Monday, 30 April 2012

[REVIEW] Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Published: January 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Everneath #1
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she's returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld... this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can't find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there's a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he'll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki's time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she's forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole's...
(From Goodreads)

Everneath. A modern take on the myth of Persephone and Hades.  Well honestly if there wasn't a quote on the cover indicating the connection, I would have never known.  Thank you HarperCollins for your strategically placed quote.

This book was okay.  I was disappointed due to the raving reviews about how good the book is. Well to me it's just okay. 

I don't like how the author split each section.  There's too much.  First she has the chapter headings.  Then she has the frequent flashbacks and present day time that is represented by a bolded, capitalized heading of either NOW or LAST YEAR.  Under each heading, is italicised font of the location and how much time is left to the feeding or until her time is up.  Honestly I felt like I was reading a crime report.  There's no need for all the added information. The only thing I appreciated was the time just so I got an understanding of how much time was left, since she only has six months on the surface.  Also the transitions between past and present are instant.  Often the flashbacks relate to what is currently happening in the past but it happens so quickly that I feel a break from the text when I read it.

The three main characters are developed quite well. Each one has their own distinct identity that is evident the further you get in the book. I felt that some characters could have been given more of a part, such as Nikki's best friend Jules, who is meant to create a sort of barrier between Nikki and Jack but that didn't work out that well, probably because she was a minor character and wasn't really needed since there was already Cole who I think brings enough drama to the book.

The other thing I like about this book is how emotionally connected I felt with Nikki.  Not because I went through exactly what she went through but the fact that even though I didn't go through her pain, I could still understand it.

I'm glad that this book is part of a series because if it wasn't, I would not accept the ending at all.

If you like romance driven books with some mythology mixed in to it, then give this a try.


PS: the cover is absolutely amazing! So pretty!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

[REVIEW] Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

Published: June 2011
Publisher: Scholastic
Age Group: Young Adult
A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.

Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her. (From Goodreads)

Sigh. When I saw this book, I thought it would be absolutely amazing.  Clearly I was wrong.  not that this book was bad...just that it wasn't good either.  Ashes, Ashes could have been so much better, perhaps an entire series dedicated to it but it's only a stand alone novel. 

The beginning of the story started out well.  If you can't tell by the cover, this is a dystopic novel and we findt he main character Lucy trying to survive in her shelter.  What really struck me hard about this dystopic world is the fact that Lucy had forgotten who Alice, from Alice in Wonderland was.  I'm pretty sure her shelter was located near/in Central Park in New York City because she was using the Alice statue a measure of how high the water is.  It gave me the sense of sadness that in this dystopic world, people begin to forget information that they've know all their lives.

After the first 100 pages the story kind of goes down hill.  First, SPOILERS ALERT, Lucy finds a boy, her first human contact in a year, and immediately it is evident that he is the romantic interest of her's in this novel.  Then Lucy's shelter floods in and she has no choice but to seek out the boy again and hopefully stay with him.  The reson the world was destroyed is because of a plague.  The very few survivors are living together but there are sweepers who come and abduct them. Lucy runs in to quite a few of them.

Now her romantic interst, Aidan. I thought he was very well written, probably one of the only characters. I don't mean to bash the author but when I read the book, I found that the plot felt rushed and most of the characters weren't developed enough.  The love rival doesn't seem like a love rival but it is evident that she is.  Also, I guess due to the lack of people, it's really hard to have sub plots which might have been why the story was cut short.

The ending of this story could have been much longer.  I was expecting much more and I got worried when I got to the last 50 pages and realized that this story would end and that it couldn't possibly end well in only 50 pages.  I guessed right.

So I guess this is one of those books that really could have been good if it became a series. 


Thursday, 26 April 2012

[REVIEW] Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Published: October 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Caster Cronicles #2
Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.

Sometimes life-ending.

Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems. (From Goodreads)

First, I've tried very hard to like this series but no matter how much I read it, I just can't seem to like it as much as I thought I would.

Beautiful Darkness starts out almost exactly after the events of the prevous book.  There is little introduction and little facts about the previous book that I found to be quite helpful since it's been awhile since I've read Beautiful Creatures.  That's probably the only thing I have positive to say about this book. (Do you see where this is going?)

The characters in this book are very generic.  And it is blatently obvious when the authors include some plot turning event or information to move the story along and continue it.  Honestly, the story could have continued differently from what the current path is, but I have a feeling that since this is young adult, there is a need for there to be a happy ending, or somewhat happy ending, for the two main characters. i.e. we get plot turners that are very obviously put there so the story goes in the right direction. I've honestly encountered multiple occasions when reading this book where I've pondered to myself how stupid the characters are. 

