Thursday 30 May 2013

Review -- Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer


Title: Spirit
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elementals (3)
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: 28 May 2013
Date Read: May 2013
Rating: ★

With power comes enemies. Lots of them.

Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He’s learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can’t seem to afford any allies.

He’s up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait.

Then there’s Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She’s not hostile. She’s bold. Funny. Hot. But she’s got an agenda, too.

With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down. But finding out what means he’ll have to find someone he can trust…

I really wasn't keen on a Hunter novel. I hated him in all the other books of the series and I was so sure I was going to hate him being a narrator in this one. Look how well that turned out! Barely 20 pages in and I already changed my mind about him. 40 pages -I was crying for him because the idiot was too stubborn to do it for himself.

If you hadn't already figured it out, Hunter is one messed up, troubled kid. Hunter was first introduced as the mysterious new kid in Storm then later morphed into the dickhead we all thought he really was. In Spark, we found out that there's more to him than meets the eye and maybe he's not so bad. He became pretty good friends with Gabriel. Then he screwed everything up and became a dick again by the end of Spark. I would like to congratulate Kemmerer for changing my mind and my feelings about Hunter. I went from wanting to strangle Hunter, to wanting to strangle everyone else for not listening or liking Hunter. Talk about reader development. I was sympathising with him and felt so guilty that I ever hated him in the first place.

Hunter's life sucks. It sucks balls. His family, the people who's supposed to care for him, can't even look him in the eye for three seconds. He has no friends and he's pushed away everyone who might've become one. What does it matter, though, because Hunter has always thought they were only after him with ulterior motives. When new girl, Katie, arrives and starts paying special attention to Hunter, he's more than a little paranoid but with good reason. Katie is a Guard undercover and was using Hunter to get close to the Merricks.

Spirit is all about figuring out where your loyalties lie. Us vs Them. Hunter doesn't know where to put his trust, doesn't know which side is the right one. Should he believe the Guards- the ones whose beliefs he's been taught since he was a kid: full Elementals are power hungry; the world must be rid of evil full Elementals. But Hunter isn't so sure anymore when the Merricks are the only ones actually helping him, showing him kindness again and again even when he's sure he doesn't deserve it. If the Merricks aren't the bad guys, what does that make the Guards? His father? Him? Hunter's character development was a roller coaster of emotions filled with the worst frustrations, the happiest moments and everything in between.

Katie is Hunter's love interest and half of the book's narrator. I don't know if I like her better than Layne, definitely more than Becca though. Kemmerer was super ballsy with the direction she took on the romance. I just didn't have as big of an emotional response to it as I did with the rest of the events of the book. That is my only complaint, I think.

Since Spirit is Hunter's book, the Merricks didn't have that big of a presence in it, only little scenes here and there. Michael was being the best though- walking, talking bullshit detector. I didn't appreciate him as much as I should have in the previous books but I have seen the error of my ways.

I don't know how Kemmerer does it but she knows her stuff. She's consistently written three books in six different perspectives now, well. They're all different characters and the development is just ridiculously goooood.

If you had asked me to choose which Elemental boy was my favourite, I wouldn't even be able to give you a straight answer. It changed with each book that's released. If that doesn't showcase Kemmerer's brilliant writing already then I don't know what will. Gabriel and Hunter are currently tied for first place but Nick's story is coming up and that's going to be one hell of a ride. I kinda feel sad that I read this book early, that I got an ARC for it because it just means longer waiting time for the next book in the series. Do you have any idea how addicting this series is? How addicting these boys are? I would sell a bunch of my stuff, and then some, to get my hands on more material about them.

If you haven't read Spirit yet, or worse, haven't started the series, you have to. You are really missing out.

An ARC has been received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No gifts or monetary funds were given to sway my opinion.

Friday 24 May 2013

Review -- The Diviners by Libba Bray

Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Series: The Diviners (1)
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: 18 September 2012
Date Read: May 2013
Rating: ★★★☆

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.

The Diviners is not an easy book to review. It's not that it was amazing, although it was good, or that it was bad either. There was just so much in this whopper of a 600-something-page novel to think about and absorb. Boy, was it long. I had to give myself a pep talk when I started reading it, for crying out loud. And you can feel those 500-odd pages, sometimes in a good way, sometimes not.

One thing is for sure though. Bray can write. Third person omniscient is probably my favourite of all narratives. It just gives you such a wide view on the story, on the characters, on everything. You can just feel the plot and the story just coming together, all the little pieces being revealed. I had no idea what the pieces actually were or what the big picture was, but I could still feel it, you know? There was greater power at work.

The plot was centered on the rise of the Beast, and also the gradual rise of The Diviners. A cast of special teenagers are working to stop the coming of the Beast, because if he does, he'll bring the apocalypse with him. Raising the Beast requires sacrifices, bloody murders and I loved it. I loved the murderous religious zealot plot. Belief is a powerful, terrifying thing. It can drive people mad and what's scariest of all is that these people truly believe that their evilness is right and justified. It's everyone else that's wrong. Both sides are fighting hard for what they believe to be is right. And the thing is, its not just the Beast, or Naughty John, that has these radical beliefs. He has followers willing to do whatever it takes- hurt, burn, kill - to achieve ehat they believe is right.  
"Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on. Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells ‘em off for a coupla stones."
There's something about a serial murderer just calmly humming a children's 'innocent' rhyme song while he's hacking off body parts of his victims. Actually, it's not just something. It's all of it that's creepy.

Another thing I love is the setting of The Diviners - the roaring 20s. I don't know much about that era, or have read many historical fictions but Bray's world-building is so rich that I was just so fully immersed into it. There was a ridiculous amount of 1920s colloquialisms that I was surprised I really enjoyed. They're teenagers, just like me, but it was so different that I didn't even know what they were talking about sometimes. It was really adorable though! "Oh, that's just the cat's particulars! Just pos-i-tute-ly jake" I'm sorry, but what? Is this how old people feel?

Oh, but the characters were unique and so very different from one another, like it is in reality. The story follows Evie, mainly, in her fight to stop the Beast. Evie is an attention-seeking, vapid, selfish girl. She's also sassy and quick-mouthed, and I kinda love for her that

"But what's as the point of living so quietly you made no noise at all? "Oh, Evie, you're too much," people said, and it wasn't complimentary. Yes, she was too much. She felt like too much inside all the time.So why wasn't she ever enough?"

It's stuff like that that makes me fall in love with Evie's character but then she does something so idiotic, so screwed up, that I wonder what I saw in her in the first place. Whatever annoyances I have with her, her character is very well-established.
The narrative also jumped perspectives to a whole cast of other characters.  Sometimes, it switched perspectives so quickly and naturally that I didn't even realize it switched, you know? I can't even say that anyone was a  'minor' character because it didn't feel like that. Everyone had a backstory. Everyone. You'd think someone is insignificant in the scheme of things. That someone is just a friend, or just an accessory to the main characters, essentially. But no. You'll soon find out you are completely, madly wrong. It makes everyone feel like a real character, a real person, with their own personalitites, history, motivations. I loved the moments where you find out that a character was just hiding out in the corner, waiting to reveal their true identity and purpose until the very right time. It just excited me, to find out what their whole story is and how their decisions are going to play out.
The romance really took a backseat in The Diviners. It was casual and progressive, with none of those annoying YA tropes. There was a love triangle introduced later on in the book that took me by surprise, only because it seemed clear that a relationship was going to develop between two other characters. I don't even mind the love triangle though. I'm in it for the ride.
One last thing, the pace was really not for me in this novel. It took a while for me to get into the story. I started getting interested about 150 pages in but I suppose that's ok since that's, what? 25% of the novel. Sometimes, I just blitzed through it but then other times, I found it so slow that I ended up reading only a couple of pages before I had to put it down. Those were the moments that I felt the sheer size of this novel and it just depressed me that there was still so much to go.

I honestly haven't got a clue what will happen in the rest of the series. There's so many questions, strings left untied, characters to be developed. There's so many variables to even have an idea of what the next one will be about. I have no idea what will happen in the rest of the series but it excites the shit out of me.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill on Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. New installment of a series/trilogy, new book by a favourite author or a new release that captured your attention. Whatever book it may be, it certainly tickled your fancy and got you bouncing on your seat, silently giggling to yourself. Waiting on Wednesday allows us to feature books we're eagerly waiting for.

This Week I'm Waiting On:

United We Spy

Title: United We Spy
Author: Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls (6)
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: 17 September 2013

Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.

Lizzie understands me
I just can't right now. It's the sixth one and it's the last one and Cammie is going to graduate and her and Zach will live happily ever after and it's just all too much. It was announced earlier this week and I found it on my phone during class. I squealed. Really loudly. i got some looks but you know what, this is the last of the series and be thankful that I didn't just break down and cry right then and there. Saved that up for when I got home.

Monday 20 May 2013

Review -- The Collector by Victoria Scott

The Collector

Title: The Collector
Author: Victoria Scott
Series: Dante Walker (1)
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: 02 April 2013
Date Read: March 2013
Rating: ★★★☆☆

He makes good girls...bad.

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

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

Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days.

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

It's been a while since I read The Collector, in reviewing terms anyway. I've been putting off writing the review because I wasn't sure how to put into words what I thought of it. Now, I've sat my ass down and told myself to quit procrastinating already and start writing. Almost everyone I know absolutely loved it. I don't quite share their feelings.

What most readers loved about The Collector is Dante Walker. No doubt about it, Dante had a distinct, dominant voice and personality to boot. You know who Dante reminds me of? This guy:

Iron Man, Tony Stark

Iron Man. Ridiculously cocky, arrogant, witty, most of the time a dick and, of course, hot, and he knows it. A lot of the traits in a guy that would normally piss most people off. But like Iron Man, Dante just doesn't. It makes him kinda more irresistible and charming. But here's the thing.I don't like Iron Man. I think he's an arrogant prick. (Don't tell the Avengers fandom, though. They'd have me burned alive.) And I didn't like Dante, either. At first I loved his voice, his arrogant smirks, the overconfident swagger. But somewhere along the line, I got tired of him. I caught myself rolling my eyes at some of the dialogues and thoughts he had. I got tired of 'Boss Man', of 'I am the coolest shit this town will ever see', of 'fo sizzle', ugh. Really? You didn't even say that jokingly. Just shut up, please. He eventually sounded like a 13 year old trying hard to sound cool to me.

Apart from that, I enjoyed reading The Collector. The premise is different and interesting and unique and I really love the whole seals thing. It had an exciting pace. Charlie was adorable. She is lovely and funny and quirky nerd. She was exactly what Dante needed. She was tricked convinced into signing off her soul to the devil in exchange for beauty. I was so disappointed in her when she did that but who was I to judge, exactly? Most girls would jump at the chance to become skinner, to have clearer skin, to have silkier hair, to be more beautiful. Me, included. I thought it was very clever of Scott to do that. It clearly portrayed a teenage girl's desire to fit in and be more than who she believes herself to be. I was prepared to rip this part of the book apart in my review but there was no need. Scott was aware of what she was doing, which I can't say for most authors, and didn't disappoint when she righted Charlie's wrongs and taught her about self-esteem. Because you're worth it.

you're worth it

This is worth a shot if you're in the mood for a fun, quick read, with a little bit of oomph. There is a visible character development for Dante, and thank goodness for that. I'm looking forward to the The Liberator because by the sounds of it and how The Collector ended, I think I'll enjoy it more.

An ARC was received from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday 18 May 2013

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. This is where we showcase books we have received or bought during the week.

What is crack-a-lackin', my good peeps?

I can't believe I just said that... So let's just focus on what books I got this week instead of whatever idiot thing just spouted off of my mouth. Not so much this week but I've still got heaps from like two weeks ago. Haven't had the chance to read, or review much, I'm afraid.


Arclight by Josin L. McQuein
-Good things, I hope.

Invisibility by David Levithan and Andrea Cremer
-I don't really know how I feel about David Levithan writing in this genre. It's not his usual style and I remember Rachel Cohn, whom he usually partners up with, write a dystopian novel and it failed miserably. C/mon, Levithan. Don't let me down now.

The Progran by Suzanne Young
-I am so excited for this. The premise sounds so interesting and it could so easily flop but my friends have given it pretty good ratings so yay. It just arrived yesterday from the library so it was a nice surprise.

Sketchy by Olivia Samms
-A bajillion thanks to Faye over at The Social Potato and Olivia Samms for sending me a signed copy of this. Can't wait to read it!

That's all, folks! What do you think of my books? Leave me a comment or a link of your post and I'll come visit!

Wednesday 15 May 2013

A Novella Review -- Breathless by Brigid Kemerrer


Title: Breathless
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elemental (2.5)
Publisher:Kensington Teen
Release Date: April 30 2013
Date Read: March 2013
Rating: ★★★★☆

Too many secrets. Not enough time.

Nick Merrick is supposed to be the level-headed one. The peacemaker. Since it’s just him and his three hotheaded brothers against the world, that’s a survival tactic.

But now he’s got problems even his brothers can’t help him survive.

His so-called girlfriend, Quinn, is going quick as mercury from daring to crazy. Meanwhile, Quinn’s dancer friend Adam is throwing Nick off balance, forcing him to recognize a truth he’d rather shove back into the dark.

He can feel it—-the atmosphere is sizzling. Danger is on the way. But whatever happens next, Nick is starting to find out that sometimes nothing you do can keep the peace.

The novella is actually more like a teaser for Nick's full novel than a separate story in itself. The Breathless galley is only 53 pages but it is 53 pages of pure bliss. It focuses on Nick and Quinn's perspective as they struggle with their insecurities and find a place to belong where they can feel comfortable to just be themselves. Nick has always been my favourite brother. He's smart, steadfast and reliable. Nick usually has everything under control but he can't keep hold of everything. The problems and challenges the novella proposes gives a great indication that there will be a massive character development coming for Nick. His full novel will be fantastic. You cannot even possibly fully comprehend the excitement and desire I have for Nick's book. 2014 is awfully far away.

An ARC was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday 10 May 2013

Review -- The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The Runaway King

Title: The Runaway King
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy (2)
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: 01 March 2013
Date Read: April 2013
Rating: ★★★

A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive?

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars, but I'm feeling quite generous.

Sage Jaron is a very different character than the one we had known from The False Prince, and not just because of his name change. No one in his kingdom, even his friends sometimes, believed in him. I got so angry at how quickly the regents and guards dismissed him as their king, seeing him only as the childish impulsive fool he used to be. Which... *sigh* I suppose is fair enough because that side of his was the only one they know. Jaron has never really gave them any reason to believe otherwise either. But they could have at least given him the chance to prove himself instead of immediately believing the worst. Anyway, quite a fair bit of self-pity stemmed from this. Jaron didn't believe in himself, either. He didn't think he was fit enough to serve and lead his kingdom. But that doesn't mean he would give up his throne that easily. 

After an assassination attempt, Jaron becomes convinced that the only way to save his kingdom, Carthya, and his loved ones from being attacked by the pirates is to destroy them first. Idiotic? Yes, which then proves the regents right. It is a vicious, vicious cycle. And so begins Jaron's trek to the pirates' camp- the ruthless, vicious, fearsome pirates.

Jaron is as reckless, bold and sassy as ever.
[The Pirate King said,] "By the end of this day, there will be no Jaron. I will be king of Carthya."

"You wouldn't want to be king of my country," [Jaron] said.

"Why is that?"

"Well, you're rather fat. I doubt you'd fit onto my throne."

This exchange occurred while Jaron was on his knees at the Pirate King's feet, with a sword against his neck. I don't know if I should give him a high five for the sass, or slap the back of his head for his complete stupidity. It wouldn't be Jaron if he didn't say stuff like this though. But my God, he was a grade-A jackass in The Runaway King. I know his purposes was to distance those he loved away from him, and from danger. I get that, but I feel like Nielsen went a bit too overboard. He was so mean to his friends and it came across as ungrateful. Where was that cunning protagonist I met in The False Prince, and who is this childish, impulsive twat? This is probably because of Jaron's insecurities about being the king and his youth shone through brighter than ever in this novel.

The romance had a bigger presence in The Runaway King, than it did on The False Prince. That is not to say it was a focus or was even a constant thing in the novel. Jaron and Imogen have always found comfort with each other's company but they soon realize that they have more than platonic feelings towards each other. But they obviously can not be together. Jaron is the king and Imogen just a lowly kitchen servant. Not to mention Jaron is betrothed to Amarinda, princess of the kingdom that's  Carthya's only ally. Like I said before, Jaron kept saying and doing such rude things to his loved ones to save them from danger, namely Imogen. I truly admire Imogen's steadfast loyalty, trust and love for Jaron even after all the bullshit he's done. I don't even know what's happening with Amarinda, to be honest. I don't like her. I don't know if Nielsen meant for her readers to like her at all because she's certainly not given us any reason to. Her character could have been developed so much more.

There are a lot more action and fight scenes especially with the pirate's presence. But I feel like The False Prince was a middle-grade book that older audience could enjoy while The Runaway King fits the audience it was written for. Maybe, I'm a little disappointed at the fact that there wasn't like a twist at the end, as well. I'll definitely still read the last book in the trilogy, though, because I feel like Jaron did develop and change towards the very end of it. I'm hoping in the last one he'll be more mature, more trusting of his friends and less likely to make dumb decisions.

Note: I hate writing reviews for sequels, that's why this one's a bit... Eh.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill on Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. New installment of a series/trilogy, new book by a favourite author or a new release that captured your attention. Whatever book it may be, it certainly tickled your fancy and got you bouncing on your seat, silently giggling to yourself. Waiting on Wednesday allows us to feature books we're eagerly waiting for.

This Week I'm Waiting On:


Title: Parasite
Author: Mira Grant
Series: Parasitology (1)
Publisher: Orbit
Expected Publication: 29 October 2013

A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite - a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system - even secretes designer drugs. It's been successful beyond the scientists' wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives... and will do anything to get them.

My heart nearly stopped when I saw this on Goodreads. No one told me she had an upcoming title! God, I am so ready for this series. After Feed, how could I not be? Give me the pill, Mira.



Title: Obsessed
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Expected Publication: 31 May 2013

He’s arrogant, domineering, and... To. Die. For.

Hunter is a ruthless killer. And the Department of Defense has him firmly in their grasp, which usually doesn’t chafe too badly because he gets to kill bad guys. Most of the time he enjoys his job. That is, until he’s saddled with something he’s never had to do before: protect a human from his mortal enemy.

Serena Cross didn’t believe her best friend when she claimed to have seen the son of a powerful senator turn into something... unnatural. Who would? But then she witnesses her friend’s murder at the hands of what can only be an alien, thrusting her into a world that will kill to protect their secret.
Hunter stirs Serena’s temper and her lust despite their differences. Soon he’s doing the unthinkable—breaking the rules he’s lived by, going against the government to keep Serena safe. But are the aliens and the government the biggest threats to Serena’s life…or is it Hunter?

Jennifer, you beautiful, beautiful human being. Again, I didn't know this book existed in the first place. I only found out about it because the cover was recently released. An Arum novel? Yes, please! Too bad, it's not a series. But it'll be out soon- this month!

What do you think of my books? Heard of them or not?
 What books are you waiting on? Share your books/links.

ETA: I just realized that it wasn't Wednesday when I published this post.
This time zone thing is seriously messing with my mind. My brain can't handle much.

Monday 6 May 2013

Review -- Prodigy by Marie Lu


Title: Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend (2)
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: 29 January 2013
Date Read: April 2013
Rating: ★★★★★

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

Well, then. That was just... Far out... Yeah.

I was putting off reading Prodigy because Legend was a so-so read for me, just another dystopian novel riding the Hunger Games high. Why bother with the second one if Legend wasn't even anything to get too excited about? I had heard, of course, that Prodigy surpasses its predecessor in every single way but I was still doubtful. It was the pessimist in me talking. If like me, you still don't want to be convinced by almost everyone says, then listen to me now. Prodigy is everything Legend wasn't and more.

The world-building is improved ten-fold. There's more information on the Republic itself, its history, the revolutionaries- the Patriots- and the world outside it- the Colonies and other governments in function. The dystopia has to be obviously more than just the oppressive Republic and Lu showed that. There was hardly any info-dumping and if there was, it was done with clever use of dialogue to integrate the world-building seamlessly.
"Remember who the enemy is"
But how can you be sure who the enemy is? June and Day try to navigate the between the politics and loyalties of the Patriots and the Republic to understand where they should put their trust. Everyone's keeping secrets and it doesn't help the fact that old habits, and tendencies, die hard. June still has a lingering loyalty to the Republic she's been taught to serve and protect her whole life. June was probably my favourite character in this installment. Her uncertainty about the Republic and her identity made for a very interesting read and a realistic character. June struggled to come out of being brainwashed her whole life, and think for herself for once, not just blindly following someone else's orders. Day, on the other hand, has hated the Republic, everything it is and stood for, since he was a kid. He's not so open to new ideas, to the idea that maybe this time, for the first time, someone in the Republic is for the people, not against them.

Another aspect Lu greatly developed was Day and June's relationship. They were in the honeymoon phase in Legend. Now they actually have to work on being a couple, on being in a relationship. Reality has caught up. Do they really love each other? They've only each other for less than a month. How much are they willing to sacrifice for each other? Future, home, safety- is it all worth giving up? June and Day aren't all that comfortable with each other either. They lack the comfort in communication that Day and Tess, or June and Anden, have that comes with having known someone for a long time. Plus, Day and June come from completely different worlds. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the possibilities they entertained in being with someone else instead. It was obvious Day and June were going to end up in the end but that doesn't mean the path has to be straight and narrow.

Like Legend, the novel's narration is split between the June and Day. I can't exactly remember if I enjoyed the multiple point of views in the first one, but I definitely did in Prodigy. It's a great advantage in seeing and understand how different the main characters' personalities are. It also adds to the richness of the storytelling. I loved the quick pace. The heart-pounding-shallow-breaths-anticipation-is-going-to-be-the-death-of-me-I-swear-to-God feeling was present throughout the whole novel. There's plenty of action- explosions, fights, etc but the scenes without the actual fighting still managed to make me want to turn page after page after page. I couldn't read fast enough! Sometimes, I caught myself just quickly skimming because I wanted to get to the next bit already. Then I'd chide myself for skimming, cause not cool, Katrina! Especially if it's as good as this. So I would go back to where I started reading too fast and enjoy every little bit of the story.

I know I had nothing to do with the making of this book but I'm just so damn proud of Lu. It's so satisfying to see her grow into the fantastic author she's proven herself to be. I can't wait to see what she's got for us in Champion. (The cover looks amazing, by the way. It was released while I reading it so that was cool.) If it's even a smidgen like Prodigy, you can bet your tongue it will be spectacular.

Saturday 4 May 2013

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves at I Have Lived a Thousand Lives 
Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. This is where we showcase books we have received or bought during the week.

A bajillion of books came all at once from my library. Behold, this week's books...

The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
-I've been super excited for this one. The premise sounded so cool and unique. Sadly, after reading more than a few not-s-good reviews, it's been pushed farther and farther down the list. Now's the time to read it, I guess.

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
-I had a break from this series but I'm itching to restart it now. Apparently Shadow Kiss is most everyone's favourite book in the series. I'm really excited.

The Diviners by Libba Bray
-I've been meaning to read something by Bray so I just picked this one. I'm not one to judge by a book's thickness or whatever, but this is a lot thicker than I expected. I would be lying if I said I wasn't intimidated by it. Besides, she's coming to New Zealand (the fact that an international author is coming is exciting enough, even if I'm not familiar with their work) soon and I want to see if it would be worth it to go to the event. (I'll probably still go even if I don't like it).

Supernaturally by Kiersten White
-I feel very paranormally right now. The first one was a little bit less than I expected so hopefully this one would give me what I expect.

False Memory by Dan Krokos
-It has such a beautiful cover and I haven't got a clue what to expect from this really. So far, that's a good thing.

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
-Again, I love the cover and I've heard such great things about this.

Taken by Erin Bowman
-SO EXCITED FOR THIS. Can you tell I'm excited? No? Well... I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED.

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
-I love teenage espionage. Love it. It seems very Gallagher Girls-esque so hopefully I enjoy it as much as Ally Carter's stuff.

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller
-I haven't cried in So. Long. I need to cry- nay, sob. For those who've read this book, is this going to make me cry?

What do you think of my books? Any particular one you think I should get to first?

Thursday 2 May 2013

Blog Tour: Guest Post -- Why the Tuatha De Danaan? by Laura Howard + Tour-Wide Giveaway

The Forgotten Ones 

Today, we've got the lovely Laura Howard on the blog with a guest post as part of the blog tour of her debut novel, The Forgotten Ones.

Why the Tuatha De Danaan?
When I started The Forgotten Ones, it was a contemporary novel. My protagonist, Allison O’Malley, was that girl whom everyone was interested in. Boys always flirted with her, girls were jealous of her. But she wanted only to be left alone. I put myself down in her shoes and imagined why people would still want to be near her even if she constantly pushed them away.

The idea that there was something magical in her blood gave way for the idea that maybe she was partially fae. Fairies are super-attractive to humans, right? That was the beginning.

I’ve read a lot of stories about fairies, stories I’ve loved like Tithe by Holly Black and Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. I didn’t want my story to be just another fairy story. My family and my husband’s family are of Irish heritage. We both are fascinated with Irish folk tales and myths. What better way to portray my fairies than to dig into Irish folklore?
During my research into Irish fairies, I ran across the myth of the Tuatha De Danaan. This was the origin of what are known today as fairies. They were a magical race that were said to inhabit Ireland before the Romans brought Christianity to the island.

It worked perfectly and the more I learned about the Danaans, the more my backstory molded itself into what it is today in The Forgotten Ones. They were beautiful and they lived most of their lives in a land separate from ours called Tir na n’Og.  This other land is the complete opposite of ours and just being there can make you forget everything that is important to you in this world. That is a lot of rich material for a modern love story.

About the Author

Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.

The Forgotten Ones

Title: The Forgotten Ones
Author: Laura Howard
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: 15 May 2013

Allison O'Malley's plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she's been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison's mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn't trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother's sanity.

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