just want to thank Mei for her recommendation. You were right. I enjoyed this a lot so thanks!

I was running from one problem or place to another, with no time left to study, or sleep, or just breathe. I felt pulled in all directions, fighting to keep all these obligations circling in the air above me. It was only a matter of time before something fell.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Review: Fire

Fire (Graceling Realm #2) by Kristin Cashore
Title: Fire
Series: Graceling Realm, #2
Author: Kristin Cashore
Published: Gollancz; 2011
384 pages, paperback
Source: Borrowed from the library
 Description (from Goodreads):

Her beauty is a weapon - and Fire is going to use it.

Fire's exceptional beauty gives her influence and power. People who are susceptible to it will do anything for her attention, and for her affection.

But beauty is only skin deep, and beneath it Fire has a human appreciation of right and wrong. Aware of her ability to influence others, and afraid of it, she lives in a corner of the world away from people - not only to protect them, but also to protect herself from their attention, their distrust, and even their hatred.

Yet Fire is not the only danger to the Dells. If she wants to protect her home, if she wants a chance to undo the wrongs of the past, she must face her fears, her abilities, and a royal court full of powerful people with reason to distrust her.

Fire is a powerful tale of intrigue, death-defying adventure, monsters and unexpected love.

My Thoughts:
 This review may contain some minor spoilers for Graceling .

Fantasy is a genre that I particularly enjoy but there is a certain beauty to high or epic fantasy that I find much more compelling. Whether its the realms with their kings and queens and political intrigue or the historical eras with the long horse-ridden journeys or even the magical qualities that the land or people are blessed with - powers and abilities and unusual qualities.
Kristin Cashore has mastered the rare skill of perfecting a incredible world coupled with beautiful characters in one of the best high fantasy I had read this year - topped only by the previous book in the series, Graceling.

Fire is a monster. Intoxicatingly and perfectly beautiful. Ordinary people are struck dumb on their first appearance, rendered speechless, incapable, and more often than not, unwillingly in love with her. Most people – mainly jealous women and embarrassed men – despise her for this unnatural beauty, including Fire herself. For coupled with her mind-reading and mind-control powers, Fire is a freak of nature and at war with herself with many moral dilemmas to dwell over in regards to the usage of these powers. In
Fire, we see her struggle with her “gifts” and debate their appropriate use – is using her powers for seemingly “good” reasons, okay? Or is it still wrong?

I read this with a bunch of my fellow Goodreads friends and most of them found
Fire to be tediously slow paced and a tad uneventful. Unfortunately, even though I quite enjoyed this book, I must agree with the latter.

What I loved most about the second instalment in the Graceling Realm series, was the characters. Katsa and Po in
Graceling were the most beautiful characters. I admired their strength, bravery, courage, and though I can see how some readers may be iffy towards Katsa’s attitude towards marriage and feminism, I manage to disregard that. Fire is not Katsa by any shape or form so if that is the only reason you plan on reading Fire I would not bother. Katsa was kickasss, strong and a fighter. Fire is more relatable, she’s real, strong in a different way but she cries, breaks down and complains about the unjustness of her life. This doesn’t make her unbearable though, in fact it made her more of a relatable, beautiful, real character and I loved her for it.

The rest of the characters all had an important part to contribute to the plot and were really just lovely and beautiful and I cannot seem to find the words to describe them. Archer. Brigan. Nash. Hanna. Roen. Clara. Garan. Brocker. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect!

What made this book so incredibly readable was the romantic subplot. I have to say this is actually the best developed romance I have ever read. Yes, ever. I am not exaggerating I swear. While it was a little bit predicable who was going to fall for whom (I leave out names for future readers though), it was planned out slowly. It unfolded from a cold sort of disinterest to a friendship where it bloomed beautifully into a little more into a little more until… I leave you to find out! But seriously, the development over the course of the book is done with such a gradual and natural grace that it is one of my – hand down! – favourite romances, ever.

Overall, while
Fire lacks an eventful and captivating plotline in general, this book will take you on an emotional rollercoaster so intense that you will never forget it. I know I won’t. It was beautiful. I can see the problems for my buddy reading friends but I must say I disagree.

Note: this book is a prequel to
Graceling. It is based roughly in the same realm and contains a few cross-over characters but is mostly a separate novel. It may be read as a standalone though I would recommend reading Graceling first and not just because I loved it but it may give some extra information that would be beneficial when reading Fire.


Catch Up

Unfortunately, I haven't been that active lately. I have been busy going back to school and actually just finished my first week yesterday. It was crazy! Now homework is taking over my schedule... and my reading has hit a bit of a slow run.
This year, so far, I have managed to read 27 books - a record for me! I am hoping to get a lot of books read this year but this increased number also means a lot  more reviewing for me, and now I am finding myself to be very much behind! I am working on that though so keep an eye open for the following reviews:
Airhead by Meg Cabot
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott
These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner
At the moment I am reading Masquerade by Melissa de la Cruz, the second instalment of the Blue Bloods series, and next on my list is Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling and August by Gabrielle Lord - all of which I am excited to start. Keep an eye out for my reviews which will be coming shortly.
I think I will be very busy over the next month so please keep an eye out for my future posts. I am hoping to get myself involved in some routine posts and maybe even book tours. I will let you know.

Happy reading!