Lena becomes all depressed during this book and decides to leave Ethan.  By concidence (probably not) a new MORTAL girl comes to town catching Ethan's attention.  Seriously, Ethan ditch Lena and make the mortal your girlfriend. He really should have just left her but of course it is revealed that Ethan is actually a "wayward" i.e. he has to guide Lena and when he realizes why Lena left him it's like a ephiphonal moment and now he needs to save Lena if it's the last thing he does.  "What just happened?"  That was honestly my first response to this when I read it.  What happened to leaving Lena and living a normal life? Hmm? Of course not because then the story wouldn't be intersting.  Then they decide to really mess things up by showing what Lena claimed.  MAJOR SPOILER but clearly they didn't make it so she picked either light or dark.  No, of course Lena had to be special and pick both, making it so the entire second book was pointless searching and depressing moments.  Hurrah.  But seriously, her choice, at the last 50 pages or so made the previous parts absolutely pointless.  The driving force of the second book was Lena's choice and look what happened.  Complete dissapointment.  Now the story is taking a different route but honeestly I'm pretty sure it's going to be the same outline. 

I've rarely found books about witchcraft that I've absolutely loved, and Beautiful Darkness is no exception.  It's not good, but not bad.  Just that a lot of scenes became too predicatable and generic and didn't make sense but was added anyway.

I have nothing else to say about this book and if you choose to read it, please write what you thing about this booka nd let me know.  I'm quite curious to see what other people think of it. Whether you agree with me or not.

(might be a little bit too generous...)

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

[RANT] Insurgent - Free Four

Add caption
As you can tell by my countdown widget, Insurgent is nearing it's release date (less then one week left!!!)

If you can't tell, I'm kind of in love with the trilogy (it's confirmed!) Divergent.

Now for equally exciting news, Veronica Roth has had a proposition, that if pre-orders reach 35,000, she'll release a chapter written in Four's perspective...Well, I'm happy (more like extremely excited) to say that yesterday, officially 35,000 pre-order copies have been sold.

And so, the release of the chapter.

Here's Veronica's blog post about it.  A link will be in it.

Anyone else as excited as I am?

P.S. 6 MORE DAYS!!!!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

[REVIEW] Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Published: November 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Shatter Me #1
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. (From Goodreads)

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi was definitely a book that got better as you read it. At the beginning I really didn't like the story.  Perhaps it was the author's writing style.  Tahereh Mafi wrote this book with repeated words and crossed out lines (which looks strange at first but you get use to it.) Personally, I'm a reader who enjoys fast paced and to the point writing so repeated words and confusing slashed sentences made it very confusing for me. Now my reasoning behind the repeated words was that it did emphasize the situation without having to bold the text or make it larger for that matter. Also the crossed out words seem to be what Julliette is truly thinking because, usually, right after the crossed out words is the opposite of what she wants to say.  For instance, towards Adam, she'll be like "Touch me Don't touch me" Like that.

I also found that this book, mainly at the beginning, was written like a journal. I'm not sure if this is her writing style either but the writing changed half way through the story.  It blended perfectly together so it wasn't easy to tell but I instantly enjoyed the story much more after the change.  It got quicker and less crossed out and repeated words. 
The author also likes to use internal monologues to countdown days, seconds, breaths etc.  Basically there are a lot of numbers in this book...that I don't particularly think add anything exciting to it and honestly, if they were taken out, I feel the book would be the same (maybe even better)

I thought the descriptions were different, in a good way, and written in a way that metaphors or analogies are compared to things that I wouldn't normally compare them to, and yet it makes perfect sense when you think about it.  I've read very few books that describe actions and emotions like this book does.

The characters are also very well written. Juliette seems like the frail, innocent, peaceful  girl who has this deadly touch but she can also be stern and violent if need be.  Adam seems to be the rigid, rule-following guy but can be a total softy when need be too.

I love a good romance and Adam and Juliette's romance together is something that I absolutely adore.  If I were to critic anything, it is that their love blossamed a little too quickly for me.  There was no build up just a sudden click and they were a couple.  They make a very good couple so I'll let that go but it's a little hard to believe in their love it happens like that first.

The love triangle (or corners as I have been repeatedly told by my friends) in this story is...unusual.  Usually it's a girl that's torn between two guys, both equally amazing and she has to choose one.  In this case, it's two guys torn between one girl and yet the girl only reciprocates her love to another.  I have a theory that Juliette's touch doesn't work on people that truly love her. Because Warner and Adam are both immune and both love her.  It'll be interesting to see how this triangle/corners turns out in the future.

Shatter Me is a Dystopic novel (no surprise that I would find another one).  The story line reminds me of Legend by Marie Lu. And even a little bit of the Hunger Games.  I feel like the whole escape and finding the resistance is like it but of course that's entirely my opinion.

The ending was definitely written for a sequel in mind.  There was no definite ending so I guess I'll have to wait a year to read the sequel (Released early 2013)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

[REVIEW] Fifty Shades Darker by E L James

Published: September 2011/April 2012
Publisher: The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House/
Vintage Canada
Age Group: Adult
Series: Fifty Shades #2
Daunted by the singular sexual tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life. (From Goodreads)

NOTE: THIS IS ADULT FICTION, i.e. for MATURE audiences.  It's best not to read this if you're not an adult. Read at your own discretion

This trilogy is probably my new favourite romance.  Of course a great deal of the story is the relationship between Christian and Ana and their, ahem, vigorous love. 

I will admit I didn't fully finish reading the first book before reading this but I was fine.  It was confusing a little bit but it made sense the more I read. 

Christian is probably the ideal man for every women. Think Twilight's Edward Cullen but an adult version.  Then add a troubled past and a very controlling man and that's Christian.  Christian's rich, powerful, handsome and practically AMAZING!!! (if you can't tell, I'm definitely a Christian lover)

Ana on the other hand is supposedly like Bella but I see little to no relation between them.  The fifty shades trilogy started out as an adult twilight fan fiction so I was thoroughly surprised when I kept reading and Ana's personality became more apparent.  In all honesty, this trilogy is much better than Twilight, the only problem is that it's targeted for more mature audiences.

Throughout the book Christian treats Ana like a princess. Sigh, who wouldn't want to be treated like a princess! You can tell he absolutely loves Ana and Ana loves him back. 

I often complain about the fact that romances happen to quickly in stories. Even though this story was probably the exact same thing, it didn't feel like it when I read it.  It felt normal and just right that they would fall in love so quickly. Honestly I didn't even think about it until I started writing this review.

NOTE: When I heard this song on my i-pod, I immediately thought of Christian and Ana.
If anyone`s wondering, the song`s "Smile" by Uncle Kracker.  Although the song`s  little bit more cheerful than the actual book, in my opinion, I still think it fits.
There's a lot of BDSM (think bondage and s&m) but I don't think it takes away from the romance at all. The romance and the struggles they encounter is the main plot.   They also do a lot of, as Christian calls it, "vanilla love."  Oh Fifty, haunting the dreams of so many. Ana seems to be playing along more in this book than from what I've read of the first book. She's getting stronger and a little bit more demanding.. Oh well, Fifty needs to loosen up (which he does).

Whether this story was meant to be written as a fan fiction to begin with, it's still very well written. I'm not sure how much they edited but I honestly couldn't put the book down until I finished reading it, which I've found recently to be very rare. Usually the beginning of a book will be amazing and then I slow down near the end or vice versa. I think the last time this happened to me was when I read Divergent by Veronica Roth, which was back to late last year, so it's been a while.

This book reminds me of the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong, not because they`re alike but because they seem to be complete opposites of each other.  Kelley Armstrong`s series has the main focus on the struggles and the events of the story as oppose to the love, Fifty Shades has the love as the main focus and the events as the sub plots. The complete opposite. I love both these books so I`m not complaining, just thought it was intersting.

On  a last note. I found another song, guess I'm too much of a romantic
The song's "Wanna be Loved" by Scotty James. ♥ describes them so well!

If you love romance, you'll definitely love this book.  It's really really (really!) good. Give it a try!

Friday, 20 April 2012

[REVIEW] Fateful by Claudia Gray

Published: September 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
A tragic tale about falling in love on the world’s most infamous ill-fated sea voyage as heroine, Tess, discovers darker secrets that lie beneath the doomed crossing… and a hidden brotherhood that threaten to tear her lover from her forever.

The RMS Titanic is the most luxurious ship ever built, but for eighteen-year-old Tess Davies it’s a prison. Travelling as a maid for the family she has served for years, Tess is trapped in their employ amid painful memories and family secrets.

When she meets Alec, a handsome upper class passenger, Tess falls helplessly in love. But Alec has secrets of his own… and soon Tess is entangled in a dangerous game. A sinister brotherhood that will do anything to induct Alec into their mystical order has followed him onboard. And Tess is now their most powerful pawn.

Tess and Alec fight the dark forces threatening to tear them apart, never realising that they will have to face an even greater peril before the journey is over…

New York Times best-selling author Claudia Gray delivers adventure, dark paranormal suspense, alluring romance, and a truly surprise ending, set against the opulent backdrop of the Titanic's first — and last — voyage. (From Goodreads)

First of all, the cover for this novel is absolutely amazing.  Well mainly the font...but the colour is good too!  My first thoughts from seeing this cover was that this book was definitely about ghosts...well clearly I'm not very good at guessing because this book was not about ghosts.  After reading the story the cover quite accuratly depicts the story.

Fateful is about a girl, Tess, who is a servant of the Lisles family, an old noble family, that board the Titanic with them on a trip to America.  At this moment, you can already see where this is going.  Of course the story is about the sinking of the Titanic.  Claudia Gray puts her own twist in to this by introducing werewovles and this werwolf cult called the Brotherhood that has some buisness on this boat and Tess ends up in the middle of it.  On the boat, Tess also meets a wealthy nobleman called Alec.  The only problem is Alec is hiding a secret that could possibly harm Tess if she were to get closer to him.

Of course in Claudia Gray fashion Alec is a man that is of different background or social standards than Tess.  It is predictable and quite frankly tiring to read every time but I guess that's one of her signature trademarks and makes her special as an author.

The only major criticism I have with this book is that there are several sub plots that seem pointless.  Closer to the end, the purpose of them is revealed but I am pretty sure that if they weren't included in the story, the story would be equally as good, if not better.  For instance, when Tess starts reminiscing about the past and the mistake her sister did, I was constantly thinking "so? What does this have to do with the fact that you're on a boat bound to sink in the cold, freezing water?" Clearly I was very confused and then later the sub plot reaches a purpose and I'm still thinking "What did that have to do with the story?"

