Month: August 2016 (page 1 of 5)

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising by Pierce BrownRed Rising by Pierce Brown
Series: Red Rising #1
Published by Del Rey (Random House) on January 28th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Science-Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 382
Goodreads

"I live for the dream that my children will be born free," she says. "That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them."

"I live for you," I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. "Then you must live for more."

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

4 Stars

Welcome to an uncensored version of The Hunger Games, where rape, mutilation and slavery are part of The Game. Red Rising is sci-fi meets Greco-Roman culture, combining advanced technology with the atmosphere of an ancient battle epos.

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The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. PearsonThe Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2
Published by Henry Holt and Co. on July 7th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 470
Goodreads

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There's Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

2.5 Stars

It should be noted that I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Kiss of Deception but I found the ending so promising that I really wanted to give this series another chance.

If you loved The Kiss of Deception, don’t let this review make you anxious, I’m pretty sure you will like this one more than the first. If you are like me however, and thought TKoD was very meh then this review is for you. To summarize: I was hoping THoB would remedy many things I disliked in TKoD but that didn’t happen unfortunately.

Warning: This review contains spoilers for the first instalment in the Remnant Chronicles series, The Kiss of Deception.

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Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah BiancottiZeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti
Series: Zeroes #1
Published by Simon Pulse on September 29th 2015
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 546
Goodreads

Don’t call them heroes.

But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart. They can do stuff ordinary people can’t.

Take Ethan, a.k.a. Scam. He’s got a voice inside him that’ll say whatever you want to hear, whether it’s true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn’t—like when the voice starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery. The only people who can help are the other Zeroes, who aren’t exactly best friends these days.

Enter Nate, a.k.a. Bellwether, the group’s “glorious leader.” After Scam’s SOS, he pulls the scattered Zeroes back together. But when the rescue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals. And at the heart of the chaos they find Kelsie, who can take a crowd in the palm of her hand and tame it or let it loose as she pleases.

Filled with high-stakes action and drama, Zeroes unites three powerhouse authors for the opening installment of a thrilling new series.

3.5 Stars

It’s always a great experience when you go into a book with no expectations and it turns out you really enjoy it. That’s what happened to me with Zeroes . I hadn’t read a single review beforehand, hadn’t read anything by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan or Deborah Biancotti.

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I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

I Am the Messenger by Markus ZusakI Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Borzoi Books on May 9th 2006
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Pages: 360
Goodreads

protect the diamonds
survive the clubs
dig deep through the spades
feel the hearts

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He's pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That's when the first ace arrives in the mail.

That's when Ed becomes the messenger.

Chosen to care, he makes his way through town helping and hurting (when necessary) until only one question remains: Who's behind Ed's mission?

3.5 Stars

I Am the Messenger is, in many ways, a beautiful book. The story is touching, the message heartfelt and the characters interesting and complex. It’s also a book full of humour and it ended up making me smile (and even laugh) a couple of times. Do not go into this expecting it to be like The Book Thief, the two books are nothing alike and you will be disappointed. For those with an open mind however, I believe this book has quite a lot to say.

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The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

The Mirror King by Jodi MeadowsThe Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on April 5th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 531
Goodreads

Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen.

3 Stars

The Mirror King kept me entertained, as was to be expected since its predecessor had already succeded in that department. But as the sequel to The Orphan Queen, this book was a disappointment. The second instalment failed to meet my expectations regarding improved world-building and a dramatic finale.

This review contains spoilers for The Orphan Queen. Proceed at your own risk.

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Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Forbidden by Tabitha SuzumaForbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Published by Definitions on May 27th 2010
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Pages: 432
Goodreads

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

4 Stars

I’ve had to do a lot of thinking and self-reflecting to write this review. It is rare for a book to evoke such strong emotions in me. It left me speechless and heartbroken, and my thoughts wandered back to the story for a quite a while after I had finished it. Without a doubt this book could have been a train wreck, but instead I found a beautiful tale about two people that fell in love with each other in the worst circumstances imaginable. What hit me hardest about Forbidden was how well Tabitha Suzuma depicted the complete hopelessness of Lochan and Maya’s situation and the utter desperation they had to face. It isn’t a book that glamourizes or romanticises incest. It isn’t an angst filled novel about star-crossed lovers. The way I see it, it is a story about family, the danger of neglect, the weight of responsibility. It is a sad story for sure and one that will leave you thinking about taboo issues. On top of everything else and despite the parts that may be tough to get through, I found the novel addicting and impossible to put down.

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Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Vengeance Road by Erin BowmanVengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on September 1st 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Pages: 327
Goodreads

Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

4.5 Stars

A girl with a colt in one hand and a rifle in the other, you say? And more balls than half the men in town? And a thirst for revenge? Yes, please!

I can fire a rifle as good as any man. ‘Parently I can kill another just as dead too. I don’t see why I should act like I can’t just ‘cus it ruffles everyone else’s feathers.

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Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

Girl in Translation by Jean KwokGirl in Translation by Jean Kwok
Published by Riverhead on April 29th 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Goodreads

Introducing a fresh, exciting Chinese-American voice, an inspiring debut about an immigrant girl forced to choose between two worlds and two futures.

When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family’s future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition. Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles.

Through Kimberly’s story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world that we rarely hear about.

Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic novel of an American immigrant – a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.

5 Stars

An insightful debut about immigration, hardship, and striving for education and success against all odds, enveloped by a tentative love story.

Threre’s a Chinese saying that the fates are winds that blow through our lives from every angle, urging us along the paths of time. Those who are strong-willed may fight thestorm and possibly choose their own road, while the weak must go where they are blown. I say I have not been so much pushed by winds as pulled forward by the force of my decisions.

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Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier

Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet MarillierDreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier
Series: Blackthorn & Grim #1
Published by Roc on November 4th 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 434
Goodreads

Award-winning author Juliet Marillier "weaves magic, mythology, and folklore into every sentence on the page" (The Book Smugglers). Now she begins an all-new and enchanting series that will transport readers to a magical vision of ancient Ireland...

In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she'll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help.

Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.

With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.

2 Stars

About a year ago I read Juliet Marillier’s debut novel Daughter of the Forest and fell in love. The beauty of her writing, the complexity of the characters, the slow-burn romance and the atmosphere created was incredible and I knew immediately that I wanted to read other books by her. There is something unique about Marillier’s style, she has a very distinctive storyteller voice and the way she uses fairy tales, myths and lore in her stories is wonderful to read. She makes you feel like you’re sitting around a campfire in the middle of an Irish forest sipping hot tea.

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Puddle Jumping by Amber L. Johnson

Puddle Jumping by Amber L. JohnsonPuddle Jumping by Amber L. Johnson
Series: Puddle Jumping #1
Published by Self Pub on June 29th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Mental health
Pages: 127
Goodreads

When it comes to love there’s no such thing as conventional.

Everyone thinks Colton Neely is special.

Lilly Evans just thinks he’s fascinating.

Once friends when they were younger, their bond is cut short due to her accident prone nature and they go their separate ways. Years later, they meet again and Lilly learns that there is something special about the boy she once knew, but she has no idea what it all means. And she’s not sure if she’s ready to find out.

When he walks through the corridor of her school the first day of her senior year, she knows that it’s time to get to know the real Colton Neely. The more she learns, the deeper she falls.

Their friendship grows into love, even as Colton does not express it in words. But one decision threatens to break down the world that Lilly has tried so hard to integrate into and she must figure out if the relationship can survive if they are apart.

4 Stars

I think sometimes we’re presented with the truth but we don’t want to believe it. We see things the way we want to see them. Sometimes, we choose to live in denial.

Puddle Jumping took me completely by surprise. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, but I certainly didn’t think I would love it as much as I did.

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