Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 End of Year Book Survey

I don't regularly book blog but I thought I'd give this a go since I've read so many great books this year and experience so many feels ;_____; I'm still a newcomer to the book blogging community (not really part of it - yet) but maybe I'll be more active in 2013.

This was something started by Jamie aka The Perpetual Page Turner aka @brokeandbookish 3 years ago and bloggers have taken to using her survey :D I'm hopping on the band wagon! Questions are by Jamie, responses by me c: 

Commence reflection of my 2012 reads!

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)

Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout and The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo

Contemporary YA: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Easy by Tammara Webber, My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, Slammed and Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover, If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman (old I know but I only found out about them this year!)
Dystopian YA: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Insurgent by Veronica Roth, Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Paranormal: Onyx and Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Endless by Jessica Shirvington, Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris
Fantasy: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead - don't get me wrong I loved this but it wasn't as great as all the built up hype made it out to be

Rapture by Lauren Kate - this was the best book in the series and the final one but honestly the series was a real let down and I kept expecting it to get better. It did get better by the final book but it just didn't hit that note I wanted to hear.

Breathe by Abbi Glines - I'd heard such good things about Breathe and so many people recommended it to me. But the writing was pretty bad (so many useless, short sentences that were telling rather than showing) and the two main characters were cheesy and lacked depth :c

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi - I always have doubts about dystopians and friends had been bugging me to read this for ages

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - it sounded a tad weird but it was hella awesome!

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century - I was worried this was like some Mary-Kate and Ashley book but the reviews were good so I hesitantly bought it and it's been one of my favourite reads this year.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Definitely The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Also The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa, Slammed and Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover, Divergent/Insurgent by Veronica Roth

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

It's a tie between The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo and Covenant by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Also:

Lux by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Lila by Sarah Alderson

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Eep so many:

Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy - stunning fantasy world, extremely unique and omg those characters)

Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux, Covenant, Cursed - how did I only find out about this legend this year?! Everything she writes is AMAZING)

Sarah Alderson (Lila - only just found out about the Lila series this year and it's amazing)

Veronica Roth (Divergent - the world she creates is amazing; I usually don't get sucked into dystopians but I fell right into this one)

Colleen Hoover (Slammed - her debut novel was like she's been writing award winning poetry and prose her whole life)

Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky - awesome dystopian world)

Rachel Harris (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century - I'm a sucker for European history and Rachel painted it in a beautiful and accurate way)

Tammara Webber (Easy) - woah just WOAH. I want me some more Lucas!

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

My friends and I all know I don't like dystopians/sci-fi - the amount I've picked up and tried to read but put down is quite large: Delirium, Across the Universe, Uglies, Inside Out, The Immortal Rules (I'll hopefully get back into this because I do love Julie's writing).

So when I was recommended Divergent I was EXTREMELY hesitant to read it. I actually put it off for a good 2 months. Then I bought a cheap $5 copy at Basement Books. Then I finished it in 1 sitting in a matter of hours and had to get Insurgent the next day. Divergent definitely made me like dystopians again.

Tahereh Mafi's Shatter Me was also really good too!
8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson (and the sequel Losing Lila) - holy crap this was so action packed it was like Heroes without the fillers. Loved every moment of it!

Also Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout. The things this book did to me. I laughed, cried, screamed and nearly chucked things through my laptop.

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout and The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?




Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout! My favourite colour is blue (I'm biased I know) and the rose just fit so perfectly with the story. It was also so simple yet so elegant - none of those girls-in-dresses or girls-and-half-naked-guys-with-wings-in-the-air covers.

That being said, my favourite Girls in Dresses cover would have to be none other than Kiera Cass's The Selection.




11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

Hands down the Darkling in Leigh Bardugo's The Gathering Dark (The Grisha Trilogy).

She's created a dark, seductive, troubled, damaged, sexy, hot, handsome, eloquent, I-know-there's-more-to-you-deep-inside-than-the-scheming-evil-villain-you're-made-out-to-be secondary love interest for the love triangle <3

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

It's a tie (again) between:

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - my favourite line “French name, English accent, American school. Anna confused.” The voice Stephanie created for Anna is beautiful, realistic, relatable, paranoid and so like me it was stunning. The way this was written was UGH love.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - need I explain myself? Anybody who's read this book (any of John Green's books really but ESPECIALLY TFiOS) will vouch for this. Your argument is invalid.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman - Adam's voice and the lyrics used are amazing. The raw emotion conveyed is heartbreaking and bone chilling - utterly captivating.

Slammed by Colleen Hoover - the use of poetry to tell people's back stories and explain their feelings is an amazing technique Colleen used in this book and I just kgd;fkjsdhfsdfsd -squirms excitedly in chair- LOVE

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris - Rachel's descriptions are so beautiful, her imagery so detailed ; the words she chose were so vibrant and rich I was catapulted back into the 16th Century with Cat.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick - witty, funny and just plain adorbs I loved the writing style of MLND.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - having had an immediate family member battle cancer, this book basically hit close to home. Poignant, heart-wrenching, raw, this book had the honour of breaking my heart.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read?

Divergent by Veronica Roth. Fk me dead lol I'm always inwardly bashing myself whenever I think of how much I missed by not reading this earlier.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

"That's the funny thing about trying to escape. You never really can. Maybe temporarily, but not completely." - Jennifer L. Armentrout, Onyx

"You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world... but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices." - John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

"The problem with wanting is that it makes us weak." - Leigh Bardugo, The Gathering Dark

"Love is not the absence of logic

but logic examined and recalculated

heated and curved to fit

inside the contours of the heart" - Tammara Webber, Easy

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012?

Longest — Hallowed by Cynthia Hand or Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff I think? Endless by Jessica Shirvington looks long (it's the same size as Hallowed and Stormdancer) but I don't think it is...

Shortest — I'm assuming e-novellas and POVs don't count *cackles* so... Everything Left Unsaid by Jessica Davidson and Breathe by Abbi Glines - I'm not sure which is shorer

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

The ending of Endless OMFG THAT ENDING. I NEED BOOK 5 DAMMIT.

When Clara finds out about her father in Hallowed I choked.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

THIS IS SO HARD ERMAGHERD.

Alex/Aiden in Deity are so amazing but but Tris/Four in Divergent AND AND Lila/Alex in Hunting/Losing Lila...

My favourite friendship would be Grace and Tim's from My Life Next Door!

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

Everything I read this year was either a debut author or an author I'd just discovered *sighs*

So I'm going to cheat and say Endless by Jessica Shirvington coz that's book 4 in The Violet Eden Chapters LOL.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

THIS IS LIKE 1/2 OF MY 5 STAR RATED BOOKS ON GOODREADS O_O

Divergent by Veronica Roth :3

Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: Unearthly (Unearthly #1) by Cynthia Hand



Date Read: December 13 - 17 2012
Release Date: January 4th 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Source: Bought
Genre: Paranormal
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart."

---

OH MY SWEET GOODNESS THIS WAS AMAZING. CYNTHIA HAND I LOVE YOU, I WAS NOT EXPECTING THAT TWIST AT THE END.

I've been putting off reading this for years now simply because, when I first saw it, the Australian cover reminded me too much of Fallen and I thought "ick". And then I read how it was about angels and I thought "this is way too similar to Fallen no thanks". PEOPLE. I STAND CORRECTED. UNEARTHLY WAS LITERALLY UNEARTHLY. SO GOOD! Better than Fallen! I had to go out and buy Hallowed straight away today!

I like how the part-angel thing with Clara is established. There's no horrifying revelation with teen angst; the reader immediately knows what Clara is and what any part-angel can do. We know what comes easily and what doesn't which I really liked. Clara isn't perfection. That made this perfection.

Also. NO INSTALOVE THANK THE HEAVENS OR PART-ANGELS OR ANGELS OR WHATEVER. I love how even though her visions show her Christian, she has feelings for another boy. I love the love triangle.

