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All posts for the month January, 2014

4 stars to Alchemy (Prophecy Breakers #1) by Sheena Boekweg, Melanie Crouse and Sabrina West

Published January 30, 2014 by katheryn13

“Do you want me to be dangerous?” he asked, his voice husky and low.
I gulped, and for a moment I was incapable of speech. But he was quiet, waiting. “No. I don’t.”
“Then I’m not dangerous at all,” he murmured. His gaze moved from my eyes to my mouth. “You’ve never been safer than you are at this moment.” I shivered as his breath tickled my skin. Our lips were mere millimeters apart when the sky shattered in a kaleidoscope of colored light.

We didn’t know how much we had to lose until we were infected with magic. Sam was in love, Juliette was the main caretaker for her siblings, and Ana and her dad planned the best parties in New York. But we lost it all when we were shipped to Chebeague, an exclusive school for newly infected mages.

Everyone knows about the mages, those who survive the infection and end up with magical abilities. We’ve seen the power of magic, the high-paying jobs, and the world fame. But we never saw the cost. We didn’t know we’d be forced to give up everything: sanity, family, even the right to talk on the phone.

We didn’t know mage was just another word for prisoner.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

Magic? Check. Romance? Check. A creepy school for the infected mages even if you’re not infected or a mage? Check check.

Wow, I love this. It’s intriguing, fresh, and not as complicated as I’d expected given there are 3 authors. There are 3 main characters: Ana, Sam and Juliette. It’s obvious that each author had their own character, so it wasn’t hard to understand.

The story is told in journal form, which is cool, although at times the tense tended to change from present to past to present, etc etc. I was getting a little confused.

There haven’t been many books about magic other than the obvious that I’ve read, and to say these are regular “wizards” is wrong. In this, they are called Mages and there are certain types of skills each person is better at. Prophecy, Pushing, Temp, Super senses, Healing and Alchemy. It’s very different to lots of other books out there and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

The characters are young, but they don’t necessarily behave it, which can at times be off putting but mostly it’s nice because then you actually see the story and not just how stupid they are.  Although, yeah they can be stupid. Getting into trouble, escaping places and generally being rebels.

Can’t wait for the sequel.

Kat

Interested in buying Alchemy?

Purchase on Amazon Purchase on B&N

About the Authors

Sabrina West, Sheena Boekweg and Melanie Crouse never dreamed they would actually create a book worth publishing when they started writing together. Alchemy was merely supposed to be an exercise in flexibility. And it has been that, but it is so much more. Friendships that span the American continent have been forged, and unforgettable characters have been created.


Writing this first book in the Prophecy Breakers was a fun-filled adventure, and we hope that reading it is just as fun for you.

Visit us at theprosers.blogspot.com or check out Sheena Boekweg’s amazing novel, Funny Tragic, Crazy Magic.

Website

Goodreads

 

Schedule: 

January 20th- 
Books Over Reality
Forget About TV, Grab A Book!
Suzy Turner, YA Author

January 22nd- 
Here Is Some Of What I Read
A Book Addict’s Bookshelves
Worlds of Words
Painted Words

January 23rd-
Penny For Them
Our Wolves Den
Wicca 4 Witch Book Blog
Sapphyria’s Book Reviews
Bound 4 Escape

January 24th- 
The One with the Fairy Tales
Works of Fiction

January 25th-
Once Upon a YA Book
Howling Books and Design

January 26th- 
Books and Their Wordly Realms
In Libris Veritas

January 27th- 
The Girl Bookaholic
The Passionate Bookworms

January 28th-
Hooked in a Book
Discover Words

January 29th-
Dalene’s Book Reviews
Deal Sharing Aunt

January 30th-
Perks of Being A Book Nerd
Mythical Books

January 31st-
Cindy’s Love of Books

Want a sneak peak? Check out a piece from Sam’s POV below.

3.5 stars to Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth

Published January 24, 2014 by katheryn13

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Review:

When I first read Divergent, I was in awe. Here was one of the first dystopian, futuristic novels I’d ever read, and I loved it. It gave me everything I could possibly want: action, romance, a hot bad boy, drama, and even some light humour. I was all over Four in a heartbeat. Many of my friends were the same way, and we wrote fan fiction and just…embraced the fandom fun.

Insurgent was released and I was so excited. I read it in a matter of a day or two, and was enamoured. I thought it was twice, three times as good as Divergent in terms of quality, action, character development.

Then came the long wait for Allegiant. Of course for months we speculated about the title. Some joked it would be called Detergent. I have to say, that cracked me up every time I saw it!

November 2013, Allegiant is released and the world goes wild. Well, maybe not the world. But Twitter certainly had a lot to say about it. I didn’t actually recieve the book until a couple weeks after the due date (like it’s a baby or something. haha) but I wasn’t that bothered. I could manage. That is, until certain people began posting spoilers on tumblr, twitter and every other social site they could find. Luckily, I managed to avoid these spoilers and I didn’t see what the fuss was about. What did piss me off were the people talking in general about it, and specifically, how bad the ending was.

