Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Title: Finale (Hush, Hush #4)
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Genre: YA
Rating: 5/5
Cover: 8/10 - Hush, Hush and Crescendo will always be my favourite covers of this series.

I almost threw the book across the room at a point near the end there, because holy bejeesus, my EMOTIONS!
As I understand, my head will roll if I let any spoilers slip, so this is a strictly spoiler-free review. Be prepared for emotional outbursts, however.

First of all, Nora. I can't express how much I admire her in this book. Sure, there was a moment about halfway through when I felt like strangling some sense into her, and I had to put the book down for an hour to calm down, but those were extenuating circumstances. On the whole, I really felt like she matured so, so much. Reading through her point of view was a pleasure, because (aside from those... circumstances I mentioned above), she has no sense of her own power and importance; she's the leader of the Nephilim, sure, and that gives her a hell of a lot of power, but she wants nothing to do with it. I loved seeing the hero (heroin, in this case) completely and most vehemently turn their back on their powerful task of saving the world that only they can do. It was so refreshing. I also felt that her relationship with Patch, which, let's face it, has always sizzled and sparked with sexual tension, and made me fan myself repeatedly, grew and expanded to so much more - without ever losing that inherent hotness that makes these books so addictive.
Patch... *dreamy sigh* what can I say about Patch that won't take me into an endless ramble about how amazing, hot and just all-around fan-freaking-tastic he is? Sure, I did say he was being an asshole. And he totally was. He was also being an asshole for all the right reasons - which doesn't excuse the asshole-ness, but it sure helps soften the blow. But I think the main thing about Patch is just how obvious his love for Nora is, and that makes me love him more than anything else. And while his protective streak might be a bit overwhelming, and controlling at times, he does know when to back down, and he trusts Nora enough to know that she can take care of herself, even though it's painfully clear he'd much rather she never had to even try fighting herself.
Vee... holy crap. That pretty much sums it all up. Just... holy crap. That came out of NOWHERE, and just hit me in the head and completely blindsided me. I knew Nora would eventually fess up to Vee, but I never, not in a million years, expected that sort of answer. I'm not sure what the deal was with that, exactly, though I get that it played a quite important part in the end (not the Epilogue, the end before that :P), though frankly, most of that could have been accomplished even without that little bomb dropped, so I'm really not sure. But hey, whatever. I also love her friendship with Nora. It's great that Nora has not only a real, steady (well... kind of) relationship, but also a true best friend.

A little quote from the book for my Patch ladies:
"'You dress to impress,' I said approvingly.
'No, Angel.' He leaned in, his teeth softly grazing my ear. 'I undress to impress.'"

You're most very welcome ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Opportunist

Title: The Opportunist (Love me with Lies #1)
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Genre: YA
Rating: 5/5
Cover: 10/10

First of all, fair warning: this book is not for the faint of heart. I mean it. I really do. My. Freaking. Heart.
No, seriously, though. The term 'heartbreak' doesn't even START to cover it. Why do I keep reading books like this? I mean, they're fabulous reads, but OMG books should have happy endings, not sob-your-heart-out-and-eat-a-pint-of-ice-cream endings. Ugh.

Olivia, Caleb and Leah are just so... so... so fucked up, I can't even explain it properly. First off, we have Olivia. She has been in love with Caleb since college. But to get him, she did quite a few not-so-cool stuff, like telling his then girlfriend who was pregnant that she knew for a fact that Caleb didn't want kids (he did - very much), and convincing her to get an abortion. From then, the lies just started piling up, until they became a very Tower of Pisa-like pile. Except, unlike that tower, this pile wasn't made of stone, and it eventually fell...
... but it only fell because Olivia found Caleb doing the dirty with a co-worker when he should have been going out to dinner with her. So then that's Caleb's not-so-cool deed. And then, a few years after the two broke up, Caleb has a car accident, and loses his memory for a brief period of time. But instead of telling people when his memories come back (while he was still in the hospital), he pretends to have amnesia and gets close to Olivia again...
... And Olivia is trying really hard to do the right thing and step back; she knows that Caleb is still with Leah, but she feels bad that he can't remember anything, and having been with him for so long, she can fill in many of the blanks for him, so she agrees to meet with him and they get to talking, which then gets her old feelings towards Caleb to resurface...
Enter Leah. Mean, red-haired bitch, she is the one who snapped Caleb up after Olivia broke up with him. And she is absolutely livid that her amnesia-ed boyfriend is going around to see his ex, because if he can't remember everything she lied to him about, then there's nothing stopping him from falling for her again - if he ever even un-fell for her. But to avoid them getting back together, Leah has a plan. And she has no intention of letting it fail. Because if it does, she will lose all the money and prestige that being with Caleb give her - something she is determined to never let happen.

