Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: Through the Ever Night

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2)
Author: Veronica Rossi
Published: January 8, 2013
341 Pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

I'm always cautious when I pick up the second book in a trilogy. You're never quite sure what to expect and you don't want the book to just be a filler. I'll admit that I had no worries about whether I would like this book or not, even if it was just filler. Thankfully there is no second book syndrome happening here. In fact, Through the Ever Night could simply stand on its own and it would still make complete sense. But I don't recommend reading just this one because you'd be missing on too much. I throughly enjoyed Under the Never Sky, and I picked up the sequel as soon as it came out, eager to see Aria and Perry together again.

Aria and Perry reunite after months apart. Perry is now the blood lord of his tribe after he took the position from his brother. His duties and responsibilities have grown high and with the aether storms flowing in, he's not sure if he'll be able to help the tribe in the way it needs. Aria has spent months with Roar healing and is excited to find Perry again. Their reunion is short lived since the tribe does not approve of Aria's presence. Before long, Aria is out of the road again, trying to do whatever she can to help Perry. 

There is so much tension between the two of them that the whole time you just want them to fall into each other's arms and experience a moment like they did in the first book. It's understandable why they act the way they do, but all I want is for them to be together. The alternating narratives gave us both sides of the story and there's no doubt that these two love each other. While Perry is dealing with his tribe, trying to fill his brother's large shoes, Aria is working with a dweller who wants her to find the Still Blue. She'll do whatever she has to in order to save Perry's nephew, Talon, who's being held in the pod. The pod is in trouble and so are the Tides and the only real way for anything to get solved is for them to work together. As they continue their search for the Still Blue, Perry and Aria's relationship is continuously put to the test. Other women, rumours and the threat of the tribe put their relationship in trouble. 

Rossi has a way of weaving words together to create a world that is not only beautiful, but dangerous. Both Perry and Aria has distinct voices and the pain going on inside their heads is all too real. The side characters are well rounded and create the perfect counterparts to our mains. Roar is by far my favourite. He is hilarious one second, but dark the next. He'll do anything for the woman he loves, Liv, and when he finally sees her again, he is ruined. Even the other tribe members break through the pages and demand attention in every scene. The small moments where we see members of the pod bring on a completely different world, reminding us how different the dwellers and savages are. There is no way that Into the Still Blue will disappoint at all. In fact, I'm sure it will be the best of series. Now all I have to do is wait. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Breathless & Annabel

As I've mentioned before, I love novellas, especially ones that advance a story I already love. Here are two recent ones I read:

Author: Sophie Jordan
Published: December 4, 2012
100 pages (ebook)
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

For Az, it's supposed to be a fun summer vacation with her family. Nothing complicated. Just a quick trip to test the waters as she prepares for a year on her own. That all changes when she rescues a drowning girl and meets Tate—the most gorgeous human boy she's ever seen. Tate throws her heart, her plans, and her life into upheaval, but the closer she gets to him, the harder it is to hide the secret of what she is. With no hope for a future together, the last thing that can ever happen . . . is love.

Az, a character we didn't really get a chance to know, gets the spotlight in this Firelight novella. Though I'm sure when this story is supposed to take place or where in the plot it fits it, I loved it anyway. Jacinda is a distant character, though her name does come up as Az falls deeper into danger when she meets Tate and cant seem to stop herself from being with him. She thinks of Jacinda as someone who would never put her pride at risk (which makes me think this happens before Firelight

Az is a water draki, feeling most at home when she's deep underwater. Swimming one day, she gets stuck at the bottom when a group of kids come to the pond and start to swim. Risking being caught, she saves one of Tate's friends, thus throwing their lives together in a way she never imagined. A much shorter and not nearly as dangerous love story as Jacinda's, Az too finds herself drawn to the human world and willing to risk everything to be with the one she loves. The 100 pages don't give us a chance to see big differences between Az and Jacinda, but I love Az and would love to read more about her.

Jordan, who is also a romance novelist, creates scenes realistic enough to be believable, yet writes them like a fantasy. Her words curl around each other and she makes you fall in love with every character. Her boys are dreamy and her girls are cautious yet willing to take that leap. You can see the romance skills in her young adult work and it fits perfectly, sending chills up your spine as you wait for them to kiss, the anticipation killing you. She's taken two worlds and turned them into something magical.

Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: December 26, 2012
50 pages (ebook)
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Lena Halloway's mother, Annabel, supposedly committed suicide when Lena was only six years old. That's the lie that Lena grew up believing, but the truth is very different. As a rebellious teenager, Annabel ran away from home and straight into the man she knew she was destined to marry. The world was different then—the regulations not as stringent, the cure only a decade old. Fast forward to the present, and Annabel is consigned to a dirty prison cell, where she nurtures her hope of escape and scratches one word over and over into the walls: Love.

But Annabel, like Lena, is a fighter. Through chapters that alternate between her past and present, Annabel reveals the story behind her failed cures, her marriage, the births of her children, her imprisonment, and, ultimately, her daring escape.

The world Oliver has created in Delirium is one of the best dystopian worlds I've seen yet. Love is considered a disease, people get cures for it, and those who escape the cure live wild and free to love. Lena is happy for the cure until she meets Alex and suddenly getting cured of love doesn't make sense to her. Her mother, Annabel, has always been a mystery to her. Having thought all her life that she had committed suicide when Lena was a child, she never expects to find out that she lives, let alone has escaped the cure and is now living in the Wilds. Annabel tells the story of Lena's mom in the same format as Pandemonium. We alternate between the present, her locked in the Crypts daring an escape, and the past, when she was a young uncured girl falling in love. 

Oliver's writing is perfection. I get swept up into her stories and forget about everything around me. I read this in one sitting, craving more. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for Requiem and this novella thrilled me just as much as a full novel of hers does. Her prose is beautiful and she uses her words with love, carving out a word where love is forbidden yet so alive in the eyes of our narrators. The ending of this gave me a lot of hope for the finale and I can't wait to get sucked into that novel as well. Raven, another novella is coming out soon and I have no doubt that will be amazing as well.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review: Supernaturally

Supernaturally (Paranormalcy #2)
Author: Kiersten White
Published: July 26, 2011
336 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be...kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.

But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.

Just when Evie finally gets her normal life together, she gets thrown back into her old, paranormal life just in time for things to take a turn for the worse. White doesn't make us wait either. Taking place six months after Paranormalcy, we find Evie going to high school and trying to fit in but feeling a tad bored with it. Evie being Evie, gets herself into a situation no one can really explain. Before she knows it, she's back in the IPCA Centre tagging vampires and jetting through the faerie paths once more. Trying to keep a normal relationship with her boyfriend, Lend, and keeping her new job under wraps, Evie soon discovers that being normal isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Evie is her usual fun self. She is one of my favourite characters to read. Her sense of humour is great and the way that White writes her suits her perfectly. She reacts to the crazy situations in her own way and it's nice to see that aspect kept throughout the books. Lend, on the other hand, isn't as vibrant as he was in the first book. He's turned into the pesky boyfriend that doesn't approve of anything Evie does. Mind you, she does lie to him throughout the whole novel so it is understandable, but I preferred him when he was the captured paranormal that lived to figure Evie out. Reth, her faerie ex-boyfriend, also looses some o his charm. He only shows up a few times, but he doesn't seem threatening anymore and that's sort of what I loved about him. We do get to meet a new boy, Jack, who is chalk full of mysteriousness and adorability. He reminded me of Tod from Soul Screamers, annoying and loveable all at once. He added a nice touch to the story. 