I’d spent months, a year, looking forward to this book, this conclusion to a beloved series, and all I hear is how bad it is. What a mood killer. It actually tampered down my hunger to read it, so I left it a couple weeks, maybe longer. Finally I pick it up. Because of the gossip, I found I couldn’t get into it as quickly as I’d have liked. The characters weren’t talking to me quite so easily, and I kept on picturing the actors from the movie (which fyi I’m not really a fan of, but that’s another matter entirely.) so it wasn’t as thrilling. I stopped. I put down the book. And I read other things. Took my mind off it.

Two months later, I pick it back up and decide I will finish it. All that time and energy into the series, and having loved books 1 and 2, I can’t just not read it. No matter what people are saying.

And you know what? I actually didn’t find it as bad as I guess I was expecting. Not brilliant by a long shot. In fact in terms of Divergent and Insurgent, it was like an injured puppy following slowly behind. But I didn’t let that bother me.

I’ll start off with what I did enjoy:

The pacing. Well thought out. The action was top notch, and dramatic. I like lots of drama, especially if it feels genuine, not forced. The dilemmas between the factions and the factionless, the wars, and the bureau. The fringe.

These were all new developments, new areas, uncharted waters, as you might say. New characters. I specifically liked Mathew.

Nita, not so much. I saw something ugly in her from the start.

Now, for what I didn’t like: I won’t spare you any feelings. In one name, one name only: TOBIAS!

WHAT THE HELL, DUDE?!

His character was unbelievably, undoubtably THE most whiniest, annoyingly, irritating in all of the main leads I have ever read. Going from book 1 where I fell in love, to book 3 where I now kinda couldn’t care less, is a damned impressive job. Well done, Veronica!

Now, that’s not to say he didn’t have his good bits. All up to chapter 7 or 8 were fine, within reason. Tris tried to steer him onto a sensible, logical path, but he would not listen and for the first time ever I found myself wanting to kill him myself.

Not necessarily something I disliked tremendously, but something that bothered me: the plot that people can be genetically damaged or genetically pure. I guess obviously it was made up, but the characters views on this were very much annoying, and I think that was the point. David was someone very similar to Jeanine in that he didn’t care who he killed in the process of getting what he wanted.

Uriah…well.

Christina…she really showed herself, and I like her more now. The same with Cara.

Caleb I could take or leave. He never really grew on me. Peter…well we won’t even go there.

Tris. Always liked. Maybe more in this than in the first two books. She became stronger, more mature, and I swear she was older than 16 the way she behaves. She’s got a head on her shoulders and no matter the truths or lies they are all told, she decides what to believe, what decision to make and she sticks with it. Brave.

For the ending…well, several chapters before the end in actual fact, something big happens. I won’t say, although I can guess most that are going to read the book, already have done so, and therefore already know what happened. After this revelation, I honestly couldn’t see the point in the rest. I was sick to the teeth of His Whiniest, and I just…became fed up. I did finish it though. I give Allegiant a 3.5 star mostly for its hard effort to be something amazing. It tried, it didn’t conquer, but it also didn’t fail in my opinion. It told the story of a group of kids fighting for their lives, to find a home and keep peace. It told of love and bravery and honesty, of bitterness and anger, of selfishness and selflessness and how sometimes the two together aren’t so bad. I can’t really think of anything else to say, and quite frankly this is almost a story in itself, this review.

I hope many of you found enjoyment in Allegiant even if you didn’t like the outcome. I am glad I read this, and I do recommend it to others. I also wish Veronica Roth the greatest luck in the world for whatever else she may complete in the near future.

Kat

4 stars to Pretties (Uglies #2) by Scott Westerfeld

Published January 16, 2014 by katheryn13

Gorgeous. Popular. Perfect. Perfectly wrong.

Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun — the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom — is a nagging sense that something’s wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally’s ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what’s wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life — because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive.

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM UGLIES. 

Review:

If I’m honest, I wasn’t expecting to like this, the sequel to Uglies. The beginning wasn’t a huge opening for me, so I continued with baited breath, tip-toeing my way through the chapters until finally, something interesting happened and from then on I was hooked.

Tally became Pretty so she could take the cure and discover if it worked or not. Unfortunately, she didn’t take into consideration that becoming Pretty would also mean she’d lose a lot of her memories. Namely, why she became pretty. This makes the story more intriguing, because we then see Tally fall for another Pretty, who is also a “Crim” (a Pretty who did rebellious stuff back in his Ugly days.) Zane is also one who doesn’t want to be Pretty anymore. The only way they can get their minds to their original state, so to speak, is to be “Bubbly”. This means doing such outrageous stuff that your brain is jolted and you can remember what you were like, what you did, who you are. Because when you become Pretty, you also…become rather dim.

When an Ugly Tally knew from the Smoke appears at a party, she realises her past is catching up with her. A message is left, and two pills, and Tally finds out just what is going on.  Remember, at the end of Uglies she wrote herself a letter to remind her why she turned herself in, and therefore, she now has to decide. Take the cure, or stay pretty?

It’s truly a rollar-coaster ride from then on and I think I enjoyed this MORE so than Uglies. Originally I found Tally’s whole mindset of being Ugly and Pretty really annoying, and at least here she recognises that being Pretty isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But taking the cure could also leave her brain dead, and that is the risk she inevitably takes with Zane.

I won’t say anymore, but there is a rather interesting twist at the end. I have come to really dislike Shay, which isn’t surprising since she bugged me from the beginning. David and the crew come back into this, but not in the best way, and Tally has more problems to think of than an ex-sort of boyfriend.

A real page turner, I can’t wait to read the next book. I have it here somewhere.

Kat

3 stars to Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter

Published January 16, 2014 by katheryn13

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I’d tell my sister no.
I’d never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I’d zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I’d hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I’d tell them I love them.
I wish… Yeah, I wish.

 

Review:

Having been recommended this book several times, I had to give it a go. I started it a few months ago, and thought the characters were interesting, the story somewhat different to what I’m used to, but at least it was fun.

I mean, Zombies? That’s not an everyday occurrence for me. :P I liked Alice. I thought she was strong, brave, and rather funny. Kat was what a best friend should be; trusting, fun, loyal…and then there’s Cole. The bad boy. Yeah he might have helped me like the book.

I had thought there might be a love triangle with Justin and Cole wanting Ali, but turns out Justin wasn’t really a strong contender. Cole I found pushy, rather hot and cold, and a little annoying. I mean, you can’t go around beating people up for just looking at the girl you sorta like but don’t like but do…you know? It doesn’t make sense. He either wants to be with Ali, or he doesn’t. It’s not rocket science. And what’s more is Ali is only 16 and thinking of all these things that to be honest should not be going through a 16 year old girls head! Or am I just a fuddy-duddy? Who knows.

I liked the premise that zombies were spirits and the zombie hunters could part with their bodies and fight in the spirit world, or whatever it was. Although in some cases I think my nonreligious self found it cheesy.

Now, I did get 3 quarters a way through this in a steady time, but then I had to stop. Not because of the story itself, but in honesty, I found some of the bits too…cheesy. I mean, if you’re in the middle of a fight with zombies, you’re injured and tired, you would hardly have the time to recognise a smell of the guy you like. I mean, who smells sandalwood in among rot and blood?

That is pretty much what made me stop reading. Until a couple days ago when I decided to tackle it again and I finished, but it wasn’t really up there in my top books. I wanted to love it, but despite the action, the hot romance and the zombies, there were just too many “ugh, really?” moments for me to give this more than a 3 star.

Kat

YA BOOK RELEASES 2014

Published January 10, 2014 by katheryn13

WELCOME TO 2014!

Once again we find ourselves in another year and more wonderful books to anticipate! Here is our list for the first half of the year  (January thru June) of books WE think you should check out!

JANUARY

  • 28th

Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky, #3) by Veronica Rossi

FEBRUARY

  • 4th

Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tahereh Mafi

Alienated (Alienated, #1) by Melissa Landers

Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine

  • 13th

Vengeance (Fracture #2) by Megan Miranda

  • 25th

Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1) by Victoria Scott 

  • 27th

Evertrue (Everneath #3) by Brodi Ashton

 

MARCH

  • 4th

Let the Storm Break (Let the Sky Fall, #2) by Shannon Messenger

Death Sworn (Death Sworn #1) by Leah Cypess 

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Dangerous by Shannon Hale

Half Bad (Half Life Trilogy #1) by Sally Green 

Sing Sweet Nightingale (The Dream War Saga #1)

  • 11th

Ruins  by Dan Wells (USA release)

  • 18th

Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam 

APRIL

  • 1st

Illusion (Chronicles of Nick, #5) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

  • 29th

Sweet Reckoning (The Sweet Trilogy, #3) by Wendy Higgins (USA RELEASE)

The Taking (The Taking #1) by Kimberly Derting

MAY

  • 6th

The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass 

  • 13th

Free to Fall by Lauren Miller 

  • 20th

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes 

Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

  • 22nd

Sweet Reckoning (Sweet Evil #3) by Wendy Higgins (UK RELEASE)

  • 27th

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare

JUNE

  • 19th

Ruin and Rising (Grisha Trilogy #3) by Leigh Bardugo

We may add more as the weeks go by so make sure to keep checking back!

4.5 stars to Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Published January 10, 2014 by katheryn13

That morning, my brother’s life was worth a pocket watch . . .

One night fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother and young brother are hauled from their home by Soviet guards, thrown into cattle cars and sent away. They are being deported to Siberia.

An unimaginable and harrowing journey has begun. Lina doesn’t know if she’ll ever see her father or her friends again. But she refuses to give up hope.

Lina hopes for her family. For her country. For her future. For love – first love, with the boy she barely knows but knows she does not want to lose . . . Will hope keep Lina alive?

Set in 1941, Between Shades of Gray is an extraordinary and haunting story based on first-hand family accounts and memories from survivors.

Review:

I’m not sure how to write this review. I only finished the book a couple hours ago but it’s planted itself in my mind like a rock that doesn’t want to budge.

Yes, I know I’m terrible at poetry and analogies. So sue me.

Between Shades of Gray has to be one of the most depressingly sad books I’ve ever read. And I’ve read John Green’s books. So that’s saying something.

Now I know why I’d avoided this for so long. I was recommended it once and when I saw it in the library I thought, oh why not? Why not indeed!

The description was phenomenal, and the horrifying living conditions that these poor people had to endure made me feel like I was watching them all, a birds eye view. Because it’s based on  real events from survivors and family members, this made it twice has hard to read. Sure, the chapters were short and the writing flowed well so I didn’t find it difficult in that sense, but understanding that these people were treated like animals, spat on and kicked and made to live like slaves, was just too much for me.

And I’m supposedly part Russian, so this made me mad. Really mad. How could they do that?

But yes, I know these were different times, and most of Europe suffered because of high rulers who got out of control.

Lina’s journey is powerful, heartbreaking and at the same time, uplifting. To know that even with her family and friends dying around her, she is still determined to keep on living, to make it home, however long it may take. This made me want to keep reading. The strength and the positivity.

The illnesses kinda grossed me out though, and how obviously real it all was. It made me want to reach into the book and save them all. Knowing this actually happened…well, it’s just so sad. Yknow?

This was powerful, for sure, and I hope others find it to be the same.

Kat

5 stars to The Cursed Ones (A Crusade Novel) by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguié

Published January 10, 2014 by katheryn13

For the past two years, Jenn has been secretly
training to be a Hunter, learning to defend
humanity against the vampire uprising. Her
home city is now a vampire stronghold and when
she visits as a lone hunter, separated from her team,
she puts herself at risk. Craving the support of her
fighting partner, Antonio – and his touch – she finds
herself betrayed by someone close. Her relationship
with Antonio holds its own dangers, but right now
Jean needs someone she can trust…

 

Review:

For a vampire story, this is definitely down as one of my favourites.  Creepy, gritty, and romantic, The Cursed Ones is full of what you want in a supernatural. 

What’s so great is the vampires, they’re typical. And while “a typical vampire” might seem boring sometimes, these are that and more. They are vicious, hungry, soulless, merciless beings. And there’s enough gruesome in this to turn a pig off mud. (Weird analogy, eh?) 

I’m not going to go an slam every other vampire book out there. Much like with The Immortal Rules, this has its elements of truth in terms of myth. When it’s compared to Twilight saga, sure it’s like a lion vs a lamb (woah there!) but in honesty, vampires as a whole can be however the hell they like. They’re fictional. Mythical. Not real. If a writer wanted to have a vampire be a nun and only drink orange juice to keep alive, then so be it! 

*deep breath* There, my little moment over with. 

I love Antonio. I admired the way he tries to stay as far from his true self as possible, and his belief in God is so…well, I can’t say “inspiring” because personally I’m much like Jenn, but it’s definitely “something.” It’s also heartbreaking how much he loves Jenn but he can’t be with her the way he wants. 

Now, for Jenn, wow she’s a strong character. Although extremely insecure, she’s also very brave and that’s what, to me, makes her one of my top heroines. She doesn’t get balshy, she doesn’t make orders or act pretentious, but when it comes to someone or something she loves, she stands by her morals and doesn’t let anyone tell her otherwise. Which in itself is admirable. I wish I could have her guts. (Not literally, of course.) Her family are so very like many families out there when it comes to certain issues (although maybe not vampire related) and the fact Jenn does what she thinks is best for HER is again another strong point to her personality. When her sister, Heather, falls into trouble, I honestly couldn’t stop hoping it would work out. How her father had behaved, was utterly terrible as well.

As for the other characters central to the story, I liked how they each had their own story and the chapters were divided up by POV’s. Sometimes I did get a bit confused on which pov I was reading, but that didn’t last long. The lives’ they each had been dealt with are so different, it felt to me like they were real.

Jamie was both annoying and ignorant and so damned rude, but I kinda liked him. Holgar was probably my favourite next to Jenn and Skye. I didn’t think much to Eriko.

I can’t wait for book 2, if and when that appears. 

Kat