When I found out Shadows was being published in North America, I was ecstatic! I just have so much love for young adult and new adult books written by Australian authors, and I've been eager to read this book ever since I heard about it almost two years ago. Now that I've finally had the chance to read it, I have to say it was definitely worth the wait.
In Shadows, 18-year-old Gaby is living at Pandanus Beach in Australia after a terrible car accident from a year ago left her body and mind scarred and her twin brother Jude dead. Gaby almost seems like a regular person who's grieving and trying to move on with her life, but overshadowing her recovery are the nightmares about her fighting demon-like creatures she's had every single night since the accident. It becomes clear that she isn't just experiencing the aftereffects of going through something traumatic and heartbreaking and that her terrifying nightmares may hold the answers to her past and what led to that horrible day nearly a year ago.
There was so much mystery surrounding Gaby that not even she could expect some of the things that were revealed about her. It was nice for once to have a character be as in the dark as the reader. It could have caused some frustration, but finding things out when she did made the book an even better and exciting experience. Plus, Gaby's the type of character to make it easy to sympathize with. She's vulnerable and kind, yet fierce and determined and willing to break the rules to protect the people she cares about. She was just a really likeable character to me, and I rooted for her from the very beginning.
Since there were two sides to Gaby (the one before the accident and the one after), I was always wondering whether or not she'll ever regain her memories. I wanted her to remember who she was so that she could have all her skills and knowledge and everything else back. At the same time, I didn't want her to lose the person she was now because her cold and serious personality from before didn't sound appealing. And I felt that was something Gaby struggled with through the book as well. She wanted her memories but didn't want to go back to being who she was before the incident involving her brother. I liked that there wasn't an easy solution for her, and I hope she continues to grow stronger as the story progresses.
Something I really appreciated were the roles some of the characters, even minor, played in the story because they made everything more complex and complicated. Maggie and Simon were human friends of Gaby, and I felt their presence was a reminder that humans were just as important as all the Rephaim, angels, and demons introduced in the book. Another character Jason shocked me the most. He was full of surprises! I didn't think much about him at first, so he's a great example of how you should never take any character for granted.
Two other characters I would like to mention are Jude and Rafa. Although Jude wasn't alive, he still had a huge presence. He was the most important person in the world to Gaby, and he was always brought up by others. Even though he never made an appearance, I started to miss him as much as everyone else. As for Rafa, he was my favorite along with Gaby. He was Jude's best friend and Gaby's rival. I loved his humor and sarcasm and his protectiveness of Gaby. Gaby and him meshed so well together. Their relationship is a bit unusual, though, because it doesn't seem like they had a great relationship before and the only one who remembers is Rafa (and he's not elaborating). I'm very interested to find out where their relationship goes.
Shadows was easily one of my most anticipated titles this year, and it lived up to all my expectations. I'm even more pumped now for the sequel Haze! I hope it's just as good as Shadows because I can't wait to read more about Gaby, Rafa, and all the other characters I mentioned in my review. If you're curious about Shadows and need an awesome and unique story about angels, I highly suggest you give it a read!...more
I think the cover of These Broken Stars had me hooked before I even started reading the fi My review can also be found on my blog Collections.
I think the cover of These Broken Stars had me hooked before I even started reading the first page. But even if the cover wasn't that mesmerizing, I would have been sucked into the story by the very first few pages anyway. These Broken Stars was such an addictive read with awesome characters and writing that flowed nicely. I couldn't wait to reach the end of the book, but at the same time, I almost wish it didn't have to end.
These Broken Stars was a story of survival and forbidden love set on a deserted planet full of mystery and secrets. Each chapter switched between the POVs of nineteen-year-old Tarver Merendsen and soon to be seventeen-year-old Lilac LaRoux. They met aboard a ship named the Icarus a few days before it suddenly crashed onto a nearby planet. I'm really glad to have been able to get inside both of their heads and know exactly what they were thinking at certain moments. It helped me connect with them quickly, and I felt for them during all their struggles and worries. They went through so much together and grew immensely as individuals. Many things that happened to them I didn't even see coming. I remember my emotions being all over the place, especially in the last third of the book. One moment I was happy, next I was angry and wanting to cry, and then I was relieved but still upset. It was crazy and intense and made me appreciate Lilac and Tarver even more.
Something I really loved about These Broken Stars was Tarver and Lilac's relationship and how it developed. They were attracted to one another when they first met, but once they realized it could never work between them (Lilac's father is the richest and most powerful man in the universe and he's extremely overprotective of his daughter and Tarver is just a hero in the military from a low class family), they kept their distance and treated each other coldly. I enjoyed seeing them slowly but surely open up with each other. It wasn't easy for them, though, because they kept pushing each other away, thinking it was best for them both. However, when they began really trusting each other, their relationship became much sweeter and stronger. It was amazing what each were willing to sacrifice in order to keep the other alive. It may have caused lots of heartbreak, but it proved how deep and real their love was.
One more thing I would like to mention is that in-between each chapter there was a glimpse of an interrogation one of the characters had to go through after the entire incident on the planet. While it may seem like it spoiled the outcome, it didn't reveal the journey and all the hardships and the sacrifices Tarver and Lilac had to endure. Most importantly, it did not reveal the fate of either of them. It's not known whether or not this story ends in tragedy or happiness for these characters until the very end. And I have to say, all that buildup caused me plenty of anxiety and grief.
As soon as I closed this book, I started to miss Lilac and Tarver and their resilience and bravery. It was bittersweet, yet completely satisfying. From what I've heard, it seems that this particular story is complete and the next book will focus on a new set of characters. Whatever the case may be, These Broken Stars was a breathtaking read, and I cannot wait to continue on with the next book in this stunning, new trilogy....more
Friendship on Fire is one of the longer YA contemporaries I've read. The My review can also be found on my blog Collections.
May contain minor spoilers.
Friendship on Fire is one of the longer YA contemporaries I've read. There were times in the beginning of the novel where I found myself easily putting it down. The story was a bit slow-going, and I couldn't bring myself to become totally invested, which I figured was all a result of the novel's length. Once I got to a certain point later on, though, I realized it was mostly the main character Daisy who had been holding me back. Don't get me wrong. I do think Friendship on Fire could have still achieved the same message had it been shorter, but for me, it was Daisy and her relationships with the other characters that ultimately determined how I felt as I read the book. And while it took me some time to warm up to Daisy, as I got closer and closer to the end I kept wishing more pages would magically appear in my copy. I became that attached to Daisy's story.
Like I mentioned, Daisy initially wasn't my favorite character. I can appreciate a character who is strong-willed and has a fiery personality; however, it was the choices she made that were kind of a turn off. As I got further into the novel, I realized they weren't choices that most of us probably haven't made in our lives, and I began to accept the way things were happening. So, while it can still be a bit frustrating, Daisy's experiences were a necessary part of growing up, just like with any one else. She wouldn't have learned from her naive mistakes if she didn't go through all the situations she did. And comparing the person she was before to the person she is now, it's clear that she has matured greatly. It's a pretty amazing transformation.
Other than the two boys in her life (who I'll mention in a bit), Daisy's relationships with others evolved throughout the novel as well. Certain characters really surprised me in a good way, others in a completely bad way. There was one relationship that was constant throughout, and it was Daisy's relationship with her family. I love how her parents and older brothers were there for her and looked out for her. They let her figure things out on her own, even when they worried she wasn't making the best decisions. It was just great knowing that Daisy had a close and supportive family when she going through some important changes in her life.
Friendship on Fire is a bit like stories we've seen before. There's a girl (Daisy) who falls for the hot and douche-y guy (Nate) and can't see that her best friend (Roman) is actually the perfect guy for her. We know it'll either end badly or...yeah, who are we kidding? Even before reading it, I already had an idea of where Daisy's relationship with Nate was headed. It wasn't such of a surprise. What did surprise me was that I ended up feeling a bit sorry for Nate. Maybe I wasn't suppose to, but I did. Finding out about his home life made me understand why he became the person he is today. It doesn't excuse his behavior because he can definitely decide whether or not to be influenced by the people around him. I do believe his relationship with Daisy might have made him see things differently, and although I'm not sure how much he has changed or is willing to change as result, hopefully Nate realizes that it's not to late for him to become a better person. (view spoiler)[(Or maybe I'm all wrong about him and he just managed to manipulate me like he did Daisy and deserves to be miserable! Gahh!) (hide spoiler)]
Now, Roman. The best friend, the good guy, the underdog. Oh, Roman. Even though I knew he was the better choice for Daisy, I can't say that I felt much of anything for him in the beginning. Honestly, and I feel bad now for saying this, I remember thinking that he must be a pretty pathetic guy for still obviously pining over a girl who didn't seem like the greatest friend. I think the reason I didn't care about him was because I was seeing him through Daisy's eyes. Since she dismissed his feelings and her focus was always elsewhere, I didn't get to really know him. It led me not to care about him or give him a second thought. I was so wrong about him. Roman ended up being part of why I didn't want the book to end. He's definitely the perfect guy for Daisy. For many reasons, actually. I thought he was sweet and attentive. It just amazes me that, while I had zero interest in him at first, I was seriously swooning over him by the end! I love that! And I love that Daisy was able to realize that he's a very good friend and that she needed to appreciate him the way he deserves to be appreciated.
It took some time for me to get completely hooked into Friendship on Fire, but when it happened, I couldn't bring myself to put it down. Whether my initial feelings were because of the pacing and length or even the characters, I thought it was all worth it in the end. I really liked Daisy's gradual development into a mature character, and I'm happy with how things turned out for her and certain other characters. I'm usually impressed with Australian authors, and Danielle Weiler is no exception. I'm not sure if there's another novel by her in the works, but if there is, I'm looking forward it!...more
This book was so heartbreaking and beautiful. The summary makes it seem like it would be all about My review can also be found on my blog Collections.
This book was so heartbreaking and beautiful. The summary makes it seem like it would be all about Pan's relationship with a guy named Hunter, but it's more than that. It's about her desperately trying to remember her past through the memories she has of her sister Morgan. Morgan was such an amazing person, and their relationship was precious, yet gut-wrenching because of their circumstance. Hunter was also a wonderful character. Sometimes a damaged girl like Pan needs a perfect guy who is patient and understanding. This book was another example of how great Australian YA fiction is, and I would highly recommend it to contemporary fans. ...more
Wow, I almost don't even know what to say. I'm just really impressed and shocked right now. I loved My review can also be found on my blog Collections.
Wow, I almost don't even know what to say. I'm just really impressed and shocked right now. I loved the first novel in the series Blood Song, but man... Blood Storm definitely topped it! Everything I hoped to find in this sequel was there and a whole lot more. It was all freaking awesome, and much praise to the author for writing such a fantastic and mesmerizing read!
Blood Storm begins five months where Blood Song left off. Zeraphina and Rodden are still bickering companions, and Rodden is as mysterious as ever. But they continue to look out for one another. After everything they went through, I thought their relationship would have evolved into something slightly more romantic by now. However, that wasn't the case at all. Zeraphina obviously has feelings for Rodden. She won't tell him, though, especially since he acts more distance towards her for reasons not even she can figure out. It may have been frustrating for her, but as a reader, I didn't find it frustrating in the least. I loved that there were plenty of interactions and development between them. What I realized is that they didn't need to be in a romantic relationship for us readers to know that they both had strong feelings for each other and that they would do anything to protect the other. It really made the wait for even just a hint of romance much more rewarding and satisfying.
When I finished Blood Song, one of the things I wanted to know more about was Rodden's past. All the answers about him I was looking for were eventually revealed in this book. But what got to me was how truly heartbreaking his past was. He suffers from tons of guilt and regret. And it explained why he kept secrets and why he tried to stay emotionally distant from Zeraphina. He's an amazing person with so much depth to him, and I just wanted to comfort him right along with Zeraphina. Not only was Rodden's past dark, but the entire novel felt a whole lot darker than Blood Song. Zeraphina and Rodden went through many terrifying ordeals in this novel. It wasn't an easy journey, and they had to work hard to survive and keep each other safe. Zeraphina proved yet again how strong and determined she is. She's an awesome heroine that I admire. I really just adored both these characters; they no doubt make a perfect team.
