fantasy · romance · series · Uncategorized · young adult

Review: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Throne of Glass

Summary from Goodreads:

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Comments:

Okay, okay. Maybe I thought I was going to fizzle out near the beginning because I didn’t read continuously as I could have. I was quick to judge. Suddenly, things got more interesting. A lot of the books I had read recently have a “from extreme hardship to comfort and wealth but there’s something dark and scary in exchange” theme.

This story feels like a Hunger Games, complete with the one obvious rival and of course, a love triangle. HAHA. I love it. (My ship? Chaol/Celaena. ♥)

Celaena Sardothien… I don’t know how I feel about her. She is a feared assassin well-versed in a wide array of weaponry. She is a voracious reader (I’ve never really met an assassin like this). She likes playing the piano. She also loves wearing pretty dresses. She eats A LOT. She’s funnier than the main character in the last book I read but she is so… multi-faceted that I don’t know whether to like her or not.

But I think the way the mystery of the deaths of the Champions unfolds nicely. I was trying to guess who is behind all of that. It’s a tad bit predictable but not-quite-so-expected either. So it was brilliant, I would say.

Well, I hear this series has a lot of novellas and, I think, six (!) main books. I shall see if I can read the entire thing. I will definitely read the next book, because it might reveal more of Celaena’s past.

Oh, also, I should warn you: this is not a book for you if you like eating while reading. Or if you just have a weak stomach like I do.

“When she awoke every morning, she repeated the same words: I will not be afraid.”

My Rating: ★★★☆ (3.5)

fantasy · romance · series · young adult

Review: Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: The Grisha

Summary from Goodreads:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.

Comments:

I’ve been seeing the hype over the Six of Crows series by Leigh Bardugo, so I’ve been really curious. I was looking around and saw that there was a trilogy before that, though, so I decided to read the previous one first. I was chatting with the librarian at the school I work at and she let me borrow the book. Yay!

I guess, many readers would feel that this is somewhat your clichéd YA with a love triangle and a somewhat Mary Sue main character. But while reading I admit I was thinking, “This is my type of YA: the perfect blend of magic and romance.” To me, the first book in a fantasy series is important because most of the world building would be in it. And it didn’t disappoint: I love all the different kinds of powers the Grisha possessed and the hierarchy that comes with them. I also like the school setting (reminded me a little bit of Bloor’s Academy, and yes, even Hogwarts), though I wish they wrote a bit more about it.

I’m not quite a fan of childhood-friends-turned-into-more-than-friends stories, so when The Darkling started interacting with the main character Alina, I latched onto the ship. Somehow in my head The Darkling resembles Kylo Ren, except with “quartz gray” eyes. And the feels, oh the feels. Perfect.

Bardugo’s writing is great and I absolutely adored the Russian flavor of this universe. The pacing in the narration is a little off, though, so I docked half a star in my rating. Yes, I am going to read the next book, maybe even finish the trilogy before I pick up Six of Crows.

“What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.”

My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5 actually)

chick lit · romance

Review: Remember Me?

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Genre: Chick Lit, Romance

Summary from Goodreads:

When twenty-eight-year-old Lexi Smart wakes up in a London hospital, she’s in for a big surprise. Her teeth are perfect. Her body is toned. Her handbag is Vuitton. Having survived a car accident—in a Mercedes no less—Lexi has lost a big chunk of her memory, three years to be exact, and she’s about to find out just how much things have changed.

Somehow Lexi went from a twenty-five-year-old working girl to a corporate big shot with a sleek new loft, a personal assistant, a carb-free diet, and a set of glamorous new friends. And who is this gorgeous husband—who also happens to be a multimillionaire? With her mind still stuck three years in reverse, Lexi greets this brave new world determined to be the person she…well, seems to be. That is, until an adorably disheveled architect drops the biggest bombshell of all.

Suddenly Lexi is scrambling to catch her balance. Her new life, it turns out, comes complete with secrets, schemes, and intrigue. How on earth did all this happen? Will she ever remember? And what will happen when she does?

Comments:

Oh yay! My first Sophie Kinsella book! Can I just say that I actually like the simplicity of the cover which looks really cheery and matches the humor of the book? I thought it was something random, but somewhere in the story, there’s actually an explanation behind the sunflower.

