Wednesday, 26 February 2014

W..W..W.. Wednesdays #27

W.W.W Wednesdays is a weekly event bought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading 

It's Wednesday and that means its time to let the world know what I've been reading. When I say the world, I mean this tiny corner of the internet that I call my blog. Hope everyone is having a good week.

What are you currently reading?
At the moment I am reading Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean. I've been reading a lot of darker stories lately so its been a nice change of pace to read something lighter with a happily ever after. Plus Sarah MacLean writes the best historical fiction out there. You can never go wrong with her books.

What did you recently finish reading?
I recently finished reading Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd. I loved being back in Juliet's world. I enjoyed all the moral ambiguity that is present in this story. Poor Juliet, always walking in shades of grey. I also finished reading Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean.

What do you think you'll read next?
Up next for me will probably be White Hot Kiss by Jennifer Armentrout and The Intern by Gabrielle Tozer.

Thats all for me. Let me know what you guys are reading.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

W..W..W.. Wednesdays #26

W.W.W Wednesdays is a weekly event bought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading 

It's Wednesday and that means its time to let the world know what I've been reading. When I say the world, I mean this tiny corner of the internet that I call my blog. Hope everyone is having a good week.

What are you currently reading?
At the moment I am reading Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd. I love being back in Juliet's world. It's dark and gritty and of course there is plenty of murder.

What did you recently finish reading?
I haven't read anything in over a week. The last book I finished was Cress by Marissa Meyer. Cress was beyond amazing. I love the fresh take on fairytales and all of the very unique yet different characters in this series.

What do you think you'll read next?
I still want to read Vicious by Victoria Schwab and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

Thats all for me. Let me know what you guys are reading.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Review: The Unbound by Victoria Schwab

Title: The Unbound
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: 28th January 2014
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 out of 5

Description: Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she's struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn't easy -- not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she's really safe.  Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She's sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she'll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels? With stunning prose and a captivating mixture of action, romance, and horror, The Unbound delves into a richly imagined world where no choice is easy and love and loss feel like two sides of the same coin.

There is nothing quite like The Achieved with its haunting setting, dark corners, memorable characters and beautiful prose. It’s a book that you should read if you haven’t already. Ever since I finished The Achieved, I have been eagerly waiting for The Unbound to release. Now I can happily say that The Unbound is even better than its predecessor. It’s a hauntingly beautiful book filled with raw exposed emotions as Victoria Schwab unravels Mackenzie’s life and fills it with doubt, trust, love and nightmares. The Unbound lives up to its namesake as it centres on Mackenzie facing her nightmares and piecing herself back together.  It’s a soulful read, one that takes a peek behind the armour of Mackenzie Bishop.

More often than not we don’t get to see a real glimpse of the consequences that can haunt a protagonist. I have read plenty of books that have the protagonist going through hell and back only to appear stronger than ever as though nothing can faze them. To me, this never seems realistic as all actions have lasting consequences that affect people mentally and/or physically.  This is where The Unbound shines. Not only do we get a story about the secret library of the dead, we get a beautiful heartbreaking story about a young girl who has a lot on her plate. Mackenzie has been through a lot with Owen and now has the shadow of The Archive looming around her.  In the Unbound she is pushed to the max and is forced to face her nightmares, which have been causing her to lose sleep and sanity.  The nightmares are now seeping into her everyday life, putting her on edge.  Mackenzie has to fight not only for her but also for those she loves.

The major themes of this book are secrets and trust. There is more of a concentration on the weight of secrets and how lies can wreck havoc. The relationship between Mac and her parents is pushed to the brink due to Mac’s secret life. Schwab beautifully showcases all of the fears and doubt Mackenzie carries with her. It lets us see her venerable side and how it ultimately makes her stronger and willing to protect those around her and the life she has. Mackenzie’s story really pulls at your heartstrings.

We get to meet new characters at Mac’s new school. Each has their own personality and they add to the story in their own way. Hyde School is really old and it’s atmosphere fits perfectly into The Unbound. Owen’s presence in the book is palpable. He haunts Mackenzie like he haunts the pages of this book and he still plays a very big part of this story. Roland is still as wonderful as ever as Mackenzie’s guardian. We get more of a glimpse into his life.

Now lets talk about the other wonderful part of this book, Wesley Ayers.  We get a lot more Wesley and all of his eyeliner.  Even though we get more Wesley I still want to know more about him. He is one of my all time favourite characters. If you need a reason to read this book, don’t look further than Wesley. I love the romance in this novel but my only complaint is that it wasn’t enough. I want more Wes and Mac. They have a very special bond forged from the secrets they keep but their relationship is complicated and Mackenzie struggles to let him in. It makes you want them to be together even though you know why Mac is holding him at a distance.

The Unbound is a hauntingly emotional must read. Go read this now.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

Title: Defy
Author: Sara B. Larson
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: 7th January 2014
Source: Bought
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Description: Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory. The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

Defy is what I would classify as an action romance. Emphasis being on the romance because while there is heaps of action, fighting and adventure going on there quite a bit of romance that takes ups the majority of the book.  It even includes a love triangle so if you don’t like that sort of thing than this book might not be for you. If you are anything like me and like potent combination of adventure and romance than Defy will definitely be a delight. Defy reminded me a lot of Alanna the Lioness by Tamora Pierce.  Like Alanna the premise centres on a young female protagonist who pretends to be a boy whilst fighting for her kingdom and freedom.  Alexa’s story is one that pulled me in right away. Right from the get go, I wanted to know more about her and what was going to happen to her.

Sara B. Larson weaves a tale about a girl who changes an entire kingdom.  Alexa has been forced to pretend to be a boy and join the King’s army in order to survive. With remarkable fighting skills, she ends up as one of Prince Damian’s guards.  After a battle gone wrong Alexa, fellow guard Rylan and Prince Damian find themselves kidnapped by a sorcerer.  Not everything is as it seems or that simple as everyone seems to have an agenda. As secrets come to light Alexa has to decide whose side she’s fighting on and where her heart lies. The story keeps constantly moving as we are introduced to all the players in this game.  Larson does a great job of keeping the events interesting and creating enough suspense that you want to know what happens next.  The setting is also lush and dangerous. It’s set in the jungle, which is a welcome change from most fantasy novels being set in a forest.

Poor Alexa is put through a lot and she always manages to survive because it’s who she is. She is a fighter and a survivor. She is loyal to her friends, family and fellow guards. Larson realistically portrays Alexa’s identity crisis. She has been pretending to be a boy for so long that when the truth come out she doesn’t quite know how to behave.   All though she is a little bit too trusting and rough on the edges by the end of the book she really comes into herself. She figures out who she is and what she wants becoming stronger for it. 

I’m usually wary of love triangles unless they are done right but this one didn’t bother me so much. Alexa is literally stuck between the two love interests and it makes for some awkward scenes and comedy.  Lets just day that Larson writes perfect awkwardness well. Prince Damian was a bit of an enigma. . He has lots of big secrets. He is really sneaky in this book but the reasons for his secrets are genuine and he wants the best for his kingdom and his people.  Damian’s secrets and lying is definitely an obstacle for him and Alexa. I wanted to shake her at times for trusting him but was glad that their trust issues were raised and red flagged. Rylan was a very loyal loving best friend who was there for Alexa when she needed him.

Defy was an enjoyable read, but it was not a perfect book. Like with anything there were parts of it I really loved like the romance and action. On the hand I thought there was a lot of potential in this book that hasn’t yet been explored.  It felt like the Defy was laying a lot of groundwork for some massive adventure in the second book. There were also plenty of opportunities that could have been explored more such as the political plot, which there was not a lot of in this book.  There was also a missed opportunity for same gender relationships to be explored considering Alexa was pretending to be a boy. I was also not a fan of the breeding houses, despised them more like and didn’t quite believe that they were necessary.  Also a lot of people seem to know Alexa’s secret.

Defy is an enjoyable action romance. The ending opens up a whole new story that can be told in this world and I can’t wait to see what happens next. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

W..W..W.. Wednesdays #25

W.W.W Wednesdays is a weekly event bought to you by MizB from Should Be Reading 

It's Wednesday and that means its time to let the world know what I've been reading. When I say the world, I mean this tiny corner of the internet that I call my blog. Hope everyone is having a good week.

What are you currently reading?
At the moment I am reading Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, which is based on Beauty and the Beast. I am really captivated by the rich and lavish story. I was up till late last night reading it. The only reason I could't finish it was the fact that I had work the next day and I need sleep to function. 

What did you recently finish reading?
I just finished reading Tandem by Anna Jarzab. The parallel universe lore was done really well and easy to understand but the romance and the main character let me down. I also finished reading The Unbound by Victoria Schwab. It was beautifully haunting and emotionally raw. If you haven't read The Archived yet I highly suggest you do because the series is beyond wonderful. Plus it has libraries of the dead and a hot guy that wears eyeliner.

What do you think you'll read next?
I know I have been saying this for the last couple of week but I want to read Vicious by Victoria Schwab and No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale next. It's not my fault that other books keep calling me to read them. I also want to read Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd.

Thats all for me. Let me know what you guys are reading.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Puffin Group
Release Date: 4th June 2013
Source: Library
Rating: 3 out of 5

Description: Colby may be just a small holiday beach town for the tourists, but for Emeline it's home. It looks like its going to be another typical summer there with here gorgeous high-school sweetheart, Luke - until a New Yorker filmmaker and her ambitious assistant Tho check it. They're obviously after a story. But, when getting the locals to talk proves tricky, Theo decides they need a guide and he's got his eye on Emeline...Can Emeline decide where her loyalties, and her heart, truly lies before the summer ends?

The Moon and More was a good contemporary novel that focused on change and the uncertainty in growing up.  This was my first book by Sarah Dessen and I can see why people like her novels. The Moon and More had the perfect combination of drama and light breezy moments, making for a warm and charming story filled with relatable characters.  Dessen takes us into the town of Colby and gives us a window into Emaline’s life as we get to meet her family, friends and experience all that small town living has to offer.

Emeline lives in the small holiday beach town of Colby where everyone knows everyone. Emeline is enjoying the summer before she heads of to university. She has her loving family, long time boyfriend and friends but change is just around the corner for her when her biological father comes back to town. If that wasn’t enough to shake her, a New York filmmaker and her assistant Theo arrive to make a documentary and need her help.

Where the Moon and More really worked for me was in its realistic depiction of relationships right from familial relationships to those between friends, partners and locals.  It felt as though Emeline’s friends and family were your friends and family as I’m sure we have all had relationships similar to theirs. There was no difficult high drama but straightforward issues that cropped up from the changing climate of Emeline’s life.  The Moon and More deals with growing up and finding out what you want for yourself and whom you want to keep in your life. Emeline goes on a journey where she discovers a lot about herself and finds the unexpected in new people she meets. The story is realistic and there are many aspects that people will connect with as they may have had similar experiences.  The only problem I had with this book was that the middle of the book was a little lacklustre. The book started of strong and finished strong but the middle could have used a little more excitement.

Emeline was a wonderful protagonist. She was a perfectionist and always strived for the best. It was very easy to like this warm girl who is learning to grow up. She was always trying to help people even if she didn’t like them, especially in her job. Her job at the realty agency provided some great insights into the rental business and provided ample comedy, especially between the siblings. The realty business was interesting to learn about. Ivy came off as a bit of a stuck up big city chick but by the end of it you couldn’t but help like her dedication. Clyde was an enigma. I loved Emeline’s family with her dad’s constant construction, mum’s stress eating and the siblings bickering.  They really loved and supported each other. Morris was such a fun best friend.

Colby was a wonderful backdrop. It had its own charm and uniqueness that encompassed the whole story. The locals were all quirky and I loved getting to know them. Emeline has always lived in this town and the small town nature and local customs influenced this story.  Life in Colby is very different from life in big cities.  As Emeline gets to know Ivy and Theo from New York, Dessan wonderfully contrasts people who come from very different upbringings and communities.  It makes Emeline question what she wants for herself. Does she want to leave Colby or does she want to stay?

The romance in The Moon and More explored the break-up of a long time romance and the start of a new one.  Luke and Theo were polar opposites and their relationships with Emeline were different. The romance was not sugary sweet and over the top romantic. Again it was realistic, showcasing the distance that develops between two people and the incompatibility between those who have different ideals.

Overall, The Moon and More is a relatable contemporary novel about growing up. 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Monthly Wrap Up - January 2014

It's a brand new year and that means brand new books. This month has been pretty quite around the blog due to holidays. Also it is a new year and this year I have again set myself a reading challenge of 100 books. I managed to read 9 books this month, so I'm off to a good start.

Book of the Month:

My book of the month is The Falconer by Elizabeth May. It was dark, blood thirsty and fierce. It was a story that had everything I was looking for. It had a fierce heroine out for blood, murderous fairies and plenty of steampunk elements. As a bonus it was all set in historical Scotland. 

Books Reviewed in the Month of January:

The Falconer by Elizabeth May 
Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes