Saturday, 15 June 2013

5 Topics That Make Me Pick Up A Book


I've always been a sucker for cowboys and since I read Texas Gothic my romance with Texas even strengthened. I can just imagine what it's like there - nice people, wonderful atmosphere, blazing sun and shirtless cowboys... I can just imagine myself fitting there real nice and it's an ideal book setting.

Jerk hero

What can I say - they're definitely not boring. We all love to hate them - and then in the end just love them...


This is Matilda's fault. And Potter's. And Prue and Phoebie and Piper's. I still sometimes cry myself to sleep at night because I can't do magic (yet I still try every day).

Boarding School

A closed-off setting is bursting with potential! No parents, no real supervision; crushes and romances; mass of teenagers - something interesting is always bound to happen. Just take a look at Hex Hall or Vampire Academy or Harry Potter! 

Pretend relationship

It's my guilty pleasure. I like the complexity of the situations, the character development, the tension between the hero and heroine and I'm always interested to see in what way are they going to get their happy ending (because, let's be frank - it always ends up with a HEA).

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Fallen Star (The Fallen Star #1) by Jessica Sorensen

Jenna is a normal teenager... Wait, let me start again. Jenna is not a normal teenager because until recently she was unable to feel. Anything. She also lives with her grandparents with whom she has an extremely strained (putting it mildly) relationship. Jenna has no clue why she is so different from everybody; why she has purple eyes or why she can't experience normal human emotions. But then one day the flood opens and she starts feeling these prickling sensations on the back of her head. She suddenly feels. Fear. Anger. Sadness. Jenna is not able to control her sudden outbursts and is absolutely baffled by her reactions. Then one day she bumps into a new guy at school and her life turns into a mess of epic porportions.

What attracted me to this book was that Jenna is 18 years old (not a child at 16, yay!) and that she can't (couldn't) experience emotions. And what turned me off were the similarities with a book we all are very familiar with. I jotted down a few:

- heroine and hero meet in school,
- hero seems to inexplicably intensely hate the heroine from the beginning,
- they are forced to work together in class,
- there are sparks although hero tries to hide his attraction,
- hero has an annoyingly nice sister (named Aisling, get it? Aisling, Alice?),
- hero takes the heroine to a "special" place,
- hero lifts a gigantic branch over his head like it weighs nothing (and the other dude saved the girl by stopping a car).

Have you figured out which book does it remind me of? Twilight, doh. However, things changed somewhere in the middle of the book and the Twilight references stopped there. Suddenly it turned into an action packed The Shadow Society with all sorts of creatures, hidden agendas, plans to save (and ruin) the world and mysteries. Because there is a reason Jenna is different and her 'grandparents' knew about it all along. Speak of the grandparents - I couldn't believe my eyes when I read about Jenna's relationship with her only family. What striked me as weird was that Jenna didn't really question why they're treating her so bad. That's not normal! But I guess since she was emotionless she didn't know how horrible they were to her and the explanation we get later makes everything fall into perspective. 

Jenna is an ok heroine, but that is all. She is average despite having purple eyes and a week after reading the book I am still not sure whether I like that she talks to the reader sometimes. "Well, you get the picture." No I don't! Stop doing that and start acting like a real book! (I guess I didn't like it, hee.) There were not enough descriptions of people, places and situations and I really need those in a book. I need it to create a mini film in my head through which I can experience what is going on in the book. And if there are not enough descriptions, how am I supposed to do that? 

There were many things left unsaid and for this reason I will read the second book in the instalment. It's not that The Fallen Star has disappointed me - it's just that I expected so much more since it had so much potential! A girl with no emotions, for Joaquin's sake! And the secondary characters are so bland I can't even think of one person from that book who is not the hero and heroine. Also, don't even get me started on Alex, the "hero"! He is one lying, manipulating son of a peacock (if I may borrow this expression from a friend) whose intentions toward Jenna are still a little shady. I really need to read the sequel so I can form a solid opinion on this series. I'm also getting tired of this genre, I think I'll switch to something else for a few months so I can recover and return to my sharp, opinionated self. 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Demon Lover and The Water Witch (Fairwick Chronicles #1 and #2) by Juliet Dark

Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly erotic dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of her having written the bestselling book The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she’s found herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name.
But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: Her incubus is not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the demon, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this supernatural lover from her heart (Goodreads).

