Wednesday, 29 February 2012

[REVIEW] Timeless by Alexandra Monir

Published: January 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult - Historical
Series: Timeless #1
When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance.
Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives. (From Goodreads)

The first time i looked at this book, I convinced myself to try it, although I thought it didn't sound very good. 20 pages in and I was about to stop reading it but I persevered and the result was...shock, with a little bit of tears and anticipation for the next book. 

Timeless is probably the most romantic book i have read this year (so far) which says alot since I usually only read books that involve some form of romance. 

The characters in this book express their feelings so deeply that at some times, I feel words couldn't even describe their emotions. I do admit that at some times the author's descriptions, mainly objects, left me confused. I had to read them over before I had any sense of what she was saying. 

The story follows Michele and her romantic, heartbreaking journey through the past. Michele is a time travelor. She has a special skeleton key that can transport her back to the past, usually to one of her ancestors. There she meets a boy and essentially sets the entire story. 

About two thirds of the book is spent in the past which is alot considering the book is only about 250 pages. 

The research that went in to this novel is also astounding. At the end of the novel, there is a little section briefly explaining the historical facts mentioned in the story. After reading them, I'm now very curious about New York (where the story takes place) around the 1900's and the whole aristocratic lives then. I also remembering crying at some point while reading Timeless. 

The climax of the story was really a climax, unlike other books. I won't tell you what happened because that would ruin the story but i will tell you that the "to be continued" ending is a happy one so no matter how heartbroken you may feel, know that everything will be the end. 

Timeless truly reveals the love one can feel for another and how hard they would go to stay with their beloved. I would definitely recommend this book for all romance readers, I'm sure you won't be disappointed. I absolutely can't wait for the sequel!


(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

[REVIEW] Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Published: December 2010
     Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)       
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Vampire Academy #6 [end]
The astonishing final novel in Richelle Mead's epic series!

Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice. Now, with Rose on trial for her life and Lissa first in line for the Royal Throne, nothing will ever be the same between them. (From Goodreads)

First of all, if you like to read about vampires and you haven't heard of the Vampire Academy series, then you're definitely missing out. 

The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead follows mainly Rose Hathway and her trials as a guardian and dhampir. A dhampir is a half blood vampire and are usually guardians to the moroi, which are the full blooded vampires. Rose's best friend, Lissa is a moroi and a royal one too, she's the last of her family, the Dragomirs.

In the last book, Last Sacrifice, the whole plot twist , is that there is ONE more Dragomir and Rose is ultimately dragged in to more fighting and turmoil in her attempt to find this vampire so Lissa's family could represent in the Clave. 

A summary of what happened beforehand and how it all adds up to the last book would be too long so i suggest you go and read the past five books. If you didn't read them and just read this one, many of the relationship issues would be confusing and the characters often reflect on past events in the previous books so reading the previous ones would benefit the reader and provide the maximum shock. I love the Vampire Academy series but this final edition just left me speechless, in a bad way. 

The main reason why i liked this series was the action you got when you read each word. Every time i read a scene, i could fully picture it in my mind but in this book, the scenes are dull and often uneventful. Because Rose is seperated from Lissa throughout the book, the author found a clever way to switch back between characters and settings but in my opinion, that sort of took away from each setting and i couldn't submerge myself completely in to the book this time. 

I was very excited to see some more of Rose's relationship problems and dissapointed that the series ended just when everything seemed good, i wanted to know about her life after this book but the author has already stated that there will be no more books in this series. 

New characters do appear in this book but they are characters mentioned in past ones already but never to make an appearence. 

The book is much too long in my opinion. it's about 600 pages and maybe half of it was just useless conversations. I remember reading and reading, page after page until one climatical part then going back and just reading uneventful talk. The plot twist and the revealment of the last Dragomir was unpredictable but predictable in that you sort of had a small idea as to who the author would choose in an attempt to surprise the readers more.

Overall, i really recommand reading the Vampire Academy series and when you get to the last book, just think of it as the build up of something much more exciting because the true action doesn't happen until the last 50-100 pages or so.

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Monday, 27 February 2012

[REVIEW] Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Published: February 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins / Katherine Tegen Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: Angelfire #1
First there are nightmares.
Every night Ellie is haunted by terrifying dreams of monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her.

Then come the memories.
When Ellie meets Will, she feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. On her seventeenth birthday, on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Ellie's power, and she knows that she can fight the creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Only Will holds the key to Ellie's memories, whole lifetimes of them, and when she looks at him, she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream.

Now she must hunt.
Ellie has power that no one can match, and her role is to hunt and kill the reapers that prey on human souls. But in order to survive the dangerous and ancient battle of the angels and the Fallen, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives and truths that may be too frightening to remember. (From GoodReads)

Well the cover instantly got my attention. You see a girl (the main character) holding her sword, which is revealed in the book to be a Khopesh sword. She's dressed entirely in black with her red hair behind her. Well besides the cover, the book itself is pretty good. 
The story is about a girl named Ellie who has recurring nightmares and has no idea why. Later she meets a guy named Will who seems vaguly familar to her and on her 16th birthday, she soon figures out why. Turns out, she's the reincarnation of the Preliator, someone dedicated in saving the world from the "reapers" (think demons). 

Throughtout the book, Ellie meets various foes and discovers the plan that those on the evil side are hatching, so to speak. The author really explains the story well and when I read it, I really could relate to the characters. All their emotions and actions are written very well. 
The only part I disliked about the story is when the author writes about Ellie's nightmares, more visions later on in the book. They take away from the story and I feel there was no need to have about three pages dedicated to these visions when it could be summerized in a brief paragraph. I'm pretty sure my reaction would have been the same from either or but I would prefer the paragraph because it would involve reading less of what I considered the boring parts. 

Angelfire is a story about angels, no surprise there. this one, although similar to other angel books with the whole save the earth mission and the whole future angelic war, this story seems to have a seperate plot. Moulton introduces many new ideas that i have never read about in any other books. Her explanation of the reapers in her book is very concise and explains it very clearly. Each character is also developed and described in that you can relate to their personality and behaviours. 
The ending to this book was sort of a let down. I remember getting to the end and flipping the page expecting a new chapter and only getting the acknowledgment section. Angelfire is part of a trilogy so there is more but the transition between each novel could have been better. 

Another problem is that the main character's personal problems often overshadow the main plot at certain points. Of course I do love reading about Ellie's family or friend issues but I feel it takes away from the entire plot as a whole. One page we're talking about saving the world and the next it's about relationship issues. 

Overall this was an excellent read and I can't wait for the second one. To all those who enjoy action, romance, and stories about angels, definitely give this book a try.

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Sunday, 26 February 2012

[REVIEW] City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Published: March 2007
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: The Mortal Instruments #1
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . . 

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end. (From Goodreads)

I don't know why it took me this long to start this series. I also have no idea why i thought this was about fairies...but anyway, the City of Bones is the first book in the Mortal Instruments series. 

The Mortal Instruments series follows Clary Fray who finds out about the world of shadowhunters and "Downworld" creatures (werewolves, vampires etc.) In the City of Bones, Clary is introduced to the shadowhunters when she accidentally sees them doing their job at a night club she frequents. 

From there, the story takes off at a quick pace but i like quick paced stories and this one was quick but still had all the details so you didn't get lost. There, Clary meets Jace Wayland and the Lightwoods and they tell her more about their world and what they do. 

The whole plot of the series is revealed and the main villian is also introduced, that being Valentine, who is actually Clary's father. This is one of the reason's why i love this series, it's Cassandra Clare's sudden plot twists that leave be so eager to pick up the next book which is why i'm very glad the series is now extended to SIX volumes as oppose to three. 

Anyway, as most stories follow, Clary has a childhood friend, Simon, who is (no surprise) in love with her and then of course, Clary also loves someone else and a really sudden plot twist completely ruins their relationship. I'm usually the one who can easily predict what will happen in a story but when i came upon this revealement, i was so shocked i had to read it a couple more times, that's how amazing Cassandra Clare is. 

The settings in this story are explained with much clarity and the author often goes in to the details of the surroundings. The plot is typical but the use of angels in this book is one i have never read about, which is always good considering the many angel books that have been published. The shadowhunters are the nephilim, which are usually described as the beings that are half human and half angel. 

This book mixes in the bible stories of the angels and mixes it with fiction to combine them in to something completely new and exciting to read about. 

Each character is also developed differently and the author takes care in giving them each a different personality that is very apparent in the book. 

I can't wait to read the next one and I definitely recommand this series to you if you haven't already read it.

(originally posted in the TPL Word Out program)

Saturday, 25 February 2012

[REVIEW] The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Published: February 2010
Publisher: Harlequin Teens
Age Group: Young Adult
Series: The Iron Fey #1
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war.  Now Meghan will learn how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart. (From Goodreads)

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa was, to be honest, just a curious read.  I though perhaps after reading so many different fairy books, this one would be different.  In fact I had no idead it was about fairies, the cover sort of grabbed me.

Overall, The Iron King, the first in the Iron Fey series, was okay. It had the usual fairy guidelines, the four courts, the reference to Shakespeare's a midsummer's night, a predictable romance and practically all the similar factors you would find in a book about fairies. The only different aspect of this book, that I was disappointed to only come upon in the last third of the book, is the introduction of a new court, the iron fey.

Being a very avid reader, I have encountered many different books about fairies. The most popular being Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston and Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely. They are both similar to this one and I feel that the story sort of dulls down when you have already read about the same characters and settings in three other books. 

I did enjoy the romantic climax in this book. Although predictable, the relationship between the main character and the one she loves is intriguing, partially because of how the author sets it up. 

The story starts slow and the main plot isn't revealed until at least half the book. It seems like a good series and for all fairy readers, you should definitely try it but it isn't my favourite. 

(originally posted in the TPL Word out program)


Wow. It took me awhile to start this book blog.

I've had this idea for awhile now after thinking about all the opinions I had after reading a book.

I hope you enjoy reading the reviews as much as I like writing them!

And lastly, another big welcome! :)