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Romance

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Note: I apologise in advance for use of any inappropriate GIFs. I couldn’t help myself. 

I haven’t updated this blog for a while now and for that I sincerley apologise. The Computer Science degree has been getting harder latley with all the maths, and I’ve been putting my writing ahead of my reading, so I haven’t had very much to blog about anyway. Anyway, on with the review…

Shadow and Bone is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while now and as soon as I got a Kobo (yes, I have gone to the dark side of e-readers) I knew I had to read it. And 99p, it was impossible to pass up.

For those of you who don’t know what the hype is all about, here is a brief synopsis from Goodreads:

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him

World Building 


For me, one of the best things about this book was the world building. Bardugo has taken a great amount of inspiration from Russia, as is clear on the cover. I know a number of people on goodreads.com were particularly annoyed that she may not have used Russia’s culture to its full potential. Russian names were used, and occasional Russian foods, and of course, kvas, a Russian drink. Some people will get hung up on the fact that the protagonist, Alina Starkov, should have been called Starkova because she is a girl. Admittedly, I also have a problem with this, but in the big scheme of things, it is but a minor annoyance. 
 
Now I talk about my favourite part. MAGIC! The country of Ravka have two armies, The First Army, which consists of humans, and The Second Army, which consists of the magical people known as the Grisha. Grisha power is known as the small science, because the word ‘magic’ is a negative connotation, much like the word ‘witch’ often is in other novels. The Grisha are categorised in smaller groups depending on their powers. There are three main groups: 

The Etherealki, The Order of the Summoners.

Taken from: http://emmyiskhaleesi.tumblr.com/

They are divided into Inferni, Squallers and Tidemakers. Summoners deal with the elements and by extension, even the Darkling and Alina are Summoners because of their powers over shadows and light. Summoners wear blue keta, with different coloured embroidery depending on which element they control.

The Fabrikators

Taken from: http://emmyiskhaleesi.tumblr.com/

 

They are divided into Durasts and Alkemi. (I’m not certain whether this is specified in the first book.)
Fabrikators build things. They are the tinkers and inventors, and they are often looked down upon by other Grisha becuase they are essentially the nerds of any high school. The Fabrikators wear purple kefta robes.

  Corporalki– the Order of the Living and the Dead. 

Taken from: http://emmyiskhaleesi.tumblr.com/

The subtypes are Heartrenders, and Healers. Heartrenders can slow the heart or squeeze the life out of someone by stopping their heart. Healers are self-explanatory. They heal. Coparalki wear red kefta robes.

The Darkling

The Darkling is a mysterious man with great power. He is second only to the King of Ravka himself, and head of the Second Army. He is the only one permitted to wear a black kefta.




I thought the idea of giving the different Grisha different coloured robes was an interesting idea. In doing so, the members of the Second Army became more of a high school, seperating themselves into different factions and cliques. The Summoners argued with the Coporalki and the Fabrikators mostly stuck to their metal. On the surface, it was quite entertaining, but there were still a few problems.

My major concern with it all was that we were not exposed to their powers enough. Every now and then we’d have a Heartrender stop someone’s heart, or a Fabrikator make something, but mostly we were simply told what they were capabale of. You would expect for a protagonist knew to the ways of the Small Science, they would actually teach her. And maybe although Alina had a magic teacher and a fighting instructor, I still think I would have liked to know more of what she and all the other characters were capable of. I wanted something beyond the surface of the basic cattiness of the different Orders, and more of actual teaching. Maybe if Alina hadn’t avoided all the other Summoners…

Characters were often identified by what colour kefta they wore, and we didn’t really get to know much about anyone save for a handful of characters. The only powers that were really shown were the powers of the Darkling, Genya, and of course, Alina. 
Another problem I had were all the names. Sometimes the author called them Materalki, and other times they were Fabrikators. Sometimes Summoners were called Etheralki, and I found the interchangeable names confusing. 

Some readers will complain about the vague “Russianess” of everything. Bardugo has taken liberties with the Russian culture and so even the words which may sound like Russian are not completely Russian, or are not translated properly. I saw a particularly furious review on Goodreads about the stereotypical use of a Chinese inspired trainer called Botkin. They seemed particularly outraged at his bad English,  or bad “Ravkan” or whatever the characters of this book speak, and his general blood-thirstiness because this a popular trope in fiction. Think, Atilla the Hun.

Plot

Alina Starkov’s world is turned upside down one day when she realises that she is accused of being a Sun Summoner. No such thing has ever existed before, so it is quite an unbelievable accusation, one that the Darkling himself puts to the test. And can I just say, through most of the novel, and maybe even into the sequel, I am Team Darkling?


Whisked away by the Darkling to be trained at the Little Palace (He’s really being quite modest!), Alina fears she will never see her best friend, Mal. Alina must destroy the Shadow Fold, and now that the weight of the whole country is on her shoulders, she finds herself longing for her old life when she was nothing more than a simple map maker. 

The plot Leigh Bardugo has employed is nothing overly original. Girl discovers latent power. Girl must overcome obstacles and deceptions in order to save the kingdom. But there’s nothing wrong with using a tried and tested method. The storyline itself may not be overly original, but the way Bardugo has written made the novel simply enticing. Sometimes I’m in Alina’s head and I can’t help but really feel for her, and yet other times I want to slap her and be like “Get your head in the game!”. 

Alina yearns for Mal and is ungrateful whilst she whines about not being treated well by other Grisha who are obviously jealous of her. This might annoy some readers but I find it quite understandable. At the end of the day, Alina is only human… figuratively speaking. After all, Alina is Grisha. 

Characters

There are only a few memorable characters in this novel, and on the surface I find that they are all very intriguing, but I do wish I had gotten to know some of them better. 

Alina 

Quote

“What are you smiling at?”
I whirled, peering into the gloom. The Darkling’s voice seemed to float out of the shadows. He walked down to the stream, crouching on the bank to splash water on his face and through his dark hair.
“Well?” he asked, looking up at me.
“Myself,” I admitted.
“Are you that funny?”
“I’m hilarious.”

 

Alina is feisty and intriguing. She isn’t a hardcore bad-ass, but I think that’s okay. I liked seeing her come into her power when she was training. She does have her whiney tendencies but I thought that was quite normal, and she did get over it after a while. There’s not a lot I can say about her without revealing spoilers but for the most part I’d have to say that Alina was an average heroine. I think she becomes stronger in the sequel but in this debut to the trilogy she is really just trying to find her place in the world. 


The Darkling

Quote

“The problem with wanting,” he whispered, his mouth trailing along my jaw until it hovered over my lips, “is that it makes us weak.”

 

Oh my gosh, what to say first about this guy? He is alluring, powerful, and an overall bad-ass. I loved almost everything about him, especially nearer to the beginning. He is the true power of Ravka, and boy does he know it. He thinks the king as a child, and detests the Royal family in general. I expected the twist that Bardugo wrote, and despite it all, or maybe because of it, I still loved him. Alina and the Darkling? I ship it! 

 
Maybe my biggest problem with him is that we don’t get to know much about him. I mean, sure, there is that awesome revelation, but the very fact that we never get to know his real name dehumanises him. Of course, it goes both ways. To know too much is to ruin that mysterious allure of his. 

 



Mal

Quote

“I don’t care if you danced naked on the roof of the Little Palace with him. I love you, Alina, even the part of you that loved him.”  

Oh Mal. He is like the anti-Darkling. He is completley human, but mind you, still very attractive. He even gained the attention of a blue robed Grisha near the beginning. He is Alina’s best friend, but he never really notices her in that way. Alina on the other hand has been crushing on Mal for ages, and I find it quite sad that he doesn’t seem to really notice her until he loses her.
In spite of this, Mal isn’t completely useless. He is a tracker in the First Army, and he can find just about anything. I can’t really say how he uses this gift becuase that would be a spoiler, but, yeah, Mal got skills. 
Despite this, I’m not really a huge fan of him. It’s not simply because he will never match up to the allure of the Darkling. It’s because as a human, I’m not sure he will ever understand Alina, now that she is Grisha. This pairing is completely eclipsed by the Alina/Darkling pairing.


I was going to give this one 4 stars because I love the Darkling and the revelation, and the Amplifiers, but Alina could have been a stronger character and the world building had something left to be desired. But I raced through this one and almost immediately bought the sequel, so I will give it 3 1/2 stars out of 5 🙂




I’ve kindly asked a friend to review a book for me. This book has been reviewed by Deborah Osborne:


I found the Iron Kingby accident while browsing books on my Kindle.  The cover was the first thing that attracted me because it was mysterious and gorgeous.  The second thing was the idea of a race of iron faeries and how they would fit into the story.  It did take me a while to get stuck into the book as in the first instance it seemed to be a premise that had been done quite a lot before (she was just an average American high school student when suddenly…) Having said that I liked the books so much that I read the first three in the series in a few weeks, and have the fourth downloaded.

 

Story

The plot begins with Meghan going to save her brother from the Iron King, a race of fae who are toxic to other faeries. The pace was brisk and the tension kept coming, especially towards the end of the book.  There was a steady stream of obstacles to block Meghan’s way too.  My favourite of these was King Oberon, whose aloofness and certainness in his own opinion made it very clear that being related to him wouldn’t get Meghan anywhere fast.  Plus it gave her a whole other barrel of obstacles to deal with as she is soon drawn into the politics between Oberon’s Court and their long-time adversaries at Queen Mab’s court.
There are the flickerings of a love triangle between Meghan, Ash and Goodfellow, but it doesn’t take over the main story.  Plus it’s quite clear that Meghan’s heart belongs to the boy she can’t have, which only adds to the fun.

Character

I liked Meghan Chase, the heroine of these books.  She was good natured and brave.  Sometimes with books in this genre I find the main female protagonists too similar.  Meghan Chase is definitely of the same type as other YA fantasy romance heroines, but I still enjoyed her company and could connect to her journey. Although she does have a talent for forgetting deals she’s made with other faeries that are quite important. For me though this book was all about the boys. 
The ancient feud between Ash and Robin Goodfellow added an extra layer of tension to the story as they are forced to work together to help Meghan save her brother.  They are contrasted well and are satisfying foils for each other. Grimalkin the Cait Sith is sophisticated and crafty. It’s nice never being entirely sure what he is up to, or what side he is on. His dialogue is brilliantly distinctive too and oozing with sarcasm in some places.

World Building

I love faeries, especially bad scary faeries, and the world created was sinister mostly due to the system of deals and favours between the fair folk. You never get something for nothing which means that the characters are constantly in a state of assessing what they are prepared to lose in order to get what they want. 
We learn right from the start that this land is dangerous as within a few minutes of arriving Meghan is being hunted by numerous beasties. Most of these beasties also exist in the ‘real’ world too so even on the occasions Meghan travels back to America she isn’t safe from horny satyrs and scheming oracles.
The description of Oberon’s court with the magical moving hedges is one that stays in the memory. I loved that and was disappointed that more of the action didn’t take place there. The second one that stayed with me most were the tunnels that lead Meghan to the Iron King’s Castle.  They were sinister and filled with peril, especially for the more traditional faery characters.
 Overall, I would have to give The Iron King 4/5!

Debbie has her own blog that you can check out. Go over to www.thewickedqueensmirror.wordpress.com !!!

First of all, I would like to sincerly apologise for not posting for a few weeks now. This is due to the fact that I have been participating in NaNoWriMo. For those of you who don’t know, once a year in the month of November, crazy writers like myself embark on a quest to write 50,000 words in one month. I didn’t “win” as I didn’t achieve this goal but on the bright side, I have 20,084 words more than when I started.

In any case, on with the review…

Endless Knight by Kresley Cole was an intriguing novel I couldn’t find myself letting go of. Thus, I read the entire book in the space of about 12 hours from 1pm to 1am, thankful to have something engaging to do on the train journey back to university.

Synopsis:

Evie has finally accepted that she is The Empress, one of 22 Major Arcana cards gifted with special powers. She finally knows what she was fated to do: win the game by killing the other cards. But she can’t do that. Doing so would mean losing herself, and the boy she loves. Now that Jack knows what she is, tensions rise as he struggles to accept her. But that isn’t half the problem.
Thanks to the apocalypse, zombified bagmen and crazed Major Arcana are out to kill Evie and her group. The worst card of them all? Death. He is an immortal knight who has a long history with the Empress, and he is very fascinated by Evie. Question is, does he want to seduce her, or kill her?

The Style

The narrative for Endless Knight was far more simplified than Poison Princess as we only get the story from Evie’s point of view. Although more limiting, I think it’s a good that Cole still found a way to keep my interest. On the whole, I don’t think there was as much action in this book as the last one in the series, but this did enable Cole to concentrate more on the relationships within the story. And lo and behold, I feel it is only fair to warn you that there is somewhat of a love triangle in the works here.

As in the last book, Jack speaks quite a bit in Cajun French and Evie often translates that to the readers. I can’t say that I find this a problem but I am aware that some reviewers found it irritating in Poison Princess. Personally I find it to be a necessary tool because being Cajun French is an essential part of who Jack is. I’ll talk a bit more about that at the Characterisation section though.
 

The Mythology

The novel revolves around the 22 Major Arcana, with Evie the MC being the Empress. As such she has power over plant life.

A bit like this, except Evie revives plants from her blood…

Shame Evie doesn’t get the cool dress. Also, these are from Sky High, a Disney movie.

This would be more awesome if not for the fact that the world was struck by a meteorite or something during “The Flash”, destroying most animals and plant life. The Game ends when only one Major Arcana is left standing, so in essence it’s some sort of crazed Hunger Games which the gods started with the entire world as the battlefield. Or at the very least, the idea of the gods is alluded to by Matthew, the Fool.