So imagine having to wake up to a life that’s completely different from what you remember…

At least that’s how I imagined Lexi Smart felt after being confronted that it’s year 2007, instead of 2004. From loser to boss, there has been a total change of how things are going for her. The problem is, she can’t remember what happened in the past 3 years. Why do I look different? How was I able to afford such expensive things? I know how to drive? And…. I’m married? She may have been living a perfect life, or so she thinks.

Although there were some instances where I was a bit annoyed with Lexi, I liked her personality. She’s funny, loyal, and was willing step up especially for her family. There isn’t much information about the other characters; it was mostly Lexi’s struggle living at the present even though she had no idea how she got there. Yes, she made mistakes and I didn’t really like the part where it seemed very convenient that things went her way – breaking up with Eric, reconciling with friends, getting that good deal for business. I had to keep in mind that it’s just fiction.

The air of mystery kept it interesting, but of course you could very much predict most of the things that happened. I did feel it was a bit prejudiced at some parts, like the richer people being more shallow than Lexi’s old friends, the seemingly perfect, modelesque husband, and the wayward sister who is a product of negligence. Again, all of these would conveniently end well.

I’m looking forward to reading more of Kinsella’s books!

“All this time, I wasn’t hungry for success, I was hungry.”

My Rating: ★★★★ (4)

fantasy · romance · sci-fi

Review: The Vanishing Girl

Author: Laura Thalassa

Summary from Goodreads:
Every night after Ember Pierce falls asleep, she disappears. She can teleport anywhere in the world—London, Paris, her crush’s bedroom—wherever her dreams lead her. Ten minutes is all she gets, and once time’s up, she returns to her bed. It’s a secret she’s successfully kept for the last five years. But now someone knows.

A week after her eighteenth birthday, when frustratingly handsome Caden Hawthorne captures her, delivers her to the government, and then disappears before her eyes, Ember realizes two things: One, she is not alone. And two, people like her—teleporters—are being used as weapons.

Dragged off to a remote facility where others like her live, Ember’s forced to pair up with her former captor, Caden, to learn how to survive inside until she can escape. Only Caden’s making escape seem less and less appealing.

But even as Ember falls for the boy who got her into this mess, she knows that she is running out of time. Because the government has plans for those like her, and those plans might just cost Ember her life.

Comments:

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

From someone who isn’t usually into fantasy and science fiction, 4 stars is saying a lot. One of the things that I really liked is its power to engage me from the beginning. There is kind of a mystery feel to this book because it warrants so many answers yet to be discovered. However, even upon finishing, there still remains the confusion on who is the enemy, or who should be trusted. Twisted right?

Character-wise, Ember can be cool or irritating but due to alterations, it seems she can’t be blamed. I was a bit skeptical with the love story because again there’s the case of insta-love but at least was a bit played down. Caden just had to be perfect in every way as with other book boyfriends. o_o

I also liked how luck wasn’t always on Ember’s side just like how it seems with other plots. It was a plus that she was caught. I’d seriously be rolling my eyes if she wasn’t considering the government are supposed to be watching. I’d be watching out for the next installment and hope it’ll be awesome as well!

My Rating: ★★★★ (4)

contemporary · romance · young adult

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

Author: Kody Keplinger

Summary from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

Comments:

Okay so I was intrigued with this book because I saw the trailer of the movie coming out next year. I heard a lot of good things about this book too, but with all honesty, it wasn’t much to my liking.

There are a lot of stereotypes in this book – yep typical high school. Main character Bianca was such a hypocrite most of the time but I got to hand it to her for realizing that in the end. She is just so full of contradictions, lies a lot, hates almost everything, makes excuses about needing a distraction, . She has a lot to say about other people, but doesn’t even stop to think about things she’s been doing.

What is exactly honest about this book? What is it trying to say? Probably that teens have a lot of raging hormones.

“And you, darling, are the Duff.”
“Is that even a word?”
“Designated. Ugly. Fat. Friend,” he clarified. “No offense, but that would be you.”

My Rating: ★★ (2)

fantasy · paranormal · romance

Let the Sky Fall

Author: Shannon Messenger
Series: Let the Sky Fall #1

Summary from Goodreads:
Vane Weston should have died in the category-five tornado that killed his parents. Instead, he woke up in a pile of rubble with no memories of his past – except one: a beautiful, dark-haired girl standing in the winds. She swept through his dreams ever since, and he clings to the hope that she’s real.

Audra is real, but she isn’t human. She’s a sylph, an air elemental who can walk on the wind, translate its alluring songs, even twist it into a weapon. She’s also a guardian – Vane’s guardian – and has sworn an oath to protect him at all costs.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both their families, Audra has just days to help Vane unlock his memories. And as the storm winds gather, Audra and Vane start to realize that the greatest danger might not be the warriors coming to destroy them, but the forbidden romance growing between them.

Comments:

I’m so relieved that the ending was so much better than the other parts of the book or I would have been really frustrated with this book. The author gave me a new world to explore since I’ve never heard of sylphs before, but the story didn’t really make me that interested. It wasn’t really bad, but it wasn’t that good either.

How would you feel if one day you would discover that you aren’t human? Let us leave that question to be answered by Vane Weston when he found out that he was a sylph. Not only that, but suppressed memories were suddenly becoming clear. The greatest event was meeting that girl he often dreamed about – Audra.

The story was interchangeably from Vane and Audra’s point of view. Vane’s tone is usually sarcastic and funny whilst Audra’s more serious and uptight. I guess one thing I didn’t like was the info dump regarding the winds and windwalkers and other wind talk. The conversations were a bit too long for my taste while the action came at the end. Each day that they were together was just too long. Romance-wise, it was alright, not something I’d really fangirl about.

Hopefully the next installment wouldn’t be as dragged out as this one!

My Rating: ★★

contemporary · new adult · romance

Brave (The 12 NA’s of Christmas)

Author: Zoe Dawson
Summary from Goodreads:
In the season of hope, in the season of giving…

How far would you go for your friend?

Alissa Thompson has been the good girl her whole life. Her uninterested parents don’t understand her hopes and dreams. But this Christmas when her steadfast childhood friend Charlie needs her more than ever, she can’t back down. Crossing the line means being braver than she has ever been in her life. It means changing and growing and taking a stand.

Dakota Gray was brave in the face of debilitating fear. But he lost himself in that blood soaked day and has shunned everything he once knew. Now shattered and broken, he hides out in isolation, his wounds beyond healing. His heart closed, his emotions buried, he’s a man on the edge of self-destructing. Little does he know that courage would be found in another searching for the strength to be brave.

Now snowbound in the Colorado Rockies one week before Christmas, Alissa thought this was about her journey and her friend, about setting him free. But from the moment she meets Dakota, she learns about what real bravery is all about. What real love is all about. But is the season enough, her courage enough, her love enough to heal this hero’s brave heart and in the end set herself free?

Date finished reading: April 02, 2014

Comments:

I received a free digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

I wonder where I found the strength to finish this. I’ve put it down a lot of times because I was really bored as it dragged on. I have no idea what to expect with this, but the cover caught my eye, and that was one of the very few things I appreciated in this book.

The whole story revolved around two characters – Dakota and Alissa, described physically perfect which was one of the major cliche factors. Both have a dark past they willed to hide, but slowly opened up through conversations and a lot of sexual tensions along the way. I have to admit that I was confused when the story began, but that turned to annoyance and even boredom before even reaching chapter 5. Things were so unreal. Can you imagined how the universe must have conspired for their paths to cross? How lucky for Alissa that Dakota was even a healer? In just a matter of few days they were changed into what they thought was impossible – creatures in the path of moving on. Alissa was described as one having compassion, but seriously she was just lusting most of the time. There was even a part when Dakota was opening up and Alissa was just kissing him (to bring him back to reality or more of taking advantage?)

Most of the time, they just held back from their lust, which Dakota attributed to the demons inside of him (and they appear every so often in the book). I think they should have just succumbed to the call of the flesh so this book would have been over sooner! Or, better yet, the author should have just stopped dragging it on since the story was predictable anyway. That was just 118 pages but seriously felt like forever! I’m happy that with their new resolve to be brave, but other than that, there was nothing else I’ve appreciated 😦

My Rating: