Friday, 30 December 2011

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Steampunk, Romance
Publication Date: August 31st 2010
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 3 out of 5


In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever.
The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them....


I can say I am not a Cassandra Clare fan with conviction. I have given this the same rating as the first The Mortal Instruments book, but for different reasons. In City of Bones I didn't much like the story, but I enjoyed the characters. In Clockwork Angel it is the opposite. The story was decently interesting, like a mystery with so many pieces to put together, but the characters were horrible. That is only my opinion, since I know this book and its characters are wildly popular.

I found Tessa to be a decent heroine considering her situation and the historical setting. But I have trouble taking someone seriously when they are attracted to Will. Why anyone would like him is beyond me. He is clearly hiding something and is trying to push people away with his rudeness and arrogance. But that is all there is to him. Like Magnus observes at the end of the book, "He seemed to show nothing real to the world." I have observed no redeeming qualities in him thus far. I cant imagine what Tessa or Jem see in him. I dont recall him ever being kind to her, beyond showing occasional concern, and that was usually not in her presence.

Having to put up with reading her thoughts about him is very frustrating. I have never disliked a male lead before. There are a few rare occasions where I have liked the supporting male character enough to be noteworthy, and on even rarer occasions I have liked him enough to rival the male lead, but never before to the extent of surpassing the male lead. Usually, all the thoughts they (leading couples) have about each other is what I feed on. It propels me through books as fast as I can possible read, wanting more. But in this, any thoughts of Will made me uncomfortable and I almost dreaded it. I cannot stress enough how unappealing I find him, or how baffled I am by Tessa's affections. Some have told me, "Dont judge until you read the next book!" But Tessa has not read the next book! It makes no sense to be attracted to someone who treats you like you're worthless, whatever their reasons or true feelings may be. But enough ranting about Will. Onto the next fellow.

Jem is kind and considerate, and everything an English gentleman should be. But I don't think that's what Tessa wants. She could not have missed his affections, however subtle, but I think he would have to be more passionate to attract her attention. He is far too subdued for my liking, and hopefully he will show more emotion in the next book, which I may or may not read. I will probably wait until the whole series is released before continuing. That is what I decided to do with TMI. Reading the whole thing slowly is far too tedious. I am even considering dropping the rating for this to 2/5.

“It's all right to love someone who doesn't love you back, as long as they're worth you loving them. As long as they deserve it.”

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Micro by Michael Crichton & Richard Preston

Genres: Sci-fi, Adventure, Suspense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Three men are found dead in the locked second-floor office of a Honolulu building, with no sign of struggle except for the ultra-fine, razor-sharp cuts covering their bodies. The only clue left behind is a tiny bladed robot, nearly invisible to the human eye.

In the lush forests of Oahu, groundbreaking technology has ushered in a revolutionary era of biological prospecting. Trillions of microorganisms, tens of thousands of bacteria species, are being discovered; they are feeding a search for priceless drugs and applications on a scale beyond anything previously imagined.

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, seven graduate students at the forefront of their fields are recruited by a pioneering microbiology start-up. Nanigen MicroTechnologies dispatches the group to a mysterious lab in Hawaii, where they are promised access to tools that will open a whole new scientific frontier.

But once in the Oahu rain forest, the scientists are thrust into a hostile wilderness that reveals profound and surprising dangers at every turn. Armed only with their knowledge of the natural world, they find themselves prey to a technology of radical and unbridled power. To survive, they must harness the inherent forces of nature itself.

An instant classic, Micro pits nature against technology in vintage Crichton fashion. Completed by visionary science writer Richard Preston, this boundary-pushing thriller melds scientific fact with pulse-pounding fiction to create yet another masterpiece of sophisticated, cutting-edge entertainment.


So, this was like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, with a bit of his Jurassic Park and Timeline mixed in. I had to rate it on the same scale that I rated all his previous books in order to be unbiased. My tastes in books have changed so much since my startout days as a Michael Crichton fan, that it wouldn't be fair otherwise. This compares with his other books that I rated 4/5, even if it was a decade ago, and even though it doesn't really compare with the books that I have rated 4/5 more recently.

