Imagine if you lived in a virtual reality. You’d have all the powers, weaponsThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
Imagine if you lived in a virtual reality. You’d have all the powers, weapons and equipment you could dream of at your disposal and you’ll achieve the impossible.
Ready Player One puts Wade (or his online identity, Parzival) in the center of a OASIS, a virtual reality world that has taken over the internet in the year 2044. OASIS is like our version of the internet, except you can literally live, eat, feel, smell, talk and breathe in the countless worlds due to an amazing breakthrough invention by Gregarious Games. It’s like Second Life or World of Warcraft but even better, because thanks to the haptic equipment and retinal projecting goggles, it feels like you’re experiencing everything firsthand.
Who wouldn’t want to project your ideal self to the world around you? Why would you ever leave your home, if everything you could have ever imagined be right in front of you?
It’s not all fun and games however, as Ready Player One also describes a world hooked on virtual reality, instead of living their own lives. From school, church, browsing and hobbies, everything is accessible through OASIS. Many people neglect the real world, leading to malnutrition, obesity, addiction, and the deterioration of social skills and human relationships.
The whole novel is based on a hunt for the creator’s inheritance also dubbed ‘Halliday’s egg’ – through a quest filled with seemingly impossible challenges of riddles, games and movie re-enactments. Aside from it being incredibly difficult, the world is filled with an evil global conglomerate of “Sixers” who wish to take control of the egg for their own nefarious uses.
I loved Wade for his fearless leadership, intelligence, humour and bravado, yet his one weakness was his infatuation on fellow gunter (or Halliday’s egg seeker) Art3mis. He was a fantastic strong hero character, but he had enough vulnerability about him to make him relatable. He just felt so honest and his feelings so real.
The romance, this is how I like it guys. Slow burning and sweet, formed over a deeper connection than just physical with someone who just ‘gets’ you. Although the romance was certainly a big deal for Wade, it never takes over the central story but adds just enough to make you ship the couple wildly.
The other characters were also incredible and endearing. Art3mis, for her ‘internet famous’ personality, her chemistry with Wade and her insecurity about her real self, Aech for his natural friendship and banter with Wade, and Shoto and Daito for their brotherly samurai bond. Although they started out as competitors, and their relationships weren’t always smooth, they banded together with a common purpose.
I absolutely LOVED every minute of Ready Player One. The whole novel was tense, exciting and jampacked full of pop culture and fun. It’s the best geeky fantasy I’ve ever experienced, paying homage to 80’s pop culture icons from TV, music, movies, games and books.
However, I don’t think my words could do this book justice. You’ll really need to experience its brilliance first hand. Definitely read it before the film comes out, directed by Stephen Spielberg!...more
This is a story about two boys, representing darkness and light, who form a beaThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews.
This is a story about two boys, representing darkness and light, who form a beautiful friendship, discover who they are, and eventually, fall in love.
Ari (or Aristotle) is the dark, in both his skin and his thoughts. He has trouble connecting with his family, with his post-war dad who keeps to himself and his inmate brother which no one talks about. In contrast, Dante is the light, he’s a talkative, emotional and kind hearted soul who just shines through the way he connects with Ari.
Both boys struggle with their own identity and go on a journey to “discover the secrets of the universe” to find their place in the world. One will go down the path of a lone soldier, filled with angry thoughts and emotion, while the other will experiment, live like variety is the spice of life and divulge his deepest thoughts to his new friend.
Ari is very much a boy’s boy who prefers to talk with his fists. He keeps to himself a lot and is afraid of letting his dark thoughts show through. He mainly keeps others at a distance, until Dante comes along and forms a bond with him. He never pushes Ari to share more than he’s comfortable with, and his talkative nature suits the more reserved Ari really well. You really see how Ari finds the lighter parts of life with Dante around, and it was beautiful to see. The boys needed each other in their journey to discover the deeper parts of life, to feel love and pain and understand all the things that make us human. I loved seeing how their friendship developed and how their differences in personality came through.
Their families were also a very present and important part of their lives. Both sets of parents really cared about their sons, even though their relationship and parenting was quite different. Ari has a big family, with two sisters, parents and his unknown brother and they kept a lot of secrets about his brother to protect him. Dante’s parents on the other hand, were very warm, welcoming and caring, which showed Ari what a positive influence parents could be on his life. It was wonderful seeing how their parents understood their sons really well and the acceptance that they showed. We need more positive examples of families in YA today and I’m sure many people found their influence very heart warming.
Diversity is not always done well, but in Aristotle and Dante, it was seamless. Both boys are from Mexican families, and it didn’t shy away from their culture and stereotypes throughout the book. At one stage, Ari gets a red pickup truck car and talks about pimping it up, which was hilarious.
Aristotle and Dante is a story about identity, finding your relevance in the world, learning that it’s okay to go against the convention if it will result in beauty and happiness. It just so happens that there is a LGBT element in it, and the relationship that develops between these two achingly beautiful boys couldn’t be more right for each other.
It is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read, in the writing and the subject matter, and it is undoubtedly, my favourite read of 2014.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!...more
Written in Red is not a paranormal book where the creature fThis review appears on Happy Indulgence - check it out for more reviews.
Actual Rating: 4.5
Written in Red is not a paranormal book where the creature falls in love with a heroine. Instead, it convincingly portrays the creatures of the night as actual monsters who want to eat people, which was completely refreshing. Written in an immersive world where these creatures and humans live together under a strict agreement, I loved every detail within this story.
Although the concept behind the world isn’t terribly sophisticated, it’s sheer simplicity was effective. The Others or terra indigene were the first inhabitants for Earth and are the ruling class. They have evolved into different forms and over time, have learnt to cohabitate with humans under strictly monitored areas called the Courtyards. From werewolves, to vampires, to weather sprites and crows, Written in Red contains an array of paranormal creatures. I really enjoyed how they each integrated into human society.
Anne Bishop elegantly weaves the intricate details of the world of terra indigene and how they live and interact with the humans into the story. From the shops within the Courtyard, to how they wear human forms to appear less threatening, to serving “special meat” at the butcher and terra indigene horror novels, the author really fleshes out every detail of the world and brings it to life.
Most of the terra indigene didn’t want to love humans; they wanted to eat them. Why did humans have such a hard time understanding that?
Meg is one of the most unique protagonists I’ve come across. She’s on the run from some hidden captors and there’s an air of mystery about her as she becomes the Human Liaison. Meg has this innocence about her where she hasn’t properly been conditioned about the danger of the Others, so she quickly charms them with her compassion and bravery. I adored the beautiful friendship she built with Sam the werepup, and loved how she baited the werewolves with dog cookies. She does have a special snowflake status though, being a cassandra sangue or blood prophet who can see visions.
The side characters are all fascinating, even Asia Crane, the wannabe actress and special investigator who tries to coerce Simon into sleeping with her. Simon Wolfgard was definitely my favourite, as he growls and scares the humans yet he has this niggling self doubt about whether he’s crossing the line. There wasn’t exactly a romance here, but definitely glimmers of something evolving in the next book.