I'm already counting down the days till the final book Blood Queen. Blood Storm was completely captivating and addicting, and definitely one of my favorite books and sequels this year. It had everything I loved about Blood Song and other aspects that made me love it even more. It was darker, filled with nonstop action and adventure, and had a believable and gradually developing romance. And unlike Blood Song's ending, this ending pretty much killed me! It was a huge cliffhanger! I have no idea how what happened is going to be fixed, but it makes me desperately want the next book right NOW. Seriously, a wonderful series that I can't recommend enough....more
Blood Song first came to my attention after finding out it was written by an Australian author. (If My review can also be found on my blog Collections.
Blood Song first came to my attention after finding out it was written by an Australian author. (If you don't already know, I love to read Australian YA!) I became even more curious after reading some great reviews. Fantasy seems to be one of the genres that I tend to pay less attention to. I'm not sure why. I have read some young-adult fantasy that I really love and are some of my favorite books. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to read Blood Song because I'm finally able to add another YA fantasy and Aussie novel to my favorites!
For the past few years, sixteen-year-old Zeraphina has had a strange craving for blood. Although she has never tried any, there are times where she can't stop thinking about it. What's worse is that she has felt an urge, a pull to go North. She practices archery to keep herself distracted, but it's in the back of her mind all the time and every day these urges and cravings seem to slowly intensify, causing her immense pain. She finds relief when her older sister becomes engaged to a prince from Pergamia, a northern country of Brivora. By accompanying her sister to Pergamia, Zeraphina has a chance to figure out why she's drawn northwards and why she hungers for blood. But the answers she desperately wants and eventually finds end up making her life much more complicated than before.
As soon as I read the first chapter, I knew I was going to love Blood Song. Zeraphina and her sister Lilith and mother Renata were making me laugh with some of the things they said. I love when a book gets me to laugh! I didn't even know there would be a bit of humor, so it was a nice surprise. (Other readers might not find it quite as hilarious I did, but oh well, maybe it's just the kind of humor I like.) What I loved about it is that it showed how close they were as a family. It was so great to read about two sisters actually getting along. There was no rivalry between Zeraphina and Lilith, and while Renata is just a little overbearing, it's obvious she cares deeply for her daughters and only wants the best for them.
"I knew what you were the minute I saw you [...] and you seemed so fierece, so...human, that it gave me hope."
That is part of one of my favorite quotes in the book. I couldn't include the entire quote and the next line because it might be a bit spoiler-y. But I can say that is was Rodden Lothskorn speaking to Zeraphina. Rodden is the 22-year-old advisor of the Pergamian king. He's mysterious and intriguing but also arrogant and infuriating. From the moment Zeraphina meets him, they can't seem to get along. Zeraphina is clever and pretty sarcastic and she can hold her own, so her clashing with someone like Rodden wasn't surprising. Their bickering kept me laughing, and I loved it.
Zeraphina doesn't know if Rodden can be trusted and he seems to feel the same way about her. I can understand Zeraphina's frustration, since Rodden is part of the reason why her life gets even more complicated. He hints at having the answers she wants but avoids giving them to her...until she starts figuring him out. I'm very happy it didn't take the entire book to get some answers. There is still a bit of mystery from Rodden, though, because he never goes into detail about his past. I really look forward to knowing more about him in the next book, and hopefully there will be more moments between him and Zeraphina because their connection was something that I really loved about the book.
I recommend Blood Song to Kristin Cashore fans and fans of Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. And if you're not a huge fantasy fan, you should still give this book a read! It's hard not to get sucked into the story from the very beginning. There's enough suspense and action, and the world in Blood Song is beautiful but not overwhelming. Plus, who doesn't like awesome and kickass characters? Blood Song is the first book in a trilogy, and I'm already anxious and excited for the second book. So, if you get the chance, be sure to read it!
Shout out and big thanks to Nomes for giving me the opportunity to read this book! Thanks girl! :)...more