Monday, 29 September 2014

The Winner’s Curse Review

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski


“We won’t talk about the fact that as much as you like to win, you’re acting as if you’re determined to lose.”

Kestrel is the general’s daughter and that means she’s privileged and rich but she’s not completely free. At 17 she has only 3 years till she makes her choice for the future either she gets married or she joins the military and neither sound appealing. When Kestrel buys a slave at an auction she’s introduced to Arin, who is different to any other slave she’s met and can beat her at her own game but Arin has secrets that will ruin quite a lot of things.

I loved the interactions/chemistry between the characters, both characters were smart in their own ways and though their relationship was not exactly forbidden it was dishonourable and I liked how Kestrel was able to stand head high in front of others when what she was supposedly doing was frowned upon. Their relationship wasn’t very vocal but slowly built through small things and symbols and it was really refreshing to read something like that. Adding to what I said before both characters were clever in such a way were they could spot things and could read each other and I think they were such a perfect match.

The history between Kestrel and Arin’s countries/kingdoms (?) isn’t pretty and you can tell this from how one side is privileged whilst the other side are slaves. The history is very important in the book and especially when there’s this drastic change midway through the book. I really loved the plot and how it was a complete change to the first half, I had this feeling throughout the second half were I wanted Kestrel to do something but then Arin to do something else which would contradict with Kestrel’s decision.

I liked the multi povs and how we saw what each of the two main characters were up to and as the story progressed this was really important. Though they never really admitted their feelings they both made big sacrifices for each other and this is shown at the ending of the book when Kestrel does something.

There wasn’t enough world building in the book to make me picture the place and surroundings however the society surrounding Kestrel was built very well. There were certain expectations to which Kestrel had to live by and as Kestrel had a keen eye she used this to her advantage.

Another thing I liked was how that Arin thought he was being real sly by deceiving people and this was throughout the novel but Kestrel saw through him and this was something that hindered Arin’s plan because in the sense of military and strategy Kestrel was smarter.  

“People in brightly lit places cannot see into the dark”


★★★★

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Jewel Review

The Jewel by Amy Ewing


“I am now officially Lot 197. Violet Lasting is gone.

 Violet lasting isn’t special. It’s not like her unique name sake coloured eyes make her stand out or that she’s the best at the third Augury in her holding facility, I mean the best in the last couple decades, I mean the best ever.  It’s not like she’s so stunningly beautiful that’s she’s ranked 197 out of 200 or that the Electress bargained for her or that she’s brought by the Duchess of Lake, one of the four founding family who hasn’t brought a surrogate in the last 19 years . Oh wait….

Let’s introduce the main character, Violet or Lot 197 as most prefer. She’s not only clueless to her surroundings or to what is going to happen to her, she also has this bad habit of trusting way to easily, being unable to follow instructions that will save her life and having an endless supply of luck in relations to everything related to being pregnant or in her case not.

There was a lot of mystery built along with suspense and Violet seemed to be in the middle of it but of course oblivious to what was actually happening. However with the mystery built there weren’t enough answers in the book – there was no depth to what happened to Raven and what the hell is Lucian trying to do.

Then halfway through the book we get introduced to Ash, who by the way does have my pity because of his job but …… Instant Love! Let’s just say they lust over each other, form a forbidden relationship, breakup for a second (I’m not exaggerating), get together again, say their ‘I love you’, have sex and then it all crashes down at the end.

Pretty much nothing happens in this book especially after the romance is introduced.

What I did like in the story was the magic element, the history of how surrogates and how the Jewel was built, the politics between the women and all the experiments – not that I liked what was happening but more that it was interesting.

I really liked the minor characters and how they were more interesting than Violet but it would have been better if we had been told more about them.

“It seems like for every time the Jewel makes me angry or uneasy or sad, I discover something beautiful in it”


★★☆☆☆

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday

 A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that people are eagerly anticipating.


My choice for Waiting on Wednesday this week is: 

Scripted
by Maya Rock

Publication: February 5th 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Reality TV has a dark future in this thought-provoking thriller

To the people suffering on the war-torn mainland, Bliss Island seems like an idyllic place. And it is: except for the fact that the island is a set, and the islanders’ lives are a performance. They’re the stars of a hit TV show, Blissful Days—Characters are adored by mainland viewers, yet in constant danger of being cut if their ratings dip too low. And no one really knows what happens to cut Characters.

