Tag Archives: 4.5 Stars

Infinity (The Infinity Division #1)

Read on 9th November, 2016

Author: Jus Accardo

28220742.jpg

4.5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Nobody said being the daughter of an army general was easy. But when her dad sends a teenage subordinate to babysit her while he’s away… That’s taking it a step too far.

Cade, as beautiful as he is deadly, watches Kori with more than just interest. He looks at her like he knows her very soul. And when he saves her from a seemingly random attack, well, that’s when things get weird.

Turns out, Kori’s dad isn’t just an army general—he’s the head of a secret government project that has invented a way to travel between parallel dimensions. Dimensions where there are infinite Koris, infinite Cades…and apparently, on every other Earth, they’re madly in love.

Falling for a soldier is the last thing on Kori’s mind. Especially when she finds herself in a deadly crossfire, and someone from another Earth is hell-bent on revenge…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Note: I was sent a copy of this book by Entangled Teen in exchange for an honest review.

Infinity was an unexpectedly fantastic read. It had the potential to be extremely tropey and filled with instalove but (thankfully) was anything but that.

Very much a character-driven novel, Infinity was a thought-provoking read (even though I finished it months ago, I still sometimes think about it) complete with a compelling plot.

The characters in Infinity were realistic and flawed.

Kori is posed as a mature, rational person who is able to reasonably deal with issues and communicate well – which are not skills often represented in YA. Her emotions are vivid but she is able to think things through. Having lost her mother to cancer, she has experienced grief, which gives her a unique perspective and understanding when dealing with the other core characters.

Kori was also intelligent. Even though she was constantly placed in bad situations with her life on the line and her entire understanding of her parents was turned upside down, she never whined about it. Instead, she was practical in getting information and formulating a plan.

Cade was interesting. Guilt-ridden and tragic, I really felt for him and appreciated his depth of emotions. His character development was very well done.

I really appreciate the emphasis placed on perspective in this novel. As new information came to life, characters were seen differently, yet the core of them stayed the same.

Noah was a great example of this. At first, he was distanced and antagonistic but then as Kori, and therefore the audience, were explained the reasons as to why he was like this, an understanding formed and he became one of my favourite characters. He was very much a tragic cinnamon roll.

Infinity focuses on the complexity of humanity and the morally grey area; when is it okay to kill someone? Is the death penalty ever okay? If someone close to you has broken the law or is planning to, where do your loyalties lie? What is the right thing to do?

How do you know it’s love if you’ve only ever experienced it once? What can you really know about a person when you only glimpse them? How do you know happiness is real? How do you separate your feelings for someone if they look exactly the same as the last person you loved?

The romance in this book was fantastic – instead of instalove, it focused on potential rather than destiny, while also recognising unhealthy relationships and not labelling them as love.

Unexpectedly, family plays a significant role in Infinity. Although Kori’s mother is dead and her father absent for large portions of the novel, the impact and values they left behind was recognised and realised through the characters’ actions.

As mentioned, the plot itself was great. It was engaging yet realistic, gradually widening the parameters of the world as Kori got to know more, rather than engaging in the well known practice of info-dumping.

In a world of parallel dimensions, how do you define yourself? What makes one Kori different from another? Does fate play a part? What does it mean to interact with people who knew another version of yourself? 

Recommended for fans of Claudia Grey’s Firebird trilogy, character-driven narratives and general parallel dimension plots.

Let’s Discuss!

Have you read Infinity? 

If so, what were your thoughts?

If not, does it sound like something that would interest you? (Please say yes, I really need someone to fangirl discuss with!)

Have you read any other books featuring parallel dimensions? If so, please recommend – it’s a favourite trope of mine but I’ve only read a few.

The Evil We Love (Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy #5)

Read on 16th June, 2015

Authors: Cassandra Clare & Robin Wasserman

image

4.5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

All evil starts somewhere, and Simon Lewis learns how the Circle—led by Valentine Morgenstern—began.

The Shadowhunter Academy has only just reopened following the disastrous rise of the Circle. Now the faculty can finally admit to what happened when Valentine was a student.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I wouldn’t say that The Evil We Love is my favourite installment of the series, but I did still really enjoy it.

Up until now, we have never really meet Michael Wayland, and I absolutely love him!

We also got to understand more about Robert Lightwood, and I now despise him with all my being as opposed to merely hating his guts.
It was interesting to learn some of the dynamics of the Circle and I especially enjoyed the relationship between Valentine and Jocelyn. Side Note: I really hope that the graphic novels are still coming but I haven’t heard anything so I’m not sure what’s going on there.

Once again, I found myself highlighting and bookmarking multiple passages in this book. While there were some frustrating elements and scenes, they were deliberate and I commend Cassie for doing such a good job of it. The Evil We Love is another great read for fans of the Shadowhunter chronicles.

P. S: I really like Julie.

ARC Review: Hidden Heart (Hidden #2)

Read from 23rd-24th May, 2015

Author: Amy Patrick

image

Release Date: Today (24th May)

4.5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

17-year-old Ryann Carroll thought she knew who she was… a small-town Southern girl just trying to survive her parents’ messy divorce and find some peace for herself. She thought she knew what she wanted… a summer job, a car, a first date that didn’t suck, and NO complications from a serious relationship— any guy in her life would simply be icing on the cake.

But now… she’s not only in love, her boyfriend Lad is a member of a secret race that’s lived secretly among humans for thousands of years, mentioned only in flawed and fading folklore. Things could hardly get more complicated than that.

More importantly, she’s learned the world’s top celebrities… those actors, musicians, athletes, and politicians who seem a little too beautiful and talented to be true… actually are. They’re not human, and they’re using their glamour and the increasing popularity of fan pods to control more and more humans. But why?

With her best friend Emmy leaving soon to join the fan pod of a famous actor, Ryann has to find out the answer. And she can’t do it alone. But after a shocking murder, Lad can no longer fight his destiny or his duty, and Ryann’s not sure whether his top priority is their relationship or his people.

In this second book of the Hidden Trilogy, true friendship will take Ryann from rural Mississippi to the glittering city of Los Angeles. And true love will take her to places she never expected to go…

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

You can find my review of Hidden Deep, the first book of the Hidden trilogy, here.

First of all, I would like to give a huge thank you to Amy Patrick, the author of the “Hidden” trilogy, for supplying me with an advanced reader copy (ARC) of this novel.

I really appreciated the world building of this series. Hidden Heart really showcased the fan pods – the dynamics, purpose and execution of them were brought to light in a scarily realistic manner. It was not hard to believe that this could happen in our society, our world, in the present time (or near future).

Although I loved Hidden Heart, it did take me about a hundred pages or so to really get into it – mainly because Ryann (the protagonist) was really frustrating me. She was stubborn and made some decisions that I didn’t necessarily agree with. However, she did have some growth and character development throughout the novel which I appreciated and the story really picked up towards the second half of the book.

As for Lad… I don’t even know. Hidden Heart made me fall in love with Nox, and now I ship him with Ryann way more than Ryan and Lad – I loved Lad in Hidden Deep, and I appreciate that he was her first love, but in real life, first loves are often not the last – or only – love someone has in their life.

I also currently love Nox’s character more than Lad’s. I don’t understand how anyone can read Hidden Heart and not fall in love with Nox. That end revelation only solidified my love for him. However, as much as I’d like to believe Nox is endgame, Amy has left space for it to go either way.

Despite my initial frustrations, I really admire Ryann’s loyalty to Emmy and I feel that it is a large part of what kept her grounded as a character.

I’m not sure what to make of Vancia. I wish that I’d read The Sway (a Hidden novella) before Hidden Heart as I would love to know what’s going on inside her head. We don’t really see much of her in the first two installments of the trilogy, but enough to get me intrigued. I feel that she will be a featured character in the next book, which I hope is the case.

Davis. Although I didn’t mention anything in my review of Hidden Deep, I had my suspicions of his true nature even then. – He was dating Ryann’s mother and despite exchanging a few phone calls, had never met Ryann in person. Also, he turned Ryann’s mother lovestruck, which is certainly a feat in itself. Everything about him screamed too good to be true…

I highly recommend the Hidden trilogy to fans of urban fantasy and faerie lore.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)

Finished on 17th May, 2015

Author: Sarah J. Maas

image

4.5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A retelling of Beauty and the Beast (which just so happens to be my favourite classic Disney movie) – with fae – and written be Sarah J. Maas? I never stood a chance.

A Court of Thorns and Roses is beautifully written with an amazing plot, brilliant world building and complex, loveable characters. Plus, all the faerie men are smokin’ hot (*cough* Tamlin *cough* Lucien *cough* Rhysand *cough*), so no complaints here.

I am not an artist in any way whatsoever but I really enjoyed seeing the world from an Feyre’s perspective – all the different colors and hues that I simply take for granted. In the same way that Belle and myself are passionate about books, she is passionate about art and I loved that. It was wonderful to read how she expressed herself through her art and could read the stories behind other artworks.

Admittedly, I was slightly irritated with Feyre in the first hundred pages or so, but I understood her reasoning and motivation as to why she acted the way she did. If anything, it simply made her character more realistic. That said, Feyre underwent huge character development and I really liked her as the story went on.

I fell in love with Tamlin right from the get-go and Lucien shortly afterwards. They are both so wonderfully deep, attractive and brilliant characters. I love their backstories and how we were really able to get a feel for their personalities. Their friendship is so strong and rather inspiring. Plus, you know, they’re fae. Two new book boyfriends right here 😉

Aside from Amarantha (for obvious reasons) I loved all of the characters. At the very least, I was intrigued by the social dynamics and how that played into their behavior.

The world building was beautiful, believable, intriguing and absolutely magical. I cannot wait to discover more about Hybern, the other courts and Prythian in general.

The plot was also brilliant. I love how everything ties into each other – things that, until that point, seemed completely irrelevant and were easily forgotten. I really enjoyed the parallels between Beauty and the Beast and A Court of Thorns and Roses, yet loved that A Court of Thorns and Roses is incredibly unique in its own right.

A must read for fans of Sarah J. Maas (whose last name I recently found out is actually pronounced Mass), fairy tale retellings, fantasy and fae, A Court of Thorns and Roses is the start to a fantastic new series.

True Calling (True Calling #1)

Read from May 3rd-4th, 2015

Author: Siobhan Davis

image

4.5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Planet Novo, nestled in space twelve hundred miles above the surface of the Earth, is the new home of 17 year old Cadet Ariana Skyee. Confused by the government-sanctioned memory erase and distressed at her impending forced marriage and motherhood, Ariana’s plans for the future are thrown into complete disarray.

As the traumatic events within her family life enfold, Ariana grows increasingly alarmed at the authorities apparent preoccupation with her and feels progressively more isolated and alone.

Her growing feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify as the recently announced pageant, ‘The Calling’, gets underway. Struggling to comprehend the continuous, inexplicable dreams of the mysterious Zane, discovering the past helps shape her future, with devastating personal consequences.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A futuristic novel with dystopian vibes that had a touch a paranormal, True Calling was enthralling right from the start. Aside from a brief interlude when I had to physically force myself away from the book so that I could get some homework done, I could not put this book down, and hence neglected a stack of homework that I should have been doing instead… And who needs sleep on a Monday morning anyway? Pfft… *shakes head* No joke, some of my notes that I jotted down while reading included “just let me do my homework!!” and “I just want to read!! Why??” Yeah, so that happened…

So much happened in this book. Plot twists; huge character and story arcs; mystery; rebels; friendship; love; political intrigue; a Selection-like contest (except not); great family relationships and a range of dynamics; homo and bisexuality and what that means in terms of going from a modern society who largely accepts the different sexualities to a corrupt government controlling what was set out to be the perfect utopia; and so much more. As you can probably tell, chaos ensued – which I loved.

The only criticism that I have for this book is that despite the disasters that ripped the world apart and decimated the human population affected our entire species, on both Novo and Earth we only seem to hear about Americans. I mean, what happened to the rest of the world? In this reality, the claim is made that in 1996 various leaders from countries all over the world formed an alliance and started working on Nova – yet we don’t appear to see these other countries at all.

On a similar note, how did the new government come to be in power? Who chose? How were they chosen? Because they obviously weren’t the best choice… What’s the deal with the extrasensory abilities? The dreams and Ariana’s “6th sense”? What are the origins? Why do only a select few have them? Is there any correlation between them? Were they “chosen”? Maybe it has to do with one of the disasters that racked the Earth? Can the government impregnate people with their hormone injections? I have no clue, but I do love to speculate.

May I also note that the title was very aptly chosen – it tied into the story really well. Plus, the cover is beautiful. I mean, look at it.

True Calling was such a great, enjoyable read and I am super grateful to Siobhan Davis (the author) for approving my request on NetGallery for a copy of this book (and the next one!) in exchange for an honest review. She actually has a WordPress blog which I will be sure to check out and you should too. I cannot wait to dive into Beyond Reach which is the second installment in the series.

All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1)

Finished on 20th April, 2015

Author: Ally Carter

image

4.5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A new series of global proportions — from master of intrigue, New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter.

This exciting new series from New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she’s come back to stay–in order to solve the mystery of her mother’s death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

All Fall Down is Ally Carter’s newest release and the first book in her new mystery series which takes place in Adria, a small European country that stands as a meeting point for countries of the world. Adria has a rich history and a beautiful landscape which I absolutely loved learning about. Embassy Row is one such feature – it lies on the outer ring of the country and, as befitting its name, consists of a multitude of embassies representing places all over the world. Russia, Israel, Germany, Brazil, Canada and the USA are only a small sample of the countries situated on Embassy Row.

Containing brilliant, relatable characters, major plot twists and a cliffhanger that will leave you wanting for more, All Fall Down is an enthralling page turner and completely realistic, despite Carter inserting an entirely new country into the modern world. Furthermore, Grace is an unreliable narrator, which made the story even more compelling. She has brief flashbacks all throughout the novel to the night of her mother’s murder, but it is only at the very end that we discover what really happened.

I recommend this book to people looking for a YA mystery that reads like a contemporary but isn’t. The characters are extremely well fleshed out and Adria itself is just so interesting and beautiful. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series and delving into Ally’s other works (particularly Heist Society).

ARC Review: Hidden Deep (Hidden #1)

Finished on 16th March, 2015

Author: Amy Patrick

image

Release Date: March 23rd, 2015

4.5 Stars

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sixteen-year-old Ryann Carroll has just run into the guy who saved her life ten years ago. You might think she’d be happy to see him again. Not exactly. She’s a bit underdressed (as in skinny-dipping) and he’s not supposed to exist.

After her father’s affair, all Ryann wants is to escape the family implosion fallout and find a little peace. She also wouldn’t mind a first date that didn’t suck, but she’s determined not to end up like her mom: vulnerable, betrayed, destroyed. Ryann’s recently moved back to her childhood home in rural Mississippi, the same place where ten years earlier she became lost in the woods overnight and nearly died.

She’s still irresistibly drawn to those woods. There she encounters the boy who kept her from freezing to death that long ago winter night and was nowhere to be seen when rescuers arrived. He’s still mysterious, but now all grown-up and gorgeous, too. And the more she’s with him, the greater the threat he poses to Ryann’s strict policy– never want someone more than he wants you.

Seventeen-year-old Lad knows the law of his people all too well: Don’t get careless and Don’t get caught. It’s allowed his race to live undetected in this world for thousands of years, mentioned only in flawed and fading folklore…

Lad’s never been able to forget about Ryann since that night ten years ago. When he sees her again, his fascination re-ignites and becomes a growing desire that tempts him to break all the rules. He’s not even supposed to talk to a human, much less fall in love with one.

And the timing is atrocious. The Assemblage is coming, the rift between the Light and Dark is widening, and mysterious celebrity fan pods are becoming more and more widespread and influential. Lad may have to trade his own chance at happiness to keep the humans, especially Ryann, blissfully unaware and safe.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A beautiful urban fantasy, Hidden Deep features an amusing narrator, a love interest that is both adorable and mysterious, brilliant world building and a whole lot of foreshadowing that has you pulling up theories all over the place.

While I consider myself to be a fairly broad reader, I am always a sucker for a good fantasy – and elves? Altum? Absolutely fantastic.

“Oh God… icing on the cake, icing… oh hang it all.”

Ryann was a great narrator – she was amusing, relatable and strong. She loved her family and was just a really enjoyable character.

I loved Lad. He was thoughtful, innocent, adorable and sweet; while at the same time he was mysterious, protective and yes, rather attractive. Lad was so genuine about everything he did, especially when it came to Ryann.

The other characters were just as great – Grandma Neena was totally awesome, especially when suspicions are proven true; Nox was intense, and though I was highly skeptical of him, he didn’t turn out to be as bad as I’d presumed; I really liked Maria (Ryann’s Mum). I don’t quite know why, but I really hope things turn out well for her.

I also loved Lad’s family – his parents were kind of adorable. Again, I’m not entirely sure why I feel this way and that’s probably not the right word to describe it, but I can’t help the warm fuzzy feeling inside me after finishing this novel – maybe it’s just that stupid cliffhanger… That’s probably it. (Yes, I do understand that it was the right way to end the book but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it). Contradictory much? I tend to be that way.

I highly recommend Hidden Deep to fans of YA, urban fantasy and romance. Personally, I am definitely looking forward to the next installment of the trilogy – which will probably be in slightly over a year (totally guessing here, don’t quote me on that).

Thank you so much to All Night Reads for supplying me with a copy of this book via NetGallery in exchange for a review.