5/29/12

Changeling

Author: Philippa Gregory
Pages: 266
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Paperback (ARC)
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)Dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance populate the pages of the first-ever teen series from #1 bestselling author of The Other Boleyn Girl

Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days.     

Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.     

Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq. The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon.      


*** 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. 

My Summary: After the death of her loving father, Isolde's world is turned upside-down: according to her elder brother, instead of leaving her the lands and the home she grew up in, her father decreed on his deathbed that she would be married or sent to the nunnery. Heartbroken, grieving, and with no other options, Isolde sets out for the nunnery with her childhood friend Ishraq.

A few months later, Luca Vero - a brother accused of heresy for questioning the authenticity of an ancient artifact - is sent by the Pope to investigate that very same nunnery. When he arrives, he discovers a shocking truth: every since the arrival of Isolde and her companion, the nuns have been experiencing horrible visions... and some have even received gruesome marks on their bodies. Something is not right, and it's Luca's job to find out what's going on. 

Now, armed with nothing but his orders from the Order of the Dragon, Luca must find whoever is responsible for the strange events occurring inside the holy place - even if it means arresting the mysterious girl who is so much more than she appears to be.  

My Thoughts: First off, I'd like to say a big thank-you to everyone at Simon & Schuster for allowing me to read and review an ARC from one of my favourite authors of all time. Thank you so much for the opportunity! I've been a huge fan of Philippa Gregory's for years, and I swear I shamelessly let out a little fan-girl shriek when I opened up Changeling.  

Changeling was an amazing read that encompassed all of my favourite genres: romance, historical fiction, and even a little bit of paranormal. I adored every minute of it - and that is not an exaggeration. The characters were so well-written and deep that I felt like I knew them personally. I admired Isolde's spirit and Luca's refusal to believe something just because he was told he had to. The supporting characters were awesome as well and added another layer to the story - Freize was definitely one of my favourites.

Gregory did an amazing job weaving this story together - there's no doubt in my mind that she's one of the master storytellers of our time. Her descriptions of Italy during the 15th century effortlessly pulled me in, painting an amazingly clear picture of Luca and Isolde's world in my mind. She also managed to create some of the best character chemistry I've ever read - I can't wait to see where she takes it in the next installment of the series. 

Final Thoughts: I definitely (bold, underline, italics, whatever else I can do to that world to emphasize how much I mean it) recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, romance, paranormal YA, and anyone who is a fan of Philippa Gregory's work. 

5/27/12

The Land of Whoo

Author: Ryan O'Brien
Pages: 226
Publisher: Ryan O'Brian Publishing
Format: Paperback (ARC)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)An adopted Michael Henry yearned for some excitement in his life. Away from his friends, in a new neighborhood and school, he discovers the adventures of a lifetime as he learns of a portal with access to the Land of Whoo. 

On the other side of the portal, the secrets of Michael Henry’s past and future will be revealed to him.
***
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary
: On the morning he wakes up from a mysterious dream, Michael Henry knows things are going to change. In his dream, a 7-foot-tall genie-like figure told him he was The Chosen One. And it's not long before Michael learns what exactly that entails: he can cross through the portal into the Land of Whoo - a place where he'll discover the answers  to all his questions about his past.

My Thoughts: This is the first work of  Ryan O'Brien's that I've ever read, but it definitely won't be my last! In this middle-grade novel, a young Michael finds excitement in ways he never imagined. I loved Michael's character, as well as his development and growth throughout the novel. I enjoyed the inclusion of the Trials and the search for the Medallion - who doesn't love a good quest?
The fantasy element of this novel was great - not too complicated, but still complex enough to keep you interested at any age. For whatever reason, while reading this novel I was reminiscent of the books in the 100 Cupboards series by N.D. Wilson - another MG series I adored. 

Final Thoughts
: If you enjoy MG novels with some elements of fantasy and magic, then this is definitely the series for you. I'm eagerly awaiting book two already!

5/26/12

Destined

Author: Aprilynne Pike
Pages: 320
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)Tamani looked at her gravely, and reached up to tuck her hair behind her ear.

He hesitated for an instant, then his hands found the sides of her face, pulling her to him. He didn't kiss her, just held her face close to his, their foreheads resting together, their noses almost touching.

She hated how much it felt like good-bye.


Laurel now knows the truth: Yuki is a rare Winter faerie, the most powerful—and deadly—of all, and Klea plans to use her to help conquer and destroy Avalon. But Klea's reach extends far beyond one wild Winter faerie. With Tamani, David, and Chelsea by her side, Laurel prepares to face what may be Avalon's final days, in the stunning conclusion to the Wings series.

***

My Summary: After learning the truth about Yuki, Laurel, Tamani, David, and Chelsea were forced to imprison her inside a faerie circle. They know they don't have much time before Klea appears to rescue Yuki, but she doesn't seem to want to co-operate with her captors. With no options left, the four set out for Avalon seeking protection...

But what they find there confirms what they already thought to be true: Klea and her army have ravaged Avalon, and it's only a matter of time before they destroy it all together.

My Thoughts: This is probably one of the only times where I was extremely happy with the last book in a series. Destined was everything I wanted it to be and more. It was kind of difficult to write any type of review for this one without giving anything away, so all I can say is this: Destined is definitely worth the read.

Final Thoughts: If you haven't checked out this series yet we can't be friends anymore. That's right. I said it.

Illusions

Author: Aprilynne Pike
Pages: 375
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.



My Summary
: Since her fight with Tamani, Laurel's life has been - for the most part - uneventful. But her heart still aches for Tamani, even if she can't seem to get her feelings for him in order.

When a mysterious acquaintance reappears with a task for Laurel - along with a very different Tamani - she knows things are about to change drastically.

My Thoughts: It took me a while to collect my thoughts after finishing this one. I really liked the continuing development of the characters - Laurel, Tam, David, and Chelsea in particular. And the chemistry between Tam and Laurel was amazing. The pacing was great, and I loved the way all the details wove together in the end. Believe me when I say I closed the cover of Illusions and immediately grabbed Destined off the shelf and dived in. It's probably safe to say I'm a little obsessed with this series...

Final Thoughts: If you haven't checked out this series yet, I definitely recommend it! Fans of paranormal YA, romance, and faerie novels will really enjoy it.

Spells

Author: Aprilynne Pike
Pages: 359
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)Six months have passed since Laurel saved the gateway to the faerie realm of Avalon. Now she must spend her summer there, honing her skills as a Fall faerie. But her human family and friends are still in mortal danger--and the gateway to Avalon is more compromised than ever.

When it comes time to protect those she loves, will she depend on David, her human boyfriend, for help? Or will she turn to Tamani, the electrifying faerie with whom her connection is undeniable?

***
My Summary: It's been a few months since Laurel and Tamani saved the gateway to Avalon, and Laurel's been called back to Avalon to study with her fellow Fall faeries to learn to hone her skills. Those months in Avalon cement her relationship with Tamani and confuse her more than she ever thought possible - she knows she loves David, but can she live without Tamani?

When she returns to her world, everything is thrown into chaos. With the return of the trolls comes a new ally - or enemy - as well as the knowledge that she's the only thing standing between the trolls and everything Laurel cares about.

My Thoughts: It's rare that I enjoy a sequel more than its predecessor, but I really liked this installment - more than the first one, in fact. I loved the world-building that went on in this novel, as well as the development of the characters we were introduced to in book one. Tamani is, without a doubt, my favourite character in the series, so the ending effectively broke my heart. Luckily I already had the third installment, so I didn't have to wait very long to find out what happens.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys paranormal YA, romance, and faerie novels. If you haven't checked out the first book in the series, do so!

Illuminate

Author: Aimee Agresti
Pages: 534
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Hardcover (ARC)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from author's official website)Haven Terra’s soul is in danger, but only she can save herself.  Brainy, shy high school outcast Haven can’t believe her luck when she’s recruited for a prestigious internship at a historic hotel in Chicago, under the leadership of powerful and alluring Aurelia Brown, dashing Lucian Grove and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons. But just as she becomes seduced by their glitzy and mysterious world, Haven uncovers the evil agenda at the hotel: they’re devils in the business of buying souls. 

And hers is the most valuable of all: she’s an angel in training and the devils aim to turn her to their side. Will they succeed in wooing her or will she battle back, summoning a strength she never knew she had? Helping her along the way: a mysterious book instructing her to believe in herself; and her budding friendship with soft-spoken classmate Lance, who has a secret of his own.



***

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: Haven never expected to be recruited for the internship at  a historic hotel in Chicago, and she doesn't expect to get much out of the experience. Arriving at the hotel, however, Haven is almost overwhelmed by the decadence of the place and its employees: the mysterious Aurelia Brown, Lucian Grove, and the mysterious people they call The Outfit. Haven is swept into the world inside the hotel... but she can sense something isn't quite right, and when she starts digging around, her worst fears are confirmed.

Now with the help of a strange book and her friend Lance, Haven must make her choice: will she join the dark-side, or do what she was born to?

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this one! Starting off, I had predicted that the paranormal element might be something like vampires, and that this would be just another vampire book... but man was I wrong.

