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All posts for the month April, 2013

5 stars to The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass

Published April 28, 2013 by katheryn13

The hotly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Selection.

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

I’ve gotta say, I haven’t rated a book 5 stars in a long time. (well, it certainly feels that way.) First off, it has felt like a lifetime since The Selection came out, and I only read that a few months ago. So…yeah.

I am in LOVE with Maxon. (But I will try not to be too biased…) Now, although he’s not perfect, and yes he may have done a few…things…that will not be spoiled but must still be taken into account, I feel he is still the strongest choice between him and Aspen.
Aspen, to me, got very clingy. Impatient. And yet sweet in certain moments. He has America’s history, he is her past, the place she knew the most, and felt at home with, but things are changing.  Maxon could be impatient too, but more toward the end, and to be fair, who could blame him? America did get on my nerves a little bit in a couple of parts, but that’s mainly because, a little like in book 1, she was going between the two guys like a yo yo and then she’d get jealous or moan when Maxon talked to another girl. I was like “Girl, you can’t be playing them both, it’s not fair!” but it turns out she couldn’t hear me. *sigh*

The writing as usual in The Elite was great, just as good as The Selection, if not better, and each page sucked me in. There is so much going on, and where one moment I was aww’ing, the next moment I’d be cursing one of the characters. I love that it’s not clogged up with unneeded description and there’s plenty of dialogue – which is, what I prefer in a story. I don’t need to know what shade wall paper there is, or the pattern on the carpet. I want to know who’s walking that carpet and where they are going, or who’s talking to whom, you know what I’m saying? And Kiera Cass delivers this perfectly.
The tension between the final selection of girls is palpable from start to finish and still I want to kill Celeste. I rather think that’s the point of writing her as a horrible person, but still, I’m clarifying my feelings towards her.
It was nice to see more interaction between the other girls and America. Whereas in The Selection, you only really heard or saw them in passing, this time there are actual conversations, delving more into their personalities and just how they are competing. It turns out, America has more problems than she thought.

Now, Marlee. Damn girl, what have you gone and done? We finally find out her secret and let me just say it’s scandalous; but the result, I felt was the epitome of how a Monarchy would react. Nothing goes unseen or unpunished, which is why I’m waiting for the ball to drop on the goings on between Aspen and America. (If they ended up getting married, they would be AA. *giggles*) Yeah bad joke. Anyway, there are many sweet moments and one in particular near the end nearly had me crying. I could feel my eyes welling up, but I willed the tears back in because no, I would not cry. Nope.

There’s plenty of bitchiness, arguments, romance, tears, happiness, fear. Funny moments, too. I mean, the whole package. I didn’t ever want to stop reading, and I hoped the book wouldn’t end but sadly it did and all too soon. :( And now we wait for book 3, which apparently is titled “The One” and I am TRULY hoping it means what I think it means. But knowing Kiera it’s something different. *sigh*

The problem with reading a book so soon after it’s released is you then have to wait forever for the next one.

Definitely worth reading if you enjoyed The Selection, and even if you didn’t particularly like that, you’ll surely love this. I did. I really did. :D

Kat

4 stars to Partials by Dan Wells

Published April 25, 2013 by katheryn13

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials–engineered organic beings identical to humans–has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what’s left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she’s not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them–connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

So…I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I had been delaying it for months and finally found the nerve to try it. I hadn’t been sure whether I’d like it, and at first I found it slow to get into. The terminology used, the amount of long words and general “dystopian language” I found tiring. One thing I will get out of the way: The amount of times the author uses “kudzu” annoyed me. I swear to god, I got to the point where if I read it one more time, I’d scream!

Right. What I did like? I liked that what I predicted at the half way point, didn’t happen. I mean…wow. I got to a certain part where Kira is with the Partial and I was like “Oh, I can guess what’s going to happen…” and it didn’t.

It was a little sad that there wasn’t much romance in this story, but I guess with everything else that was going on, it would have seemed a bit redundant and wouldn’t have fit.
The whole back story with the government keeping things secret and in a sense, saying one thing but doing another, was very… interesting. I felt it represented well on how life is now with politicians and what might happen in the future. Especially if something like the RM virus happened…
Kira held a positive stand in this and she fought for what she believed in, which was admirable. It showed, also, that whether you do something you feel is right or not, you’ll have to face the consequences. None of the Senate were willing to risk their “control” over the people, and most of all, they didn’t think a 16 yr old plague baby could handle the job where they couldn’t. She damn well could!
I loved the action, the feeling that no one was safe, that anyone could die at any moment. And some did, I’m afraid. Won’t say who, but it gets kinda sad. And intense. And just…all around great. I can’t wait to read book 2, which I believe is already out.

Definitely worth a read. :)

-Kat

4 stars to Fractured by Teri Terry

Published April 15, 2013 by katheryn13

How do you know where to go when you don’t remember where you came from?

Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

Or so she thought.

Kyla shouldn’t be able to remember anything. But she can – and she’s beginning to realise that there are a lot of dark secrets locked away in her memories. When a mysterious man from her past comes back into her life, she thinks she’s on her way to finding the truth. But the more she learns about her history, the more confusing her future becomes…

There may or may not be spoilers ahead, depending on what you class  a spoiler, and/or what you just don’t want to read, or whatever. I try. I really do, but sometimes…it’s very hard.

Right, well. That was a whirlwind.

I absolutely adored Slated, and couldn’t believe my luck that I’d found a book that was so…  intriguing, well written, well plotted, well rounded characters (well, most of them), AND in a dystopian world. I mean, how often does that come about? For me, not as often as I’d like.

Slated ended on a somewhat intense cliff hanger, leaving readers to wonder what exactly would Kyla do next. And who exactly was she before she was Slated? And not only did we want to find out, but so did many of the characters that were in the story. Kyla was a mystery, and that’s partly why I was so sucked into this world and the plot because with each clue, with each memory, I wanted to KNOW who and what she was and could do. Fair enough, now, in Fractured, she DID get on my nerves a little a times, hence the 4stars. I found her lack of common sense a bit…draining on my patience. I mean, girl, if someone who has BRAINS tells you NOT TO GO AFTER SOMEONE BECAUSE IT IS DANGEROUS then you should DAMN WELL LISTEN TO HIM!

But of course, Kyla (Rain…Lucy…whoever she is) doesn’t have common sense and therefore ignores warnings. As for her identity, she’s being pushed and pulled in numerous directions, told what she should and shouldn’t be doing, who she should and shouldn’t be, and you know… I was SO glad when the penny finally dropped and she was like, “wow. I don’t have to do what they say. Or be who they want. My decision is my own, not theirs.” *claps* Well f**king done, girl! I mean, it took her a long time to get there, but she finally made it to the crest of the hill and now I need to know…Will she manage to get her own back at the Lorders? Those guys remind me of Storm Troopers. I don’t know what it is…

Okay, so perhaps I’m spoiling a little here, but if you haven’t read Slated, then either way, this whole thing is a spoiler.

But I just got so caught up. I wanted to know where Ben went to, and then new people come into this and I’m like “noooo they’re sketchy!”

I never did like Kyla’s dad, and to be honest, Amy got on my nerves also. She was always so…nosy and wanting to know what Kyla was up to, much like her mum but at least SHE didn’t act all…well, my best word is ‘sketchy’ right now. The whole book leads up to one big event that TOTALLY goes, pardon the expression, “tits up” because…well, you’ll see.

There’s also Nico…I at first had my suspicions about him, and then gradually I started to like him. I’ll leave the rest a blank.

A certain girl who disappeared in Slated reappears and she brings enough conflict that it sidetracks you from what is ultimately happening here. There’s so much going on, which makes it hard sometimes to fully understand, and when one minute you’re asking “what just happened?” the next page everything is explained, so you’re not hanging for long.

I am so excited to find out the conclusion in book 3 which is currently untitled, but I’m sure it’ll be a wicked name.

I think I got everything in there that I could. Either way, if you haven’t read Slated, you should. And then you have to read Fractured, because…well…duh!

:)

Review: 4.5 stars to With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent

Published April 7, 2013 by katheryn13

SLIGHT SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE PREVIOUS 6 BOOKS. 

What does it mean when your school is voted the most dangerous in America? It’s time to kick some hellion butt…
After not really surviving her junior year (does “undead” count as survival?), Kaylee Cavanaugh has vowed to take back her school from the hellions causing all the trouble. She’s going to find a way to turn the incarnations of Avarice, Envy and Vanity against one another in order to protect her friends and finish this war, once and forever.

But then she meets Wrath and understands that she’s closer to the edge than she’s ever been. And when one more person close to her is taken, Kaylee realizes she can’t save everyone she loves without risking everything she has….

Awww what a cute ending and bravo to Rachel Vincent for ending a tremendous book series on a relatively happy note! I’m so pleased.

So to start this review off, I must say,  I only had one minor complaint and that’s Kaylee’s behaviour. The fact she was so willing to risk her own (undead) life was very annoying in parts, but I suppose I could see why, and you know, it all worked out alright in the end. I’ll try for limited spoilers in this but I can’t promise…what I can’t keep. xD

I have loved the Soul Screamers books since…well the start. They’ve had their ups and downs, some books better than others, but over all, the story has been consistant and the writing has been A* all around. I’ve gone through times of hating one or more characters at one time or another, and I’ve wanted to smack them til the cows come home sometimes, but then I’ve just..loved them. For their bravery, for their trust, for their love. I mean…damn, I wish I had friends willing to risk/sacrifice themselves just to keep me safe or rescue me from Hellions in the Netherworld. Uh…Okay, perhaps that’s a bit extreme.

in ‘With All My Soul’ things are coming to a climax in the best and worst ways possible. Emma is dealing with her new…situation, Sophie is now part of the ‘gang’ even if she is bitchy, and Sabine…well I’ve come to like her. And that’s saying something considering I wanted her DEAD in the other books. I mean, ffs she tried to get rid of Kaylee just to get to Nash! How rude.
Anyway, now they’ve got more problems due to other…family members going missing. And it gets from bad to worse because they can’t find them to get them back. And making deals with a Hellion is not ideal, especially Hellion of Wrath. Oh my god, did I love Ira. I’m sorry; yes he was evil, and liked to feed on anger, but BY GOLLY WAS HE HOT! So the description wasn’t completely easy to understand, but I could just imagine this tall dude dressed like some emo rocker and smooth looks…Like “well hello there cowboy, wanna hop on mama’s bike?” *fans self*
And yes, okay, he was…sketchy, to say the least. That’s the problem with evil doers from hell, they always come with a price.

But he turns out to be pretty stand up guy/hellion and he gained my respect, even if he was damned creepy sometimes. Avari on the other hand…what an asshole. He was at his full strength of hideousness in this final instalment, and that made me hate him more. I would call him a douche but I’m British and that word makes NO sense. So I’ll stick with creepy.

Tod’s dedication to Kaylee…My heart swelled with it. He would have done anything to keep her home, safe, alive (well, sort of) as long as it meant she didn’t risk her soul. Because that…is ultimately what her plan was/is/might have been. No spoilers. It gets SO good and you have to read this (unless you haven’t read the others in the series in which case I highly recommend you read those first, yeah?) because you will not be disappointed in the result. I assure you.
The ending was sad, heartfelt, but overall sweet and…I guess bittersweet. Some part of me was expecting an epilogue, and if you know me, I HATE epilogues, so that’s saying something. I guess I just didn’t/don’t want this series to end. What am I going to read now? *sobs*

There is probably much more I could say about this…but right now, I think I’ve said all there needs to be said.

So…without further ado…I give you…
My final farewell to Kaylee Cavanaugh. Tod Hudson. Nash Hudson. And…well…everyone else. *waves* See you in the next life, buddies.

-Kat

Review: 5 Stars to THE COLLECTOR by Victoria Scott

Published April 7, 2013 by elenafx

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He makes good girls…bad.

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.

Warning: this review is going to be totally fangirl-ish.

I’ve been waiting for this book since forever. I’ve been dreaming it in my hands and now that I finally got to read, I want to explode. The Collector is SO good. Unique, full of romance, action. It was definitely worth the one year I had to wait for it to come out.

First of all, I adored Victoria’s Scott writing. It’s so funny. The story flows perfectly, making you hooked immediately. She has a gift of making the story really vivid, like you can actually watch it unravel before your eyes. Victoria Scott is definitely a new voice in YA who needs to be reckoned with.

And here’s the good part. D A N T E  W A L K E R. Swoon. This guy is the definition of swoon. Gawd, I just love him. He’s… UGH! I’m fine, okay, I’m fine *exhales*. Dante Walker is the lead male of the book and we see the story from his point of view. I enjoyed reading the story from his POV. We get to see the real changes in him and also, the truth about who he is. Dante is a collector. He collects souls and brings them to Boss Man aka Lucifer. Yep, he’s a demon, a villain. He’s also the best collector out of the six of them. And he knows it. He’s so totally aware he’s flipping awesome, it just may annoy you in the beginning of the book. Let me tell you something. Dante’s not your usual cocky, bad boy YA book character. He’s the actual villain in the story. That’s what’s so unique about this story. Watching him change, or better yet, watching Charlie change him throughtout the book is just amazing. Yes, we can all see the good in him, even in the beginning. What we don’t know is if the good side of him is enough for him to actually be good instead of a pawn of hell.

Then there’s Charlie. Another totally unique character. Charlie’s a sweet, good girl who lives her life peacefully in Peachville. She’s not pretty – glasses, bad skin, limp and all. Thank God for Charlie! I’m so tired of book heroines being so damn perfect. I mean, c’mon, that’s just stupid. But then, here comes Charlie, with all her nerdy-ness and unpretty-but-at-the-same-time-pretty face and rocks our world. I love her! She had had a lot of crap on her plate since she was young but instead of being moody and constantly cursing the world, she tries to make it better. She smiles and has hope. So many people have lost hope, nowadays, and so many girls try to be too damned awesome – it’s disgusting! Charlie really is a heroine to look up to. I personally admire her so much. Because she’s not a coward and she’s good and she cares about her loved ones and she actually forgives. GO CHARLIE!

The Collector is definitely one of my favorite books of 2013 so far. Unique and full of romance with a boy who will rock your world and a girl who will make you feel confident again. Read it. The Collector is amazing!

– Elena

Review: 5 Stars to CLOCKWORK PRINCESS by Cassandra Clare

Published April 7, 2013 by elenafx

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Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy. 

Tessa Gray should be happy – aren’t all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa’s heart, will do anything to save her.

NO SPOILERS AHEAD.

Let me fill you in on something before this review officially begins. I adore Cassie Clare’s books. She’s been my favorite author since I first read The Mortal Instruments. So you can understand how much I wanted to read Clockwork Princess. Since the moment I finished Clockwork Prince, about one year and a half ago, I yearned to have this book in my hands. But the day it actually came out, I couldn’t read it. I was reading about 10 pages per day – I just couldn’t read it. So when Friday came (it released on Tuesday, March 19th) I’d read only about three chapters, I think. But then Sunday came and I sat down and read it all without stopping. I hadn’t had school on Monday so I stayed up till six in the morning crying and crying and crying. Thanks a lot, Cassie!

The book begins full on with action and humour I didn’t expect. For some reason, I’ve been ready for tears since paragraph 1 (yeah, I’m a drama queen, I know) but, no, there was a lot of action and a lot of funny moments with Will or Gabriel, mostly. The Lightwood boys, Gideon and Gabriel, where a lot in the final book which had me over the moon. I adore those two. A lot happened to both of them. Both on a romantic level and action one. Gideon knows where his loyalty lies, but things are a lot more complicated where Gabriel’s concerned. He’d been brought up to hate Charlotte Branwell and the members of the London Institute. But now he’s staying with them. The mystery that is Gabriel continues throughtout the book which I loved. Gabriel has always been kind of a mystery to us. There’s a good side of him but he’s vulnerable and you never know what he’s going to do next. But a certain female helps him find himself once and for all. Where Gideon is concerned, things are a lot clearer. He’s the good, serious Gideon we all know and adore, just totally whipped. His love for Sophie continues full on and he’s determined to show her he’s in love with her. Aw, Gideon!

Meanwhile, a lot is happening in the London Institute. I love the fact that Cassandra can mix it all up. Action, love, bittersweet scenes all at once. One moment, a huge lead on Mortmain is found and then the scene changes completely. There are a lot of scenes between Jem and Will (HERONSTAIRS, PEOPLE!) throughtout the book that had me literally sobbing. I wasn’t so moved in the scenes between Jem and Tessa or Will and Tessa, so much as Jem and Will. Those two are not just parabatai and it shows a lot in this book. They’re more than brothers or parabatai. Their souls are linked. They’d die willingly for each other. Their bond is unimaginable and I don’t think there’s someone who was not moved by their relationship or merely by the dialogues between them in Clockwork Princess. I sincerely believe that the relationship between William Herondale and James Carstairs is the best thing I’ve ever read. I can honestly say I haven’t sobbed so hard for any other book characters as I had for Will and Jem.

What happens in the end concerning Jem, Mortmain, and what Tessa is – I so hadn’t expected any of those things. I mean freaking nothing. The clockwork angel Tessa always wears plays a huge role in the ending of the book. God, I didn’t see that one coming either and I loved it! I loved that Cassandra had me constantly screaming in the last fifty pages or so of the book. And crying – God, did I cry! Cassie had us all wrapped in her little web and we totally fell for it. I think now’s the moment to officially state that Cassandra Clare’s writing is magical. Especially in The Infernal Devices, she writes so professionally. She’s noticed every single detail, every single thing that leads back to The Mortal Instruments, she’s written it with such care. Her writing is so vivid, so addictive, she has everyone hooked to her every word. Especially in The Infernal Devices, her writing is so lyrical, so poetic. It flows perfectly. If I could, I’d give Cassandra a Nobel Prize for Clockwork Princess.

And then there’s the epilogue. It’s taking place in London, Blackfriars Bridge, 2008. Tessa recalls her life so many years ago. I don’t think I’ve sobbed so hard about anything in my life, let alone an epilogue. But this – this was the most perfect and bittersweet and heart-breaking thing I’ve read in my life. I was reading and sobbing hysterically at the same time. At one point, I just stopped and cried for a good twenty minutes. But then I started reading again and here come the tears once more. My parents thought I was hurt or something but I just told them to back off which earned me a good talk about me going to a shrink the next day (fyi, they were joking, they didn’t send me to the crazy doc). When I finally finished the whole book, I curled up in my bed and sobbed for an hour. Then, I stayed up for a long time thinking about those characters I love so much. There were a lot of soundless tears involved. Writing this review right now makes me emotional. Don’t judge, my zodiac sign is cancer.

To sum up, I just want to say how grateful I am for The Infernal Devices. Cassandra Clare has written a series I’ll always love and have in my heart. I adore those characters more than anything. Clockwork Princess was everything I wanted it to be but at the same time so much more. Perfect in so many ways! Even though it pains me that it actually ended, I’ll be forever grateful for those characters, that they all had a perfect ending. And I’ll never forget them. Thank you so much, Cassandra Clare, for this amazing series and for these extraordinary characters that have touched everyone’s heart.

Ave atque vale, The Infernal Devices.

-Elena