Monday, May 31, 2010

Review: Impossible by Nancy Werlin

Lucy is seventeen when she discovers that the women of her family have been cursed through the generations, forced to attempt three seemingly impossible tasks or to fall into madness upon their child's birth. But Lucy is the first girl who won't be alone as she tackles the list. She has her fiercely protective foster parents beside her. And she has Zach, whose strength amazes her more each day. Do they have enough love and resolve to overcome an age-old evil? Inspired by the ballad "Scarborough Fair," Impossible combines suspense, fantasy, and romance.

Impossible was an intriguing read that intertwined some very real teen issues with both magic and mystery.

The book started off a little slow but picked up pace very quickly. The Elven Knight's introduction into the story is done very well and my intrigue into who this character was is what kept me going until then.  The emotional turmoil of each character in this book however is what truly makes Impossible such an engaging read- you definitely want to find out how all this awfulness will pan out.  I really liked Lucy and Zach's relationship- it was sweet although a little rushed. I wish we got to see more of its development, especially on Zach's side.  Zach could have been one of my favourite male leads if he had just been developed better.

While the story kept me enthralled, the way it was told left me wanting more. I just didn't feel connected with any of the characters- it felt like I was merely being recounted a story, and not that I was actually there watching it as it took place. Werlin has written the novel from different perspectives (all in third person), which under normal circumstances would still work. However, in this novel, every character's viewpoint is in the same exact voice. For that reason I couldn't really get a gauge on what each characters personality was really like, other than what was told to me.

Nonetheless, the pages kept turning and I found myself really liking the story even if the characters were not all that close to my heart.  Pick it up if you have the chance!

Overall:  ♥♥♥♥
Published: September, 2008
Source: Library

Sunday, May 30, 2010

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren

This week I got from the library:

Going Bovine by Libba Bray
This is the 2010 Printz Award winner, so I've got high hopes! I'm not normally a fan of books with such random, crazy plots (they confuse me!) but after taking a sneak peak of the first few pages, I'm already hooked.

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
Fairies and machines and historical romance (I think, correct me on the last one if I'm wrong!) = EXCITED! I love the premise for this one a lot, and the reviews I've read so far sound impressive. It's such a tiny book though, it looks rather minute next to the giant that is Going Bovine as they sit next to each other on my TBR pile.

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
I admit to trying to read this when it was first released in Australia, and I failed to get past the first few pages. Now I was 15 at the time, and funnily enough I preferred adult books more than any YA ones at that stage (I grew backwards in my reading tastes lol). So I'm hoping my next shot at this book will be better, because honestly I have not read one bad review about it- every single one has gushed, raved or had nothing at all to say about it other than it was AWESOME (because what else can you say when a book is that good?). So here's hoping I prove my 15 year old self completely and utterly wrong about this book =)

Uninvited by Amanda Marrone
This was a random pickup while in the 'M' section as I hunted for Jellicoe Road. I can't tell if it's about vampires or ghosts at the moment, so I'm looking forward to reading it to find out.

Queen of Babble Get's Hitched by Meg Cabot
So this isn't technically a YA book, but I have a massive Meg Cabot weakness from when I was 12 and first picked up The Princess Diaries (given perhaps a 12 year old probably shouldn't have been reading that book- it was definitely eye opening to my little innocent self at the time!). I read all her books religiously until I was about 16 and started to become a bit tedious of how her characters pretty much all have exactly the same (kind of annoyingly whiny) voice. But they're still all a light, easy and enjoyable read and I want to finish off this series, so I'm looking forward to this one.

Ransom My Heart by Meg Cabot
Ditto to the above, I'm paying homage to my old love of Meg's books. I also really liked some of her historical romances she wrote both under her real name and Patricia Cabot, so I'm hoping this one will be similar.

I didn't actually expect any books this week, so it was a nice surprise to get so many! Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Review: The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now, along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I’m on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We’re hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We’ll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we’d left behind and to take out the Edison Group . . . or so we hope.