There are also dates, probably to show what happens during one day or the time line of this voyage.  I didn't really understand those either.  If the story is written well enough, readers should be able to tell when a new day has come or if several days have passed.  There is no need for prompting dates (as I call them) in this story.  The story is so simple that these dates only hinder the reading.

What I did like about this book is mainly how Claudia Gray explains emotions.  She does this in her Evernight series as well but all the characters have their own distinct emotion that is explained so detailed and written so well that sometimes I feel like I'm in the room with them when a daughter and mother get into a fight or when Tess is running for her life or when she experiences love.  This writing also made this Titanic tale much more interesting.  Claudia Gray's writing brought the sinking to life.  I'm pretty sure most of us, in our lives, have written or seen something detailing the catastrophic tragedy of the Titanic.  Fateful is written that I felt the explanation of the sinking and what the passengers actions and emotions were, was different to what I've encountered before.  There was pure emotion there and I really felt sorry for the passengers that couldn't make it off the ship.

Fateful is a stand alone novel and I really wish there was a sequel to this but there isn't. 

Give Fateful a try, perhaps you'll find you like it.  I didn't hate it but there were definitely parts that I was iffy on.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

[REVIEW] The Vampire's Promise by Caroline B. Cooney

Published: February 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Genre: Young Adult 
From master of suspense Caroline B. Cooney, three spine-tingling vampire novels in one juicy volume.A vampire lives in the tower of the creepy old house in town--a vampire who makes promises and grants wishes. Few know he exists. When Althea, Devnee, and Lacey meet the vampire, he offers them the things they want most--popularity, beauty, freedom.But his bargains come for a price.How much are the girls willing to pay? How many lives will they destroy? And is there any way out of a vampire's promise?(From Goodreads)

First of all i absoutely hate the binding this publisher does. The pages are really hard to open up fully and that's something I personally dislike in a book. 

So back to the book, The Vampire's Promise is about this vampire who lives in the shuttered, circular tower of the creepy old house in town. Whoever happens to release the vampire will have their a chance to have their wish granted - but for a price. In the book there are three different stories that follow the same storyline. Each girl in the three stories encounter the vampire who grants them their wishes of popularity, beauty and freedom. They soon find out though that the price they have to pay may be higher then they expected. 

I'm not a fan of books that have multiple stories, loosely connected by this one common factor, in this case a wish granting vampire. 

I decided to give this book a chance, particularly since I didn't know that it had three stories that followed the same storyline. The first story was really good.  I would have preferred to read a 400 page book just on that story. 

Of course the story ended with a slightly climatical ending and the next story began. Well I got through the first three chapters and gave up. The second story was utterly horrible and I didn't really want to read the same storyline again. It was so similar to the previous one, minus the character and their wish. But the desire to want something so bad to succomb to the vampire and that they were social outcasts sort of made it boring to read again. It may just be me but reading another story so similar to the previous story is not very fun at all. 
So needless to say, I stopped reading the book and I decided to read another book. 

The stories are also very quickly paced so just when you start to getting in to the book, the stories ended. 

If you like these types of loosely connected stories then read this book because they do connect wonderfully but if you're like me who enjoys some variety in the stories I read, then don't read this.

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Monday, 16 April 2012

[REVIEW] Reckoning by Lili St. Crow

Published: November 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Strange Angels #5 [end]
Nobody expected Dru Anderson to survive this long. Not Graves. Not Christophe. Not even Dru. She's battled killer zombies, jealous djamphirs, and bloodthirsty suckers straight out of her worst nightmares. But now that Dru has bloomed into a full-fledged svetocha - rare, beautiful, and toxic to all vampires - the worst is yet to come.

Because getting out alive is going to cost more than she's ever imagined. And in the end, is survival really worth the sacrifice?

BUT SHE SHOULD BE (From Goodreads)

Reckoning was...not horrible but different from what I expected.  First of all, the majority of the story takes place with Dru on the run.  Personally I found the drama in the Schola to be very funny and intersting so imagine my dissapointment when I realized that they wouldn't be going back.

Also, I appreciate the action and excitement I got when I read about Dru running but there wasn't really anything else but that.  In all honesty, she could have stayed captured in the fourth book and still come up with the same ending. So in reality, There could have really been four books in the series as oppose to five.  I guess five makes it more spaced out and there's more room to write about events but I just found it unecessary.

Dru is a girl who means buisness and every book she kicks butt.  Really. That's why I like her, because she's different from other heroines. I find her very similar to Rose from the Vampire Academy series.  The only bad thing about Dru I would have to say is her indecisiveness in regards to love.  I find both of these characters have this problem. Although Dru is really good at adapting and fighting bad guys, she's stuck in the teenage drama of which guy do I choose. That might be what makes her relatable because her fighting vampires is not normal at all but because she suffers from all the teenage angst most common in teenagers, we can relate to her.

Lastly, the ending is horrible.  Another book in the dissapointing ending pile. I was expecting much more and I sort of felt like the ending was left too anything could happen. She could be with Christophe but Graves could return. Or she could live a happy life in the Schola or another evil vampire could come to life and threaten her again... It was sort of ambigious to me and I hate that.

So give it a try, hopefully you won't be as dissapointed as I was and if you like this series, definitely give the Vampire Academy series a try too!


Saturday, 14 April 2012

[REVIEW] Stolen by Kelley Armstrong

Published: September 2004
Publisher: Plume
Age Group: Adult
Series: Women of the Otherworld #2
It was in Bitten, Kelley Armstrong’s debut novel, that thirty-year-old Elena Michaels came to terms with her feral appetites and claimed the proud identity of a beautiful, successful woman —and the only living female werewolf.

In Stolen, on a mission for her own elite pack, she is lured into the net of ruthless Internet billionaire Tyrone Winsloe, who has funded a bogus scientific investigation of the “other races” and their supernatural powers. Kidnapped and studied in his underground lab deep in the Maine woods, these paranormals—witches, vampires, shamans, werewolves—are then released and hunted to the death in a real-world video game. But when Winsloe captures Elena, he finally meets his match. (From Goodreads)

Stolen is the second book in the Women of the Otherworld series.

In Stolen, paranormals are being kidnapped by a tycoon seeking to build his own collection. Elena Michaels, the only female werewolf and the pack representive, goes to Pittsburgh where she is unexpectadly tricked by a young women who lures her into a trap by pretending to require assistance. Now Elena is kidnapped and imprisoned underground where she is kept for scientific research and the worst part about it is that there seems to be some spell that is blocking her ability to contact with her pack members and call for help. Now Elena has to find a way to escape, on her own, all the while trying to survive from the perverted tycoon who seems to enjoy torturing his prisoners and a lady who wants a more exciting life, and Elena might be the answer to it.

This is probably my fourth time reading this book. 

I love the women of the otherworld series, it's much better then Armstrong's teen series' which I find dull and not very exciting. 

Stolen has everything the first book, Bitten, has. It has action, excitement and hot romantic scenes. 

If I had to say anything bad about this book, it was that the introduction was slow but I understand that they had to set everything up and explain what was happening.

The majority of the book is focused on Elena's entrapment. She does get out, don't worry about that. There had to be some way of continuing the story but what she has to go through...well, it's not pretty. 

What I love about this series is that Armstrong finds a way to weave the different main characters in to each story. Stolen focuses on Elena but the next book in the series I believe focuses on the witches, who are introduced in this book. 

I also really like the covers. Although they're more symbolic then anything, the all black background and the one symbol is very strong and makes a large impact, at least for me. Think the covers of Twilight but more intense. 

So if you love reading abuot paranormals, give this book a try especially if you're starting to find that teen paranormal series' are getting a bit boring because this series is anything but boring.



Thursday, 12 April 2012

[REVIEW] Broken by Kelley Armstrong

Published: April 2006
Publisher: Bantam
Age Group: Adult
Series: Women of the Otherworld #6
In this thrilling new novel from the author of Industrial Magic, a pregnant werewolf may have unwittingly unleashed Jack the Ripper on the twenty-first century — and become his next target…

Ever since she discovered she’s pregnant, Elena Michaels has been on edge. After all, she’s never heard of another living female werewolf, let alone one who’s given birth. But thankfully, her expertise is needed to retrieve a stolen letter allegedly written by Jack the Ripper. As a distraction, the job seems simple enough — only the letter contains a portal to Victorian London’s underworld, which Elena inadvertently triggers — unleashing a vicious killer and a pair of zombie thugs.

Now Elena must find a way to seal the portal before the unwelcome visitors get what they’re looking for — which, for some unknown reason, is Elena… (From Goodreads)

Broken is the sixth book in the Women of the Otherworld series and has Elena as the narrator.

In Broken, Elena is called for an favor that she owes the half demon Xavier, who had helped her escape from the research facility when she was captured. The favor is simple, steal the letter sent by Jack the Ripper that went missing back in the twenties. The job seems simple enough until Elena accidentally unlocks the spell on the letter releasing a dimensional portal. To make matters worse, Elena is pregnant and now there are zombies coming out of the portal and attacking her. Now Elena has to find a way to seal the portal in time, all the while trying to stay alive.

Broken had some parts that were confusing for me. Not because the story line was badly written but because I hadn't read book three, four and five. There were some events and people mentioned that I had no idea about but overall, the story was well written and I wasn't completely lost that I couldn't understand what was happening. 

As always, Elena and Clay's relationship is going strong and the plot in this book is different but still similar to the other books. 

I really would have liked it if they had touched on Jack the Ripper some more but I guess the main point of the book isn't about Jack the Ripper but about Elena's survival in this troubled time. 

Like my previous review, I can find no, or very little, faults with Kelley Armstrong's writing and her series. 

The cover is amazing and the story is very well written. 

If you love fantasy but not much of a Twilight fan, I would suggest you give this a try!



Wednesday, 11 April 2012

[HAUL] Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

So recently I've been noticing this book, Fifty shades of Grey by E L James so when I went out today and saw it, I had to get it.

I will admit that I completely got this due to the hype so I have no idea what it's about...that's never good but I'm positive I'll like it. (hopefully!)

The summary from the back of the book:

NOTE: THIS IS AN ADULT BOOK, i.e. for more mature audiences

When Literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating.  The unwordly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him.  Unable to resist Ana's quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Gret admits he wants her, too - but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates.  For all the trappings of success - his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family - Grey is tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control.  When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey's secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you. possess you, and stay with you forever.

Yup, that's right. 
It's a trilogy.  I'm excited, not going to lie. 
Anyone else? 
Expect a review in a while (still have a lot of books to get through...)

goodreads link 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

[REVIEW] The Hypnotist by Lars Keplar

Published: June 2011
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
 Age Group: Adult - crime fiction

Prepare for The Hypnotist to cast its spell In the frigid clime of Tumba, Sweden, a gruesome triple homicide attracts the interest of Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the murders. The killer is still at large, and there’s only one surviving witness—the boy whose family was killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes wanted this boy to die: he’s suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and lapsed into a state of shock. Desperate for information, Linna sees only one option: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes. It’s the sort of work that Bark has sworn he would never do again—ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl. An international sensation, The Hypnotist is set to appear in thirty-seven countries, and it has landed at the top of bestseller lists wherever it’s been published—in France, Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Denmark. Now it’s America’s turn. Combining the addictive power of the Stieg Larsson trilogy with the storytelling drive of The Silence of the Lambs, this adrenaline-drenched thriller is spellbinding from its very first page. (From Goodreads)

Before I read this book, I had read a lot of reviews raving about this book and how it was "the next Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (a reference to the Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larson).

Well I'm happy to say that this book lived up to its expectations.  I'm still debating on which book I like better but for now it's a tie.

The Hypnotist is a crime fiction book about a hypnotist who uses hypnotism to treat patients(surprise surprise) and has retired from his career ten years ago when something bad happens in relation to his patients.  The story is very ambiguous about this event until later on in the story.

The hypnotist is first enlisted after a triple homicide happens and the only survivor is a little boy who was meant to be killed, due to the multiple knife wounds on his body but managed to survive.  The leading detective decides to resort to hypnotism in an attempt to find the killer but what they figure out may not be what they expected.

The Hypnotist to me, similar to the Millennium trilogy is like a bunch of subplots that create this giant plot.  The major plot at the beginning is the homicide, that's what brings the hypnotist in to the world of crime again which results in him remembering his previous job and what happened then.  There were many flashbacks as the main character, the hypnotist, tried to fill in the gaps that were created when he talks about previous events, since readers have never read about it before.  I don't want to spoil anything but what I can say is this story is much more complicated than just a triple homicide.  Things get very serious even after they solve the homicide - mind you that would have been a very nice ending on its own - and realize that there is much more to this than just murder.  The murders are connected to the hypnotists past patients and things become even worse when his son is kidnapped.  There is even a time crunch since his son needs to take his medication within a certain amount of time otherwise he will die.

Now, back to the review. The Hypnotist was truly a masterpiece.  The cover is ominous and creepy but that adds to the whole vibe.

The characters are all developed and all act in their own manner in the story.  Often there will be a chapter with they hypnotists as the narrator and than a chapter on his wife as the narrator.  This allows readers to get all the information possible since both of these characters are finding different information at the same time.

The way the story was woven too was astounding.  I really thought that the story would end when they found the killer of the homicide but the story was written in a way that it just flowed in to the other sub plots.  There wasn't any forced change, I just read through the book and came to a realization that this was much more than I thought.

The plot is more geared towards a stand alone novel as oppose to the Millennium trilogy where it was written for a series and so a lot of information revealed in past books are needed to understand the later ones.  This book gave you only the information needed to understand the story, which is understandable since there is no point in reading more than is needed,

The action was also amazing.  I could really feel the stress and fast paced movements the narrator did.  I remember reading it and my heart was beating so quickly because I was nervous as to what the narrator would find even though this story had nothing to do with me and I wasn't the one finding the bodies are the killer, but I definitely felt like I was a part of it. 

I would definitely recommend this book to you.  I'm hoping that Lars Keplar comes out with another book so I can read that one too.


Sunday, 8 April 2012

[REVIEW] Wolfsbane by Andrea Cremer

Published: July 2011
     Publisher: Philomel Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Nightshade #2
When Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemies, she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer, one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack and the man she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive. (From Goodreads)

Wolfsbane is the sequel to the first book in the series, Nightshade. 

In Wolfsbane, Calla and Shay allign with the Searchers and attempt to get back Calla's pack. Of course, things don't always turn out the way it's suppose to be. Because of Calla's choice and actions, the Banes took over the Nightshade pack and Calla's mother is executed. As well, Calla's brother was made an example, what happened I'll let you find out. When the searchers and Calla finally find where her pack is, somethings happen that are completely unexpected. New alliances are formed throughout the story and there's always surprises in every couple chapters.

Wolfsbane was more of the explanatory book to me. 

Much of the history of the Scion and the previous Guardian revolt is revealed, as well as some hidden secrets. 

Calla and Shay are also developing more of a romantic relationship which I was not happy to read about because I was completely for Calla and Ren but I guess after Ren's choice and actions in this book, I can be on Team Shay for a while...until the third book comes out then I'll decide again.

That's one of the reasons why i like this book, I never really figuered out who the main character, as an alpha wolf, would pick as her mate. I guess that is made more clear in this book. 

Andrea Cremer does an amazing job keeping you hooked in to this book. I remember reading it and there would be some parts that were utterly boring to read but then soon after, something exciting. Sort of a pattern, boring, exciting, boring, exciting. 

The cover for Wolfsbane is also really pretty. The publishing group had redone the covers for the entire Nightshade series. For Wolfsbane, there's Calla on the cover crouched in an animalistic way. Almost like she's about to shift and lunge at you. It's a very powerful image in my opinion. 

This series is amazing and if you like to read books about action, fantasy, and very powerful women, this is definitely one for you.

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Friday, 6 April 2012

[REVIEW] Bitten by R. L. Stine

Published: 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Dangerous Girls #1 & 2
Twin sisters Destiny and Livvy Weller return home from summer vacation with a dark secret . . . and an inhuman desire to drink blood. What have they become? Can they ever turn back? As their deadly secret becomes harder to keep, more questions arise and loyalties are tested. And as one sister descends into darkness, the other must find a way to save her—and herself. Who will live to see the glow of the next full moon? Which sister will survive?

In Dangerous Girls and Dangerous Girls #2: The Taste of Night, published together in Bitten, bestselling author R.L. Stine explores the dark creatures of the night. (From Goodreads)

Well first, this book is about vampires.
Shocker there. 

Secondly, the vampires aren't like the ones from Twilight that sparkle in the sun or the ones that have to drink immortal elixer, no. These vampires are the ones that live forever, suck blood and terrorize people. 

In the book there are twins, Destiny and Lizzy who end up being bitten by the same vampire while they are camp. The reason why the vampire bit them? Well they looked like the girl he loved that got killed. To be with her again, the vampire attempts to make them immortal but is interrupted in the process. That starts this whole crazy adventure. This book is made up of two parts, so in the first part, the girls are confronted with the truth that they are becoming hungrier and hungrier and that they thirst for blood. The other thing is that the vampire that bit them, well he can't continue the job unless it's a full moon so he ends up stalking them...kind of creepy in my opinion. Destiny (Dee for short) also starts to get stressed about finding a cure when the twins stumble upon another vampire that told them "The Restorer" could cure them if there was enough time left. So begins the hunt for the Restorer. Along the way, the girls also realize that there are vampire hunters in town and that their dad and the entire baseball team is a part of it. SO now they have to run for their lives as well as trying to save them. At the end of the first part, the twin's dad tells them that he is actually the Restorer and he saves Dee but Lizzy chooses to stay immortal, even turning someone else too. Well in the second part, it's completely about the psychological harm Lizzy does to her family by leaving her home. We also see Lizzy constantly homesick and wondering around at night finding people to drink. It gets serious later on when people start dying and the twins both think that the other twin had something to do with it...

Bitten reminds me alot of the Vampire Diaries, without the witches, werewolves, angelic blood and hot romances. It's sort of the sample of it.
I'll be honest, at first I thought this book was horrible. There's no depth in the plot and the girls are just constantly chasing some made up tale. It got better when people actually started to die and the plot deepend. 

What i did like abut this was the characters really expressed their emotions well. It was also a really easy read. I read the entire 480 page book in a little bit more then two hours. So I guess if you like books about vampires then give it a try but don't expect much.

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

[REVIEW] Cruel Love by Kate Brian

Published: June 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Privilege #6 [end]
After escaping from the Brenda T. Trumball Correctional Facility for Women and stealing the identity of a rich socialite, Ariana Osgood finally thought she was on the path she always believed she deserved. But it seems her past has caught up with her--and it's blackmailing her right back to her old ways. Now everything she wants seems further out of reach than ever...and the return of her nemesis--Reed Brennan from Private--is making things even worse.
The Privilege series comes to a close with all the suspense, romance, drama and, wherever Ariana is concerned, murder you'd expect. (From Goodreads) 

Cruel Love is the sixth and final book in the Privilege series. 

In Cruel Love, Ariana Osgood (under the guise as Briana Leigh Covington) once again has to fight for her new privileged life. When her false life starts to unravel due to her previous actions, she decides to take actions. After Lexa's unfortunate death, Ariana rises to the top of Atherton-Pryce Hall and is guarenteed an admission into Princeton, but when Dr. Meloni, the psychologist from the prison. starts working as a grief counseller to the students, Ariana realizes that her life is still in danger. And when she happens to catch sight of Reed Brennan one day, she starts to believe that all the murders that happened because of her can be justified if Reed just died. It also doesn't help that her friends are all becoming suspicious of her new erratic behaviour. So what does Ariana do? She takes matters in to her own hands. Ariana would do anything to keep her life, including murder.

This was probably the most exciting 200 page book that i've read in a long time. 

Right away, it starts with Ariana and her friends in the hospital waiting to hear the results for her friend Lexa. There's no building up, right away in the first chapter, there's a huge fights between Ariana and Palmer which builds the tension and really made me feel the anxiety that Ariana was going through. 

