Saturday, 19 May 2012

City of Lost Souls ~ Review

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5)
By Cassandra Clare

Rating: 5 

You have a dark heart in you, Valentine’s daughter,” he said. “You just won’t admit it. And if you want Jace, you had better accept it. Because he belongs to me now.” 

Jace was freed from captivity and Clary left him in the firm belief that their days of separation and conflict with demonic forces, such as the malevolent Lilith, were over.

But when the other Shadowhunters arrive on the scene, they find no sign of Jace...or Sebastian. 

Clary fears the worse, as do Isabelle and Alec. Their dread worsens when the Clave fail to prioritise the search for Jace...and even go as far as suspecting Jace of being a traitor to the Shadowhunters. 

Clary realises they need to take matters into their own hands, no matter the cost.

But then suddenly, Jace reappears - to Clary. He begs her to come away with him, and Clary learns that he and Sebastian are ultimately linked. It's similar to a parabati bond,  except more parasitic - whatever one feels, so does the other. If you kill one, you kill the other also and no weapon on the earth can sever their connection. 

Clary longs to be with Jace, but reality is sinking in. He isn't her Jace anymore. 

The Lightwoods, Simon, Maia, Jordan and Magnus form 'Team Good' and start coming up with plans to bring Jace back. But their plans involve breaking many Clave rules, defying the Clave's orders, using unconventional methods of help and risking their lives and their souls in the process. Meanwhile Clary plans to see out her plan alone, taking the flimsiest of chances to bargain for Jace's freedom. 

But how far will Clary go to save the guy she loves? 

Sebastian plays the role of repentant sinner and long-lost brother far too well, and Clary tries to keep her sight focused on the line between good and evil - finding it blurry when it comes to the two guys...struggling to remain in control of her emotions and convictions. 

Utterly alone, what will Clary do when she discovers Sebastian's sinister plan - a plan that could ultimately mean the end of everything the parallel world, of Shadowhunters and Downworlders, have ever known? 

Can Clary save the world and Jace? Or will she have to choose between the two? 

My thoughts on the book:

This. Book. Was. Epic! 

But let me just say that I am 100% convinced that Will Herondale and Jace are somehow spiritually, mentally or just plain old linked. The evidence?

  • Will hates ducks
  • Jace hates ducks
  • Will has a copy of A Tale of Two Cities
  • Jace has a copy of A Tale of Two Cities
  • Will likes apples
  • Jace likes mangoes
  • Will loves himself
  • Jace loves himself
  • Will has hair that curls
  • Jace has hair that curls

I can think of plenty more, but I'll leave it at that for now - the duck thing had me in fits of laughter when Jace is like:

"I've always hated ducks. I don't know why." 

I think I do, Jace! 

But my favourite character in this book is unquestionably Chairman Meow. Here's to cat power!

To finish of this review, here is one of my favourite quotes:

'He grinned. It was a wicked grin, the kind that made the blood in Clary's veins run a little faster. "You want to go on a date?"

Caught off guard, she stammered. "A wh-what?"

"A date," Jace repeated. "Often 'a boring thing you have to memorize in history class,' but in this case, 'an offering of an evening of blisteringly white-hot romance with yours truly."

"Really?" Clary was not sure what to make of this. "Blisteringly white-hot?"

"It's me," said Jace. "Watching me play Scrabble is enough to make most women swoon. Imagine if I actually put in some effort.”' 

Quick Pick: Fey Fiction

STOLEN AWAY by Alyxandra Harvey
Rating: 4

'“You were at the party on Friday night, weren't you?" I didn't mentioned I'd followed him into the woods.

He leaned back in his chair, his legs sprawled out. His boots nudged the bottom ruffle of my skirt. "Aye."
Aye? Seriously? Could he be any hotter? 

Unless he had been looking for his girlfriend at the party.
Not hot.
"I was supposed to meet my cousin," he elaborated, "but I didn't find her,"

Hot again.'