There are no vampires to be found in this novel (so those of you who hate anything vampire can keep reading!). I really liked Haven and Lance's characters, along with Dante (who was hilarious). The creepiness of The Outfit was so well-described - at times I felt like the group itself was a character.

The imagery in this novel was great as well. The author does such a great job of describing the hotel and the atmosphere that you can vividly imagine every detail.

The following was probably one of my favourite quotes from the novel - it's kind of scary how much it reminded me of The Great Gatsby: “Everything sinful is glamorous these days, isn’t it?”

Final Thoughts
: I recommend this novel to anyone who is a fan of darker, edgier paranormal YA. 

Unravelling

Author: Elizabeth Norris
Pages: 416
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)24 meets the X Files in the biggest teen blockbuster of the summer…

STOP THE COUNTDOWN. SAVE THE WORLD…

Leaving the beach, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit head on by a pickup truck.

And killed.

Then Ben Michaels, resident stoner, is leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows Ben somehow brought her back to life…

Meanwhile, Janelle’s father, a special agent for the FBI, starts working on a case that seems strangely connected to Ben. Digging in his files, Janelle finds a mysterious device – one that seems to be counting down to something that will happen in 23 days and 10 hours time.

That something? It might just be the end of the world. And if Janelle wants to stop it, she’s going to need to uncover Ben’s secrets – and keep from falling in love with him in the process…

***

My Summary: Janelle thought she knew exactly what the future had planned for her: graduate college, get  a good job - all while pretending her mother's drinking problem didn't exist and that her dad wasn't at work more than he was at home.

Everything changes the minute Janelle's hit by a speeding pick-up truck.

She dies, but someone pulls her back: Ben Michaels, stoner extraordinaire. He does something  she can't explain, mending her broken bones and restarting her heart with just a touch. Apparently there's more to Ben Michaels then she thought... especially after she discovers he's somehow connected to a mysterious device that even the FBI can't disarm - something that could bring about the end of the world as she knows it.

My Thoughts: I don't think I've ever read anything even remotely resembling Unravelling. I've never been really big into the whole 'sci-fi' genre,  but after reading this novel I think I'm definitely going to start.

Firstly, I loved the underlying theme of the book: not everyone is who you think they are. It's such a big concept, and yet it's hard to find YA novels that mention anything about it. Props to the author for including it!

I also really liked that the romance wasn't the main focus of the story. Strictly-romance novels are awesome, but if a book is about the apocolypse or something, then the romance shouldn't be the main focus of the story. Right? Again, thank you to the author for not making the main character into a love-sick puppy and disregarding any plot.

Speaking of the plot... I loved it. The way all the little pieces wove together in the end was awesome. And the pace was perfect - I flew through the pages (even though this one has around 400) and never felt bored. I was done reading in less than 8 hours - and trust me when I say it flew by.

Final Thoughts: This is definitely one of my favourites of 2012! I recommend it to anyone who loves sci-fi (or anyone just starting out in the genre, like myself), paranormal YA, or even a good dystopian. There is some mention of sex and alcohol and drug usage, so I'd probably recommend it to older teens only (say 16 and up). Check it out!

Jessica Rules the Dark Side

Author: Beth Fantaskey
Pages: 309
Publisher: Harcourt
Format: Hardcover (ARC)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is—and whom she can trust—before it’s too late?

***
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: Ever since marrying Lucius, Jessica's been having a bit of a hard time adjusting - she just doesn't feel like the princess she's supposed to be. While Lucius attempts to establish order amongst his people, doubts about Jessica's abilities to rule run rampant.

When Lucius is blamed for the mysterious death of his uncle, he's taken away and thrown into a prison where nobody will supply him with blood. Now, all alone, Jessica must take control and be the leader she was meant to be in order to clear her husband's name and maintain order - before it's too late.

My Thoughts: I was so glad to see this one in my mailbox! It seems like I've been waiting ages for the sequel to Jessica's Guide - three years, in fact. After the awesomeness that was book one, the wait for this one felt like an eternity. But you know what? It was totally worth it.

Lucius... what can I say? You're just as dreamy as I remember you were (don't tell anyone, but I always liked you better than that Edward guy anyway). I really enjoyed the shifting points of view - they helped me understand a lot better and get to know the other characters a bit more. I really liked that the plot was so unpredictable, too - there's nothing worse than knowing who did it within the first 50 pages and having to read 200 more before the other characters clue in. This one kept me guessing until the very end!
Without a doubt, my favourite quote from this book was: “But I know something of suffering, and I learned a long time ago – both by experiencing violence and by anticipating it – that fear is the worst kind of grave, because it buries one alive.”

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend all paranormal YA lovers pick up a copy of Jessica Rules the Dark Side as soon as possible - if you've read Jessica's Guide already. If not, pick up a copy of both the next time you visit the bookstore! Trust me, you'll be glad you did.

5/22/12

The Serpent's Shadow

Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 406
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)He's b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sade Kane can’t seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos.

To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent’s shadow... or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld...

***
My Summary: It's only been a few months since their last battle with Apophis, but the Kanes are preparing themselves for the impending battle between the forces of Good and Chaos. With time running out, Sadie and Carter are struggling to keep control of the situation, and with Walt at Death's Door and Zia playing nanny to a senile Ra, it's all they can do not to throw in the towel. 
 
Their only chance is to follow a psychotic ghost - who's known for killing anyone naive enough to believe the tales he tells - into the Underworld and retrieve something that nobody has seen since the beginning of time...

My Thoughts: Once again, Mr. Riordan has managed to write a book that even the pickiest readers will enjoy! You know you've got a great book when even my younger brother will stay up late to finish the last couple of chapters, and I swear he didn't move for hours when he was reading this installment. Personally, I adored this series since the very beginning - Sadie and Carter were immensely likable and relatable characters, and their switching narration style is perfect for the story. Mr. Riordan, you sir are a genius - but you probably already knew that.

Loved the character development in this one! I've wanted to get to know Zia better since... well, I'm not going to spoil anything. Carter and Sadie grew up a lot in this installment as well - they recognized what their responsibilities were and didn't shy away from them. And don't even get me started on the laugh-out-loud moments! My favourite line was probably:

“There’s my baby!” I cried, quite carried away. “There’s my Poochiekins!”
Ammit ran at me and leaped into my arms, nuzzling me with his rough snout.
“My lord Osiris!” Disturber lost the bottom of his scroll again, which unraveled around his legs. “This is an outrage!”
“Sadie,” Dad said firmly, “please do not refer to the Devourer of Souls as Poochiekins.”

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this series - hell, all of Rick Riordan's works - to anyone and everyone, even if you don't enjoy mythology or paranormal YA. I swear you won't be disappointed!

Loss

Author: Jackie Morse Kessler
Pages: 272
Publisher: Graphia
Format: Paperback (ARC)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)Fifteen-year-old Billy Ballard is the kid that everyone picks on, from the school bullies to the teachers. But things change drastically when Death tells Billy he must stand in as Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now armed with a Bow that allows him to strike with disease from a distance, Billy lashes out at his tormentors...and accidentally causes an outbreak of meningitis. Horrified by his actions, Billy begs Death to take back the Bow. For that to happen, says Death, Billy must track down the real White Rider—who is lost in his memories.

In his search, Billy travels through White Rider’s life: from ancient Phrygia, where the man called King Mita agrees to wear the White Rider’s Crown, to Sherwood Forest, where Pestilence figures out how to cheat Death; from the docks of Alexandria, where cartons of infested grain are being packed onto a ship that will carry the plague, to the Children’s Crusade in France—all the way to what may be the end of the world. When Billy finally finds the White Rider, the teen convinces the man to return to the real world.

But now the insane White Rider plans to unleash something awful on humanity—something that could make the Black Death look like a summer cold. Billy has a choice: he can live his life and pretend he doesn’t know what’s coming, or he can challenge the White Rider for his Crown. Does one bullied teenager have the strength to stand his ground—and the courage to save the world?

***

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: Billy's always been the kid that gets picked on by the biggest, stupidest bullies around. All the poor kid wants is to walk home without getting beaten to a pulp...

Then Billy meets Death - literally, not figuratively - and learns he is set to become the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now, armed with power beyond his comprehension, Billy lashes out at the people who made his life a living hell (pun intended). But things don't go as planned, and the after-affects of Billy's actions spread further than he ever dreamed they would, leaving him only one option: he must find the real White Rider and give up his power.

My Thoughts: You guys have no idea how happy I was when I opened up my mailbox and found Loss waiting for me. I loved the first two books in the series - they were amazing - and I knew this third installment would not disappoint.  
First off, Billy was a great character. I loved his growth throughout the novel, and that he learned to stand up for himself after his whole ordeal. Although I will admit, I was a little confused in the beginning as to how Billy's story fit in with the theme of Pestilence.

What I also really enjoyed was the adventure-like aspect of the book when Billy tries to track down Pestilence and ends up chasing him around the world. That element definitely made  the book more surreal and helped pull me into the story.

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this series to anyone who is a fan of darker paranormal YA and anything to do with angels and demons. My fellow Supernatural lovers will definitely enjoy it! 

5/15/12

Wings

Author: Aprilynne Pike
Pages: 320
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Paperback
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful--too beautiful for words.
Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.
In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.
***
My Summary: Laurel's parents have finally decided that it's time she start attending public school. Much to Laurel's horror, her parents force their home-schooled daughter to assimilate into a public school in their new town.
After meeting a few nice people, school doesn't seem so bad. But just as Laurel is getting adjusted and growing into her new life, strange things start to happen - things she can't explain, like the wing-like things that sprout on her back and the appearance of a boy who seems to know everything Laurel doesn't about her past.
My Thoughts: I heard about this book around the time all the Twilight hype was going around. I added it to my to-be-read list and kinda forgot about it for a few years... until the other day when I was browsing through the sale section and remembered it. I grabbed a copy and started right away, finishing it later on the same day. The plot was engaging, interesting, and kept me reading, and the characters were extremely likable. Personally, I can't wait to see more of Tamani!  
Final Thoughts: I found this book enjoyable, and I really recommend it if you're a fan of paranormal YA, romance, or anything to do with faeries.

5/13/12

Insurgent

Author: Veronica Roth
Pages: 525
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.
***

My Summary
: After the battle that ended the lives of so many, Tris and her companions do the only thing they can: flee to Amity headquarters, where they can claim refuge from the Erudite and the Dauntless traitors. But Amity is not all that it seems, and Tris and Tobias soon realize that their only option is to leave - that or give themselves up to the Erudite. 

My Thoughts
: Honestly, it was hard to form coherent thoughts after finishing this one. It really was. So I gave it a couple of days, and guess what? It's still pretty tough to describe how I felt about it. But I know one thing for sure: this novel was amazing.

I was worried that I wouldn't like
Insurgent as much as its predecessor, I really did. You know how the second book in a trilogy is nobodies favourite? (You totally do, don't pretend you don't). I didn't want that for this series, and I am so glad that didn't happen. The writing was flawless and flowed beautifully, and the depth of the characters surprised me - I never thought a written character could have as many layers as Tris and Tobias showed in this installment. 

And OMG, that ending! I totally wasn't expecting that. Not one bit.


Final Thoughts
: This series is one of the best I've had the pleasure to read in a long, long time. Do yourselves a favour and pick up the books (that is, if you haven't already!). 

5/7/12

Dead is a Battlefield

Author: Marlene Perez
Pages: 240
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Paperback (ARC)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Summary (from Goodreads)Jessica Walsh is starting her freshman year at Nightshade High and trying to forget about the tragic events surrounding her brother’s graduation. She wants to have a normal high school experience. But that’s easier said than done in Nightshade. 

When a new boy shows up at school, the girls are infected with a case of seriously creepy crushes. But when their obsession turns to violence, Jessica and her friends start to wonder if there’s more going on than just a little friendly rivalry. Are the smitten girls turning into love zombies?

And Jessica has other worries—like her crush on Dominic Gray, the cute but moody new singer for Side Effects May Vary, and the mysterious tattoo that appeared on her arm one day and lets her know whenever there is trouble brewing. Jessica learns she's a Virago, a woman warrior chosen to fight evil whenever it threatens her hometown. But does a lowly freshman really have what it takes to keep Nightshade safe?

*** 
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

My Summary: Daisy's gone off to University, but Nightshade hasn't been left unprotected - Jessica, Daisy's neighbour, has taken up the post Daisy left behind after the tragic events of her last few weeks of high school.

But Jessica isn't Daisy, and while she might be good at kicking butt, there's only one thing she's focused on: surviving her first year of high school. And when a new boy shows up at her school and causes all the girls to complete lose it, Jess knows there's something much bigger going on than anyone in Nightshade ever realized...

My Thoughts: When I found out there was going to be a sixth book in the Dead Is series, I was a little reluctant to pick it up - finding out Daisy wasn't going to be the main character anymore kind of threw me a little (which usually happens with big character shifts in series). But when I picked up the book and read the first couple of chapters, I realized I really liked Jessica as a main character - she's honest, witty, and a kick-ass warrior.

The writing was great as usual! Like the other books in the series, it made me wish it was longer so that I could spend more time in the world of Nightshade. I loved the idea of the Viragos -  who doesn't love a band of Amazon warriors sworn to protect the city from evil? I know I wish I was one of them!

Final Thoughts: This was a really cute read, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first five books of the Dead Is series. If you haven't checked them out yet, I recommend you do so ASAP - especially if you're a fan of paranormal YA.