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.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Novella
Smut-O-Meter: 8 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Makenna James thinks her day can't get any worse, until she finds herself stuck in a pitch-black elevator with a complete stranger. Distracted by a phone call and juggling too much stuff, the pin-striped accountant caught only a glimpse of a dragon tattoo on his hand before the lights went out.

Caden Grayson is amused when a redhead literally falls at his feet. His amusement turns to panic when the power fails. Despite his piercings, tats, and vicious scar, he's terrified of the dark and confined spaces. Now, he's trapped in his own worst nightmare.

To fight fear, they must both reach out and open up. With no preconceived notions based on looks to hold them back, they discover just how much they have in common. In the warming darkness, attraction grows and sparks fly, but will they feel the same when the lights come back on?

This was my very first erotic read. But the premise sounded very interesting, and I was really curious to see what kind of relationship two people could build from one night together in an elevator. Of course we had the advantage of hearing the thoughts of both ppl, so it was easier for us to believe the relationship that was developing. We knew they were both being honest. But they didnt know. Its hard to imagine two ppl who are so trusting. But I guess that is inevitable in this premise and perhaps I am nitpicking a bit.

I was still very impressed with the result. I was able to accept what was happening, and enjoy it. Logically I question whether someone could fall in love after a few hours talking in an elevator, but Laura Kaye convinces me. MaKenna and Caden were so perfect for each other, and needed each other so much that fate brought them together. The book never claimed it was fate, but I am, because it was just too perfect of a coincidence. Their bond grew at a pace that was believable and beautiful, and led to an amazing climax (pun totally intended).

I usually dont read erotica, and those scenes are usually not important enough for it to matter to the story. But in this it was the climax of the story and it was really important to MaKenna and Caden. It was everything that their talking and the whole of the book had been leading up to. It revealed so much more about them through all their thoughts, and a bit of conversation. Most importantly it revealed what they really wanted from each other, and it wasnt just sex.

“I love...that elevator,” she said. 
With a sleepy smile and a full heart, he turned his head and kissed into her soft hair. “Aw, Red. I love that elevator, too.”

Monday 7 November 2011

Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck (The Tiger Saga #1)

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


Passion. Fate. Loyalty.

Would you risk it all to change your destiny?

The last thing Kelsey Hayes thought she’d be doing this summer was trying to break a 300-year-old Indian curse. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren. Halfway around the world. But that’s exactly what happened. Face-to-face with dark forces, spellbinding magic, and mystical worlds where nothing is what it seems, Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy that could break the curse forever.

Tiger’s Curse is the exciting first volume in an epic fantasy-romance that will leave you breathless and yearning for more.

Kelsey is an 18 year old girl from Oregon, who, while working at a circus for a summer job, befriends a tiger named Ren. When Ren is bought by a rich man in Indian, Kelsey is asked to accompany them to help transport Ren, due to her close relationship and easy way with him. Once she arrives in India they reveal to her that Ren is actually an Indian Prince who was cursed to live as a tiger for the past 400 years, and that Kelsey is the one that can save him. She then embarks on a great Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider style adventure to break the curse. She will have to complete several tasks and by the end of the book she has completed the first task, so I assume the process will take up the entire series.

This was a really great adventure like I was not expecting. It was a lot of fun. It took me awhile before I started to like Kelsey, although it took no time at all for me to like Ren. Like wow! What a leading man! He was so sweet, and for a while it was great. But then Kelsey started acting like a moron. She is not the first heroine to make a similar decision, thinking the hero needs to consider his options before he can decide what he really wants. But its still frustrating that she cant trust he is smart enough to know what he wants. At least there are several more books for them to sort things out, it still has me somewhat worried for the series. I dont want it to be one of those series that continuously goes out of its way to put barriers between a couple.

I totally love how the setting is so unique for YA and I love India, and Ren is so totally gorgeous, and its such a magical adventure. I cant wait to read the next book and I am very excited that this is going to be made into a movie!

“We looked at each other for a minute, not saying anything, but I could feel the air between us shift. It became thick, sultry, and tangible—like when the air changes right before a storm. I could feel its power envelop me as it brushed across my skin. Even though I couldn’t see it, I knew a storm was coming.”

Friday 4 November 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth (Divergent #1)

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


In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


Oh my gosh! This was so good! When I finished this I let out a sound that sort of sounded like a dying cat, and my husband thought I was choking. Haha, I was just so excited I couldn't hold it in and I half squeed, half had a fit. Its the best book I have read in a long time, and definitely the best of all recent dystopians I have read.

