Wednesday 31 December 2014

Atlantia by Ally Condie

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
POV: Female - First-person, Present tense
My Rating: 3 out of 5


Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.


Due to this being set in Atlantis I thought that it would be a fantasy, or a historical set in the times of ancient Greece. But it is not Atlantis, it is Atlantia. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where the world Above is poisoned so people moved Below the water.

This is the story of Rio, who dreams of seeing above, and her journey to see her sister again, and to discover the secrets of her world and Above, and what really happened. I read this because I loved Matched so much. And although the writing style is pretty much the same, the characters did not engage me as well. And there was very little romance. Although True helped her along the way, the real struggle was for Rio to find her sister. It had nothing to do with finding a way to be with True. He was a companion and a comfort during her journey, but not a central part of it.

The world of Atlantia was pretty unique and I wish it had focused more on the mythology and history of their world. I would have liked to learn more about the sirens and the gods and the other gifts that some people had. And about the other cities. It could have been much more interesting if it delved deeper I think. The story was not enough to really grab me. It focused too much on Rio's single-minded need to go Above. I felt no connection to her as a heroine. There was really nothing special about any of the characters.

The story was concluded at the end, and although authors can always find an excuse to come back and expand a story if they decide to later, I hope this remains a standalone story. I don't feel the need to come back to this world. We could always see how Rio and Bay are doing later, and how their worlds are faring, how things have changed, but I believe everything will turn out for the best.

“Everyone dies. The don't all have the chance to see what they wanted most. At least I've seen the Above. At least I've known True.”

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Shardwell Series by Amanda Gerry and Christy Hall

I received an ARC today for book #4 in the Shardwell series by Amanda Gerry and Christy Hall and I am very exciting to get back into this series! It is worth waiting for and I highly recommend it to fans of epic fantasy and sci-fi, mythology, and massive world building. It is an extremely ambitious series.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! At first I thought it seemed was familiar, just with enough differences to keep me hooked. But by the end I realized that it was actually like nothing I have read before.
It starts out as a normal high school paranormal romance. Strange things start happening to beautiful Maggie. Things she can't explain. Then a hot new guy shows up at school. This is when the guy would usually tell her that he can help her understand what's been happening to her. But he doesn't. Kyle is actually as confused as Maggie. After they meet he starts to develop super-human strength and speed. They try to make sense of their new world together, along with Maggie's best friend, Lily...more


This book was even better than the first, and perhaps even better than anything I have read all year. It is a prequel to Phoenix Angel, and shows what Maggie and Lily's lives were like before, as Margariete and Esilwen, and even explains some of the events referred to at the end of Phoenix Angel. Sadly, Kyle was not in this at all, and there was very little of Carter, but we get to learn a great deal more about Carter, as well as Raeylan and Feralblade. And what we learned was fascinating. There are so many character revelations in this books, it continually surprised me. I had so many misconceptions before starting it, and I loved the way Amanda Gerry and Christy Hall laid it out...more 


This book was just as amazing and epic as Guardian of Time, but so different! This is set 400 years after the events of Guardian of Time. It may have just been too long since I read it, but I don't remember it being mentioned that Margariete and Raeylan had such long lifespans. They spent the last 400 years searching for Esilwen, traveling the shards, many of which had advanced technology. So when we meet Margariete and Raeylan again, they are already somewhat familiar with technology and aren't completely out of their depths. And we also meet Kyleren again. I missed Kyle in Guardian of Time, and was glad to see that this book was his story...more

This series is ever expanding, and each book is set years and worlds apart. Shardwell is a planned 7-book series. The books have come out in fairly quick succession so far, so I would not worry about starting a long series and having to wait before the next book is released. Take the plunge! I don't know what to expect from The Mystic, but I will make sure to let you know once I have read it.

Monday 22 December 2014

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta (Lumatere Chronicles #2)

Genres: Young Adult, Adventure, High Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: September 29th 2008
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 3 out of 5


Blood sings to blood, Froi . . .
Those born last will make the first . . .
For Charyn will be barren no more.

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home... Or so he believes...

Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds. Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess.

And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.


There were some things about this book that I liked less than Finnikin of the Rock and some things that I liked more. I don't think that it is actually worse, but the fact that it is so much longer makes its faults more obvious and gives them more focus.

I think my biggest complaint about this book, besides the length itself, would be the writing. It seemed really chopping and hard to follow. In particular, I remember one scene where Lirah slaps someone, and then just continues to talk to Quintana as if the slap never happened, no one acknowledged the slap, the person who was slapped did not protest, nothing. It felt like the slap had been cut and paste from a different scene. And a lot of times a scene is just abandoned and the next line says, "The next day Froi went to..." or something of the sort. Even if the previous scene seemed incomplete, ended in the middle of a conversation, or with a question. A lot of time was skipped and I felt like I was missing stuff. It had no flow.

I also had a lot of trouble understanding the characters. Their behaviour was inconsistent and after 600 pages I still feel like I don't know any of them and I don't understand their motives. I still don't know who to trust. One minute Froi loves them, the next minute he hates them, and they have never really did anything to deserve either sentiment. They were just in the way. I really couldn't care less about any of them. They could just die for all I care. Except for Quintana because Froi loves her and I want Froi to be happy. Froi is the only good character in this whole series. I remember thinking that even while I was reading Finnikin of the Rock.

So, as with Finnikin, this book only gets stars for the story. The story of Charyn is very interesting and deserves to be told. I only wish it had been told differently, and written differently. But it is a very unique story, I will give it that. And I enjoy Froi and seeing how far his life has brought him, and everything he has accomplished. I will read Quintana of Charyn eventually, but I am not making it a priority.

"It's not that I like you least. It's that I feared you most. The Reginita taught me to like you. There was a strange joy to her that lifted my spirits. But you, Quintana of Charyn, you made me love you."

Sunday 14 December 2014

Talon by Julie Kagawa (Talon #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
POV: Alternating - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.


I really loved this book. It felt a lot more in the spirit of The Iron Fey, which is the series that first got me into reading, than her other books. It has that great sense of adventure and discovery, and life and love and friendship. And heroism.

I absolutely loved Ember. She was so full of life and spunk. And her physical appearance was a perfect representation of who she was underneath. She was small with bright green eyes and spiky red hair. She was such a firecracker (or Firebrand, as Riley liked to call her). She was like a female Puck. A person like her would never have survived inside Talon. At least not with her soul intact. She needed freedom. But I love how, in the end, it was not selfishness and her desire for freedom that finally convinced her to leave. She would not have been happy in Talon, but I don't know for sure whether or not she would have left without Riley's help. I'd like to think she would have stayed for her brother. But in the end, it was her goodness and her heroism that finally convinced her of what she needed to do.

And the same goes for Garret. He may have unwillingly fallen in love with a dragon, causing him to question everything he has ever known. But it was not only his concern for Ember that made him betray St. George, but the fact that if Ember is good, than others must be as well. He would not kill Riley, or Nettle or Remy either. Because like Ember, he will do what he believes to be the right thing, not only the thing that is best for him.

This book was just full of great characters, from the protagonists, to Dante and Riley and Wes, and even Lexi. Riley is a great friend for Ember and I am so glad that she found someone who understands her and she can talk to about being a dragon. I enjoy the fact that their relationship is complicated and I look forward to seeing how much more complicated it becomes. Although I hope not too much happens between them, because it is clear that any attraction is a result of their dragon natures, and has little to do with actual feelings. I also really enjoyed Dante and I feel sorry for him. He was so easily fooled and put under Talon's thumb. I really hope that he comes around in the end, because he was a really great brother to Ember in the beginning.

I loved the fact that the story and mythology of the dragons was balanced with the amount of romance. In YA series you sometimes have to wait for several books before a romance really develops. But in Talon, Ember and Garret are in love and making sacrifices by the end of the first book. And that didnt take away from the high stakes of the story at all. I really look forward to learning more about Talon's secrets. What we learned about Vipers and Chameleons, and their possible secrets labs was all interesting and I am sure Ember will now work to rescue others and expose their secrets. I also look forward to her infiltrating St. George and rescuing Garret, and hopefully more shifting, now that she is free to do as she pleases. I am really excited for this series and I can see some much potential for it to be totally epic.

"Somewhere between that day on the beach when I'd met her for the first time and the night of the party when we'd kissed in the ocean, she had become something more than a potential target. She had, very inexplicably, become the most important thing in my life. 
And that terrified me."

Thursday 11 December 2014

Play Me, I'm Yours by Madison Parker

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: March 31st 2013
POV: Male - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Fairy Tate. Twinklefingers. Lucy Liu. Will the taunting ever end? Lucas Tate suffers ridicule because of his appearance and sensitive nature. When he’s not teased, he’s ignored, and he doesn’t know which is worse. He feels unloved by everyone, but the one comfort in life is his music. What he wants more than anything is to find a friend.

Much to his dismay, both his mom and a schoolmate are determined to find him a boyfriend, despite the fact Lucas hasn’t come out to them. His mom chooses a football player who redefines the term “heartthrob,” while Trish pushes him toward the only openly gay boy at Providence High. But Lucas is harboring a crush on another boy, one who writes such romantic poetry to his girlfriend that hearing it melts Lucas into a puddle of goo. All three prospects seem so far out of his league. Lucas is sure he doesn’t stand a chance with any of them—until sharing his gift for music brings him the courage to let people into his heart.


I am really starting to enjoy coming of age/coming out stories. They are so sweet and innocent. I really loved Lucas. He was so vulnerable in the beginning. The kind of person who would have been picked on even if he wasn't gay, just because he was so small and socially awkward. Its really hard to believe how cruel kids can be sometimes. I really hated seeing the things Lucas' classmates did to him. It really wasn't fair. Just because he didn't defend himself and he had a passion for music? Ridiculous. He was such a great person, if they only would have given him a chance. He was smart, and he respected and loved his parents, was an honest and loyal friend to Alex and Trish. And despite all the mistreatment, he admired and loved his brother. I am so glad that he was able to get past it all in the end.

I really enjoyed how the book focused a lot more on Lucas' journey, than on a romance. It was still very romantic, but it took almost half the book before we even knew who the romantic interest was going to be. I really did not enjoy that parts with Donovan though. He was such a jerk and the parts with him and Lucas together made me uncomfortable. I feel bad that Lucas didn't see the situation clearly sooner, but at least he dumped his ass eventually. He may have had some good intentions, he seemed like a decent friend to Trish, but mostly he was just selfish. Alex on the other hand was amazing. He confused me sometimes and I had trouble trying to figure out his motives. In the end I had to settle on the fact that he is just the greatest person ever. Its that simple.

And of course I loved Zach. He was big and muscly and hot, but at the same time he was so deep and sensitive and he had a soul that matched Lucas'. No one else would have been able to understand Lucas the way Zach did, to anticipate his needs and fears and insecurities. Despite everything, Lucas is still only 17, and with that comes common teenage insecurities about sex and body image. And Zach was so patient and reassuring. You know he would wait forever for Lucas, because as much as Lucas needs him, he needs Lucas too. The poetry he wrote for Lucas was so intense, even more so because he wrote it before approaching Lucas and really getting to know him. He needed Lucas' passion and honesty and goodness. You could really see how broken Zach was after they fought and he thought that he had lost Lucas forever. Somehow, despite everything he has been put through by others, and the fact that he is so quiet and mostly isolated, Lucas still seems like a light. There was a brightness in him. And no one saw that more than Zach.

"He was usually relaxed when he played. He liked to let himself be swept away from the here and now, but with Zach beside him, brushing his arm when Lucas played the high notes, he was acutely aware of where he was and what he was doing. It was an emotional piece to begin with, now intensified by his feelings for the boy sitting next to him, the physical manifestation of his own dreams of love."

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