The thing about this book is that there is no 'good guy' or 'bad guy'; frankly, they are ALL bad guys, and deserve to burn in hell for messing with my emotions so much. And yet we can't help being on Olivia's side, because despite all the horrible things she has done, she truly loves Caleb, while Leah mostly wants his money.

The Casual Vacancy

I'll be honest - I'm not done with the book. In my defense, The Casual Vacancy is a very large and very heavy book (theme-wise, I mean; it's actually quite light weight-wise, all things considered). However, I feel the need to address all these comments that are going around about how Rowling should have just stuck with Potter.
Now, as I said, I haven't yet finished the book, but even halfway through (hell, even one page in, if you ask me), it's ridiculously obvious that this is nothing to do whatsoever with Potter. I like to think of The Casual Vacancy as Rowling's version of what Daniel Radcliffe did when he took part in Equus: it's a statement, it shocked a lot of people, and many disliked that 'their Harry Potter' was taking his clothes off onstage. But just because some people disliked that Daniel decided to go nude onstage because it went against their views of him as the hero Harry Potter, doesn't mean that the play, or his acting in it for that matter, weren't good; it just means that people were so blinded by their shock at seeing a person they'd come to associate with children do something so scandalously... adult.
The same concept applies to The Casual Vacancy, but with a few extra complications. You see, Vacancy is very clearly an adult novel from the start, and Rowling had been saying so for a while, but it seems as if people didn't actually believe that her 'adult' would entail the normal things you'd find in an adult book: swearing, sexual situations, etc. Why, exactly, Jo Rowling's adult book was expected to be different from other adult books, is still a little unclear to me, as that is what I expect from adult books in general, regardless of the writer, but there you go. To add insult to injury on the wounds of the horrified Potter fans who were no doubt expecting a book perhaps about an adult rather than a teenager, but still a rather tame book, Rowling then throws in a heap - and I do mean a massive heap - of social analysis done with such great skill and precision, it's mind-boggling. But, see, social analysis tends to upset people, because the truth of human nature is far from pretty, and that is what The Casual Vacancy is all about: human nature, and how people react to other people, and the things around them.
There are so many reviews out there that say that Rowling 'tired too hard' to make sure people knew it was an adult book, and that some scenes with swearing and themes such as rape came out 'forced and unnatural'. I know. Shocking in a clearly labelled adult book. Who'd have expected it?  And yet those reviews generally end with the reviewer saying that they are disappointed that Vacancy wasn't more like Potter. I return to my previous point about Radcliffe and Equus, and will quote something my dad told me when I was discussing this with him over the phone the other day: 'I guess it makes sense, in a way, for her to publish it first [before the child's book she had previously mentioned]. She, just like the actors who played her characters in the movies, needs to break the tradition, and step out of the preconceived notion that people have of her as "the one who wrote Harry Potter". Publishing another children's book wouldn't do that half as effectively as an adult book would, and by what you're telling me, she's definitely succeeded in breaking that view that people had of her.' We all know that an actor's greatest nightmare is to be labeled as 'the guy/girl who played X' for the rest of their lives, and I think what people need to realise is that, after 7 books and ten years writing Potter alone, Rowling was faced with exactly the same dilemma.
I do realise that the topics touched in Vacancy can affect some people's delicate views on life and humanity; after all, what kind of monster rejoices in someone's death?
You'd be surprised. You really would.
My advice to anyone trying to decide whether to read Vacancy, is to first ask yourself if you truly know what the book is about, and if you have no expectations of it being in any way similar to Potter. Because if that's what you expect, then it is inevitable that you will be let down. However, if you're just looking for a new great book, brilliantly written, with an astoundingly spot-on review of the human psyche, then I say by all means, go forth and enjoy!

I would also like to make it extremely clear that I grew up with Harry Potter. Harry, Ron and Hermione were my best friends for a while, and I owe a lot of my childhood happiness, as well as a great part of who I am today to those books. However, upon reading that Jo Rowling was going to publish an adult book, I had no illusions that it would be any different from any other adult book out there in regards to language and themes. In fact, I was looking forward to seeing how Rowling would portray those aspects of an adult book, and was pleasantly surprised. I am therefore here just registering my confusion towards my fellow Potter fans who apparently haven't understood Rowling when she adamantly stated that she will not be writing any other books on Hogwarts. Sad as that is, I accepted that fact and moved on. I strongly suggest those people who are outraged by Vacancy to do the same. To quote our favourite headmaster, 'It does not do to live on dreams and forget to live.' A new Potter book is no more than a dream, so just drop it, and enjoy the new masterpiece Jo has given us.

