Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Hope's Daughter by Melanie Cusick-Jones (The Ambrosia Sequence #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Romance
Publication Date: December 8th 2011
POV: Female - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 5 out of 5


Life should be simple for Cassie.

For the small population of Earth survivors who live on the Space Station Hope everything they do is planned and scheduled, down to the cyclical food menus, their roles in the station, even how many children they have.

Despite rigid controls directing her life, Cassie feels more out of sync than ever and worries she won’t find a place for herself within the station community. Perhaps that’s because she’s hearing things inside her head that can’t possibly be real. Or maybe it’s the regular elopements of her peers, heading off to a romantic future in the Married Quarter of the space station, whilst she’s never even been attracted to a boy – no matter how hard her best friend Ami pushes them at her. Then there are the odd questions her work placement partner Balik keeps raising. His questions are just as troubling for her as his distracting smiles and eyes that seem to see inside her.

As Cassie draws closer to Balik she finds that everything else in her life begins to shift. He tells her things that call into question the system they live within. She can't believe he is right, but at the same time she finds it hard to deny the sincerity of his ideas. Could there be a connection between Cassie’s problems and Balik’s questions? The truth will drag them both to a terrifying and deadly conclusion beyond anything they could have imagined.


This book was an extremely pleasant surprise. It was wonderful! It started out calm and sweet, with beautiful prose and a pleasure tone. In that respect it reminded me of Matched (which I loved, by the way). But it didn't take me long, by the time I started the second chapter, to realize that this was not Matched. This was its own unique story. I started to notice small things that didn't seem right. Like Cassie's strangely distant but extremely interested parents who questioned her every action. The tone quickly changed to something creepy and uneasy. There was something seriously wrong with Cassie's world.

Hope's Daughter is set in the distant future, after Earth was destroyed by global warming, and the few surviving humans live on a space station named Hope. The population is separated for living quarters according to family situation. Family Quarter for families with children, Married Quarter for those without children, and Retired Quarter for those whose children are married. As Cassie approaches the age where marriage is a possibility, she realizes others around her are beginning to disappear. They have "eloped" to the Married Quarter without a word or a good-bye. She knows this is the way it has always been, but now that it is happening to her friends she realizes how wrong it is. Then she meets Balik. After the barcode on her and Balik's wrists turn from black to red, they have no idea what caused it, but they know what it means. They're next.

For a good three quarters of this book my mind was racing, trying to make sense of the strange series of events. A constant mystery and sense of impending danger. I could not put it down! And Balik was great. At first I just saw that he was withdrawn and quiet, but thoughtful and sweet. A nice combo, but its been done before. But I eventually realized that I had misjudged him. I was really impressed with him as he opened up to Cassie, and I realized that the version of him I saw at first, was just the version he showed the public to hide the fact that he was dissatisfied with his world. Balik was willing to ask Cassie challenging questions, forcing her to look at the world differently. He is strong and confident, and physically capable, when no one else in their world is. These qualities are even more impressive when you consider their upbringing on the station. Balik was pretty much a godsend, just what Cassie needed to get her through the hard times ahead, to make her the person she needed to be, and just what I needed too.

And the ending did not disappoint. I knew it would be a make or break ending, after all the questions that were raised. But thankfully all was explained in an interesting, if not entirely shocking, way. The immediate threat was removed and I was pleased with the ending, but it left just enough hanging to make me want to come back for more. I am very much looking forward to The Rainbow Maker's Tale (the events of Hope's Daughter from Balik's POV) and the sequel, Outlanders.

“I will not let anything hurt you,” Balik promised. 
“I will not let anything come between us,” I replied with my own whispered oath. 
“You and me,” Balik smiled a little. 
“Always,” I agreed as I reached up to draw his face to mine and pressed my lips onto his.”

Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams (Shadow Reader #1)

Genres: New Adult, Fantasy/Paranormal, Adventure, Romance
Smut-O-Meter: 2 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


There can only be one allegiance.
It’s her time to choose.

Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies.

A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden.

But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.


Wow, I really didn't expect to like this so much! My confidence in my book choices was wavering lately, after reading a few disappointing books in a row. But this was awesome.

I was a little put off at first when I realized the story starts out with McKenzie already having worked for the Fae king for 10 years. And already being in love with Kyol for the past 10 years. And even though they are not together due to Fae laws, he is in love with her too. I found that very disappointing. Most of the appeal in paranormal romance, is seeing the couple meet and fall in love. I was a little worried where this was going to lead. But then, right in the first chapter, McKenzie is abducted by a Fae rebel leader, Aren. He is cocky and attractive and McKenzie cant help but notice. And then suddenly I see where things are headed. 

