Monthly Archives: Sep 2014

Book of the Month #2: September 2014

Book of the Month is when I list all the books I’ve read this month and pick my favourite. I’d love for you to pitch in your thoughts on the books and my pick! Just comment below :).

September Reads

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September’s Book of the Month is…

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*drum roll please*

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The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

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I fell in love with this book! It was beautifully written, with amazing characters and a great plot.

I must admit, Legend and Half-Blood came very close second!

Half-Blood (Covenant #1)

Read from 29-30th September, 2014

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

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5 Stars

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The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi pure bloods have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals–well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures.

Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:

Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden.

Unfortunately, she’s crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn’t her biggest problem–staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden.

And that would kind of suck.

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Sexy, sizzling, touching, hilarious, sweet and fun. All words that come to mind when thinking about Half-Blood – a book reminiscent of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson chronicles, but – dare I say – possibly even better. In true Armentrout style, you will be swept off your feet, laughing your head off, “aww”-ing while cuddling a pillow to your chest and much, much more.

Alex is a kick-ass heroine who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She’s hilarious, sassy and fun.

Aiden is a hot, capable, strong, sweet character that is totally swoon-worthy.

They are absolutely perfect for each other – and have the chemistry to match – but as he’s a pure and she’s a half, it’s taboo. (Which, you know, totally adds to the sexual tension they’ve got going on).

Caleb was the awesome best friend – loyal, sweet, fun and knows how Alex is like even after all those years spent apart. He’s just great to have around and lightens up the mood when she’s down. Not to mention, his crush on Olivia is totally cute. 😉

The world-building was intense and totally believable. A corrupt society descended from the Greek gods based on blood purity determined to fight daimons that suppresses over a third of its population into slavery? Yep, totally believable.

A cross between Percy Jackson, Shadowhunters and general Armentrout awesomeness, Half-Blood is a must read for young adults.

Teaser Tuesday #5

Teaser Tuesdays (TT) is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read.

Randomly open a page.

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
(Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Caleb jumped away from me, his feet landing on the white and tan pebbles. “Do not let me be standing next to you when one of them strikes you down.”

– Half Blood, by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Share a link to your own Teaser Tuesday in the Comments and I’ll be checking it out! 🙂

Chasing the Valley (Chasing the Valley #1)

Read from 28-29th September, 2014

Author: Skye Melki-Wegner

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4 Stars

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Escape is impossible. Escape is their only hope.

Danika is used to struggling for survival. But when the tyrannous king launches an attack to punish her city – echoing the alchemy bombs that killed Danika’s family – she risks her life in a daring escape over the city’s walls.

Danika joins a crew of desperate refugees who seek Magnetic Valley, a legendary safe haven. But when she accidentally destroys a palace biplane, suddenly Danika Glynn becomes the most wanted fugitive in Taladia.

Pursued by the king’s vicious hunters and betrayed by false allies, Danika also grapples with her burgeoning magical abilities. And when she meets the mysterious Lukas, she must balance her feelings against her crew’s safety.

Chasing the Valley is the first book in an epic trilogy of magic, treachery and survival.

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Combining magic, alchemy, fantasy and adventure, Chasing the Valley is a quick, enjoyable read.

At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the characters – none of them immediately stood out, there didn’t seem to be anything extraordinary about them. However, this worked in their favour, added to their appeal. The characters were very easy to relate to because, while they all had their strengths, they were thrust into an unfamiliar environment and forced to adapt. They made mistakes, fought, formed relationships, solved problems, and were so utterly human. Their talents at first seemed either irrelevant or under-developed, but the most seemingly irrelevant things ended up saving them. Maisy’s book smarts, Clementine’s sparkly clothes, Teddy’s bravado, that old song that lead them true – all of which helped them out, maybe even saving their lives. They were nothing extraordinary – just ordinary teenagers – but their experiences shaped them and forced them to grow and discover within themselves and as a team. There were certainly no Mary-Sues.

The world-building was interesting and very well-done. Information was gradually added though character interactions – they came from such different walks of life that it was only natural for them to elaborate upon the differences – as well as when the characters experienced new discoveries. The magic was prominent but not overdone, able to be used but not a first resort.

Overall, an interesting, easy read for lovers of fantasy and magic. While not my absolute favourite, I did quite enjoy Chasing the Valley and look forward to the rest of the trilogy.

Musing Monday #3

Musing Mondays, a book meme hosted by MzB of Should Be Reading, asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

Book to Movie Adaptations – When to Read

There have been some great book to movie adaptations this year, and so the question of when to read the book is coming up more frequently. Do you read the book before or after you see the movie? Most people, it seems, like to watch the movie before they read the book but I’m the opposite.

The reasoning is sound either way – What if the movie’s bad so you don’t want to read the book? (eg Percy Jackson – amazing series but they completely butchered the movies) On the other hand, what if it’s a good movie but you can’t enjoy it because it didn’t stay true to the book? Or missed out on some important scenes? My reasoning is if I’ve read the book beforehand I’ll know if it is a good adaptation and, if it is, I will have a greater appreciation for the film.

I’d love to discuss with you! Do you read the book before or after you watch the movie? Why?

Legend (Legend #1)

Read on 28th September, 2014

Author: Marie Lu

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5 Stars

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What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

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Eloquently written, full of unexpected plot twists and starring intelligent, relatable characters, Legend makes for a brilliant read.

June and Day were quite enjoyable characters. They were both remarkably intelligent, physically capable and extremely loyal. In other words, they had everything you could ever want in a character. Strong, quick-witted, intelligent, loyal – June and Day are who I aspire to be. They are my role models.

Tessa, Metias and John were all strong, notable characters that found a place in my heart. They were all full of integrity and had a fundamental goodness in themselves. The relationships that they had with June and Day (respectively) were so sweet, genuine and full of love.

Thomas and Commander Jameson were great in that while I initially liked them, I soon grew to loath them with a passion. In contrast, I hated Chian from the start.

“If you want to rebel, rebel from inside the system. That’s much more powerful than rebelling outside the system.”

So many books have the protagonists uprising from the “outside”, but Metias is right – it’s much more effective to rebel from inside the system. It made for a nice change and was rather enjoyable – especially given the nature of the characters.

The world-building truly was spectacular. I believed it right from the get-go and it was set up realistically. The trials were actually a very clever – if somewhat impractical – method of governing the future of the population. But questions do arise that I hope will be answered in the following books – Why did they lie about Day’s score? The Elector seems to indeed be elected, so one would think the Republic would be democratic, but it seems this is not the case. Do people actually vote? The poor certainly have no say. Indeed, it seems the Republic is more a military dictatorship than anything else. Where did they take Eden? What is this new strand of plague? Would they still have taken him if events did not play out as they did?

Highly recommended, Legend is a stunning tale with a unique spin on the dystopian genre.

The Sending (Obernewtyn #6)

Read from 25-28th September, 2014

Author: Isabelle Carmody

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5 Stars

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It came to me then, like a chilly draught from an unseen gap, that I had always known in my deepest heart that it would be like this, a slipping away from a life full of people I had come to love, in a place I had helped to shape, in a land I had helped to free.

The time has come at last for Elspeth Gordie to leave the Land on her quest to find and stop the computermachine Sentinel from unleashing the deadly Balance of Terror arsenal. But before she can embark on her journey, she must find a lost key. And although she has long prepared for this day, nothing is as she anticipated.

Elspeth’s search will take her where she never thought to go, and bestow upon her stranger companions than any she ever imagined. It will lead her far from her destination to those she believed lost forever.

And it will test her, as she has never been tested before . . .

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The Obernewtyn Chronicles are a favourite of mine and The Sending certainly did not disappoint. The plot twists were numerous and it was a very enjoyable read.

Old friends that we had grown to love were brought back, and new companions were introduced and well developed over the course of the story. I loved who her companions turned out to be and that she didn’t have to journey on her quest all alone.

I must say, I am more convinced than ever that Dameon is secretly in love with Elspeth. Though, I’m actually somewhat glad that she cannot see it – I love Dameon, but her knowing that he loves her might make things rather awkward… I do love him though :). However, Rushton and Elspeth are just too perfect for each other! Especially the link and what happened in the hut and his question that went unanswered that we all know she’d have said “yes” to (I’m trying to do this without spoilers, okay? So just ignore my mindless fangirl gush if you haven’t read the book yet).

Although unexpected, I SO ship Analivia and Swallow – they are just the cutest thing *awww*.

In the beginning, I really didn’t like Ahmedri. In fact, I was rather irritated by his presence. However, like Elspeth, I grew to like him over time. It’s amazing what scenarios desert knowledge can have practical applications for, and how useful he proved himself. I loved we found out the backstories of some of the characters and I particularly liked his past with Straaka (excluding the last time they saw each other, of course).

All in all, The Sending is a great addition to the Obernewtyn Chronicles that will not disappoint. As per Isabel’s style, there is a lot of focus on character development in addition to a twisting plot. Now, all we have to do is wait for the next book. But, considering she’s written six (technically seven) books in 25 years, we might be waiting a while…

Friday Finds #3

FRIDAY FINDS, a book meme by MzB of Should Be Reading, showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).
My Finds

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Borrowed from the library

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Borrowed from the library

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Discovered and borrowed from the library

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Placed on hold at the library

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Discovered

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Discovered

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Placed on hold at the library

What are your Friday Finds? Let me know and I’ll be sure to check them out 🙂

The FitzOsbornes at War (Montmaray Journals #3)

Read on 24th September, 2014

Author: Michelle Cooper

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4.5 Stars

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Michelle Cooper completes her heart-stealing epic drama of history and romance with The FitzOsbornes at War.

Sophie FitzOsborne and the royal family of Montmaray escaped their remote island home when the Nazis attacked. But as war breaks out in England and around the world, nowhere is safe. Sophie fills her journal with tales of a life during wartime. Blackouts and the Blitz. Dancing in nightclubs with soliders on leave. And endlessly waiting for news of her brother Toby, whose plane was shot down over enemy territory.

But even as bombs rain down on London, hope springs up, and love blooms for this most endearing princess. And when the Allies begin to drive their way across Europe, the FitzOsbornes take heart—maybe, just maybe, there will be a way to liberate Montmaray as well.

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A beautiful story that will brake your heart – multiple times – and make you laugh to no end. A story of bravery, intelligence, loss, family, growing up and the realities of war. The FitzOsbornes at War is absolutely stunning, with twists and turns that will have you smiling and balling your eyes out, laughing and grieving. The characters that you’ve grown to love will not disappoint, but rather endear themselves to you further. A brilliant conclusion to a wonderful series.

I cried – boy did I cry – but I was sucked into a torrent of emotions that would not let me go. After that absolutely heart-wrenching moment (about three quarters or so in – you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about once you’ve read it), the smallest things made me remember and a new round of tears burst forth. The thing is though, The FotzOsbornes at War, while terribly sad at some parts, was not a massive sob story – so don’t let that turn you off from reading it! It was the perfect finale to the trilogy and as beautifully written as the previous books.

There was so much character development. We’d grown to love them, but now we were able to see them flourish and face the harsh realities of life and war. Losses were sustained, old friends came back, relationships were tested, new love was found and support shared. All this came full circle and made them become stronger people, a closer family. Thankfully, Rebecca was hardly mentioned, I grew to love Simon and Henry – she grew up too fast, but I absolutely adore her and couldn’t get enough of her. The other characters were brilliant as well and I just loved them all!

Wow, my eyes are still prickling with tears… But The FitzOsbornes at War is definitely high on my recommendations – it is just an absolutely stunning piece of work that deeply touched my heart and which I hope will touch yours too.

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)

Read from 22-23rd September, 2014

Author: Alexandra Bracken

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5 Stars

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When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

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Can I cry now? Please?

This book – I can’t even begin to say how absolutely amazing The Darkest Minds is. I have nothing but praise for this absolutely stunning, heart-wrenching piece of work.

The plot was thick, with hidden twists and turns all over the place. It was real, believable and I formed a real connection with the story in itself, as well as the characters – who, might I add, were absolutely fantastic. Chubs, with his medical skills, bad eye-sight and love of books; Zu, with her beautiful personality that made you fall in love with her time after time, so sweet and adorable, your heart breaks for her; Liam, the perfect guy – innovative, protective, a great leader, seeks the good in everyone and is just so pure; Ruby, with her kick-ass attitude, her wicked abilities that she wants to control, but will never abuse, her desire to protect her friends, her will to put others first, no matter what personal cost. I just fell in love with them all!! And, (please don’t kill me here) I also kind of fell in love with Clancy, so… yeah.

I was going to wait to read the rest of the series until I bought them, but… Well, let’s just say that despite the ginormous pile of books on my bedside table waiting to be read, that isn’t going to happen – this series is just too good.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone interested in a dystopian, slightly supernatural/adventure read that has characters that will warm your heart and break it in the same sentence. (Okay, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but seriously, it’s amazing)