This was a typical MC novel with lots of science, danger, and adventure, but there were a few things that bugged me. The adventures MC sends his characters on are always dangerous and deadly, and a lot, if not most, of the characters end up dead. Even those who have only seen one of his movie adaptations knows this. But I really did not like the way it was handled in Micro. I don't remember him ever doing something like this before. We never really get attached to any doomed characters before. It was new and I did not appreciate it. When they make the inevitable movie adaptation, I hope they focus on Rick as the main character from the beginning.

Also, the ending was weird. I liked Karen. Her, Rick, and Peter were the strongest characters from early on, but then Karen started to get weird at the end and her state of mind did not seem too good. I don't know why MC insisted on making her future ambiguous. I suppose asking for her and Rick to have a normal happy ending would have been too much to ask for. Although, I dont really know how much of a hand Richard Preston had in all this.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire (Beautiful #1)

Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance 
Smut-O-Meter: 5 out of 10
My Rating: 2 out of 5



Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.


This book was extremely exhausting. Right off the bat, Travis is absolutely not my type. I dont like bad boys. I'd take Luke over Han every day of the week. On top of that, I hate smokers (not personally, but the idea, obviously), tattoos, violence, and vulgarity. I am still fond of the occasional bad boy if they are a good character, or have qualities that make them worth it. Travis simply is not. In the beginning he was an absolute pig. I dont think I would ever forget the night Abby was forced to listen to the three on the couch if I were her. That would have forever affected my view of him. He was absolutely revolting. But once he started to fall for her he started to get a little scary and really really pathetic. His insecurity was extremely unattractive and just so very pathetic. Whenever he thought he was going to lose her, you totally flew off the handle, and even literally begged her on his knees not to leave. I really dont see how anyone could be attracted to someone like that. I am completely baffled. How can someone with such a tough exterior be so weak and clueless?

I can agree with the 'Disaster' part of the title. They were a disaster. But if they really loved each other so much, they should have both worked harder. I dont believe 'all you need is love.' It takes a lot of work. They each got mad when they shouldnt have, for something the other did that they shouldnt have. Neither of them seemed to put enough thought into their actions or their emotions, had horrible communication skills and don't know the meaning of compromise. Like WTF?! Abby's decision at Thanksgiving?! Retarded! Just communicate! I know characters are allowed to make mistakes. It makes them more human and relatable. And going through hard times in a relationship is realistic. But when the mistakes and stupidity is constant, I just cannot bring myself to care about the characters anymore.

The ending was sort of satisfying. After all the on again-off again, it was probably the only reassuring ending we could get, without being worried about them continuing the trend. They seemed to be pretty determined and I hope that they have learned their lesson and can make it work. But I hated how Travis was still insecure. He was still not entirely convinced that Abby would stay with him, and that is scary. What would he be willing to do to keep her when nothing is enough to convince him he doesnt have to hold on for dear life?

What gave it the 2 stars for me, is how much they cared for each other. Before they were together, or during their off periods, even when they were in the middle of a fight, they were always there for each other. When Abby went to his fight when he asked her to. When Travis dragged her out of the Valentine's Day party to stop her from embarrassing herself. That was the sweetest part. Even when they were both half out of their minds with love, anger, and frustration, if they were needed they would drop everything, because the basis of their relationship was friendship. I know from experience the effect that has. Me and my husband were best friends for a year and a half before dating.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Touch by Jus Accardo (Denazen #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance 
Publication Date: October 9th 2011
POV: Female - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


When a strange boy tumbles down a river embankment and lands at her feet, seventeen-year-old adrenaline junkie Deznee Cross snatches the opportunity to piss off her father by bringing the mysterious hottie with ice blue eyes home.

Except there’s something off with Kale. He wears her shoes in the shower, is overly fascinated with things like DVDs and vases, and acts like she’ll turn to dust if he touches her. It’s not until Dez’s father shows up, wielding a gun and knowing more about Kale than he should, that Dez realizes there’s more to this boy—and her father’s “law firm”—than she realized.

Kale has been a prisoner of Denazen Corporation—an organization devoted to collecting “special” kids known as Sixes and using them as weapons—his entire life. And, oh yeah, his touch? It kills. The two team up with a group of rogue Sixes hellbent on taking down Denazen before they’re caught and her father discovers the biggest secret of all. A secret Dez has spent her life keeping safe.

A secret Kale will kill to protect.


This was very action packed and suspenseful. More than I was expecting. From the very beginning I liked Kale. He was awkward in a funny and endearing way. I loved seeing Dez teach him all the new things about the world that he didnt know. But unfortunately Kale was also my biggest issue with this book. It is hard to believe that someone raised by Denazen could have turned out as nice and sweet as Kale. Or that someone as nice and sweet as Kale could ever have done the things Denazen made him do. I cannot find a way to reconcile the two sides of him. But he is adorable, regardless.

The story reminded me a lot of the TV show Heroes. At first I thought of Shatter Me because Kale's gift sounded the same, but its a little different. In Shatter Me, Juliette's gift was more like Rogue from X-Men. The longer she touched someone the more it hurt, the more likely they were gonna die, and the more power she got from them. But in Touch, Kale's touch is instantaneously deadly. Not only deadly, but they pretty much evaporate, or disintegrate, or something gross like that. Think Buffy. And Kale get's nothing from them when he does it.

This reminded me of Heroes because Dez's dad turns out to be running some company that has people with powers locked away in glass rooms and experimented on, and the ones that cooperate are sent on missions. Sounds so much like Claire's dad and 'The Company'! Although, in Heroes Claire's dad turned good because he loved her. But Dez's dad is totally evil, through and through, and he doesnt give a damn about Dez. There were lots of people with new and interesting powers in this, and a few of the old favourites.

But there was a little something missing. I think it didnt delve enough into the emotions of the characters, really make them real, besides the extensive information given on Dez and Kale's feelings for each other. But it was exciting and cute. I would definitely recommend this, and I will definitely be reading Toxic.

“As long as I know this" - he lifted our joined hands - "is mine to hold, I'll wait for you forever.”

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Covenant #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy/Mythology, Romance 
Publication Date: September 20th 2011
POV: Female - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi pure bloods have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals--well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.


Wow, this book was... intense. What stands out most to me, besides the incredibly interesting world it created, was the fact that the love was forbidden. Not just difficult or risky, but truly forbidden. Being together could be as dangerous as any of the other obstacles Alex was forced to face throughout the book.

There were so many great characters in this book. But mainly Alex. Gosh, I have never seen a YA heroine like her before! With the courage and determination of Tris and the mouth and spunk of Kelsey. She was pretty amazing. And of course Aiden was awesome too. I love the part where Alex is working out and he is reading a huge book, and she keeps trying to distract him with jokes and poking fun at him, but he just keeps reading but cant always hide his smile. So cute. And then there was the scene. The scene. Within the first few chapters Alex's narration already mentioned three times that she was a virgin. I thought they were making a big deal out of it because she was not gonna be by the end of the book. But damn Leon! Why did you have to knock on the door just then?! Oh well, its still good that something happened at least. Who knows how long they would have pretended nothing was going on if it hadnt.

And then there is Seth. *sigh* This is the second book in a row where I am strangely drawn to the secondary guy. That has never happened before! I am normally a main guy only kinda of girl. Not that Seth was really presented as a love interest, but after reading the plot summary for Pure, "Alex faces a choice between love that is fated... and love that is forbidden." I think it is referring to Seth. I dont know if I will feel the same way after I get to know him better in the next book, but as it stands now, I actually wouldnt mind if Alex ditched Aiden for Seth. Even though I prefer Aiden, Seth would just make things so much easier for her. And they havent reached that Romeo and Juliet/Jace and Clary point in their relationship yet. I think they could face the truth and move on if they tried. But Alex is so damn stubborn I cant see her even trying. And of course that wouldnt make for as good YA storytelling. So, I look forward to more Seth in the next book.

And finally, the world of Half-Blood. At first I was very confused by all the different breeds and titles. But eventually I caught on and its all pretty awesome. I love mythology even though I dont know a lot about it. I always enjoy it when mythology is incorporated into a story, even a little bit. But in this its a lot. Even though it is set in North Carolina, it felt like another world. I really need to read some Rick Riordan already! And you should really read Daimon first. I feels like the first few chapters were just cut off. Its a little awkward without reading Daimon.

“Hey,” I reached out and tapped the hand that rested next to my left leg. “you are--” 
The hand that I tapped reached up and clasped mine. I froze as he threaded his finders through mine. “I’m what?” 
Beautiful. Kind. Patient. Perfect. I said none of those things.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Paranormal, Romance 
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

This was fascinating. I loved the story, and the characters, and the writing, and the message. I loved how the writing mirrored Juliette's state of mind and her image of herself. As her life became more stable and purposeful, so did she and the writing. It was a unique insight into the MC's mind which we dont usually gain through traditional narration. And I would not be surprised if Juliette was actually OCD or bipolar. I dont know much about those two conditions, but Juliette does seem to struggle with something besides her surroundings.

"Hope is hugging me, holding me in its arms, wiping away my tears and telling me that today and tomorrow and two days from now I will be just fine and I'm so delirious I actually dare to believe it." 

Juliette is a remarkable person. Being mistreated, abandoned, and imprisoned at such a young age, I am surprised she didnt turn out more like Warner, although they do have far more in common than she seems willing to admit. They have both been written off by their parents (in Warner's case just his father), are feared for who or what they are, they both have remarkable power of some kind, and they are both prisoners in their own lives. It seems clear to me that they are also both looking for love and acceptance. 

"All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart." 

I enjoyed Adam's character in the beginning. I found it really interesting how he used to know Juliette when they were children, and that he joined the military to find her. Its an interesting backstory. And he was a sweetheart. But as time went by and we saw more of him and met other, more interesting characters, I realized that he was just a Gary Stu. There wasnt really anything special about him. 

"In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together." 

The story seemed to be a lot about identity. About learning who you are, not letting other ppl tell you who you should be, and also not labeling others, or judging them by the face they show the world. I suspect as the series progresses, we will also see a lot of growth, from Juliette as well as other characters, as their true identities continue to be revealed to us, as well as to themselves.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Tiger's Quest by Colleen Houck (The Tiger Saga #2)

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy/Mythology, Adventure, Romance 
My Rating: 5 out of 5


Back in Oregon, Kelsey tries to pick up the pieces of her life and push aside her feelings for Ren. Kelsey Hayes's eighteenth summer was crazy. The kind of crazy nobody would ever believe. 

Aside From battling immortal sea monkeys and trekking the jungles of India, she fell in love with Ren, a 300-year-old prince.

When danger suddenly forces Kelsey on another Indian quest, with Ren's bad-boy brother, Kishan,the unlikely duo begins to question their true destiny. Ren's life hangs in the balance--so does the truth within Kelsey's heart.

Tiger's Quest, the thrilling second volume in the Tiger's Curse series, brings the trio one step closer to breaking the ancient prophecy that binds them.

This was very similar to the first book, Tiger's Curse. It starts out in Oregon, leads to an adventure in India, and ends on a sad note. At first I wanted to shake and smack Kelsey because I didnt understand why she left Ren, but luckily that didnt last too long, and they were together again and it was super cute, just like when they were briefly together in the first book. But then they got separated and she had to go on her second quest with Kishan instead, the next step in breaking the curse. 

Kishan was a great companion, even if a little too "hands on" at times. I was very impressed with how Kelsey resisted him and remained faithful to Ren. I was afraid they were gonna go all out with the love triangle, but it wasnt too bad. Even when Kelsey did hesitate or sway a bit, it was done believably and never too much. If she had given in to Kishan I would have held it against her. I missed Ren's sweetness, but Kishan is funnier. And then, after they completed the mission, they got Ren back and it again ended on a sad note. 

It wasnt just a little bit sad. It was heart wrenching. The adventure, and characters, and romance are enough to make up for the sad endings, but why does Colleen Houck like torturing us like this?! But judging by this book and the previous, things will be resolved in the next one. Although, only to leave us with another sad ending. The last chapter was so bad (when Ren and Kishan were arguing in the dojo)! I cried and I cried.
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