Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Sweet Temptation & The Rest of Us Just Live Here

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly longing for and anticipating!

Bad boy Kaidan Rowe has never wanted for anything—money, popularity, musical talent…hot girls—but seducing them is part of his duty as a Nephilim, slave to the demon Dukes. As the son of the Duke of Lust, Kaidan has learned his father’s ways, becoming a master of passion, a manipulator of chemistry. Disobeying his father would mean certain death. Thankfully for Kaidan, he’s good at his job. And he enjoys it. 

Until he meets Anna Whitt—sweet, smart, feisty, and inexplicably good—the one girl seemingly immune to his charms. The daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one, she has a certain power over him, one that makes him wish for more than he could ever deserve. 

Determined to save all the Neph from their dark lives as the influencers of sin, Anna joins forces with Kaidan to overcome the demons’ oppressive ways. In the light of her affections, Kaidan must undergo his toughest test of all, a battle of the heart. 

 Sensual and swoon worthy, this companion volume to the acclaimed Sweet Evil series from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins, told from the perspective of the irresistibly sexy and mysterious Kaidan Rowe, gives readers revealing insights into his struggle, his intense connection to Anna, and most of all, the true emotions that drive him. 

 Author Note: Sweet Temptation will encompass the entire trilogy in a condensed version, beginning with Kai's life before he met Anna, and taking readers through the epilogue of Sweet Reckoning. Sweet Temptation is a companion novel, not meant to be a stand alone story. It will definitely be a richer experience for those who have read the original trilogy.

Date of Publication: 8 September 2015

So this is Book 4 of the Sweet Trilogy by Wendy Higgins?! I did not know this existed... But YAY!
Mind partially blown;)
I may not love this cover but this series has been AMAZING! I loved the character development- I love the layers each character had- that it was so easy to adore and root for them through their crazy, intense, intricate and beautifully-done journey.

Also this one is basically a condensed version of the trilogy in Kaidan Rowe's perspective!

Kaidan Rowe seems like the typical 'bad boy' but really there's so much more to him and in this book we'll get to see him fall in love with Anna (aww!) AND we'll get to experience his conflicted, tormented but lovely thoughts...Wow!

What if you weren’t the Chosen One? What if you’re not the one who’s so often the hero in YA fiction; who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you were like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend might just be the God of mountain lions...
Date of Publication: August 27 2015

So I love a book with a Chosen One but I still can't wait to read this book and here are some of the reasons why:
  • The concept of this book is fascinatingly unique and truly original! A book where the protagonist is so over heroes, superpowers, villains and all the antics that come along with all of the world he lives in because he just wants to live his normal life? YES PLEASE!
  • It's like a contemporary novel set in a fantasy world and I can't wait to see how the two worlds reluctantly, explosively and comically collide.
  • I tend to love and admire The Chosen Ones in books- especially when they didn't want to be the Chosen One but are still amazing at saving the world etc;) But I never feel like I'd be the Chosen One in books; in fact, I think I'd be a bit of a Mikey - an ordinary teenager in an extraordinary world.
  • It's Patrick Ness and I've heard the best things about him and so need to read one of his books ASAP!
  • There also seems to be some romance (Henna and Mikey) and I have to admit that I adore a bit or a lot of romance in my books:)
  • The cover. Simple. Reminiscent of an elegant graphic novel. Sneakily striking.
Can I please have these books now? Please? Pretty please with a cherry on top?

Try to resist his "pretty please" eyes!
What books are you excited about? 

Thanks for reading:)

Thursday, 19 February 2015

2 Mini Reviews: These Broken Stars & Amy and Roger's Epic Detour

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. 

Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. 

Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they're worth. 

But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

I read both these books last summer so it's been a while but they've always stood out in my memory as amazing so I thought it's time I review them as I still need to finish the book I'm reading right now!
Cover: Isn't it absolutely gorgeous?

Stars + Two star-crossed lovers trying to hold on to each other + a beautiful silky dress with a seemingly endless train = 

Luckily, the beauty of the story matches the beauty of the cover!

Characters:  Such richly built characters!
  Lilac LaRoux: Tarver goes from rags to riches in terms of status (but not wealth) before the beginning of the book but with Lilac I would also say she goes from rags to riches in terms of strength of character;) 
This is our introduction to Lilac through Tarver's eyes:
What I liked most about her: 

  • She begins as a character with so much potential-  she just wants to escape her life because she wants to love who she wants, talk to who she wants and have some privacy (similar to the problems of a celebrity;)).
  • All these small moments of connecting with her finally create this feeling of understanding the true Lilac
  • She redefines herself: initially she reduced herself to heir to the LaRoux empire or the media's darling but later she is finally free to define herself by her own abilities, feelings and inner strength.
There's just one tiny problem...: Sometimes she annoyed me because she basically scowls and complains for half the book (but we see her motivation in her perspective and she remains a sympathetic character through it all!) and I didn't understand why she had to constantly make herself dislike Tarver so much!

Tarver Merendsen:  

We start of with his perspective (there are alternating perspectives which is carried out flawlessly! We even get little glimpses into the future through an interview that starts off every chapter) and he drew me into the story with his deliciously snarky words and quietly beautiful opinions.

What I liked most about him: 
  • He's a book lover! Yay!
  • He's so sarcastic! I swear his words drip with sarcasm sometimes and I catch myself with a little smirk on my face while reading them:)
  • He's truly humble. He attributes his success to external factors rather than to his own hard work.
  • He's a fighter- but he fights from the heart and with compassion, bravery, resourcefulness and intelligence as his sword.
There's so much that we learn about Tarver! He has so many cracks on his heart that I loved him even more for how brave he was throughout the whole thing. I love him!

Lyrics of Enchanted by Taylor Swift
This part reminds me so much of when Lilac and Tarver first meet
If you like hate to love romances then this is one for you because at first there is so much awkward and forced animosity between them which eventually grows into something a lot more lovely and sweet.
Their characters complemented each other really well because they were strong as individuals but brought out the best in each other and were able to deal with a lot of issues/problems, that had always plagued them, together.
I do wish that we saw their love grow from shy but passionate love into intense and "I would die for you" love a bit more slowly but that's a small complaint:)

Plot: This book is perfect way to get into sci-fi YA! I never felt lost or like a fish out of water while journeying through its twists and turns because the descriptions painted a clear and vivid world (some of the most mesmerising and flowing descriptions of setting I've ever read). The survival aspect of this book was interlaced with emotional growth of the characters and let us see how truly scared they were (because who wouldn't be scared if they're isolated on an unknown land and their home just crashed and burned?) and so I enjoyed it! It didn't just stick to the usual path of purely methodical survival because they were interacting with a whole new world.
There are two major twists and I personally adored both of them because I did not see either coming! One of them really spotlights character development while the other is one that should make a sci-fi lover proud because it explains everything through this fantastical world and its creatures.
Writing: One word: Spellbinding!

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it's Amy's responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn't ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip - and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar - especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory - but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.
This book made me feel so much! It's not just a light and purely fluffy read and yet it's so sweet and cuddly!
Me after reading this:

This is the kind of book you just want to hug after reading it because it's sugary sweet but packs an emotional punch!
Amy is a character who you can't help but root for the whole way through:) She is dealing with a lot because her dad recently passed away and she feels guilty. She feels heartbroken. She feels lost.

All she wants to do is recapture who she used to be before the car accident ruined her life- but she can't. To make it worse, she feels alone. Her mom never seems to be there and her twin brother (younger by 3 minutes) is off in rehab after his father's death lead to him abusing drugs out of sorrow.

Her mom decided that they would all move to Connecticut to get away from all the memories that haunted them. She went on this road trip to reach Connecticut for a fresh start but instead found one during her road trip with Roger- because of Roger.
I love Roger! He's a guy with a golden heart. He's so wonderful it's like he's made of rainbows;)
Pretty on the outside and inside!
Their relationship is so real! The slow journey from awkward strangers with shy smiles to friends who can play Twenty Questions and write haikus together and take spontaneous detours to see bears in Yosemite and eat cheesesteak and wear giant socks 'borrowed' from Walmart to run and slide on the gleaming floors of an empty Walmart and eat way too much fast food (so much fun randomness they get up to!) to two people who realize that a simple hug from the other means more than the world sometimes. And the moment they finally realize how right they are for each other had me cheering, swooning and smiling;)

Normally when two characters meet for the first time in books there are barely any awkward silences; in fact, they are more than witty from the first "hello," but not in this lovely book. Every relationship in this book was crafted with a delicate and skilled hand! We meet a whole variety of characters from Bronwyn: the weirdly wise and friendly fashionista, Leonard: the sweet video-game addict with a cool 'Call Me Kevin' t-shirt to Hadley: the girl Roger can't let go of.

Both Amy and Roger have quests of their own. I don't want to go too into detail but just know the way they're there for each other is magic (real magic which we can all find:)). There's this scene which just made me stop for a second and appreciate what an impact someone can have on your life!

Another thing that I loved about this book was that we get to go on the road trip with them too because there are scrapbook pages, restaurant receipts, playlists and little sketches scattered like delightful treats all over this book!

So my reviews weren't as mini as I thought they would be...;)

Both books, of course, get a...

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted By Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly longing for and anticipating.
Title: Passenger
Author: Alexandra Bracken (!!!)
The author of The Darkest Minds series
Publication Date: January 5th 2016
I know this book is not going to be released for ages but it's Alexandra Bracken and she is the mastermind behind the Darkest Mind series!
There are some authors that have impressed you so much with their previous books that you just know you're going to run in to a bookstore and buy their next books ASAP (like Rick Riordan and Stephanie Perkins:)).

Etta sounds like a wonderful character! Whenever a character is described as being a musician or prodigy I always love to read scenes in which they play music (e.g. Kestrel's piano playing scene in Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski or Adam's lyrics in Where She Went by Gayle Forman) because you see another side of them- they just let go of everything and drown in their music.
This book also has a time-travel element which is always fun to read because we get to see characters struggling to fit in with a completely new world;) Plus she arrives on a ship which means a perfectly dangerous and beautiful setting + Etta and Nicholas have to find clues and solve a puzzle which means we've got a mystery/ clue hunt on our hands!
Alexandra Bracken created a one-of-a-kind character with Liam in The Darkest Minds as he was genuinely sweet and someone I would love to know so I'm sure she'll create a character we love with Nicholas. 
How cute is Dug? 
This series is so different from the first but I know it has the potential to be just as great!

So that's my Waiting on Wednesday! What's yours?:)
Thanks for reading!

Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did! I knew that this book was acclaimed by many but on the other hand I was not aware of all the hype so I went in with pretty low expectations and was wonderfully surprised by it.

This is a fantasy book so the world it was set in played a big role in the plot. And wow was it one complex yet magical world! It took me a while to be able to imagine this new London because of how quickly we're thrust into it but slowly a vivid image of a place ruled by fear was created in my mind. A world in which there are clairvoyants- basically people have these superpowers (which I really want!) from being able to see dreamscapes to being able to put images into anyone's mind. The new world Samantha Shannon creates makes me want to take a step back and marvel at it like I would with an enrapturing art piece. When it comes to people with supernatural powers I always have this romanticised idea of heroism but in this world to even have an ability is to break the rules.

That's why our main character, Paige, works for Jaxon Hall- and let me just say he speaks in the most comical way! One of his eccentric lines:"You've bloomed like the ambrosial flower you are, my winsome wunderkind." I've never heard anyone called a winsome wunderkind before and sometimes his silly nicknames add a touch of humour to such a dark story. 

We learn a lot about the people she works with in the criminal underworld. I loved learning about Nick and their friendship! Paige admires Nick and thinks of him almost as a prince and so do I. There is such a diverse range of characters in this book that you're bound to love getting to know them. In fact, the main character, Paige Mahoney, is such a strong and relatable and brave and admirable (( could add a million more ands!) protagonist. She breaks rules to help those in need, she feels an endless amount of sympathy even for those she hardly knows and she sure knows how to take care of herself. If I was in her situation I have no idea what I would do! There are always those protagonists that make you want to scream, "What are you doing?" or protagonists who you feel no connection to but I understood all of Paige's decisions, even if her bravery sometimes bordered on reckless (doesn't it always?;)). 

The plot moves right from the start. Which results in a bit of info-dumping... I personally didn't mind it too much because I was eagerly trying to grab every little sentence or word that could help me picture this shattered and sparkling fantasy world. But I know that info-dumping can be annoying because we like for the world to be slowly unravelled in front of our eyes rather than to be told exactly what's happening but in a way it helped set up this very complex world so that we could move forward into the many twists and turns and new settings of this story. 

I love a good romance because Love is a place of concentrated, explosive and beautiful feelings. In this book, as much as I really, really like the romance and root for the two characters (who shall remain nameless in this review... except for the fact that as soon as you read the book it's pretty obvious who the love interest is going to be because as soon as a guy is described as "beautiful and terrible" there's a 99% chance he's the one;)) to be together, I wish there were more sparks between them. Throughout the story you can feel the characters trying to learn more about each other and learn that they're fighting for the same things. But I feel like maybe there should be more chemistry between them- I wanted more moments of just them- getting to know the small, light-hearted things about the other. I wanted to feel Paige fall in love slowly with him- I wanted a moment before the kiss with the realisation of her raw and powerful feelings. However there is this electrifying and magnetic kiss that bubbles with chemistry- and it's spontaneous too!
But I love when love (or blooming love) results in the characters becoming their better selves:) And this is definitely true for the romance in this book - they make each other strong and I love them together. Plus there is so much action and character development that love couldn't take centre stage yet so I think the author played out the romance beautifully between two lovely, conflicted, selfless and brave characters. 

Overall, I definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone! This story has an oppressive governing system, CLAIRVOYANCE (oooh dreamwalkers and gangs!) a heroine we can all love and respect, a romance built on trust, tons of characters that have been developed marvellously and tons of characters that are aching to be developed in the next book (which I have heard the best things about).

I give it a...
(The ranking is the same as with school grades because school has pretty much taken over my life so why not?;))

Thanks for reading! Have you read The Bone Season or anything like it?:)

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Romance

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely book blog: The Broke and the Bookish.
This week's top ten tuesday is about the top ten things I like and dislike when it comes to romances in books.
I love a romance element in the books I read- as a rom-com addict/ hopeless romantic I can't help but love when an author creates a romance which makes me swoon!

4 Things I Dislike About Romances in Books
  1. Too much too soon (insta-love): Isn't it annoying when the characters fall dangerously in love almost in an instant? When after meeting their love interest they declare to the world that they would die to save them? I understand that people can love so strongly and truly that they would sacrifice anything for the person they love but do they need to be so dramatic when they barely know the 'love of their lives' yet?;) If done right, this passion can be absolutely swoon-inducing to read but when its rushed and you feel like the character's feelings have no substance, it becomes frustrating!
  2. Do I know you?: Whenever the protagonist falls in love with a character I want to fall in love with them or feel something about them too! So I hate feeling left out in the dark when authors don't let the reader get to know the love interest well enough- when a love interest is almost reduced to simply being the 'love interest' and nothing else. I want to know why he or she is so special and wonderful and lovely! Otherwise it's not hard to feel disconnected from the romance:(
  3. Geometry and Love don't mix: Why are there so many love triangles, squares and probably even decagons? Now, Hamlet, that is the question! Sometimes love triangles can be done in a way that makes you enjoy them- they're suspenseful ("Who will she/he choose?"), you get to choose a team (which can be really fun!) and you understand the conflict and why the characters are so attracted to whoever they're so infatuated with. But so many books obsess over love triangles even though in reality there aren't that many love triangles and there's nothing wrong with a classic love story (a love line?;))
  4. I Don't Want To Miss A Thing: Another tiny thing that bothers me to no end is when we're told the characters are talking and having the conversation of their lives but we never get to experience that oh-so-sweet get to know you stage. I want to know what the characters are saying to each other and why they feel so connected- give me the dialogue which has conversation and banter I could cuddle! It adds substance to their relationship and in the end will make me care about them more if I know what they are like together and how they understand each other so perfectly!
6 Things I Like About Romances in Books
  1. Witty or adorable conversations: There's always that couple who have the most entertaining, humorous and yet loving conversations I can imagine! Some books in which I have experienced this are: Katy and Daemon in the Lux series (their banter makes me smile and laugh and just stop to appreciate Daemon for a few minutes;)), Rudy and Liesel in The Book Thief - how cute is Rudy's "How about a kiss, Saumensch?", Percy and Annabeth in Percy Jackson because who can forget those two - Seaweed Brain and Wise Girl, Pride and Prejudice is a classic example;), Fault in Our Stars is abundant with these (the quirkiness, lovability and intelligence of the characters sure helps!) and of course Noah Shaw and Mara Dyer in the Mara Dyer series (too many quotable moments between those two- Noah should be a poet!)! 
  2. Stop, drop and roll: Except in this case it's Stop, drop jaw and swoon! There are those moments in romances which just make you instantly adore the couple and everything about them! It can be the most unexpected moment but everything just comes together. For example in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, I always remember the random and strangely sweet moment Noah kneels down to tie her shoelaces ("'Now you won't fall.' Too late".)
  3. Time after time: Slow-burn romances are the best! Almost the opposite of insta-love because they give characters time to get to know eachother and give the readers time to slowly feel more and more passionate about the characters finally realizing how they feel for eachother. This is done in so many books like Harry Potter, Winner's Curse, Angelfall, The Darkest Minds, Life in Outer Space (the ultimate geeky sweet romance:)) and Crown of Midnight.
  4. You & Me: The best relationships, in books and real life, are the ones in which the characters inspire their love to become their best self and at the same time also embrace their own potential. They're equals and the both end up feeling at home with eachother! In Life In Outer Space, a lovely, weird (a great weird!) and down-to-earth romance, the characters get each other through their hardships by being there for each other and showing each other original and kooky ways to move on from something holding them back. A similar situation is in Amy and Roger's Epic Detour. One book I'll never forget, in which there's a grumpy bookstore owner who is transformed by a little girl named Maya (my name!) left in his store and transformed by someone who just gets and loves him, is called The Storied Like of AJ Fikry.
  5. The chase: Don't you love when two characters are pining for each other? The tension, nervous feelings, sweet moments and reluctant smiles result in making the chase one of my favourite parts of a romance. A classic example is the Lux series, Crown of Midnight and Sweet Evil.
  6. Underdog: You can see how highly a character thinks of another when they think the other person is too good for them but still love them despite how hopeless they think their crush is. I love when a character is so relatable in his/her own awkward and adorable way as they have no idea what to do next! Anna in Anna and the French Kiss doesn't think she can ever be with Etienne St Clair but really.... they're perfect for eachother! Stephanie Perkins is a goddess of romance novels:)

Thanks for reading! What do you love or hate about romance in books?

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Stacking The Shelves: Books Galore!

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews

First let's start with books from...
The library sure is a fantasy land isn't it?
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.” 

Everything about this book makes me want to skip through a field of flowers and sing as loudly as I can (despite the fact that I can't sing;)) because this book sounds like a masterpiece. I've been craving an unusual superhero/fantasy book lately and this is it! The protagonists are not all rainbows, unicorns and flowers but instead their journeys let the author make us question EVERYTHING we thought we knew about heroes and villains. 

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
“Not all of us know what we are. Some of us die without ever knowing. Some of us know, and never get caught. But we're out there. Trust me.” 
(this quote reminds me a bit of the first paragraph of Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan:))

I'm not sure how I'll feel about this book but the main character is a dreamwalker so I ran with the wind and borrowed it! Because can you imagine getting to walk into someone else's dreams- this aspect has the potential to create imaginative and haunting scenes.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
The twists and turns of Mistborn have inspired me to read more Brandon Sanderson. Everytime I look up new fantasy books he seems to come up so I'm off on a new Brandon Sanderson adventure! The book looks GINORMOUS though but that's not a problem:)

(I went a bit (...a lot) Amazon crazy...)

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Romantic. Real. Painful. Beautiful.
I've heard so many good things about this book and I adored Where She Went so now that I finally have this book in my possession I can't wait to read it! Get ready to be loved Just One Day;)

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Boy meets girl-and oh wait there's magic, a queendom and warriors too! We start out with the characters separately and then boom they meet in this detailed and dreamy fantasy world that the author apparently builds up so well. I'm so excited for this series!

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The last book of the Mara Dyer series... need I say more?;) So far the books have been intense and consuming in the best possible way- it's one twisty, twirly roller coaster journey!

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
My fabulous best friend loved this and it seems like the kind of classic the world stops moving for:) I want to experience this whirlwind love story that is set during the American Civil War because I just know it's going to make me feel so much! 
Joey is me & Chandler is Gone With The Wind;)

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Melina Marchetta is so loved in the YA world so I'm extra excited to read her mysterious and daring fantasy series! The characters go on a quest to find the heir to the throne who everyone thought was dead- I love a good quest!

So that's it for now! Thanks for reading:)