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Finnikin of the Rock

Finnikin of the Rock  - Melina Marchetta Is it legal to marry a book?  If not, is anyone here immoral enough to see to it that that happens? I promise you, the relationship I have with Finnikin of The Rock is serious. We're in love (even if the book doesn't know it). I am currently thinking about grabbing the book, strutting it in front of all the other books in my shelf and saying.. "guys, this is how it's done."Because guys? THIS is how it's done.Here's the thing, a few months back, I didn't care about how good an author's writing is. As long as they could get the story across, I was happy. Then, I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and was reminded just how much the beauty of words can make me love a book. And then.. Marchetta came along. 20 pages into the book, and I already know why people worship her so much in the YA community. She's a brilliant, brilliant writer.I love High Fantasy, but lately, I've had somewhat sour experiences with the genre. Just to get across how much I loved this book (as if I hadn't already), I'll compare it with said experiences. The last fantasy books I read were Shadow and Bone, and Seraphina. I was lukewarm about both, which sucks, because I expect nothing less than a blown mind when it comes to fantasy.You see, my biggest problem with Shadow and Bone was how simplistic, and "okay" the writing was. Finnikin ain't got none of that, my friend. With Seraphina, my biggest problem was how disconnected I was with the characters. Again, Finnkin of The Rock comes out clean.I could feel the struggle of Finnkin, and I got so attached to the story, I might suffer from a terrible book hangover. Can we talk about the relationships in this book for a second? Finnikin's relationship with his father was filled with so much respect and love. I don't know if there's such a thing, but Marchetta pins down the "manly" love a father and son share. It didn't feel awkward or sappy. Actually, Marchetta pulls off writing from a male perspective so well. Everything from needing to prove himself as a man, to how he reflects his feelings for Evanjalin was done perfectly.Oh.. Evanjalin. She's a weird character, I'll give you that. For a good portion of the book, I wasn't sure what to think of her. Then she started showing intelligence and elegance in the way she talks, that it was hard not to like her. She was manipulative too, and some people had trouble with that, but I love manipulative characters. (Also, her name's pretty cool.)I always have trouble recommending fantasy books to everyone, even if it's as good as this book, because fantasy, especially high fantasy, is not for everyone. I'm not saying that because it's complex, but because they tend to have so many elements thrown in and some people get bored by that. But if there was ever a chance you want to give High Fantasy a try, for the love of coffee, let it be this one. Once you get past the very first few pages, things start to get interesting really quickly.Another thing that I liked about this book, is that is reflects the era it is in, without excluding the  goriness and ... inappropriateness? Nothing irked me more with Seraphina than how everything was "pure", especially that it too, was in a medieval setting. Now I understand this is YA, and I shouldn't be expecting George R. R. Martin action, but I still liked how Marchetta doesn't shy away from writing a dialogue between men with all the dirty jokes that come with it, and the thoughts that go through a guy of Finnikin's age.  The 10 year old in me was happy.This was a roller coaster of feelings. From a witty dialogue that had me genuinely laughing, to fast paced action scenes, and tragic ones that had me bawling like a kid.Final words: The existence of this book makes me happy.

The Tailor (The Grisha, #1.5)

The Tailor (The Grisha, #1.5) - Leigh Bardugo I think I like Genya even more now.

Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone - Original Review here Veronica Roth, author of Divergent is quoted on the cover of Shadow and Bone saying: "Unlike anything I've ever read" which is both true and really, really not. Shadow and Bone has tropes you'd find in any YA novel. Insecure female protagonist? Check. Discovers she has hidden powers? Check. Love triangle? Check. Mysterious, yet very handsome guy? Double check. I wouldn't call this novel unique, or original. Matter of fact, if you read a lot of fantasy, this might not stick out to you.But regardless of all that, I was sucked in to the world Bardugo created. The best thing about the novel is the characters. I got easily connected with them and invested in the story, which is saying something since I've been in an awful reading slump.Alina Starkov, our protagonist, is a mapmaker/soldier in the First Army of Ravka. For decades, Ravka has been cursed with the Fold; this dark vastness where evil creatures lie. The Fold pretty much surrounds Ravka, cutting it off from the outer world. And crossing the Fold? It is scary and there's a very good chance you could die. Which is what almost happens to Alina's childhood friend, Mal, except she saves his ass by conjuring this huge ray of light, which subsequently kills the evil creature. Enter: The Darkling. Leader of the Second Army, he sees Alina as the ray of hope for destroying the fold and ending people's misery. And so the story begins; Alina is snatched from her old life and thrust into a new, better world. Although the book slows down towards the middle, it picks up again, and the last few chapters are intense. I usually don't like fantasy book that are so romance centered, and I hate love triangles, both of which are present here, and both of which are done surprisingly well. I had my problems with Alina as a protagonist. For a good part of the book she was whiny, and the decisions she made sometimes might have granted her a nice little smack to the head. I understand why people don't like this book. Actually, if I had read this review a couple of days ago, I would have decided this book wasn't for me. Then why did I like it? I'd say this has to do with the characters; the Darkling in particular. Apart from being incredibly handsome, the way Leigh wrote him made me feel his power, and how influencing he might be. He was effortlessly imagined in my mind. Another thing that I really liked was the dialogue. Some scenes in this book are like movie scenes, which I have only encountered before with Blood Red Road. You know the show-don't-tell? Yeah, Bardugo does that really well.The Darkling has been flooding my timeline (not personally, although that would be awesome). People who read this book fall in love with him, and it's not hard to know why. I, personally, was predisposed to love him because a) I have a soft spot for villains, and b) because manipulative characters are the reason I read books. I know it's not the first time that a villain is romanticized, but it is done really, really, good this time. At the end of the book, I was confused as to whom I was rooting for, I wanted characters to die and live at the same time. I both hated and loved them. This confusion is what made this book what it is. I don't like purely good vs. purely evil plot line. It never happens in real life. There's always a grey area in between, and for a good portion of the book, that was were I was. Oh, and I'm not speaking about the love triangle, but the overall war at Ravka. But speaking of the love triangle, was it miserably bad? No. I actually quite liked it. The most important thing for me is to understand why characters fall in love with each other, which rarely happens. But I understood why the Darkling might be attracted to Alina even though she repeatedly mentions how plain and not pretty she is (another reason I wanted to smack her on the head). The Darkling is a man of power, and Alina is talented and powerful. She had moments when she was genuinely funny too, which I liked.And Mal, the other side of the love triangle, must be one of most confusing characters I have ever read. I loathed his bones for the first half of the book, and then changed my mind, and then changed it back.. and then again..I don't have anything coherent to say about him, so let's move on.The world building is actually quite good. The world is inspired by Tsarist Russia in the 1800. While some of the dialogue felt way too modern to resemble the 19th century, I didn't mind it that much. I also liked the way Magic works, and how the Grisha army operates and the different kinds of Grisha.This is one of the lighter fantasies out there. While the plot itself is dark, and focuses on war and victory, romance is a big part. Also, a good portion of the book deals with court drama, and the occasional mean girl. It was fun to read though. I connected with the characters, and I was immersed in the story and the world Leigh created.

Seraphina

Seraphina - Original review I don't know why, but I always relate dragon stories to action, war and bloodshed. Those are not bad things for me. I look for those things in a story. I don't mind goriness and bloodshed (in fiction that is. Whattya think I am, a psychopath?!) add to that a medieval setting, and I am sold. Seraphina however, turned out to be a lot tamer that I thought it would be. I can't exactly elaborate why, but this book had a J.K Rowling-ish feel to it. The way the scenes are laid, and the world building. Hartman, however, didn't make me connect with the characters as Rowling did. I've seen this in many reviews, people mentioning that they just couldn't get into the story. I share the same feeling, but the writing was too good, the world building too intricate for me to dislike this book. The story starts out slow, with random events here and there that explain the rising tension between dragons and humans in Goredd. Discussions about philosophy and description of music and instruments (much of which I don't know) certainly didn't help with the pacing. In short, if you are looking for an action packed, fast paced book, you might be disappointed with Seraphina. This is a book that puts court drama, relationships, self acceptance and what makes us human first.If I'm so negative, then why did I give this a 4 star rating? Simply, because Hartman knows her shit. The world building was spot on. Hartman explores all of the details Goredd, even making up a religion. The fact that Dragons in Seraphina can fold into human form is very interesting. If you want to know whether this book has a message to deliver, I'd say it has plenty. Hartman managed to brilliantly discuss discrimination. And I'm not talking about being the school's outcast, I'm talking about the kind of discrimination that takes powerful stands and revolutions and decades to get over. I'm talking about how someone can be fed hatred against another human being (or in this case a dragon) without thinking twice about it. There are many parallels to be drawn between the prejudice humans have against dragon kind, and the ones in real life. Racism, sexism, acts of hatred, etc.The interesting this is, Seraphina is caught between the two worlds. She is both human and dragon. Dragons are supposed to be soulless, but Seraphina doesn't feel that way. And here is my biggest problem with this book. Seraphina's situation, her damaged relationship with her father, her loneliness could have extracted A LOT of emotion from me. I could have connected with her easily. I mean I tend to connect with vulnerable characters well, but in this case I didn't. I couldn't sympathize with Seraphina. I cared about what would happen to her sometimes, but that was it.Even after putting my thoughts down, I don't know what to think about Seraphina. On one hand, this is a really good written fantasy. It has all the elements, including a good plot twist and a very well constructed romance. Oh, I forgot to mention the romance? Okay, well this is one of the best parts of the story. The love interest was great, and very likable And Seraphina is the kind of girl who could make guys fall in love with her. Not because of her looks or charisma, but because she's smart. She's the kind of girl with a beautiful brain. You know what I mean?