I have to give Cole a lot of respect for creating a myth this original. Whilst in the first book I thought that the whole post-apocalyptic scenario was just some sort of an excuse to get the two love interests together without adults or any kind of authority to stop them, the need for the catastrophic event is explained a bit. Every few centuries, the game starts and it only ends when there is only one card standing. The winner gets immortality… until the next game. Personally, I find that unfair, but I would never accuse the gods of being fair.

Characterisations

I like Jackson’s portrayal. I completely understand that he needs time to fully accept Evie. I wouldn’t have liked him if he had rejected Evie, but I don’t think it would have been believable for him to be completely comfortable with the situation the whole time.
Jackson is what he is and never once tries to be anything else. He is fierce, strong, but not invulnerable, and certainly not a white knight– though he seems to be the closest thing that Evie will get. He isn’t a dark knight either though. That role might be reserved for Death. Jack is protective of Evie and it seemed that he wasn’t entirely sure what to do when he realised that “his girl” was capable of kicking ass on her own. He seems a bit old-fashioned that way.
He screws up and he admits to that and tries to do better next time, a quality I admire. Having said that, WHY JACKSON, WHY?! I can’t reveal any spoilers, but secrets will be unveiled…

Evie is headstrong and powerful. She values the lives of others, which very well could be her undoing one day. Her relationship with Matthew for instance is one I find interesting. She saved him from drowning in Poison Princess and constantly defending him when the others complained that they would be better off without him because he didn’t pull his weight. She has compassion, which in the age after The Flash, the apocalypse that wiped everything everyone once knew, is rare.
She also has intelligence. I’m not saying that she’s the smartest protagonist I’ve read about, but she isn’t the sort to immediately cry when she’s in a tough situation, either. I think she’s a wonderful blend of girlishness and badassery. Except for maybe Evie from the Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White (She has a PINK taser!)

But perhaps one of the most interesting characters is Death. He has a hidden past that is slowly unveiled in the last half of the book (last two thirds?). I can’t say much without giving away spoilers, but I can definitley say that his relationship with the past Empresses have definitley been rather destructive. He was sort of like an onion. He had a lot layers. Cole peeled away his layers slowly, but I don’t think we have the full story yet. I’m sure he’ll have plenty to surprise us with in the sequel.
One thing I am glad about is that Cole was able to humanise him without making him look like a complete wimp. This was a problem I had with the Hades character in Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test, Henry. He was mourning the loss of Persephone for centuries and he wanted to fade away, out of existence. Touching tragedy, but honestly, a real let down for me considering how epic I think a Hades figure should really be. And Cole’s Death is no different, except the fact that he’s a card, not a god.
Regardless, I found him to be a multifaceted character whose only real problem was the fact that I don’t think he had a legitimate enough reason for ever having loved The Empress to begin with. They guy gave up his heart too quickly to a woman who had been trying to kill him from the beginning. Did he really think that she would so easily forget?

There are a number of minor characters who certainly serve a purpose. I can’t get too much into them, but I can definitely say that I want to know more about them in the sequel. We’ve barely even scratched the surface with the likes of Finn and Selena and Cole spends a lot of the book tantalizing us with secrets about Matthew. For some reason he is indebted to Death, but we never know why. Le Sigh.

I rate this book 4/5 stars

I really want the sequel. WHY WON’T THEY GIVE ME THE SEQUEL LIKE NOW?!

There are several reasons why I enjoyed The Iron Traitor more than The Lost Prince. It’s darker, more suspenseful, and has better characterisations than TLP.
My biggest concern however was that the title was a dead giveaway and I suspect that Kagawa (or her publishers) did that on purpose to tease us. Either way, I think that the journey was more important than the ending.


Plot:
What is interesting about this sequel is that for once, it’s not really bad things happening to even. Of course that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect him, we wouldn’t have a book.
Kierran, the Iron Prince, has disappeared and many people are in search of him — especially his parents, that iron Queen, and the once winter Prince, “touch me and I’ll kill you,” now iron Prince consort, “if you even think of moving from the spot are freeze is will feet to the floor of your room.” Okay, so he’s still sort of an ice-boy 😉

Annwyl is dying and Kierran seeks to find a way to stop her from Fading.As Kierran’s best friend and uncle, Ethan finds himself getting sucked into the world of fey once more to help a family member in stop all the while, Kenzie, his girlfriend, is dying from leukaemia. But with an eerie prophecy hanging over his head, Ethan fears the worst of Kierran.

Overall, I enjoyed the balance of action, romance, and even a bit of mystery. And when Ethan uses his brain, he is very badass!