The writing style was witty and sarcastic and it's one of those that makes you wonder if the author was serious or not - I love the open ended-ness of that and how there are some things the reader is left to interpret on their own.

I just loved everything about this. Except the cover. I hate the cover I have. I should have bought the Australian cover. At least then it would match my Hallowed and Boundless in the future. I also hate how I cracked the spine of this. I will buy the Australian cover. That is all.

Wait no. TUCKER AVERY I LOVE YOU <3

Friday, December 14, 2012

Review: The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass


Date Read: December 13 2012
Release Date: June 7th 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Source: Bought
Genre: Dystopia
My rating: 

Synopsis: "For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined."

---

Like practically everybody that's read The Selection, I wanted to read it because of the gorgeous cover. Luckily for me, I didn't have particularly high expectations since I've read many other people's reviews.

I think I'll start by saying this book has a lot of potential as my friend Mariam put it. I generally liked the story and some of the characters but there were just too many things I disliked to make it anything more than "ok".

It only took me like 4~5h to read this in one go and each turn of the page felt like a guilty pleasure: the book itself wasn't that great but it was insanely addictive in that I really wanted to know what happened.

Let's start with the bad because I like getting the icky stuff out of the way first:
- I didn't really feel the dystopian side of it. Everything was too light and not as bad as they should have been?
- The writing was a bit immature for my liking. It wasn't due to lack of complex/descriptive words but more that the syntax wasn't sophisticated enough and the semantics not as in depth and symbolic as other books I've read.
- The romance between Aspen and America was so fake. Everything seemed so forced I don't even know how to explain. Maybe it was just me?
- Aspen was an absolute jerkface. Everything he did seemed fake and a front. He didn't seem selfless at all, rather his actions all seemed calculated, selfish and filled with way too much pride. He SEEMED to care for America and "love" her but I'm sorry I just didn't buy it. Him being "thoughtful" of her and their future just didn't seem that thoughtful. And the way he was being "responsible" and doing the best by America just seemed so FAKE. Yes I used the word fake here way too many times but honestly there's no other way to describe it. Fake/unreal/forced/imitation whatever synonym used there's no denying what it is.
- And now proceed extremely long rant where I go into detail how FREAKING SIMILAR TO THE HUNGER GAMES THIS BOOK WAS:
-- Each caste had a particular role/specialised in a particular industry. E.g. Fives (America's caste) were artistic and I think it was Fours that were agricultural. Ahem sound like the Districts much? But a lot cleaner? This is what I mean by the dystopian side of it not coming through. Being forced into art just doesn't seem as bad as being forced to mine I'm sorry.
-- Aspen looks a helluva lot like Gale. Both have dark hair and are devoted to their families and their sole provider - "man of the house" without a father present. Like Gale, Aspen doesn't show how much the girl he loves means to him until it's too late
-- Maxon is blonde like Peeta and both are protective of the girl they care for
-- America enters the Selection and stays because of the money it would provide her family... woah doesn't that sound familiar?
-- Gavril Fadaye sounds a lot like Caesar...
-- May is the adoring, gorgeous little sister. OMG DID SOMEONE SAY PRIM?
-- America acts 'herself', she's the most natural of the selected girls and isn't afraid to speak her mind. Hrmmm I know of another dark haired heroine who wasn't afraid to speak her mind either...
-- Katniss' gown of red fire when she went on her interview with Caesar made her stand out... OH LOOK AMERICA'S IS RED AND SHIMMERY AND MAKES HER STAND OUT AS WELL WHEN SHE'S INTERVIEWED BY GAVRIL... Ok maybe I'm nitpicking here but seriously I couldn't overlook that

There might have been other similarities. I swear as I was reading this I wanted to get out my phone and just jot them down but I couldn't be bothered - wasn't worth my effort.

Also some of the names were just plain wtf. Tiny Lee is actually Tiny. Who names their kid Tiny? And Bariel um what? Sounds like barrel. America I'll accept I guess. But Aspen? Skiing anybody?

That's a shitload of bad isn't it?

So now onto the good:
- I liked America's voice throughout this. Even though she reminded me of Katniss a lot, I liked her honesty.
- The connection between Maxon and America was cute. It wasn't instalove thank god but was slow and even America isn't sure of what she feels for this inexperienced prince.
- Maxon's character seems genuine. His sheltered lifestyle has led him to not understand many of the more intricate details with regards to relationships. Actually any detail really. It was adorable seeing him try.
- There were more serious and pressing issues than just the prince looking for a wife. A new vulnerable country at war is always a problem: I would have REALLY liked this issue to be explored more. Not from the perspective of just seeing raids and screaming girls but some actual political juice!
- I'll admit the Selection itself was pretty exciting, I liked seeing what girls had what qualities and would have liked this explored further i.e. what each girl listed as her talent that could have possibly led her to being picked but hey this'll do
- The King and Queen are mysterious characters that leave room for exploration; the reader begins to question their intentions (well I did)

Overall, I WILL read The Elite just to see how things turn out. Guilty pleasure as I said.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review: Opal (Lux #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Date Read: December 5 - 12 2012
Release Date: December 11th 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Source: Bought
Genre: Sci-Fi
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"No one is like Daemon Black.
When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it."

---

OH HOLY DAIMON BABIES NO. HEART IN A MILLION PIECES RIGHT NOW. NO JUST NO. DAEMON. KATY. WHY OMG. SOMEONE HOLD ME -ROCKS IN CORNER-

Ohmygod this was amazing. Armentrout really knows how to end on a cliffhanger -sobs uncontrollably-

I think out of the 3 Lux books so far, this has been the most REAL. My emotions were just everywhere throughout this.

There were so many changes to the characters - Dee, Katy, Daemon among others (no spoilers here) and it showed just how much each of them had been through and what each was willing to risk and sacrifice for those they loved.

As usual, Katy and Daemon's snarky/witty remarks were interspersed with the more trying issues making me laugh and cry at the same time.

So many relationships are tried and tested throughout Opal and I loved it. Things aren't easily fixed, trust isn't easily given but so easily broken. Trust really was an overarching theme that came in the form of a sheet of frost - one slight disturbance and it would shatter. Katy is made to question who is truly her friend, but it turns out those we thought were friends can be used as a weapon.

There was also so much grief and hurt I was so proud of Katy - how she made it through everything and has become such a strong young woman by the end of Opal. Looking back at the timid girl we met in Obsidian she's almost a different person. She will do anything to protect those she loves and she really understands the weight of those words and their consequences which I loved.

Daemon was a constant pillar of support and love making him even more amazing. AND GUISE WHEN YOU GET TO THE END OMG. WE SEE THE REAL DAEMON. WE SEE HIS EMOTIONS AND IT'S LIKE AN INFINITE NUMBER OF KNIVES ARE PIERCING THE HEART.

I admit that there were some really useless sentences/paragraphs chucked in and I was like "what was the point of this?" but those can be overlooked in the amazingness of this book. Armentrout's writing is sophisticated and quirky as usual and Katy's voice extremely real.

To sum it up as Dee would say “Oh, dear God and baby Jesus in the manger!”

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mini-Review: Elixir (Covenant #3.5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Date Read: December 2 2012
Release Date: November 22nd 2012
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Source: Bought
Genre: Paranormal/fantasy
My rating: 
Synopsis:
"Aiden's novella

Aiden St. Delphi will do anything to save Alex.
Even if it means doing the one thing he will never forgive himself for.
Even if it means making war against the gods."

---

Oh poor Alex and Aiden!

The two have been through so much but it just doesn't end does it?

I was a blubbering mess while reading this. Written in Aiden's POV we can really see his feelings for Alex. Any doubts anybody had about the power and intensity of those feelings he has for Alex are immediately diminished as soon as the eyes hit the first page.

This was written so beautifully and my heart was breaking all over the place - for Aiden, for Alex, for Marcus, Lea even Apollo. After finishing Deity I had hopes but Elixir just sent them crashing down - but it didn't totally dispel that hope... as Elixir taught me "there is still hope".

And my hope is that their love can conquer all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick


Date Read: November 23 - 26 2012
Release Date: June 12th 2012
Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 
Synopsis:
"A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another

“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over."

---

The perfect summer read! I loved everything about this book. Despite the serious issues it dealt with concerning family and the much more controversial, morality, I still found it to be a really relaxing, chill and refreshing read.

When I first picked up this book, I thought it would be a light read about summer love - first crushes and small differences in family but this turned out to be something so much bigger. And it was perfect.

Sam's life looks easy and perfect at first - her mother, being a senator, has given Sam and her sister Tracy quite a luxurious life with their immaculate house and private schooling. Sam has good grades, she's pretty and doesn't seem deprived in anyway. I thought I'd get annoyed at her character because she seemed so perfect but I really liked her. Sam has so much strength and it really comes through near the end and I admire her so much for that. From the beginning it's seen she secretly wishes she was one of the Garrett's next door and who can blame her? They're like a real family - where her mother is always away doing campaigns, Mr and Mrs Garrett are always at home for their kids. There's warmth, affection, attention and liveliness the Reeds lack.

Along comes Jase Garrett, the sweet boy next door who pulls Sam into his world. He's not the bad boy I've been accustomed to reading about and fallen in love with lately. Rather, he's kind, caring, the "fixer" of the Garretts and this sweet, honest six foot two of amazing just swept me off my feet. I loved the solidarity of his character; the way him and the rest of the Garretts are raised just ooze this air of goodness! I loved the moment he first appeared:'"Hey," he says again, sitting down next to me as though he knows me well. "Need rescuing?"' Any other boy and it would seem cocky and over-confident the way he just comes up her trellis and plops down next to her, but the way Jase does it, I don't know, it felt so sincere.

And the rest of the Garretts! Love them love them love them. There's something unique about each of them but put them together and there's really this sense of family that comes through when times are hard. Joel with the bad boy image and motorcycle becomes responsible when required; Alice with her ever-changing hair colour and constant flings can turn on her nurse training and mothering on a whim. I really liked that about the older kids - being able to put everything aside for their family as they'd been raised with so much love. And ah the sweet younger kids. My favourite from the moment I met him was 4 year old George. WHAT 4 YEAR OLD TALKS LIKE THIS: "Did you know that in space it's very, very cold? And there's no oxygen? And if an astronaut fell out of a shuttle without his suit he'd die right?" While sucking on a popsicle right after having wet the bed because he dreamed about black holes. YES A 4 YEAR OLD DREAMING ABOUT BLACK HOLES. I thought black holes was something from a kid show but nope, this kid is a walking and talking National Geographic magazine. How adorable is that? -Gushes- I want a kid a like that omg. But yes all the Garretts have something so lovable about them!

Anyway, as I'm reading away assuming this is a chill summer read and thinking I really need a glass of Grace Reed's home made lemonade with lemon zest and mint ice cubes... shit gets real. And I'm like scrambling around going WOAH WHAT DID THAT JUST HAPPEN OHSHIT. I thought I knew right from wrong, left from right, up from down. But not after what happens. And poor Sam is left wondering which choice will leave the most and least impact. Fitzpatrick uses another incident that deals with morals earlier on to foreshadow and ease the reader into this bigger issue which I loved. I could totally understand the seriousness of the issue and how Sam was so confused about the RIGHT thing to do (I mean we think it's right... but heck). I put myself in her shoes and really, my own family versus the family of the boy I loved? It's betrayal either way. The way this was written really conveyed the turmoil Sam faces.

Now, the way this was written. I haven't seen a writing style like this since The Fault in Our Stars. This a lot lighter, but the wit and humour interwoven into serious matters at hand made me fall in love this book from the first page.
Things characters say like "Have you ever wondered what the hair on your toe serves?" or "Where's the baby? In the toolbox?" Had me cracking up throughout the whole book. The little bits of sarcasm made this such an enjoyable read and unparalleled with any book I've ever read.

Everything about this book was perfect - the pace of the romance, the tone/wit/humour/sarcasm and the amazing plot! It really made me question my morals. When we're not the ones facing the issue, we think it's so easy to pick the "right" side. I loved how this book made me feel, laugh, but most of all THINK.

What I didn't like about this book: that it had to end... but all summers end aye?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1) by Jamie McGuire


Date Read: November 24 2012
Release Date: May 26th 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 
Synopsis:
"INTENSE. DANGEROUS. ADDICTIVE.

Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match."

---

HOW DOES ONE BEGIN TO DESCRIBE PERFECTION? HOW DO I EVEN BEGIN TO DESCRIBE THE AMAZINGNESS OF THIS BOOK?

I loved Beautiful Disaster so much I'm sitting here trying to fathom how I'll write this review. I was hooked from the first page and COULD NOT put this down until I'd finished - and when I did I was like ERMAGHERD GIMME MORE!

This bet Abby and Travis made really turns into something else. It becomes something so much bigger and friendships/relationships/hearts and I realised even lives are at stake where one particular "bet"... well more like "game" is concerned.

I think the blurb is a bit misleading though - it says "Abby Abernathy doesn't drink or swear and she works hard." but in fact she does drink and this isn't due to Travis or her secret past or anything. She just does and it's seen from the beginning that she does party. So I thought the first chapter description of her in a pink cardigan was a bit of a misconception compared to her in the second chapter on-wards. She really isn't THAT much of a good girl, just resistant to Travis's charms.

Now I quite liked Abby, she didn't annoy me or anything and all her actions were really justifiable - especially near the middle. However, what I DID find weird was that she didn't acknowledge any feelings during her friendship because honestly not only were they right there, but she was acting on them and the whole time I thought they were together. But no apparently it's all just friendship which I thought was really stupid! STUPID STUPID STUPID BECAUSE YOU JUST DON'T DO THOSE SORT OF THINGS WITH FRIENDS OK ABBY? Anyways other than that, I really liked the past she tried so hard to hide. At first it didn't seem all that big, I understood her need to run away but to hide? THEN it's like BAM, her past smacks her in the face and it's like I got hit by a truck full-force because EVERYBODY gets affected and it all blows up in their faces. Butterfly effect people, butterfly effect... Her one decision to go back to that past just about ruins everything! Actually it not only ruins relationships but it DESTROYS people. But I understood her need to do it.

Oh and how I loved the destructive of this book. Abby and Travis are so perfect together but they really are a tornado like Shepley said. Actually I liken them more to a bushfire - they just keep burning and the fire grows and heightens, raging it's way through everything and destroying all around it before it finally dies out once it has nothing left to burn. Their feelings create so much chaos and pain to each other. A lot of the hurt they bring on themselves as well and sometimes I think it could have been avoided, but if so there would have been different outcomes and more people hurt and their relationship wouldn't have been able to withstand as much. This whole BUSHFIRE thing they had going on = ALL THE FEELS OMG ;_______________; I can't even... like omg what even... my heart was breaking and being put back together again and everything hurt AND IT WAS SO PERFECT.
"I can't win with you. I can't win with you! You say you're done... I'm fucking miserable over here! I break my phone into a million pieces to keep from calling you every minute of the damn day - I've had to play it off like everything is fine at school so you can be happy... and you're fucking mad at me? You broke my fuckin' heart!"
"I am begging you." My arm lowered and tugged as he fell to his knees...
FUCK ME DEAD BE STILL MY HEART. JUST EVERYTHING. ALL THESE MOMENTS. *Rocks in corner and sobs*
They destroy each other but they need each other.

Travis Maddox. This boy is absolute perfection. The things he does. The things he gives up. The things he says. EVERYTHING!!!!!! Travis looks like the average bad boy at first but his grades and protectiveness of his friends show there's a softer side to him. And then his relationship with Abby! He really has met his match with Abby and I love their friendship. For most of the book I forget it's even about a bet because there seems to be no more boundaries. All the lines are blurred and like I said before, is it friendship or A LOT MORE? Travis's feelings for Abby are so obvious and it's real love when all he wants is for her to be happy. My heart broke for this amazing boy over and over because he kept making mistakes with good intentions. But you just can't stop loving him. There is a part of the book that is quite ironic as Abby does something Travis usually does and he feels the full impact of what his usual actions cause. It would have been funny and poetic justice IF IT HADN'T BEEN SO HEARTBREAKING.

I loved all the other characters too - especially America. She's the much needed best friend and support that puts her friend above the boyfriend; she sees what's really important and I loved her presence throughout the book. Travis's cousin/America's boyfriend, Shepley is amazing too and I always felt bad for him when he was torn between sides. Absolutely loved Travis's family and even Parker who really showed what Abby THOUGHT she wanted versus what she REALLY wanted. Actually, Abby's room mate Kara. I have no idea what the hell her role was. Useless; get out please.

I really liked the idea of bets throughout this book as it ties in with Abby's past so it really is like she can never escape from it no matter. What I didn't like was the lack of imagery. Especially where food was concerned. There were so many mentions of FOOD and dates throughout this book but THEY WERE NEVER DESCRIBED. I would have liked to know what the Thanksgiving dinner tasted on, what food at an expensive Italian restaurant tasted like and how that compares to a cheap pizza place. But no :( failwhale.

All in all, this was amazing. Abby and Travis are a disaster but what they have is beautiful too. This was seriously a beautiful disaster no joke. ERMAGHERD MY FEELS ATM QQ

Friday, November 23, 2012

Review: ReVamped (Angel Creek #1) by Ada Adams

ReVamped (Angel Creek, #1)

Date Read: November 21 - 22 2012
Release Date: February 20th 2012
Publisher: Self-published
Source: Bought
Genre: Paranormal
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"A simple mission turned deadly.

Nineteen-year-old vampire Dawn has led a sheltered life within the confines of her father’s presidential headquarters. Upon being sent on a mission to revamp four goofy misfits into guardians of a peaceful little town of Angel Creek, Dawn believes that all her dreams have finally come true. What starts off as a simple task, turns into something unexpected, changing Dawn’s life forever and leading the action-loving, thrill-seeking vampire teen on a path of mystery, danger and intrigue.

When a human girl is kidnapped by a group of rogue vamps, Dawn discovers that there is more going on in Angel Creek than meets the eye. And it all connects to Ethan, the cute newcomer who seems too perfect to be true, Sebastian, the mysterious vampire with a turbulent past, and even Dawn herself. Dawn must not only succeed in revamping the troubled recruits, but must also prevent the vampire race from being overtaken by a malevolent villain who has a strange and obsessive fascination with her. As threat escalates, romance blooms, and ghosts from her past begin to surface, Dawn is sure of only one thing: her life will never be the same."

---

Such an original story! Must admit this was different to any vampire story I've ever read. It broke the boundaries of traditional vampirism and merged technology/modern science into a really awesome plot!
I loved the twist around Dawn and Aurora and her origins! Pulled me in and had me speculating since the prologue.

I quite liked Dawn's character - especially her feelings and reactions 3/4 of the way through and on-wards. I really admired her strength and perseverance and need to protect others. But I also liked how she wasn't completely invincible! She could still be broken - BUT she could get through it with the help of friends.
Absolutely love love LOVE Brooke! She maybe some (fake) blonde bimbo but she's a blonde bimbo with overall good intentions! I loved the stuff she said, the shit that came out of her mouth was HILARIOUS!
E.g.
“No way! Does that mean that I finally get to join the Fab Five? Those guys are so hot! And the girls are so pretty and oh so very catty. I’ll fit in perfectly! Ahh! I’ve always wanted to be one of them.” - LOL at the cattiness bit omg.
I wish there were more Dawn x Sebastian moments! I liked his presence (albeit hidden at first) a lot and wanted more than just a car ride of them alone. I really wanted to witness more of his character but I guess that's for ReAwakened...

The descriptions were also really nice!
"The intense way he studied me caused my skin to tingle" - awww yeah I could really feel that penetrating stare!
"... his gray eyes devoured every inch of me." - yummy!
"The pain in his voice was so agonizing; I could feel it reverberating through every cell in my body." - ALL THE FEELS

"He smelled like a sultry summer storm—cool, refreshing rain, sweltering, hot wind, and charged, electric thunder..." - THIS. OMG THIS. I don't know how you can describe someone like the weather - it's crazy and ridiculous and I've never heard anything like it BUT IT'S AMAZING AND I LOVE IT. That sentence completely stunned me and I was like HOT SHIT YES HOW IS IT POSSIBLE I CAN ACTUALLY SMELL HIM BUT I CAN!!!

I think I didn't like the pace though, things were either happening too slow or too fast. The training of the new town guardians and the plot in general was too fast but the romance was too slow.
The prologue hinted at not only a plot twist but a lot of heartache regarding Sebastian too. I felt I didn't really get the latter - there was passion and heated moments but not to the degree I was expecting :(

Overall, a great read! Awesome plot, original twist, unique take on vamps and that writing style UNF <3

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, #1)

Date Read: November 20 2012
Release Date: September 11th 2012
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Source: Bought
Genre: Time Travel/Historical
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother-to-be and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?"

---

This was such a fun, cute and refreshing read! I initially picked up this book thinking it would be a fun trip to the past but when I finished, I realised it was so much more than that - it was a coming of age book about growing up and that there are sometimes more important things in life.

I really loved the way this was written. Imagery, extremely descriptive, it was verb and simile paradise!
There were so many types of imagery utilised:
Aural: "the clanging church bells...", "birds are singing and chirping happy music"
Olfactory: "the overwhelming stench of sewage overwhelms me", "the heady scent of incense tickles my nose and I sneeze"
Visual: "vibrant red poppies explode against the deep jade of the grass and the lush gold of the wheat fields" THEM COLOURS OMG
Tactile: "I feel soft fabric brush against my leg"
Gustatory: "he tastes like the wildflower-honey pastries inside, sweet and intoxicating"

"Warm water sloshes over the sides of the wooden tub as I scoop up a handful of gardenia-scented bubbles and blow gently, creating a iridescent, rainbow-infused cave". 
UNF GIVE ME A BUBBLE BATH NOW!
Like shit it was sensory overload and I loved it. As nobody really knows what Renaissance Florence feels like (or Renaissance anywhere really) these descriptions were crucial in placing the character in said time period.
The book is filled with amazing descriptions and I really felt I was in 1505 Italy. I think other than the meadow, I loved the way Michelangelo's David was detailed:
"Look at how his right leg is tense and supporting him while the left one is bent like a warrior's. His furrowed forehead perfectly shows he's facing incredible odds, yet his nostrils are flared and his eyes are fierce... Look at the veins in his hands and feet, the cords of his neck, the folds of skin on his upper thigh" WOAH I don't even know a block of marble can be described like that but after reading that I'm bowing down to Michelangelo (even more than before that is).

And the juxtapositions and antitheses! It really helped iterate the difference between Cat and Patience's worlds.
E.g.
"Dejected, I fling the phone and watch it crash into the painted chest... Hanging over the chest is my wrinkled ball gown from last night."

The story itself was cute, interlaced with heartbreak, humour and lessons-to-be-learnt. I really liked what the main character, Cat, learnt on her trip back in time. What she thought was her redeeming qualities because of the way her mother acts (Cat stays out of the spotlight so she doesn't make mistakes that land her on the front pages of tabloids like her fickle mother), are actually what's holding her back from who she really is.
Lesson learnt: it's ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.

Cat finally gives her heart to someone - and what I REALLY like about this is that because she's 16, Harris doesn't explicitly say she falls in love at first sight and all that crap, but rather that he ignites feelings in her she hasn't felt before. Then Cat PROGRESSIVELY starts falling harder for him, longing for his presence more and they admit they CARE for each other. And the love that blossoms from that ERMAGHERD BE STILL MY HEART "You want to be with me; I know that you do". Cue my wrenching heart and burning eyes. The romance is entirely believable so that was a winner for me.
Lesson learnt: it's ok to let your guard down and let your heart guide you - but sometimes love is not enough, there are things you have to sacrifice. And in the case of Lorenzo? That love might just set you free.

The presence of her bubbly aunt Francesca and beautiful cousin Alessandra remind Cat of her future-stepmother and it's here that she finally sets her prejudices of her stepmother aside and realise Jenna isn't all that bad. The comparison of her Renaissance ancestors and their parallels to her stepmother allow her to see the good in Jenna!

I loved all the characters in here. I especially LOVED Lorenzo. His gentlemanly behaviour was expected of someone of that period but there was that extra spark and other side to him that made me (ahem I mean Cat) fall in love with him. The passion between Cat and Lorenzo was definitely there and god so many teary eyed moments! Alessandra was a breath of fresh air with her innocence but fiery passion to be an actress. I think her presence helped Cat understand the importance of having a friend there when times are hard. Lesson learnt: don't try to tackle everything on your own, friends are there so you can tell them your problems and it sucks to lie to them. Even characters like Antonia had something important to say. Basically, all the characters had a purpose and they weren't there just for the sake of it. I also liked how there was no guarantee of a happily ever after. I mean yeah another boy shows up but Cat doesn't immediately replace Lorenzo and that's what I loved - the uncertainty!

Was there anything I didn't like about this? I think the sheer amount of slang and colloquialisms that even I didn't understand. It got a bit too much for me at times... but I'm going to assume that's how 16 year olds talk nowadays and I fear for that generation. I also wondered how a lot of said slang would be phrased in Italian (typed some stuff into Google translate and that's some weird shit but whatever I'm not Italian so I can't say).

Overall, beautiful imagery, characters with personality and relevance, lessons learnt all in the middle of one of the world's most renowned cultural movements. And that uncertain happily ever after? As my friends say, "shit got real". Yup this did it for me.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: Breathe (Sea Breeze #1) by Abbi Glines



Date Read: November 16 - 18 2012
Release Date: May 16th 2011
Publisher: Self-published
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 
Synopsis:
"Sadie White's summer job isn't going to be on the beach life-guarding or working at rental booths like most kids her age. With her single mother's increasing pregnancy and refusal to work, Sadie has to take over her mother's job as a domestic servant for one of the wealthy summer families on a nearby island.

When the family arrives at their summer getaway, Sadie is surprised to learn that the owner of the house is Jax Stone, one of the hottest teen rockers in the world. If Sadie hadn't spent her life raising her mother and taking care of the house she might have been normal enough to be excited about working for a rock star.

Even though Sadie isn't impressed by Jax's fame, he is drawn to her. Everything about Sadie fascinates Jax but he fights his attraction. Relationship's never work in his world and as badly as he wants Sadie, he believes she deserves more. By the end of the summer, Jax discovers he can't breathe without Sadie.

But can their love overcome the disparity in their lifestyles? Or will they have to learn how to breathe again?"

---

Ok so I had really high hopes for this because I liked Just For Now. Imagine the disappointment I felt when I started reading and the good story was ruined by the writing style! The sentences felt too short and the writing unsophisticated. I also found it really hard to believe that Sadie fell in love with Jax THAT quickly.

HOWEVER, it did get a lot better after the second half of the book and I mean A LOT better. The story smoothed out, sentences had more a substance to them and I felt like emotions were finally conveyed. For the first half of the book, it didn't feel like a first person point of view, more like some retelling which annoyed me but as I said, this improved with the second half - I could finally feel Sadie's hurt and emotions.

*SPOILERS INTERSPERSED WITH REVIEW*

Elaborating on my dislike of Sadie's falling in with Jax: it was extremely quick and I was just like how did you go from your heart skipping a few beats at his smile one day to being IN LOVE with Jax after another 2 days? It took her like less than a week to fall in love with him. WTF?! But I guess this was made plausible by his actions like the supermarket-9-year-old-girl scene. Again, this would have been way more believable had everything been expressed and written better!
E.g.
"His fingers never left mine as walked back to the house. The only way to explain it is to say that it was very close to an out of body experience. Holding hands with Jax Stone and feeling we connected. He didn't seem like a rock star anymore. He wasn't the guy I saw on posters and in magazines. He wasn't the hottie I'd seen on MTV. He was just Jax."

So um ok I know using short sentences is good for emphasis and that was relevant to the latter of the paragraph but the first bit? I swear there are these things called commas that can be utilised. "Holding hands with Jax Stone and feeling we connected." Um what. That was all there is to explain the "out of body experience"? How about some verbs like "the way his fingers lace through mine made my skin tingle, his long fingers stroking the palm of my hand sent electric currents up my arm and warmed me. That current was like a pull that connected me to him" OR SOMETHING IDK? Because well yeah I had to suffer through paragraphs like that throughout so much of the first half which was why I really didn't connect to Sadie and feel the romance till the second half.
Ah now the second half. Heart-wrenching to say the least. The second half was the saving grace of the novel which was good because I'd rather it get better than it start off good and just go downhill. I finally felt more of Jax's emotions for Sadie and could relate to her and heartbreak as well as everything that was going on in her life (YES FEELS!)
"I love you more than anyone or anything. You've somehow become the song inside of me. It's because I love you so much I'm going to walk out of your life and allow you to heal and find someone worthy of you..."
YES THANK YOU I WAS BEGINNING TO WONDER IF I HAD SOMEHOW BECOME VOID OF EMOTIONS!
See the improvement? More descriptive, more heartfelt, more emotions! So yes for me it got a lot better second half onwards and at one point I really teared up and my heart was clenching and I was like "ERMAGHERD JAX!"

Character wise I thought Jax was a bit too good to be true/fake at first but I soon realised he really WAS drawn to Sadie's immunity to his stardom. I grew to really love him by the second half (yes always that second half of the book I know) and I found his need to be with Sadie really sweet and romantic.

Sadie was annoying at the start because she kept saying how she was so mature (this got really repetitive and I'm just like "OK I GET IT NOW SHOW ME MORE OF HOW YOU'RE SO MATURE") but she seemed really selfish with Jax at times with her jealousy - I'll attribute that to first love and let it slide. I like how she becomes stronger for her mother's birth and finally puts thoughts of Jax aside and she comes out the better person. Now THAT is the maturity I was looking for.

Now, Marcus Hardy. YES I LOVE THIS BOY. Here was a character I liked INSTANTLY. As I was reading, I was aware of Because of Low so I had him and Low at the back of my mind but I still really wanted Sadie to pick Marcus at some point in the story. I think it would have been a nice growing up lesson/self-realisation experience for her - how she would feel dating a normal guy as opposed to how she felt about Jax. But alas it didn't happen and the whole time I was thinking "I'LL HAVE YOU MARCUS <3" lol. I could really feel his love and pain and his actions made me feel so bittersweet. He's so caring, considerate and selfless I just wanted to hold him (*rocks in corner as I said about his feels*) and take away all his hurt.

The good eventually outweighed the bad and I was glad I didn't put this down. The end was definitely worth it!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Review: Easy by Tammara Webber


Date Read: November 15 - 16 2012
Release Date: May 25th 2012
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 
Synopsis:
"A girl who believes trust can be misplaced, promises are made to be broken, and loyalty is an illusion. A boy who believes truth is relative, lies can mask unbearable pain, and guilt is eternal. Will what they find in each other validate their conclusions, or disprove them all?

When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup two months into sophomore year. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she's single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Leaving a party alone, Jacqueline is assaulted by her ex's frat brother. Rescued by a stranger who seems to be in the right place at the right time, she wants nothing more than to forget the attack and that night--but her savior, Lucas, sits on the back row of her econ class, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. Her friends nominate him to be the perfect rebound.

When her attacker turns stalker, Jacqueline has a choice: crumple in defeat or learn to fight back. Lucas remains protective, but he's hiding secrets of his own. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy."

---

This really lived up to its expectations so I was extremely pleased.

At first I was going to give this 4 or 4.5 stars, but when I slowly thought about this book and all the things that made it whole, I realised it really was worthy of 5 stars. For me, it wasn't one of those books that kept me going "OMG WOAH WHAT... WHAT EVEN HOW" every time I turned the page. Rather, it was subtle smiles and "oh I see, yes that really makes sense" and everything slowly came together and at the end it's like the book changed and moved something inside me.

Sexual assault is a really touchy subject and I generally shy away from books like those because it's hard to take away the icky (yes icky lol) feeling the issue brings while also concentrating on other things the book is about.

But Easy did it perfectly. The assault wasn't downplayed at all and yet the book managed to focus on the budding romance and college life - it was a really nice balance. Easy dealt with the consequences of somebody not reporting a sexual assault and the effects of that - how assaulter becomes stalker, becomes obsessive and in need of that control that he couldn't get the first time, and also how it could happen to someone else. These events are all weaved throughout the course of the book which I really liked. The assault isn't just something that happens and is left there as a starting point for the novel - it's what this book is about and it keeps it that way while drawing in other themes like friendship, love and trust.

The thing I liked was the pace - the events aren't all happening too slowly or too quickly, it's extremely realistic and I could really relate to Jacqueline. Emotions are conveyed amazingly and my heart just broke for Lucas.

All the characters are really believable and had great personalities. Jacqueline was quick to like, Lucas I was quick to fall for and Erin's support I loved. However, if that's college life in the States, I'm not sure I want to be part of it.

With all the YA sci-fi/fantasies that are out and manage to suck me in completely, it's hard to find a contemporary that lives up to that. Other than The Fault in Our Stars and the Slammed series, there aren't many I'd re-read and give 5 stars to, but Easy did just that!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review: Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout


Date Read: November 10 - 11 2012
Release Date: October 18th 2011
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Source: Bought
Genre: Paranormal/fantasy
My rating: 
Synopsis:
"The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi-pure-bloods-have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals-well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck."

---

2 words: TEAM AIDEN! <3

As much as I want to give this 5 stars I found it lacked that "wow-factor" that makes me instantly know a book is a fiver.

I know I shouldn't be doing this, but I just kept comparing Half-Blood to Vampire Academy. There were way too many similarities despite VA obviously being about vampires and Covenant about Greek gods. But alas the similarities were there and Half-Blood paled in comparison to Vampire Academy. I still remember the first page of Vampire Academy and how it sucked me in immediately, and kept me hanging on to every word until the last page. I didn't feel that rush with Half-Blood... as much.

Alex's character pissed me off A LOT. She was annoying at times and all I kept thinking was "how stupid does a 17 year old have to be that she doesn't know when to shut up and that her future/life is on the life?". Alex is strong mentally, emotionally and physically and also extremely stubborn. She reminded me a lot of Rose, but for some reason Rose seemed a lot more mature and her attitude wasn't AS reckless (Rose was still reckless) as Alex... and my reckless I mean like a 7 year old who thinks they can fly if they jump off a roof because they have superpowers. Alex could be THAT stupid at times - especially with her mouth. Rose always talked back but it was just the WAY Alex said things.

I quite liked Aiden and Seth, their characters were really nice and I would definitely like to see more of them, especially Aiden. I liked how mature he was and how much he cares for Alex, so much so that he'll put his feelings aside to ensure her future.

Despite Alex's dislike of Marcus, I actually really really liked him. Unlike Lucian who has a hidden agenda I got a feeling that Marcus is/was so hard on Alex because he doesn't want her to fail but succeed in being a Sentinel.

Now the story itself, I love Greek mythology so I definitely excited. However, the daimon addition was really weird. They're just basically vampires to me and I thought it was weird to mix descendants of Greek gods/demigods with vampires... It was like "you should stick to one or the other". There were heaps of other abominations that could be the result of stealing a Pure's aether rather than vampire-like creatures. Heck some soul sucking thing would have been better. I found that it ruined the whole Greek gods thing.

All my negative opinions aside, this was very well written as is customary for Armentrout. She adds the right amount of (sexual) tension here (although this was definitely a lot more downplayed due to the caste system, compared to Lux) and as with all her works, written in quite a sophisticated manner. I love the touches of humour she gives to scenes and the conflicting sides of characters like Aiden. I still like the Greek god thing and how furies were brought in - the Greek gods aren't just something of the past, they're still in action which has me anticipating some "godly" ass-kicking hehe!

Onto Pure now!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Review: Point of Retreat (Slammed #2) by Colleen Hoover


Date Read: November 8 - 11 2012
Release Date: September 18th 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"Hardships and heartache brought them together… now it will tear them apart.

Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.’"

---

"My sweet is right now"

This was BUTTERFLYING amazing! Absolutely LOVED Will's POV.

I didn't think I'd be able to laugh and cry EVEN MORE than in Slammed... But I did!
I love how the slamming continues on here and extends to the kids too. I thought it was great how the kids matured as well. Kiersten is a great character and I loved her wisdom throughout this book - she was this ball of energy but also a breath of fresh air with her bluntness and knowledge. I loved how we see another side of Kel and Caulder - Kel after the incidents of part 2 and Caulder with his slam and appreciation for Will.

And Will... oh my god how do I even begin to describe Will Cooper? What a kind, loving, fiercely passionate, strong, smart and beautiful guy. As I've said, I wish I had a Will in my life. As this was in his POV we really get to see how reacts to Lake and what he thinks of her. So many of the uncertainty I had about his reactions in the first book were answered here so I got my closure lol (yay!) But gosh his love is so UNCONDITIONAL it made my heart ache. The way he wrote his feelings at the start of each chapter really conveyed his emotions and reading from his POV cemented those words.

What made this book all the more believable was that, amazing as everybody is and how beautiful they are inside, they've all been through shit to put it simply. Nobody in here has had an easy life, is privileged or perfect in any way. Their flaws are what made them stronger, better people and shaped them into the amazing characters I was reading.

Eddie and Gavin: Eddie's been through so much foster care and yet she still maintains that happy demeanour and ability to make others around her smile. Her and Gavin have more obstacles to face as well, and here I could see Gavin isn't the perfect guy - he's indecisive as well but his love for Eddie pulls them through.

Kel and Caulder: despite both losing their parents at such young ages, they can still get up every day. One might say they're too young to understand, but they do and we see that through Caulder's slam and Kel's emotions in part 2.

Kiersten: she's so smart for her age and gives amazing advice. She's a great girl but she gets bullied constantly; she smiles even though it hurts her and her school does nothing about it.
Sherry: this mother figure came in at just the right time but she doesn't appear too much that she's interfering with Will and Lake's parenting. Her heart ache and experiences with love add to everything that happens in this book.

Lake: need I say more? This girl is so strong and she nearly loses Will here but she's still so strong.
Will: Will... oh Will... where do I ever begin? Part 2 nearly killed me. How he managed to make it through I don't know. His undying support and love for Lake made it all the more harder to read the beginning of part 2 as I was left wondering (won't put any spoilers here!) A part of me thinks Lake pulled through because she was fighting for them too. But he's been through so much and SO MUCH MORE to lose than in Slammed. I didn't think it was possible but he did and it killed me inside.

After just finishing this book I can say "My sweet is right now".

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Review: Slammed (Slammed #1) by Colleen Hoover


Date Read: November 7 2012
Release Date: January 4th 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 
Synopsis:
"Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope.
Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.
Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart."

---

I need Point of Retreat RIGHT NOW! This was bloody, freaking AMAZING!
I loved how this wasn't just some YA focused on romance - it didn't just delve into issues such as death, family, futures and sacrifices but made those themes what the whole book was about.
And the way it was expressed? Extremely original! The character's stories and feelings were shown through slamming (reading poetry) so everything was really layered. I loved that - you had to strip back the layers which contained hidden meanings and symbolism, to get to the real meaning behind everything.

Lake and Will both have so much to lose through their romance (especially Will) but they also experience pain without it. In a way they were like a balm to each other's wounds - and gosh did they have wounds: gaping, weeping wounds. Poor Lake, after losing her father and moving to a new state and realising she can't be with the guy she's falling in love with, soon finds out that more heartache is coming her way. Will has already lost so much but meeting Lake means he could lose even more, and yet he needs her and she needs him - especially with what she faces from the middle of the book on-wards.

Loss is prevalent throughout this book and really opens the reader's eyes as to how fleeting life is.
- Death is the only inevitable thing in life, that's why we have to live it to its fullest and spend it as much as possible with those we love. Live with no regrets and push our boundaries.

This is a huge eyeopener - it shows how much we take for granted and how much of what we have and think is normal for a teenager, can be ripped away from us in a single moment. As a nineteen year old myself, I'm the same age as Will was when he lost everything and had to give up being a college student for his brother. At nineteen, I can't imagine myself being able to raise a kid and quitting uni, finding a job to feed two mouths AND pay the bills.

I don't think there's anything bad to say about this book - maybe Lake and Will should have had a few more dates to establish their feelings but otherwise this was perfection.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review: When Summer Ends by Isabelle Rae


Date Read: November 6 - 7 2012
Release Date: September 27th 2012
Publisher: Self-published
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 
Synopsis:
"Chloe Henderson has never been one to break the rules or push the boundaries… but during her summer break, she and her friends use fake IDs to sneak into a club. It’s there that she meets handsome and alluring bartender, Will Morris. The pair hit it off immediately, growing closer with every passing day. But as with every summer, it has to end sometime.

Chloe’s senior year approaches and there’s a shock in store when she returns to do her final year at school. Will is there too, but he’s not one of her fellow students…

A tale of forbidden love, broken hearts, friendship, and rivalry."

---

Ah this was so sweet and worth trading in some exam study time!
I absolutely LOVE Will, he's so sweet, romantic, considerate, passionate and just plain amazing. I wish I had a guy like Will! I absolutely love how he calls Chloe 'Cutie'.

What I didn't like:
The writing itself I felt was a bit unsophisticated at times - I felt phrases could have been written better with sentence structures more mature sounding. I mean I know it's written in the POV of a teenage girl but it literally felt like I was reading some 17 year-old's diary/blog recounting events sometimes. Also, I felt that a lot of the things were repeated unnecessarily (A LOT) and some things were written with no purpose of being there e.g. "I blushed and did a little curtsy before walking off quickly towards where my parents were waiting and talking to Trevor, Nick’s dad." The part about her walking back to her parents was enough (she was talking to Will), I didn't see the point of saying that they were talking to Nick's dad when Rae had stated earlier Amy's parents and Nick's parents were all talking. There was also a SHITLOAD of grammatical and spelling errors throughout that really really pissed me off. You can confuse "your" and "you're" maybe ONCE as maybe you weren't thinking as you were writing but even self-published, doing that like 5 times or more should really get picked up. There were so many spelling mistakes I wondered if this had been edited at all - I write essays with less errors in a given ratio.
I just thought there could have been so much more potential for it to be 5 stars.

What made this awesome:
All those negatives aside, this actually was an amazing read.
Chloe's character annoyed me sometimes but I really felt her pain. Sometimes I feel like a masochist because I love reading these things and feeling so many emotions: happiness, then SO much heartache and sadness. Chloe's pain was so tremendous I had my hand over my mouth half the time I was reading to cover my sobs and my wrenching heart was protesting that I couldn't take anymore. The torment Will and Chloe went through made this so worth it. I loved the way the emotions were conveyed (albeit a little repetitive at times) but when he finally confessed his love for her, oh my gosh it was like everything just fell into place because they're so perfect together.
I loved the way Will is seen through Chloe's eyes - especially at school when he couldn't have her but you could see how much he wanted her, and how much that wanting came out as anger and frustration on Chloe making her hurt even more! The tension was certainly palpable at times when they were alone at school... or even in their calculus class because it seemed like the world fell away around them.
I also loved the humour here. Chloe and Will's witty, flirtatious banter had me laughing so much all the time, and their activities were so entertaining (the tubing and snowball fight!). I also loved the Erika part, it added just the right touch of mischievousness and humour to balance a really daunting situation.
The supporting characters were amazing too - I especially loved Nick, Sam and Amy. Nick for his undying support of Chloe even when he still loved her, Sam for his brashness and willingness to support his brother and Amy for her loyalty as a friend. Some of the qualities might have seemed a little stereotypical at times but once I thought about it, it made sense given how long each character has known the other for.

I've heard this isn't as great as Slammed (can't wait to read that) but dang I thought this was a beautiful story!

View all my reviews

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: The Lost Prince (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1) byJulie Kagawa



Date Read: October 27 2012
Release Date: October 23rd 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Bought
Genre: Fantasy
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

This novel is one of Julie’s books that will have you demanding for the second one as soon as you finish your read."

---

There was this huge build-up throughout the book that had me giddy with excitement but when Ethan finally faced the Lady, it all went downhill and the scene was just like "oh... that's it?"
I think I can sort of understand why it was written this way and why Kierran reacted (or didn't react specifically) the way he did - it branches off Iron's Prophecy of how he'll either unite the courts or destroy them. But I still think there could have been some more climax/action/SOMETHING to give that scene a bit of oompf.
The idea itself of the Forgotten is pretty good, it was dwelled upon in The Iron Knight and I like how it's expanded on here and how Kagawa tied in Ethan and Kierran and the whole prophecy.
I loved seeing Kierran here and how he turned out compared to what Ash saw in The Iron Knight. It was extremely amusing how Kierran, Ethan, Meghan and Ash all look the same age. Kierran's character is quite determined he's definitely his mother's son (and his father's) but I would have liked more of a personality on him. All I seemed to get was his love for Annwyl - where's the Iron Prince? Where is his duty to his people/kind?
Kenzie was quite cute but her persistence and too-cheery determined personality annoyed me a lot. Ethan I quite liked and could see him slowly change and lower his guard as the story progressed but I thought the passion/romance with Kenzie wasn't as well written as the one for Ash/Meghan...
But oh I do love Grim and the Iron Court, namely Glitch and Razor, they're so funny and really have character so I was glad to see them again here.

Overall, I really liked this and can't wait to see more of Kierran/Ethan as the new Puck/Ash... but this time with a prophecy overshadowing everything!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review: Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by GenaShowalter


Date Read: October 13 - 15 2012
Release Date: September 25th 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Bought
Genre: Paranormal
My rating: 
Synopsis:
"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."


---

Lucky for me I approached this book with absolutely no expectations of it being a modern adaption of Alice in Wonderland. Even more lucky for me I hadn't read Alice in Wonderland in at least 7 years so I've forgotten most of what happened. As such, the fact that it didn't turn out to be a modern zombie twist on the original tale, wasn't such a disappointment to me and I actually quite enjoyed this. But due to everybody's complaints about how bad it was and how it had absolutely no connection to the actual Alice in Wonderland, I decided to do a little research as well as pull what I could from memory. Other than the names there actually are connections that Showalter made to make this a modern zombie adaptation. Now I'm no zombie lover or expert - this is the first zombie book I've ever read and I didn't read it because I'm a fan of zombies - so I don't really care how zombies were portrayed here, I quite liked the gorey bits!

Anyway if one looks they do see links to the original tale:
- The same themes including loss of innocence (Alice falling in the rabbit hole and experiencing all those changes vs Alice's family dying and seeing what horrors are really out there); the many puzzles of life (Alice doing maths and puzzles vs Alice deciphering the journal and what it means to be able to see zombies); the possibility of death ("Off with her dead!" vs Alice's constant battle with the zombies and near death experiences); reality versus dream (Alice's ordeal was all a dream...right? vs Alice's visions of Cole and her stepping out of her body into the spirit realm).
- The character parallels such as Alice where both have that innate curiousity about things, the grinning Chesire Cat and Kat the happy one, the Queen of Hearts and Dr Wright who both want Alice's 'head' essentially and the sister (in the orginial and Emma) who appears and does the warning
- There's also the parallel where Alice in Wonderland yells that they're only a deck of cards which renders them useless while Alice in Zombieland uses words to stop the zombies - can we go as far as interpreting this as the power of faith and words here?

Either way, once we look closely enough, the similarities in both tales are there, Showalter's just taken a modern twist on many ideas, albeit many might not think they're the best. But hey it's a YA and I think she tried her best and did an ok job.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff


Date Read: September 20 - 23 2012
Release Date: September 1st 2012
Publisher: Tor
Source: Bought
Genre: Steampunk/High Fantasy
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task.

But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects – and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country's last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected.

Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she's determined to do something about it.

Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?"

---

When my friend recommended me this book I was totally excited for it. Japanese steampunk? Hells yeah! But I had to result to the "what I didn't like" and "what I did like" format for this review as those were my thoughts whilst reading - "oh this is good", "oh wait WHAT?! No..."

What I didn't like about this:
This was a great book but not as great as the hype made it out to be. It took me AGES to read it - a book of this size should only take me tops 2 days to read with uni in between. However, this took me like 4 days to read. It was extremely hard to read. The descriptions didn't create imagery easily, I had to really really concentrate for the pictures and setting to form in my mind. I would read 1 chapter on the train and think "oh my god this is going right over my head". Is it possible to be overly descriptive? I mean, I understand Kristoff was being cautious and detailing as much as possible as his Shima wasn't a place people would be familiar with. But gosh the amount of times he repeated things made me want to rip my hair out:
"The sky hung heavy with a pall of fumes..." and in the following sentence "trailing a suffocating plume of blue-black exhaust".

"Masaru squinted through the pall of greasy smoke at the cards in front of him. The dealer watched him through half-closed lids, a blue-black wreath coiled in the air around his head."
Throughout the whole book, this blue-black is attached to the end of half the paragraphs like a leech. I mean far out I GET IT... IT'S POLLUTED BY LOTUS, PEOPLE GET HIGH OF THIS SHIT, IT RUNS THE CITY RAH RAH RAH. Half the time I was thinking "I swear I just read that... oh wait". It's an endless cycle these dreaded words. I get it, he wants to emphasise this thing that is a poison to Shima but it's not required to the point where I wanted to just stop reading this.

Then there is the sheer amount of Japanese used in this. Had I not watched a shitload of subbed anime and Japanese dramas I would have no bloody idea what half this book is about. The Glossary at the end is a failed attempt at saving face. At least Kristoff waited until the second page to unleash his flurry of Japanese "She drew her tanto..." For the most part, it's eventually explained what the word means. Tanto I figured meant some kind of sword and further reading tells me it's a 6 inch knife. But things like "Hai" you'd have no idea what it meant - only some kind of submission (for the record it means 'yes'). Weapons like "wakizashi" and "katana" are easily thrown around and although described, the too many adjectives just went right over my head (thank you Yojimbo and Auron from Final Fantasy for teaching me what these actually look like).

The more I read I couldn't help thinking "this guy needs to chillax on the Japanese". I felt I read more Japanese than English a lot of the time.

*SPOILER ALERT* Aisha was a predictable character among all of this - of course the resistance is right under the Shogun's eyes.


What I liked about this book:
Despite sensory overload to the point of being uncomfortable, the setting IS spectacular. And again, despite me ranting about being overly descriptive and a lot of things going over my head, once things were absorbed I was definitely transported into the polluted and ruined world of Shima or the beautiful rainforests.

Kristoff's idea of how this one plant can be a source of fuel, drug and basically support an empire is extremely cool. Even cooler was the concept of the life/fertiliser that sustained these plants. When I read about how, I was horrified yet fascinated - quite an original idea. Actually, an extremely original idea and I loved it and I was like HOLY SHIT OMG WAIT DID I JUST READ THAT? I had to re-read it a few times to make sure what I thought was correct.

I also did love most of the characters, I really took a liking to Kasumi but I really loved Buruu. There was just something so grounded about him, despite his ferocity there was this calm whenever I read about him. And dang the heroine of the story, Yukiko, is a force of her own. I loved her growth throughout the book - from a seemingly naive, curious girl to a brave and strong young woman by the end wearing her scars proudly.

I think what I loved the most was Hiro. I so did not see that coming. And that twist is what made me give this book 4.5 stars. I think I actually laughed when it was written in plain ink and smacked me in the face... of all the people! Some people might have seen the twist, but I was so absorbed in what was unfolding and the suspense that I totally missed it - now THAT is great writing!

I do love a good steampunk and this was one of them - I've always dreamed of flying in an airship.

Since getting back into reading I'd read so many dystopians/sci-fi/paranormal books that this steampunk was something so totally different - a real breath of fresh air. The concept was unique and unlike anything I'd ever read!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review: Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth


Date Read: January 9 - 11 2013
Release Date: January 8th 2012
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Source: Bought
Genre: Dystopia
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen.

But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her."

---

Woah how do I even begin to describe how amazing this book was? First chance I get I'm going to buy Insurgent... aka tomorrow. So as I wrote in my Shatter Me review, I find it really hard to read dystopian novels and even harder that they impress me. It's been over a year and I still haven't finished Delirium; I stopped at the end of chapter 1 for Skinned; I read five pages of Uglies and couldn't progress further; Inside Out sits bookmarked at page 23.

Shatter Me was good but I haven't been this drawn into a dystopic book since the first Hunger Games. For me it's always the author's lack/inability to get me relating to the setting. But Roth managed to do just that. I think a lot of YA dystopians are about the protagonist's lack of choice - they are forced into a certain lifestyle because of some war and new leaders arise and set some spartan way of living for everybody to follow and the protagonist is the only one that rebels.

Even though the factions have a set way of living I liked that there was still a choice. There was a thrill as I followed Tris' path to decide where she belonged.

However, I'm not sure I liked the set way the members of faction thought. If you're a member or Erudite you MUST have a thirst for knowledge and all your ex-faction's qualities eventually get driven out of you. I mean I guess it was easier for me, the reader, to relate to Divergence because as humans nobody thinks the same and we all have so many unique qualities that make us who we are. And I think Roth tried to show this with her exceptions - not the initiates - like Marcus and Natalie.

I did get annoyed with things that happened later on that were already confirmed in the beginning e.g. Tris knowing from the beginning her mother was Dauntless but then seeming surprised by this later on as if she didn't have the suspicion to begin with. But those are only minor flaws that can be overlooked in the shining brilliance of the rest of this story.

Characters... Tris was developed really well, she doesn't just suddenly become brave but it was always in her to question things and to act out per say. Part of her bravery is because of the Abnegation embedded in her so her actions are sound. And I love how she isn't perfect, especially during Lauren's fear landscape test. She isn't completely fearless because if she was I would have hated her.

And woah Four how do I begin to describe him? I fell in love with him completely and I like that the romance wasn't extremely past faced or just started out of nowhere. He sees a bit of himself in her I think, especially once they learn more about each other. All the other characters have personalities too which I liked, but some like Peter and Eric were a bit too stereotypical. The personalities were really relatable though, Christina as a friend still gets jealous and acts her age because face it, despite everything they go through, these are still 16 year old kids trying to fit in.

Pace wise, this book was nearly perfect for me. The storyline progressed in a way where you could feel time moving but not too slowly that it was boring - basically shit was happening (yay!). Note how I said NEARLY perfect, not just perfect; I found the ending unfolded a bit fast - sure the build up was there but the conflict and clues were too subtle to really go out with a bang the way it did. Lack of foreboding?

But jeez was this brilliant. Bloody brilliant. Every punch, kick in the face, touch... all the action was very real. My particular favourite was the fear landscapes, I felt such a thrill - there was just enough detail but not too much that it was "duh!".

There was just something so complete about this book. It had all the things that make a YA book memorable: distinct characterisation, a unique plot, a youthful romance, darkness mixed with light so it's realistic but retaining its context.