5/31/13

Follow Friday!


Hey guys! It seems like it's been ages since I got to do a Friday hop, so let's get on with it, shall we?

Which blogger would you most like to meet in real life?

This one's a toughie. There are a bunch of bloggers on here that I've communicated with for a long time, and I definitely consider them my friends. I'd love to meet all of you, if I could! But if I had to choose, I'd probably meet up with my friend Ambur over at Burning Impossibly Bright. We've been friends for years, and meeting her would definitely be a lot of fun :P She's actually the person who got me started in the blogging 'biz, so I have her to thank for all of the awesomeness I've experienced through book blogging in the past few years. Pop over to her blog and say hello!

5/15/13

What We Become


Author: Jesse Karp 
Pages: 432 
Publisher: Harcourt 
Format: Hardcover (ARC) 
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Two years ago, teenagers Mal and Laura destroyed a corporate empire intent on controlling human thinking through technology. For a while, life was good. But now a new force has arisen: the Old Man. He’s hungry for power and he knows who holds the key to getting it: Mal. Mal needs his beloved Laura’s help to defeat the Old Man, but is he willing to risk her life in another battle to save humanity?




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

My Summary: Mal and Laura have had their fair share of adventure. A few years ago, they saved society from a corporation intent on controlling human thought. You'd think that would be enough for a lifetime, right?

Wrong. Now Mal and Laura are back to put a stop to a new threat - the Old Man - and save the world as they know it (again) from being taken over by a lunatic. But can they possibly defeat this new threat, whose power seems to be increasing exponentially by the second? And can they do it without risking everything?

My Thoughts: This novel was fast-paced and didn't let up until the very end. You could really tell that our main characters cared deeply for each other, even if they sometimes tried to protect each other by doing things that I disagreed with. I liked that even with all the odds stacked against them, Mal and Laura refused to give up trying or give up hope. I really admired Mal's strength in particular, although Laura definitely had her moments.

There was also a great cast of supporting characters. I wasn't so sure about Rose, but Aaron was a great addition. I kind of wish the characters hadn't been separated for so long, or that the ending was a little more of a 'convential' happy ending, but I can't complain.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys fast-paced, action-packed plots as well as dystopian novels.

Eleanor & Park


Author: Rainbow Rowell 
Pages: 325
Publisher: St. Martin's Press 
Format: Hardcover 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused, then dead."
''I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."


Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.



My Summary: Eleanor and Park are not the sort of teens who 'fit in'. Eleanor is tall, poor, red-haired and new to a school known for its wealthy student body. Park, on the other hand, would fit in perfectly - if it weren't for the fact that he's the child of an interracial couple and prefers the company of his comics and music to that of the rest of his peers. Both have their own little quirks and their own well-hidden secrets, but when they end up next to each other on the bus, a spark develops, bringing these two misfits together in ways that'll warm your heart.

My Thoughts: I loved it! Eleanor and Park were such deep, well-thought-out characters and I enjoyed every minute of getting to know them. I liked that they each had their own lives with their own issues, and that the author didn't make it seem as if being in love would fix everything for the two. The characters had to make some tough decisions, and their choices weren't always in the best interest of their relationship.

Something about the romance in this novel felt so genuine. It reminded me a lot of my first experience with love, and it was a far cry from the usual 'everything is so perfect we are made for each other!' situations you tend to see in the young adult genre. I really enjoyed getting to watch the romance develop between the two unlikely friends, and I think fans of contemporary literature will as well.

Final Thoughts: I definitely recommend this novel to anyone who is a fan of contemporary YA and romance, and also to anyone looking for something refreshing and unique.

5/7/13

Dark Triumph


Author: Robin LaFevers
Pages: 385
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Format: Hardcover (ARC)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, as one of their most dangerous weapons. But those assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for? 




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

My Summary: Sybella is another one of St. Mortain's daughters - an assassin trained in the art of killing so that she can do Death's work. Taken in by the convent at the age of fourteen, she was trained to be the ultimate weapon for justice. 

After a year of working undercover in a place akin to hell, Sybella can't wait until she is given the order to kill D'Albret - a man who has made her life a living nightmare. But when she finally receives her orders, they're not what she expected at all; instead of delivering death, she is to rescue a knight from the dungeon of her employer's home - a man known as the Beast. 

My Thoughts: What a fantastic read! I couldn't put it down, and when I did it was only for a few minutes. I was a little worried that this sequel to Grave Mercy wouldn't be anywhere near as good as the first installment in the series, but I really should have had more faith in LaFevers' amazing writing. 

Dark Triumph was a little darker than Grave Mercy, being centered around Sybella - a character that's had anything but an easy life. That being said, the added darkness made me enjoy this installment almost as much as the first. Sybella was such a badass character, and even though she was in danger in D'Albret's house, you just knew she could take care of herself and hold her own. I loved the romance between her and Beast. He was such a nice guy, and even though he wasn't made out to sound all that appealing, he was exactly what Sybella needed. Props to the author for not creating another stereotypical dream-boat love interest with a flat personality. *high fives*

Final Thoughts: I recommend this series to anyone who's a fan of darker paranormal YA, romance, and historical fiction. It's one of my favourite series, let me know what you think if you end up picking it up!  

Breath


Author: Jackie Morse Kessler 
Pages: 336
Publisher: Graphia 
Format: Paperback (ARC) 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Contrary to popular belief, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse aren’t just harbingers of doom—they actually keep life in balance. But what happens when their leader and creator, Death, becomes suicidal? 

Before the first living thing drew its first gasping breath, he was there. He has watched humanity for millennia. And he has finally decided that humanity is not worth the price he has paid time and again. When Death himself gives up on life, a teenager named Xander Atwood is the world’s only hope. But Xander bears a secret, one that may bring about the end of everything.




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

My Summary: Throughout history, Death has been there. Watching. Waiting. He created the Horsemen and fought with them to keep the world in balance. But lately something has changed, and Death doesn't see any reason to go on any longer. It is time for the end of Death - the end of life as we know it.


Xander is an average kid with everything going for him. So why does the fate of the world rest with him of all people? Why is it his job to keep Death from ending the world? Because Xander has a secret - one that could change everything.

My Thoughts: I was so pumped to read this installment. Throughout the entire series, Death has been one of the most intriguing and interesting characters. Never really center stage, it seems as if we're always catching glimpses of Death in the other books but never really interacting with him. His dark sense of humour has always been one of the things that made me like him, so I was glad the author didn't overlook that aspect of his personality. Death has always been my favourite horseman, and this book definitely didn't disappoint. 


Xander was an awesome character as well.  He was extremely well-written, and although I enjoyed Death's narratives a little more, Xander is not one to be forgotten. 

Another aspect of this novel I really enjoyed was the peek into the history of the Horsemen and how they came to be. I loved the way the author wove the story together, and I really liked getting to see just how the Horsemen had been created.

Final Thoughts: I recommend this series to anyone looking for an edgier paranormal YA, as well as anyone looking for a unique series to get wrapped up in.