I'm not a big The Hunger Games fan so this beat it easily. My previous favourite of recent dystopians was Matched. Its of a very different sort from this so I still love it and hold it very highly. But Matched is primarily a romance, while Divergent is a great dystopian on its own, while still having a great romance. Its world was unique and interesting, and well thought out and organized.

There was so much action, excitement and danger you don't even have a chance to breath. And all the characters were realistic and fully developed. And of course Tris and Four were awesome, as separate characters as well as a couple. A lot of the time YA novels have a love interest who has no purpose other than being a love interest. Divergent does not suffer from that. Really, I cant think of a single bad thing to say about this book. I can't wait to see the movie!

"Fear doesn't shut you down; it wakes you up. I've seen it. It's fascinating. Sometimes I just want to see it again. Want to see you awake.”

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy/Fairy Tale, Romance 
My Rating: 3 out of 5


Come and mend your broken hearts here. In this retelling of the classic tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," the eldest princess must fight to save her family--and her heart--from an ancient dark magic within the palace walls.

Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her--beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing--it's taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

This felt so much like a fairy tale for many reasons. Most of all, because of the way it left the reader so distant from the characters. You know the way that old books and movies didnt really have as much character development as modern stories? Disney's Sleeping Beauty, and Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz come to mind. It felt like that. I wasnt really as drawn into the story as I should have been. It was a great story though. I dont know if the distance was intentional (to make it feel like a genuine fairy tale) or poor execution.

It also felt very much like a fairy tale because of the ending. Everyone got their happily ever after. All the couples were adorable but so obvious. I knew who all the couples were going to be from the first time they interacted with each other. It practically said *sparks* *sparks*. And I must say, Teddie was adorable. I dont know why everyone thought him annoying and unfunny besides Bramble (although I dont know why she threw the pie at him). I thought he was hilarious and awesomesauce. But it was all rather abstract. Cute, like a Disney movie, but not deep and moving like a lot of great YA romance can be.

I really didnt understand their government, or society, or whatever I should call it. The strangest thing about it is that the King is chosen to be whoever marries the previous King's daughter. Not as Prince Consort, but as King. What is the point of having a Royal family when it doesnt stay in the family? Not that I disapprove, its just strange. Also, the King was sometimes called General, which I dont get. And why were they so poor?! This I cannot figure out. They mention it on many occasions. They come straight out and say they are poor once or twice. But they continuously point out their cheap boots and mended dresses. What kind of Royal family is this?!

"Breaking all the windows? He's mad.""Ah, no," said the King. "It's only madness if you actually do it. If you want to break all the windows in the house and drown yourself in a bucket but don't actually do it, well, that's love.”

Friday 28 October 2011

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa (The Iron Fey #4)

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Adventure, Romance 
My Rating: 4 out of 5


My name - my True Name - is Ashallayn’ darkmyr Tallyn. I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court. And I am dead to her. My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl…

To cold faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase - a half human, half fey slip of a girl - smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the unwelcome company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end - a quest to find a way to honor his vow to stand by Meghan's side.

To survive in the Iron Realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. And along the way Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.


The adventure and humour in this are as great as ever, with so many favourite characters back, and some new ones. But I think this suffered a bit for not having Meghan. She was in only two scenes, both of which were great of course, but it wasnt the same without her. More importantly, Ash wasnt the same without her. I really missed the super sweet things he always said to her that made my heart race. My heart did no racing while reading this one. There was no space for romance with a missing Meghan. The ending was perfect though, so that's what really matters. Pretty much everything I would have wanted in an ending is what we got, minus Ash's ambiguous condition.

This is still my favourite series ever, but this would probably be my least favourite of the four. But I hope to reread them soon since I dont remember The Iron King as well as the others. I wasnt really disappointed though since the book is totally awesome. I just put more emphasis on romance than most people.

And I really didnt enjoy the tests, especially chapter 19 and 20. I knew they werent real but they were still so sad and I dont know why Julie felt like she had to put us through that. She could have made it much more brief and much more like a test. I am very glad that is not how things turned out, but it still left a little bit of doubt in me that I dont want to have.

I was surprised to read in the interview included at the end of the book, that Julie Kagawa prefers tragic endings, but her publisher insisted that Ash and Meghan be together in the end. OMG thank goodness! If not for her publisher I may have died! But now I am a little worried about Julie's two other series. I hope her publisher is super stubborn.
“I have come from the End of the World. From the River of Dreams, through the gauntlet and the Briar and the Deep Wyld, in order to stand before you today. I have but one request—to take my place at your side. To resume my duty as your knight, and to protect you and your kingdom for as long as I draw breath.”

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Eldest by Christopher Paolini (The Inheritance Cycle #2)

Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Adventure
Publication Date: August 23rd 2005
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 5 out of 5


Darkness falls…despair abounds…evil reigns…

Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems. Before long, Eragon doesn’t know whom he can trust.

Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle–one that might put Eragon in even graver danger.

Will the king’s dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life...


This was much slower than the first book. The first was mostly an adventure. Eragon getting from Carvahall to Farthen Dur, on opposite sides of the kingdom. The second is almost entirely Eragon's training with the elves. I found it all very interesting and it kept my attention as much as the first, if not more. Even though there wasnt any action for the first 80% of the book, there were lots of memorable events and we really got to know the characters more. Eragon has really grown and I love him even more. Not only has he matured as he naturally would at his age, but he has been forced to grow due to everything that has happened to him, as well as due to his Rider training. He has grown into a very impressive Rider, warrior, and man. He is pretty awesome. Although he continues to be adorable towards Arya. We unfortunately still dont know her very well. She is very guarded and we have only glimpsed her personality. But, she is still interesting, being a beautiful female warrior is enough for me.

And the last 20% or so of the book was so amazingly epic! One of the best battles I have ever read! I kept picturing Eragon fighting in 300-style slo-mo! It would be so awesome to see on the big screen! No chance of that now, though. Even if they tried to make the sequel I dont know if they could. They set up such a weak ground for the story in the first movie, they would have nowhere to go from there. They left way too much out. Not to mention the huge casting blunder. Chris Egan and Garrett Hedlund should have switched roles.

My one issue with this book is the twist at the end. It really irks me because of how much of a coincidence it is. It is so ridiculous how unlikely it would be to actually happen, but at the same time so terribly cliched. Its like Paolini wanted this obvious twist in his story so badly that he disregarded all reason. It is technically possible, but just so terribly unlikely. I now somewhat understand the Star Wars comparisons, but at least in Star Wars it was supposed to be hereditary!

Anyways, I enjoyed this way too much to let that ruin it for me, especially since it was at the very end. Awesome book!

*edit* There was a twist in the twist, and this twist was revealed in the next book to not be true. So, that is redeeming and far less cliched. I did not see it coming. I much appreciate the clarification and it improves on the series as a whole.

“Live in the present, remember the past, and fear not the future, for it doesn't exist and never shall. There is only now.”

Sunday 23 October 2011

Ironside by Holly Black (Modern Faerie Tales #3)

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy/Paranormal, Romance 
Publication Date:  April 24th 2007
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 3 out of 5


In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben's coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing -- her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can't see or speak to Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn't exist: a faerie who can tell a lie.

Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth -- that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother's shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben's throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen?

This wasn't as good as the first, but better than the second. It had an actual quest and adventure, like the first. But it focused mostly on Kaye, Corny, and Luis (a returning character from the second book), and not enough Roiben. He was around, but not prominent. And there was very little romance. No scenes like how the first book ended, or like when Kaye was enchanted and Roiben felt he took advantage of her. Its as if Black felt their romance didn't need to be focused on again since it got attention in the first book.

The most sexually charged scene was actually between two other characters, Corny and Luis. It was brief but you could tell it was heated. I wouldn't have been disappointed if I hadn't been misled by the fact that the first two books were fairly strong in the romance department. This book remains primarily a faerie adventure. In that sense it was very good. Lots of action and suspense and faerie politics.

I said in my review for Valiant that I didn't know whether or not Valiant was necessary to get the story of this one. Well, it wasn't. Although Luis was in this one, and a glimpse of Val and Ravus at the end, the story of the second was not relevant, and anything you would have to know about Luis was explained in this one. So you could read just #1 and 3, or just #2 alone.
“She knew what it felt like to tremble like that before touching someone -- desire so acute that it became despair.”

Sunday 16 October 2011

Eragon by Christopher Paolini (The Inheritance Cycle #1)

Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Adventure
Publication Date: August 26th 2003
POV:  Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 5 out of 5


Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy--until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save--or destroy--the Empire. 

This story is far larger than the movie led me to believe, with so many more characters. I really love the movie. It is actually one of my favourites. But I knew the movie was not well received because of how much they butchered the book. But I had no idea! It is quite ridiculous really how much they took out of the movie. I don't really understand why since the movie was really short, they could have included so much more of the original content.

The basic outline of the story is still there, but the events were completely rearranged chronologically and often altered and combined. And so, so much was left out completely. Mostly I wish they had kept more of the details of the story, and the intrigue and political maneuvering, so that the movie wouldn't have come across as just a simple adventure. But regardless of what the movie left out, the book had it all!

There is so much about this that I loved. There is so much adventure! Action and dragon riding! And I love the world and its history and mythology. I am mainly referring to the dragons and dragon riders, and Saphira as a character is awesome. I love how close she and Eragon are. She is almost motherly toward him even though she is only 6 months old at the end of the book and he is 16. It seems like she was born with some knowledge but it hasn't been made clear yet. 

I love the other characters too, but mainly Eragon and Murtagh. Brom was a typical mentor archetype and Arya was cool but we didn't really get to know her since she was unconscious for most of the book. But Eragon is super cute with her and I cant wait to see more of their relationship in the other books.

“Keep in mind that many people have died for their beliefs; it's actually quite common. The real courage is in living and suffering for what you believe.”

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Valiant by Holly Black (Modern Faerie Tales #2)

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy/Paranormal, 
Publication Date: May 31st 2005
POV: Female - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating:  3 out of 5

When seventeen-year-old Valerie runs away to New York City, she's trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city's labyrinthine subway system.

But there's something eerily beguiling about Val's new friends.
And when one talks Val into tracking down the lair of a mysterious creature with whom they are all involved, Val finds herself torn between her new found affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.


This was rather disturbing at times, and I even considered not finishing it. But I knew that the romance had to start eventually, and when it did, I loved it.

I thought Kaye, the main character of the first book, Tithe, had a difficult childhood, but it was nothing compared to this. I wonder if Holly Black had a difficult childhood too. Most of the book follows the main character, Val, and her friends Lolli, Dave, and Luis, who live in a disgusting, abandoned subway station, while they get high on faerie drugs all day, which they use like crack. Val even starts acting like Alex DeLarge at one point when she breaks into a family's home. Lolli kills her cat because she is just tired of taking care of it. There is also cutting and casual sex among friends. Very disturbing book and far from YA IMO.

The only good part is Ravus, the troll Val falls in love with. Although the fact that he is a troll makes Val even less relatable IMO (I've personally never fallen in love with a troll and it's difficult to imagine), but Ravus is extremely sympathetic. It was hard to get an image of him in my mind because he wasn't describe well, but I gathered he looked basically human, except with slightly green skin and large teeth. Val's narrative never described him as handsome, but she did say he was tall and lean, with gorgeous yellow eyes and long, silky black hair. I really enjoyed his character, and he was way too good for Val.

I was hoping that the book would at least finish on an amazing high note, like Tithe. They did both end with the girl's romantic interest visiting her after she went home and they had been apart for awhile. Probably a few weeks. But while Tithe ended with an amazing kiss, Valiant did not. There was actually only one kiss. Although it was a really good one, it was before Ravus got mad at Val. A make-up make-out would have been nice. :P

Roiben (the romantic interest from the first book) was actually in this one for a bit near the end (also the only few minutes spent in Faerie), and Kaye was mentioned to be in the room, but we didn't see her. I know the next book, Ironside, is about Roiben and Kaye again, but I don't know how much of an impact the events in Valiant will have. This book can probably be read as a standalone.

“It demeans you to cover rotten meat with honey. I know what I am. What would you want with a monster?"

Sunday 9 October 2011

Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card (Pathfinder #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Adventure 
My Rating: 4 out of 5


A powerful secret. A dangerous path.

Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg's strange talent for seeing the paths of people's pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him--secrets about Rigg's own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.

Rigg’s birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent…or forfeit control of his destiny.


Wow, that was a lot to take in. I could hardly wrap my mind around it. I cant imagine a lot of young adults who could keep up with it, except the very intelligent and very ambitious. I would most definitely not categorize this as YA, even if the author himself does, he must have a much higher opinion of young adults. It contains very complicated theories on time travel and space travel, a young protagonist who is almost as genius and difficult to understand as Ender himself, and such a large and complicated story and world of characters and ideas that I cant even begin to explain it.

Whenever I read a book I try to imagine it as a movie. What kind of audience would it attract, what movies it could be compared to, a possible cast, etc. But I cant really imagine this as a movie. If it was, it would most certainly not be a children's movie, or even a teen movie. It is so ambitious and confusing that I would dare to say it would most likely attract the same audience as Inception.

It reminds me of Ender's Game, as I already mentioned, but also of The Worthing Saga, one of Orson Scott Card's earliest works, which had some similar topics and gave me a similar sense of confusion. Basically, they both give you very little information, a little bit at a time, that you have to slowly piece together as you read, before you can even figure out something as basic as the setting of the story. If you've read The Worthing Saga, then you probably know what I mean. Not that there are any plot holes or inconsistencies. Not that I could detect. It just keeps your brain really revving the whole time, trying to keep up. This book is not what you want to read when you are looking for some down time.

I gave this a 4 star rating because of the great accomplishment which was writing it, and I am a great fan of the genre, but it was perhaps a bit slow, or perhaps I should say, steady. I am curious to find out what happens next, but its a bit dramatic, some adventure mixed in there, but really no action. At no point was my heart racing, which can actually happen quite easily for me. But it had a great group of characters I really enjoyed. I look forward to reading more.

Thursday 6 October 2011

Tithe by Holly Black (Modern Faerie Tales #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy/Paranormal, Romance 
Publication Date: October 1st 2002
POV: Female - Third-person, Past tenseMy Rating: 4 out of 5


Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces the sixteen-year-old back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms -- a struggle that could very well mean her death.

This was so much fun! I started out very unsure about it, since it was recommended to me by The Iron Fey fans, I was expecting something else. But Tithe is far darker than The Iron King. So much so, that I would hesitate to call it YA. I know I wouldnt let my kids read it if I had any. It was very thematic and I was thrown off by the heroine's heavy drinking, smoking, swearing, and shoplifting, a girl of 16. But once I got acquainted with its world I realized different is not bad (although I still don't like her lifestyle).

Kaye attracts the attention of a gorgeous fey of the Unseelie Court, a knight. But Roiben is very different from Ash. They both have the whole victim-of-circumstances vibe down, but I was actually a little scared of Roiben in the beginning. He seemed so evil and menacing. I was hesitant to start liking him, but eventually I couldnt resist him anymore. The romance was well played out, better than some YA.

Being only my second faerie series, it was interesting to see the similarities and differences from The Iron Fey. I was not previously familiar with ideas of faerie glamour, and the courts, and I didnt know how much was unique to The Iron Fey. So that was interesting and I now have a better grasp of it. I found the story very interesting and exciting with a lot of twists and turns. Although I will admit, I still don't fully understand what happened. It wasnt explained as well as it could have been. But the very best part is the end. It ended on such a great note I couldnt stop giggling. Here it is with hardly any spoilers, except the fact that Kaye gets Roiben, but thats hardly a spoiler. It is a YA romance after all!

"There is something of yours I would like to return to you." 
"What?" He leaned across the distance between them and caught her mouth with his own. Her eyes fluttered closed and her lips parted easily as she felt the kiss sizzling through her nerves, rendering her thoughts to smoke. 
"Um..." Kaye stepped back, a little unsteadily. "Why does that belong to me?" 
"That was the kiss I stole from you when you were enchanted." 
"Oh...well what if I didnt want it?" 
"You dont?""No, I'd like you to take it back again, please." 
"I am your servant," his lips a moment from her own. "Consider it done."

Wednesday 5 October 2011

The Awakening by L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date:  March 1st 1999
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Elena Gilbert is a pretty, popular teen who was orphaned when her parents were killed in an accident. Despite the tragedy, her life has always been normal and wholesome. Until the beginning of the school year, when two new vampire brothers show up to shake the peaceful universe at Robert E. Lee High.

This was so much better than I expected it to be! I read it in one sitting! I love the TV show but this rivals it. Stefan is so much cooler than in the show. I wasnt a huge Stefan fan, but in the book he is just as awesomely romantic and smoldering as so many other YA vampires.

Of the 3 leads, the only one who I pictured as the actor from the show is Damon. Ian Somerhalder sounds like a perfect description of Damon, except way older. Elena actually referred to Damon as a boy more than once, whereas Ian Somerhalder is clearly not a boy. But still, I didnt really picture Paul Wesley as Stefan, and definitely didnt picture Nina Dobrev as Elena.

Her character is also very different. The Elena here starts out very snobby and high and mighty, but that changes in time. It makes sense that Stefan would bring out the best in her. Although, I dont really get why Stefan would fall in love with her in the first place, the way she was in the beginning. It also happened way too quickly. After two conversations Elena tells him she loves him. Pretty ridiculous really, but besides that its great. The romance between Stefan and Elena is awesome, and the added creepiness of Damon stalking her is perfect. Cant wait to find out what happens next!

“Right now everything looks so strange to me, as if I don't belong here. It's me that's out of place. And the worst thing is that I feel there's somewhere I do belong, but I just can't find it.”

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