Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #52

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy #2) by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Released: March 4th 2013
Find it on Goodreads

A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen's blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

The stunning second installment of
The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King! (from Goodreads)

The False Prince was one of my favourite books of 2012, so I am very, very excited about The Runaway King. I adore Sage/Jaron, he's just so hilarious and awesome and ah! But this book definitely suggests that not everyone is happy with him being king and lots of scary and dangerous things are going to happen. When I first heard the title back when it was just released, my immediate thoughts were, "Noooo, Sage! But everything was going so well!" Poor guy, he can't get a moment's rest, can he? I seriously can't wait to see what happens and to get more of Sage's witty and sarcastic comments! And it's out in March, so not too long to wait, luckily.

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, 28 January 2013

Review: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5) by Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Walker Books
Released: May 8th 2012
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the
Mortal Instruments series. (from Goodreads)

NOTE: So I wrote this review about two days after I got it which couldn't have been more than a week after it was released (pretty sure I got it as soon as I possibly could). For some reason, however, I never posted it. Don't ask me why, because I honestly don't know. I seem to have waited an absurdly long time to put it on the blog. It's written with the excitement of having just found out lots of revelations, and even though it's months after release date now, I've decided to just leave the review as it is. You get more of an authentic view of my reaction! Just pretend it's May 2012 again :P.

Warning: rambling, incoherence, etc. etc.

This book was just a mind game. I’m telling you, Cassandra Clare does these things to us on purpose. She KNOWS that any slither of information she releases is going to turn into a gazillion theories that make us all crazy trying to figure out which one is true. SO MANY THEORIES. SO MANY THINGS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE SYMBOLIC. SO MUCH I STILL WANT TO KNOW.
I WANT to be spoilerific here. I want to spew out everything that’s been running through my brain over the past two days - but I won’t, because despite the fact I am DYING here trying to figure out what is going to happen in Clockwork Princess and City of Heavenly Fire, I realise many people still won’t have read the book. But when you do guys, when you do...

Jace and Clary. There was something about those two. Their story was just so compelling, it was impossible to be bored. I was never a huge fan of Clary, to be honest, I always found her to be a bit weepy and reckless, but I guess I had to admire her stubbornness in this one. She did not give up. Even when everyone else thought the situation was hopeless, Clary – whether out of bravery or stupidity (it’s a fine line) – refused to believe it was over. And it was her decision that caused things to turn out like they did, so even though she didn’t participate in a lot of things going on, she definitely did do something, at least. And Jace, well. Who could describe him, really? He’d been through so much and he was still going through so much. I don’t think “Jace” and “easy life” will ever fit into the same sentence...

Simon was completely awesome in this book. I absolutely loved him! He was pretty much one of the funniest characters and definitely made me laugh a few times – his banter with Magnus was HILARIOUS. He also used his vampirism for good, he was all badass but in the “hey, I’m funny!” kind of way and the thing I liked most was the way his and Isabelle’s relationship began to develop. Isabelle had always been the best female character in the TMI series for me, and I think in City of Lost Souls, we got to see a side of her that we perhaps haven’t seen much of before. And it made me realise just how amazing she and Simon would be together. I’d never thought about it much in the previous books, but now I’m definitely supporting them both. Can’t wait to see what happens between them in the next book!

Sebastian was...interesting. Not what I expected, if I’m honest. I sort of actually wanted to sympathise with him at first because even though he seemed evil...was he?  Could he have been more than that? I didn’t know at first. I mean, look at his backstory. He was experimented on, abandoned, raised brutally to be a fighting machine and was never taught to be human. He may have had demon blood, but he never chose to be born that way, and he just seemed awfully lonely. I wondered if he’d have been different if Valentine hadn’t brought him up and his mother hadn’t left him. I never liked Jocelyn, and actually agreed with Sebastian when he said she was ruthless. Buuuut, in the end, I had to pick a side, and Sebastian was not what I wanted him to be.  He was just completely evil. Not saying he wasn’t still an intriguingly evil character (he was), but he was...I guess, a villain incapable of redemption.