I've tried, many times, to write a review that would do these two books justice, but I didn't succeed. It just can't be put to words, that is why I'll have to make an exception and show you with pictures, not words.

Things that are great:
> the heroine
> the covers
> the plot
> the narrative
> the secondary characters !!
> the twists
> the mythology
> the supernatural creatures
> Fairwick
> the demon lover
> the writing style
>... I'll stop here, because it'd take all day to finish the list. 

I was fascinated and mesmerised by the world Juliet Dark created - I couldn't get enough! The vivid and colourful descriptions of Fairwick and its inhabitants had me glued to my chair without even needing food or water... or even air. I was enthralled by the mythical creatures that roam around Fairwick and their adventures; the way Dark transformed them into words was just magnificent. 
The most interesting thing? I racked my brain for days trying to come up with one bad thing to say about this series. I failed. Well, if I think about it, there is one serious flaw with both of the books - they're too freakin' short! And the third one, The Angel Stone, is not coming out until September!! What if I die before September!?

Friday, 31 May 2013

Contingency (Sage Hannigan Time Warper #1) by Peggy Martinez

I really wanted to like this book - the blurb was engaging, the cover is beautiful, the heroine is older than 16, it was the first book I won in a giveaway, and the reviewers are all in love with it... But it disappointed me so much I can't even explain it!

Sage is a normal person who leads a normal life, but then one day she finds a necklace and is sucked into the past (1904 to be precise). She is instantly attacked by a vampire, but is rescued and taken into a house which turns out to be inhabited by members of the Cerebrus Society. They are the people who are trying to protect the world from bad creatures, even though some of them are "creatures" as well. Sage is told she was sent back for a reason - and that reason is to save the president from an assassin. 

As much as I tried, there was just nothing that I liked, because unbelievable things just kept coming at me. I disliked the heroine, she just got on my nerves; there was a love triangle, WHICH I HATE, and it wasn't even written well - she lusts after both of them and she has difficulties choosing which one she likes better; the twist in the plot was yawn, and the bad guys were far from mind blowing and throw-you-on-your-ass-y. I instantly figured out what was going on. I won't even mention all the other bad things because I am afraid I would get attacked by the book's fans, and I don't want to bad-mouth. I don't even have the will to write a proper review I'm so disappointed. I really wanted to like this book.

1.5 quills


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Since I've always been intrigued by the 20th century (I've always wanted to experience Woodstock, the Beatles, the 80s, the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and all the other awesome things that (sadly) occurred way before I was born), I liked that the book was set into the 1950s and I could just smell that there were fascinating things waiting for me among the pages of Out Of The Easy! So I was more than eager to devour it. 

Josie, the main character, is a daughter of a whore, and everyone knows that. What they don't know, is that Jo wants to climb out of the gutter her mother dragged her in, and she is doing quite well for herself - she is an intelligent young woman who loves to read and who wants nothing else than to leave her old miserable life behind her and go to college. In the first quarter of the book we get to know Josie, her background, the people in her life and their life in New Orleans. Then, suddenly, the plot thickens as Josie finds something under her mom's bed that wasn't supposed to be there. 

As I dived into the book, I was impressed by the vivid descriptions and colourful characters, and the heroine was just what I liked. Josie was strong and intelligent, witty and sharp-tongued. But there were times when all of that didn't come through - at crucial times - when it was more "tell" rather than "show". "Josie is smart. Josie is cunning. Josie is this and also that." Yes, Josie was intelligent, yet at the same time she was so darn clueless I wanted to shake some sense into her! It was as if she was standing still in the street and the world was rushing past her, eventually running her over. Some of her actions were so unbelievably stupid! Josie made silly choices she clearly didn't think about properly beforehand. For example, she knew Mr. L obviously liked the girls young (looking), yet she still complied with his "wishes" when he suggested she visit him wearing high freakin' heels. What did she think he meant by that? Well, he certainly didn't want to play golf with her. Doh! She was too naive and I expected her to be more tough because of what she experienced living with her mother (who was a total b*tch, by the way. I wanted to drag her by her hair all the way to Hollywood - or better yet, have horses drag her there. They say it's a painful way to travel. She would more than deserve it.) 