Cover Reveal: Gameboard of the Gods

It's that time again! Richelle Mead, our favourite redhead in literature is gearing up to release her new adult series, and today we got the blurb and cover for Gameboard of the Gods, the first book in the Age of X series:

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised i
n an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.

When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.

Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.

 Look for Gameboard of the Gods in bookstores June 2013.

Monday, October 08, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Genre: YA
Rating: 4.5/5
Cover: 8/10

I feel like I have a certain amount of pressure to give this a 5, but in the end, it's a 4.5; sorry John Green fanatics.

See, thing is, when I started reading this book, I was mentally prepared to shed a hell of a lot of tears. I mean, these days, you mention cancer health centres and I tear up, if I'm having an emotional day. It's just a touchy subject all around. And yeah, not going to lie, it was heart-wrenching. I never, not in a million years, expected it to end like it did, but hey that's the nature of this damned disease, so I can't say I was too surprised - guess two family members who died from it kind of make me in the know as to how it just sneaks up on you with no warning. Once you've had it, it hovers over you forever, and it might decide to come back whenever it pleases, no advance warning so you can prepare to receive it. It just comes, and you best be ready for it, or else...
So, no, that's not what bothered me.
What bothered me was - and please let's all take a moment to realise that, despite being a highly emotional book that deals with something that cannot seem to get out of the news/public eye, it's still a book, and therefore there are certain things I expect to find in a book, and that is why I found this lacking - is the way the love story was developed. I get that this is a relatively short book, probably because that sense of impending doom, but I felt like the romance, which is, I don't care what you have to say otherwise, the main driving force of this novel, could have had more details. Love at first sight is all very nice and good, but I just wasn't feeling it, to be honest. Also, the whole she-looks-like-my-ex thing kind of freaked me out, as it never really shows any particular difference in Augustus' behaviour towards Hazel, so you never really know when he actually fell for her.

Now, I want to touch on something that has been bothering me for a while, and which is part, I think, of why this book is so popular. I'm not denying that Mr. Green is a wonderful writer; he most definitely is. But these past few years have seen a burst of attention towards cancer, and I think that this attention and focus helped a lot in the popularisation of this novel. Once again, though: it is not a bad book; I just found it to not be all that people had ranted and raved that it was.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Reflected in You

Title: Reflected in You
Author: Sylvia Day
Genre: Adult
Rating: 4.5/5
Cover: 3/10

That ending COMPLETELY blindsided me. Well, not the ending per se, but more like what led up to the ending. I just didn't think Gideon had it in him. And he annoyed the living daylights out of me in this book. There were times I just had to put the book down before I committed fictional murder through kindle death. And I love my kindle way too much to do that to the poor thing.
I felt that reading Gideon was like diving into a less serious happening of the Jackson Marriage Case in 1891 (don't ask; it's a long story, but damn that thing scarred me), in which, in a nutshell, the asshole husband, who left his wife with her sister exactly one day after the wedding and sailed off to New Zealand, got so mad when he came back and she told him to shove it, that he kidnapped her and kept her against her will in his house.
There is one scene in particular in Reflected in You that reminded me of this, and while no actual kidnapping is involved (though it does involve a car, and leads to a weekend with no communication... I'm sure you all know what I'm referring to), it still deeply bothered me how the matter was resolved and then later on just swept over, like it was perfectly fine. If my boyfriend ever did that to me, he'd be limping home -- a-freaking-lone.
Reading this book was like watching all of the feminist work crash and burn - double standards depending on sex, threats, and way too much control obsession, and yet... 4.5. I just don't even know anymore. And I suppose some people are into that sort of stuff. Truth be told, it's the rest of the book, the parts when Gideon wasn't being an overbearing control freak son of a bitch, that I just loved. The story has stuck with me, even though I've already started another book, and that, I think, is the mark of a good book. Still, I couldn't bring myself to give it a 5.

Also, what Gideon did at the end, though insanely creepy, and freaking illegal, I don't particularly care. That particular asshole deserved to be behind bars years ago; at least like this, some manner of justice was served.

To any of you interested: The Jackson Marriage Case ended after a drag through court, where Mrs. Jackson actually lost once, but when her friends appealed, she was finally allowed to leave her husband's house and live her life as she pleased.