Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (#1)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week, I'll make a list about the top ten YA books I think YA lovers should not miss out on.

Top Ten YA books YA lovers should not miss


1. Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare


Not just Clockwork Princess, but this whole series! Book one: Clockwork Angel, Book two: Clockwork Prince. Stunning YA series. I've only just freshly wrote a review on Clockwork Princess. Want to know why you should read it? Find my reviews on all three books at my review index :)


2. Graceling (The Seven Realms #1) By Kristin Cashore


Assassins, people with gifts and mismatching eyes, olden day/Renaissance kind of period. Fantasy and adventure. Sounds like your thing? This is one of the best olden-day style adventure fantasies ever! Read it now! 


3. Heist Society (Heist Society #1) By Ally Carter


Thieves, family business and a life of "good" teenage crime-makers. Intriguing read! I learnt so much about art, places in the world and of course, thievery from this book. 


4. The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa

I'm cheating a little here, I don't just recommend The Iron King (book 1 of The Iron Fey series), but the whole series. I mean, truth be told, if you liked the first book, you're not going to stop there are you? One of the only Fey stories I enjoyed (and one that I absolutely LOVED). There are lots of humour, bravery, love and friendship. And lots of conflict and wit-matching. The four books in order are: The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen and The Iron Knight


5. Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers


You've probably already started to see a trend: I love well-written assassin stories. This book is very rich with historical content as well as action. I've just finished the second book Dark Triumph and loved that almost just as much as Grave Mercy. Review will be coming shortly. 


6. The Tiger's Curse Saga by Colleen Houck


This is my favourite YA series of all time. The culture, action and language is just uncompetable. My favourite is actually the last book: Tiger's Destiny. YA fantasy at its best.


7. Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder


I loved the characters and the creativity of this series. Some of my favourite YA characters are from here. Actually, any Maria V. Snyder book is good, you can't go wrong with her books.


8. Partials (Partials #1) by Dan Wells


YA Sci-fi at its best. Full of knowlege and technical stuff and the huge revolving question about what it means to be human. Poses great questions and make you think.


9. Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) By Jay Kristoff


Steampunk at its best. Rich culture and beautiful writing. Highly highly recommend it.


10. Divergent (Divergent #1) By Veronica Roth


Action packed and intense. 

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3)


Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare


Rating: 5 stars

Clockwork Princess, what can I say? This is an absolutely stunning, heartbreaking yet soul-warming conclusion to the amazingly written The Infernal Devices trilogy. This book is one of the few truly breath-taking Young Adult novels and this series is definitely one I will recommend to all YA lovers. It's a story I will remember long after I have turned the last page of Clockwork Princess.

In this book, Cassandra Clare weaves a tight and impeccably seamless story of love, hate, fear, danger and loss. The emotions of the characters are raw and full of feeling that I, as the reader, can't help but feel what the characters do, feel the hurt, the pain, the joy and the sadness as they experience it themselves. Ah what an emotional journey it is! At times I feel like my heart is going to jump out of chest of potential danger and fright. Other times the scene is so sweet it warms me. The way Cassandra Clare writes creates an unbreakable connection between the reader and the main characters and puts me in their place like I am in the story myself. As always, there is nothing I can be picky about Cassie's writing style.

The relationships between characters bloom in this epic finale. The strong love between Tessa, Will and Jem is tested various times and it shows the reader how much selfless love can endure. It also shows the pain of a divided heart and heavy decisions that need to be made in order to purchase happiness for others one loves. I admire Will and Jem especially in this book. Both of them are more considerate about each other then themselves and each of them wanted undeterred happiness for the other. This kind of friendship without a tint of jealousy is one that will endure any destruction or spite and will prolong and preserve. Their love for Tessa is also something that I find very moving. They would risk it all for her. Team Will or Team Jem? That is the question. Even though I made up my mind about liking one of them more, I can't help but fall in love with both of them and wishing a happy ending for both of them. Either of them would make a great match for Tessa. Other relationships and friendships also developed into something great in this book, such as the Lightwoods and the shadow hunters in the Institute. Oh and I loved Magnus!!! He is one of the best characters ever, seriously.

Lastly, the plot of the story is fast moving and striking. I re-read this book three times immediately after finishing, that's how good it is. Overall, this is a stunning book that should not be missed and I'm very happy with the way Cassie ended this trilogy.

Synopsis

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy. 

Tessa Gray should be happy - aren't all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her.

Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire #3)


Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire #3) by Courtney Allison Moulton


Rating: 4.5 stars

Shadows in the Silence is the well-thought out, rounded and intense finale to Courtney Allison Moulton's Angelfire series. I really enjoyed the first and second book of the series, but I didn't overly love either of them. However, I had an expectation and hoped that it would be able to bring more of a "Wow" factor into it. I'm happy to say that it was a better read than I expected. The plot was fast moving and mostly unexpected, and the characters were mostly alive and full of personality. 