Her mother really was the worst kind of a mother. There were times she got me so furious I swear the steam was coming out of my ears! The author did a great job of writing a character I loved to hate. And I adored all of the characters, I loved how the plot was build around them, thus emphasising their colourfulness and their interesting features.

The one thing that did bother me and (for all I'm concerned) could've been left out - is the romance element. There was a love triangle that wasn't really a love triangle, and Josie was so dispassionate she almost didn't seem capable of love (at least to me - and it would come as no surprise; she had a terrible relationship with her only parent who couldn't care less about her. Literally couldn't.) Josie was friends with both of the boys and once again, she appeared totally clueless about them liking her. Even I didn't get the impression that there could be something cooking between Josie and what's-his-name, the guy she worked with/for (I'm awfully terrible with names). And poor Jessie - we got to know so little about him! I just wish there was more told about both of the boys. Although, funnily enough - I liked them both and if I had to choose between them, I'd save myself the trouble and keep them both. 

To sum it up, Out Of The Easy was almost what I hoped it would be. It had that flair I was looking for, but there were still some things I would change, and people whom I would like to know more about. I liked what I read, but I wanted more. Just a little bit more. I'm curious about her other books, I hear Between Shades Of Gray is quite good.

3.5 quills

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Books To Read In May

May is just around the corner and after a long and harsh winter I'm very much looking forward to finally reading out in the sun, enveloped by the lushness of spring, sitting on a bench somewhere in the middle of a meadow bursting with wild flowers, a heavy book in my lap, and occasionally listening in to the chirping of the birds and buzzing of the bumble bees. Smiling, because I've found my little piece of heaven.

That is why I composed a list of 5 books I'm planning to read in the beautiful month of May.

What books are you planning to read in May? Or do you choose books randomly?

A warm spring hug,

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark #1) by Shana Abe

“With every fiber of my being, I yearned to be normal. To glide through my days at Iverson without incident. But I’d have to face the fact that my life was about to unfold in a very, very different way than I’d ever envisioned. Normal would become forever out of reach.”  Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.

England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny.

Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own. Both hold the answers to her past. One is the key to her future. And both will aim to win her heart. As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves.

Filled with lush atmosphere, thrilling romance, and ancient magic, The Sweetest Dark brilliantly captures a rich historical era while unfolding an enchanting love story that defies time. (Goodreads)


"Like all the orphans crowding the Home, I felt certain that I did not belong where I was. That someone, somewhere, was surely searching for me, because I was special. Unline all the rest of the orphans, I was right."

We all want to be special, or to have something that sets us apart from the crowd, isn't that true? Ever since I read Harry Potter novels and Matilda I was constantly waving a twig in my hand at random objects, secretly wishing that they would move, or explode, or disappear. Unfortunately they never did anything other than remain right where they were and mock me. Lora, the main character, is "luckier" than I was, because she is indeed special. At first glance she is a tough cookie with a rough childhod, who knows how to defend herself and stand up to others who try to make her life miserable because she's an orphan and not some snotty little rich pampered girl like the girls at this school. I liked reading about her - she had so many layers and hid so many wonderful things beneath the surface. 

The writing style was beautiful, dark and intriguing, mysterious and rich with descriptions. I was transfixed by the world the author took me in, desperately wanting to figure out what was happening to Lora and trying to guess what kind of a creature she was. When I finally found out I was blown away. I'll not spoil anything because I think it is great that I learned that from the book and not from someone else - the effect is so much more powerful.

We don't really connect with the characters, we are merely the audience - the fortunate ones who get an insight into a world of wonder. It felt like I was outside, looking through a window of a house in awe, fully knowing I will never be invited in, that I would only be allowed to peek in from the shadows. And I actually didn't mind that. It was also that kind of a book where there wasn't much of a plot but more of a heroine's internal thoughts, struggles, the Becoming and coming to terms with what she is. 

The love triangle wasn't really a love triangle since Lora was instantly drawn to beautiful Jesse who has a few secrets up his sleeves, too. Armand, the aristocrat, on the other hand is inexplicably drawn to Lora, and later on we find out why - partly because he is what she is. But even though he was obnoxious at times I liked him better than Jesse, despite introducing himself to Lora: "Call me Mandy", after being described as rich, handsome and alpha male. And there the author goes and ruins my fantasy by nicknaming him "Mandy". Sheesh. But why I didn't like Jesse? I don't know how to explain it, he just wasn't interesting. He sounded old and boring. And I'm not a big fan of "star-crossed lovers". Too ... romanticky for me.

The ending was surprising, although a bit forced for me. No action for three quarters of the book and then "BAM"! World war 1 in the school's backyard. Literally! And I've said it before and I'll say it again: I can always appreciate a good death and although unexpected, it was a great twist to the story. However, I have a strange feeling that this person will be returning. It's all written in the stars, I guess...

All in all, a very unique story with many interesting elements, if a bit slow-paced in some parts. I expected more pulse-quickening scenes and a better Jesse. But overall it was a pleasant read and I'm looking forward to the next instalment.

An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group. All opinions in this review are my own.

3.5 quills

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Sins & Needles (The Artist Trilogy #1) by Karina Halle

The first thought that crossed my mind after reading the last word on the last page of the book was "Wow! I did not see that this is the direction we're taking!" Karina Halle sure has serious talent for writing 'realistic' and compelling novels. So far I've only read two of her works (this one and Devil's Metal) but I'm liking the journey she's taking me on. She has that addicting style of writing that pulls you in and doesn't let go. I guess the thing that sets her apart from the other writers is that even though her plots are over the top and highly unlikely to happen in a real life (a con artist being chased by her mobster ex boyfriend while ... some other things happen to her that would be considered as spoiler; a journalist going on a tour with a metal band whose member made a deal with the devil...) there are certain realistic elements intertwined in the plot that make the story very likeable and impossible to put down. Yet again I found myself reading this book everywhere I went and simultaneously with everything else I was doing. 

As I already mentioned, Ellie Watts, a con artist, returns to her home town because she's broke and running away from her ex-boyfriend (who sounds like a dangerous deliciousness incarnate) who happens to be a mobster and whom Ellie happened to steal a car and money from. She thinks no one will recognize her after being away from home so long, but Camden McQueen does. Ellie is surprised to see her former weird goth "friend" transformed into a beautiful butterfly (In my books a 'beautiful butterfly' is a hunky tattooed guy with a charming smile and wicked streak, btw) and even though she likes him more each day they hang out she decides on stealing money from his successful tattoo parlor - because this is all she is good at. However, things don't always go as planned and Ellie finds herself in a situation she never anticipated in her wildest dreams and has to find a way to get herself out of the mess she created. 

The story is told from Ellie's point of view and alternates between present and past (when Ellie and Camden were younger), which is a great approach to slowly revealing the missing puzzle pieces to Ellie and Camden's past relationship. Ellie, at first sight, is not a very likeable character. She is a thief and a liar, she is addicted to pills due to her paranoia, and on top of that she thinks she is entitled to act the way she does and do the things she does because of her scarred leg and scarred childhood. 

"I'm not bad. The world is bad and I'm just trying to survive in it."

I didn't particularly mind that, because Karina Halle's skill to create characters flawed to perfection made me fall in love with Ellie and also Camden, even though Camden is not your typical hero one encounters in the majority of the books out there. He has some flaws, or should I say personality traits, that make him more realistic and on the other hand possibly less likeable because he does not match the criteria set by some higher force in the book realm. Camden actually has flaws that are actually not likeable, that's the first deviation, because let's face it - usually the heroes have flaws like "having an adorable crooked tooth", or "being too mysterious-yet-sexy" or "being too tall-but-the-girl-feels-immensely-safe-in-his-arms-because-he-is-covering-above-her" or simply "being too freakin' perfect". 

I'm not going to say there was nothing that bothered me because I would be lying. I didn't like that Ellie and Camden's relationship felt a bit rushed and mainly based on mutual desire (which they acted on ... multiple times). Their relationship was messed up (I am not going any further because then I'd be spoiling) on so many levels, and I am glad there are two more books for Ellie to sort her feelings, beliefs and fears, because she is one helluva broken cookie. So is Camden. But then again I liked how messy, complexed and complicated they were because they make great characters who people want to read more about. And Camden is just the right person for Ellie because he gets her like noone else. Even when he's being a total jackass his words hold a grain of truth.

"You're a con artist. A liar. A thief. An unredeemable soul. You can't be reformed. You can't be saved. You'll die trying to make the world pay for what it did to you. And you'll die alone."

"Oh, do you?" You think because of your leg and your scars that gives you a right to punish people? Rob people? Cheat, scam and steal? You think you can use that to justify what you do for a living?"

"Do you think because you can't see my scars that they don't exist? That's the trouble with pain, Ellie. If you're lucky, you can wear it for all the world to see. Most people have their pain deep inside, in places no one ever goes. Not until it's too late."

"I hate you, Ellie Watt," he whispered, lips coming closer to mine, "because I still love you after all these years." 

Ahh you see how conflicted am I? But the scales tip in their (and book's) favour. The good things outweigh the bad by far.

And there comes the end, where Halle throws us an (un)expected twist that leaves me craving for book #2 like a man in the desert craving books and TV series. May is not just around the corner, people!

The story was well-paced and it had the right amount of suspense, action and surprise elements. The bad guys are exciting and terrifying, and just for the main twist it is worth reading this book. If I said this story was a thrilling roller coaster of epic proportions that would be somewhere close to what I read. And it sure was a ride I immensely enjoyed and would recommend it to anyone who is not afraid of a little bumps and bruises in order to get the good stuff. Believe me, it's all worth it.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Sounds of Life

A Short Story

David’s eyes were closed under a pair of dark sunglasses, his phone resting on his stomach, going up and down in the rhythm of his breathing. He seemed to be sleeping but the phone moved just a bit too fast and the skin around his mouth was tense, as if his teeth were busy gnawing on the inside of his mouth. The final proof that he wasn’t really sleeping came when he slowly raised his hands together and cracked the knuckles first on his left and then on his right hand before dropping them back beside his phone. It should've rung by now. It always did, someone always texted him.
David, we're going to the lake house for a beer, d'you wanna come?
Hey Davy, my parents went out for a few hours, wanna hang out?
Dude, Skate Park at 5pm, be there!
He opened his eyes and took the phone in his hand to check if it was even on. It was. He gave out a loud sigh and stood up abruptly to move towards the window, his left hand still clutching the phone.
“It’s still early. Someone will call,” he assured the cactus on the window pane. He could call someone himself, but that wasn’t the normal way of things. He was the called, not the caller. If he were the one to call or text, people might think that he had nothing better to do, and while that was true enough he couldn’t let people know that, could he? He ran his phone-free hand through his thick dark hair and sighed in frustration before throwing the phone on the bed. He tried to convince himself that he didn’t need anyone to call, but then finally his phone lit up and the Baha Men yelled: who let the dogs out, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof. The sweet sound of a text message.
If someone had been in the room along with him, David would probably roll his eyes and say something like: “Oh, who is it now?” in the most bored sounding voice he could muster. But he was alone, so he practically threw himself on the bed and grabbed his phone like a drug addict grabbing his next fix.
From: Dad
I need you in the kitchen.
“You have got to be kidding me,” David buried his face in the pillow. It was a mistake to teach his dad how to write text messages. He threw the phone on the bed and went out of the room as slow as humanly possible.
“What d’you want?”  he asked before even entering the kitchen where his dad was scooping the soft bread out of a stale loaf.
“Polly wants to feed the birds again.”
David rolled his eyes. “Dad, it’s been a year. Just tell her no.”
“It helps her. “
“Yeah, well, it annoys the crap out of me. You’re lying to her, it’s not normal for her to believe that mom changed into a bird.”
His father pushed a paper bag filled with freshly scooped breadcrumbs into David’s hand. “Just go,” he said quietly without looking at him. “She’s in her room.”
His little sister was playing with Legos and the smile that crossed her face when David entered was meant for the paper bag in his hands rather than him. ‘’Hey Polly,’’ he said and walked to where she was sitting, patting her on the head awkwardly while she snatched the bag from his hands.  She pointed towards the childproofed balcony doors and started jumping up and down as David was opening them. “Go on, feed them.” Without so much as a word Polly skipped past him, filled her palms with the contents of the paper bag and leaned across the balcony. She started strewing the breadcrumbs happily on the lawn underneath while David sat down and buried his face in his palms. This was exactly why he needed his bloody phone to ring, exactly why he needed to get out of the house. He reached into his pocket to check if someone had called, but then remembered that he had left the phone in his room.
“Daddy, I think I can see mom,” Polly said and pointed to the freshly mown lawn where amid a dozen sparrows, a lone robin came to feast on the bread.
 “You’re right, there she is,” their father answered from under the balcony and made a few small steps closer to the birds.
Anger flooded every fibre of David’s being and all he wanted to do was yell: “it’s not mom, it’s just a bloody robin, mom’s dead! Deal with it already you stupid kid!” but he managed to hold back and just say: “I’ll be right back, I need to grab my phone.”
Without waiting for his dad to answer he rushed back inside, breathing heavily, his hands shaking. Everything in this house was suffocating him, bringing back the day when dad came home just a bit too late. That was what the doctors said, if you’d brought her in just a few minutes earlier, they said, she’d still have a chance. But he didn’t and so David’s nights and days became filled with countless images of the dark coffin and strangers laughing in the back of the funeral procession.
With a couple of fast steps he was back in his room, but he could still hear his sister’s voice through the open window. “I’m making it snow,” she said, but in a second the tone of her voice changed from calm to upset: “Daddy, look at the bees! They’re attacking mom!”
David threw himself on the bed and pulled the pillow over his face. “It’s not mom! It’s a bird, just a fucking bird!” he yelled, but the pillow muffled his voice.
 “They’re hurting her… They’re…” Polly’s voice faded away, but their father’s replaced it: “David! Get down here and help!”
“It’s just a fucking bird! Let it die! Let it die just like you let mom die!” This time there was no pillow to suffocate his words and for the next couple of seconds everything went silent. Then, within the next few moments, there were several sounds. First there was the sound of something falling from the balcony; a hollow thud that wasn’t followed by tears on account of scratched knees or broken bones. The next sound was produced by David’s father, but it sounded unearthly, distant and raw. And then finally, who let the dogs out, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof.

Depression. Because why not. Anyways. Hope you liked it. Feedback and constructive criticism are always welcome :)


Thursday, 21 March 2013

Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn parts 1 and 2

I have a love-hate relationship with series. Not just book series, but series in general. There's a whole scale in my head, going from love to hate. There are three main types.

First, it’s the Twilight type. This happens when I don’t even like the first book in the series, but I still force myself to read the rest. Just because I either still hope that the sequels will be better or because I just don’t want to give up in the middle. I do the same with candy: even when I’m not really hungry and don’t even like the taste of it, I’m damn sure gonna finish it.

Second it’s the hunger games reason. This means that the series starts off fantastically and it makes me fall in love with it and go on a fishing trip with it and convince it to create a steam account so that then we will never be far apart. But then at some point, things change. In the case of hunger games that point was book three. It let me down, betrayed my trust and we had to break up. It looked a little something like this:

Me: You were the chosen one! You were to bring balance to me, not leave me in darkness.
HG: [shouts] I hate you!
Me: You were my brother, HG. I loved you. 

And then there was that whole lava business. It was not pretty.

The third reason is the Harry Potter reason. This type is similar to the second one, except without the betrayal. That occurs when the series is perfect from the start to the end. And even when it screws up sometimes, it doesn’t really matter. These are the series that stay with me, the ones that are just pure love. But when they end, I guess these are the ones that really break my heart.

So when I start reading a new series I'm always a bit nervous that it'll end up being the second type. Me and Brandon Sanderson's the Final Empire (Mistborn #1) hit it off like in a dream. It wasn't as good as the Way of Kings, but it was still better than a lot o fantasy I've recently read.
Here’s a quick overview: We’re in a world that is ruled by in immortal god called the Lord Ruler. He is thousands of years old, has god-like powers and is, naturally, an oppressor. And there are some people who want him dead. But how do you kill a god? Good question. A man called Kelsier might have an answer to that, but you’ll have to read the book yourselves to find out.
The good thing about this particular series is that it's already finished, so as soon as I've read the first part I dived into the second one (the Well of Ascension). And well. Ugh.  First there’s Vin. I wasn’t a big fan of Vin in the first book, but in the second one she really got on my nerves. The constant whining and the inability to talk to her boyfriend really annoyed me. I’m not worthy of him, he should be with someone more suitable to his position, he’s a nobleman, I’m not, I shouldn’t be with him, but he loves me, I love him, but I’ve never been in love before so how do I know this is love  and yadayadayada. Girl, there’s a war going on. Focus. Second, the pace is slow, too slow. It was wonderful in the first book, fast and exiting, but in the second one I felt it just came to a sudden stop. With the exception of a few parts there was very little action, save for the last 200 pages all the tings happen.
Third, the characters that aren’t exactly main are not very well created. I know there are Breeze, Ham, Dockson, Clubs and Marsh, but they’re all mixed in my mind, I have no idea which one is which, despite the fact that a portion of the book is narrated by them. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

All in all, I was disappointed, and I’m not sure what to expect from the third book. Some have said that they hated it; others said that the third one is the best of the three. I guess I’ll just have to read and see. Yet the fact that I was disappointed doesn't mean that the series isn't worth reading. Despite all the flaws I would still say that it's pretty decent. It just let me down, so I'm a bit bitter.

The Final Empire

The Well of Ascension

Friday, 15 March 2013

Creepy Book Covers

Have you ever come across a book whose blurb was extremely intriguing... but then you didn't dare buy it because it would haunt you forever from your bookshelf? Here are a few such books I encountered while perusing the bookshelves of Goodreads:

Tainted Grace (Grace #2) by M. Lauryl Lewis
Can you imagine getting this for Christmas or birthday? I mean, it's awesomely gruesome, but gruesome nevertheless.

The Passage by Justin Cronin
A black and white picture of a child with a creepy look in her eyes and the tagline 'Something is coming' is not something you'd find on my night stand. Especially since I hate horror movies and evil children in horror movies are the worst kind of horror movies.

Night Of The Living Dummy by R. L. Stine
Even in Slovenia we've got R. L. Stine books (fun fact: In Slovenian goose bumps are chicken bumps, kurja polt) and I remember them being scary as heck. Night Of The Living Dummy gave me a lifetime fear of ventriloquist dolls. And Buffy also had an unpleasant encounter with a doll that came to life. I'm a little traumatized.

The House Of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle
Eee, she's got no eyeballs, am I the only one disturbed about this? It's giving me the heebie-jeebies.

Prophecy Of The Sisters by Michelle Zink
Everyone who's ever watched Doctor Who and knows of Weeping Angels will understand.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

I heard nothing but the best about Cinder, and everyone's been raving about it for ages. So you understand why I've been hesistant about reading it. Also I couldn't get past the first page. "Tossing the screwdriver onto the table, Cinder gripped her heel and yanked the foot from its socket." I just couldn't relate to the heroine. But after a while curiosity got the best of me and once I got past the first chapter I was sold!

Cinder is not your typical Cinderella adaptation's story. The heroine is a teenage cyborg and a mechanic who is living with her stepmonster (pardon me, legal guardian) and two stepsisters (one is actually nice to Cinder, but she dies from some illness that is plaguing the provinces). One faithful day her path collides with a charming prince Kai, and it is not long until she has bigger issues than finding spare parts for a hover or hiding a new artificial leg from her stepmother.

I liked how perfectly complicated and complex the story was and how the pieces of the puzzle nicely fit together at the end. Even though the "shocking relevation" was neither shocking nor relevating (I figured out what was going at the very beginning) the plot progressed nicely and once I was pulled into the story I couldn't quit until I knew how it all ended. The characters were interesting and nicely developed, Cinder was a solid lead, although a bit impersonal and distant. I had a few issues with Kai, who had a character too weak for my liking. He came across as a ... weakling for the most part of the book. I also thought the romance would be developed in a more clever way, but I am curious to know how their relationship will progress (and where will it lead) in the sequel. Right now it doesn't seem Kai likes Cinder much.

All in all, it was a nice story set in an interesting world I would like to read more about. The heroine is not your ordinary Cinderella and New Beijing is not your ordinary city, and there are folk living on the Moon and they have superpowers and they're evil!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Devil's Metal by Karina Halle

The year is 1974 and Dawn Emerson, a huge music lover and an aspiring young music journalist, gets a chance to go on the road with her favourite metal band Hybrid and document their tour that will supposedly make history. After she meets the band members and is swept into their world of drinking, drugs and debauchery she realizes the life on the other side of the stage is nothing like she imagined in her wildest dream. Dawn is inexplicably drawn to the reserved and elusive guitarist, Sage Knightly, who clearly does not want her following the band's every move, listening to every word they say, sleeping on the same bus and making out with the singer. It's not long until she suspects something sinister and diabolic is going on as she starts seeing people's faces turning into gruesome images of horror and death and strange things begin to happen.

I received an e-book version of this book from the NetGalley, and for that I'm very thankful!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, I think I finished it in a couple of hours! I read it in the car, while waiting at the mechanic, while eating, and I almost convinced a friend to read it to me while I was showering. It was that good! 

The plot was gripping, well-developed, everything was to my liking and I could easily relate to the heroine because we're the same age - which is rare since all the heroines in my favourite genres are teenagers with teenage minds and problems. Dawn was a solid lead and Sage was smokin'! 

“And then he laughed. It was short and brief, but genuine and made the dimples stand out on his scruffy cheeks. It was the best sound I’d heard all year.” 

Plus, the fact that the story was set in the 1974 was refreshing - I want to live there (then?) for some time, too! Where's The Doctor when you need him!?

If I think about it I actually don't have anything bad to say, or I just cant remember at the moment, because all the good things outshine the bad ones and therefore this review is going to be short. It's not really a review but a recommendation. If you like a strong heroine, a dark and mysterious hero, interesting second characters, a good twist, Led Zeppelin, 1970s, creepy elements and debauchery then you've hit a jackpot with this one. Also, in the very end Karina Halle throws us an unbelievably unexpected twist that literally left me with my jaw hanging to the floor. I can't wait to read the next installment, The Devil's Reprise, that comes out in fall 2013. Aaah, that's like bazillion eons away!

One little thing I do have a tiny issue with. The title. It gives too much away, don't you think? If I didn't know the devil had a part (or his minions) in the whole thing, it'd be a bigger  (and sweeter) twist to the story. But I don't want to put a damper on it, I still think it's a great read.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Bloodlines, The Golden Lily and The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1)

The first thing I noticed was that Sydney's world is very very very different from the world Rose lived (and fought) in, which was actually a nice surprise at first. No one wants to read a spin off that's exactly like the original series. However, I still thought there would be a little more action - and there was only snoozefest for the first two thirds of the book. I kept expecting for something to happen because there were so many different things happening at St. Vladimir's Academy, but since Sydney is ice to Rose's fire, prudence to her impulsiveness and brain to Rose's brawn, we got little of that. The only bright star was Adrian (who I'm sure we are all madly in love with...). I'm so glad he got his own story, and I liked how Adrian and Sydney's relationship is progressing. That was written very nicely. However, the secondary characters (especially Jill) were mostly annoying and uninteresting. Jill is a little whiny bi...birdie whose neck I'd like to wring.
P.S.: The professor Sydney is helping is awesome. And brilliant and cunning and awesome! 
2,5 quills

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2)

The first instalment left me quite cold and we did not part on a good note, that is why my expectations for the sequel were not high. And this is where the surprise punch came in! The character development is something Richelle Mead is quite good at and I think Sydney grew on many of us more in this instalment (if not in the first book). She is more relaxed and open-minded, and it was nice to see how her walls separating her from others are beginning to shatter and her beliefs about vampires weakening. The main culprit for her turn to the better is af kors Adrian Ivashkov *girls all around the world sigh and swoon in unison*. One cannot not love Adrian, it is humanly impossible (as Sydney witnessed herself, haha). Moreover, one might have expected that Sydney would make Adrian a better person, but Adrian also made Sydney better.

3 quills

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3)

Definitely the best book so far. I really hope it goes on like this, only getting better and more intriguing, because it's usually the other way around - the first book is awesome, the second one is okay, and from then on it just fizzles out and leaves you deeply disappointed. Ah expectations expectations. So, Sydney has finally grew some balls and is finally acting like a real ass-kicking, magic-yielding heroine. The character development is much to my liking, but I still have reservations toward Jill and Angeline. A couple of scenes got my pulse racing (I'm not spoiling anything, let's just say there's more action in this instalment. Action and action, yes!), I can't wait to see what happens next in Palm Springs, especially since the ending was so surprising and unexpecting. Sydney does not have a pleasant journey ahead of her, that's for sure! But no worries Sydney, I'll be there by your side every step (book) you take (Richelle Mead writes).

4 quills