Saturday, 23 June 2012

[REVIEW] The Calling by Kelley Armstrong

Published: April 2012
Publisher: Doubleday Canada,
divison of Random House Canada
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Darkest Powers #5
Darkness Rising #3

Maya and her friends--all of whom have supernatural powers--have been kidnapped after fleeing from a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set, and after a terrifying helicopter crash they find themselves pursued by evildoers in the Vancouver Island wilderness. (From  Goodreads)

It's come to my attention that perhaps the Darkness Rising trilogy and the one before it, the Darkest Powers trilogy, and the one after this is all one BIG conspiracy theory. Each book is similar and loosely connected to each other, which is similar to her adult urban fantasy series, the women of the otherworld, but I just feel that, being a reader who has ONLY read the Darkness Rising trilogy, I'm missing out on a lot of insider information that could help to explain some questions in this trilogy if I had read the trilogy before it.  Well, I'll be honest, I hate Kelley Armstrong's teen fiction. It's not that it's bad writing because Kelley Armstrong is one of my favourite writers, just that I find this series, in comparison to her adult series, lacks the essence that made it so memorable for me.  It's understandable that in teen literature, the author needs to dull it down or add more teenage drama to it to appeal to the demographic and it might be because of these added elements and the elimination of more mature parts that I find her young adult series somewhat lacking. I love action, and the hot romantic scenes between Clay and Elena and that isn't present in these books.

The Calling was an inbetween novel (hence why it's book 2 of a trilogy) and in all inbetween novel fashion, this book only served to explain what is happening to set the story up for the climatic end in the third one. Well I think this one was done splendidly.  It really answered a lot of loose holes and shed some light on some characters.  It starts off right where the last one left off at and by the end of this novel you'll be quite surprised at some of the revelations that occur.  Actually revelations start in the first couple of chapters. 

I know Kelley Armstrong is an author who hates describing things and that's also evident in this novel.  She prefers quick action and there is that, in the brief page or two of action and than it's back to explaining. Kelley Armstrong also left the typical supernatural creatures, i.e. werewolves and vampires, and decided to explore more native legends and less known creatures which I think is very interesting and rarely done. Kudos Kelley Armstrong, Well done.

I think the star of this book was Sam. Well of course Maya is the main character so it's obvious that she would be one of the main focuses of the series but Sam was also very important in this book. I have a feeling that she was used as the person to bring information to them (which she did!) and; thus, had a larger role in this book. She also became more developed.  No longer was she just the girl that moved to town after everyone and the mayor's niece but now as the girl with an extinct supernatural legend inside of her and having come from a troubled past.  Some other characters are also devloped more, Corey, Nicole and Daniel. 

There really isn't much to say about this book. There usually isn't much to say when the majority of the book is information.  I can say thought that although the beginning of the book was action packed and very climactical, it took me awhile to get attached to this book.  I think when more was explained, I could actually start to understand what was happening and appreciate the story more.

I won't say don't read this because I know many people love her Darkest Powers trilogy just that I don't think this is her best writing.


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

[REVIEW] Eve by Anna Carey

Published: October 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Eve #1
The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust...and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life. (
From Goodreads)

Confession Time.  I will admit that the only reason I borrowed this book was because of the cover and imagine my surprise when I read the inside blurb and it said "Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth's population, that world is a perilous place." Clearly this is a dystopic themed book and I was seriously considering putting it back on the shelf and walking away because at the time, I was seriously getting sick of dystopic young adult literature. After the not-as-exciting-as-I-hoped-book-Insurgent [review], I had decided that a break from dystopic literature was in need but nonetheless I still borrowed this book (mainly because of the beautiful cover!) and honestly, I'm glad I did.

Eve takes a new perspective of a dystopic world. Of course there are key elements, i.e. the world ending because of a catastrophe (plague) and the after plague world is attempting to build a corrupt utopia or a better society, and then  there are new parts that I found vey intersting. 

[SPOILER] First, orphans are being used as slaves. Girls for birthing and Boys for labourers.  [END SPOILER]

Perhaps this sort of stoy line has already been used for other books that I have yet to read but based on what I have read, this was very different.

The one thing that I absolutely loved about this book is that Eve instantly got me hooked, which isn't easy for a 300 page book.  After the first chapter I was instantly captivated and had to read more. 

What I noticed was that at the beginning of the story, it seemed that the book would follow the typical dystopic story line.  Escaping, joining rebels and then restoring the proper government. Half way through the story, it changed. I didn't realize it at first until I got to the end (kudos to Anna Carey's seemless transition!) but the story soon became a love story between Eve and Caleb with the whole government scheme as a sub plot. Odd but okay. Some other popular dystopic literature's have done that (e.g. Legend by Marie Lu and Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi) and it's fine. Just interesting how the plot is changing and advancing.

I never caught the foreshadows or predicted that something would happen while reading this, while I think is part of the reason why I was so captivated by it. Every climatic event and surprise was truly a surprise, which is hard to find in books sometimes.  Often events are forseeable and farily obvious but not for this one so yay to that!

Anna Carey is also really good at describing events and this dystopic world.  I could really picture the deslote world and what was happening.  I absolutely love it when I can immerse myself into a book and visualize what is happening. It makes reading all the more fun.
Now on to the negative parts:
  • Eve. I seem to be on a character hating basis because I really didn't like Eve sometimes. Some of her actions were plain stupid and after it caused an event I would look back and be like "Why did you do that? Couldn't you see that this would happen?" (Of course I shouldn't be the one to say that since I: didn't even realize what was going to happen) [SPOILER] For instance when she foolishly calls Caleb on the radio which causes the troops to find her, well that was plain foolish. I think one of the main reasons why that happened may have been because the author needed to a) eliminate a minor character and b) advance the plot, not from a possible happy ending but to the growing love story.  Anna Carey might have forced the plot on that part. [END SPOILER]
  • The blurb, I don't know why but it seems very inaccurate to what actually happened. The blurb states "Eve must choose between true love and her life." ... I never realized that there was a point where she had to make a decision...true that there were parts when she didn't want to leave Caleb but she did but that wasn't really a choice. More like a crying, begging girl saying good bye because she had to. The sequel's blurb (Once, releasing July 3!) ends with a line similar to this one.  I can't wait to see if it's actually true or not.
Overall this was a fairly lovely read. It's sort of like a combination of Shatter Me and Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari, both dystopic reads. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a nice love story or different dystopic lit.

Also, I know I said the cover was amazing but the font is absolutely gorgous too.  Whoever designed this is brilliant and hopefully the covers will be as good in the sequels.


Monday, 18 June 2012

[REVIEW] Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Published: September 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Medusa Girls #1
Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.(
From Goodreads)

This book is a story adapted off the whole Medusa story.  Clearly I read this book during my "mythology books faze" (hence, the mythology) and I must say that it was an interesting book.

First, when I saw that there would be more than one main narrator, I got nervous. I don't like more than two narrators just that I find more than two tends to ruin the book for me since I get so confused trying to keep track as to what happened but Tera Lynn Childs does an excellent job making all three of the sisters flow when they tell they're story.  She also does a really good job giving each of them a distinct personality that makes it harder to mix them up, making it easier for me to read it.  I was never lost during this book, or confused as to who was speaking - which is good, very good. I also really liked the varying personalities.  Sometimes it gets monotonous with one speaker, especially if they're very boring but all three of these main characters has a distinct manner and it's intersting to be reading one chapter with a concerned narrator to a chapter with a narrator who is a fashionista.  I enjoyed that imensely.
My one concern about this many narators is that each narrator has a different love interest, which may get confusing later on in the story.  Can't wait to see what will happen.

Second, the whole concept of this book is old but new - modernized I should say.  The whole monsters coming out of portals and only the chosen one can see who they are has been done over and over again. Take Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this is sort of like that so if you're a Buffy fan, definitely give this book a try.  Anyway, the one thing I found unique about this is the whole spin off the Gorgon sisters.  Perhaps I've just never read a story with it before but the way the myth was integrated into the story was amazing.  It really did sound normal, in the context of the story of course.

Lastly, I have to say that the cover was what first attracted me.  I'm a firm believer that if a cover sucks, you're not going to enjoy the story as much.  Seeing this cover, I had already a sense that I would like it and of course I did so bravo whoever designed the cover. You did an amazing job!

So if you're a fan of mythological inspired fiction (i.e. Everneath) and enjoy good old action than you'll definitely enjoy this book.


Sunday, 17 June 2012

[REVIEW] Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Published: August 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Bloodlines #1
When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning.

Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood. (From Goodreads)

I've put off reading this book for a long time now. Not because the end of the Vampire Academy Series was horrible (cause it was, [review]) but because when I heard that the premise of the spin off series was that it would be following secondary characters, well I wasn't really interested. Frankly, I'm still not that interested...more than I was before though.

For readers who loved the Vampire Academy series, I will say that Richelle Mead's new series is different.  The writing is the same but the setting changes.  In Vamprie Academy, there is a lot of action and drama (mainly the love triangle and vampire politics), well in Bloodlines, the story has more of a mystery feeling mixed with teenage problems (school and social drama). There's a lot less action which was one of the main things I loved in the original series. Okay, now enough hating, I did like some parts of this book.

First, Sydney. She's a very interesting character. Well she had better be if she's expected to be the main character. I find a lot of similarities with her and Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy but Sydney has enough of a personality that I can read the story and still distinguish the two.

Second: I know I just ranted about the lack of action in Bloodlines but I must say, I do enjoy the school drama that is in this book. I was missing some good old teenage angst with all the books I've been reading so that was a good different.

Okay, now back to some more dislikes.
Adrian. Before you kill me let me explain. Adrian Ivashkov is sort of a scene stealer charactet in the original series. And I must admit that I did like him but purpose was just to be that third part of the love triangle between Rose, Dimitri and him. Honestly, I find that Richelle Mead only put him in this series because there were so many heartbroken female readers that DEMANDED he get justice for his sadness in the previous books. That's probably the only reason why he's in this book. Because there's a fan base behind him and people want to read more about him. What do I have to say about this? Meh. I don't really care, just that I've noticed that it seemed slightly forced with Adrian in the story.  It did get better later on but at the beginning, I kept reading thinking "Why is Adrian here?"

Also it seems evident that there's going to be some romantic relationship between Adrian and Sydney...I DON'T LIKE THAT. I don't know just bothers me.  Maybe I'm too much of a Vampire Academy lover that I can't picture Adrian without Rose (or in this case with anyone else.)

Lastly, Richelle Mead has a way of bringing in characters from her first book to entice readers a little bit. Some of them work, others not so much. When Rose is there at the start, it seemed unnecessary. She had a couple of lines and a quick hug and that was it. Waste of a character and lines to be honest.  But another time Richelle Mead did this was at the end.

SPOILERS That last line. "Dimitri Belikov had arrived" spoke thousands. I LOVE  Dimitri and am so excited he's in the next book in the series, The Golden Lily. That's the only reason that's motivating me to read the next book. Dimitri. END SPOLERS


Friday, 15 June 2012

[RANT] Dream Fifty Shades of Grey Cast

As you know, I bought the much hyped book Fifty Shades of Grey and although I didn't really finish the first one I did read the other two in the sequel - and I absolutely love them! I guess it's fair to say that I've become a Fifty Shades of Grey lover so imagine my joy and surprise when I heard that the movie rights for the series has been sold already.


Anyway, I've been really curious as to who they're thinking of casting for the roles of Christian and Ana. I've been looking at so many considerations and I've finally decided on who my dream cast would be.

For Christian: Ian Somerhalder

I love Ian Somerhalder already from his role in the Vampire Diaries and I think he would be an excellent Christian Grey. Once I saw his name under potential people being casted, I couldn't think of anyone else.

Also he wants the role!! Ian Somerhalder's reportedly been campaigning for the role himself. Hopefully he'll get it!

For Ana: Emilia Clarke

If you didn't know already, Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen on the hit show Game of Thrones (who else is a big fan of it!) On the show, she has platinum blonde hair but she's a natural brunette, like Ana. I think she would be perfect and she's already used to the - ahem - mature scenes, evident from her role in the first season of Game of Thrones.

So that's my dream cast. I just think these two would be amazing and also they're not that well known, which can be bad but also good. Honestly I just want a good movie so hopefully they'll be picked or someone that can represent Christian and Ana well on the big screen.