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Review: Insurgent, by Veronica Roth

9 May

Insurgent (Divergent #2)

Genre: YA Dystopia

Source: Won on Twitter

Summary:

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

Wow. Just… there are absolutely no words for what I’m feeling. So okay, I’ll be honest. I wasn’t a big fan of Divergent, though I was very excited for Insurgent. It just didn’t do it for me; it was a good book but not as good as I’d hoped it’d be. But Insurgent completely blew me away.

I was sort of hesitant at the beginning, because 1. I hadn’t re-read it before Insurgent came out, so I was really confused on what was happening, and my mind kept confusing things with Matched by Ally Condie… My mind is mean when I’m trying to read. After about 3 chapters it all came back so it became clear again.

Then the story flowed easily, though it was really, really long and I had my SAT that week, so it took me a while to finish it. The story has a lot of things going on, and there are some things that happen really fast, and others that I wish Veronica Roth would’ve written a longer version of.

Tris is a character that I did not like very much in Divergent, and up to half of Insurgent, I wasn’t so fond of her either. And I adored Four. Again, up until half of the book. Tris was very impulsive in her actions, which made me frustrated for her, and Four was someone who though things over. But then they changed and Four started treating her sort of bad, and Tris became so much more Dauntless in my mind than she was before. I understood why she did the things she did, and I wanted Four to support her decisions. Ultimately, I became a big fan of Tris. I liked the values represented in the book, and how characters are influenced deeply by these.

I won’t ruin the ending for you guys, but OH MY GOSH. You will absolutely love it, and it answers so many questions, yet leaves so many more hanging. I can’t wait for the third book to come out!

5 Stars for this one!

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Review: Awakened, by Kristin Cast & P.C. Cast

29 Apr

Image Publication date: January 4, 2011

Series: House of Night (8)

Summary:

“My love, speak to me.  Tell me everything.”  Neferet went to Kalona, kneeling before him, stroking the soft, dark wings that unfurled loosely around the immortal. 
“What would you have me say?”  He didn’t meet her eyes.  
 “Zoey lives.” Neferet’s voice was flat, cold, lifeless.
“She does.”
“Then you owe me the subservience of your immortal soul.”  She started to walk away from him.
“Where are you going?  What will happen next?”
 “It is quite simple.  I will ensure Zoey is drawn back to Oklahoma.  There, on my own terms, I will complete the task you failed.”
Exonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa’s House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey.  Dominion over Kalona is only one of the weapons she plans to use against Z.  But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there.  Being Queen would be cool, wouldn’t it?  Why should she return to Tulsa? After losing her human consort, Heath, she will never be the same – and her relationship with her super-hot-warrior, Stark, may never be the same either…
And what about Stevie Rae and Rephaim?  The Raven Mocker refuses to be used against Stevie Rae, but what choice does he have when no one in the entire world, including Zoey, would be okay with their relationship?  Does he betray his father or his heart?
In the pulse-pounding 8th book in the bestselling House of Night series, how far will the bonds of friendship stretch and how strong are the ties that bind one girl’s heart?

I’ve been a fan of the House of Night series since the first book was published. I was at the time a big fan of vampire books, but after a while became tired of that sort of books. There was a time, around the 6th book when I completely lost track of the series (I didn’t use Goodreads at the time). So, I didn’t know if it had been finished, or anything, so for about a year, or more, I saw that the rest had been published. However, I thought there were just too many. I know there are series that have like 20 books or more, but for this one specifically, I think it should’ve ended a long time ago. By the time I started reading Awakened, I’d completely forgotten a lot of things about the plot, and I hadn’t liked the series that much to re-read it. It’s a good series, but I’m not very motivated to read the rest, unfortunately. Which I HATE doing.

To start off, Zoey is a character I usually like a lot, but it seems to me that she’s always SURVIVING. I know she must, since she’s the hero, but those have been way too many survivals. I don’t want to reveal a lot here, but… I don’t know, it’s just so weird reviewing this book. First off, the writing flows with ease, but at some points it seems to me the authors are only bringing in surprising events to keep the book interesting.

In all honesty, I don’t want to ramble about the things I didn’t like. And I guess this book was not for me… There were too many things happening at once. I think the authors should’ve written less books, if they joined the plots of at least two of them. The overall events and conclusions happening in ONE book are extremely short.

 But all in all, it was a good book if you’re a big fan of the series. I lost my love for this series, but I can say it was one of the best books in the series.

But like always, to each their own. I’m sure many people found this book amazing, as it has like a 4 star rating on Goodreads.

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Review: Fire, by Kristin Cashore

19 Apr
By: Annie
Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)
SERIES: Graceling Realm #2
Rating: ★★★★★
 Summary:

She is the last of her kind…
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.
Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books. You don’t need to have read Graceling to love Fire. But if you haven’t, you’ll be dying to read it next.

Fire is a novel by Kristin Cashore, it is a companion to “Graceling” (Kristin Cashore’s first book in the Graceling realms series). It is one of the most magical and marvelous stories that I’ve ever read. It tells a story in the “Dells” (a different but near place in which Graceling takes place), a place full of monsters “A monster is a variation of a regular animal, but the fur, skin, claws, feather, etc., are stunning colors such as magenta, baby blue, gold, black, silver, green, and more. They are creatures that are more vicious than normal, and thirst each other’s blood above all. These monsters also have powers. They are incredibly alluring to humans and other animals, and can control others minds.” and the book talks about of a girl named “Fire”, the last human monster, “she has flaming pink, red, orange, and gold hair and a face of unparalleled beauty”. It is not a peaceful time in the Dells though, war is coming, and a story that you’ll certainly love, you’ll laugh, and perhaps cry as this fabulous story draws you inside its magnificent world.
This is a fantasy novel that has romance, a bit of drama, suspense, adventure and more! Kristin Cashore plots an amazing story with incredible characters that have their own personality and fragrance, Fire resembles Katsa (the principal character in Graceling) a bit in a way, but she has her own mind and different personality. It is a beautiful book that will keep you into it the whole time and that makes justice to Graceling’s adventures.
It is kind of a dark book in perspective (as Kristin Cashore said) because of the story it tells, and I believe the dark character it involves, Cansrel (Fire’s dad and the only other human monster in history). And it re-introduces the also dark character of Leck, giving his background story.
Kristin Cashore’s talent at writing is demonstrated here as in Graceling, her personal experiences and feelings are portrayed in the strong and powerful heroine character she created. I completely loved both books (Graceling and Fire) and certainly could pick a favorite, but each one makes you think of different things that relate to life, like at the end of Fire, (I won’t say how it ends to not spoil anyone), but the end of Fire gets me every time I read it, I just find it beautiful and deep in a way.
This is a 100% must read for everyone. And a total recommendation from bookstalkers,(stalking the best books for your benefit).
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Review: Across the Universe, by Beth Revis

16 Apr
SERIES: Across the Universe #1
Source: Wal-Mart
Rating: 
Summary from Goodreads:
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder. 

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
So… I was on a trip this past Easter break, and I went on a book shopping spree 🙂 I bought a total of 14 books, though 2 were for my cousins who love reading, and 4 I had already read but wanted to own a physical copy of (The Hunger Games series and The Fault In Our Stars). Anyway, I’ll tell you more about the books I haven’t read later because I want them to be a surprise.
So. Across the Universe. Beth Revis. I finished the book in three days. It was a complete surprise from the beginning because it wasn’t what I expected at all! I mean, at the beginning I was sort of hesitant to read it because it was sort of sci-fi-ish, and I’m not a super big fan of this genre. However, it completely blew me away… you know that sort of feeling when you get the plot and the characters, and seem to think you’ll know exactly what they’ll do? Well, Beth Revis seems to know about this and wanted to keep readers away from doing this. There comes a point in the book when you start wondering, “What the heck has just happened? Whoa!” and then end up involved in a cloud of feelings you can’t escape, in a complete emotional mess. 
I liked how Beth Revis divided the book in two different points of view, and managed to do so without confusing the reader. Some books confuse the reader because both use the same sort of tone and voice. Well, in this one Elder and Amy are completely different, and you can tell so by their narration. I think it helps that they’re a boy and a girl, but still, Beth Revis completely set them apart, using a confused yet leading voice and tone for Elder, and a scared, but brave at the same time for Amy. 
All in all, it was a great read and can’t wait to get my hands on A Million Suns! Although, I just found out the third book comes out in about a year 😦 So sad.

Review: Comeback Love, by Peter Golden

22 Feb

by Andrea

Summary from Goodreads:

Shifting between past and present, Comeback Love is a journey into the hearts of two lovers who came of age in the 1960s and is a sensual exploration of youth, regret, desire, and the bonds that mysteriously endure in the face of momentous change.

I want to start by saying that no matter if I liked it or not, it’s a good book. Really well written, it flows with ease, etc. However, it wasn’t at all what I expected, and definitely not my type of book. The love story is beautiful, I won’t deny that. But sometimes the skipping between past and present made it confusing, as well as Glenna’s character, who I thought was repetitive.

