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All posts for the month February, 2013

4 stars to The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Published February 22, 2013 by katheryn13

After her near-fatal run-in with the Jack the Ripper copycat, Rory Devereaux has been living in Bristol under the close watch of her parents. So when her therapist suddenly suggests she return to Wexford, Rory jumps at the chance. But Rory’s brush with the Ripper touched her more than she thought possible: she’s become a human terminus, with the power to eliminate ghosts on contact. She soon finds out that the Shades—the city’s secret ghost-fighting police—are responsible for her return. The Ripper may be gone, but now there is a string of new inexplicable deaths threatening London. Rory has evidence that the deaths are no coincidence. Something much more sinister is going on, and now she must convince the squad to listen to her before it’s too late.

In this follow-up to the Edgar Award-nominated The Name of the Star, Maureen Johnson adds another layer of spectacularly gruesome details to the streets of London that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

 

I really enjoyed this. Despite there not being as much action, chasing, as there was in the first book (this is the reason for the 4 star), I still can’t find much fault with this. Besides that it could have done with more drama.
However, the ending.
A killer

I will try and give a review without saying too much. Wow, do you know how difficult that is?

You start off with Rory in Bristol after the Ripper attack. She’s under house arrest, pretty much, but gradually her parents let her outside for counselling. It’s quite amusing the way Rory thinks, and her characteristics that shine through, almost like she is a real person. I know, shocker. All the stories she makes up, and how the lies she has to tell get bigger and bigger and you can see she’s weaving a web that she’ll end up tripping on any moment.

For certain reasons she goes back to London. She discovers…a few things about herself. She has a power. And she’s not doing so well in school.
Stephen, Boo and Callum are all in this again, and I LOVE them. I have a crush on Stephen, I won’t lie. He might be moody as hell but he is a charmer. Mmm. Jerome and Jazza don’t have as big a part to play, but I still love them, even if Jerome does get on my nerves. Oh and Alastair. He might only be in a bit, but WOW… he cracked me up with each line. I swear.

Things go from bad to worse with Rory and then new characters come into play. There’s Jane, a new therapist that Charlotte, the ever loving girl that she is (sarcasm!) suggests Rory should see, because apparently she’s such a great helper. *eye roll*
You ever read a book, and there’ll be some interaction, a scene with new people, and you can sense there’s something incredibly wrong with them, with the situation, BEFORE the main character involved realises?
I hate that!
But this is what happened to me. I was just reading, as you do, and I found myself muttering “No, Rory. No, don’t be stupid. They’re not good. Come on, don’t do this!” and yet, she would not listen. She just continued her merry way in ignorant bliss until it was too late and I was like, “Yup, told ya so. I knew it. Didn’t I tell you?”

Basic rule: say no to drugs.
That’s all I’m saying.

I’ll tell you, the last couple of chapters were MANIC. Some surprising changes happen, and….I’ll just say this: Stephen.
Stephen …Boo…Callum…RORY!

Yeah I literally can’t say anymore because this kills me.

What a cliff hanger and I look forward to third book. :) I am so glad I got an advanced copy.

Kat

5 stars to Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Published February 20, 2013 by katheryn13

Juliette’s world is beginning to unravel.
Everything is falling apart changing.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point-the headquarters of the rebel resistance. There she discovers other people with abilities. Abilities they have learned to control. And for the first time in her life, Juliette has hope. Hope that she can have a life with Adam. Hope that her touch can be used to save instead of destroy.

But Juliette is only just beginning to understand the depth of her power, and she’s struggling to fight the desire to use it. She’s still haunted by her past, terrified by her future, and too tempted by Warner, who still wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart-and Adam’s life.

 

If I could give this book 10 stars, I freaking well would. How can I possibly explain to you, in any words, how much this book…captured me, awed me, almost KILLED me. (not literally, mind you. Just emotionally.) And still made me laugh, almost cry (because actually crying would involve energy) and get so much butterflies from… Well, you’ll have to find out.

I seriously can’t believe it’s over. Unravel me was 469 pages of pure bliss, action, desire, laughs, fear…everything one can hope for in a book. Tahereh Mafi is literally a genius. How she manages to make a book so captivating and just so….epic, I will never know. Page after page after page, I couldn’t, wouldn’t take my eyes off it. Unfortunately, there were moments when I HAD to, but still…

So…ugh, where do I start? Adam…oh baby let me hug you? You and Juliette were so perfect for each other, and then you had to go and get POWERS. I mean, really. How inconvenient.

So, we know he can touch Juliette. But how? Well, you’ll find out.
There are a few moments between them that are so…intensely dramatic and heartbreaking.

And then there’s Kenji. Dude, you are hilarious!
He literally lights up the room. The situation will be as bad and as serious as anything, and he’ll come along and change the mood. It’s great but also kind of intimidating.
He was the rock between Juliette and Adam when things got tough and I so admired his strength because jeez the amount of whinging Juliette does, I’m surprised he didn’t just give up right away. But she calms down, so it’s all good.

Juliette has a lot of issues to wade through, and one of them certainly being her relationship with a certain Mr Kent, but also… dundunduuuuun….a certain Mr Warner…

He has a BIG part to this part of the story, and I have to admit, I’m…kind of in love with him. Yeah he’s a big bad wolf but even wolves have their furry cuddly sides, don’t they?
No?
Oh, maybe that’s just me then. *sigh*
There are some INTENSE scenes – well, the whole book is intense, so who am I kidding? – between Warner and Juliette, and I would just say…remember to breathe.

There’s so much action, and just…live or die moments that shook me so hard, I didn’t know how to cope. At one point I thought I was going into cardiac arrest because of the drama. Okay, maybe that’s a bit over board. lol But you’ll see.

I really don’t know what else to say because I feel like everything is a spoiler, and without putting too finer point on it: IT’S SO FULL OF AWESOME IT’LL BLOW YOUR SOCKS AND SHOES OFF!
There, that’s it in a nutshell. It’s not often I read a book that hooks me, and especially with such a weird (and yet strangely wonderful) writing style. It’s unique, but not for everyone, so I’m thankful I like it. It’s…cool.

Oh, another thing: you meet Warner’s father. Who, by the way, is freaking SCARY! I think of Voldemort with a hot face and no wand? *mind wanders*

So yes, there are sexy guys in suits, sexy BOYS in suits, sexy boys with blond hair, no SHIRT and no PANTS … *shuts up now* Don’t worry, it’s not what you think.

I hope Adam is okay. I hope Juliette is okay. I hope Kenji is okay. James, kiddo, you better be okay.
And Warner, you can be okay in my bed, ‘kay?

Yep, that’s it. Bye.

*is off to sleep off this book hangover*

 

Kat

5 Stars to Everbound by Brodi Ashton

Published February 18, 2013 by katheryn13

Two months ago, the Tunnels of the underworld came for Nikki Beckett. That night, Nikki’s boyfriend, Jack, made the ultimate sacrifice. All Nikki wants is to save Jack before it’s too late. All Cole wants is to find his queen – and he thinks Nikki is the one. Both determined, both desperate, Nikki and Cole form a tense alliance, leading them on a dangerous journey to The Heart of The Everneath.

 

 

 

 

 

OH. MY. GOD.

OH MY GOD.
OH…MY GOD.
OH, my god.

I’m not sure there’s any other way to describe the rollercoaster ride that is Everbound.
I have just finished and for the last chapter, my jaw dropped. LITERALLY.

So okay…I guess I need to start from the beginning. Nikki’s boyfriend, Jack, was sucked into the Tunnels at the end of Everneath. And now, Nikki has a plan to go and rescue him because he was never supposed to go there. She was. He took her place. Why? Because he loves her.
Who wouldn’t sacrifice themselves for the one they love?

The only problem is, Cole is missing and Nikki needs something of his to be able to go to the Everneath. Not to mention FIND the Tunnels. It’s a pretty complex navigation system there. Luckily when things get rolling, she finds she has her own personal GPS called a Tether. I know, cool right?
With Cole and Nikki on their little adventure is the other band member of the Dead Elvises, Max. Now, he wasn’t really in Everneath that much, but now you really see more of him. He’s funny, and in a ways, not just your typical sidekick. On the way, Cole invites a friend called Ashe who apparently owes Cole a favour. It’s all very sketchy.
And so they go on their merry way…

Well, without spoiling too much, this part of the book reminds me so much of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, the only difference is rather than going to a cup, they’re going to find Jack.
So much happens in this and it’s literally breathtaking (not in the good way) when they’re chased by Wanderers and Shades and avoiding fire walls (Sounds like internet security gone wrong) and waterfalls. There’s plenty of action and moments of intense “is he/she dead? can they escape?” feelings. Each obstacle, each Ring they enter (There’s even a Ring of Fire… which I couldn’t help but sing “ring of fire” by Johnny Cash when I got to that) affects certain emotions.
It’s all very…precise. And boy, does Nikki hold a lot of emotions.

Cole…changes a little in this, and you start to realise that he might not be as self centred as he seems. There is so much built up sexual tension that I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs “JUST KISS ALREADY!” but of course then my guilt for Jack came in and I was back to, “Hurry up and save him!”

I’m not even sure how to explain how my own emotions played in this, and to say it was up and down would be an understatement. One minute I rooted for Cole, the next for Jack, then I kinda thought Nikki and Will (Jack’s brother) should date (because I was getting annoyed with Nikki not getting any action. So sue me.) but then my rooting would go somewhere else and I’d be confused. It’s really hard to keep straight in this. Jack mainly appears in dream sequences, where he visits the surface at night (in Nikki’s dreams) because she’s his tether? I think that’s right. I forget. Anyway.

I thought everything was going swimmingly (slightly sarcastic, but not quite) up until…let’s say, the last three chapters? When something BIG happens (no spoilers) and I’m like “Woah, ok, that’s great, Nice. Easy does it.) and then WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM, the last chapter?

I died.
No, I’m not kidding.
I am typing this from beyond the grave. Yeah, there is internet down here. It’s fun. Ultimate WIFI access. Who knew?

Because HOLY MOTHER OF HELL was that the CLASSIEST MOVE YET!? That cliff hanger. WHAT IN THE WORLD?

I don’t think I’ve been that surprised, that caught out at a twist, in YEARS. And that’s saying something because I read a lot of cliff hangers.  I guess, in an alternate universe (inside joke), I should have seen it coming. I suppose, if I hadn’t been so caught up in what was happening, then I might have been like “Hmm yeah I guess it was obvious” But NO it wasn’t. It’s a kick in the teeth twist. So remember your painkillers!

I really cannot wait for the 3rd book, because by golly is it going to be a doozy.
Seriously add this to your to-read list, and if you haven’t already picked up Everneath (book 1) DO SO NOW!

Kat

5 stars to The Selection by Kiera Cass

Published February 15, 2013 by katheryn13

 

Thirty-five beautiful girls. Thirty-five beautiful rivals…

It’s the chance of a lifetime and 17-year-old America Singer should feel lucky. She has been chosen for The Selection, a reality TV lottery in which the special few compete for gorgeous Prince Maxon’s love.

Swept up in a world of elaborate gowns, glittering jewels and decadent feasts, America is living a new and glamorous life. And the prince takes a special interest in her, much to the outrage of the others.

Rivalry within The Selection is fierce and not all of the girls are prepared to play by the rules. But what they don’t know is that America has a secret — one which could throw the whole competition… and change her life forever.

First off, I LOVE being surprised by books. This is one of my many loves. I’d heard about The Selection for quite a while, but like many other books that have “surprised” me, I delayed the inevitable because the cover didn’t “call out” to me. Do you ever get that?
I thought that it was just a younger teens book (not like some or most of the YA books I read that are…let’s say…for the slightly older majority – despite the fact I’m not ACTUALLY a teen anymore. :( ) and therefore wouldn’t appeal to me.
NOW…let me just admit I was wrong to judge this FANTASTIC piece of artwork the way I did. I am sorry to have let it slide on by. I heard it is to be a TV programme and I thought, “Hmm, I wonder what it’s like?”
I asked around and plenty said it was good. But no one told me just HOW good. I can certainly see the Hunger Games comparisons: Girl takes part in a competition with 34 other girls to become the prince’s wife and battles it through hardships, etc. The people of Illea are sectioned into “castes”, etc. But asides from those examples, the rest is completely off the scale!
I adored the relationships between America and her family; and the difference in living style compared to say, her boyfriend, Aspen. And how they judged by what Caste you come from…it’s rather similar to nowadays, and how people judge you if you’re not as well off in finances as some.
It was very interesting to find a Prince like Maxon who was not altogether like you expect. Sure, he first APPEARED like a stuck up git, but he was not in fact, a stuck up git. I loved the changes, and the subtle growing of his and America’s friendship. The story had its ups and downs, and one very big complication that made me want to scream.
There were mild moments of romance, but this, ultimately, isn’t the centre attraction. There’s heavy emphasis on friendship as a whole and you see how many teenage girls behave when in such close proximity to one another.
I am really looking forward to getting my hands on the second book and I really want to find out what happens. I mean, I am thoroughly in love with these characters.

There are tellings of how The United States got to the state it did, and I found it interesting on how almost prophecy like it sounded. I won’t go into detail, but this to me made the story have a bit more depth to it. It wasn’t just a story based in the future for no real reason, in my opinion.

I know I’m just one person, but I can’t recommend this highly enough. You don’t need tons of hot romance or swearing or violence in a book to make it captivating or interesting. This is none of this and still, it held my attention and made me root for a certain person (will not say who because my opinion may change.)
So go out and read this if you haven’t already. It may not be high up there with your most precious novels, but it’s certainly something to enjoy, and who knows, you may fall in love like I did.
:)

Kat

Review: 5 Stars to POISON PRINCESS (The Arcana Chronicles #1) by Kresley Cole

Published February 11, 2013 by elenafx

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces The Arcana Chronicles, post-apocalyptic tales filled with riveting action, the dark mysticism of Tarot cards, and breathtaking romance.

 

She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?
Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side….

 

I read this book back in October when it came out. But I decided to reread it last week. And here come all the emotions again. POISON PRINCESS is surely one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s unique, addictive and has everything a reader can ask for. Magic, hot, swoon-worthy romance, great characters that you’ll fall in love immediately and most of all, it’s so very well-written. It’s definitely in my top 5 favorite debuts of 2012.

The cover was the first thing that attracted me to this book. This cover guy is hot. By the time I read the synopsis, I was already going crazy with want. I just needed that book. So, of course, I got it. I’ll be honest. I was a little confused at first. I didn’t expect magic in a post-apocalyptic book, especially this kind of magic. I don’t even know if this is a proper name to call it but I cannot find a better word for what’s happening in this book. Tarot and Major Arcana are catalists in this book. The mystery of what Evie is, along with what Major Arcana has to do with it is the best part of the book. Most people don’t know about Tarot and the whole idea of it in a Young Adult book is just too perfect.

The leading character, Evie, is a girl with a perfect life. She has a perfect boyfriend, perfect clothes, perfect money etc. Or so it seems. She was actually closed to a house for ”troubled” kids (more like mental) because she has these weird visions. And her mom found out. Evie finally comes back home, determined to get her perfect life back. Of course, she doesn’t. She keeps having visions and the day after her birthday – BOOM. The Flash.

Evie is a great heroine that I liked since the beginning. She doesn’t put up with the hot, new kid’s crap and she doesn’t let others control her. Furthermore, after the Flash she did everything in her power to help her mother. It needs guts to watch your mother dying and not fall apart, let me tell you. Well, in the end of the book, she becomes a fierce badass. No, I’m not going to spoil anthing. I need the sequel, is all.

I think I’m supposed to tell you about Jackson Deveaux now. Hm. What can I possibly say about this hot, protective, possessive, wild, amazingly sexy Cajun guy? That he is one of the best leading male characters in young adult literature? He is. And so much more. I really, really, really love Jack Deveaux, you guys (obviously). You’ll never understand if you don’t read the book.

To sum up, I truly believe POISON PRINCESS is one of the best books ever and it’s definitely worth reading. Cole’s writing will have you awake at night, unable to stop reading the book because it is THAT addictive. Plus, it has everything – from a hot romance to heart gripping action scenes and from a post-apocalyptic world to the mystery of Major Arcana. POISON PRINCESS is amazing!

-Elena

3 stars to The Blood Keeper (The Blood Journals #2) by Tessa Gratton

Published February 11, 2013 by katheryn13

For Mab Prowd, the practice of blood magic is as natural as breathing. It’s all she’s ever known. Growing up on an isolated farm with other practitioners may have kept her from making friends her own age, but it has also given her a sense of purpose – she’s protective of the magic, and is able to practice it proudly and happily out in the open with only the crows as her companions.

But one morning while Mab is attempting a particularly tricky spell, she encounters Will, a local boy who is trying to exorcise a few personal demons of his own. He experiences Mab’s magic in a way his mind cannot comprehend and is all too happy to end their chance meeting. But soon, secrets that were kept from Mab by earlier generations of blood magicians are revealed, and she and Will are drawn back together, united against a dangerous force looking to break free from the earth and reclaim its own dark power.

I was really looking forward to this, the sequel to Blood Magic. Different main characters, but over all connected to the first.

But I have to be honest, I struggled through the first 150-200pages. It wasn’t that it was boring, as such. It was just extremely slow, and the heavy descriptions made it hard for me to get sucked into the world.
After this period, it started to get going; the romance escalated and the story line became apparent. Because before that, I’d started to wonder when anything was going to happen.

Mab did annoy me to begin with. She seemed pretentious, set in her ways, and just…a pain. Gradually her reasons became clearer and she grew on me. But not that much.

I liked Will straight away, and surprisingly not just because he’s good looking (although, that helped :P ) but because he was…so normal, and not in a cliche way. He had more layers to his personality that made him refreshing to read about. The dynamics between him and his brother, Ben was intense, and their relationship was complex. But at least it made the story not just about Will and Mab. For most of the book, with all the things happening, I became much more attached to Will, hoping he made it through. There seemed to be more input on his side of the story than on Mab’s.

It was fun to have mentions of Silla and Nick as they were main characters in Blood Magic, although not as much as I’d have liked.

The basic premise of this story could have been so much better, in my opinion. There was a lot of emphasis on the scenery and the trees, and fields… it just seemed a bit … over the top?
I get that was how Mab was, and that was her world, but writing wise it could have been toned down.

When I hit the late 200’s pages, things sped up and I could see a plot working its way in. It was interesting reading the letters from Mab’s grandmother, although to be honest, the connection between the family members confused me. I wasn’t sure who Mab’s mother was at first, and only half way through did it click. It didn’t help that I lost concentration some parts into it.

There were a couple of big twists that surprised me. I really didn’t see them coming. Not like that, anyway. I knew something might happen but…yeah.
I really enjoyed the second half, despite how slow I got through it. The reason I give this book 3 stars is because of how slow I found it until then. The writing was beautiful, though, even if it was slightly heavy to understand. Not shakespeare heavy, just more than I’m used to.

Over all it had a lovely ending and there’s plenty of nail biting moments towards the final scenes that made this worth the read.

 

Kat

5 stars to Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter

Published February 1, 2013 by katheryn13

Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it’s that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting—or stealing—whatever they want.

No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale’s family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother’s billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there’s no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won’t let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother’s will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company’s fortune. So instead of being the heir—this time, Hale might be the mark. 

Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she’s willing to save her boyfriend’s company if it means losing the boy.

WARNING: EXTREME EXCITEMENT AHEAD. PLEASE CONTINUE WITH CAUTION.

OH MY GOD! I loved it.
So I just this minute finished it. I am in…complete and utter shock. This has to be the best…and that’s saying something because books 1 and 2 were phenomenal! No word of a lie. (well, in my opinion.)

So Kat and Hale are a couple. WHOOOPPEEEEEEEEE!!!

But not all is safe.
When Hale’s grandmother dies, and leaves the will, saying Hale inherits Hale Industries….well you know things aren’t always what they seem, right? Especially not in Kat and Hale’s world. There’s Garrett, who is the family’s lawyer, and a really creepy, patronising, smarmy git of a guy. I won’t spoil, but let’s just say he has plans. Lots of eeeeeeevil plans.

There’s a science-y prototype that is supposedly going to make them millions…. and what does Garrett do? Well…he….. Yeah, right, like I’m going to tell you. Basically, he (TRIES!) to cons everyone. But does he really think he can get away with it? Can he really con Hale, and along with him, one of the biggest con families ever?
There was a lot of nervous, biting of nails moments in this. Several times I feared for Kat and Hale, hoping beyond hopes they’d work through their problems. And well… they did and they didn’t, then they did and then…you get the picture. It was a bumpy ride.
The whole gang were in this and I personally ADORE Hamish and Angus. They remind me of the Weasley Twins from Harry Potter (just in case you don’t know…) with their tricks and witty lines. Gabrielle is so funny with her come backs and flirting… and randomly diverting off course when it comes to their “show time” moments.
There was new competition in the shape of a girl named Natalie. She was….well, I’m not sure how I felt about her. Her father, Garrett (which confused me since her surname was Garrett so I couldn’t tell if he actually had a first name or not…) was such a slimy moron that it was natural to be skeptical of his daughter.

Hale was so sad after losing his grandmother. He thought he’d finally have a place in the Hale family, after always feeling sidelined, and then he learns that it might have been a lie… Kat couldn’t seem to save him. He pulled away so much and I found myself feeling like:

Several times.

And then came the moment of near the end when I swear to God, I freaked out. I won’t say what. But you may or may not want to strap yourself in and grab some tissues.

And then my heart started beating again in a normal rhythm. I hate it when that happens.

Over all this was SUCH an epic read and I’m so so so so so glad I read it but now I’m not even sure if there’s a 4th one or if that was it or what? Because I’m lost. I NEED MORE HALE AND KAT!!! AND EVERYONE ELSE!

Ally Carter, you did it again. You made me love Hale even more.

Oh and in case you don’t know, we find out what Hale’s family call him. BUT WE WERE SO DAMNED CLOSE TO HIM SAYING HIS REAL NAME! OMG!
Also…shirtless Hale. mmmmmmm

So that’s it really, from me. I think I’ve said all there needs to be said. Oh, one more thing:

GO. READ. THIS. PERFECT. PIECE. OF. LITERATURE. PERFECTION!

Perfect Scoundrels indeed. :D
-Kat

 

 

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