The first half of the book McKenzie is with the rebels and they are trying to convince McKenzie that their cause is just. That the Fae king and Kyol have been hiding things from her. McKenzie's thoughts and memories of Kyol give us a glimpse of the person she sees him as, and I didn't know who to believe. Our only real glimpse of Kyol was in the first chapter before she was abducted, so I couldn't help but sympathize with Aren. But as time goes by McKenzie does not waver in her devotion to Kyol, and even Aren is impressed. I was beginning to doubt as well. How could Kyol hide such things from her for so long?

About half way through, she is reunited with Kyol and I now know to pay close attention, to analyse his actions. But I couldn't find anything to hold against him, and neither does McKenzie. But she still cant stop thinking about Aren. She berates herself. Telling herself that she does not want to become one of those girls. A girl who cant decided between two men. Because if you cant choose one, you don't love either enough. I was sooo proud of her for that. Because I hate those girls too. After much tension and confusion and nail biting, all is revealed, and in the end McKenzie made her choice clear. And I think she made the right one. Now hopefully this love triangle can join the ranks of my favourite healthy love triangles, where the losing man bows out gracefully, but continues to protect the woman he loves with his life. Like Puck.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Blood Rights by Kristen Painter (House of Comarré #1)

Genres: Adult, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Romance
Smut-O-Meter: 3 out of 10
My Rating: 2 out of 5


Rebellion has a price.

The lacy gold mapped her entire body. A finely wrought filigree of stars, vines, flowers, butterflies, ancient symbols and words ran from her feet, up her legs, over her narrow waist, spanned her chest and finished down her arms to the tips of her fingers.

Born into a life of secrets and service, Chrysabelle's body bears the telltale marks of a comarré—a special race of humans bred to feed vampire nobility. When her patron is murdered, she becomes the prime suspect, which sends her running into the mortal world...and into the arms of Malkolm, an outcast vampire cursed to kill every being from whom he drinks.

Now, Chrysabelle and Malkolm must work together to stop a plot to merge the mortal and supernatural worlds. If they fail, a chaos unlike anything anyone has ever seen will threaten to reign.


I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I love the world and society of vampires and comarré in this. It was really interesting and original. But on the other hand, I hated Chrysabelle's character so much I almost stopped reading about half way through, and I sort of wish I had.

She treated Malkolm horribly from the very beginning, without reason, and wouldn't stop. Every time she had a new revelation about her situation or about Mal, I thought she was going to realize her mistake and try a different approach. Then she would open her mouth and I would lose a little more patience. She was rude and whiny and immature. And she is supposed to be 115 years old! A little more maturity would be expected. Some times these heroines need the reality of their situation to knock some sense into them, so I gave Chrysabelle some time. But it took over half the book before I was able to tolerate her character (and only tolerate, mind you, not like), and that was thanks to Mal.

Things between them got interesting eventually, especially after he had her blood rights. But I felt like any attraction between them wasn't real, it was just the hunger. Maybe in later books their relationship becomes more convincing, but I don't think I am going to bother to find out.

Another reason I didn't enjoy this is the villain, Tatiana. I hate her so much, and not just in the usual way that you hate a villain. She was just so horrible and loathsome, with her blind stupidity and hunger for power. She reminds me a lot of Cersei from A Game of Thrones. That is the furthest thing from a compliment I can give anyone. Also, there was a twist at the end and I totally saw it coming. And I am really bad with twists. I never see them coming. The world alone and Mal's character aren't enough to make me continue this series.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross (Steampunk Chronicles #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Paranormal,
Steampunk, Romance
Publication Date: May 24th 2011
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 3 out of 5


In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her.

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch.

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets, against the wishes of his band of misfits. And Finley thinks she might finally be a part of something, finally fit in—until a criminal mastermind known as the Machinist threatens to tear the group apart...


This book was all over the place and seemed like it wanted to be every genre at once. It was a bit overwhelming and confusing at times. It was set in the late 1800s and it was steampunk. And not just a little steampunk like TID, but very steampunk and also alternate history. Pretty much everyone in London drove steam powered vehicles and had automatons for servants. And the clothing style was far different. Finley and Emily's outfits were described numerous times, and they mentioned wearing bloomers, stockings, and corsets, like real Victorians, but the dresses were knee length and they wore their corsets on top of their clothes. So Finley would not have been wearing a dress like on the cover of the book, but something like this.

It was also paranormal, seeing as all the main characters had special powers, as if they were Teen LXG or something. And Griff's power sounded partly like magic and partly like he was using The Force. Then there was talk of the work Griff's parents accomplished before the setting of the book, where they journeyed to the center of the earth and discovered the cradle of life, which is part Jules Verne and part mythology. So yeah, whoa! So much going on.

I wasnt always able to understand what was happening. The story was somewhat confusing, especially when related to Finley, Griff, and Emily's powers. But it was still interesting, with an evil genius villain with big plans, and lots of action and butt kicking from Finley. Even if the steampunk aspects took over too much at times, I really enjoyed it. A lot of interesting ideas can come from steampunk.

Although I think all the characters got at least one chapter in their POV, most were Finley, Griff, or Sam. Finley was easily my favourite and the most well developed character. I liked her from the very first chapter. She was the only character that I really got attached to. I like the idea of all the other characters, they had interesting traits (except for maybe Sam, he is kind of annoying), but none but Finley seemed to accomplish the depth the author was striving for. I like Griff, he was kind and sweet and even a little funny, and better than Jack (a bit of a love triangle there), but far from swoon worthy IMO. I hope he gets more attention in the next book and we get to see something happen between him and Finley.

“As frightening as we may think her, I believe she finds herself even more so.”

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Crossed by Ally Condie (Matched #2)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Adventure,
Publication Date: November 11th 2011
POV: Alternating - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 3 out of 5


In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.


I didnt like this quite as much as the first one, but I still really liked it. Ally Condie's writing style is beautiful. But I think it took too long to get Ky and Cassia back together. Some of the time spent in the carving could have been taken out and they could have found each other sooner. I think that would have been better. I liked the new characters Eli and Vick, but not Indie. Too bad she is the only one of the three who is still with them in the end. Something about her really bugs me. She seems selfish.

But what I really didnt like was the ending. At the end of Matched they were separated, which seemed inevitable, and I knew it would lead to much more of the story. I knew they would fight for each and find each other again and it would make the story better. But then, after everything they went through, especially Cassia, they get separated again. But I dont see the separation as really having that purpose anymore. Now its just pissing me off. Especially since the cause of this whole chain of events was that Ky and Cassia didnt want to let the Society tell them who they could be with. So they join the Rising, who does the same thing! Why would they want to join a movement that won't let them be together? Especially Ky, since he didnt want to join in the first place. He only did it to be with Cassia, which he doesnt get to do. I would have been super pissed if I were him. He seems suspicious, which is good. But he should be raging.

I also wish we could have found out who Cassia was going to meet in the end. Ky or Xander. I want it to be Ky but it is probably Xander. I have a feeling that the last book is going to take the love triangle into full swing. To give Cassia the chance to fully explore both options before choosing Ky. :P Cant wait for Reached. It better have a happy ending!

“Love has different shades. Like the way I loved Cassia when I thought she'd never love me. The way I loved her on the Hill. The way I love her now that she came into the canyon for me. It's different. Deeper. I thought I loved her and wanted her before, but as we walk through the canyon together I realize this could be more than a new shade. A whole new color.”

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Romance 
Publication Date: November 23rd 2011
POV: Female - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring.... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.


This wasnt really what I expected at all. There wasnt much for sci-fi elements besides the alien characters. No alien technology, or space, or anything like that. It reads like most YA PNR, which is good, cuz thats what I love. But the story was still unique enough. I have never read a sci-fi romance before, excluding dystopians. I began reading as a sci-fi fan and over time became a fan of YA romance, so it is nice to find a combination of the two.

The characters were great in all the right ways. Katy was a great heroine. Brave when she needs to be but still feminine enough to relate to. And I love how she was a fan of books and had a blog! Haha, sooo many readers are gonna relate to that. She was really interesting and I can see why Dee and Daemon loved having her around. Dee was great too. As were Lesa and Carissa. An amusing group of friends.

I dont usually like bad boys, or guys with attitude, but Daemon made up for it. It was quite clear that there was much more to him. Daemon gave us a lot of signs of who he really was inside, and that he was only being rude to Katy to protect his family, and eventually, her as well. He had a surprising amount of moments of weakness, when he was with Kat, when he was truly sweet. Like when he told her the story of Snowbird. And after reading the two Daemon's POV segments from the end of the book, as well as the two Jennifer Armentrout posted on her blog, we can understand him even better. And of course the scene where he healed her near the end. He is truly good at heart.

But I was a little disappointed with the ending. Not because they didnt get together. If Daemon had decided to let her go for her own good, it would have been romantic and I would have accepted it. But he decided to go for it, and he did it all wrong. We know from his POVs that he does not think with all the snarky remarks he talks with. He should have been able to explain himself better, unless he did it intentionally. But it just felt like there was no culmination of their relationship, no progress. They accomplished nothing after everything they went through. They still could not come to an understanding.

So I cannot wait for the next book, to hopefully see Daemon succeed in convincing Kat that he wants to be with her.

“I've always found that the most beautiful people, truly beautiful inside and out, are the ones who are quietly unaware of their effect."
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