I sided with Gordon whenever they fought, and didn’t really like Glenna throughout the book.

At time, I got tired of the skipping, but wanted to keep reading because of Gordon, and I wanted to know what he came back for, etc.

It was a good book… I’m sad this review is short, but it just wasn’t my type of book. I love romance, but theirs was not specially memorable for me. Considering I disliked Glenna since the beginning, when the relationship ended I didn’t feel quite unhappy about it.

What I liked: the whole head-over-heels first love feeling represented in the characters. Definitely.

Thank you, Simon & Schuster for providing this book for review!

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Review: I’ve Got Your Number, by Sophie Kinsella

21 Feb
By: Andrea

★★★

Published: February 14th, 2012
Publisher: The Dial Press

Summary from Goodreads:

I’ve lost it. The only thing in the world I wasn’t supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It’s been in Magnus’s family for three generations. And now, the very same day his parents are coming, I’ve lost it. The very same day. Do not hyperventilate Poppy. Stay positive!! 

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry the ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her ‘happy ever after’ begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring but in the panic that followed, she has now lost her phone. As she paces shakily round the hotel foyer she spots an abandoned phone in a bin. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect! 
Well, perfect except the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading all his messages and wading into his personal life. 
What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents… she soon realises that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

First of all I want to say that I LOVE Sophie Kinsella! Another book, another charming story, definitely no disappointment here (not that I expected any). I’ve read every single one of her books and they keep me laughing and enjoying it the whole way through!

Her books are always extremely sweet, and if you’ve read anything by Sophie Kinsella you must know never to expect anything… because it will not happen. Her books are full of surprises, twists and turns that you never thought would happen. The characters in this book reminded me a lot of Becky Bloomwood and Luke from the Shopaholic series, at the beginning. You know, quirky girl, businessman love interest… but at the end, Poppy and Sam were a lot, lot different than Becky and Luke and I couldn’t even think of the reasons why I thought of them at first.

Sophie Kinsella adds some sort of distinguishing feature to all of her books, and I think for this one it was obviously all the footnoting! I adored it.. so funny! This book got me a bit annoyed when Poppy does not get that she’s in an unhealthy relationship, but then I thought about it and realized the book was being realistic… those things happen! You can ask Annie, as I read the last chapter of the book, when I thought everything would end up wrong, Kinsella came in to save the day and the ending is extremely unique! Definitely not a cliché ending, trust me. The romance in the book is different to any other story I’d ever read, the plot completely innovative.. it just blew me away. I’ll add Sam to my list of fictional crushes!

It’s a fun read and a book I’d recommend to anyone. It was such a pleasure to read!

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Review: The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

19 Feb
By: Andrea

★★★
Goodreads summary:

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now. 
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind

Ok, so to start of I’m going to admit it once and for all… I CRIED. All through the last, let’s say 20% of the book or so (I read it on my Kindle). It was incredibly sad, and I’ve read “cancer books” and like Hazel say in the book, “they suck”. This is not the typical cancer book, I can assure you. Nothing that you expect to happen does, and in the end you’re left with a typhoon of emotions travelling through you.

I found this novel extremely realistic, at how things happen in life that you can’t change or stop. When the book ended, I didn’t even notice it had ended… I wish there was more. I wanted their love to have more time to develop, just more time to live for both of them…What I think is the point of it all is that there’s always time for love. No matter how long you have, what Hazel and Augustus shared was unique an true love… even if it didn’t last as long as they wished.

I loved that John wrote the book from a 16-year-old girl’s perspective… outstandingly well-written. The obsessing over a book in the story (Hazel and Gus’s to An Imperial Affliction) made me relate to them so much, and I loved how the end of the book had a lot to do with AIA. I wanted to email John Green and ask what happened to Hazel, etc., just like Hazel wanted to email Peter Van Houten. And yet, at the same time, I thought I wouldn’t have wanted the book to end any other way.

It was amazing how much Hazel and Gus’s situations in life was much more different to mine, and yet I related to them in ways I never had to any other characters… It felt like their feelings were completely normal to me, like a true teenager being described in a few hundred pages. It was one of those books that I want basically everyone to read. I read Looking for Alaska a few weeks ago, and I told a few people about it. However, The Fault in Our Stars is a book I want EVERY SINGLE PERSON to read. I’ve been telling everyone I know– non-stop– to read it, as soon as possible.

Overall, it’s a great book and older kids, teens and adults will devour this book. You can’t ignore this book.

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