Full of Fae action, good vs evil, dangerous quests and Fae guys, this book has it all - from the quirky friends of Eloise Hart and the hilarious one liners, to the pure conviction this girl has in what she believes is right. She may look shy and a little bit left of centre with her artsy tops, red lipstick and flowers in her hair, but you don't want to mess with Eloise Hart - Fey or not!!

The Killables by Gemma Malley ~ Review

The Killables (The Killables #1) 
By Gemma Malley

Rating: 5

Imagination shows an ability to lie, to pretend the world is different than it is.”  

My thoughts on the book:

This. Book. Was. Amazing! 

The Killables, a definite must-read by Gemma Malley, came into my possession on one of my frequent trips to buy out my local Dymocks. I was searching the shelves for something good to read when...bam. There it was. 

I had read The Declaration (and loved it) and I was intrigued by the blurb, so I decided to give it a try.

And I did not regret it!

A great dystopian novel, this book was made all the better by its female protagonist. Evie's struggle for understanding becomes your struggle - as she has to come to terms with whether or not the laws and regulations of the society she has known her whole life, and the society itself, are truly as 'good' as they make out to be. 

She seems to be in a state of semi-conciousness. She knows that something is off about what is happening, but she has been conditioned to ignore that feeling and to doubt herself her whole life. 

When she gets angry at her parents? That's gotta be an evil inclinations and she should repent and try harder! 

When she has bad dreams? It must be her fault because she refuses to try and be good and she is evil!

It is a tiring life Evie lives and you empathise with her. You also want to shake her and show her the truth. 

So here is a 'crash-course' on The Killables:

  • Evie lives in 'the City' where the Goods live. 
  • Goods are people who are not evil, but have the capacity to be 'tempted' towards evil
  • Outside the City live the Evils
  • They are evil and long to lead the Goods to the 'dark side' (sorry...a little too Star War-sy, perhaps?!)
  • The Good's society is strict, regulated and stifling. People are graded - A, B and C being acceptable. D means you are in Danger of becoming an Evil.
  • Evie longs to come to terms with how she feels about her Society.
  • She keeps having weird dreams about being carried to safety by a man and a woman
  • She is to be engaged to a boy who has the emotional capacity of a Siberian wasteland and whom she does not love
  • She is in love with that boy's brother who is trying to find a means of escape
  • The City has eyes everywhere. No one is safe. It is all-knowing.
  • There is a final grade. K. It stands for Evils, so they are told. Evils are given a New Baptism, to help them become good again. But really, K stands for Killable. Which means, they are to be killed without a moment's hesitation.

This book really makes us ask ourselves whether our identity is linked with our society and the environment we grow up in or whether we ourselves have to break away from the norm and discover our own identity. 

Oh, and I loved Raphael. And Lucas. Though, personally, I couldn't pick between the two if my life depended on it. It would be like choosing between books or just don't go there! XD

UNTIL I DIE (Revenants #2) by Amy Plum REVIEW


Firstly - I'm in love with Jules. And yes, you can add him to the long list of guy characters who I am irrevocably in love with - but you can tease me later! I have just finished the second instalment in the series, and let me just Until I Die is TO DIE FOR!

Kate is as happy as any girl in love - the numa are a distant threat and with Vincent by her side, Kate is feeling good about their chances together. But being in love with a revenant is difficult for all involved. Vincent is trying to fight the urge to die for Kate's sake, and Kate is torn between asking him to stop and allowing him to continue to drain himself. Does she love him enough to put his needs before hers? And after seeing, reading, researching and thinking about the love between Humans and Revenants, Kate wonders whether it's worth it - for her to love Vincent and for him to love her when one say, she will die. Both of them secretly begin searching for cures, for ways out of the conundrum their relationship has turned into. 

But they're running out of time. The numa are attacking once again, robberies and break ins are frequent occurrences and Katie has a feeling that there is someone behind it all. Could it even be one of the Revenants she knows? Can she even trust those who are closest to her? The love story is in for a romantic rollercoaster on a journey that is one part thriller, one part paranormal and two parts romance! 

My favourite quotes:

- "Natural talent!" crowed Vincent, sweeping my sweaty self up into his arms and pacing across the room, holding me like a trophy. "Of course my girlfriend's got it. In truckloads! How else could she have slain a giant evil zombie, single-handedly saving my undead body?"

- "How about I take you to my studio? Much less dangerous. Plus, I need a model and you could sit for me."
"You want me to sit for a portrait?" I asked stunned.
"Actually, at the moment I'm concentrating on full-length nudes, in the spirit of Modigliani," Jules said. He was making an effort to keep a straight face. "Just kidding, Kates. You're a lady."
Jules was trying the guilt-trip method of attack. And it was working.
"Ok I'll pose for you," I conceded. "But under no circumstances will any article of clothing leave my body whilst I am in your studio."
"And if you're elsewhere?" he asked, breaking into a sly smile.
I rolled my eyes.

- "And I've got THIS," I pulled out the signum and held it up for him to see, "that says I'm kindred. And I've got THIS," I pointed at my head, "that says I'm as smart as you. And I have THIS," I held up my middle finger, "that says go to hell, you immortal bigot."
And with that I spun around and stomped out the door, filing the expression on Arthur's face in a mental folder labeled "Kate's Proudest Moments".

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

I'm utterly content - I've managed to make some headway with my LONG to-read list!! I am steadily moving through the books I told myself to read! Here's another one to add to YOUR to-read list!

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Rating: 4.5

Sometimes the truth has difficulty breaching the city walls of our beliefs. A lie, dressed in the correct livery, passes through more easily.”

Rachel Hartman has created a twisting, mind-boggling world that is reminiscent of Tamora Pierce's Tortall, except with the interesting inclusion of a centuries-old mistrust between the race of humans and the race of dragons. The kingdom of Goredd is a kingdom wrapped up in the illusion of peace, the dragons doing their best to stick to their human forms and to earn the respect of the humans. And Seraphina Dombegh is no different.

From birth she has been urged to remain 'unseen' and inconspicuous, lest her true nature be revealed. Not quite human and not quite dragon, she lives an oppressed life, only finding solace in her music. Unnaturally gifted, she attracts the attention of those in higher stations and upon the mysterious murder of a member of the royal family, Seraphina finds herself in the midst of a dangerous plot to overtake the throne. But can she help whilst keeping her secrets to herself? And what will happen to her if they are revealed?

This book was full of emotion, descriptive narration that has you vividly picturing Seraphina's world - it's essence wavering before you like the notes produced by her mother's flute -, a lesson that teaches us the difference between race fighting race and those who long for peace fighting those who long for war and a brave heroine who whilst holding tightly to her her bitter secrets, manages to touch the lives of those around her through her, words, her music and her awe-inspiring presence.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Heartbreak and Loss ~ The Beginning of After Review

The Beginning of After
By Jennifer Castle

Rating: 4.9

'Sometimes my life here felt like a cage where I could never escape the pain. At other times it felt like the only firm ground on earth.'

Laurel is a typical teenager living a typical life. 

She has a mum. She has a dad.
She even has a little brother. 
She goes to school. 
She has a best friend, Meg.
She gets straight As.

She does everything right.

One evening, when Laurel's family and the Kaufman family are having a dinner, Laurel does what she normally does. 

Sits. Eats. 

Smiles politely whilst trying to avoid the eye of David Kaufman, her childhood friend who's probably forgotten all their history together and is far more interested in his gangster friends than her. 

Teases her brother. 

It is on this evening that Laurel makes a life-changing decision. 

She tells her mother she wants to study and is going home early. Alone. David decides to leave too. As Laurel leaves, she waves to her family as they pile into a car with the Kaufmans to go out for icecream. 

That was the last time she ever saw them alive.

An accident. A decision. Time slipping through her fingers. 

Laurel's world comes tumbling down when she learns of the death of her family, and the heart-wrenching truth about Before, Now and After. How it takes one thing to turn your life into a Before. 

Before the dinner. 
Before the hug. 
Before the smile. 
Before the wave goodbye. 

Before she walked away. 

All there is is Now. An endless Now that stretches out too far for a teenager like her to see. Sorrow fills every part of Laurel as she tries to face a world without what she used to take for granted. 

Love. Togetherness. Family. 

Laurel learns how everyone grieves in their own way. And she finds herself torn on the subject of David Kaufman, whose father - the only survivor - lies in a coma he may never awake from. David's father could be the reason Laurel's an orphan. 

But David could be the reason Laurel finds the strength to take her future into her own hands.

My thoughts on the book:

I personally loved the writing style. 

It was descriptive, quirky and from the heart. True, it lacked poetic finesse, but this wasn't what the story was about. It was about loss. Rawness. Truth. How sometimes our own thoughts can be so simple and average that they tear us apart...we long to feel something but in order to do that we have to let the floodgates down. 

I really think you need to have experienced some kind of loss to understand this book on a deeper level.

Sad, lingering and aching with loss and yet with a bittersweet touch of first love, The Beginning of After takes you by the hand and shows to you like never before the cycle of human existence, and how fleeting true happiness is.

But, above all, it shows us that we have the ability to make it love last, and to hold it forever in our hearts.

Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsey REVIEW


Wow! From eye-catching and intensely beautiful front cover, as well as an engaging title, to an emotion-heightened and deeply moving finish, Shattered Souls is one of a kind. It explores so many areas of thought - what does it mean to be different, how does one face one's fears, how does one live for the sake of now, what is love worth and how do we discover who we are? 

Lenzi - or, as she hates to be called, Rose - has lived a terrible life for a teenager. When he father died, leaving this world behind due to his mental instability, Lenzi started hearing voices. Voices that begged, pleaded, urged, scolded, yelled and screamed at her at the most inconvenient of times. In the fear she would end up like her father, Lenzi takes her medication and tries to live a normal life, not letting anyone know what is really going on inside. Because, in the 21st century - or in ANY century - hearing voices is NOT a good thing.

When Lenzi's seventeenth birthday goes haywire, she decides to visit the graveyard in an attempt to gain some closure. Instead, she meets Alden. Handsome, winsome and kind, he is unlike anyone Lenzi has ever known. He knows about the voices. He knows why she hears them. He knows how to help her. 

But more than that, he knows her. 

Because Lenzi - Rose - is a Speaker. And she has lived many, many lives. Each time she has been 'reincarnated' (for want of a better word) and each and every time her partner, in her job of dealing with ghosts and spirits, is Alden. Her Protector. But something went wrong. Lenzi has been missing for a century and to top it all off, all her memories of her past lives are gone. Feeling inadequate, frustrated and afraid, Lenzi had no choice but to take on the role she cannot remember having. But dealing with spirits is no picnic.

Especially one Malevolent; one of the most evil kinds of spirits there is. This Malevolent and Lenzi have a history, and it will stop at nothing to do away with her once and for all. Lenzi is torn between wishing for a life she cannot have, dealing with this one and struggling to remember all the ones she supposedly had. Not to mention that Alden affects her unlike anyone she's ever known. But does he love her? Or is he in love with Rose - a part of Lenzi's self she no longer recalls?

Full of paranormal activity, thriller-like happenings, kick-ass action and a love that transcends time, Shatter Souls will have you stepping from your world into one that will steal your soul away!


Sunday, 6 May 2012

Fave Fanart: Legend of Korra

Saw this beautiful piece of Legend of Korra fanart and had to share it with you all!

Makorra by viria13

Destined by Aprilynne Pike REVIEW

(Above created by yours truly! (Quote from Destined by Aprilynne Pike)

*grins evilly* I will not spoil this book for anyone...yet...but let me just say that it was FANTASTIC!! 
A  total rating of 5+ 

Some tidbits about the storyline:

- Laurel's skills as a Mixer are put to the test
- David has more in common with a certain King of Camelot than he ever expected
- Tamani (who is as hot as ever) struggles between his duty to his people, hid duty to protect Laurel and his undying love for her
- Shar is brave and is a steadfast friend to Tamani
- The Seelie Queen is such a b- horrible little pansy :D
- Chelsea's feelings for David haven't changed
- Laurel makes her decision between the two boys...breaking the heart of one
- Times are a changing! (sorry...I needed to add that line somewhere, I just love it so much!)
- Yuki plays an important part and makes a big sacrifice
- Laurel's history is revealed
- Klea will bring the Fae down at any cost - no matter the number of fae or humans that have to die in the process. Her history is also revealed.
- There is Tavid banter (Tamani and David); they're so adorable when they have their Laurel-is-mine-no-she's-mine-you-bastard conversations!!

My only criticism? It ended.:D  

A Strange Fire by LH Cosway ~ Review

A Strange Fire (Florence Vaine #1)
By LH Cosway

Rating: 5

Wow. I'm actually rendered speechless at how brilliantly executed this book was!

Firstly, I want to point out the brilliant cover and the even better title for this masterpiece which is A Strange Fire by L H Cosway. 

Having a love for all things paranormal and to do with Empath-related abilities, I picked it up with high expectations and was not let down. 

Cosway's heroine - a shy, slightly introverted teenager by the name of Florence (of Flo, as she prefers to be called) - is as down to earth and troubled as any human being would be in her situation. 

Not only has she had to deal with having to bear the brunt of her father's verbal and physical abuse for most of her childhood, but Flo has a dangerous secret. 

She can see people's auras, and can even alter them.

But unlike some characters in other books - no offence to anyone at all - she doesn't take it all in her stride, like "Cool - I live in the 21st century, and I know there's no such thing as magical powers but hey, I'm going to keep believing there is and never doubt myself for a second." 

Instead, she puts it all down to 'the nervous wreck'-like mind state that her father has given her, believing that she is probably just going crazy.

And everything would have stayed exactly the same had not her father had a sudden epiphany and decided to leave her with her grandmother whilst he went off to do his 'work'. Flo sees this as a chance to change her life, to get over her stutter and to put her past behind her. 

Flo's new start is rough to say the least, and on top of it all she has a run in with the Marsters brothers...well, mainly the eldest brother Franklin. And for some reason, their auras are unlike any of any person's she's ever seen - bright, blazing and almost ethereal. She finds herself drawn to Frank, and is surprised to see that he has an interest in her as well. 

But amid his persistent, flirtatious and caring attentions, lies something deeper, something Flo is afraid to come to terms with lest the world, which she has been writing off as a series of delusions, should be real after all.

Also, a terrifying, dark entity that has lurked beneath the town's radar for so long begins to rise once more. It wants Flo and it will do whatever it takes to get her. 

A paranormal battle of will, strength, love and ultimately faith in one's self and those around oneself, A Strange Fire is a thrilling journey through the murky and tantalising world of Florence Vaine, whose big green eyes see more than you think.

My thoughts on the book:

I couldn't stop reading this book. 

I felt that the raw human emotion is something that makes it stand out - it is so rare when an author takes the time to establish the character as a human being, as someone who isn't the polished heroine/hero we've come to expect from modern literature, rather they have flaws but those flaws are apart of the armour they have constructed to face a darkened world. 

I felt Flo's pain, was proud of her when she stood up for herself (both in the face of evil, bullying and guys - she is not afraid to stop any romantic advances or voice her opinions). It just shows that sometimes the people who seem weak have a whole lot going on under the surface that no one really pays attention to. And they should.

I also felt so sorry for her...I'd hate to have something like a stutter, knowing people would define you by your insecurities and disabilities. I think it's wonderful how Frank sees her as a girl with a stutter...not a stutterer, if you get my drift. That her stutter and her abilities don't define the kind of person she was. 

So I give a heartfelt thanks to L H Cosway for requesting I read this book - it was one of my greatest pleasures and I adored every minute of reading it. Oh, and I fell in love with Frank, as well!

He is such an awesome guy - I wish there were more like him!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Serpents' Shadow by Rick Riordan ~ Review

The Serpents' Shadow (Kane Chronicles #3)
By Rick Riordan

Rating: 5

'I resisted the urge to spike the pigeon. "Yes. But Sadie found this shadow box. She thinks it's some sort of clue. You wouldn't know anything about using shadows against Apophis, would you?"

The pigeon turned its head sideways. "Not really. My understanding of magic is fairly straightforward. Hit enemies with a sword until they're dead. If they rise again, hit them again. Repeat if necessary."'

My thoughts on the book:

The third (and hopefully not final) instalment in the series, The Serpent's Shadow brings to light the upcoming apocalypse. 

Except, it isn't upcoming. It's here. 

The showdown we've all been waiting for - Apophis vs Ra, The Way of the Gods vs the House of Life, Good vs Evil and Protein Bars vs Macho Nachos. But, as usual, nothing goes to plan.

The Kanes face a dilemma. Apophis, using the power of Chaos, is slowly destroying the artefacts that could lead to his destruction. 

When the Book of Overcoming Apophis - their last hope - is snatched away before their eyes, Sadie and Carter have no choice but to follow Plan B. And if you know anything about Plan Bs, they are Plan Bs for a reason. 

Because they normally involve allying yourselves with evil magicians, talking to mentally unstable gods, debating over the 'hotness level' of guys, searching for lost sheut , hosting gods, fighting with gods, talking to your dead parents and trying to save the world from eternal Chaos and destruction.

So obviously, they go with Plan B.

But Ma'at isn't always on their side. The Kane siblings are forced to make heart-tearing decisions that could hold the lives of others in the balance, as well as having to work both together and apart. 

Can they resist the lure of Isis and Horus...and should they? 

Carter struggles with the weight of his new duties and expectations as well as his undeniable attraction to Zia Rashid, a girl whose role in the upcoming war is paramount and shrouded in mystery. 

As for Sadie...guy troubles aren't the only thing worrying our feisty heroine! Sure, Walt's days are numbered and the drop-dead gorgeous God of the Dead Anubis is as mind-boggling as ever (he still speaks in riddles), but a girl has bigger things to worry about. 

(I was very pleased with the amount of Anubis-ness in this book - yes, yes, I am getting as bad as Sadie but cut me some slack...the guy is cute!:D)

Here are some of my favourite quotes:

- 'Each time he (Ammit the Devourer) crashed, he shook his lion's mane and crocodile snout and yipped happily. Carter is scolding me, as always. He says Ammit is female. I'll admit I can't prove it either way, but I've always thought of Ammit as a boy monster. He's much too hyper to be otherwise and the way he marks his territory...but never mind.

"There's my baby!" I cried, quite carried away. "There's my Poochiekins!"

"My lord Osiris!" Disturber lost the bottom of his scroll again. "This is an outrage!"

"Sadie," Dad said firmly, "please do not refer to the Devourer of Souls as Poochiekins."
"Sorry," I muttered and let Ammit down.'

- 'Sadie it's all right," Anubis said. "Your friends are only unconscious. Shu just lowered the air pressure."
"Shoe?" I demanded. "Shoe who?"
Anubis pressed his fingers to his temples. "Sadie...this is Shu, my great-grandfather."
"Ah. The god of...flip-flops. No, wait. Leaky balloons. No___"
"Air!" Shu hissed. "God of the air!"'

- 'In the Duat, Anubis look as he always had, with tousled dark hair and lovely brown eyes, but I (Sadie) had never seen him filled with such rage. I realised that anyone who dared to hurt me would suffer his full wrath.'

It was a brilliant book and I give three cheers for Rick Riordan - the guy who brought us the world of demigods, gods, more gods and pharaoh descendants!:D
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