Saturday, 30 June 2012

Saturday Snapshot (30th June) - Leona

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by At Home With Books. To participate in the Saturday Snapshot meme post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken then leave a direct link to your post in the Mister Linky below. Photos can be old or new, and be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. Please don’t post random photos that you find online.

This Saturday I took my camera for a walk and got a few pictures! 

I had the urge to climb a tree beside the road!



Finally caught a glimpse of the bird that has been making a lot of noise lately! Anyone know what kind of bird it is?





And I took a walk in the lovely Irish countryside!

What did you get up to this Saturday? 


E-Copy giveaway of Taste by Kate Evangelista!

At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans. When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn't realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.




The wonderful Kate Evangelista has been wonderful enough to provide an e-copy of her YA book Taste! I LOVED it and I'm sure you will too! Check out my review of Taste here

Good luck! :)





Friday, 29 June 2012

Review: Taste by Kate Evangelista - Leona


Summary from Goodreads:
At Barinkoff Academy, there's only one rule: no students on campus after curfew. Phoenix McKay soon finds out why when she is left behind at sunset. A group calling themselves night students threaten to taste her flesh until she is saved by a mysterious, alluring boy. With his pale skin, dark eyes, and mesmerizing voice, Demitri is both irresistible and impenetrable. He warns her to stay away from his dangerous world of flesh eaters. Unfortunately, the gorgeous and playful Luka has other plans. When Phoenix is caught between her physical and her emotional attraction, she becomes the keeper of a deadly secret that will rock the foundations of an ancient civilization living beneath Barinkoff Academy. Phoenix doesn't realize until it is too late that the closer she gets to both Demitri and Luka the more she is plunging them all into a centuries old feud.

Firstly I would like to thank Kate Evangelista for providing a copy of this book  in exchange for an honest review.

When I first read the summary I thought this would just be another book about vampires, and that genre is written about way too often. However, I was pleasantly surprised!

When I began to read Taste I was completely taken in. It all begins when Phoenix McKay breaks Barinkoff Academy one and only rule: no students on campus after curfew. When Phoenix firsts meet the  night students it was a scene that for some reason I just couldn't get out of my head. Maybe it was the way it was written or it was the idea, whatever it was I couldn't stop thinking about it.

I hate books with weak characters, but with Taste I didn't have a problem at all with any of the characters. From the moment we meet Phoenix I knew that I would like her. She never annoyed me which is a big deal! I am very easily annoyed with characters but Phoenix didn't at all!

The cover of this book is gorgeous! I am a sucker for a gorgeous book cover. However, my problem with pretty covers is that you get all hyped up about it and you end up being disappointed! It was not the case with Taste. 

If you hate books that have a slow build up then you will love Taste. I was excited at the beginning and I was excited at the end! 

Go read it NOW!






Review: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa - Leona


Summary from Goodreads:    
Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

In The Iron Daughter we get to see even more of the amazing world of the Fey. Julie Kagawa once again manages to surprise me with her fluency of writing and the wonderful images that she creates with her words.

Meghan's character takes a blow early on and at points I felt like screaming at her. She did some really stupid things that made me cover my eyes and hang my head in shame. After this point we see her character go from strength to strength. 

This book does not fall prey to the dreaded curse of the second book. Basically, it's when the second book in a series is really bad! This book may even be better than the first one! I know, I said it. Relationships are developed further and we discover more of the rules and wonderful places within the book.

Puck is the same sarcastic boy that we loved from The Iron King! He's even better this time around!
Ash makes a lot of difficult choices this time round and it makes us, the reader, wonder why he made them! We see his feelings more in this one and we learn more about his past!

Julie Kagawa is fast becoming one of my favourite authors because she can create magical worlds that I would love to live in.....kinda! 

Go read this series if you haven't already!



Favourite quotes:
"Your kind of blind, you know?" Puck whispered, smiling to soften his words. “I wouldn’t defy Oberon for just anyone. But, for you...” He leaned forward, touching his forehead to mine. “I’d come back from the dead for you." 