The character I felt the most sorry for in this book, though, was Magnus. Magnus! My poor Magnus. My favourite character of Cassie’s, and I just wanted to cry for him. Alec did some stupid things, and as much as I loved him too, I couldn’t help but find it hard to forgive him. I remember back when I read City of Fallen Angels and thought there was not enough MagnusxAlec in it, desperately wishing for more. Well, readers, BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. Because NOW I am pining for City of Heavenly Fire; I NEED to find out what happens to Magnus next, because if anyone deserves a happy ending (or temporary happy ending, as immortality tends to get in the way of things), it’s Magnus.

Now on to what I personally thought was the best part of the book: the TID connections. Everything was finally, finally coming together. There were so many clues and hints and possible symbols and oh my God, seriously. I was flipping out. FLIPPING OUT. Every time I stumbled across something that could be TID related, I practically screamed. Plus, I loved the way that loads of things connected back to City of Bones. It was all so clever. I have no idea what’s gonna happen in Clockwork Princess or City of Heavenly Angels. And Cassie is EVIL. She is pure EVIL. I have so many theories and I have no way of knowing if they’re right until March next year. I liked that City of Lost Souls was a little slower in pace than the other books, because it allowed me to sort through my thoughts. And I think I would have gone crazy if I hadn’t been able to do that. Ahh. Theories. So many. Going through my mind. And while I’m not sure what’s true and what isn’t, I AM sure that Clockwork Princess is going to destroy us.  Probably City of Heavely Fire too, because while the ending of this book wasn’t a huge cliffhanger like in CoFA, it still left me thinking, “OMG WTF.”

Overall, City of Lost Souls was fabulous. Better than City of Fallen Angels and a MUST READ for TMI/TID fans. And if you haven’t started this series really, really should. Though be warned, you will probably become obsessed.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter
Publisher: Mira Ink
Released: October 5th 2012
My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies…
(from Goodreads)

I haven’t read very many zombie books, but seeing as there have been a lot released recently, I decided it was time for me to branch out! As Alice in Wonderland has been a story that has always fascinated me, I figured Alice in Zombieland would be a good place to start (and of course, who can deny the appeal of the very pretty cover?). I did enjoy the book as a whole, but it was very different to what I expected and I had a few problems with it.

First of all, Alice in Zombieland is a very misleading title. There is nothing Alice in Wonderland-y at all in this book, bar a few very, very minor things. So if you are expecting some kind of zombie retelling of it, think again. I went into it thinking there’d be some zombiefied version of Wonderland with a half dead Mad Hatter and other such things, so when I found out what the story was really about, I was very surprised and, I have to admit, a little disappointed. However, I think if you are aware of this fact beforehand, it won’t affect your enjoyment of the book as much. The story in Alice in Zombieland is in fact very interesting, and this is probably just a case of me not doing enough research on the book before reading it.

For me, the best part of Alice in Zombieland was the plot, and this was for two main reasons. Firstly, the different take on zombies and the way only a few people could see them was very interesting. Even though I knew zombies were bound to turn up at some point in the book, I was still questioning whether or not Ali’s dad was crazy – and you know what, he probably was. But not because he was seeing things that weren’t there – they were there all right. More because the zombies had plagued him for so long, they’d eroded his mind, made him paranoid and fanatic and unable to think about anything else. And who could blame him? After what he’d been through, you couldn’t really expect anything less. And now it was Ali’s turn, and she was finally starting to understand the reasoning behind her dad’s actions. She had to adjust to all these changes in her life so quickly and it was understandably a struggle for her. The zombies themselves (though are they really zombies? I won’t spoil it for you, but there’s a whole other side to this “undead” thing in this book) were also pretty fascinating and their nature made it even more difficult to fight them, which I actually liked, because I hate it when the evil creatures die too easily.

The second reason I liked the plot best, though, is because I found the characters a Lacking? I don’t know. I felt Ali was a lot like many other characters in other books, she was one of those pretty standard “I have no friends and everyone thinks I’m a weirdo” people who somehow still manage to always have at least one friend, a bit of a Judgey McJudgerson, looking at the way she spoke about others – especially girls – and I just didn’t like her very much. Felt she was a bit of a hypocrite sometimes and meh. I didn’t hate her, I mean, she was all right. But as a protagonist, I felt it was the plot that moved the story along, not Ali, which was a shame because I am very much a character person and I like to get to know and get attached to characters.

Cole was much the same in terms of likeability. I saw what the author was trying to do, the whole mysterious bad boy thing, but I felt Cole was a bit too controlling and I really, really do not like controlling or demanding characters (especially the way he just expected Ali to obey his every word – I get he was more experienced in zombie-killing and stuff, but still, what was this, the 17th century?). And I hate that Ali put up with it! I mean, she didn’t always listen to him, but most of the time her mind was filled with “Cole Cole Cole” and not much else. The romance was okay and would have been infinitely better had I like the characters more. But I just couldn’t support these two, I’m afraid.

The only other thing that I found a bit off with this book is that it was rather overly preachy, which I really didn’t find fitting in a book about killing zombies and making out. I don’t like preachy books anyway, but it was just kind of weird here.

Overall, I had some issues with Alice in Zombieland, but I liked the zombies and the action, so it was still a decent read. Recommended for zombie beginners.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #51

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Pirate's Wish (The Assassin's Curse #2) by Cassandra Rose Clarke
June 4th 2013
Find it on Goodreads

After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword, their wits, and the secret to breaking the curse: complete three impossible tasks. With the help of their friend Marjani and a rather unusual ally, Ananna and Naji make their way south again, seeking what seems to be beyond their reach.

Unfortunately, Naji has enemies from the shadowy world known as the Mists, and Ananna must still face the repercussions of going up against the Pirate Confederation. Together, Naji and Ananna must break the curse, escape their enemies — and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction.
(from Goodreads)

*spoilers for book one, beware!* Two things. Firstly, I absolutely adored The Assassin's Curse, to the point where Naji and Ananna have become two of my favourite YA characters because they're both just so awesome and flawed and funny and frustrating and ahh. I love them. And I am so, so curious about how they're going to break the curse. That's one reason I am extremely excited for this book. Secondly, "and come to terms with their growing romantic attraction." Ahem. AHEM. This. This and then some. At the end of TAC, Ananna had just started to realise she maybe kinda sorta loved Naji. Naji himself seemed totally oblivious. But this last line of the synopsis suggests that MAYBE HE'S NOT SO OBLIVIOUS ANYMORE. And if that's so...then only awesomeness can ensue. Cannot wait.

What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

What's been happening in real life

You probably haven't noticed, but I haven't posted in quite a while :P. In fact, I think yesterday's post was my first one since November? Well there is a reason behind this. University, basically. I got myself so stressed about exam period because, as usual, I procrastinated and did revision last minute and all the time I SHOULD have been revising I spent anxiously worrying about how I wasn't and basically it was this whole vicious cycle and the blog sort of got neglected. Luckily these exams I've just taken (two more to go, then it's over!) don't count towards my final grade (well, one of them does. The speaking exam, aka the most stressful exam I have ever had to take and probably the hardest I've ever worked on something in my life ever, which I have on Thursday) so it's okay even if I fail everything (except the speaking exam. If I fail that too, I'll cry). ANYWAY, getting back to the point, exams are almost over, so *hopefully* when they are, I will have time to blog again. Even if it's just once a week, I will try, because I don't want to give up blogging. I am hideously behind on things blog related though. Seriously, I used to know the release dates of everything and now it's like...o_O. Buuut I have some reviews and they will be going up soon. Will try to participate in memes too, and comment on blogs. 

Ahhh you have no idea how happy I will be when the exams are over. I can finally relax. I should probably be studying right now, but it's gotten to the point where my brain had stopped functioning properly now.

Hope everyone is great and that you enjoyed the holidays! Did everyone have a good time? It was my family's turn to host Christmas this year so our tiny little house had to fit almost 20 people in it and it was chaos :P. But very awesome. Got lots of cool presents and ate lots of yummy food! Let me know what you guys did (bit late of me to ask, but, you know)!

That's all for now, but I'll be back soon :).

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Eternally Yours Blog Tour: Review of Eternally Yours by Cate Tiernan

Hi everyone, welcome to my stop on the Eternally Yours blog tour! Today, I'll be reviewing Eternally Yours, the third book in the Immortal Beloved series - if you haven't picked up this series yet, I highly recommend you do so ;).
Eternally Yours (Immortal Beloved #3) by Cate Tiernan
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Released: January 17th 2013
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

After 450 years of living, Nastasya Crowe should have more of a handle on this whole immortal thing...

After a deadly confrontation at the end of
Darkness Falls, the second Immortal Beloved novel, Nastasya Crowe is, as she would put it, so over the drama. She fights back against the dark immortals with her own brand of kick-butt magick...but can she fight against true love? In the satisfying finale to the Immortal Beloved trilogy, ex-party-girl immortal Nastasya ends a 450-year-old feud and learns what “eternally yours” really means.

Laced with historical flashbacks and laugh-out-loud dialogue, the
Immortal Beloved trilogy is a fascinating and unique take on what it would mean to live forever. (from Goodreads)

I’m a bit sad to write this review – although I really enjoyed Eternally Yours, it means another great series is over and another set of characters have had their stories told. I will definitely miss Nastasya and Reyn and River!

The change in Nastasya really became more visible in this book. She wasn’t that wild, partying, irresponsible immortal anymore; she was on her way to reforming, trying to avoid the darkness and doing her best to stay on River’s path. She still had the urge to run away from difficult and painful situations, but the important thing was that she didn’t. She stayed and stuck it out, something she would never have done before. I think the way she was changing shocked Nastasya herself more than anyone else but she could see it was for the better. I think her town project really helped as well – she was uncomfortable getting praise and compliments from others, but in this case she actually did help out a lot of people, so it was nice to see her get credit for something she’d actually decided to work hard on. However, she was still sassy and witty and I liked her first meeting with Ottavio, River’s brother, because she refused to back down and I found it quite hilarious. He kept accusing her of the evil things going on and her attitude towards him was just so funny.

Reyn was...well, Reyn. Stoic, frustrating, sexy, caring, honest – and I think we got to see a slightly softer side to him in this book, as well as a more mischievous one! His relationship with Nastasya was always going to be complicated with what happened in their pasts, and sure enough they went through some problems and there was awkwardness and pain and suffering. But the romance scenes! When they were both willing to forget the world, everything seemed like it could work out. But unfortunately, they both had to accept a few things before they could ever actually be together in a proper relationship, and at a time when everyone was fearing for their lives, that was a bit difficult to do.

River, I have always loved. She just seemed to understand exactly what Nastasya was going through and was never judgmental or horrible. Even when her brothers brothers (I think my favourite brother was probably Roberto!) were accusing Nastasya of terrible things, she stuck by her and defended her and believed in her! And I think that was the kind of support Nastasya really needed. Luckily she had some good friends too – Brynne was probably my favourite because she was so funny and open, and Meriwether was a mortal girl, a friend Nastasya could look out for and have fun with. I also really liked finding out more about Daisuke, another resident of River’s Edge – I had always been curious about his past and I’m glad we finally got to learn more about him. It just showed that all the immortals living under River’s care really did have such terrible pasts – it’s no wonder they wanted help.

The plot wasn’t very fast-paced but there was always an underlying fear of threat looming in the background that steadily became closer and closer until everyone was literally fighting for their lives. I liked the mystery of who was behind all of the deaths of immortals around the world, but I have to admit, I felt there was rather a large build up to unveiling the culprit and then the whole issue was resolved pretty quickly after we finally found out who it was. It seemed a little but rushed to me, as did the ending (I would have liked a little more afterstory explanation), but at least it wasn’t a total non-event where the characters somehow manage to talk their way out of danger. There was some real fighting going on and there were losses on both sides. Some shocking things happened throughout the book that warned the reader not to underestimate these guys – which is why I expected more of a last battle – but oh well, I’ll take what I can get!

Overall, Eternally Yours was a great ending to a series I’ve really enjoyed reading, and I definitely recommend the series to any paranormal romance fans!
Thanks for visiting my stop on the tour! Make sure you drop by Books 4 Teens tomorrow for the next one.

Find Cate Tiernan: