Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review: Boundless, by Cynthia Hand

Boundless (Unearthly, #3)

Title: Boundless (Unearthly #3)
Author: Cynthia Hand
Genre: YA Paranormal
Pub. Date: January 22, 2013

The past few years have held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner could ever have anticipated. Yet from the dizzying highs of first love, to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she can no longer deny is that she was never meant to live a normal life.

Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seems like the best option, so she’s headed back to California - and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place.

As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfill her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal.

In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must decide her fate once and for all.

Boundless is a cute and satisfying conclusion to a great series. Not exactly the best conclusion I desired, but hey, at least I got some TUCKER.

The first half of the book is about Clara in college, which can be, to some, an unnecessary component to this book. I felt that it was important to develop ties between certain characters which the author didn’t do a very good job of in the first two books.

Clara is one of my favorite YA characters. She is so relatable and her tone was so believable of a typical teen that it was impossible not to like her.

I had three issues with this book; one, it was a bit too predictable for my taste (only some parts), two, the ending was WAY too convenient, and three, what the heck happened to Christian in the end? (He just disappears, and we have no idea what happens to him.)

The solution of the conflict at the end of a series and how well it was executed is what makes or breaks my opinion of a novel. In the case of Boundless, the solution was not the best part of the book. In fact, it was one of the downsides of it. It was much too convenient and easy for my liking. For me, I like books with solutions that are good, but come with/cause some sort of struggle. Because that’s how life is; you can’t just do one thing and poof! All your problems are gone. There has to be some sort of negative aspect; even though it is a “solution”, it can’t be perfect.

So if you’re wondering why I gave the last book in one of my favorite series 3 stars, that one of the main reasons.

One of my major pet peeves is when an important character just disappears without anyone questioning or explaining what happened to that person. It’s like the author just gave up on that character altogether. Which is what happened to Christian! DUN DUN DUN.

The epilogue was… Okay. Just okay. It showed 10 years into the future, but it didn’t really answer anything. All it shows it the happy ending, blah blah blah, but nothing notable.

I’m hoping Hand makes a series dedicated to Jeffrey, because he is HOT. I can't think of a better reason beside the fact that he is super hot, but isn't that a good enough reason?

It’s still saddening to see this angel series go. I loved all the characters, but this book just didn’t cut it for me.

3/5 stars

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)

Title: The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA dystopia
Pub. Date: April 24, 2012

To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for…again.

Enter Julie Kagawa's dark and twisted world as an unforgettable journey begins.

Julie Kagawa never fails to amaze me with her storytelling. Her novels will pull you into the world that she has superbly created with her beautifully detailed writing.

As hard as it is to admit, this book was, in summary, a disappointment. With my standards set so high, I was expecting something with more pizzazz (I can’t think of a better word, so I’ll just use that weird one).

It's not like the author did not do a good job in portraying vampires as how they are supposed to be portrayed. It's not that the story wasn't written well or the characters were flat or whatever. It's that I was not that affected by this story. Yes, the middle part was totally epic, but the rest... I don't know. It just was not that notable or magnificent, to me.

I guess a good way to put this is that this book will be easily forgotten, blurring in with the other insignificant books.

It causes me utmost pain to be giving Kagawa's book, an author whom I have been a major fan of, a rating of less than 4 stars. But I feel like there are other books out there worthy of 4 stars, more so than The Immortal Rules.

The only two characters that I truly felt a connection with are Caleb and Allie, not so much the others. And Caleb only because of how young and cute he is, and I have a soft spot for little kids. Zeke, while sweet and kind, was a little too perfect in my opinion, and was not that interesting to read about. Kanin was very mysterious and we know absolutely nothing about him besides what was revealed near the end. But I think that this was intentionally done in order to expand on his character in book 2. Kagawa did a good job with developing Allison as a main character, but neglected the other characters by not putting as much effort into them.

I can’t find any solid justification for rating this book 3.5 stars, other than the fact that I felt so disconnected from a majority of the characters. Though, I think that not being able to connect with the characters takes a lot away from the reading experience. So I guess that is a good enough reason.

I’m sorry Julie Kagawa, AKA one of my favorite authors of one of my favorite series, for giving your book 3.5 stars. I truly am. Still, I am firm in my belief that this book is not that great as I expected it would be.

*Cowers in a corner out of shame*

But there is still hope for book 2!

3.5/5 stars

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #6: Top Ten Books I Thought I'd Like MORE/LESS Than I Did

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Here are the books that I thought I'd like more than I actually did:

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)Incarnate (Newsoul, #1)Everbound (Everneath, #2)Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)

Matched (Matched, #1)Ceaseless (Existence Trilogy, #3)Does My Head Look Big In This?

Books I thought I'd like LESS than I actually did:

The AlchemistBloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)Obsidian (Lux, #1)

As you can see, there are a LOT more books that were disappointing to me. Mostly I was disappointed because all my friends would be raving about how good it was, and once I read it, I never ended up understanding what made that book so special. Or, in the case of Everbound and Ceaseless, these sequels were not as enjoyable as the first books.

I think many people, like me, were not that sure about Bloodlines, mostly because the main character is Sydney, the "boring" girl from VA. But I, like countless others, were surprised to find out that we actually ended up loving this book.

What's on your top ten list? Comment and link below!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review: Falling Kingdoms, by Morgan Rhodes

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)

Title: Falling Kingdoms
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Genre: YA High fantasy
Pub. Date: December 11. 2012

In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects' lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined:

Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct.

Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword. . . .

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

This is definitely one of the more harder reviews to write. I feel like I could gush all day about this book, but at the same time, it is just too flawed. These flaws are much too noticeable, and nagged me while I was reading, making my experience reading this less entertaining than I would have expected.

With war, fighting, magic, bloodshed, and political intrigue, this seemed like the perfect book for me. And if the many flaws were ignored, it could have been.

The thing that bugged me the most was the writing. It was so boring, so monotonous, that one could easily lose interest in the novel. In the high fantasy genre, even fantasy in general, the writing is supposed to reflect the mood of the book. The author failed in this.

Another major issue I had was how the war started. Apparently, the three kingdoms have been at peace for centuries, living alongside each other with minimal fighting (collectively speaking, that is). I find it extremely hard to believe that the death of an "insignificant peasant" would brew up a bloody war between the three kingdoms. It is simply hard to comprehend that the book's plot is based around the death of one peasant.

In plain terms, the romance sucked. Badly. The most unimpressive one was the romance between Cleo and Theon. Not only did their romance pop out of the blue, Theon was also a character that lacked depth. I knew nothing about him and he wasn't described too well. I felt so detached and uninterested in their romance that I did not feel much remorse over him whatsoever.

What with all these flaws, it's surprising that I actually liked reading this book. I stayed engrossed in the novel and felt connected to the seemingly unlikable characters.

Which brings me to an important point. At first, I absolutely loathed all the characters at the beginning of the novel. But I think the reason for this is because we are unable to relate to these characters, since it is hard to imagine what it would be like if we were in their situations. Excluding Theon, the characters were, overall, well-written characters.

This is not one of those stories with the whole "good guy-bad guy" scenario, in which the villain is easy to name and is evil just for the sake of being evil, with no reasoning as to why that particular villain acts like that. No, Falling Kingdoms was not that black-and-white. I am so glad for this, as it gave the story complexity and made it deserving of being in the genre of high fantasy. I found it hard to choose sides, because each side did have justifiable reasons for their actions, in a sense. 

The first novel really sets a strong base for upcoming sequels, especially that last scene. There is just enough unresolved conflict to keep me reading this series.

Falling Kingdoms is a book that has spectacular qualities, but at the same time, amateur mistakes. I recommend this book to fans of Throne of Glass and Graceling.

3.5 Stars

Saturday, April 20, 2013

"Eeew You Read Books?": A Message to Book Haters

Countless times have I encountered people I call "Book Haters". You know, the ones who show unconcealed distaste when they see you reading instead of, I don't know, texting or going on FB?

I find it very ignorant of these type of people to automatically HATE books, when they have probably never read a book in their life, and disrespect the person reading the book.

Here is how a typical conversation would go:

*Me reading a book in the middle of class*
Girl: Eew, are you reading?
Me: No duh. I find it very enjoyable. I feel like I'm in another world, experiencing--
Girl: So, like, you have to read books because you're antisocial and a loner and will be forever alone?
Me: *Clenches teeth* It's a freaking hobby. Why is it any of your business what I like to do? And of course I have plenty of friends! *Mentally makes a list of all my friends, a majority of them being fictional*
Girl: Books are so old-school. It's the, like, 21st century! We have technology. Books are for, like, cavemen.
Me: Have you even read a book in your whole life?
Girl: Ya! I have read Green Eggs and Ham plenty of times! It's the only book that I like.
Me: Well, congrats to you. You have the reading ability of a genius. *Sarcasm dripping from every word.* 
Girl: Like, ZOMG. Thank you. It's a sign of my intelligence. I don't like books without pictures though. It gets on my pet peeves.
Me: Good for you. *Continues reading and ignores the girl*
Girl: Hello! I am talking to you! *Flips her hair and walk away*

See, this is how a typical conversation with an ignorant book-hater goes. If you are reading this, and you are a book hater (which I highly doubt), then I have a message for you: Pick up a freakin book for once in your life before automatically judging us book lovers. Please.

And for all those people who think reading makes you a nerd, and being a nerd is a bad thing, read this brilliant quote by John Green:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review: The Deepest Night, by Shana Abe

The Deepest Night (The Sweetest Dark, #2)

Title: The Deepest Night
Author: Shana Abe
Genre: YA fantasy/historical fiction
Pub. Date: August 13, 2013

A rich portrait of post-Victorian England, The Deepest Nightseamlessly blends thrilling romance with riveting history and adventure—perfect for fans of Libba Bray and Lauren Kate.

It’s 1915, and sixteen-year-old Lora Jones is finishing up her first year as a charity student at Iverson, a prestigious, gothic boarding school on England’s southern coast. While she’s always felt different from everyone around her, now she finally knows why: She is a drákon, a rare, enchanted being with astonishing magical abilities.

As war hits Britain’s shores, and Lora reels from an unimaginable loss, she finds that her powers come with grave and dangerous responsibilities. At the request of Armand Louis, the darkly mysterious boy whose father owns Iverson, Lora will spend her summer at his lavish estate. To help the war effort—and to keep Lora by his side—Armand turns his home into a military hospital, where Lora will serve as a nurse. For Armand is inescapably drawn to her—bound to her by heart-deep secrets and a supernatural connection that runs thicker than blood.

Yet while Lora tries to sort out her own feelings toward Armand, fate offers an unexpected surprise. Lora discovers there is another drákon, a prisoner of war being held in Germany. And that only she, with her newly honed Gifts, will be able to rescue him.

With Armand, Lora will cross enemy lines on an incredible mission—one that could bond her to Armand forever, or irrevocably tear them apart.

Beautifully written, deeply romantic, and filled with daring adventure and magic, The Deepest Night is a mesmerizing novel of the enduring pull of destiny, and the eternal strength of love.

This truly was a beautiful read. A major improvement from the first novel, The Deepest Night excelled where The Sweetest Dark fell short.

Still lingering from the first novel are my feelings of confusion toward some aspects of the plot, but to a lower extent. Truthfully, the actual plot-line helped me ignore the fact that we had vital parts of the story left unexplained.

As with the first installment, the writing was nothing short of superb. The descriptions were spot-on, and it is obvious that the author did her research on the time period. I particularly enjoyed the conversations held between Eleanor and Armand, as their banter was humorous and lightened up the otherwise dark mood.

I liked how WWI took center stage and was more significant to the novel, not simply a sub-plot. I think it really was necessary to make the more complex and intriguing to read. I am kind of a history nerd and enjoy reading historical fiction, so this was a big plus.

Thankfully, there was minimal romance in The Deepest Night. Phew. Sure, I like romance, but I felt that the romance in the first book was kind of gag-worthy. (One word: Instalove)

Eleanor and Armand are much more likable, and believable. They felt real and I understood them better than I did in the first book. Like I said earlier, their banter was pretty fun to read, and personally, I think they complement each other better than Eleanor and Jesse.

Enthralling and unique, The Darkest Night is a book that I immensely enjoyed reading. The use of dragons, while not explained very well, made this an original read that is unique in its own way.

4 Stars!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #5: Top Ten Book Covers I Wish I Could Redesign

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Half-Blood (Covenant, #1)Neverfall (Everneath, #1.5)
1. Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas
What a girly assassin she is.
2. Half-Blood, by Jennifer L. Armentrout
3. Neverfall, by Brodi Ashton 
This cover is pretty and all, but it's exactly the same as the second one, only a silhouette.

The Iron Legends (The Iron Fey, #1.5, 3.5, 4.5)Finale (Hush, Hush, #4)Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)

4. The Iron Legends 
That is NOT how Puck looks. And why are they in such awkward positions?
5. Finale, by Becca Fitzpatrick
The cliche-ness of this cover is unbearable that I literally just burst out laughing when I saw it. What, is he going to push her of the cliff??
6. ALL of the Vampire Academy books

Holes (Holes, #1)Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods, #1)Paper TownsThe Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #2)
7. Holes. by Louis Sachar 
Is that supposed to be Stanley at the bottom...
8. Blue Bloods, by Melissa de la Cruz 
One word: Gross.
9. Paper Towns, by John Green
Wow. A picture of a girl. How utterly fascinating.
10. The Iron Traitor, by Julie Kagawa
I simply refuse to believe that that is Keirran. 

This week we could choose ANY of the past topics. Which topic did you choose, and what's on your list? Make sure to leave your link below so I could check it out! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday (1)

Feature and Follow is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read
Alison Can Read Feature & Follow


We are about to see a lot of posts & tweets about reader conventions, 
RT, BEA, ALA, and many more are starting soon. 
Which one would you love to attend? Where and why?


Sadly, I am not able to go to any of these conventions (I'm crying inside). But I would LOVE to go to BEA, because I think it would be pretty awesome to meet all your blogger friends in real life. And the idea of meeting authors in PERSON is unbelievable. That's better than meeting a celebrity. I heard that the RT is fun too, but I think that I would enjoy the BEA more. 
*Sighs* All three of these conventions are out of state for me, and it would be super difficult to go, with high school and all. If you guys know of any conventions that are going to take place in California, make sure to let me know!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Review: Clockwork Princess, by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)

Title: Clockwork Princess
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA Paranormal
Pub. Date: March 19, 2013

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

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

Emptiness. That is what I feel at the moment. I haven't felt this way since I finished reading the Harry Potter series. We have all felt this, this feeling evoked by the conclusion of something you hold dear to your heart. Usually, the second this happens, you burst into tears (at least for me). But after a while, after you have accepted its completion, you experience this utter feeling of pure emptiness. The love I have of The Infernal Devices series is the reason as to why I am so affected by its finishing, because it is such a beautifully written story.

I was planning to write a full review will all the good points in this book blah blah blah, but then I was like, screw that! I am just gonna end up spilling all my emotions because my heart hurts so much and every time I think about Cecily or Gabriel or Henry or Charlotte or Gideon or Sophie or Tessa or Jem or Will I just burst into a fit of sobs and snot and I CAN'T GET THIS BOOK OFF MY MIND.

Rarely has a book affected me to this extent. I have smiled, laughed, gasped, cried; really I am just an emotional wreck at the moment.

That epilogue not only killed me, IT TEARED ME APART. Tessa's memories of the past made me laugh and cry and was so hard to read. It took me about an hour to read it, because I didn't want to let any of the characters go. After I finished, I began to obsessively read my favorite parts, enjoying the moments, and refusing to believe what I read in the epilogue. 

And OMG! Cecily and Gabriel, and Sophie and Gideon, are ADORABLE together. I couldn't get enough of them, and was glad that a lot of this book was devoted to them.

I consider myself as Team Will, but I still love Jem, and was heartbroken for all he had to endure. It is impossible not to be in love with either of these characters. The love triangle in this book did not bother me, because I feel like its execution was perfect. All three of them- Jem, Will, Tessa- loved each other unconditionally, and in this, I feel that it differs from other love triangles in the genre.

CP2's theme of love is so much more than the typical love present in other novels. Despite hardships, despite obstacles, the characters stick together, stay loyal to each other. Their love is palpable and displayed perfectly, to the point where we could feel the emotions of the characters.

To me, the love I could feel the most in this book was the love between Jem and Will. It was so real, so pure, that I was heartbroken by the end of the novel. Probably the main reason I am crying right now is because of the separation of these Parabatai.

I was satisfied by the ending. But that's not saying I didn't cry. Crying is an understatement. Really, I was in denial for the next day or so and regularly needed to take deep breaths to calm my emotionally unstable body.   

The writing, as always, was flawless. The prose was lyrical and nothing short of perfect. This book did have some mistakes, but very few. However, I refuse to lower that 5-star rating because that will be much too hard for me to do.

I am DEPRESSED to see this series end. Tessa's smartness, Will's wit, Jem's sweetness, Cecily's stubbornness, Henry's genius (I'm sorry, but I firmly believe that he is a true genius, regardless of what other shadowhunters think of him), I will miss ALL of them. They are forever etched into my heart. <3

Now please excuse me while I go lock myself in my room accompanied by Clockwork Princess, Kleenex, and a box of chocolates. Whoever disturbs will face the wrath of my red-rimmed eyes and and tissues filled with my snot thrown at your face. 
5 stars!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Books I Read Before I was a Blogger

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish

Since I am a relatively new blogger (I started in late December of 2012), most of my current favorite books are books I read before I began blogging. So, I will instead make a list of books that I loved a few years ago, when I was in middle school, and still hold dear to me.

1. City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare
City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3)

2. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
The Giver (The Giver, #1)

3. The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

4. Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver
Before I Fall

5. Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke
Inkheart (Inkworld, #1)

6. Entwined, by Heather Dixon

7. Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson

8. The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke
The Thief Lord

9. Tiger's Curse, by Colleen Houck
Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1)

10. Vampire Academy, by Richelle Mead
Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)

(That's 11 books, but whatever...)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

What's your Top 10? Comment below!