"I was minding my own buisness long before you and the princess started humping like rabbits." 

"But I can't...I won't...give her up. Not now, when I've just found her."

"How is Oberon these days? Still being henpecked by that basilisk of a wife?"
"Don't insult the basilisk...." 

"You look like crap, prince. Did you miss me?"
"Yes," he murmured, his voice so low I barely caught it. "She's worth it."
"You know Mab will tear you apart for this."
"I know."

"I know you'd risk everything to protect us, and that's what worries me. You still don't know enough about this world to be properly terrified. Things are going to get screwed eight ways from Sunday, and you're making goo-goo eyes at the enemy! I heard what happened in Machina's realm and yes, it scared the hell out of me. I love you, dammit. I'm not going to watch you get torn apart when everything goes bad."

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Guest Review from Read. Write. Ramble. (Leona)




One of my favourite things about blogging is meeting other bloggers who love books as much as I do! I recently met Rachel and Megan and they were good enough to write a guest review for us! Make sure to follow them!


From Goodreads: 
Everything is in ruins.
A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.
So what does Araby Worth have to live for?
Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.
But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.
And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.


Megan: I am SO. SO GLAD YOU MADE ME READ THIS BOOK. Because it is amazing and scared the hell out of me!!


Rachel: This book is definitely one of my favorites of 2012 (so far). It's totally unexpected and weird and twisted and COMPLETELY AWESOME. It killed me to have to wait for you to read it so we could talk about it!


Megan: Yeah sorry. You are pretty used to that by now though. I feel like I really need to read the actual Edgar Allan Poe story this was based off of now. I have to say that if this is the way the world ends up I'm going to be pretty freaked out. I mean not even being able to breathe AIR without risking dying? That's some pretty intense stuff.


Rachel: Haha yeah. The world this book takes place in is so creepy and weird but somehow beautiful. Even though people are dying and there is this terrible terrible plague, I kind of want to live in this world. So basically Bethany Griffin is a genius.


Megan: She really is! And the love triangle was pretty ingenious too. I have to say that in the beginning I really didn't like Elliott, and I loved Will. But now...well I just don't know what to think anymore! This one really has the potential to drive me crazy the way Cassandra Clare's love triangle in the Infernal Devices Series.


Rachel: I went into this book having no idea there was a love triangle. When I realized, I was a little AHHH NOOOO DON'T RUIN THE AMAZINGNESS, but it was done really well and I actually like the relationships Araby has with both guys.


Megan: I do too. They're really different and Araby has a completely different relationship with each of them. Another thing I liked was that the description of this book didn't tell you much. Sometimes the descriptions give a lot away about what's going to happen, but this one was really open. It made the surprises of the book that much more exciting because I didn't really know where it was going.


Rachel: Oh yeah I know. But let's get back to Araby because I LOVE HER. She's kind of a broken character. I mean, she's trying to deal with grief after her brother's death and the world she lives in is terrible and yet she's still a very strong and smart character and she fascinates me.


Megan: Yes! I loved reading a story through the eyes of a character that was having such a difficult time. I also liked that you found out more and more of what Araby had gone through as the book went on.


Rachel: I just think she's so awesome. The purple hair and sparkly eye make-up? SHE IS MY IDOL.


Megan: Ooh I know! I wish I could actually get my hair to be purple. Because yeah.


Rachel: And can we talk about the setting for a second? When I was reading, I didn't really try to classify the book as dystopia or steampunk or anything. And I wasn't thinking "Oh this is in the past/present/future." Something about the world is so timeless. It feels like the story could take place in any place during any time period. I don't know, I feel like I'm doing a terrible job at describing this, but the setting is just so unique and amazing.


Megan: I totally get what you mean! There were some elements of the world that I was thinking, "Oh okay. That's from olden days. Like Edgar Allen Poe days." But then other things, like the few towers and other few modern things in the city make it seem like the story could be set in an alternate present or in the future somewhere.


Rachel: Exactly. I am just so fascinated by the world the story takes place in. I don't really read that many books that are all dark and creepy and everything, but I totally fell in love with this book. It's definitely one of my favorites that I've read this year.


Megan: Mine too! I definitely can't wait to read more from such a dark, Gothic world. I seriously can't wait for the sequel. Because WOW.


Rachel: Yes. I think the ending to Masque of the Red Deathis really satisfying, but I'm definitely excited to read more about these characters and this world. This is one of the best books I've read in awhile, and I think it deserves a million stars.


Megan: I completely agree! Have you read Masque of the Red Death yet? Let us know what you thought below! If you haven't....well what are you waiting for??


About us:
Rachel and Megan are two book-obsessed teenagers. They became best friends sometime around sixth grade, when they bonded over the fact that they were both reading Twilight at the time. Since then, they've basically been inseparable, and their friendship revolves around books. After constantly borrowing books from each other and squealing about them together for several years, they finally decided to share their feelings with the internet by starting a blog. They are weird and crazy and enthusiastic, and their "reviews" usually involve lots of words in all caps and exclamation points and squealing and general fangirling.


Read. Write. Ramble. is still a fairly new blog, and while Megan and Rachel still aren't exactly sure what they're doing, blogging has been a fun experience so far. They strongly believe that books are the best thing ever, and they love being surrounded by people who feel the same way.


If you would like to obsess over books with them, you can find them at a whole bunch of places on the internet:


Blog: http://readwriteramble.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/readwriteramble
Goodreads: (Rachel) http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5306375-rachel-read-write-ramble 
(Megan) http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5519828-megan-at-read-write-ramble

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth - Megan

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-PTVt7y7ARMo/T6VKPocUJnI/AAAAAAAAA7I/cDr2sMVzFLk/s1600/INSURGENT+UK.jpg
Synopsis from Goodreads
One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


I bought this book and it's prequel, Divergent, about a month ago and they've been sitting on my bookshelf looking pretty ever since so the other day I decided to finally give them a go and see what all the hype was about. I'm now kicking myself that I hadn't read them sooner! Veronica Roth has made a huge splash into the dystopian world with a new twist on the future's downfall.

I must admit, I expected this series to be some sort of not-so-violent version of The Hunger Games regarding the factions but once I got started those expections quickly disappeared. Divergent quickly became one of my favourite books of all time so I started Insurgent wondering if it would stay up on its pedestal or simply crash to the bottom of the disappointing-sequels pile. Thankfully, the former won.

Veronica Roth crafts a world that's rich in detail and more action-packed than ever. The characters are bigger and better; the plot is more complex; relationships are put to the test; and the fight against the Erudite builds more tension. The world-building takes a remarkable turn and adds more quality to the plot. We are introduced to factions that were barely touched on in Divergent, including Amity, Candor and even the Factionless, which I highly appreciated.

Tris Prior fast became one of my favourite female leads when I met her in Divergent and I was eager to see how her character developed in Insurgent. There were a lot of emotional obstacles for Tris to overcome in this book that helped craft her into a stronger and more determined heroine which I valued greatly. I didn't always agree with her decisions however, although there was a distinct pessimistic quality to her personality throughout the story. I became emotionally attached to her though and I think this aspect of her character is what makes her such a perfect heroine. 

There really isn't much for me to say about Four/Tobias other than that he's unbelievably easy to fall for. In Divergent, we meet him as the bold and daring Four while in Insurgent, we get a better grasp of Tobias and a deeper understanding of his character. I was a bit wary of the name change because I'm so used to calling him Four but the fact that he was mainly called Tobias in this book made the transition a whole lot easier. His relationship with Tris caught the Rollarcoaster fever as it was strained between them every now and then, but I was satisfied with this because it ineviatably made their relationship stronger.

Now, I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks that cliff-hangers are evil but the ending to this book was.. I don't even know, I have no words for it. A new door has been open for book 3 with no hint of predictability in sight so I'm bubbling with excitement to see what Veronica Roth has in store for us next. Once again, the bar has been set high and I hope more than anything that the conclusion to this trilogy will be the perfect ending.


Rating: 5/5 stars 

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Cover Reveal: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi - Megan

IT'S HERE! After months upon months of waiting, we finally get to see the cover for book two of Tahereh Mafi's break-through Shatter Me series. Isn't it beautiful?!

In my previous post showing the new cover for SHATTER ME I profess my love for the new theme used so when I seen this cover, I was at a loss for words. Everything about this cover is so mesmerizing - the icy tree branches; the bird in her eye (it's back!); the serious look in the eye; the pale colours; and the new and improved tagline, OH MY! I'm totally excited to see what Juliette has in store for us this time around.

THEY WANT TO FIND ME I WILL FIND THEM FIRST.

This series is my absolute favourite so I can't wait to have this beauty sitting on my bookshelf on Feburary 5th!


And now the moment you've all been waiting for....
 

I'm in love - again!


What do you guys think of this cover? Have yous read SHATTER ME yet?

 

 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Review: The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter - Megan

Synopsis from Goodreads
It's always been just Kate and her mom--and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld--and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy--until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she suceeds, she'll become Henry's future bride and a goddess.

If any of you have previously read my review for Arcadia Awakens then yous will already know that I absolutely love Greek mythology so when I heard about this book I pushed it right to the top of my TBR pile expecting to be finally satisfied with a YA interpretation of the Hades and Persephone story - unfortunately, I was let down, once again.

The entire story lacked in substance. While the premise was somewhat original I couldn't help but notice that it was nothing but predictable, although the element of surprise did manage to appear at one or two points in the plot. The characterisation was weakly structured, there was nothing unique about these characters that persuaded me to care for them.

Kate's personality was paper thin, apart from her admirable devotion to her dying mother and her daughter-turned-carer past, we know pretty much nothing about her. All she was capable of doing was question everything and completely disregard Henry and co.'s warning about how her life was in danger. She gradually became one of those all-about-the-love-interest girls which totally put me off her character. I couldn't connect with her, I just couldn't.

Henry was no different in the paper-thin-personality department, he was your typical checklist personality YA male. Mysterious? Check. Looks to die for? Check. Hot/cold attitude? Check. Perfect-boyfriend-at-the-end? Check. Despite this, I found myself to be strangely drawn to Henry for reasons unknown. Maybe it was the gentleman-like behaviour? The milky/moonlight-coloured eyes? I don't know, but what I do know is that I wouldn't mind living with him for six months a year.

Even though the book is called The Goddess Test  there was no actual testing occuring. I mean, the tests were done so subtly I eventually began to question the fact if Kate was actually being tested but the last few chapters reassures us that there are tests taking place. I rather liked the idea for the tests though, which was also one of the plot surprises I refered to earlier.

With less than 300 pages to work with, I felt that the plot and characters had no space to develop especially with the story moving at a fast pace. Each scene was described accordingly but without any real depth to it so our understanding of the plot was limited. I also couldn't help but notice the political correctness that was briefly featured regarding jealously, kidnapping and slut-shaming.

Despite these flaws, I will give the second book a try purely out of curiosty because there are some unexplained aspects of this book yet to be revealed. Plus, the premise sounds more interesting and Persephone makes an appearance so I'm hoping that I won't be disappointed any furthur.


Rating: 2/5 stars

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - Megan

Synopsis from Goodreads
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.


Someone fetch me a dictionary because I'm at a loss for words! The idea behind this book was carefully thought out and perfectly executed. Tahereh Mafi has such a refreshing and unique style of writing which she uses to paint Juliette's world in a wonderfully realistic manner. I breezed through this book within a few non-consecutive hours but the interesting thing is, it felt more like daydreaming, like I was watching a film or witnessing the action for myself - it was just that good! Mafi also uses very literary phrases - which some readers may find difficult to understand - that splash vibrant shades of colour onto the canvas and as I did in my last review, I'm going to include quotes because Tahereh Mafi's words are pure poetry.

 "I can't remember the warmth of any kind of embrace. My arms ache from the inescapable ice of isolation."

The use of strike-through had me intrigued beforehand, although I was a bit skeptical at first about what effect it would have on the plot but I found that it greatly contributed to the potrayal of Juliette's thoughts and emotions. The detail used in the descriptions were oozing with originality. It's simply captivating.

"I only know now that the scientists are wrong. The world is flat. I know because I was tossed right off the edge and I've been trying to hold on for 17 years. I've been trying to climb back up for 17 years but it's nearly impossible to beat gravity when no one is willing to give you a hand. When no one wants to risk touching you."

Juliette is my favourite female protagonist in YA. There was a strong sense of realism in her character that made me become emotionally attached to her - which is an uncommon thing for me. She is a complex character whose personality I absolutely adore! From her vulnerability to her bravery, from her kind-heartedness to her fierceness. There's nothing I could fault about her. I enjoyed watching her transition from "scared, lonely teen" to "brave, determined woman".

adam. Adam. ADAM! I think this is the correct time to mention that I am in love with him. Why couldn't all boys be as perfect as him? And yes, that's what he is - pure and utter perfection. He's so sweet and gentle it hurts. His loyalty to his younger brother is so heartwarming and his eyes are so blue you could swim in them. He's strong-willed, protective, a bit aggressive at times but all the pieces fit together perfectly and I wouldn't change a single thing about him.

“Raindrops are my only reminder that clouds have a heartbeat. That I have one, too.”
 
Warner, on the otherhand, is deliciously evil. I didn't like him towards the beginning of the book because he was such an unappealing character but as the plot progressed I started to become more and more drawn to him. I found him to be a mysterious character and watching his soft side gradually appear was interesting. Plus, the fact that he has green eyes just totally sealed the deal for me because I am a sucker for guys with green eyes! (And now I'm impatiently waiting for DESTROY ME to be released because it's written from Warner's point of view *silently fangirling to myself*)

"My words wear no parachutes as they fall out of my mouth."

Adam and Juliette's relationship was so delightfully real that I actually got a bit emotional at times. There was an aspect of insta-love in their introduction but I was able to forgive it considering they both actually liked each other for years beforehand. Their love was sincere and genuine and I loved watching it develop. They had their ups and downs - like all relationships - and I was touched by their dedication to each other. It's safe to say that I am forever jealous of this fairytale romance.

“I'm oxygen and he's dying to breathe.” 

I don't give out 5-star ratings too often but this book definitely deserves it. The poetic writing; the strong characters; and the diverting plot had me completely engaged from start to finish. It was carefully structured with various small twists that had me glued to the pages. Nothing I will ever say can fully express my love for this book and since nobody got me my dictionary (shame on yous!) the only thing I can tell you is go read this book. Like, now. Right now. Go.


Rating: 5/5 stars

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa - Leona


Summary from Goodreads:
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart



I was completely captivated by this book from the get go and cannot believe I didn't read this before now! It has been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year and I never read it! I was an idiot for not reading it!

Meghan is an amazing main character and one that you can completely relate to. Megan has always felt different. I couldn't understand the way in which her family treated her, it didn't make sense until later on the book. The fact that she remained focused on her goal even when everything seemed to be going wrong was remarkable and I really admired her for it!

Kagawa did a superb job of creating this magical world, unlike anything I have ever read about before. I will admit that I am not the biggest fan of books that center on faeries and goblins and things like that but I absolutely loved this one! Kagawa is a very strong writer and can create beautiful images with the words she writes. She is a credit to her profession!

Ash and Puck are amazing characters and I cannot pick between them! It is usually so easy for me to decide on the characters that I prefer but in this case it is IMPOSSIBLE! Kagawa gives us different reasons to love and loathe these characters. Puck brought a sense of humor to the book but it was not over done like it is in some books! I may be slightly in love with both characters! 

Each character was perfect and I really cannot fault anything within this book! This book will always hold a special place in my heart!

I really can't say enough good things about this book! It was so addictive that I stayed up into the early hours of the morning so that I could finish it! I honestly do not know why I didn't read this before! It is an absolute MUST read and I am dying to read The Iron Daughter, book 2 in the Iron Fey series! I think it's time for a trip to the library!



Some of my favourite quotes:

“Ladies and Felines,” he stated grandly, grasping the doorknob, “Welcome to Tir Na Nog. Land of endless winter and shitloads of snow.” 


“Oh, we're playing nice now? Shall we have tea first? Brew up a nice pot of kiss-my-ass?” 


“Touch her, and I'll freeze your testicles off and put them in a jar. Understand?” 


“Bravo," said Grimalkin, peering down from Cold Tom's chest. "The Winter prince and Oberon's jester agreeing on something. The world must be ending.” 


“No, no. We can kill each other later.” 


“Ash blinked. "Are you raiding the cellars now, Goodfellow?"
"Me? Stealing?" Puck flashed a devious grin and popped another fruit into his mouth. "In the house of my ancient enemy? What gave you that idea?" He plucked another fruit and tossed it to me with a wink.”  


“Knock, knock!" he called in a high, singsong voice.
For a moment, silence. Then a thud and a crash, as if something heavy had been hurled at the door. "Go away!" snarled the voice from within.
"Ah, no. That's not how the joke goes," called Rob. "I say 'knock, knock', and you're supposed to answer with 'who's there?'"
"Fuck off!"
Nope, that's still wrong." Robbie seemed unperturbed. I, however, was horrified at Ethan's language, though I knew it wasn't him. "Here," continued Rob in an amiable voice, "I'll go through the whole thing, so you'll know how to answer next time." He cleared his throat and pounded at the door again. "Knock, knock!" he bellowed. "Who's there? Puck! Puck who? Puck, who will turn you into a squealing pig and stuff you in the oven if you don't get out of our way!" And with that, he banged the door open.” 


“Metallic trees. That's new. If you see any steel dryads, be sure to tell me so I can run away screaming."



Sunday, 10 June 2012

Review: Struck by Jennifer Bosworth - Megan


Synopsis from Goodreads
Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

 

The premise for this story and the book trailer had me completely hooked before I even read the first page, and believe me, I was not misguided! I thought Bosworth's "lightning addict" idea was refreshing and strikingly visual in terms of description.

"When you've been struck by lightning as many times as
I have, you start to expect the worst pretty much all the time."
 
After such a strong beginning, we meet Jeremy, and unfortunately, we witness the dreaded insta-love. Or insta-attraction, if you will. Either way, I was slightly disappointed at this because, as yous may have gathered by now, I hate insta-love. I feel it drags down the protagonist when it comes to their primary goal because it always seems to be shadowed by the feelings they have for their love-interest.
 
Mia and Jeremy's relationship didn't seem to develop much as the plot progressed. They simply fell for each other and that was that. Despite the fact that Jeremy had originally been following her, Mia comes to the conclusion that: "A guy like Jeremy didn’t need to stalk." I was also slightly bothered by the fact that Mia easily brushed off the fact that he tried to kill her in the beginning, basically due to the fact that he's good-looking. I'm still trying to come to terms with this!
"I let my eyes linger on Jeremy, studying him, trying to decide if I could see past the knife incident to trust him. But the only thing I could think about when I stared at him was how I wanted to keep staring, never take my eyes away."
 
Although the romance was a bit of a let-down, the characterisation was strong. Mia is riddled with guilt over her past experiences with lightning when human contact was involved. Although, no serious harm was inflicted. Her protective nature over her brother, Parker, and her mother was admirable yet sympathetic, as it didn't come without it's difficulties.

In my opinion, Mia's mother was the better developed of all the characters as her trauma plus her desperation for hope equalled to a very distressed yet intriguing woman who ends up joining a religious cult in a quest to find some purpose in her life.

"I should have been the glue holding us together, but apparently I wasn't sticky enough."
 
Mia is also portrayed as a somewhat sarcastic character which I enjoyed but she became more serious as the story continued and I found myself missing this aspect of personality, probably because it was what we were used to from the beginning.
"There's nothing that makes you feel more alive than being struck. Unless, of course, it kills you."

"So the reason I was struck again and again was because of my overwhelmingly positive energy. Funny, I'd always thought of myself as a pessimist."
 
Towards the beginning of the book, we get a sense of Mia's distress regarding her addiction and we understand that she is mentally weak when it comes to fighting the cravings as she always surrenders to the painful power in the end. The descriptions of Mia's contact with the lightning was fluently written - you'd almost think Jennifer Bosworth had been struck by lightning herself!

"With the pain came exhilaration, a kind of euphoria that let me know I was alive, that I was connected to everything, every molecule... But I had never felt it this strongly. I had loaned the lightning to this storm, and I could feel it wanting to return to me."
 
"The pain was more than pain. A word had not been invented to
describe this pain, because it was also perfect. An agony of pleasure."
 
I've also heard various complaints about the religious theme within the plot. I'm not an overly religious person myself but I believe that the topic of religion was handled expertly here. No beliefs were being shoved down our throats and no religion was being undermined - it was more about tackling the idea of religious fanaticism rather than exposing a specific religion. Most people seem to miss the underlying message within this theme which is to be aware when it comes to following someone in any authoritative position. 
 
The focus of the story - apart from Mia - is on the warring cults. On one hand, we have the Seekers who believe Mia can stop this oncoming apocalypse and on the other hand, we have Prophet's brainwashed Followers who believe that the apocalypse is God's way of cleansing the earth of the sinners and they want Mia to start the apocalypse. So I guess yous can see Mia's dilemma here. Also, they all seem to have powers that they got from being struck by lightning, how is that even possible?!

STRUCK was #1 on my anticipated reads of the year list (and no, there is no physical list it's just a mental plethora of books I want to read) and if not for the romance and some minor underdeveloped world-building, it would have gotten a full-star rating but overall, I was not disappointed! It was exactly the kind of book I've been craving for. The only thing I'm majorly upset about is that it went by so quickly. I mean, I read it in under 24 hours so now I need Jennifer Bosworth to write me a sequel!


Rating: 4/5 stars



Here's some of my favourite quotes:
 
"I was about to be murdered by gravity, but time slowed enough for me to feel a world of regret for the things I had done wrong, all the bad choices I'd made, the people I'd hurt."

"I was going to do things right from now on, start acting like I had a future, instead of wandering through life waiting for the next bolt of lightning to fry a hole in my world."

"I almost laughed thinking of the one thing I knew for certain about lightning: it was unpredictable. When it struck, you never knew what effect it could have."

"Bloodred light pulsed behind the clouds, and my skin throbbed with the charge. But the fire in my chest did not light up. I had released the fire and now it was burning in the sky."
 

And because I love it so dearly, here's the book trailer:



City of Bones Giveaway Winner!

Firstly, we would like to thank everyone that entered this giveaway!
Secondly, thank you to everyone who followed this blog in the past few days, we really appreciate it!



Laura Hartley!


The winner will be notified and must reply within 24 hours or a new winner will be picked.

Winner was generated from random.org!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Review: Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick - Leona

Summary from Goodreads:
The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.

I adore this series and was highly anticipating Silence especially given the way Crescendo ended had me wanting more! 

Silence was a major improvement from Crescendo, which I loved but was rather disappointed with. 
Silence takes place months after the end of Crescendo, which begs the question 'What has happened?'. Nora's memory is gone and she doesn't remember anything from when she met Patch, including Patch himself. 

It broke my heart that she couldn't remember Patch, especially after all they went through together. Fitzpatrick had me gripped from page one and I couldn't put it down. I ended up finishing it in a matter of hours. 

Nora grows a lot in this book as she attempts to find out the reason behind her memory loss. It's a far cry from her attitude in Crescendo and I was very pleased with how much she grew in Silence. 

Patch now goes by his real name. He says that he hasn't called himself Patch since Nora was taken at the end of Crescendo. Patch remains one of my absolute favourite YA boys EVER! We got to see a softer side of him in Silence, a side we have only vaguely seen in Hush, Hush and Crescendo. 

There are quite a few twists in the book that keep it lively. It is very well paced and the world that Fitzpatrick showed us in the first two is shown even more in this one.
I adore this series, but the downside is I have to wait for the fourth book to see the last part of Nora and Patch's story. (I might just cry.)


Friday, 8 June 2012

New Cover: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - Megan

Normally I can't stand it when a book cover gets redone because, in my opinion, they usually end up nowhere near as good as the original so you all could probably imagine my disappointment when I heard that SHATTER ME was getting a new cover.

I haven't begun reading this book yet although it's next on my TBR (review to come soon) but when Tahereh Mafi posted the cover reveal on her blog, I just had to witness the disaster for myself! However, I found myself to be completely shocked by it's beauty and slightly disappointed at the fact that I don't own this version of the book - I still love the original though!

Tahereh Mafi also informed us that the covers for DESTROY ME and UNRAVEL ME will be revealed later this month and they will follow this style for the rest of the series. Come on guys, are yous as excited as I am?!


Release Dates
Shatter Me (New Edition): October 16th 2012
Destroy Me: October 16th 2012
Unravel Me: February 5th 2013

And now for the main attraction!

I think I'm in love!

Look at that! The trees-for-eyelashes; the waterfall of tears; the colourful clouds; the bird reflected in her eye; and really just the overall theme is beautiful! I want this on my bookshelf, right now!


Here's a side-by-side comparison:



What do you guys think? Do you prefer the original or the new cover?


Thursday, 7 June 2012

Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa - Megan

Synopsis from Goodreads
In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.


Just as I was beginning to think that the vampire genre had finally emptied it's bowl, Julie Kagawa turns the tables on us and delivers a thrilling new story that you'll want to sink your teeth into. I was sceptical at first considering the book was based on the original vampire stories without the whole glitz and glamour of Twilight or The Vampire Diaries but Kagawa proves that her imagination has endless boundaries!

In New Convington, vampires are greatly feared and instead of admiring them, everyone wants to keep as far away from them as possible. After a virus ravages the earth's population, vampires rise to power and the remaining humans become their blood cattle. Unregistereds - like our protagonist, Allison - struggle to survive in the Fringe because, technically, they don't 'exist' so they aren't allowed any food or resources that come from the Inner City.

The book commences strongly, with the rules and regulations of New Convington clearly outlined so we get an understanding for the law system. It took no time at all for Kagawa to firmly grab my attention as she introduced me to this dark and dangerous world. The world-building was impeccably structured with the plot moving forward at a comfortable pace with no forced or rushed events occurring. The fluency of the writing had me engaged throughout because there's nothing I love more than an author who can actually write!

The characterisation was superb. I've noticed that some people seem to have a problem with Allie's choice to become a vampire - considering the fact that her hate for them is clearly stated in the first chapter - but, as told to us during this scene, Allie wanted to live. I mean, she's spent the majority of her life barely existing, so naturally her survival skills would kick in and urge her to go down the immortal path. Allie's determination to not feed on a human was commendable but she also had the sense to understand that sooner or later she would need to sink her fangs into someone or the Hunger would send her on a crazy killing spree. Her loyalty was also torn between her master Kanin and the group journeying to Eden but she balances both, with her rescue mission for Kanin unfolding in the sequel which I'm actually pretty excited for due to the cliffhanger at the end of this book!

The romance was as sweet as sugar; the fact that we didn't meet Zeke (also known as, Ezekiel Crosse) until halfway through the book made it that much better as it gave Kagawa enough time to fully create this world. With no insta-love and no love-triangles in sight, the relationship between Allie and Zeke spread its wings gradually and their growing trust for each other was expertly handled as we came to the climax of the story.
This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it has definitely lived up to my expectations. I really couldn't recommend this more.


Rating: 5/5 stars