Collector (Dante Walker Novel)

The Collector - Victoria Scott Rating:3.5/5 Dante (in the first half) He was sort of a badass. If I ever meet him in real life, I would probably kick his ass so hard, he'll travel faster than the speed of light. He's conceited, rude, and full of himself. No, excuse me, saying full of himself in underrating him. If Dante Walker ever gets cut, little Dantecules would seep out. I don't like the Dantes of the world. They irritate me, especially because they are always so.. unreadable. You can't understand what goes on inside the mind of a Dante Walker. And I'm the kind of person who likes to know those stuff. I don't trust people who put on a poker face 24/7. But meeting Dante and reading about him is different; that's why he's in this section of the review. While reading, you actually get to know what goes on in his mind. What might appear as a conceited prick on the outside, is actually a good person on the inside.Charlie My biggest problem with bad-boy-good-girl scenarios is .. the good girl. If I can't understand why the guy fell in love with this ordinary plain girl. Charlie, however, doesn't fall into the trope. She's intelligent, funny and hyper active and I didn't feel it was odd that Dante developed feelings for her.Dante's first impression of CharlieI don't mean to be evil and rude here, but Dante's initial iffiness of Charlie felt realistic. She is not pretty, that much is known, and Charlie is after all a teenage boy. I thought he was staying perfectly in character when he was internally dissing Charlie. This is who Dante is, he's never taken enough time to look into someone's personality and inner goodness, and so his initial reaction was spot on.The pacing This book has entertaining written all over it. I opened this book between shopping, while packing, on a bus ride, and was almost instantly immersed into the story. The writing has a lot to do with that. It's simplistic, and funny, making this an easy and fun read.Dante (in the second half) The change from bad to good guy is something I don't usually like.  It's just that I always find the "bad" phase more interesting and funny. Granted, it was done somewhat better here than in other books.The ending This was the weakest part of the book. It felt somewhat cliche and cheesy. Also, without any spoilers, there was an unnecessary event that happened at the end that made me mad.You're looking for something some laughs and something not too complicated and entertaining.  Find More Reviews

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave - More like 3.5 I wish I could sum up this review by writing a big I DON'T KNOW across the middle. But I can't because a) that would make for a crappy review, and b) that doesn't make any sense.But it's true, though. I don't know. I don't know how to feel about this book, how to review it, and more importantly, how to rate it. You see, The 5th Wave was my 2013 book. It was the book. I was so predisposed to love this book, that I let my hopes get way too high. I read the first 54 preview pages before the book came out, and I was hooked.Sadly, things didn't go as expected.My biggest problem with the book can be summed up in two words: Evan Walker. You see, the moment Mr. Evan was introduced, things starting to go down hill for me. He is a walking cliche. Good looks? Check. Weird attitude? Check. Lurking around Cassie? Check. Being a complete and total pushover? You guessed it.. check. For a guy that was supposed to be 18-19, he sometimes acted like he was 12. I can discuss freely what it is that got me mad at the existence of Evan Walker, but that would involve spoilers.So spoilers it is...Don't click on the spoiler unless you already read the book, or have no intention whatsoever of reading it.First of all, it was frustrating how independent on Cassie he was. How many times did he hold on to her like a sick puppy? Quite some time. Here's an example: You know that part where Cassie is waiting for the bus to take her to the death camp (Page 361 HC) and she confronts Evan for the thousandth time about what he is? He admits he is a shark who dreamed he was a man? (more on that later) The truth finally came out, and Cassie makes a run for it.She comes back some time later to retrieve her backpack and weapons and finds that Evan has left his own supplies for her. I had a moment of wondering there, is it true Evan? Are you finally manning up enough to let go of the poor girl and move the hell on?Yeah right. Four pages later this happens: "His arm drops around my chest, he rips the rifle from my hands, then relieves me of the Luger. After another half second, he's locked me in a bear hug, crushing me into his chest and lifting my feet a couple inches off the ground as I kick furiously with my heels, twisting my head back and forth, snapping at his forearm with my teeth. And the whole time tickling the delicate skin of my ear. "Cassie. Don't. Cassie.." "Let..me..go. "That's the whole problem. I can't."" Fuck yeah, that's a problem. So let's get our facts straight. A girl doesn't trust you, points a goddamn gun to your head, takes off like an olympian runner from you, kicks and bites you to get away, and you still come back for more? If that's not romance, I don't know what it is :/ Oh wait I do, it starts with unhealthy and ends with behaviour.In all fairness, Evan wasn't the only reason I was dissapointed with this book. The 5th wave was. Not the book, but the actual 5th wave. I understand this might have to do with my brain being dense more than anything, but it just did not make any sense. So you've managed to kill the majority of the human population brilliantly with the first four waves. Cutting out the power, making a giant ass tsunami, have birds spreading disease all over the place. Creative and brilliant, and possibly the best thing about this book. And then comes the 5th wave.How do you kill the few hundred thousand human beings left? Especially when you know the precise location of each and every one of them? Apparently you get a kid army, train them for a couple of months, and let them go off into the woods to kill their fellow human beings, even though there's a big chance your whole scheme will be foiled on the very first mission (see: Zombie's first mission.) Again, I'm pretty sure there's something I'm missing here. I read the last part very quickly, because I had already started to loose interest, and might have missed important sentences here and there.I just wish Yancey had come up with a more creative way to kill of the rest of the population instead of the poor excuse of a plot tool the 5th wave was. One last thing, Silencers. While I'm still not sold on the whole Silencer thing, I must be skeptical about how much of use they are to the alien fellas anyway. If someone like Evan Walker, a highly trained fighter, can so easily turn on his own people (aliens I mean) how do you know others won't too? Which leads me to ask, how can you make aliens have such a crucial flaw in their master plan? On a more positive note, I really like Yancey's writing. It's simplistic, but it sounds exactly like how a sixteen year old girl would. Also, the way his sentences form really builds up the suspense.There are about a hundred other positive and rather gushing reviews of this book, like this or this, so I would advise you check them out first before forming an opinion. I really hate to be the black sheep out of all the positive reviews, but alas, it happened. I should add that apart from it's flaws, this is a pretty addicting book. The kind you might finish in one sitting. There's a lot of action and suspense that makes for an entertaining read.  Original review here

The Burning Sky

The Burning Sky - Rating: 3.5/5 starsHalfway through the book, I had to decide whether I should go on or call it quits. For a good portion of the book, the pacing was off, the writing style was hard to get used to, and the setting was one I was not very fond of. The first 20 pages had a severe case of infodumpiosis (this actually sounds legit). I was confused by all the names and references and world building, so for the first few chapters, my experience wasn't enjoyable.The book picked up 100 pages in. The story started to become interesting, and I had a faint idea of what the hell was going on. The book follows Iolanthe Seabourne, an elemental mage, whose attempt at conjuring lightning throws her into trouble. Titus, the prince is after her, and so is the ruthless Inquisitor and all of Atlantis. While the premise somewhat promises a book full of adventure, I did not find that that was the case. Sure, there was a lot going on at times, but it was slowed down by the long descriptions. A big part of the story takes place in Victorian London, after Iolanthe is forced to flea her home at the instructions of her guardian. I think people fond of that certain period of time might enjoy the story more than I did. The biggest problem I had was with the vocabulary used. I don't know much about that time period, so I had to go back to my trusty dictionary to make sure I understood every reference made.Although a huge part of the book is about magic and all the shenanigins of fantasy, romance plays a big role. Almost too much for my tastes. While there is a little insta-love between Iolanthe and Titus, it was played down by the latter's constant deceiving of Iolanthe. She wasn't naive and even though I thought she got infatuated way too early, she was cautious and alert. This made the insta-love a little better. Add to that a good love interest, and you've got a bearable, although somewhat rushed, romance.Apart from the problems I had, I must admit that Sherry Thomas knows how to write an interesting character, which is Titus. As the prince of the Domain, Titus is forced into a life he doesn't want, while carrying a secret that is enough to make any boy his age insane. The author managed to create a mysterious, secretive guy who isn't practically a copy of every YA guy there is. I personally understood where he came from, and how much of a burden it is to have your whole life revolving around a prophecy. The world building is done very well, and the magical element was original. The description of how magic works in Iolanthe's world was interesting. Again, I had a hard time staying in focus whilst reading this book, but maybe that has to do with my tiny attention span.I'd recommend this one for people looking for a fun, romantic fantasy read. There were a couple of scenes that made me genuinely laugh. It was very well written, and the author did a good job on setting the rules of magic and how it functions in the novel. Also, if Victorian era is your thing, than you'll enjoy reading this book. It's obvious that the author is familiar with the time period, from the large amount of references and the dialogue between the characters fits that time period. A copy was provided by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.You can find this review here

Eden-South

Eden-South - Janelle Stalder You know that feeling when you're reading an emotional part in a book, and you feel a lump starting to form in your throat? And you're starting to fight little stupid tears because your family is siting beside you, and you're afraid for your mental reputation? Yeah probably. Now, do you know a book that made you feel that way several times? Probably not. It takes me a lot of courage to admit just how much this book moved me. Some scenes are just so beautifully written, you can't help it. The second book in the series might have fell a little compared to the first one, but Eden-South picks right up and reminds me why I came to appreciate this series so much. This installment is an emotional bomb, that's for sure. Halfway through the book I even started panicking. You see, I thought this would be the last book in the series, and the though of parting with all those characters hit me. Thankfully, there's a fourth book. But it also means I might have to wait an entire year for the next one. You're damn right Bellatrix/Hermione, I don't. But in all honesty, this book is worth the wait. I think the best aspect of this book was the different storylines finally coming together. All through the book, you have no idea how it's all going to end, because there's a lot going on. Now, I can talk about each character seperately, but I doubt anything I say will be different. Every one of the characters is well developed, and has his/her own presence? Yeah, that's it. Well, except Rain. Technically speaking, she's not a poorly written character. I just found myself not so found of her. She's immature, which is not a surprise considering the position she put herself in. In the last book, it bugged me how the storyline somehow slowed down. This book, thankfully, picks up on that aspect. There's alot of war strategies and action to keep you glued to the pages. The intensity as the second battle comes close is immeasurable. Janelle really knows how to build up the anticipation to the point where you are skimming the pages just to know what happens next. Yet again, I was torn up as to who root for in the battle. Each leader has so much to loose , so you're left with this internal debate as to who you're wishing would win. Action aside, the emotional side of the book is one of the best in the entire series. I'm not sure I can coherently describe what happens, but there's some deep shit going on this time around. All the relationships are written in such a heartfealt way, you're practically thrown into their situation. That scene with Captain Turk reminiscing about his wife broke.my.heart. So fucking beautiful. I once came across a reviewer that was gushin about how a certain author makes use of every character they write. At the time, I just shrugged it of. But come to think about it, every character here is written for a reason. The foreshadowing makes this story much richer. I can't wait for the fourth book, but for now, I'll just have to sit around and wish Wolf was not a fictional character *sigh*. Don't forget to check out my blog on the 3oth of march for a huge giveaway of the Eden series.

Eden-West

Eden-West - Janelle Stalder 3.5 stars In many ways, this book didn't dissapoint. Actually, come to think about it, it was better than many sequels I've read. While it didn't up it's prequel, the writing quality and the caharcters were as interesting as they were the first time around. The story picks up six months after Eden. Aiden is back at our very mundane world. He is trying to cope with everything that has happened, and how it would be to lead a normal life. Back at Eden, the aftermass of the battle has left Elisa in the Capital while Logan and Wolf are enjoying their lifes at southern Eden. Things are not what they same. There's a reason Elisa is sent to south Eden, there's a reason Wolf and Logan are there, and there's a reason Aiden has been brought back to Eden. Only this time it's not the capital that greets him, but the Riders. It was fun coming back to the characters I loved in the first book. Logan, Wolf and Elisa really shone this time around. There's aslo Callum, Brutus and Rose. You see, the great thing about this series is that there's alot of storylines going on, instead of focusing on just one. The weakest part however, was Aiden. I found that parts that included Aiden were hard to get through. They were at sometimes repetitive. To be honest, there wasn't much going on on Aiden's side of the story. Which is what brings me to why this is a 3.5 star review instead of 4 or even 5. I felt that the general plot of the story was slowing down, and the focus was instead turned on the inter-relations between the characters. While it wasn't necessarily bad, it took away some points of the story. I don't know about other reader, but I wanted more action, more fighting, and war tactics. Instead, there was alot of conversations and arguments and so. Up untill then, I had no problem giving this book a 4 star rating, but then there was the ending. The ending, I think, was why this book didn't surpass it's prequel. It felt somewhat rushed. There were things that didn't quite make sense. There should have been more explanation. Also, it wasn't as surprising as the first book. Negativities aside, this is still an awesome book. The writing quality was amazing, and along the line there were a few plot twists that will leave you thinking. As with the first book, there are so much going on with different characters, that you can't just put the book down. Janelle is an author to look out for. There is much more to be said about this book, but it still continues to be one of my favourite books I've read this year. All the review shenanigins aside, whilst reading this book I happened to magically have a playlist of songs that suited it very well. I thought I'd share it with you: Thisles and Weeds- Mumford and Sons After the Storm- Mumford and Sons August's Rhapsody King and Lionheart- Of Men and Monsters Lover of the Light- Mumford and Sons Serial Killer- Lana del Rey Dark Paradise- Lana del Rey There is much more songs, but these are the ones on the top of my head. Don't forget to check out my blog for a huge giveaway of the Eden series.
Eden - Janelle Stalder I must say, I had high hopes going into this book. As high as one's hopes can get considering it's an indie book. I thought it would stand out amongst the other indie books I've been reading lately. You know, I expected somewhat good writing, a few spelling and grammar mistakes thrown here and there, and characters that I can somewhat relate to... But good heavens was I in for a surprise. I don't know if I should dance around in joy that I found this hidden gem, or actually be sad that books like these remain relatively unknown while the likes of Twilight and 50 Shades get published. This is not one of the books that I would lable as "good" or "nice". This is one kickass book. I'm writing this review a day after reading the book, but the story and characters are still fresh in my head. I think it's going to be for a while. In our world, Aiden blends in, barely noticable in his high school. To add to matters, he is constantly getting bullied. That is, untill one night a cloaked woman comes for him. She is here to take him to Eden, a world that coexists along with ours. There, Aiden learns what he is capable of. I could blabber on and on about Eden it self. It's a medieval place, where war is about to start. I think this is one of the few YA books that would appeal to both genders out there. I hadn't even realized how much I loved a medieval setting, and how much the strategies of war would fascinate me untill I read this book. There is also quite the romance going on. Only difference between this and other books, is how romance is handled, considering it's a medieval setting, that has everything from mistresses to servants. The characters were a joy ot read about. Each and everyone of them was vividly portrayed and had his own persona. There is the charming Wolf, his best friend Logan, and the kickass Elisa. I felt so connected to the characters, that at one point I found myself .. ahem.. crying... only a little bit.. Who am I kidding? I was crying my eyes out. Oh, and It wasn't even a sad scene. Whatever. Can we move on?Anyway, off to the writing. I don't know what to say except that the writing was excellent. There was no mistakes, so I couldn't help but loose myself. This is what I love about those kind of books. I kind of give up on figuring what the author plans next, and just fall into the sotry and let it guide me. I like how Janelle gives you both sides of the story. She gives life and background to both sides at war, the northern army and the High King army. This, I think, made it a much complicated story, and it kept me shifting my alliance (yes I just said alliance) between both sides. There is so much world building, and background story and complicated relationships that I'm not sure if just one review will do it justice. The ending, although not exactly a cliffhanger, left me wanting more. I'd recommend this for everyone. No really, everyone. Don't miss the Eden-South (Final book in trilogy) blog tour and giveaway right here on the 30th of march

Speechless

Speechless - Hannah Harrington This book and I got off on the wrong foot. The book opens up with two girls discussing clothes and boys and gossip. If that's not a cliche, I don't know what is. Anyway, so I went in the book expecting a full-on shallow, high school musical type of book. I'm glad I was wrong. This book is much deeper than it first appears. Chelsea Knot can't keep her mouth shut. She loves gossip, and gossip loves her. But all this fires back when she shares that one secret she shouldn't have. She's now a social outcast, all her friends have turned against, and some guy almost got killed. The main focus of this book is bullying, but somehow Harrington puts a new spin to it. Chelsea is not one of those weak, shaky protagonists who let bullies get to them, but at the same time, she's not that unrealistically fierce and independent protagonists as well. She's somewhere in between; she's a relate able character. The way Chelsea deals with the situation she put herself in is, in my opinion, the main message of the book. It's inspirational really, how someone can overcome full on brutal bullying like that. Since the book is all about character development (Chelsea's specially) there's not much to say on that area. Hannah does an excellent job. She gets the reader from practically despising Chelsea and her group of friends to respecting her. The writing is really good. Hannah had me laughing and cringing and feeling sorry for the characters all at the same time. The secondary characters are well done, each with a personality of their own. Andy/Noah were really cute. I think it's also brilliant of Hannah to manage to make a good book with the main character practically silent most of the time. Chelsea was an interesting narrative, and her inner dialogue made me laugh alot of the times. Sam, one of the love interests( don't freak out, there's no love triangle here)is one of the most unique characters I came across. You know how all YA male characters ten to be drop dead gorgeous? Well, he's not. And usually, although I hate to admit it, that bugs me. But not this time around. While same is not even remotely the next GQ model, you get why the main character might be attracted to him. For once, the author writes about a good, well-behaved, yet sexy guy. Not your usual douche-bag mysterious ass here. THANK YOU HARRINGTON! This book is for all of you fictional good guys out there. *cheers*.I'd recommend this book to almost everyone. It's that kind of book you'll be sure everyone enjoys. It has more depth and purpose than most YA books out there, without sounding preachy. I love how it tackled the issue tolerance and anti-homophobia in a way that reaches the reader.*A copy was provided by the publishers for an honest review

Out of Nowhere

Out of Nowhere - Maria Padian I have literally just finished this book, and I am in awe. The writing and the effort put into this book is tremendous, but I'll get to that later. Tom, captian of Chamberlain's soccer team has his world turned upside down when Somali immigirants flood into his town post the 9/11 incidents. Forced to deal with four of them as they join the soccer team, Tom finds himself infront of a society and culture he can't quite understand. But if it's hard for Tom to adjust, how hard is it for Somalis themselves? Starting this book, I was afraid. Afraid that the stereotype of Muslims and Africans won't fail to make it into this novel. I was also afraid how inaccurate some of the details about the Islamic culture might be. I must say, I was in for a surprise. Maria Padian really did her research, and was able to capture the essence of that culture. Coming from a Muslim country myself, I understood how those immigrants might feel coming to a foreign country, dealing with cultural differences and so. Although, sometimes certain details were a bit inaccurate, like how all/most Muslims in the novel are super conservative and religous and how they all same be afraid of dogs and whatever was completely exaggerated, but I related that to the Somali culture more so than the Islamic one. The plot and the writing style were really, really good. I liked Tom as a narrator and protoganist, and I like the world Maria built. I liked how neutral she tried to stay on alot of subjects, how objective her characters were and how she could finally portray an arab (Yes, Somalia is an arabic country) as a normal person, a friend, instead of the suicidal terrorist. Saeed was an absolute joy to read about. He has to be one of my favourite characters ever. I think, whoever is reading this article, thinks that this novel is mainly about politics and religion. No way. This novel falls easily into the YA contemporary genre, along with teenage romance and girl fights (Regina George style!) and high school drama, I think the only difference is that it took a whole new side that you don't see alot in YA and discussed it. This novel has so many deep meanings yet somehow delivers it's message subtly, without souding too preachery. It was a fun, emotional and fast paced book and I enjoyed reading it alot. The ending left me quite emotional, but I think overall, the book stands out from other YA contemporaries. *A copy was kindly provided by the publishers in exhange for an honest review.

Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror)

Darkhouse - Karina Halle Full review here!I usually start my book reviews with a short summary (Or *cough*just copy the synopsis*cough*) But I am at loss when it comes to Darkhouse. I mean, I feel that if I say anything, I will be letting away too much. And why is that? Because there isn't too much going on. I think the plot needed some major development. Maybe, this would have been a great book if it was marketed as a novella. But then again, it wasn't a small book (300-something pages), and it didn't exactly drag on. So to sum it up, I think there isn't too much going on in the book (plot-wise) but then again this 300 page book never felt boring.. Umm, no, I'm not high, if that's what you're asking.I think the problem with this book is that it focuses so much on building for the second book in the series, which, by the way, I am looking forward too.Really. I am. ...Why?Aside from everything else, Karina Halle knows how to write. She knows how to weave an imperfect character, making her/him a likeable one. I loved how she made the protagonist a normal, relateable girl, without creating a plain Mary Sue. Perry was an amazing protagonist. Most of the time, she was a reason I laughed out loud (She is seriously funny). She's also a break from the naive, immature protagonists that flood YA novels. Perhaps that's because it's more NA than YA. Dex is like every other perfect love interest minus the fact he's not a jackass, nor is he immature. (And he's not perfect.) I love the pop culture references Karina Halle drops every now and then (Although I didn't get most of them, but I'm sure others will.)So, a fun female protagonistA sexy, mysterious male characterWhat could possibly go wrong?Umm,The age gap. That is what could go wrong. 10 YEARS is just too much for my head to wrap around. And the fact that he keeps calling her "kiddo" doesn't help. I know it hasn't exactly been confirmed that he is 10 years older, so *fingers crossed*.I really think this is one of those series that improves as you go along, and since the problem isn't with the writing, I think I might give this series another shot and see how the sequel goes.
Blood Red Road - Moira Young Full review here! Saba has lived her entire life in Silverlake with her father, brother, and sister. She didn't know a life outside of Silverlake. But when four cloaked men kidnap her brother and kill her father, Saba has to embark on a journey through the wasted lands left by the Wreckers to find her brother...My first rating of this book was a 5 star, but it went down to 4. Why? Because while I think this novel was 5 star worthy for me, when writing a review, I have to consider other people's tastes too. This book is the perfect example of hooking you in, forcing you to finish it. The characters are unique and original, and so is the plot. So why just 4 stars? If you are someone who really cares about how complex and deep the author's writing is, then you're probably not going to rate this 5 stars. The book is written from Saba's POV, and I found her an amazing protagonist/narrator. When I say it's written from her POV, I mean you really are in her head. When there's a dangerous situation or so, you'll find her saying stuff like "ohmygodohmygodohmygod." .. So you get the idea: The writing is really simple. No lyrical prose or complex writing, but at the same time, it's not naive. It is just that Moira has opted to break the balance between having a fast-paced gripping novel, and a complex writing technique. I personally didn't mind how simple the writing and the dialogue was. If anything, it made the action and suspense in the novel even more prominent. Another thing to consider, is the dialect. Moira has somehow created her own accent (somewhere between Irish/southern/American gangsta). While others complained about how hard it was for them to follow the book, I personally got used to it after the first chapter or so. And I think the dialect was an important part of the novel what with civilization starting all over again after the "Wreckers" destroyed everything, you can't expect the dialect to stay the same. Is it any surprise that Ridley Scott swiftly optioned the book? No. It isn't. This book has movie-material written all over it. In almost every 5 pages, there is always something happening. The pacing in this novel is really fast, that the action starts from early on. Another reason why I can see this book being optioned for a movie, is the dialogue. Most of the time, any description of what one of the characters is saying is "he says" or "I says" which is brilliant, because Moira knows how to reveal the character's emotion through speech not writing.(The show don't tell technique) Saba's character is really strong, and hardcore, but all the while still likeable. The same goes for the other secondary characters in the novel, each and every character is unique and original. Some of the things I loved about this book was the world building. From the Colosseum and Gauntlet to Freedom Fields, I think the scenes and places in this novel get really carved into your head. This book has not just one, but a whole pack of strong female characters, that the feminist in me was jumping with joy. I loved the Free Hawks and what they stand for. All in all, I would recommend this book for almost anyone open minded enough to make it through the first two chapters(from there on, you start getting used to the dialect and the pacing.) This novel pushed survival-themed novels up my radar. It was a gripping, enjoying read, and I am looking forward to the sequel.

City of Ashes: Mortal Instruments 02

City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare Full review hereThis review is one of the hardest I had to write, as I have really mixed feelings toward this book. I really liked the the first book, but I'm not so sure about this one. Don't get me wrong. It's not like I didn't enjoy it, because I did. And I will probably be picking up the next book in the series, it's just that there were too many flaws in this book for me to give it 4 or 5 stars. Here's the things I didn't like: -The dialogue. This is one of the major reasons I didn't like this book. Alot of the times the dialogue felt unrealistic, naive even. Clare forces her characters to explain every.single.thing happening around, leaving no chance for the reader to try to figure out anything on his own. I mean seriously, at times this is how the dialogue felt like: Person A:I am going to heal him Person B: Ofcourse you will, since you are one of the world's most famous and successful doctors. Ofcourse, this isn't a real quote, but you get where I'm going. There was no subtlety in the way Clare delivers information to the readers. -Valentine.I first thought Valentine was a strong villian; he knew how to manipulate people into thinking what he really wants. And while Clare focuses on this even more in City of Ashes (and does a somewhat good job), any scene that involves Valentine and one of the main characters made me feel like I was loosing some of my IQ points. I mean, every single time there's a confrontation it turns into a therapy session, and the characters start discussing their inner demons and you have it instead of ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING.-Jace If you have read my CoB review, you'd notice that I actually loved Jace's attitude.(Reminded me of Gregory House). And I had fears that Clare would make him go all soft and decent in the next novel. True story. But Clare did the absolute opposite, I mean I don't mind Jace's honesty (even if it's considered rude and inappropraite at times) but this time, Clare pushed it a bit too far. Jace is absolutely one of the funniest characters I've read, and his one-liners were much appreciated in CoB , but in CoA it was like everything he was saying in a one-liner. There was no actual dialogue, just sarcasm from his side. And I don't like the way he controlled everyone's actions. More than once in the novel, he asks Clary to step aside while he deals with one thing or the other. I appreciate protectivness, but again Clare pushed this a bit too far. -Too.Much.Prose. I didn't mind Clare's prose in the first novel, but this time..(let the ellipsis do the talking) It was just too much, and most of the time it didn't make sense. "Coppery" and "metal" is used to describe almost everything in the novel. But enough ranting, how about the good things? Believe it or not, Clary's character actually improves this time around. She grows up a bit, becomes more mature and so, but her annoying impulsivness is still there, so I just learned to come to peace with it. I found the plot more engaging than CoB, and the focus goes to some new and recurring characters: Magnus and Maia. Magnus was absolutely amazing, and he starts taking a more important role this time. Maia, a new character, was also likeable. One thing remains constant in this book is the sense of humor. That I have to give to Clare. Alot of times while reading I found myself laughing out loud(something that rarely happens to me while reading). So all in all, I enjoyed this book. Although I spent alot of time ranting internally about one thing or the other. I'm going to read the next book in the series, but this has become a guilty pleasure of mine instead of being a series I enjoyed and recommended to other people.

Dare You To

Dare You To - Katie McGarry Full review here.I have long given up on chick lit/ romance novels. I am so glad I made an exception on this one! Wow.Where should I even start with this review? I mean, this novel really did leave me emotionally drained. I was so caught up in the story from the very first page, and I finished this bad boy (ebook edition is 655 pages) in just two days. I think I pretty much locked myself up in my room untill I finished it. I dared my self to finish it. See what I did here? Huh?;) Anyway, let get on with the review, shall we?I thought I would just straight up list the reasons I loved this book. So here we go.. 1)Beth. Beth is such a hard character to wrap my mind around. She's a troubled, angst-driven, stubborn teenager. Why you ask, is she one of the reasons I like this novel then? She's genuine. Katie Mcgarry did a really good job building up Beth's character. At first, I wasn't exactly fond of her. But as the story, you get a better look at her past, and through the tough exterior she puts on. And should I mention, she's funny as hell? 2)Ryan Ryan plays the main love interest in the novel, and he's a good guy. An actual good guy. Can you believe that? He came accross as a bit superficial and shallow within the very first chapters; but I think a big part of this was because he was constantly referred to as a jock in the blurb and a stupid jock by our one and only Beth. I think I started to warm up to his character as Beth herself did. 3)The writing The writing was superb. Most of the time it was as if I could exactly feel what the characters were feeling. Katie knows how to paint quite the picture. And another thing I appreciated was how gracefully the more intimate scenes were handled. I'm glad the writer somehow found middle ground between writing a young adult appropriate novel, and not shying away from describing a young adult relationship with all that comes with it. Which brings us to... 4)The language. There is quite some swearing here, and I'm not sure if alot of people will agree this is one of the reasons to enjoy a book, but for me it is. Yes, you read that right. I mean let's face it, Katie is writing about teenagers, and guess what teenagers do alot? Swear. An awful lot of swearing. I mean, when I'm reading a book and one of the characters is in deep trouble and all they can manage to say is "Crap" a part of by brain snorts. Teenagers swear. Keep it real. 5)Beth's dark past. If you think this book is all about a mushy lovestory, you can't be more wrong. There is some darker parts of the story, moving it a bit into the mature young adult genre. The book deals with issues like domestic abuse, drug and alchohol addiction and homophobia. And last but not least, the biggest reason I like this book.. *Drumroll* 6)ISAIAH. I.love.him. I really hate to let the fangirl in me take over, but I really do love him. I haven't read Pushing the Limits, so I was just introduced to his character in this novel. I loved reading about him so much, and his dark demeanour. He's even made to my all time favourtie male characters list (With the likes of Draco Malfoy and so, although there is quite a difference between them. And no, Harry's not on it.)True story. I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast-paced emotional romance novel. As I mentioned earlier, I have not read Pushing the Limits, and I haven't found any trouble keeping up with the characters. This novel can be read as a standalone. I'm going crazy waiting for Crash Into You, no more like going-nuts-waiting-for-so-much-as-a-blurb-to-be-released kind of crazy. *An arc was provided by the publishers in return for an honest review.