Characters:
Ethan — a.k.a. “tough guy”; “Iron Prince” (by relation to Meghan). I like him — nay — I LOVE him 🙂 Ethan has a firm sense of loyalty. Whilst he isn’t the cleverest character, he isn’t as impulsive as Kierran. Having encountered the Good Neighbours as a child (he was kidnapped by Machina, iron King) he is very cautious around the fey.
As a boyfriend, Ethan can often be overbearing and overprotective, as he himself points out. This can be infuriating at times when he attempts to protect Kenzie when she claims she does not need protection, and he does do one or two things that are a bit stupid and may potentially ruin their relationship. This of course was a brilliantly thought out idea because in reality a lot of the problems are actually internal as opposed to external. This means of course that aside from the potential threat that the faeries could be, Ethan also has to worry about his relationships which are founded on trust, reliability, and of course love.
On the whole, Kagawa has represented the mind of a teenage boy quite well. In this book, Ethan comes out of that broodish/thugish/mystery boy shell. The walls of his placed around him come crumbling down and it’s all thanks to Kenzie. We get to see more of the person, as he is represented in multifaceted way. 

Kenzie– For some time in the first book I did wonder why Ethan was interested in her but of course it became quite apparent. Kenzie is one of the few people who isn’t afraid of Ethan. She strives to find the truth about him, to break him out of his shell so that he can actually try and interact with other human beings. Of course, she gets more than she bargained with when she discovers the world of the fey in the process, but through it all, she remained strong and defiant. She continues to do the same throughout The Iron Traitor, despite other people constantly trying to protect her due to her illness. She was definitely one of my favourite characters, strangely reminding me of Annabeth Chase from the Percy Jackson series because she is smart and resourceful. I also occasionally felt sorry for her when the boys were being stupid.

Kierran– I don’t even know where to start with this guy. Oh, I know. Desperate. Kierran is desperate to save the love of his life, Annwyl, from Fading. As a summer fey exile, her destiny is to Fade away into nothingness, and her encounter with the Forgotten in the previous book has speeded up the process. In a race against time, the Iron Prince seeks to find a cure, but it will come at great cost. How far is he willing to go save the one he loves?
Now if you know about the Iron Prophecy already, you’ll know what’s to come and it’s all a matter of how and when. 
Kierran didn’t seem to have much of a personality to me in the previous book but Kagawa has given him more depth in this sequel. He comes across as generally loyal, and very intense. Though usually slow to anger, desperation has made him quick tempered and impulsive. In other words, he does stupid shit that will make you want to slap him, but you can still sort of sympathise. Sort of. Most of the time, I find myself asking “What the hell, Kierran?”

Cameo appearances– Characters from the original series do appear, and are generally more prominent than the previous book, which made me very happy 🙂 Seriously, seeing these characters again made me this happy:

As to be expected from a Julie Kagawa book, she hit me right where it hurts at the end. So I warn you, there will be pain. But really you’ll love it. And hate it. At the same time.

And once you are finished you can say “Julie Kagawa broke my heart… and it was awesome!”
I rate this book… 4/5 stars!

 I really wanted to like this book, I really did. Melissa Marr is one of my favourite authors. I love the Wicked Lovely Series — They Were Amazing. I Still Think about Them A Lot All of Them, Especially Niall, Irial and Leslie and everybody else, but let’s face it: those are my favourite three.
 
I like Melissa Marr’s writing because she usually portrays strong, independent women. Some of the characters in Wicked Lovely were cruel, and some of them were downright crazy, but I think the vast majority did have some sort of justification for the things they did — except for Bananach because she was bat-shit crazy.

Carnival of Souls was a book I was heavily anticipating and although it was rather adventurous, I think that it reminded me too much of Wicked Lovely in some ways, but it seemed to fail where WL succeeded.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures—if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father—and every other witch there—fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it’s only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable.While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.

 
World Building: 

The very first thing I have to wonder about this book is: What are daimons?
Marr is rather descriptive of her world and its characters, but it is never properly explained what these creatures are. With mentions of fur and claws, I envision creatures akin to werewolves, but I really can’t be sure. The word looks like Demons, but they don’t seem to be like the demons from shows like Supernatural and Charmed.
For some reason the witches and daimons hate each other. Daimons live in a place simply known as The City. Perhaps this is Marr’s way of trying to make the place sort of anonymous like she did with Huntsdale in WL (try as I might, I can’t figure out where Huntsdale is meant to be) to give it the impression of being a sort of ‘Every City’. I’m not sure. But I find that the history between the daimons and witches was somewhat obscure. The witches cursed the daimons so that Nature would consume The City and so witches who live in the The City only do so as slaves to the daimons. At the moment I’m not really getting an idea of who is good and who is evil, but I’ve come to expect that from Marr. The Dark Court wasn’t evil for instance, even though we were sort of led to believe that from book 1 in the WL series.

Narrative:

The book was written in the 3rd person, which is more or less what I expected from Marr. In the past I have found this way of story telling to be disengaging but Marr long ago rekindled my love for it. I now write most of my stories in 3rd person.
The novel follows 4 characters:

Mallory- the damsel
Aya- the psychobitch
Kaleb- the lower class bad boy
Belias- the upper class boy

Now, Mallory came across as “the main character” to me because a lot of things seemed to revolove around her. Unfortunately she was one of those characters who had things happening to her, but she never really overcame them.
Mallory has been growing up with her father most of her life (her mother had to leave), who is a witch. And because witches and daimons are sworn enemies, her father, Adam, teaches her how to fight. Which is kind of funny because she doesn’t do a lot of actual fighting. He claims to love her but he has a terrible way of showing it. Mallory didn’t stick out to me because overall, she was a weak character who could barely look after herself. Now, it wasn’t always her fault because of her father using his powers on her, but regardless, I didn’t really connect with her.

You may think I am being a tad harsh about describing Aya as a psychobitch but come one, she IS cold and callous. Of couse she does prove to have a conscience, but the very first scene showed her fighting a loved one for personal gain. She comes across as over the top and arrogant. Altogether, she is the complete opposite of Mallory. In time, she grew on me so I wouldn’t say that this character is a complete failure. I certainly like her better than Mallory. I am glad that Marr had a purpose when she gave Aya these charactersitics. Aya isn’t cruel for the sake of being cruel. She hides a secret that could be her undoing.
The romance between Aya and Belias was an interesting way of showing Aya’s softer side, which brings me to discussing The Upper Class Boy…
 
I can’t say I remember much about Belias. Like Mallory his arc consists of external forces causing conflict. The secret that Aya has been keeping with her all her life affects him greatly, and he soon finds that his life is no longer in his own hands.

Kaleb is a bit of a rogue. He is a lower class daimon, which means that he has little rights, and he has to take on dangerous jobs to make ends meat. Like for many of the other competitors, the competition is Kaleb’s lifeline. If he wins, he can finally have a good life, not just for himself but for his packmate, Zevi. He and Zevi have been friends for quite some time and they take care of each other like brothers.
One of Kaleb’s dangerous jobs included going to the mortal realm to keep an eye out for Mallory. And of course, romance ensues 😉

Overall, I will say that I am disappointed with Carnival of Souls, but regardless, I couldn’t put the book down. I read this one in less than 24hrs and it was absoloutley absorbing. So despite my grumblings, Marr did something right, proving once again that she is a great writer. Unfortunatley, I didn’t like many of her character’s and I found that the deal that Kaleb made at the end was simply terrible. Once again, Mallory is left helpless to a fate she didn’t decide.

I rate this book 3 stars!
 
 

This review has been a long time coming. I think the book came out maybe 4 years ago? I only read it in July though, but I was too lazy to actually review it. Now I’m at university, scrounging for the time to do anything I actually want to, haha.

This book has layer upon layer of mystery.

 Kaylee Cavanaugh is a normal girl whose life comes crumbling down when she becomes possessed the urge to scream. when  we start the book, it isn’t her first time to scream. she had these episodes before but they get progressively worse.
Beautiful girls are dying around her, and Kaylee seeks to discover why.  Of course this could have dangerous consequences. No one will tell her what is happening , why it’s happening, and how it is happening.

 
 
Trailer:
 


Rachel Vincent brings something new to the myth of faeries.  There is intrigue, romance, and action. this novel mostly deals with Reapers and the Banshees, (mostly referred to as bean sidhe in this novel) but I do believe that there were mentions of demons and other creatures that live on another astral plane.

Now, let’s talk about the fun part : The Love Interest.

 From what I recall, Nash is the kind of guy who isn’t supposed to know of the existence of the main character.  So when he does notices Kaylee at a party, she is very smitten.  Nash turns out to know more about Kaylee’s secret than she does, but I won’t spoil about how he knows!
 I found myself comparing Nash to my ideal boyfriend, who is Seth from Melissa Marr’s “Wicked Lovely” series. Honestly, I could have a whole conversation about why Seth is the perfect boyfriend — but this is a review about “My Soul to Take” !  Nash isn’t quite Seth perfect but he is still rather understanding of a lot of things. He is kind and considerate but  I have to take a few brownie points because of the whole secret thing. And he’s almost a little too perfect. When will his skeletons come out of the closet?

 As far as the secret goes ,  Kaylee’s family should not have kept it from her. but I understand their logic — as infuriating as it was! Her father, was the worst culprit.  He made me so angry!
Another very good mystery, was the whole business of the reapers.  It reminded me  of Victoria Scott’s  “Dante Walker” series but without the idea of God and the devil. As the name suggests, Reapers take souls to the next place: be that heaven, hell or wherever. I’m sure Vincent will explain all that stuff later in the series.

Let’s talk about Kaylee as a person. She’s actually  a rather likeable character. I felt something, rather than being indifferent or wanting to kill her. She was an angsty teenager without being completely overwhelming about how suckish her life is. She had a mental breakdown prior to the beginning of this novel, leading her to being put on medication. I think Vincent handled her problem rather delicately. She wasn’t all depressed and sick of the world. Instead she found good friends to talk to, and admittedly, she did try to speak to her family, and I think she come across as a strong, independent character without being an asshole. She wasn’t full on Female Warrior, but she wasn’t a damsel in distress. I’d say she falls somewhere in the middle, if I have to make comparisons.

My major concern was the love interest, Nash. Although he is a lovely guy, I did find the relationship rather convenient and quite honestly, not particularly believable. Kaylee is one of those infuriating YA characters who doesn’t think she’s beautiful —a trend that MUST be bucked at some point, people!

I mean, look at this!:

“If Eastlake High School were the universe, I would be one of the moons circling Planet Emma, constantly hidden by her shadow, and glad to be there. Nash Hudson would be one of the stars: too bright to look at, too hot to touch and at the center of his own solar system.”


 So of course when the hot guy Nash seeks her attention, she has no idea why! This in itself isn’t my main concern, but the fact that their relationship started so quickly worries me. I am going to have completely unrealistic ideals in a relationship, haha!

I give the book 4/5 stars!


Please take a moment to enjoy the quotes below. I hope they don’t spoil things for you.

Good Quotes:    

“He was an arrogant little demon.”
“So what happened?” I asked.
“I punched him.”
For a moment, we stared at him in silence. “You punched the reaper?” I asked, and my hand fell from the strainer onto the edge of the sink.
“Yeah.” He chuckled at the memory, and his grin brought out one of my own.


“My aunt and overprivileged cousin only recognize two states of being: glitter and grunge. And if you weren’t glitter, well, that only left one other option.”

“…the dead have a way of becoming saints in the eyes of their survivors…”  

“…Weirdest. Tuesday. Ever”

“Why do you hang out with him?”
“We’re teammates.”
Ahhh. And if blood was thicker than water, then football, evidently, would congeal in one’s veins.”
  

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve blogged. I’ve just started a Computer Science course at University, and YIKES! Fresher’s Week was intense. A rollercoaster of emotions including partying, fresher’s flue, and orientation lectures, haha!

So I finally got round to reading The Eternity Cure. I don’t usually buy books through Amazon but I’ve bought quite a number of things since getting my first Debit card.

 Allie is back and she’s fiercer than ever. Through all the trials and tribulations she faces- terrible jokes made by Jackal, cannibal mole men and of course, the demented Sarren- she gives it her all.

Sarren is batshit crazy– nothing different there I guess.

 Jackal was there too but strangely enough, this time he was my my favorite character. His history with Kanin is finally revealed 🙂 hehe. Personally I think it proves that you can be a monster even before you become a vampire.
 Some people criticize that Allie and Zeke are boring. This might be in part due to the trope of forbidden love and and their point of view on morality. Jackals is refreshing because he knows what he is and he likes what he is. He is a monster and never claims to be anything but a monster. Unlike Kanin he does not seek to better the world- Unless you count Jackal as king a form of peace. Spoiler alert: We discover his real name!

For some people this was a fairly slow read. . I rather liked the pacing, myself. Just because Allie is a vampire, does not mean that she can travel at the speed of lightning. There were many difficult choices for her to make along the way.  Allie is a bass on many levels.. not only can she holder only in fight against other great vampire, but constantly having to fight against her own demons. .and a twist of fate when she has to work with the one vampire she would rather kill. in order I find. her sire, . she does S anyway. Sure, working with Jackal is no walk in the park, but she manages it.

Now let’s talk about the villain for a minute. Julie, please, Julie, why?! . I read the Sarren parts to my sister . in a creepy voice. and she was officially creeped out– petrified even!  If a character is meant to be a reflection of the author, then I really don’t want to know what Sarren is supposed to reflect!

I mean, check these lines out:

Perhaps, I will pluck out both your eyes, then remove all your teeth, and make a necklace from them. Or maybe a wind chime. I do love wind chimes, don’t you, little bird?

He’s also always blathering on about music. In this book it was about a ‘final requim’. The only thing that will be final will be the end of his existence! He makes me so mad. But it was really disturbing how good I got my impression of him– like I must be crazy as well.

Is it even a spoiler to mention that Zeke returns? I mean seriously, it’s a given!

But seriously, the ending is devastating.
I tweeted the author Julie Kagawa about.my reaction to the end of the novel, which was basically me crying my eyes out– like, UGLY crying in the middle of the night. . do you   want to know her reaction? . she tweeted me: “Thanks, Your tears feed my Muse”. . it was awesome of her to reply, but MAN was that a creepy response 😛

Here it is in case you don’t believe me:

 
Got to love Julie though 😀
 
Anyway, I give The Eternity Cure 4/5 starts!
 
 

In the second book of the Arcana Chronicles Evie has now fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jackson was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, the tarot Alchemist, Evie realizes that a war is brewing between the other teens that, following the apocalypse, have been given powers and its kill or be killed. 

Things get even more complicated when Evie meets Death, the mysterious, sexy Endless Knight. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history – one that Evie can’t remember, but Death can’t forget. She is drawn to the Endless Knight, but is in love with Jack. Determined to discover why she’s been granted these powers, Evie struggles to accept her place in a prophecy that will either save the world, or completely destroy it.


(Synopsis from Goodreads)


Expected: 1st of October

So I heard about this book about a year ago. I read an excerpt and searched through the official website, where there are a few extra stuff, and I was hooked ever since. Now that I’ve finally got my hands on a copy and finished it, here’s my review!

For this one, I’m bringing out the GIFs!!!

The first thing you need to get used to about this book is Dante’s voice. I found like a breath of fresh air. It’s not something I’m used to. It’s a bit like marmalade. You either love it or you hate it. (But seriously? How could you hate it?!) I found myself loving it, even though I knew that of I met this character in real life, I’d hate him. He’s a prick, through and through. He’s selfish and arrogant. He’s hot and he knows it. And yet somehow Victoria Scott gets me to like him. So basically, he’s a bit like Loki. An anti-hero, verging on villainy (yes! I know Loki was painted as the villain, but really he’s just MISUNDERSTOOD!) Besides, like Dante, he’s just sexy.

The Plot:

Dante is dead. He has been for 2 years. He makes a deal with the devil (literally!) and is allowed to walk the earth so long as he collects seals and steals souls. When Boss Man tells him to steal Charlie’ soul in exchange for remaining permanently on earth- as opposed to in hell, where he belongs- it’s a no brainer. Just one job and he’ll be free from hell. Unfortunately he learns that Charlie is practically an angel. How can he get her to sin enough in 10 days to collect her soul? And as he gets to know her, he fears that he may not be able to complete his assignment.

Three things I liked about this book:

No insta-love: The inevitable relationship that grows between the main characters was never an instant attraction. Dante is too arrogant to want to be with someone like Charlie. She’s the goody-goody dork to his cool rich boy stereotype. They get to know each other gradually- over 10 days. Okay, 10 days is pretty short, I know, but hear me out- their love was real! Sure, Dante starts out as a jerk. But things change eventually. Oftentimes I want to do this to him though:

An interesting mythology: Can I call it that? Well, Dante is a Collector. His job is to collect souls and stuff. So basically whenever a person does something bad, he “seals” it a little. That means that it becomes tainted. Once it is fully consumed, he can collect it. It all draws from rather Christian beliefs what with “Big Guy”- AKA God and “Boss Man”- AKA the devil. It’s even hinted that Dante has other abilities he is not aware of. Can’t wait to see those in the second book.
A not so Mary-Sue: Charlie may seem a little ‘meh’ at first. I mean, she seems to pale in comparison to Dante at first, but then that’s because we’re getting everything from his perspective. And clearly, he thinks she’s a dork. But she is interesting. Part of me thinks she’s a little too goody-goody, but then so am I. I got awarded with the title “Teachers Pet” in my High School Yearbook for goodness sake! Charlie is a girl with aspirations, which I commend, but she sometimes has difficulty making them happen, due to low self-esteem. And Dante doesn’t really help with that. You’ll find out what he does later on. I won’t spoil the surprise. But she does gain confidence as the book progresses, and perhaps you will find that you will be able to identity with her, just as I have. 

My favourite quotes:

“In this trunk,” she says with a serious face, “is God’s gift to women.”“Chocolate?”“No.”“Midol?”“What? No.”“Tampons?”“Stop guessing,” she says.

“Because I see you. Even though you try so hard to hide, I see you, anyway.” 


And my personal fave, on a more lighthearted tone-

“Girl, I got swag for days.”

I rate this book 4/5 stars

Thank you Victoria Scott! You are a fabulous author. What’s more, she’s one of a few authors who’s actually replied to my tweets 😀 I think you deserve a Loki GIF:

But now I must wait for the next book, to come out 🙁