I enjoyed the plot in this book. Evie is still trying to figure out what being an Empty One means and now that she has felt the depth of having souls inside of her, she just wants to feel it again, even if she knows it's wrong. The way she acts and the thoughts that go through her mind are so realistic that you fall right into it with her. You understand why she wants to do what she does. How do you give up such great power after feeling what it can do? I'm also so glad that even though faeries are a very large part of this series, Evie will never be their queen, she is not really a faerie, and nor does she even like them. It's refreshing to see a new take on the faerie lore since they all seem to go the same route these days. Because it's true, faeries want nothing more than to ruin human's lives.

I can't wait to read the final chapter (which is sitting on my bookshelf already) so I can see what will become of Evie. Will she fill her soul at the cost of others? Will she finally rid herself of the nuisance of faeries? Will she get her happily ever after? Thankfully I don't have to wait a year to find out!

“Sometimes I wanted to take a memory - one perfect memory - curl up in it, and go to sleep.” 

“Yeah I know you're a creature of the night. Bringer of death, sucker of blood, needer of tans, so on and so forth. And oddly enough, I'm still unimpressed.” 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Review: The Farm

The Farm
Author: Emily McKay
Published: December 4, 2012
420 pages
3 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race...

I found this book randomly. I had never heard of it, was intrigued by the cover and description and went right in, not sure how I'd react. I like doing that. I've discovered some of my favourite books that way (Soul Screamers series) so I'm not going to lie when I said I had high hopes that this new vampire series would suck me in. I was disappointed to say the least that by the time I got halfway through, I didn't want to finish. But I kept going, partly because I'd gone too far and partly because I wanted to see it redeem itself.

The main character, Lily, isn't the most likeable girl. I mean neither was Katniss, but there was something about Katniss that made me love her. Lily just annoyed me. Lily is trying to escape the Farm, a housing place for teenagers living in a world full of Ticks. Her autistic sister, Mel, is her only burden but she will do anything for her. Though I hate that she thinks of her as a burden since Mel is stronger than she is and I quite enjoyed her character better than Lily's. And when Carter, a guy Lily crushed on in the Before, suddenly arrives on the camp she is suddenly back in his arms. One of the problems I found with this was that since we get all three of their viewpoints, we soon found exactly what Carter was up too instead of trying to figure out whether he was a good guy or bad guy throughout the novel. His perspective almost seemed redundant and I think the book would have been stronger with just Lily and Mel's points.
Another thing I found strange was that Lily and Mel's points were both first person, but Carter's was third. It didn't make sense why she would bother with that since we still saw what he was thinking anyway. It just ended up confusing me. 

The plot moved a little too slowly for me and it had me wishing they'd escape sooner. But once they did finally get out of the Farm, the action got good. The Ticks are a nice change from the pretty vampires we've been seeing. They are ugly, animalistic, and not at all human. The last 100 pages went by in a flash and I found myself finally wanting to know what would happen to them. I'm not sure if it was enough to make me want to pick up the next book in the series, but it was a nice twist to what I thought would happen. Maybe by the time it comes out, I'll know if I want to know how this story will end.

They are as pitiable as they are inhuman. They are fear personified. Their emotions and minds given over to rage and hunger. They are all noise. He is none.

If he is not a Tick, does that make him a Tock?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Top Ten Reading Goals for 2013

First Top Ten Tuesday of the new year for me! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we of course list some fun top tens! I'm excited to have these goals down so that I don't have an excuse to not accomplish them!

So here are my reading goals for 2013:

1. Read 75 books

2. Finish any series that I've started and have ended (The Mortal Instruments, Matched)

3. Read all the books on my bookshelf (there are a lot I haven't gotten to yet)

4. Read at least one classic novel.

5. Review every book I read.

6. Read 10 books off my to-read list on Goodreads

7. Read the Shifters series by Rachel Vincent (I own them all but still haven't read them!)

8. Take the time to enjoy a book I've read before (and not count it towards my goal, or maybe I will, depends how far along I am)

9. Read a book longer than 500 pages (this will be the hardest one)

10. Read a book I normally wouldn't pick up.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Review: Fathomless

Author: Jackson Pearce
Published: September 4, 2012
291 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant -- until Celia meets Lo.

Lo doesn't know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea -- a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid -- all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she's becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she's tempted to embrace her dark immortality.

When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude's affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there's only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her . . . and steal his soul.

I first discovered Pearce when the cover of Sisters Red intrigued the hell out of me and I just had to read it. I loved it and knew I would enjoy any of her other fairytale retellings. I have yet to read Sweetly, a retelling of Hansel and Gretel since I'm not much of a fan of that fairy tale, but as soon as I saw she had written a retelling of The Little Mermaid, I knew I had to have it. And of course, she did not disappoint.

The Little Mermaid is one of my favourite fairy tales, though the real version is much different than the Disney one. In the Anderson version, the mermaid must get a man to love her so she can take his soul and become human. Pearce takes this version and gives her own twisted change to it. In her version, the mermaids used to be girls and were turned into ocean girls (they do not have fins) and must steal a soul in order to become human again. They forget about their old life and fall into the sea until they grow old and become "angels"'. Lo, an ocean girl, is desperately trying to grasp her old life and wants so badly to be human again. And when she helps rescue a boy who has fallen into the ocean, she thinks she may have finally found a way out.

Celia also helps save the boy. Not quite a regular human herself, Celia can see into people's pasts just by touching them. Her twin sisters can see into the present and future respectively and she has always felt left out because who wants to see into the past when you can see the future? But when she accidentally reads the mysterious ocean girl and notices that she can't remember her own name, she decides she needs to help her. While getting to know Jude, the boy she saved, she also gets to know Lo and tries to help her remember her old life.

The alternating points of view let us get into both girls' heads. We get to see what happens under the ocean and get to see Celia fall for Jude. Both girls have qualities to like and dislike, but I was rooting for Celia to get Jude the whole way. But that may have been because Jude would die if he picked Lo, but I did want her to become human as well. I wouldn't have minded i this book were 100 pages longer just so I could get to know the girls better. There is still a lot of mystery behind the ocean girls and who turned them into what they are and I wish I had a backstory for that. I do hope there will be more, but I'm sure there won't be. Either way, I hope Pearce continues to adapt fairy tales since she does a bang up job at it.

“The cruelest thing, hope, the way it strings you along, the way it makes you believe.”

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Brand New Year!

Happy New Year fellow book lovers!

I'm excited to be starting a new year, getting to start over and leave any bad tidings back in 2012. I don't have too many of those though, as 2012 was a pretty good year. I'm most happy about the amount of books I read. I finished at 73 and my goal was 50. This was the first year that I made the 50 mark and I'm so proud of myself for reading so much (not that it's hard) so this year I've challenged myself even further to make my goal 75. I have no doubt that I'll be able to do it, but it is still a little daunting. But challenges are part of life and this is the sort of resolution I can get behind!

In other news, I'm excited to announce that I'm part of the Fallen World Street Team, hosted by the lovely Megan Crewe, author of The Way We Fall, which came out last year, and the upcoming, The Lives We Lost, due out in February this year. I've posted about her books before, with a review and a contest entry. Now the fun has begun! So if you see me posting my little butt off about this series, it's because A) I love it and it deserves to be read! and B) I get points in the street team for spreading the word. So, as my first order of business, I hereby recommend you look up how awesome this book is and get on reading it! And you love it as much as I do, there's still time to join the street team and have the chance to win some awesome prizes! (If you do decide to join, let me know please!)

Details about the street team are here on Megan's website (check out her other books while you're there)

Seriously, what are you waiting for?
I can't wait to infect my city with the awesomeness that is this book. I'm excited to spread the virus around my town and get everyone involved. This should be tons of fun and a great way to start 2013! 

Happy reading everyone!

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