And Meg. Making deliveries, making friends, making a life among them in such a short time. Meg. One of Namid’s creations, both terrible and wondrous.
While there really wasn’t a strong plot line, Written in Red is a book that I savoured. I enjoyed the slow paced environment, the character driven plot and the different elements of the story. Anne Bishop expertly weaves mystery, action, paranormal and comedy together and brings us an intricately crafted book in the paranormal genre. I absolutely loved it, and think paranormal or adult urban fantasy lovers will too....more
The whole internet is gushing about Cress and now I know why. It’s superior toThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
The whole internet is gushing about Cress and now I know why. It’s superior to Cinder and Scarlet and I loved every single page of the book. At 500 pages, that’s a big call, but the plot was paced so perfectly with the perfect amount of action, laughs, and character development that I wanted more. Each of the characters’ stories are interwoven seamlessly here, even with the changing point of views (which is a criticism I had with Scarlet). They each get plenty of screen time, except for poor Scarlet being pushed to the side due to her captivity on Luna.
Cress was a fantastic addition to the cast and so different to the snarktastic, loyal Cinder and the straight talking, fiery Scarlet. Her social awkwardness, obsession with Thorne and unrealistic ideals for romance makes her completely charming in her own way. Seeing Thorne finally get his match warms the heart as he takes center stage in Cress.
“Since we have a few minutes…maybe we should talk about how to handle this girl. If she’s been stuck on a satellite for seven years, with no one to talk to but a Lunar tharmaturge, she might be…socially awkward. I think we should all make an effort to be extra welcoming and supportive and…try not to terrify her.” – Scarlet
With so many leading ladies and men, Meyer manages to avoid the ‘too many cooks’ syndrome with each character shining on their own accord. You’ve got Cinder who is now taking on the weight of the world on her shoulders. The broody, fists first Wolf who only has his eye on Scarlet. Scarlet, the fiery, tough as nails orphan who unfortunately gets kidnapped. The shy, socially awkward but brilliant hacker Cress. The upbeat android Iko who narrates the ship. And of course, the witty, self confident Thorne who gets by with style and swagger. This cast of characters is absolutely brilliant and I adored every single one of them.
It’s not often that I find myself rooting for several couples in one series, but I love all of the pairings here, especially my favourite Cinder and Kai who are perfect for each other. Thorne and Cress had a really cute dynamic, with Cress being a socially awkward, idealistic romantic at heart and Thorne with his charm and overconfidence.
“How are your eyes?” she asked. (Cress) “Well, I’ve been told they’re dreamy, but I’ll let you decide for yourself.” (Thorne)
Cress is noticeably heavier than previous books, with the plot more serious than it ever has been before. Thorne is blinded at the start of the book, Cinder uses her Lunar powers in a dark way and Scarlet is not treated well on Luna. Even Cinder’s trademark sarcasm is wit is bogged down with the weight of responsibility, as she assumes a leadership position within the crew. We are ramping up for some pretty major political breakthroughs, with Kai’s forthcoming marriage with Queen Levana and Cinder planning to stop the Lunar war. But Thorne’s hilarious remarks and Iko’s charming personality were a much needed reprieve from all of the seriousness.
Marissa Meyer is a genius for reinventing these fairy tales into something fresh, vibrant and completely enthralling, placing beloved fairy tale characters into the futuristic world of Lunar. When the story for each book is interwoven into the single point of awesomeness that is Cress, you know that the author has a plan for the series as she takes us to its epic finale in Winter. Cress is a magnificent, flawless story that just makes me want to squeal like a fangirl over the characters, the cover, the writing and Kai. If you haven’t read this series yet, do yourself a favour and READ IT NOW. You can thank me later....more
If you haven’t read this series yet, you have to read it now. It’s the best YAThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
If you haven’t read this series yet, you have to read it now. It’s the best YA fantasy series I have ever read, and the sequel is somehow even better. Crown of Midnight is an incredible sequel, delivering even more intrigue, action and romance than the first.
While Celaena Sardothean rarely practiced her trade in the first novel, the book opens with her performing her duties as the King’s Assassin. She walks into court room dropping her target’s head in front of the King. It appears that the Celaena we know from the first novel has hardened, now that she’s taking instructions from the king, and we knowingly witness tense relationships with her two suitors, Dorian and Chaol.
Our assassin has a few secrets up her sleeve with surprise reveals in Crown of Midnight. She shows us her ruthless dedication and manipulative side, and an event will have her unleashing all of her fury and rage at the world. Even Dorian and Chaol add their own dose of kickass to the mix, and I was pleased to find how action-packed the book was throughout.
Even more than the first, Crown of Midnight involves multiple layers of deceit, secrets and betrayal that will have you constantly guessing throughout. Sarah J. Maas holds no bars when it comes to deaths, mentions of gore and the horrors of the castle, which adds a morose and threatening air around the castle.
The romance in Crown of Midnight was done beautifully again, with Celaena choosing the man that is the most right for her and all she stands for. Others have mentioned how every guy seems to fall in love with Celaena and that’s certainly the case here. Luckily the Captain of the Guard is someone I can certainly get behind, with his loyalty, dedication and protection of Celaena being at the forefront of his mind.
Overall, Crown of Midnight was a brilliant follow up to the first novel with the series creating a hardcore fandom worldwide. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read this series and can now join everyone in waiting eagerly for the third book – Heir of Fire.
Thank you Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of this book for review....more
Where a simple act of defiance and moral justice transforms into a web of deceThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
Where a simple act of defiance and moral justice transforms into a web of deceit, betrayal, and death, The Assassin’s Blade completely blew me away as a prequel to Throne of Glass. It all starts from a simple mission which Celaena Sardothien chooses to disobey, leading into her entire livery being crushed before her very eyes and into the bitter, jaded assassin that we know today.
The five novellas each cover separate missions: one, to rescue thousands of slaves from a Pirate Lord, to teach a healer how to defend herself, to learn from the Mute Master of Assassin’s in the desert, to help fight slavery from an evil crime lord and lastly, the assassination that was never going to pan out. In the first story, we see Celaena rescue thousands of slaves from a Pirate Lord, which sets the tone for the rest of the novellas. Celaena’s past is one I couldn’t tear my eyes from, as the events all lead up to her inevitable imprisonment in Endovier.
The stranger couldn’t have been older than seventeen but…But Adarlan had made them all grow up fast. Too fast. - Yrene the healer
In The Assassin’s Blade, we see what shapes Celaena into the person she is today, with her love of finery, cocky confidence, intelligence and mastery of assassination present here. Her master and mentor, Arobynn has taken her in as his protégé and like a cult leader, she doesn’t question his decisions. As the King of Assassins, he’s given his group board, missions and even gifts in exchange to do his dirty work.
One in his position of power cannot be infallible however, as his anger towards Celaena and Sam are enacted throughout the novel. With multiple layers of deceit and trickery, Arobynn’s cruelty knows no end as he toys with Celaena and Sam with his influence and missions.