While this series was never an absolutely favourite of mine, it was interesting enough for me to want to finish the series. I liked Chloe and I wanted to see where her and Derek were going ('coz seriously we all knew Simon had no shot right?). This last book unfortunately however, was probably the least exciting of series.

The story line felt like in ran in circles, and nothing really happened until the last few chapters. For such a little book, you'd expect the pages not to be wasted like that. It was a shame because there were so many unanswered questions everywhere. This book lacked the closure and crazy suspense that a last book in a series such as this needed. The romance was also clunky and I didn't feel it was anything special. I get that the characters themselves were awkward and their relationship was perhaps supposed to reflect that, but it didn't make for the most entertaining read. I also felt like there was little or no growth in Chloe as a character. She started off as a self-conscious girl with her necromancy powers of little use in their battle with the Edison Group...and she finishes the series as pretty much the same. I'd hoped we could have seen her become the powerful necromancer she was supposed to be, but that wasn't really the case.

The Reckoning was a book that took me a long time to read considering its size. I picked it up and random moments of free time and I didn't feel like I was missing anything when I put it down. Will I be reading the spin-off series? Probably not.

Overall:  ♥♥
Published: March 19th 2010
Source: Library

Sunday, May 23, 2010

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren


(Half way through and it's okay I guess, nothing too riveting though)

(I finally got my hands on a copy- please let it live up to the hype!)


(Finished this in a matter of hours- it was great, but definitely not my favourite VA novel (though this was mainly because there wasn't enough Dimitri!!) Review will be up soon!)

Not much reading getting done by me at the moment unfortunately, I've just got exam and exam after exam for the next couple of weeks.  =( 

Monday, May 17, 2010

Review: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back — if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her — until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of 
Okay so this novel was well, weird. Now weird doesn't mean bad exactly, it just means it was a little different.  I mean, I admit my curiosity over the whole marrying and falling in love with the Polar Bear King thing is what drew me to the novel in the first place, but it is still a very weird premise in itself.  However Sarah Beth Durst has not only made it work, she's made it quite beautiful.

Its a sweet tale and I really did come to like Bear in the end, despite my misgivings in the beginning.  Cassie, while not the most fascinating protagonist, was still quite likable.  Their story is played out wonderfully and is the definite high point of this novel. The first half of this book reads a lot easier than the latter half- I sped through until about halfway and then it took my a few days to get through the rest.  It just wasn't as interesting unfortunately.  The ending is also quite rushed and unfortunately there are a few unanswered questions I still have about it and some other aspects of the story.

Altogether though it wasn't a bad read.  It would have been better had the momentum at the beginning continued throughout the entire novel.  Pick it up if you'd like something a little different from the usual YA novels out there.

Overall:  ♥♥♥
Published: October 6th, 2009 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren

This week was such an exciting week for me (as my overuse of exclamation marks will attest to)- I got my first ever galleys ! And not just any either, The Iron Daughter and The Clearing are two books I've been completely pining for! I feel so lucky, being such a newbie to the book blogging world and all!

Also, I got my hands on a copy of the 3rd and 4th books in the Vampire Academy series. Can I just say that I am just a tiny little bit OBSESSED with this series now?  I was meant to be studying for this massive anatomy exam I have coming up, but no instead I spent a good half of my weekend devouring these books instead. And with the next in the series coming out only 2 days away, Rose and Dimitri will totally be the reason I fail! 

For Review:
The Iron Daughter- Julie Kagawa
The Clearing- Heather Davis

Shadow Kiss- Richelle Mead
Blood Promise- Richelle Mead

Have a great week everyone =)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Review: Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose...

It's winter break at St. Vladimir's, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy's crawling with Guardians--including Rose's hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if handto- hand combat with her mom wasn't bad enough, Rose's tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason's got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks....This year, St. Vlad's annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price...
One word- BRILLIANT! I admit I wasn't the biggest fan of the first novel of this series and that I wouldn't have picked this book up had it not been sitting right in front of me on the "recent returns" cart of the library, but oh my God am I so glad that I did! Frostbite kept me hooked right from the very first page and did not release me even after I turned the last.

This book had it all- romance, action, horror and one hell of a tragedy.  It made me laugh, it made me want to cry and it kept me up at night both trying to finish it and because it scared the pants off me in some parts (but then I scare  extremely easily so maybe don't take me as the best example). It's the kind of book that makes you forget you're even reading at all.  I was too lost in the story to care about anything else for a good few hours.

My one complaint however is Lissa.  The first book's main focus was on her, and that was probably why I didn't like it very much.  She's just... annoying.  She's meant to be extremely kind-hearted and have compassion leaking out her rear end and all that, but honestly I didn't feel it.  She just seems kind of selfish and boring.  Hopefully we get to see her grow in later books.

And of course, Dimitri and Rose were as awesome as ever! If you're one of the few like me who haven't read this series yet I suggest you get to it ASAP =)

Overall:  ♥♥♥♥♥
Published: April 10th 2008 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Review: Vampire Diaires: The Awakening by L.J. Smith

Elena: the golden girl, the leader, the one who can have any boy she wants.

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, he seems to be the only one who can resist Elena, even as he struggles to protect her from the horrors that haunt his past.

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him. Determined to have Elena, he'd kill to possess her.

The Vampire Diaries television show is my one guilty pleasure. I generally don't watch much TV, with most of my time spent either stuck in a book (which may or may not be a textbook) or on Facebook or something else on the internet. I just don't have the patience usually to sit down and watch long movies or series that span on forever. But for some reason, I absolutely adore this show! Probably because its just like a YA novel in a lot of ways. Now as for the book, I'd been putting it off because of how different it seemed from the show.  But as I soon found out after I finally read it, different is not necessarily a bad thing.

L.J. Smith has crafted an novel which, despite being a bit slow to start, is a pretty enjoyable read. This book was first published almost 20 years ago and you can definitely tell. Its writing style is a lot simpler in a way from the YA books of today and some things are a little too cliche- Elena falls in love with Stefan way too fast (or at least says those 3 words wayyyyyy too early!) and her friendship with Meredith and Bonnie seems so overly...girly and nice? It just doesn't seem realistic to me. And their plotting to get Stefan reminded me of 12 year olds, not high school seniors.

Overall though, this book was pretty good. The suspense littered throughout the novel was great (even though I knew what was going to happen thanks to the show) and the ending was definitely a cliff hanger worthy of the television show- its probably why they publish the first two books together now, so readers don't sit there going "OMG what?!!". Definitely not a bad read even with a few flaws.

Overall:  ♥♥♥
Published: Originally published by HarperPaperbacks in 1991.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren

This week I decided to do a vlog! Its my very first one, so I apologize for being extra dorky (and tongue tied). Also, I only just got my braces last week and I'm still trying to get used to them so unfortunately my mouth looks like its in an awkward position most of the time.

This week's books:

Kiss of Life by Daniel Waters
Impossible by Nancy Werlin
Gone by Michael Grant
Wish by Alexandra Bullen
Kiss Me, Kill Me by Lauren Henderson
Frostbite by Richelle Mead
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst
The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening (Book 1) by L.J Smith

So tell me, do you guys prefer vlogs or just text/picture In My Mailbox's?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Meghan Chase has never fit in at her small-town high school, and now, on the eve of her 16th birthday, she discovers why. When her half brother is kidnapped, Meghan is drawn into a fantastical world she never imagined--the world of Faery, where anything you see may try to eat you, and Meghan is the daughter of the summer faery king. Now she will journey into the depths of Faery to face an unknown enemy . . . and beg the help of a winter prince who might as soon kill her as let her touch his icy heart.

I bought this book after much hesitation because of all the raves I kept hearing about it. Why the hesitation? Well, I have to admit the cover and the premise didn't do much for me. And when I first started reading it I definitely thought my initial hunch had been right. It was a bit of a slow start that felt all a little too fairy tale and done before (I had just finished Wondrous Strange so that definitely influenced me there- bad I know!). I kept at it though and by the middle of the book I was well and truly hooked. By the end, I was absolutely desperate for the sequel!

The beginning didn't grab me at first and did feel a little silly.  There's a confrontation with a jock guy which felt way too contrived and unrealistic (or maybe I'm just lucky enough to never have met someone so awful!). Once Meghan gets to the Neverever (the faery realm) is where the book starts getting really good though.  The author has created an expansive, unique world with just as many new creatures.  The satyrs and cait sith are definitely original to this faery book (Grimalkin reminds me a little too much of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland though!). The author has also added to the traditional faery kingdoms and created the Iron Fey- which is what makes this book truly different from the rest of the faery books out there.

Okay so enough small talk, I'll admit it, it was definitely Ash which made this book for me.  Hot, tormented bad boy? Heck yes! I'm a sucker for them all the way, and his heroic risking of his life to help Meghan just made it all the better. I can't wait to see what happens between them, oh and him and Puck too!

The Iron King is a notable debut by an author who I bet will only amaze us more with her next book.  The Iron Daughter hits shelves in August!

Overall:  ♥♥♥♥

Sunday, May 2, 2010

In My Mailbox (1)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren

The books I'm about to list aren't just from this week, they're just the books in my TBR pile at the moment (since I just started this blog). My TBR pile is usually not so large (this is a backlog after a few weeks of exams), and it will probably take me a few weeks to get through all of them (stupid university study ruining the time I could spend reading arghhh).

I bought:

The Body Finder  by Kimberley Derting
(creepy with some awesome romance I hear)
Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken
(seriously cannot wait to read this one!)
Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr
(the last book in the series wasn't so good, but I've heard great things about this one so fingers crossed!)
Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder
(isn't the Australian cover pretty?)
Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
(dystopian and Maria Snyder? YES PLEASE!)
Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Excited doesn't even sum up how I feel about these books! Have a great week everyone!

Review: Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

All her world's a stage.
Beatrice Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.
She is not an orphan, but she has no parents.
She knows every part, but has no lines of her own.
Until now.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every place ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.
Wow. That was my first thought as I closed the cover of this book when I finished it. It was absolutely amazing.

I admit that when you first start reading it you can get a little confused as to what's going on.  No explanation is given about how the theater works, but you figure it out on the way.  It's a great example of showing and not telling the reader what's happening.  The author's words are magic as well; Mantchev writes with beautiful descriptions and voices her characters so perfectly that their personality shines through with each word.

Bertie is one of the most awesome protagonists I've met so far. She's quirky but imperfect (with a few not so great habits) and has seriously got me questioning whether I should dye my hair like her's.  She's so cool I can't help wishing I was her. I giggled so hard with the bath scene- seriously which other protagonist would strip off without a qualm in front of the boy she was crushing on? No one that I know of that's for sure (if you do let me know, I love MC's who are that confident!)

The other shining point of this novel was of course the romance.  Nate and Ariel. Seriously how could you choose? Both of these male leads have such great chemistry with Bertie and are both awesome in their own right. I can't wait to see what happens with this love triangle!

Eyes like Stars is a book I should definitely not have waited so long to read. In a genre growing so fast that pure originality is starting to become rare, this book is a gem. There's no other story like it. I have to say the one good thing about reading it so late is that now I won't have to wait so long for the sequel- Perchance To Dream (can I just say that, despite it being almost impossible, its cover is even more gorgeous than this one?). Only 23 days more to go!

Overall:  ♥♥♥♥♥