Shadows picked up and jumped into action right after Wings of the Wicked. I hadn't re-read the series before this book came out so it was a little bit disorientating at first while I was trying to remember everything. However, once I do it was an intense ride to follow Ellie in her desperate mission to rescue Will. I enjoyed the beginning more than the later part of the book, maybe due to my liking of the character Cadan. Cadan was your reformed bad boy with a soft and large heart. He was the highlight of the book to me and definitely my favourite character of the series. He was one of the characters that grew so so much during the development of the books. He learnt to see right and wrong and to stand up against what is wrong instead of cowering behind the strongest. His love for Ellie almost made me cry. He cared for her in everyway he could. Even when she hurt him he continued to help her and loved her unconditionally. I was glad at the values, friendship, love and forgiveness he found on the way. Okay, I'll stop raging about what a wonderful character he is and just move on. But truly, having him aside from Will (the main guy character whom everyone loves)really bought up contrast and intriguing moments to the story.

I wasn't particularly fond of Ellie in this book. Instead of the badass girl I met in book two, I found her returning to the breaking-down-every-two-minute girl at the start of book one. I get that she was getting emotional due to fear of losing her loved one, but tears and the "oh, my heart is breaking" isn't exactly interesting to read about. However, her undeterring will to do anything to save others she love redeemed her. I liked how brave she was at the most panicky situations and how she kept her identity and personality even when it should be impossible. Good on you girl!

Lastly, this book has one important theme that poked its head up time and time again: identity. Ellie was so afraid of losing her identity if she ascends. This theme not only relates to her in the story, but also relate to all of us readers as well. Have you ever felt unsure of your identity? At the shaky times, take the sound advice from this book: hold what and who closest to you as tight as possible and find your own voice. Remember what make you who you are. Ellie was lucky to Will to ground her constantly. 

Overall, this series is a worthy read and Shadows in the Silence brought a round closure to an amazing journey.


Synopsis

Your strength in heart and hand will fall. . . .
Ellie knows that the darkest moments are still to come, and she has everything to fight for:

She must fight for Will.
The demonic have resorted to their cruelest weapons to put Will in mortal danger, and Ellie makes an unlikely alliance to save him and to stop Lilith and Sammael, who seek to drown the world in blood and tear a hole into Heaven.

She must fight for humanity.
As the armies of Hell rise and gather for the looming End of Days, Ellie and her band of allies travel to the world’s darkest and most ancient regions in her quest to come into her full glory as the archangel Gabriel.

And Ellie must save herself.
Her humanity withers beneath the weight of her cold archangel power, but Ellie must hold tight to who she is and who she loves as she prepares for the ultimate battle for Heaven and Earth.

In this final installment in the Angelfire trilogy, Courtney Allison Moulton brings her dark world of epic battles and blistering romance to a blazing bright conclusion.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Showers of Books Giveaway Hop


Showers of books!!! Yeah, who wouldn't want that some day? In this giveaway, I've decided that the winner can pick any one book of their choice from the genres of Young Adult or Classics. I've read so many YA books I think the majority of my shelves are full of them. In the left over pile, the classic literature fills most of it. Classics really bring out the profound meanings and fluent and colourful writing; but YA is just fun and relaxing to read (apart from hopeless love triangles like Tiger's Curse Saga or The Infernal Devices)! So, this leaves you A LOT of choices! The giveaway is open internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to you. Hmmm, what book would you choose?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The Year Of The Great Seventh Cover Reveal

Today I'm doing a cover reveal here on my blog for Teresa Orts' upcoming young adult novel The Year of The Great Seventh. It will be released on July the 6th this year. Read on to find out more about this intriguing book as well as the story of Teresa and a meaningful extract from this debut novel. Also, I just want to say thanks to Teresa for providing me with an ARC of this book to review! :)


The Year of The Great Seventh by Teresa Orts

Release date: July 6th 2013
Published by: Drayton Press

Synopsis:

Sophie has always felt out of step—an outsider, even amongst friends in her high school with all the hype about celebrity culture. Her life in L.A. seems to have been already written for her, but when her junior year starts, it all takes a drastic turn. When she crosses paths with the school's heartthrob, Nate Werner, they fall for each other in a way neither can understand. What they don’t know is that by giving in to their desires, they are unlocking an ancient Egyptian prophecy that threatens to return Earth to the dark ages.

To undo the curse, Nate and Sophie embark on an adventure that takes them across the country. But their quest is not only to save the
 world as they know it. It is also a fight for their very survival. Behind the scenes, there are those that are counting on them to fail.