Nettie Starling knows she’s been given the chance of a lifetime when a producer offers suggestions to help her improve her mediocre ratings—especially when those suggestions involve making a move on the boy she’s been in love with for years. But she'll soon have to decide how far she's willing to go to keep the cameras fixed on her. . . especially when she learns what could happen to her if she doesn't. 


The Queen of Bright & Shiny Things
by Ann Aguirre

Publication: 2015 by Feiwel & Friends

Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine… until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted.

Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He’s got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn’t expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage.

But love doesn’t mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again…

Monday, 22 September 2014

The Fearless Review

The Fearless by Emma Pass 


“While I’ve been living on Hope, the rest of the world has upped and vanished.”

The Fearless is a story of how an innocent drug created to end Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for soldiers gets brought by the wrong people and then tweaked/improved to make soldiers feel no fear, improve their senses and make them want to change everybody to be like them. The novel starts of when the Fearless have reached the UK and Cass and her parents are planning to go with Cass’s best friend, Sol and his family to an island brought by Sol’s father for safety. Things go downhill when a Fearless attacks and changes Cass’s dad and Cass and her pregnant mother are forced to run from danger, they make it to the boats ready to take them to the island with the help of Sol’s family where Cass’s mother gives birth to her brother.

Cass is 17 now and it’s been seven years since she came to the island, Hope. Cass lives with her younger brother Jori and practically raises him up because their mother committed suicide five years earlier. One day when an outsider is found in Hope and Jori is kidnapped, Cass goes out of the island for the first time since her world ended.

Cass has always felt trapped on the island so she’s training to be part of the Patrol on the island this includes; trading with the outsiders and protecting the islanders. So she’s learnt how to fight the Fearless and she finds out the hard way that practicing how to defend yourself using humans is not the same.  Cass was quite a likable character; she protected her brother, understood she had to wait to find him and she stood up for herself when people treated her like a possession or object. But Cass made a lot of stupid decisions and even though the world outside is different to what she thought it would be like she made some of these decisions before venturing out.  For example she risks her life and her brothers just so the prisoner can get his jacket back.

The writing style was a bit off; there were some parts of the story where the story seems weirdly written and awkward and there wasn’t enough world building for me to actually picture the surroundings for the book. I don’t like multi povs but this story needed it because we found out each characters true personality and their secrets and events going on where Cass wasn’t there.

I enjoyed the actual plotline of Cass and Myo tracking Mara to get to Jori and how there’s different people they meet and different places they stop at. It was a typical dystopian novel in that sense but it was also different for one it didn’t have an uprising. That may be because there’s no government and that the big main group, the Magpies weren’t good but not that bad either.

At first it seems as if there’s going to be a love triangle with her best friend Sol and the new stranger Myo thankfully Sol is a complete smug bastard in the way he treats Cass as a prize to win. I also liked that after Cass rejected Sol for like tenth time and Sol was angry at her she was like fuck this I don’t care what this idiot says I don’t want to be with him and he better accept that. But Cass and Myo’s relationship was awkward, they were basically just travelling companions and then randomly they touch and they can’t stop thinking about each other whilst ignoring each other. And then in a click they’re saying they’re in love.

The ending was pretty good in the way that what Cass does but it ended so abruptly and I was left feeling like, it is that how it ends? Sure they have a plan but to end it just like that.


★★★☆☆

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday

 A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that people are eagerly anticipating.


My choice for Waiting on Wednesday this week is: 



All the Rageby Courtney Summers 

Publication: April 14th 2015 by St. Martin's Griffin, 336 pages


In her hardcover debut, from the author of Cracked Up To Be and This is Not a Test, comes a powerful new young adult novel. 

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong sid
e of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous.But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now—but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolut
ely knock you out,All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Angel Review

Angel by L.A. Weatherly 


“The only good angel is a dead angel.”

Willow is a half angel and half human, something that shouldn’t exist. In Angel the angels aren’t Heaven sent good beings but soul stealing sneaky beings. The angels have an entire church with millions of supporters backing them up and all of them have angel burn, making them similar to lifeless zombies. Willow knows she’s not entirely normal and this can be taken from her psychic abilities and her not being able to fit into high school. On one particular day she gives a fellow classmate a reading and finds that Beth has been visited by an angel who’s sucking her life source away and warns Beth to stay away from the Angel instead Beth tells her angel this he finds out that Willow is an half angel and destined to end angels. So that is when Alex is assigned to kill her.

I really liked how the relationship between Alex and Willow was built; the friendship was built slowly due to their mistrust in each other. However being stuck in the car and in motel rooms together sort of forces them to talk and create a really nice friendship. They get to know each other, both past and present and find they really like each other and when they save each other’s lives it seals they’re friendship. It was nice and refreshing until all of a sudden they’re blurting out “I love you” and kissing, the author builds their friendship but rushes into the romance and it was such a letdown. Yes the romance was sort of sweet but most of it was over the top and cringe worthy.

Another thing I disliked was the multiple perspectives, after the first half they were unnecessary and repeated the same information. Also one of the biggest problems with this book was that it was incredibly slow paced and that made it seem as if not a lot was happening and when there was action it was dragged out and it made the story boring and a struggle to read.

I didn’t like Willow’s friend at first but later on she seemed nice but we should have been told more about her because even if she isn’t important she was mentioned and it would have been nice to see character development and her personality properly. Also Beth’s character was so annoying; I understand why but every time I saw her I knew she was going to mess everything up.

I liked the road trip element to the story; it was nice and smooth and the attacks on them were written well. All the sightings of them and when strangers tried to kill Willow were all written well and they were quite funny but seriously how much luck did the duo have; millions chased/sort out them and yet they never got caught. Also with the story being slow and then the ending being really fast paced and dramatic I expected the ending to be a cliff-hanger or something unexpected, I was disappointed.


★★★☆☆

Monday, 15 September 2014

Ketchup Clouds Review

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher


“As if they’ve looked inside their soul and decided it’s bad all bad without even the tiniest bit of good worth saving.”

Ketchup Clouds deals with a lot of topics and not all of them are negative. There’s death and murder, parents fighting, living with grief and self hatred but there’s also love, family and friendship bonds and accepting the truth and moving on. Reading the synopsis of Ketchup Clouds it seems as of the story is middle grade but with dark theme however our main character is 15 and there are a lot of intimate scenes which was quite a shock.

The story starts with the main character writing to a prisoner on the death row and stating that like him she committed a crime but unlike him she was never caught. The prisoner stabbed his wife after finding out about her affair with his brother and that’s what caught Zoe’s attention, her story is similar to Stu’s. Zoe, the name she gave herself to protect her identity decides to become pen pals with Stu and the writing style consists of the present and the past both written in a letter style. I really liked the idea around this and I really how the author had structured the story though at times the past and present seemed to blend.

Going into the story I expected a mystery with the reader guessing to what happened. The start was good with the introduction to the characters and throughout the novel there was a lot of tension build.  But what this book was a romance book; a girl falling in love when she’s already taken. And her relationship with the guy she likes is built nicely with their jokes and moments but the drama with her juggling the guys sort of took over the novel. Also her lying and her lies made her annoying and made the story really boring and dragged it on. And when the truth is revealed, was that it? All the suspense for something you can already guess.

The minor characters were likable in particular the sisters. Though the parents/grandfather’s drama did drag on but the reason behind it was more interesting than Zoe’s revelation.

 I also liked the ending as it was bittersweet; acceptance and letting go. At first I thought it would be better if Stu wrote back but then that wouldn’t fit and it wouldn’t go with the story so who’s pov we do get was better. Also Dot’s bonus chapter was interesting because we saw an outsider’s view on how Zoe coped and her relationships with others.

The title is a bit random until you read the story and Dot creates these ketchup clouds and labels them a beautiful mess and that summarises Zoe and Aaron’s relationship.


★★☆☆☆

Friday, 12 September 2014

Sisters Red Review

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce


“I am the only one left to fight, so now I must kill you.”

Sisters Red is a fairytale retelling of Red Riding Hood and is the story of two sisters; Scarlett and Rosie March and their friend Silas. Every since an Fenris/Werewolf killed the March sister’s grandma and physically scarred Scarlett seven years ago Scarlett, Rosie and Silas have been hunting the Fenris.

With a scar running from temple to cheekbone and others all over her body Scarlett is a fighter. With the attack haunting her in her sleep Scarlett spends most of her days training and hunting trying to get rid of her urge to kill all the Fenris. Rosie is the younger sister and feeling over protected from her sister, Rosie’s waiting for the chance to go hunting solo. That is until Silas comes back into her life and she’s thinking of a life outside hunting.

I really liked Scarlett’s character, she was strong and now she knew about the Fenris she stopped at nothing to protect the ignorant. Scarlett can’t help feel jealous of her sister and other girls who have perfect unscarred bodies but I like how her jealousy and bitterness never stopped her from protecting people. It shows how good of a person she is.

I did like Rosie’s character but she was really bland especially compared to Scarlett. Also I like how she went through a lot of trouble finding herself because though she owed her sister for saving her life, how much of being her sister’s shadow and sacrificing what she wants can she owe to her sister. However most of her story was focused on her love/relationship with Silas and compared to Scarlett’s story this was boring.

Another thing I disliked about the book was that there wasn’t enough going on and it felt like Rosie’s chapters were there just to drag the book along. Also who the prospect was easy to guess and so the only thing actually happening in the book was the trio killing and hunting Fenris’s.

I liked the sister’s bond throughout the story, it went through a lot of tough things including Scarlett’s urge to kill Fenris’s and Rosie’s want for freedom. I also liked how the ending fit the book really well.

Also there’s this mini story told to the sister’s and it’s about a brother and sister and their grandma and I really liked the simple yet meaningfulness of the story and how each sister held their own meaning behind the story.


★★★★

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Iron Trial Review

Magisterium: The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare


“Call was afraid of magicians, and he was even more afraid he was one.”

Who is Callum Hunt?

Is he the innocent 12 year old misfit skater or maybe a newbie magician in training with great potential? If so why were the words “KILL THE CHILD” carved in ice by his mother, the last thing she ever did before she died?

Callum has grown up fearing magic and mages because of his father, who left the magic world after his wife died. He’s told of how careless the mage’s are with innocent lives and the experiments on students that happen in Magisterium.  So he when he’s forced to do these tests to win a place at the Magisterium Call is intent on purposely failing not knowing how bad he’s actually going to fail without even trying. Because there are three things needed to pass; magic, knowledge and control and Call has only one. So it’s a surprise to everybody when Call is accepted not only into the school but also be apprentice to the best Mage.

Call and his friends are told their futures in the middle of the book; one will fail, one will die and one is already dead. At first it seems pretty obvious to whom the fates are for but then there’s the shock twist. This isn’t that shocking as when we find out who Aaron is we know that Cal has to equal him in some sort of way.

I did like the aspect of the training and the monthly challenges even though we were actually told about only one challenge and there were only about three lessons which were gone into detail. I also liked the idea of being an apprentice to Mage and working with the other apprentice’s however I didn’t like the trio’s relationship because it felt like there was an entire chunk of their relationship missing, there should have been more scenes where they made mistakes and had adventures. In the book the characters are 12 and at a lot of points in the book it seemed as if they were older and it made it harder to picture a 12 year old going through these events.

There are a lot of comparisons between Harry Potter and The Iron Trial and in the beginning of the book I was mentally listing the comparisons. There were teachers and students very similar to ones at Hogwarts and elements/themes in the book which were also very similar.

One thing I really didn’t like was how many characters were introduced as sub characters because of this I couldn’t connect with most of the characters and I just didn’t care about them.

“Fire wants to burn, water wants to flow, air wants to rise, earth wants to bind, chaos wants to devour.”


★★★☆☆

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Take Back the Skies Review

Take Back the Skies by Lucy Saxon     

      
“Always know what those who work for you do in their free time, just in case they’re using it to betray you.”

Catherine/Cat comes from a privileged background and her high society status is what’s kept her alive when other children over 13 are enlisted into the war. Though she has what money can buy her. Cat is trapped in her own personal prison by her father who plans to marry her off where Cat knows there’s no running away from. Cat’s mother is dying from an unknown disease and her presence in Cat’s life is minimum but when her mother tells Cat that following her own path is what she should do Cat can’t help but agree.

So Cat hatches a plan; disguise as a boy and hide in a ship. From the very start we see how Cat is a rebellious, smart and stubborn character who fights for what she believes in and doesn’t mind making sacrifices.

Once joins the ship Stormdancer, these ships aren’t the ordinary sea sailing type but the sky type.  She luckily is allowed to stay on the ship when she’s found in a crew member’s closet. The crew consists of; Harry and Alice, Ben and Matt and Fox. The characters were likable and we were introduced to their characters well enough to form some kind of attachment to them.

One thing I didn’t like in this novel was how perfect everything was; sure Cat was clever but how can she know everything about the government and how the hell did the crew have such an endless supply of luck. Everything was smooth sailing until the point where you just know that nothing bad is going to happen. Well not exactly.

Another bad thing was the world building unlike the character development it wasn’t good; there’s six kingdoms and we’re barely told anything about the kingdoms and when it is in the story it’s in weird places.

The kingdoms are at war; well that’s what citizens have been told. But if there’s no war where are all the children going? What’s happening to these children who go and disappear?

Fox is the love interest in the story and though he can be a nice guy he was mostly had a moody and harsh personality which may be due to his past and his hatred for the high class people. But he apologises for his mistakes and what he says.  The relationship between them is build slowly but even before their official they’re arguing like a married couple. And by slowly I mean their first kiss is at 72%. I know the torture of them avoiding the signs and I’m just screaming kiss already.

Another important character is Cat’s father and at first we know he’s a bad person, bad enough to marry of his child and force her to run away. But the extent of his evil/madness is explained later and it has something to do with the children. Also another character I hated is James. He’s the Prince of one of the kingdom’s and used to be Cat’s betrothed when they were young but he’s such a creep and he’s annoying but most of all he’s so selfish. He’s character was obsessed with Cat and he wouldn’t back down even when she said no.

And now the worst thing in the book; the ending. Everything was going perfect, too perfect but then BAM something bad happens. And I’m sitting thinking everything’s gonna be okay but no. And it’s such a shock. And then there’s the epilogue, no no no. The ending just felt like the cycle had come back again, Cat was back in a situation similar to the one in the beginning of the novel, she wasn’t happy.

Also on the side note as the epilogue wrapped Cat’s story and this is part of a series I wanted to know what the second book was about and apparently it’s more of a companion novel and the books are set in different kingdoms.

“All the money in the world couldn’t make him a good parent, and it didn’t make me a happy child.”


★★★☆☆

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Storm Siren Review

Storm Siren by Mary Weber


“I am the real monster. I murder the innocent.”

Nym is an Elemental, Elemental’s are born boys and killed and birth so it’s no surprise that Nym is dangerous. After being left an orphan as a child Nym is being sold for the fifteenth time when the story starts. In the first chapter we’re introduced to Nym, the white haired girl who tries to protect an innocent girl using the power she can’t control and Adora the crazy women who doesn’t run away from danger.

Nym lives in a place where there’s war, one side has advanced weapons and technology whilst the other just has soldiers and that’s were Nym comes in. Adora, Nym’s new owner is one of the King’s trusted advisor on the war and she gives Nym a choice; get hanged in the gallows or train and protect the country.

Die or find redemption. But what if redemption means becoming a weapon?

The plot of the book was a good mix of action and training. Nym doesn’t know how to control her gift so the majority of the book is spent with her training alongside Colin and their trainer Eogan. And I like how it did take quite a long time for Nym to train and learn self control because it made it realistic and supported the plot. With training being a main focus the sub characters Colin and Breck had a greater importance than just being background characters. The plot also included high society parties in which we see who is loyal to the king and also how crazy Adora really is. The themes of war and politics were also in the book.

The romance in the book was luckily not a love triangle though there were points when the author could have ventured into it.  Eogan is the dark skinned trainer and Nym’s attraction to him was a bit too quick but that gets explained later on and fortunately their relationship was build slowly and it was sweet. Their relationship is forbidden as Adora fancies Eogan herself but Eogan and Nym have this connection. Maybe it’s due to the block in Eogan which helps him Nym practice her power and self control or that he’s actually a nice wise guy and not a complete douche bag. 
  
I really liked Nym’s character and how strong she was. Nym has always had to battle her inner self over the affects of her power and who it hurts.  The story is essentially her battle not only to gain self control but to find redemption which she can only give. She’s tough in the sense she carries around the scars of those she’s killed as a burden when she can’t control how she hurts them. There is a lot of betrayal and death that Nym goes through and it really toughens and strengthens her character.

After being neatly wrapped up near the end we get this huge cliff hanger and it’s a shocker. Like woah.

“Don’t let him take who you are. Make him fear who you will become.”


★★★★★