Celaena is certainly a kick ass character and we are given some background as to why she holds herself to high standards and morals. Pampered and entitled as Arobynn’s favourite, she has high regard for herself and her master, and she lets everyone know it. She even treats Sam as a competitor ready to swoop into her title, but slowly warms to him across the course of the novel. With all of her morals and penchant to do the right thing, we wonder why she’s in her chosen career. The Assassin’s Blade demonstrates to us that her love of finery and skill actually allows her to right wrongs against slavery and evil by dispatching the toughest enemies.
The romance with Sam is slowly developed over the course of the novel, and we see her slowly regard him as a competitor, to companion, to someone who she truly cares for and loves. With his never ending devotion to Celaena, his honour and power protecting her throughout, he holds on his own against Chaol and Dorian. Having grown up with her, he really does know her the best out of all them. Sam just feels totally right for her, which reinforces my belief that there is no The One out there for us. There are several people who could become them, each with their different things to offer us.
“I love you…I have for years. And he hurt you and made me watch because he’s known how I felt, too. But if I asked you to pick, you’d choose Arobynn, and I. Can’t. Take. It.” - Sam
The Assassin’s Blade is a compelling, in-depth prequel filled with fantasy, romance, action and deceit that fleshes out Celaena’s background as Adarlan’s Assassin. The author has taken her time to illustrate to us Celaena’s relationship with her mentor, her moral high ground, and the protectiveness that her and Sam share. This is a MUST READ for any fans of the series and even as an introduction to the novel. I couldn’t put it down, and it’s the perfect filler until Reign of Fire is released.
I received a review copy from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review....more
I’ve finally found him – the book boyfriend that I’ve been looking for. I’ve neThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
I’ve finally found him – the book boyfriend that I’ve been looking for. I’ve never been attracted to those alpha males or smooth talking bad boys who know exactly what to say and what to do when it comes to women, leaving broken hearts in their wake.
Lincoln on the other hand, was the complete opposite, and I completely and utterly fell in love with in Attachments. He plays D&D on weekends, lives with his mum, and doesn’t go out much. He’s also completely sweet, chilvarous and endearing, as he shares his lunch with the cleaning lady and helps girls with changing their tyres. He wants to do the right thing, and his guilt over reading private email exchanges is felt clearly. Not to mention his broad shoulders, massive frame, smarts and chilvary, Lincoln is a guy every girl wants to know. But who won’t give him a chance, cause the girls are usually spent chasing those alphas in the first paragraph.
As an IT guy employed by a news company to monitor emails and send the ones caught in the filter a warning. When he stumbles upon Jennifer and Beth’s email exchanges at work, he is drawn into these completely honest and witty email exchanges.
These two girls are so achingly honest and open with each other, I felt like I knew them just from their emails alone. Their friendship was just so real, apart from being hilarious funny and witty, they were supportive and knew exactly the right things to say whenever there was something wrong. They are at a time in their lives where they are dealing with very real issues in their relationships, such as Beth wanting to get married with her rockstar boyfriend and Jennifer not wanting to have a baby with her husband. It was easy to see why Lincoln found their conversations so compelling.
I’ve heard so much about Rainbow Rowell’s writing and I knew it was going to be good, but I didn’t realise just how head over heels I would fall in love with the story. Attachments was an amazing romantic comedy that made my emotions go haywire, with that feeling where you have just witnessed a great love story that could go either way. It ended so perfectly I could cry, and by the end of the book I was happy to see everything work out.
Set in the late 90′s, the hair styles, the fashion and the movies and shows that they mention were reminiscent and brought back memories. It’s quite logical to have someone in Lincoln’s situation hired to keep an eye on the email usage and policy, back in the day when company’s were still figuring out whether to let their staff use the internet.
Attachments completely enveloped my heart with it’s amazing, modern love story. With an achingly honest friendship between two girls and the sweet, amazing Lincoln, I think it’s a book that everyone will read and love. It’s was refreshing reading something different and based on the technologies that we use everyday and I completely loved it....more
Colleen Hoover does it again and creates another perfect relationship with twoThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
Colleen Hoover does it again and creates another perfect relationship with two people that couldn’t be more right with each other. The only problem? One of them is already in happy relationship.
I loved Maybe Someday for the road less taken, told from the point of view of two people meeting and falling in love when one of them already has a partner. A partner who they love and adore very much. Ridge and Sydney are not bad people, they aren’t promiscuous, they aren’t out there trying to cheat and they don’t want to fall in love with each other. They just happened to have a connection that could only be explained through chemistry, fate, and the beautiful music they created together.
Being a musician and not being able to hear, Ridge is more attuned to his and other’s feelings and emotions through non-verbal cues. He communicates with both his girlfriend Maggie and his muse Sydney with complete honesty. Ridge was so swoony, his ability to make music, his maturity and intensity, and how he wants to protect those close to him. Ridge knows that his feelings for Sydney are completely wrong, and he doesn’t want to be the bad guy, even punishes himself for it.
Sydney never feels like ‘the other woman’ because she is so incredibly aware of the situation she is putting herself in that she chooses not to act on it, and even discusses pushing through it with Ridge. I really admired Sydney for her strength of character. She’s respectful of others, never judgemental, intelligent and emotionally aware.
She understands me. She respects me. She astounds me. She predicts me. She’s never once, since the second I met her, made me feel as if my inability to hear is even an inability at all.
The two are stuck in this situation that feels so wrong, but is so right. Their mutual attraction was undeniable, and they couldn’t be more perfect for each other. I loved their maturity and their honesty; drama wasn’t created for the sake of it and they can clearly communicate their feelings with each other. The shame, the guilt they felt, their willingness to keep things platonic yet their undeniable attraction to each other was felt through every word they shared with each other.
Colleen Hoover has an incredible ability to write books that just reach into your heart and create a depth of emotion, with her magnetic, deep and impactful words. This depth could only be communicated through the Maybe Someday soundtrack by Griffin Peterson, which has some awesome songs on it. You should definitely check it out while reading the novel, as these songs are Sydney and Ridge’s story and there is also an epilogue on the website.
Maybe Someday is an incredible story of music, attraction and fate and I couldn’t put it down.
Thank to to Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review....more
I’ve got one word to describe this book: HOT HOT HOT.
Rose and Connor are a fieThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
I’ve got one word to describe this book: HOT HOT HOT.
Rose and Connor are a fiery, passionate couple who seem to be on a different plane to everyone else, and Kiss the Sky demystifies this power couple. They lay everything to bare and even disclose a few vulnerabilities in their point of view, Rose, with her fierce protectiveness over her sisters and Connor, unable to accept that he can’t do everything. With their heated French conversations, their driving ambition to succeed, and fierce protectiveness over the rest of the group, Rose and Connor were absolutely magnetic in Kiss the Sky.
The events of the book focus around a reality TV show with everyone living under one roof, to help Rose resurrect her business, Calloway Couture. While the concept was a bit tacky, with events clearly planted to create drama in the group, I loved how it ended up bringing them closer together. Even the misogynist, asshole producer Scott couldn’t get in the way of the group’s fierce bond with each other, despite his constant meddling.
Although they seem like a dysfunctional family, the characters are completely honest and real, and I loved how their relationships with each other were developed in this novel. Lily and Lo are still supporting each other with their addictions, with Lily becoming more confident in her own skin and being able to stand up to the never-ending nasty comments. Daisy is still wild, impulsive and acting more mature than her age, developing palpable chemistry with Ryke. Seeing how he so willingly steps in to prevent her from being hurt softens even Rose and Lo, who are completely against their developing relationship.
Rose’s fiery, perfectionist self and Connor’s soothing confidence were the star of the show in Kiss the Sky. Rose would never let anyone see her vulnerabilities, and offering her point of view was perfect in emphasising with her. Am I too much of an ice queen? Will my company fail? Will Connor leave after I have sex with him? Her momentary insecurities made her seem more human, and it made me love her even more knowing that she wasn’t perfect.
Connor, on the other hand, is even more perfect now that I understand him. He has the ability to read every situation, every person, knowing how to diffuse a fire with just a few well placed words. His cool confidence, his calm demeanor and his ability to manipulate people unknowingly makes him a force to be reckoned with – the perfect match for Rose. I liked seeing Connor’s vulnerabilities as well, like his reliance on his long-standing psychologist, his need to take a stimulant that keeps him awake, his inability to love and his messed up relationship with his mum. These are things we never would have seen without his point of view, and Kiss the Sky made both Connor and Rose a lot more well-rounded.
Not to mention the completely hot, off the charts sex scenes. We’ve seen many sex scenes between Lily and Lo, but Connor and Rose were on another level. I did not expect the kinky sex and mild BDSM to come into play here, but if it’s something that makes you uncomfortable, you probably want to skip those scenes.
Kiss the Sky was intriguing, with a tumultuous, high achieving couple at its center. Rose is fire and Connor and ice, and they make a magnetic, passionate and strong center for the rest of the group. With immensely hot bedroom scenes and character development for everyone, it absolutely can’t be missed. I can’t wait to see what happens in Hothouse Flower now to see how the other ship sails!...more
You know that feeling when you really, really like something and your life pracThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
You know that feeling when you really, really like something and your life practically revolves around it? Rainbow Rowell captures that feeling perfectly in this novel, from the elation that you feel when the next book in a series is released, to the alienation and loneliness you may feel to people in real life who can’t relate, to the process of writing a piece of fiction that means more to you than living life itself.
That’s why Fangirl has captured the hearts of many readers who can relate. Fanfiction writer Cath, enters college apart from her twin sister Wren, who wants to be her own person and go at college without her sister. After doing everything together their whole life, and Cath can’t help but be hurt by Wren’s decision. But moving into a dorm room with a new solicitous roommate Reagan, sets in motion a series of events where she will discover herself and find someone who loves and respects her.
There’s so many reasons why I loved Fangirl, because it just captures so many relatable life experiences.
“It’s always so cool to meet somebody else who reads fanfiction in real life…”
Fangirl is about being out of your comfort zone and trying new things. Cath has always preferred sitting at home alone and writing, than going out and meeting people. Being in college with a new room mate, forces her to try new things and experiences, like going to a party and meeting boys in real life. Cath is a sweetheart and an introvert, but she wears her Simon Snow fandom like something to be ashamed of. I could feel her insecurity and awkwardness with people, but her experience shows you that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Fangirl is about a sister/best friend who wants to get away from you and be her own person, who you just have to let go to learn on her own. Wren was a difficult character to symphasise with, because she distances herself from Cath and their family. Instead of making sensible decisions, she thrusts herself into frat parties, drinking and college life. Even though there’s some angst there, I just couldn’t bring myself to blame Wren for the decisions that she made, because I know people like this. It’s realistic.
Fangirl is about acceptance and finding someone who doesn’t judge your passion, but only encouraging you to do better and to achieve your dreams through it. Oh, Levi was such a gentleman. His calming, jovial presence, his smiles and encouragement was so lovely. He doesn’t have all the smooth moves and he’s not built like a tank, but his chivalry, acceptance of Cath, and his way of looking out for her was totally swoon worthy. I just love Rainbow Rowell’s male love interests, they are so respectful and chivalrous.
It’s not like Levi was going to be impressed by her fanfiction; entertained wasn’t the same as impressed. He already thought she was a weirdo, and this was just going to make her seem that much weirder.
Fangirl is about so many experiences, that it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly made it resonate with me, but that’s exactly why it’s a wonderful piece of realistic fiction.
I loved the Simon Snow info dumps throughout the novel, because it is aptly compared to the Potterhead fandom. Baz and Simon are as real and dear to Cath as Harry and Draco are to us, and that is understandable. You can even see differences between Cath’s and the real author’s own writing styles. It just made this part of Cath’s life all the more real.
In summary, Fangirl is about growing out of a comfortable stage of your life, and into one where you will face new challenges and experiences – and ultimately, come out a changed person. After all, isn’t that what life itself is about?
I loved the bonus content in this paperback. More Simon Snow, an author’s interview, character illustrations and a comic strip – Yes please!
Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review....more
Dangerous Girls officially takes the cake for the biggest mind fuck ever, packinOriginally appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
Dangerous Girls officially takes the cake for the biggest mind fuck ever, packing a punch in the last few pages that will leave you breathless, clenching pieces of your heart and picking your jaw off the floor. Some people will feel betrayed, others will wonder why they never saw it coming, yet others will be in denial. The common reaction will be WHHHHAATTT!!!??, while you try and recollect the pieces of the ending. It’s not often a thriller has this sort of an impact, and that’s what makes Dangerous Girls brilliant in its severity.
Written in a sweeping, addictive manner, Dangerous Girls has an air of creepiness about it, as Anna is put on trial for the murder of her best friend Elise. These two girls are so close that they are almost like sisters, but everyone she knows points the finger at her in harsh betrayal. Placed under intense scrutiny from Aruba’s toughest prosecutor, Anna seems to have no recourse as he drives home everything that could make her seem guilty.
Wouldn’t we all look guilty, if someone searched hard enough?
Dangerous Girls is told through Anna’s perspective, as she experiences the intense courtroom drama, the one-sided media scrutiny and memories of Anna’s happier times with Elise. Much of the book is centered on the trial which is nail biting and relentless. The frenzied prosecutor, the cheating boyfriend, the backstabbing friends called as witnesses and the tough as nails reporter, you will hate all of these characters for how nasty and unsympathetic they seem. As you see people throw Anna under the bus one by one, and see her break down in desperation, you will begin sympathising with Anna and hoping she will get some justice.
As the story unfolds, newspaper clippings and interview excerpts will paint a very different story to what Anna is telling us.
We were both responsible for what we became, which I guess means we both have to share the blame. If Elise is the cause of everything that’s happened to me, then I’m to blame for her fate too. It’s both of our faults, equally.
The relationship between Anna and Elise was incredibly complex. It is so close and clutching that it spirals out of control, as they start partying, taking drugs and playing around with random men. These two love each other so much that they spend every waking moment together, and there is also a hint of deeper attraction and bond between the two.
