Tag Archives: Read in 2015

The Assassin’s Curse (The Assassin’s Curse #1)

Read from 22-24th June, 2015

Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke

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5 Stars

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Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to another pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. When Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn’t really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together.

To break the spell, Ananna and the assassin must complete three impossible tasks–all while grappling with evil wizards, floating islands, haughty manticores, runaway nobility, strange magic…and the growing romantic tension between them.

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A fun, easy read filled with magic, adventure, pirates, assassins and a whole lot of sass, The Assassin’s Curse is a fantastic story and exactly what I was looking for. I went in with pretty high expectations, which (thankfully) were met.

The characters in this story are absolutely brilliant.

Ananna (whose name I have no idea how to say, because I’m pretty sure that it is not supposed to rhyme with “banana”), our protagonist, is strong, capable, relatable and does not take any nonsense from anyone.

The Assassin (whose name I won’t reveal due to minor spoilers) is really cool. He is flawed and not, in fact, all-powerful –there are several times in which he is the one who has to be saved. He’s stubborn and kind of thick-headed, but we learn to love him nonetheless. His sweet side (yes, he has one!) is revealed in his own gruff manner and some of the things he says are guaranteed to make you go “aww” (while others will make you want to bash your head into a wall, but I digress).

Although a minor character, Marjani is super awesome. A pirate queen, she is intelligent, confident and commandeers respect.

The magic of this world is really interesting as it is based on the elements, with the addition of blood magic. Only “touched” people can use magic, but to varying degrees and often specializing in a specific element. However, there are also wizards, instances of mixed elements and curses, which add a further later into the system. Although magic is rather prominent in The Assassin’s Curse, the mechanics of it are rather vague so I am hopeful that we are able to learn a whole lot more in The Pirate’s Wish (the second and final installment).

My one criticism of The Assassin’s Curse would have to be that the synopsis is somewhat misleading; The three impossible tasks are revealed at the tail end of the novel, and none of them completed by the conclusion (which is perfectly understandable, but should not be included in the synopsis).

Unfortunately, the publishing company behind this duology has shut down, so physical copies are practically impossible to find. However, the ebooks are still available, which is something at least.

I highly recommend The Assassin’s Curse as it is a light hearted, brilliant read that will appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce (that woman is queen), fantasy, magic, pirates and strong female characters.

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

Read on 16th June, 2015

Authors: Cassandra Clare & Robin Wasserman

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4.5 Stars

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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.

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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.

All The Bright Places

Read from 13-14th June, 2015

Author: Jennifer Niven

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5 Stars

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The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!
 
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

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I am so emotionally drained right now it’s not even funny…

All The Bright Places had me tearing up, laughing and full-out crying. I don’t usually dog-ear pages, but…

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… See that? Those document all the times where I laughed, cried, or just read something that I really, really liked.

At first, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to connect with the characters – but that fear was thankfully squashed reasonably early on in the story.

I loved how unique both Finch and Violet were and that their voices were distinct from one another as the story was told from a dual point of view. I also appreciated how their characters had such depth to them – going beyond the surface level and how everyone else might see them or expect them to be. Also, Violet loves to read.

Most of all, I loved (I really need to stop repeating that word… oh well) how Violet and Finch challenged each other to be better versions of themselves. From strangers to friends to something more, it was apparent that their relationship helped both characters grow in themselves and in each other. It was believable and heartwarming and heartbreaking.

Aside from a rare few, (I’m looking at you Roamer, Mr. Finch) I either loved or somewhat liked all of the characters.

There was a strong family aspect to this book, which I really appreciated and – I’m sure many others would agree – is something that is extremely lacking in YA.

I adored the wanderings! They were so fun and awesome and unique. I loved how both Finch and Violet went about it and it was just so fun! (One of the first dog ears is a shout out to book fans everywhere). Even better, these are all actual places that exist in the world (i.e. Indiana).

Reading the acknowledgements, I found out that All The Bright Places is actually a rather personal story and it comes from some of Jennifer’s own experiences, which definitely shows.

“I wanted to write something edgy.
I wanted to write something contemporary.
I wanted to write something though, hard, sad, but fun.”

Congratulations Jennifer, you did just that.

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All The Bright Places is June’s book pick for The Book Club of the Opinionated Hufflepuffs.

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1)

Read from 9-10th June, 2015

Author: Sabaa Tahir

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5 Stars

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Laia is a slave. 

Elias is a soldier. 

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

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A debut novel realeased just over a month ago, An Ember in the Ashes has already got its own book trailer, been optioned for a film and is surrounded by a whole lot of hype in both the
blogosphere and on BookTube – deservingly so. However, with such hype I feel that everything’s already been said about this novel, but I’ll give it my best shot anyway.

An epic high fantasy with brilliant world building (but no information dumping!), characters you either love dearly or despise, beautiful writing, a romantic sub-plot (it is not at all the main focus), friendships, a resistance movement that will surprise you, and gruesome yet realistic tasks and punishments (Sabaa spares no expense on our characters), An Ember in the Ashes is a truly brilliant story with a fantastic plot and just a great, solid read.

I’m honestly no sure what else to say – you know those books that are so good but you can’t really put it into words? That’s where I’m coming from. However, I will say this: if you think you’re going to like this – maybe even love it – you probably will. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the book, because it reads really fast. I highly, highly recommend picking up An Ember in the Ashes and giving it a read.

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Please let me know if you’ve read this book and what your thoughts were in the comments below. I love hearing your opinions 😉

Ignite Me (Shatter Me/The Juliette Chronicles #3)

Read from 1st-3rd June, 2015

Author: Tahareh Mafi

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5 Stars

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The fate of Omega Point is unknown.

Everyone Juliette cares about may be dead. Now Juliette I’d the only one standing in The Reestablishment’s way. But to take them down, as well as Anderson, the man that nearly killed her, Juliette needs the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew – about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam – was wrong.

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Ignite Me is the thrilling conclusion to an absolutely spectacular series. The writing, the characters and the plot are all phenomenal and I can’t wait to discuss it with you!

Part of what has made this series one of my all-time favourites is that I was able to discuss it and fangirl over it with three or four of my friends no matter what part I was at – I could vent and squeal and it was amazing. The only downside was that they all called dibs on Warner long before I did… But he’s still mine, okay?! A girl can dream.

Tahereh’s writing is absolutely phenomenal, beautiful, poetic and unique. Juliette undergoes massive character development throughout this series and the writing actually corresponds with that. It wasn’t until I was about a quarter into Ignite Me that I realised that it read like a “normal” novel. As in, there were no strike throughs and the like, which is fitting of her character – it is a physical representation that Juliette has transformed from a scared, isolated child to a confident, powerful woman.

Warner. Warner. I absolutely adore this man with every ounce of my being. Not only is he extremely attractive, but his love for Juliette is open, honest, deep and raw. It is so beautiful to witness and, more than that, there are never ending depths to his character. I love him so much that it hurts. To put it into perspective, Warner and Juliette are my real OTP – you know how you always have as gazillion of them? Well, this is my actual answer. (For those of you who are curious, Will, Jem and Tessa from TID are my OT3).

Kenji is amazing. Funny and sarcastic, yet serious when need be, he is a brilliant friend to Juliette and my second (maybe third) favourite character in this series. There is still so much that we don’t know about him, but Kenji’s character was really fleshed out in this installment, which I appreciated. I would love to have Kenji as my best friend boyfriend (because, let’s face it, as much as I love Warner, I ship him and Juliette too much to break them up – not that I would even have the guts to try). He is such a brilliant character and we would have such great times together. I also love how much he cares about James and their dynamic together.

Speaking of, James is absolutely adorable. He is such an enjoyment to read about and his relationship with Warner especially drew upon my heart strings. He is also such a smart kid and I just love him so much. (Are you starting to sense a pattern here?)

I don’t have time to go through all of the side characters, but overwhelmingly they are all fantastic, developed characters that I would love to hang out with.

I’m not going to talk much about Adam aside from mentioning that he was a complete jerk who kind of redeemed himself in the end. I still maintain that he was important in getting Juliette to where she is now, but he is certainly not the one for her. Juliette phrases this perfectly in a conversation with Kenji, which is another thing that I love about her.
There are so many brilliant moments in this series, but particularly in Ignite Me. If you have read this story, please comment your favourite parts so that we can fangirl together.

For those of you who have not yet picked up this series – I’m sorry, but what are you doing with your life? If you’re not sure whether to read this or not, just do it. I highly, highly recommend these books.

You can find my reviews for Shatter Me, Unravel Me, Destroy Me and Fracture Me here, here, here and here.

Side note: Aren’t these covers stunning? And they tie in with the story so well…

Fracture Me (Shatter Me/The Juliette Chronicles #2.5)

Finished on 31st May, 2015

Author: Tahareh Mafi

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3.75 Stars

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Discover the fate of the Omega Point rebels as they go up against The Reestablishment. Set during and soon after the final moments of Unravel MeFracture Me is told from Adam’s perspective.

As Omega Point prepares to launch an all-out assault on The Reestablishment soldiers stationed in Sector 45, Adam’s focus couldn’t be further from the upcoming battle. He’s reeling from his breakup with Juliette, scared for his best friend’s life, and as concerned as ever for his brother James’s safety. And just as Adam begins to wonder if this life is really for him, the alarms sound. It’s time for war.

On the battlefield, it seems like the odds are in their favor—but taking down Warner, Adam’s newly discovered half brother, won’t be that easy. The Reestablishment can’t tolerate a rebellion, and they’ll do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam has ever cared about.

Fracture Me sets the stage for Ignite Me, the explosive finale in Tahereh Mafi’s epic dystopian series. It’s a novella not to be missed by fans who crave action-packed stories with tantalizing romance like Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Legend by Marie Lu.

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I honestly have no idea how to rate this book. As usual, Tahareh’s writing is amazing, but on the other hand we have Adam – which is where the dilemma hits.

Fracture Me cemented my hate for Adam and my love for Kenji and James. I applaud Tahereh for creating a character that we fall in love with in Shatter Me, but becomes absolutely horrible and just a real jerk.

I despise Adam with a passion. Why, you ask? Well, not only is he revealed to be incredibly stupid and impulsive, but he is horrible to the people he loves. In the beginning, we see that although he loves James, Adam is a complete jerk to James. I mean, he isn’t entirely horrible, but he does and says some questionable things. Most of all, Adam’s perception of Juliette is cringe-worthy and I feel like tearing him to pieces. Adam sees Juliette – the girl he claims to have loved for over a decade – as weak, pathetic and incapable of doing anything. To him, she is fragile and to be protected. And when she goes out of that convenient little box that he’s put her in and starts acting like a bad-ass? It scares him. It scares him. I just – I can’t.

If I could punch any fictional character in the face – with a brick – I would choose Adam over Umbridge. Umbridge, people! Surely that should give you some perspective. Adam is a coward and does not deserve Juliette in the least – if they get together in Ignite Me, then I will be seriously vexed.

In spite of all this, I do believe that Fracture Me is a good addition to the trilogy. Aside from solidifying how much of a jerk Adam is, from chapter seven onwards we see what happens to the other characters during the final section of Unravel Me, which I believe is not included in the original trilogy.

I recommend Fracture Me to fans of the series that still like Adam – for they will see how much of a moron he truly is. (I’m so cruel, I know.) But in all seriousness, I would recommend reading this novella if you’re curious as to what happened to the other characters after the battle at the end of Unravel Me.

Destroy Me (Shatter Me/The Juliette Chronicles #1.5)

Read on 29th May, 2015

Author: Tahereh Mafi

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5 Stars

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In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of. . .

Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me, Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

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This book… This book.

Warner is just so amazing and complex and ohmygoodnessIcan’teven.

I absolutely loved seeing inside of Warner’s mind, what his childhood was like, why he acts the way he does, as well as his reaction to reading Juliette’s journal. There were a few instances where I shed some tears. Chapter sixteen broke my heart.

There’s nothing much else that I can say about Destroy Me without spoiling people, but if you like the series at all, if you love Warner, then read this book. I don’t care if you have something against novellas – just read it.

Even though Destroy Me is listed as #1.5 in the series, I would recommend doing as I did and reading it after Unravel Me. I found that it was better to get to know Warner as Juliette did, and then switch to his perspective on everything that happened – let’s just say that you will come to understand that certain were not as they appeared and if you didn’t love Warner already, you will after reading this novella.

You can find my reviews for Shatter Me and Unravel Me here and here.

Please comment your thoughts so I can fangirl with you about the brilliance that is Warner!