Tuesday, February 28, 2012

10. Hana/ Niederworld/ Scenic Route/ Bridge

Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: February 28, 2012
ebook: 144 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

The summer before they're supposed to be cured of the ability to love, best friends Lena and Hana begin to drift apart. While Lena shies away from underground music and parties with boys, Hana jumps at her last chance to experience the forbidden. For her, the summer is full of wild music, dancing—and even her first kiss.

But on the surface, Hana must be a model of perfect behavior. She meets her approved match, Fred Hargrove, and glimpses the safe, comfortable life she’ll have with him once they marry. As the date for her cure draws ever closer, Hana desperately misses Lena, wonders how it feels to truly be in love, and is simultaneously terrified of rebelling and of falling into line.

The Delirium world caught me at first glance and never let go. In a world where love is a disease and there is a cure for it, a young girl who can't wait for the cure finds herself falling head over heels the summer before her procedure. This is life isn't it? We don't know what love is like and from a distance it looks like it could be a terrible thing. One minute you're happy, the next you are huddled in a ball trying to forget the world around you. Maybe a live without love would be better... right? Lena figures out that a life without love is no life at all and Hana is about to experience something similiar. Both girls get a taste of love the last summer before their procedures. Hana takes place during the same time as Delirium and tells us Hana's side to the story.

Hana is a very sweet girl. I related to her right off the bat. She was adventurous and eager to live a bigger life than what was set out for her. She spends her summer sneaking out and going to co-ed parties. There she meets a boy who may change her life. She falls into secret keeping and curfew breaking and experiences life for the first time. Can you go back to the life you used to know once you've seen the other side? Just like Lena, Hana knows this is impossible. Too much of this story relates to our life here and now. Yes, there is no government curing us of love, but there are some people who may want to be cured. Love kills you when you have it and when you don't. But I for one, just like Lena and Hana wouldn't trade that for the world.

Entralled: Paranormal Diversions
Author: Edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong
Published: September 20, 2011
443 Pages
5 Gold Stars (from what I read)

(summary from Goodreads)

"Enthralled" is a collection of 14 original teen paranormal short stories from some of today's bestselling YA talent, united with the common theme of road trips.

I only read a few of the stories in this collection, so here are my short reviews for these lovely short stories.

Author: Rachel Vincent

I am a huge fan of the Soul Screamers universe, so whenever I hear that there is a short story involving some of the characters from the series, I must immediately read it! In this particular one, Emma and Sabine go on a mini road trip and stop in a small town called Niederworld, which is mostly populated by Harpies. Sabine is there to get some answers but it may not be as easy as she thinks it will be. I've never been a fan of Sabine, I mean, who is? But after reading this story, I kinda of like her. I've forever been Team Kaylee and Nash since I first picked up My Soul To Take, so when Sabine came in the picture and threatened that, I wanted her head on a platter. A lot has happened since that first day she showed up at school and after reading this story and Fearless (a short story involving Sabine and Nash before Kaylee) I've grown to kind of like her. In fact, I've even given her permission to have Nash (not that she needs it since she would take him anyway) She loves him and she always will. He is the only person who really understands her. Vincent wrote Sabine so well that I started to like her. I'm glad I read this before going into Before I Wake, because I'm sure it'll change my opinion on that entire book.

Scenic Route
Author: Carrie Ryan

Ryan's world of zombies intrigues me completely. The Forest of Hands and Teeth pulled me into a world where nothing may exist outside if a small village overrun by zombies. The world is no longer what it used to be and dreams are just that... dreams. Ryan introduces another set of characters in this short story, two sisters living on a hill trying to survive. They plan out trips that they know they will never get to take. They dream of a world without the monsters, without fear. When a stranger shows up at their door, their lives take a turn for the worse and things may never be the same. Zombie books and movies show us what's at the heart of humanity - fear and anger but also courage and faith. These come out when live is stripped down to the core, when survival is the only care in the world. Ryan captures these emotions and actions perfectly in every one of her books, showing us that even when we are surrounded by death, you can still live, you can still survive.

Author: Jeri Smith-Ready

This was a unique story to read. It read like a poem and it's from the point of view of Logan, Aura's dead boyfriend from the Shade series. He's a musician so there are a lot of references to music, which is both fitting and poetic. His brother blames himself for Logan's death and Logan is trying to convince him not to kill himself. The hard part is that he is a ghost and his brother cannot hear him. This story was easy to read and heartbreaking until the end. It was hard to think about Logan in the regular books, knowing he was dead and would never get to live his dream of becoming a musician, but it's even harder listening to him speak in his own voice, watching his brother struggle and not being able to do anything about it. Smith-Ready knows how to tug on a heartstring and let go at just the right second. I for one cannot wait until the final book in the series, Shine, even though I'm sure Logan won't be in it much. At least we know he's doing okay now.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

9. Blood Bound

Book #9: Blood Bound
Author: Rachel Vincent
Published: August 23, 2011
Pages: 463
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

By blood, by word, by magic…

Most can't touch the power. But Liv Warren is special— a paranormal tracker who follows the scent of blood.

Liv makes her own rules, and the most important one is trust no one.

But when her friend's daughter goes missing, Liv has no choice but to find the girl. Thanks to a childhood oath, Liv can't rest until the child is home safe. But that means trusting Cam Caballero, the former lover forbidden to her.

Bound by oath and lost in desire for a man she cannot have, Liv is racing to save the child from a dark criminal underworld where secrets, lies, trauma and danger lurk around every corner…every touch…every kiss.

And more blood will be spilled before it's over…

So I detoured from my young adult kick for a moment to read the other half of Rachel Vincent. She is one of my favourite young adult writers, author of the Soul Screamers series (re: Never To Sleep) She has an adult series that I have not had the chance to read yet, but when I found the first book to her new series, I decided I needed to know if her adult novels were just as good as her teen ones.

They are even better.

From the first page I was hooked. She brought me into a completely different world just like she did with Soul Screamers A world where people have powers and they use them freely unless they get sucked into a contract with one of the two head honchos ruling the city. Most people end up sucked into a contract one way or other, just like the narrators of this book. We all do things to save the people we love, even if it means going against what we believe is right. Every theme in this book reads true, and I completely ruled for the characters to find the strength to break free, to do whatever they have to do to be on their own. Liv, one of the main characters, is fierce, brave and doesn't put up with anyone's nonsense. She is my kind of girl. I wish I was as strong and fiery as her. When her ex boyfriend Cam shows up out of the blue, she falls into him even though she knows she shouldn't. Their love is realistic for the world they live in, and they too would do anything for each other. My heart was racing throughout the novel hoping above all else, that they would find a way to be together.

The minor characters are just as full of life as the narrators. Liv's boss is a conniving man who will do anything to get what he wants (and he can) while his wife is scary and angry (who wouldn't be if she knew her husband was cheating on her constantly) My favourite minor character though was Kori, Liv's childhood friend who she shares an oath with. She has no filter. She says it how it is and doesn't care what the consequences are. She is hilarious and I can't wait to hear more of her story in the next book of the trilogy, Shadow Bound, where she will be one of the narrators.

Vincent has set a unique way of telling these tales. Each novel has two narrators, each different from the last and each a male and female. The tension between them starts out high and I'm sure by the end of each one, the moment they kiss the tension will be released. These adult books are a lot more fun than the teen ones because there is no filter. These characters are adults so they can have sex without it being a big deal. It relates more for me in that sense, since I'm no longer that young girl wondering who the right boy is.

Not that I'm going to stop reading teen fiction any time soon.

"I'm searching for a shred of humanity in that shriveled tangle of arteries you call a heart."

Monday, February 20, 2012

8. Legend

Book #8: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Published: November 29, 2011
Pages: 305
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias' death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

There was so much action packed into 300 pages that there was no place to stop and take a break. Lu throws us into a dystopian future of America, where there is a war much like the Cold War, where states are battling for power. The Republic trains soldiers very young, and June, one of the narrators, got a perfect score on her test and is not a military prodigy. She has no problem with this future set out for her, that is, until she meets Day. Under false circumstances, she gets to know him before she realizes he is the criminal wanted for her brother's death. Well, that just complicates things doesn't it? At what point do you try to push aside the feelings you have for someone or trust them when they say they are innocent?

June soon discovers more about the Republic than they let on. This is the main plot point of most dystopian thrillers. All seems well and the government is running the country to a tee until someone finds out something they shouldn't and a rebellion is started. What's a good dystopian without a rebellion?

The story is told from both June and Day's perspective. It's a nice way of writing it, because then we already know just how innocent Day is and we also know why June has found him. The story is mainly about what you would do for the people you love and that is a great way to tell a story. Even if it's taking place years in the future, in a completely different world, you still have the same mentality when it comes to family and friends. There is still humanity, even in a world full of war and chaos.

Secrets, betrayal, death and life, all come together through the eyes of two young pawns in a war they may not see coming. Nothing is what it seems and the more they uncover the truth, the more they need to escape it. The writing is realistic and the plot is fast-paced, keeping you turning the page an eager to find out what will happen to June and Day and the ones they love. This book stands alone in the aftermath of The Hunger Games, following the dystopian trend, but also leading its own. I can't wait to find out what happens next.

"Each day means a new twenty-four hours. Each day means everything's possible again. You live in the moment, you die in the moment, you take it all one day at a time...You try to walk in the light."

Saturday, February 11, 2012

7. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Book # 7: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Published: September 27, 2011
448 Pages

(Summary from Goodreads)

Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can't remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn't believe that after everything she's been through, she can fall in love.

She's wrong.

There aren't a lot of ways to explain the plot of this book. We know something is wrong with Mara Dyer. We know she has been through a lot and that she is still trying to figure out what happened the night her friends died. She thinks she's crazy, but I know there must be much to her than we know by the end of this novel.

I don't want to ruin anything that happens in this book because everything that happens is a spoiler. Things are not what they seem, let's keep it at that. We follow Mara as she spins out of control, trying to piece together a part of her life that doesn't make sense all while trying to avoid the way she feels around the gorgeous Noah Shaw. Now Noah is your typical high school playboy. He has a reputation that Mara knows should keep her away from him. He seems a little over the top to me. He has a British accent, lives in a huge house, and can pretty much have anything he wants. And of course, he wants Mara. I know there is much more depth to him and I'm sure we'll discover more about him throughout the series, but on the surface he seems shallow and uninteresting. But who knows, maybe I'd fall for him too.

The secondary characters give us some insight into Mara's home life. We don't know much about her friends from the accident, but I have a feeling we will get to know them better as well throughout the next pieces of this story. Mara's older brother Daniel, keeps Mara as sane as she can be. He is always there for her and will have her back when it comes to their parents. In a way, he reminds me of my older brother and that's probably why I connected with him quickly. Joseph, her younger brother, is too smart for his own good, but also does whatever Mara asks him to for her sake. While her parents may want to put her in a mental institution, we know her brothers would never allow it. We caught a glimpse at her only friend in her new school, Jacob, but he was gone before we could really get to know him. Instead we get lost with Mara as she gets lost in Noah and it is realistic and entertaining.

The course of events throughout the book kept me going to the last page and continuing on in hopes as getting more to the story. The mystery of the accident and everything else Mara has discovered about herself kept me on the edge of my seat. How long do I have to wait to get my answers?

"I was going to kiss him, and I was going to regret it. But at that moment, I couldn't bring myself to care."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

6. The Iron Knight

6. The Iron Knight

Book #6: The Iron Knight
Author: Julie Kagawa
Published: October 26, 2011
361 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.

Unless he can earn a soul.

To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.

And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.

And any problems I had with the first books diminish into thin air. Ash the perfect hero for a book. He is vulnerable, brave, and willing to do anything to be with the girl he loves. Who doesn't want a guy like that in their life?

Ash is a fey, a soulless immortal who falls for a half human girl. Meghan, daughter of the Summer King and Ash's true love, is now the ruler of the Iron Realm, a place normal fey cannot enter without growing ill. In order for Ash to be with Meghan, he must earn a soul and become human. His mission is not an easy one. With loveable Puck beside him, he ventures towards The End Of The World, where no one has ever come out alive. A few unexpected characters join them on this journey, and they turn up the tension and test Ash's love for Meghan. There is action from the beginning sentence to the very last.

This stands out from the other Iron Fey books because it is from Ash's point of view. We get to see the many layers of him unfold throughout the pages and we get a better understanding about him as a character from the previous books. We find out why he is cold and hides his emotions. We find out what truly happened in his past to make him the way he is now. His trials tug at your heartstrings and you root for him until the end. I would be lying if I said tears did not come to my eyes. Kagawa describes mortality in a why that makes you think about your own life and perhaps changing things that you do now. She reminds us that we don't have much time to make things right and to always speak the truth and help out others.

Friendships are tested. Relationships are severed and as always Grimalkin simply helps out and leaves like none of it matters to him. This was the prefect ending to this series and is still with me after weeks of reading it. I can only hope someone would go to the end of the world for my love.

"My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl."

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