Dangerous Girls is a gripping, chilling, intense and addictive thriller that will have you speeding through its pages wanting to find out the truth. Throughout the book, you’ll be kept guessing who the murderer is, and your suspicions will turn on everyone. It’s extremely fast paced filled with twists and turns that will leave your emotions reeling, on a whirlwind spiral to its shocking conclusion. Be prepared to throw all your conceptions out of the window and be taken on a chilling journey as you pick up this YA murder thriller. I only wish there were more books like this, that makes me immediately want to pick it up again to see what I missed.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review....more
In her debut, Samantha Shannon blew me away with the highly imaginative setting of The Bone Season, where clairvoyants are hidden away within the cityIn her debut, Samantha Shannon blew me away with the highly imaginative setting of The Bone Season, where clairvoyants are hidden away within the city of Scion London and the alien race of the Rephaim holds the government in its evil clutches.
In the riveting world of The Bone Season, there are seven classes of clairvoyants, from necromancers to seers to dreamwalkers and mediums who will immediately be captured by the government should they hint at their magical powers. Paige Mahoney, employed by the Seven Seals in Scion’s criminal underworld, has a unique power of being a dreamwalker. She can leave her body and invade other people’s dreamscapes – where people’s memories are stored – possess them and cause massive spiritual damage to the victim.
The Bone Season is one to watch with its richly detailed, fantastical world of clairvoyants and Rephaims. I highly recommend it to readers who are looking for a unique read that blends magic, dystopia and fantasy. I’m really glad to hear that there are seven more after this because no doubt it will be amazing!
You’ve got to give it to Mira Grant (or Seanan McGuiThis is an excerpt of my full review on Happy Indulgence Books. Check it out for the full review!
You’ve got to give it to Mira Grant (or Seanan McGuire). Anyone who can write a book about tapeworms and make it intriguing, horrifying, and scientifically fascinating needs to be commended. Having loved the political zombie book, Feed, Mira Grant has swept me off my feet once again with her originality and the way she just sells the idea of parasites used for human improvement.
It’s intriguing, really. Tapeworms have been genetically modified by Symbogen as a safe parasite that lives in human hosts, giving them complete immunity to viruses and giving them a clean bill of health. After becoming declared brain dead as a result of a car accident, Sal was brought back to life by ingesting a parasite in the form of a tapeworm. Fair enough, she doesn’t have any of her old memories, or the personality of who she used to be, but without the Intestinal Bodyguard™ she literally would not be alive.
I could rave on forever and I think I’ve made it obvious that I’m a self-declared Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire fangirl (I’ve only read 3 books from the author, but I’m already convinced) but the fact of the matter is, Parasite won’t be for everyone. If you enjoy horrific, factual, scientific reads in a unique world, you will love it. Not into world building or lengthy descriptions? It might not be your thing. Personally, I absolutely loved it and my only concern is the time it will take for the sequel to come out.
I received a copy of Parasite from Netgalley and Hachette in exchange for an honest review.
Harvard University’s most famous Professor returns in Dan Brown’s forth installFull review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
Harvard University’s most famous Professor returns in Dan Brown’s forth installment of the Robert Langdon series, Inferno. Inspired by the poem of the same name about a man’s journey into the depths of hell, the major focus of Inferno includes deciphering some mysterious lines that can only be solved by Robert’s intellect.
As my most anticipated book of 2013, Inferno did not disappoint. Despite a contrived beginning where Robert suffers from short term amnesia, the research conducted into a centuries old poem, the magnificent daydream setting of Florence, and the historical references of major artifacts is a literary feast for your senses. As Dan Brown’s trademark, Inferno takes us through famous museums, old crypts and celebrated tourist spots, where Robert’s knowledge of symbolism, secret passages, and historical secrets may flourish.
Only one person can masterfully envelop multiple points of historical and current research into a thrilling, yet eerie plot and that person is Dan Brown. Filled with twists and turns, the novel entices us with it’s nonstop action with Robert and Sienna, his trademark lady accomplice running from armed soldiers. Their mission is to decipher an obscure poem left by master geneticist and Dante devotee, Bertrand Zobrist which hints at solving over population, human kind’s biggest threat.
The conspiracy within the book is as chilling and realistic as ever, captured in this confronting quote: “If you could throw a switch and randomly kill half the population on earth, would you do it?…What if you were told that if you didn’t throw that switch right now, the human race would be extinct in the next hundred years?”
Multiple plot lines seemingly converge at a perfect pace and the pockets of intellectual research never seem to interfere with the fast-paced plot. The novel covers a myriad of topics, from theories into bio-weapons and geneticism, Dante’s life and other historical figures, the trademark opera masks, to the significance of ancient artifacts such as the death mask. A book like this can be digested over and over again, and each time we can take away something new from it.
While Robert is as sharp as ever (despite his brief lapse in memory), it’s his companion Sienna Brooks that steals the show. From the start of the book, we find out the doctor is also a child prodigy, where her intellect and smarts blow the rest of his peers out of the water. While being a master actress, skilled fighter, multi-linguist and being able to think quickly on her feet, she seems to have a mysterious agenda which she only hints at alluding to throughout the book. Since Sophie Neveu from The Da Vinci Code to Vittoria Vetra in Angels & Demons, Dan Brown has always been proficient at creating intelligence female characters that match Robert’s intellect in one way or another.
The facts are all presented to us in a thrilling way, and the ending is definitely not a happily ever after. It leaves us with some thoughts to ponder on what will be done to solve a real threat to life as we know it. Dan Brown is extremely adept at his craft and his gutsy, intelligent, and controversial reads will always be at the top of my favourites list....more
I’m an emotional wreck. Adrienne Kress has charmed me with her unusualFull review has been posted on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
I’m an emotional wreck. Adrienne Kress has charmed me with her unusual writing, warm characters and quirky storyline, and then wrung my heart strings with that emotional ending.
Outcast is about a small town that is visited by angels each year, who abducts a few humans in a yearly event called ‘the taking’. Riley Carver has lost Chris, her best friend and love interest from the taking, and in the sixth year of the taking, she’s determined to find answers. So when an angel turns up for her, she shoots it in the face.
That angel turns out to be Gabe McClure, a boy who is compared to James Dean on a variety of occasions, who lived about 50 years ago. While it all sounds like a typical YA fare, Outcast is like the Zombieland or Hot Fuzz of conventional genres. It is charming, quirky, and yes – a little out there but we love it all the same.
I definitely didn’t expect Outcast to hit me in the way it did. The first few chapters took a bit of getting used to, with a slightly awkward way of putting things and stunted conversations. It took me a while to realise that the character voice was perfect for Riley Carver herself, the tough, awkward, no nonsense teenage girl who doesn’t care what anyone thinks. And that’s what makes her charming in her own little way.
This is a girl who, instead of preoccupying herself with crushes, social groups and clothes, spends her time planning how to get Chris back and finding out more about Gabe and how he came to be. I grew really attached to Riley over time, she has that gung ho no nonsense attitude about her yet she’s awkward, smart, and resourceful, and a leader and motivator without knowing it. I had so much more fun reading about Riley and delving into her thoughts, and the way she accepts supernatural things happening around her, rather than the million insecure and boy-obsessed ’Mary Sues’ that we see so much in YA fiction today.
Gabe himself was cute, and the way he ruffled Riley’s feathers was adorable. He’s in denial about what he’s went through and adopts everything high school life has to offer, unlike Riley and it’s interesting to see how these two mix.
Outcast is one of those novels that adds magical elements into real life, but in a way that is believable (as unbelievable as the Taking sounds) but doesn’t take itself too seriously. For example, Riley is stalked by this ‘ghost thing’ that has a white sheet over its face with two holes. She talks to the ghost, who talks back in a literal manner. I found the whole exchange between them to be quite hilarious (and although it’s slightly creepy, it wasn’t really presented that way).
What was creepy though, was Pastor Warren and the way he weaseled his way into the town. The story has come alive so vividly for me that I’m picturing this whole thing like a movie, and in the movie, he’s the villain who needs to be defeated by Riley and Gabe.
I could go on about it but I think I’ve communicated that I absolutely loved Outcast and everything about it! I highly recommend it to everyone looking for a charming, witty novel. I received this novel from Diversion Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you so much for this opportunity. I only wish this was a series so I could read more!...more
In this richly intricate novel about reincarnation, destined lovers, and an ageless enemy, Thea Harrison is tells a masterful story. Mary is a doctorIn this richly intricate novel about reincarnation, destined lovers, and an ageless enemy, Thea Harrison is tells a masterful story. Mary is a doctor who feels like something’s off, as voices appear in her head and vivid, disturbing dreams overtake her life. As she slowly recovers her memories and realises this plane of life is not what it seems, she meets Michael, a hardened warrior who appears to be her salvation.
Reading Thea Harrison’s novel is like a reader’s feast for the Gods. It’s beautifully written, vivid and flows easily, and could easily translate to a movie script. While the concepts covered within the first half of the book are highly detailed, it was never too difficult to grasp due to the easy prose.
Primarily an urban fantasy, the novel never really lets up as Mary is subjected to drama after drama – some physical, spiritual, and psychological. Concepts such as reincarnation, psychic dreams, and psychological trauma are covered with due brilliance, despite their spiritual and subjective nature.
There’s definitely a focus on romance too as she meets Michael, her spiritual twin who has been searching for her for many lifetimes. As their first meeting translates from a threat of danger, to protection, to tenderness, I found myself rooting for the pair despite complications from the past. The two are broken and need each other like fire and water, and you can see the two slowly regaining their strength whey they’re with each other. The sexual tension and romance here is through the roof, so I would definitely not recommend it for younger readers.
While I haven’t read Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series, I’ve picked up on the more dark, serious tone of this series compared to the latter. Rising Darkness was a quick read for me and I can’t wait to devour the sequel when it comes out.
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This review has been posted on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews, and a free copy of Fire Country until 15 September 2013!
Fire CThis review has been posted on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews, and a free copy of Fire Country until 15 September 2013!
Fire Country swept me away with the strength of the main character, Siena, the imaginative dystopian setting based on different tribes, and the language and slang used within the book to demonstrate the cult-like, tribal setting of the Heaters of Fire Country.
Siena is a 15 year old girl who has been brought up within the strict laws of Fire Country by her dad, one of the ruling Greystones. When she turns 16, she will take part in the momentous event called The Calling, where she is matched with a partner to bear his children. At the ages of 19 and 22, she will have another child, while her partner takes on more wives, her call sisters. There’s no choosing who your partner will be or being with the one you love. That is the law.
Siena is a strong, brave character who is just beginning to question her rights and the treatment of women in her village. Through Siena’s beliefs, teachings, and brave nature, David Estes does a great job in showing how the laws of Fire Country affect Siena and her friends. With her Calling just around the corner, she undergoes discord in her life with an unusual tomboy hinting at choice and independence, and her father’s treatment of her best friend Circ who cares for her deeply.
Her father Roan, is a great villain who rules with an iron fist. Not only does he beat Siena, send her to Confinement (or jail), and match her up with the most disgusting guy around, he sets up rulings that are harmful to the villagers and that only benefits himself.
The vivid, dystopian world that David has created is compelling and unique. I’ve never read anything like Fire Country, and I love how the slang and language used within the book is easy to pick up without actually saying what these words are. The language really captures the heart of being in hot, heated Fire Country, with its deserts and cactus, with words such as blazin’, wooloo, and scorch. What the scorch do these words mean? You’ll just have to read to find out why I’m so wooloo about this story.
Fire Country also features the greatest inanimate character I’ve ever encountered - Perry the prickler! Perry speaks to Siena when she has no one else by her side and she’s personified him throughout the book. “I wonder how Perry looks now, whether he’s changed. Probably not – in my memory he’ll always be the brittle-brown wisecracker I know”.
I loved the strong character development with how Siena grew as a person. She starts off young, innocent and law abiding but slowly begins to question the world around her. She’s been bullied by her peers who call her scrawny, bony and unattractive, but as she develops throughout the course of the novel with some positive influences, this negative self talk dissipates.
David’s writing has gone from strength to strength since his previous series, the Moon Dwellers. It brings forth vivid imagery of this tribal village and the laws they must abide by in emotions, world building, and strong characters. Many authors focus heavily on either one of these elements. David excels in all three.
If you love dystopians with strong character development and amazing world building, definitely pick up Fire Country. The unusual world and language takes a bit of getting used to but in no time, you’ll be drawn into a deep and vivid story.
I received a review copy of this book from David and the Never Too Old For Y.A. & N.A. Books group, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!...more
I love thrillers for the lasting impression they can give you, and Gone GirlThis review appears on Happy Indulgence - Check it out for more reviews!
I love thrillers for the lasting impression they can give you, and Gone Girl is the best of them – twisted, fucked up, shocking, disturbing and absolutely riveting.
I’ve never read a book like Gone Girl, packed full of twists and turns that you will never see coming. The book constantly kept me guessing, and as soon as I think I’ve grasped the truth and I know with certainty what is happening – it will fall away from me and leave me gasping in shock and exhilaration.
The exploration of the highly complex characters Nick and Amy Dunne, who to outsiders are perfect in blissful marriage was one that kept me on my toes. Nick’s stoic and emotionless actions to his wife’s disappearance, and Amy’s perfection is conveyed really well. You just want to get to the bottom of these two characters – although we never really will – as they balance each other so well, even when their marriage starts breaking down.
Marriage is not the only relationship that is explored, Nick and his twin sister Go have a wonderful close sibling relationship, which was really refreshing to see. From their parent’s influences and upbringing, to where they live, and their views and relationships with their parents, family and inlaws, each of these will have an affect on the people they are – and become.
Gillian Flynn’s writing is smart, intelligent and witty, and purposeful as every single line and lead will deliver it’s full impact throughout the story. The manipulation of the media, the opinion of the public, the nuances of a local Sheriff’s department and small town living – there is so much that is explored in this book, and it is seamless.
Just a warning – the ending is frustratingly open-ended and vague, but strangely fitting. It will leave you pondering the fate of the characters for a very long time.
Gone Girl is one of the best thrillers I have ever read – shocking, disturbing, smart and suspenseful – exactly what a thriller should be. I found it absolutely gripping from start to finish, and it’s one that leaves you with a lasting impression....more
To my dear literary friends, there was never a doubt about it, but I understandThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
To my dear literary friends, there was never a doubt about it, but I understand why The Fault in Our Stars is a favourite novel of all time. It made me laugh with its dry humour, made me cry with its heart-breaking ending, fall in love with its young characters and most importantly, made me recognise the meaning of life in general.
When health is not an issue, it’s easy to watch the days pass by, doing things out of habit or because we are simply going through the motions. How often we have a dream, only to never pursue it. How often we leave loose ends hanging, ending the day after an argument, or never telling our nearest and dearest that we love them.
The Fault in Our Stars serves as a reminder that life is fleeting, and that death is a very real and major part of it, able to strike us at any time. The Fault In The Stars isn’t simply about cancer at its heart, it’s about two incredible young people who relish and enjoy life as it is, who just so happen to be affected by cancer.
Hazel and Gus, being cancer sufferers, know that they do not have long to live. They devote their time telling their parents everyday that they love them, doing what they want and importantly, following their lifelong dreams. For Hazel, this is getting in touch with her favourite author, Peter Van Houlton and finding out what happens at the end of her favourite novel. Augustus Waters, known fondly as Gus, helps her achieve this dream with everything in his power to do so.
The two love each other madly and unconditionally. Seeing them in their darkest moments was heart-wrenching and incredibly scary because its real. With unnerving strength of living with cancer, they help get through with having each other to lean on. I just loved how Hazel and Gus just chose to enjoy each others company and focus on their happiness, rather than creating unnecessary emotional drama that we see so often in novels these days….and in real life.
Rather, they have enough going on with their health that they’re not going to sweat the small stuff, and do what they have to do to survive. That’s why when their cancer survivor – now blind friend Isaac deals with his pain by trashing all the trophies in Gus’s room, they just let him do it and egg him on. These characters are suffering in a very real way that we could only dream of understanding, and John Green captures it within the pages beautifully.
Like so many others, I found Hazel and Gus to be very real, their strength, humour, and their charm to be riveting and touching. The story of meeting each other at a very fragile point in their lives and living and loving each other is heartbreaking and beautiful.
There were Peter Van Houtens – miserable creatures who scoured the earth in search of something to hurt. And then there were people like my parents, who walked around zombically, doing whatever they had to do to keep walking around…Neither of these futures struck me as particularly desirable, It seemed to me that I had already seen everything pure and good in the world.
The Fault in Our Stars is not a novel about cancer. It’s about a mutual love of literature, young love at its brightest, family support, chasing after your dreams, letting others in and giving them your whole heart and self – about the greatest parts of life itself....more
WOW what an exhilarating ride! Heat Stroke was a way slicker book than the first one, fast-paced and easier to get into than simply a road trip and reWOW what an exhilarating ride! Heat Stroke was a way slicker book than the first one, fast-paced and easier to get into than simply a road trip and reminiscing about the times which was pretty much sums up Ill Wind.
I absolutely love the cool factor of both Joanne and her powers, either as a Djinn or Weather warden. This book contains descriptions of meteorology that border on being too scientific, but wow they just blow my mind! Not to mention the descriptions of how Djinn draw their power. The author holds great imagination and skilfully conveys something which seems to be difficult to understand into such a readable, easily digested format.
A thing I am loving so far about this series: it's so incredibly addictive, with a writing style so natural that it flows easily. That's probably a flow on from Rachel Caine's YA writing.
I absolutely adore the male leads in Joanne's life, David, the sexy Djinn and Lewis, the world's most powerful weather warden. Joanne's wit, charisma and sheer determination just matches both of these men well, and she can definitely keep up with them.
Later on in the book, you do meet some twisted and disturbing characters, but it does lead to an epic finale in the end. I was totally hooked into this book from the start and it was difficult to put down.
If I didn't have so many other books lined up to read for the next month, I'd be reading Chill Factor in an instant!
Woah this was amazing! Much better than the first, which dragged with a slow introduction and conversations between Cat and Bones.
The second in the NWoah this was amazing! Much better than the first, which dragged with a slow introduction and conversations between Cat and Bones.
The second in the Night Huntress series goes straight into the action, which was both exhilarating and fast-paced. Cat is a rare vampire/human half-breed and her job is to exterminate vampires who pose a threat to humans. She's the commander of a badass but lovable team of agents, training them to stand on their own against vampires. Four years have passed since she left Bones behind to join the cause.
I was glad to see that she would inevitably meet her beloved again. The chemistry between Cat and Bones is explosive, partly due to their forbidden relationship and the tensions with her mum's disapproval, and her job.
With her reunion with Bones, commanding a team she has both trained and befriended, and finding herself a target of an assassination attempt, this book is bursting with excitement and emotion. Definitely pulled on the heartstrings and left the emotions raw. So glad I continued to read this series!
There's a certain comfort in the zombie genre because you know what to expect. The back story is pretty self-explanatory, a virus breaks out, people gThere's a certain comfort in the zombie genre because you know what to expect. The back story is pretty self-explanatory, a virus breaks out, people get infected, and a zombie apocalypse happens. What better reason to offer action and gore than with that simple explanation?
Feed offers so much more than what the usual zombie novel entails. Instead of horror and the survival, it goes into the epidemiology of the zombie virus, and how the world has dealt with it 20 years after the zombie outbreak. It's a world underpinned by blogging and journalism to bring the truth about zombies to the masses.
Georgia and Shaun Mason, adoptive brother and sister, and Buffy the perky technophile are bloggers on the brink of their greatest story when they are chosen to offer news coverage for a US Senator's campaign. Equipped with hidden cameras and enough recording equipment in case of an emergency, they accompany the Senator to his meetings. Unwarranted zombie attacks start happening and the Masons soon discover they may be on the hinge of a conspiracy.
I really adored the characters within this book. It delivers a complexity rarely seen between character relationships. Shaun is a happy-go-lucky, over-protective brother who can strike a chord between his readers. George is a hard-nosed journalist with a sole purpose to uncover the truth. She may seem emotionless and uncaring, but the only person who she lets her guard down around is her brother. Buffy offers them a reprieve from the tougher side of life with her bouncy personality.
Continued here...on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews!...more
I started reading Cinder with the expectation that it was going to be pretty much a straight retelling of Cinderella but with the whole Cyborg twist tI started reading Cinder with the expectation that it was going to be pretty much a straight retelling of Cinderella but with the whole Cyborg twist to it. I was surprised to find however, that it is basically a story on it's own with the fairytale inspirations sprinkled throughout it. Fair enough, there's an Asian Prince, a ball, an evil stepmother, but there's also the New Beijing setting! An evil Lunar Queen! Prince Kai! And there's also Cinder, who is just so charming, witty, kind, and head-strong.
The characters within this book are so incredibly charming that you can't help but love them. Iko is a stand out for me, she's a cute little robot that believes she's a human. Prince Kai is persistent, honest, caring, and handsome. The evil stepmother and step sister played their parts well, but did not grate so much as the evil Lunar Queen.
Surprisingly, it's not all these things that automatically led to the 5 star rating for me. It was the sudden moment when I realised that the book featured a heavy similarity to my favourite childhood cartoon - Sailor Moon! You've got the evil queen who wants the prince for himself, the Neo Tokyo setting, the headstrong but lovable main character, and even the palace politics. From reading other reviews, it appears that Marissa Meyer is a huge Sailor Moon fan and that is absolutely awesome!
Despite all of that, there are a few downfalls to this book. Firstly, the predictable storyline kind of ruins any sort of major reveal later on. Being inspired by fairy tales sort of chains you in a certain corner, where certain things need to happen in the book. There's also an incredible lack of world building, considering the amazing world that Marissa has created. I did find that there were a few details missing, which I'm glad the free prequel has filled in for me.
These however, won't decrease my love of the book. I'm just left with such a feeling of warmth upon finishing it. It's such a charming little tale, with so much love put into it. I definitely recommend it for anyone who loves a good read.
EDIT: After perusing on this book for a while, I've upgraded the rating from a 4 to a 5. This book is simply amazing and definitely stands out from the crowd.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone caught me by surprise. The first half of the book starts out with rich, luscious descriptions where I savoured every single word. Karou, blue haired and mysterious is an intriguing character. Her world of demons, art class and Prague is fantastical and it's impossible not to get enamored with it. Not to mention Laini Taylor's incredible writing and vivid scenarios, this is definitely someone who can write.
Halfway through however, Karou meets the love of her life(s), an impossibly perfect seraph named Akiva, and then blooms an incredibly sappy romance that overtakes the entire book. With barely any build-up whatsoever, Karou finds herself absolutely enthralled with Akiva and vice versa. My fascination with Karou dwindled at this stage; it seemed like all of the uniqueness of her character melted away into YA land of a perfect relationships.
While wondering what happened to such an incredible start, before I knew it, again the book switches genre quickly to high fantasy with the heavy involvement of sorcery, demons, and an age-old war between Chimera and Seraphim. After building up world where I clung on to every description, the book focuses on a time in the past, with mostly different characters. It tells the stories of these new people in such a fast-pace that you wonder whether you are even reading the same book.
A few shocking twists, and a huge punch in a gut later, there you have the end of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
Thank you Laini, for delivering one of the cleverest WTF experiences ever. Definitely one of the most unique literary experiences I've ever had, but I would have preferred to explore more of the first half of the book....more
What a great feeling - to finish a book and to embrace the hype! Divergent certainly deserves all the praise it can get.
Although the dystopian themeWhat a great feeling - to finish a book and to embrace the hype! Divergent certainly deserves all the praise it can get.
Although the dystopian theme is a bit overused at the moment, the excellent titles that stand out make it worthwhile. Divergent is multi-layered, action packed and fast paced, making it difficult to put down until you've digested the whole story. It follows Tris, a girl born into the Abnergation faction which focuses on self-lessness and not standing out. The world is segregated into several factions according to their philosophies of living, and the majority of the book follows Tris as she is being initiated into the Dauntless (fearless) faction.
I absolutely loved the character building in this, along with the faction-based living. It just brings about so many insights when it comes to human psychology, like how you can't really fit someone into a box as hard as you try, and how conflicting parts of you can affect your decisions and your behaviour according to your stimulants. The initiation trials and simulations are basically experiments to see whether you perform as expected and if you don't - then you're an outlier. I'm not an expert on psychology or anything - I just have a keen interest in it and Divergent just places a name on the different personality types which makes it all the more fascinating.
While other people may criticise the lack of world-building in this, I found the character building and the references to the different factions enough for that. I'd rather read about the trials, the people within the world, the initiation, and the action than have a historical account on how the world came about and what happened to segregate them into factions. In fact, that is one of the things that draws you into the book - the full-blown action places you right within the world with Tris.
The writing also magnificently conveyed the story well too. It was curt, no overuse of adjectives, and straight to the point. Without all that flowery prose, it's evident that Veronica Roth is a skilled writer, even though this was her first novel. It's refreshing to see a story get straight to the point and still hold you at that level without making you lose interest.
I don't think anyone should compare this to the Hunger Games, just because they are both dystopian. It's evident that they are both quite different and I'm not going down that pathway - of placing things into a box.
I do however have a criticism about the last few chapters - they happened at such a quick pace that it was difficult to grasp what was happening at the rapid speed certain characters were dying. Neither does Tris however, but I suppose that will be dealt with in Insurgent.
All in all, an utterly fantastic read that I couldn't rave enough about. Deserves to be picked up and read straight away - so get onto it if you haven't already!
Wow, what an amazingly constructed story about a utopian society. It's quite a dark story about how everyone and everything is controlled by the goverWow, what an amazingly constructed story about a utopian society. It's quite a dark story about how everyone and everything is controlled by the government from their families, behaviour, who they matched with, their jobs and so forth. There are only two people within the society who are able to experience memories, The Giver and his successor, and the Receiver.
The story of Jonas is quite a confronting one, leaving you to think what you would do in that situation. It's a world so different from our own that takes away the very notion of free will. The book had a very scifi feel to it from start to to end and felt like a fable. I found some scenes within the book quite difficult to read because they were so terrifying - quite surprising that it is aimed at children.
My high rating for this book is to honour how it is definitely a classic in its own right. It is groundbreaking similar to how 1984 was and opens your mind to greater interpretation. If it wasn't for the vague, open-ended ending, this book would be flawless for me. I'm going to pick up the sequel to see what happens.
I really enjoyed this book, so unique and such an interesting third person perspective. This story is told from the perspective of Death, who followsI really enjoyed this book, so unique and such an interesting third person perspective. This story is told from the perspective of Death, who follows young Liesel Meminger around, a young German girl who has lost her brother. As with most books set in the Nazi period, it does not feature a happy plot but Zusak's ability in creating a heart-wrenching story is to be applauded. The way the book is written is really unique, each chapter titled as a description in one way or another of what should happen in the chapter. It's an artistic masterpiece and is one of the more recent classics in our time....more
Every once in a while, a book is hyped up and flies off the shelves and tops the best seller list. A movie is made, everyone hears about it, and everyEvery once in a while, a book is hyped up and flies off the shelves and tops the best seller list. A movie is made, everyone hears about it, and everyone's reading it. It's not often, that such a book meets expectations, due to the hype surrounding it.
The Help is a rare gem of a book that tells a very relevant story. It is heart-warming, thoughtful, comforting, confronting, and touches you to the very core of your heart. Every page covered something of significance, and you know that there's something important that are written between these pages.
I could not put the book down, my mind consumed with the story of the unlikely friendship between Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny. Set during the times of extreme racial segregation between the blacks and the whites, the book delves into the hearts and the minds of white women and the maids who serve them. It's a compelling story that anyone of any age could enjoy, and definitely one of the favourites of the year.
If this one is on your to read list, I definitely urge you to pick it up and slowly divulge what is in these pages, because you'll be in for a real treat.