Kate Brian does a really good job with allowing the readers to feel Ariana's steady decent in to being psychologically crazy. The readers know every action she does so the one's that she commits in private are usually the more crazy ones, and it is clear that towards the end of the book, she starts to becoming psychologically worse. 

Everything also happens at a very quick pace, but still very dramatic and easy to follow along. 

Its funny to see that most of the characters in the book are oblivious to Ariana's actions. When Dr. Meloni almost sees Ariana with her friends, she starts to have a panic attack which her friends assume is from stress but Ariana knows the real reason.
The series also ended quite well. At first i wasn't happy but then i realized that if it was written any other way, the series probably couldn't end at all. All i can say is it's a happy or sad ending, depending on your feelings about certain characters. 

Ariana's psychotic nature is also more apparent in this book, in my opinion, due to her constant efforts to rid herself of one person, Reed. She stalks her and makes a concise schedule of everywhere Reed will be at what time, making sure to note if the path she takes would be a good place to kill her without being seen. That sort of scared me because before, Ariana wasn't this crazy about a murder but in this book, she plans each one out and executes them carefully...well attempting to be careful because things don't always happen as expected. 

I thought this was a well written series and if you enjoyed Private, you'll definitely enjoy this book but if you've never heard of Kate Brian, then i would suggest you read Private before starting this series since this is the spin-off series of Private. Private would explain alot of Ariana's past and actions.

Definitely this series is for people that are into suspensful, thriller novels with a hint of romance.

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Monday, 2 April 2012

[REVIEW] The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong

Published: April 2011
Publisher:HarperCollins New York
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Darkness Rising #1
Sixteen-year-old Maya is just an ordinary teen in an ordinary town. Sure, she doesn't know much about her background - the only thing she really has to cling to is an odd paw-print birthmark on her hip - but she never really put much thought into who her parents were or how she ended up with her adopted parents in this tiny medical-research community on Vancouver Island.

Until now.

Strange things have been happening in this claustrophobic town - from the mountain lions that have been approaching Maya to her best friend's hidden talent for "feeling" out people and situations, to the sexy new bad boy who makes Maya feel . . . . different. Combine that with a few unexplained deaths and a mystery involving Maya's biological parents and it's easy to suspect that this town might have more than its share of skeletons in its closet.

In The Gathering, New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong brings all the supernatural thrills from her wildly successful Darkest Powers series to Darkness Rising, her scorching hot new trilogy. (From Goodreads)

The Gathering takes place in a small town on Vancouver Island with a population of about 200. There, the St.Cloud company filled the town with employees that were promised the best care for their children. All employees that were hired have young children and the St. Cloud company thought that the best way to attract the parents is to promise the best for the children. In this town, the main character, Maya lives with her parents. Maya was adopted at the age of five and has a paw print shaped birthmark above her waist. Her best friend's called Daniel and her other best friend, Serena, drowned in a lake. The incident was deemed an accident but both Maya and Daniel have different opinions. Besides that, the new guy, Rafe, is constantly following Maya, wanting her to be his girlfriend. Mix that was a bunch of cougar appearences, a shady women by the name of Mina Lee that wants any information the towns children can tell her, and the unnatural events that are occuring and you have a very complicated life. So what does Maya do when she figures out who she really is and uncovers a huge conspiracy happening in her own town?

I love Kelley Armstrong books. More like i really like her adult books (The Women of the Otherworld series). Her teen books (The Darkest Powers Series) wasn't too good in my opinon so i was quite hesitant to read this book but i gave it a shot and well, it's definitely Kelley Armstrong.

There aren't as many, shall we say, romantic scenes as one expects from the Women of the Otherworld but this book has it's fair share. For once though, i'm happy to say that the plot of this book was not driven by the romantic relationships the main character has. In fact, the entire plot of the book is introduced ever so slowly. The reader does really know what it is until the main character realizes.

Basically the lie gets bigger and bigger and more secrets are revealed as the protagonist realizes that her small and quiet town might have more secrets then it seems to have. 

Of course, this book has to have some reference to the supernatural but Armstrong took a different route this time. The supernatural part of this book was more connected to First Nations and their tales as oppose to our perceptions of vampires, werewolves, etc. 

What i also really liked about this book was that Kelley Armstrong wrote it so ingeniously that you don't even realize that at the beginning, she's already revealed what the big secret is, but you don't know about that because you don't know clearly what's happening to the main character and what you're reading about. In fact, all i though about when reading the first couple of chapters is that the main character was getting visions and possibly she had some sixth sense. 

Well i was sort of right. The fact is, when the secret is revealed, the facts sort lining up, and you have a EUREKA moment when you realize that the signs were all there, you just didn't know what you were looking for. 

I found the characters to be also very intriguing. Maya is a very stubbern girl who often thinks too much in to events and people. Daniel is the overprotective best friend who has his own problems to deal with. The romance in this book was also not what i wanted. I always seem to be rooting for the overprotective, caring boy; not the bad-guy who the girl is obviously attracted to. 

Lastly, the ending of this book is a major cliff hanger. I'm probably going to read the second book just to see what's going to happen to them. Leave it to Kelley Armstrong to keep me hooked. 

So if you're a fan of fantasy, action, dark secrets, and Kelley Armstrong of course, read this book!