About the Author:


Teresa Orts studied economics and went on to work in the financial industry. She lives in London with her husband and son and this is her first novel. If you want to know more about her, please visit her websitewww.teresaorts.com


Teresa's Story:



Unlike most authors, I didn’t start writing books when I was five years old. In fact, I’d never been too interested in reading or writing. Hanging out with friends in the small Spanish town I grew up in always seemed more appealing than anything a book could offer. It took about twenty-seven years and a global financial meltdown for me to discover the magic world of writing. 

At the time, I was living in New York City, and one morning I discovered I was no longer expected at my sixty-hour-a-week investment banking job. Most of my friends had very demanding jobs, so I spent most days wandering around on my own. 

Like most unemployed people, I started living through the nights and sleeping through the days. New York is known as the city that never sleeps for a good reason! One night, tired of surfing the web and watching TV, I opened a Word document and started typing a short story, which I saved in my computer with little interest. That was the day Nate and Sophie were born. 

Days later, since the financial industry seemed to be going into a downward spiral, I decided to spend three months traveling through Southeast Asia and New Zealand. I thought, na├»ve me, that by the time I returned, the financial crisis would have come to an end.

Something really strange happened to me during that trip. No matter where I went, I couldn’t stop thinking about the story. Nate and Sophie followed me everywhere. No matter how hard I tried to forget about them, they just wouldn’t go away. At the beginning, I thought I was losing my mind, but soon after, I realized I had to continue writing the story.

When I came back to New York, I went right back into it, and that’s how The Year of the Great Seventh was created. Unfortunately, halfway through the novel, I received a letter from the immigration department informing me that, with no job, I was no longer welcome in the United States. Without much of a choice, my boyfriend and I decided to pack our lives, along with my half-drafted manuscript, and begin another exciting adventure in London, where we now live.


Excerpt from book:


Admitting I wasn’t going to fall asleep, I emerged from under the bed covers, went over to the windows, and sat on the floor. They say if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Well, if the city lights were going to keep me awake, I might as well enjoy the view.
Crossing my legs in the lotus position, I admired the city skyline. The other glass tower across from us seemed to be private apartments. Most of the floors had their lights on. The energy of this city was captivating. Life continued on through the night in the city that never slept.

It was starting to snow. The frosty flakes resembled white cotton candy. They seemed to be defying the laws of gravity as they were suspended on the air and then swirled up into the sky. It was probably due to the air current caused by the tall buildings. But as things stood in my life at the moment, anything seemed possible.

The traffic was as dense as rush hour in downtown L.A. Cars jammed around Columbus Circle, and no one thought twice about leaning on the horn, even though it was past midnight. 

In one of the apartments opposite, a man was sitting by the window, typing on a laptop. The room was dark, but the reflection of the computer screen lit up his face. I could see him clearly. It was as though we were sitting across from each other. I was sure he could see me, too. We were so close, but at the same time, so far. This must be the big city syndrome where you can feel so alone amongst so many people. And knowing that Nate was just across the wall only enhanced the feeling.

I had to start blocking any thoughts of Nate. I had to give myself a break or I was going to start losing my mind. Unfortunately, I was aware that ignoring a problem wasn’t likely to make it go away. I couldn’t believe Nate had planned to hide the stain on his back from me. How long did he think he could pretend everything was going to be fine? 

Dad taught me to only believe what could be proved by science, but this lulled me into a state of denial. Nate was vanishing with the tick of the clock, and I had to help him. I wasn’t sure how yet, but I couldn’t fail him. I wanted to slap myself to throw myself into action. How could I be so passive when I was losing the only thing I wanted?

The man in the apartment across from me was drinking from a cup and flicking through the pages of a book that he had next to the laptop. After scanning a few more pages, he continued to type. I wondered what he was doing. I wanted to think he was writing a detective novel based in 1950s Manhattan. 

The man stopped typing and stared openly at me, as if he also needed to share his secrets with a stranger. It was snowing hard, and thousands of snowflakes playfully spiraled up into the sky, proving reality had many dimensions. The simple stare from a distant stranger was appeasing that loneliness that was taking hold of me.

 I couldn’t stop staring back. Here, sitting on the floor of this grandiose room, in the epicenter of the madness of this city, I just felt so small. How was I, this tiny, fragile girl, going to make the world change its course?

The man with the computer—as if he could hear my thoughts—smiled at me and nodded. Without uttering a word, and with the power of our surroundings, this stranger confirmed that, yes, I could do whatever I gave myself to. It was probably a coincidence, but there were moments like this when the universe conspired to prove that life was full of magic moments. You just needed to learn to see past what was in front of you.

The man went back to typing on his computer, unconscious that with just one stare he’d provided me with the courage I lacked. I was beginning to fall in love, but in this case, with New York City. There was something about the anonymity of this city that brought us closer as humans.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Fool For Books Giveaway Hop


For the Fool For Books Giveaway Hop, I'm just going to make it nice and simple. The winner will get to pick a book of their choice up to $15 NZD from the Book Depository. This is open international as long as TBD ships to you. My usual giveaway rules apply. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway