Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WWW Wednesdays: 30/3/11


WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading.
To play along, just answer the following 3 questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?


What am I currently reading?













What have I recently finished?

 

What am I reading next?



What about you? What lucky books have been occupying your time?
Can't wait to finish Wither and to get my hands on City of Fallen Angels! April 5th, here we come!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Teasers


Three websites have come together to give us readers a little special something. All three have a teaser from Ally Condie about Crossed and all three are giving away an amazing prize pack!

It includes:
• A signed copy of MATCHED (hardcover)
• A MATCHED/CROSSED poster
• A MATCHED bookmark
• A MATCHED button
• A galley of CROSSED

Giveaway 1 Giveaway 2 Giveaway 3

The contest is unfortunately (for me) US only but for you lucky ones...have fun entering!

The three teasers are down below. They all start the same (it had me fooled!) but they are actually different. Ha!








And for those who haven't seen the Matched trailer!



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So lookie at what was just released...


The very sexy, very unedited version of the Dirty Sexy Alley Scene video for The Mortal Instruments

Enjoy!

Check Me Out!

Yes, yes, today I am the featured blogger on Jude's blog, In Between Writing and Reading. This is a new event where she will be pimping out blogs every week!


So click on the button, read some random things about me and follow to see next week's Blogger Lift!

And while we're here, just letting you all know that Splash Of Our Worlds is having a giveaway of Die For Me! Aren't we all excited for that? Go nuts!
Lots more giveaways in my sidebar so always keep a lookout for those little gems ;)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Review: Unearthly


Title: Unearthly
Author: Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: January 4th 2011

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans, but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy. As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil.

Unearthly completely blew me away. I never expected it to be this good. Fantastic plot, characters, tone, writing style…check? YES! So in a nut shell, Unearthly is about part-angel Clara who moves from California to Wyoming in order to fulfil her purpose - something all angels are given. She finds herself having visions about her purpose which involve a boy named Christian and a fire.
Christian is an all around perfect boy - the boy every girl wants but can't have, except Clara. As the two become interested in each other, Clara struggles with separating love and lust with her duty.
Then there's Tucker who first appears to hate Clara and comes off as being a jerk, but the two are brought together by random circumstance, time and time again, and eventually find something in the other that they never expected. In Clara's words, "He’s good to people, respectful. He doesn’t cuss. He’s kind. Thoughtful. He likes to pick me wildflowers, which I weave into garlands for my hair so I can smell them all day long. He doesn’t make a big deal about me being different."
Mark my words, people, this is probably the first time that I am 100% on the fence with who I want Clara to end up with. The two love interests are both great guys who get their fair share of page time. So how are we meant to decide?

The mystery of Clara's purpose is written exceptionally well. I don't see how anyone can guess what her purpose is until towards the very end, right along with Clara. We're given little snippets of visions from time to time, catching us off guard as we never expect them. The plot is intriguing and mystical, and is guaranteed to have you hooked.

Now Clara isn't your typical angel. Apart from her wings and superior abilities, she's just like any other teenage girl with teenage feelings and thoughts, and Cynthia Hand's writing style captures this perfectly. Instead of hating the way it was written, I found myself laughing and saying "That's so true!" Clara has an endless amount of witty and hilarious lines…so let's share a couple, shall we?

"With my luck, I’ll never make it in time to save the boy in the forest because my hair will have snagged on a tree branch a mile back."
 

"I stare at her in dismay. Mom has tried to teach me to fly exactly two times, and both were complete disasters. In fact, I’ve essentially given up on the idea of flight altogether and accepted that I’m going to be an angel-blood who stays earthbound, a flightless bird, like an ostrich maybe, or, in this weather, a penguin."
 

"I think the birds in the area are dying laughing watching me try not to crash."
"This morning Angela thought it’d be an awesome experiment to try to burn my finger with a match, to see if I’m flammable. Turns out, I am."
All of the characters in Unearthly are unique and interesting. From Wendy (best friend and Tucker's sister) to Angela (other best friend) to Jeffrey (Clara's brother) and everyone else in between, I liked them all and felt as if they all brought something useful to the table. They had a purpose and made the novel interesting in their own little way.

But enough of my babbling. Great novel. The end. Rush to the bookstore to pick up your copy now. Maybe scratch out something in your daily planner and mark it as "Unearthly Time". The sequel Hallowed is expected to be published next year. Can't wait!

Movie News

The Hunger Games movie is the one we're all talking about, along with The Mortal Instruments. Fortunately, we are getting a lot more news on the former.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, several actors are being tested for the roles of Peeta and Gale. Who knows if this is true but let's hope so! If not, we can still have fun choosing our favourite actors!

Contenders for Peeta:

Alexander Ludwig
Evan Peters
Hunter Parrish
Lucas Till
Josh Hutcherson













Some Gale contenders:

David Henrie

Drew Roy

Liam Hemsworth


Robbie Amell
What do you guys think? Who do you want to be cast as Peeta and Gale?
Look-wise, I think Hunter and Lucas look the most like Peeta (leaning more towards Lucas though) and I can't really imagine the others as Peeta. As for Gale, they all seem too old except for Drew.
Looking forward to seeing who is eventually cast! This is all very exciting!

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Now onto The Mortal Instruments... We still have had no new characters cast! We're all still anxiously waiting for Jace news and seeing as Alex Pettyfer wasn't mentioned in the above list, maybe he's still in the running? We'll have to wait and see!

In the mean time, ReelzChannel will be interviewing Cassandra Clare in a few weeks time. They've asked for fans to hop on over and ask your questions! Let's hope we can get in some good ones about the books and the movie!

Also, Cassandra reached 25000 followers on Twitter and decided to reward us with a little something... Jace's POV of the Seelie Court kiss scene in City of Ashes!

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What are your thoughts on these movies? Are you looking forward to them? Who are your favourite actors? Are you asking Cassie a question and if so, what is it? Last of all, what did you think of Jace's POV? Lots of questions to be answered so leave a comment! ;) I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Great Contests

Us bloggers sure do love contests, don't we? And isn't a pain when you get all excited for one, only to see the three evil words? US/CANADA ONLY. This week I found some amazing contests that are international! Celebration time? I think so.
...or not, since I think the majority of you are American. But anyways:

21 Pages is hosting a one year blogoversary! You can choose from the lovely books below or choose any book of your choice from The Book Depository! You can also grab an ARC if she's got one!

Sounds great, right? Open internationally, ends May 1st and more winners may be added so follow, follow, follow! It's such a gorgeous blog too so I'm sure you won't have to much trouble finding your way over.

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The Cait Files is giving away a copy of The Goddest Test! Pre-ordered from The Book Depository, this contest ends on April 10th!


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Can't wait for all of these books! What are you waiting for?

Uneventful Week...

It's been a slow week for me. You know that's true when you post a review about a week after finishing the book. Real life is hectic but...we'll get there.

A few days ago I got something special in the mail!



That's right! A brand spankin' new copy of Wither, thanks to the lovely ladies down at The Reading Housewives! The cover's not as green as it looks online - mine's more navy blue - so i'm guessing I got a different edition. Still looks great though. Cannot wait to start reading!

Unearthly, as you can see in my sidebar, is currently being read. Hoping to finish it this weekend. Wishful thinking? It's 2am at the moment but i'll read anyway. Sleep can wait.

Make sure you all check my sidebar regularly for giveaways around the blogosphere and for polls! I'll need your help deciding what book to put on my schedule next, every time I finish a book! 

Next weekend is probably book shopping spree time! The Book Depository is going to make a great customer out of me. I've got a ton of books on my to read list. Any suggestions on what books I must get first?

Last of all, just letting you guys know that i've now got a button. Rie from Mission To Read made it for me so thanks to her for that!


Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me


Have a great week, everyone! :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Follow Friday/Book Blogger Hop: 25/3/11

No really, I hope you're all having a great day since mine turned out to be kind of cruddy... But ANYWAYS. Onto the Friday fun!

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly event just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share their love of books!  It's an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, and generally just share the love! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the linky list!!

This week's question comes from Mina who blogs at Mina Burrows:

"If you could physically put yourself into a book or series…which one would it be and why?"

Well, this is a tough one. If I based my answer on characters, lifestyle, sheer awesome factor, etc. I would pick The Mortal Instruments.
1) Jace
2) Great abilities
3) New adventures every day
4) Jace
5) The people you're around are all really interesting
6) World around you is forever changing - you'd never get bored!
7) Alec/Magnus are adorable. I could watch them all day
8) JACE
9) My head is too filled with Jace to think
10) Wow, aren't I articulate today...

If you asked the crazy romantic in me though, I would say Twilight. A happy and perfect eternity with your soulmate? Sounds pretty great to me.

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Follow Friday is a weekly event where every Friday/Thursday, we all get together and say HI! Each week has a different feature from the book blogging community. Check out the question, blog about it, meet new friends and have fun!

The featured blogger this week is Rebecca from Confessions of a Page Turner!

Inspired by the inane twitter trend of #100factsaboutme, give us five BOOK RELATED silly facts about you.

1. I read books on the computer before I buy them in print. I won't spend money on a book unless I know i'll like it. Even if it's just the first few chapters of the book, I have to read it first. I'm poor, okay? Sue me. I do buy every single book that I enjoy (meaning 3+ stars) though, so i'm not cheating anyone of their money ;) If it's under 3 stars, I obviously won't buy it and would've stopped reading at page 3 anyway.

2. I have trouble reading actual books (paperbacks, that is). I'm so worried about the spine bending that I end up reading through a tiny gap. You can imagine how uncomfortable that is!

3. Once I start reading, it's almost impossible to stop me. If I start reading at 10pm, chances are likely that i'll keep on reading until i've finished, even if that's at 6am.

4. I can't read with people around me. I feel awkward and like i'm being watched, even though I'm obviously not. Have to read in my room or somewhere where i'm alone…

5. I almost never buy books from bookstores. Majority of my books from from The Book Depository. Cheapest prices and free delivery? I'm so there. There's also a wide selection of covers and editions which is great since actual bookstores usually only stock the one. TBD gives you choice! *pumps fist*

So everyone, jump on these two follow trains and have fun meeting new people!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: I Am Number Four


Title: I Am Number Four
Author: Pittacus Lore
Series: Lorien Legacies #1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: August 3rd 2010

I Am Number Four is set in a world where there are nine aliens, all who come from the planet Lorien which is now destroyed. These nine aliens are being hunted by the evil Mogadorian, but they have to be killed in order, thanks to a special charm. They look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but have extraordinary skills. The plot of this novel captivated my attention immediately. "Three are dead. I am number four. I am next." It sounded smart, exciting and full of adventure. I actually really enjoyed this book. I didn't think I would because of the so-so ratings but it was turned out to be as interesting as I'd hoped!.

John is the main protagonist of the novel. He is fifteen years old and has Legacies (paranormal abilities) including creation/control over light/fire and telekinesis. Legacies develop over time and are triggered by emotion, so John's powers are most likely still evolving which should be great to read about in the future. I thought his character was very sweet. He was always so sympathetic, kind and level-headed - surprising for a fifteen year old, no? John was very sweet to Sarah, the girl he meets at school, also. Over the course of the book, the two become closer and eventually declare their love. Their relationship is visited quite frequently in the novel but I feel as if it still wasn't enough. I would have preferred some longer scenes, even if it meant less of them. Nonetheless, John and Sarah are adorable together and it's very pleasant to read about.

The book, I felt, started off somewhat poorly though. The short sentences and lack of flow really bugged me, as they all felt disconnected, and I was worried that it would continue this way for the rest of the book. Luckily after the first chapter, I was sucked into the storyline and wasn't bothered by them, even though they were still noticeable at times.

I started reading I Am Number Four the day after watching the movie (which wasn't as good as it could've been). Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the movie is almost nothing like the books. Unlike the movie, all of the characters in the novel were very likeable, the relationship between John and Sarah was better developed and more realistic, storylines made more sense and there was overall just a better flow. The fact that I already knew what the characters looked like and what they were like may have aided me in having such an enjoyable reading experience as well.

The ending was action-packed and lasted for quite some time - about one fifth if you want to be specific. Though it is very lengthy, most of it is exciting and suspenseful. It's only towards the very end of the climax that it becomes a little tedious - though that may have just been because I was reading very late at night whilst exhausted - but that is soon rectified as we come to the conclusion. Some characters are left behind, some embark on a new journey and some don't really do anything. I guess you could say it is left quite open-ended, leaving a nice opening for the next book. I Am Number Four wasn't the best written book but it was unique and gripping, so I will definitely be reading the sequel, The Power of Six.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Peeves


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new Top Ten list will be posted and one special blogger will answer! Everyone is welcome to join and post up their own lists. Have fun and get to know your fellow bloggers! This week's guest blogger is Ginger from GReads!

Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves


1. Book designs
Do you know how annoying it is to have a book (or several) in one style/format/size and then have it suddenly changed?  *coughNightshadecough* I would like everything to match, please!

2. Creases/Paperbacks
I don't like creases on my pages or in my spines. Touch my book, return it in a less than perfect condition that I gave it to you in, you die. Enough said. Paperbacks really don't help the issue. I can't read through a gap bigger than 15cm without bending the spine.

3. Slow plots
Nothing happens for the first 400 pages but suddenly in the last 50, it all hits you like a freight train. The sudden endings are great too, by the way! Not.

4. Unbelievable love
I'm a romance reader. I've read lots of love stories. If you make the two random people fall in love in the first five seconds that they meet, I won't be pleased. Especially if they're two humans. If one or both are some sort of paranormal creatures that are programmed to love that way then fine but otherwise…just no.

5. Stupid coincidences and events
Coincidences don't exist. You can't fool me! Also in real life, how many times are you saved from some terrible thing just seconds before it's too late? I wish!

6. Authors who can't stop
If you've finished the story and have nothing more to say, stop. Don't write another 10 books just because you can, and start spouting out ridiculous storylines.

7. Unresolved things
Absolutely hate it when something is forgotten about completely. A question is brought up and is never resolved or mentioned again. And then there's those times where questions are all answered in one sentence. Don't you just love that?

8. Bookstore stickers
Why do you booksellers feel the need to make sure they are 100% stuck on? Unless you're going to make books waterproof, I CAN'T GET THEM OFF. Dymocks is good though. They put on those stickers that peel off very nicely… 

9. Unbelievable language
If you're an adult, please don't try to write/speak like a teenager (with incorrect slang/ditzy talk). It doesn't work. Likewise, if the character is a teenager, they're not going to sound like they're reading from a dictionary.

10. Perfect fairytale endings
Love my happy endings but not when every single little thing is perfect. It's unrealistic and quite annoying when in the last few pages or sentences, "such and such did this and went here and also such and such are going great too! Everyone's perfect and having a grand time. Woo!"

What are your book peeves? Any that aren't on my list?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dirty Sexy Alley Scene

So I hope we've all been following Mortal Instruments news! The book trailer for City of Fallen Angels was filmed recently and well...we have some left over never-before-seen footage! If you're wondering, it's some sexy times between Jace and Clary. If you're on Twitter, you know that as the DSAS - Dirty Sexy Alley Scene



Cassandra's started a treasure hunt and the next stop is at Holly Black's website! Collect all of the letters from each website to form a TMI related codeword to watch the video! Have fun! ;)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Review: Across The Universe

Title: Across The Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Series: Across The Universe #1
Publisher: Penguin
Published: January 11th 2011

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules. Amy quickly realises that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next. Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Across The Universe by Beth Revis may soon become one of my favourite books. It begins with Amy and her parents preparing for their animation. The scene has a very disturbing and eerie mood, and this continues for the rest of the book. The novel then takes us to meet Elder, the next up in line to lead Godspeed. After this, we constantly switch point of views between the two, getting little snippets about the characters and this new world they're in. I absolutely loved the multiple point of views as we are able to get a lot more information from both sides and it later on creates a lot of suspense. The author comes to a small climax in the plot and ends the chapter, switching to the other character's point of view and making us wait to see what would happen next! This happens throughout and will keep you on the edge of your seat!

The novel is a tad slow for me in the beginning, to be honest. The first half of the book is spent mostly introducing the characters and the new world. While it was all very fascinating, I just wanted to get into action and main plot. Said action finally appeared and boy was it worth it. The murder/mystery component of this novel was fantastic. On more than one occasion, I literally got the chills because the creep factor was so high.
“Whoever was down here when you were must have known you were here, must have known you would hear what was happening. Other than you three, did anyone else come?” Teaser (terrifying scene right here)
There were so many things I enjoyed about this book, the setting being one of them. It was so elaborate and believable. Who knew that you could have such a large and realistic world in just one ship? I thought Elder was a great character. He's sweet, thoughtful and wants to be the best he can be for his people by doing the right thing - nothing like Eldest, the current leader of Godspeed, who he defies. Amy's character is…unique. She comes from Earth and doesn't fit into this unnatural and manufactured world. The people aboard Godspeed lack emotion and personal thought, so her actions seem wild and out of control in comparison. She has strong opinions and doesn't understand how these people are living the way they are. It's quite sad when we see her struggle to make everyone open their eyes and to listen to her. Elder is willing to do whatever he can to keep Amy from harm. He falls hard and is fascinated with her, bringing her flowers and watching as she sleeps after only knowing her for a day, or not even that. He loves and appreciates her differences, unlike everyone else who thinks she's some sort of alien. It's all very sweet.
"Holding Amy against me, I realize the simple truth is that power isn’t control at all—power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others so that they may have the strength to stand on their own." - Teaser (sweet huh?)
One thing I have to criticise is the actual main plotline - the murderer onboard Godspeed. I felt that it was very obvious who was behind everything so that was a little disappointing. It might've been just me so don't let this deter you!

I'll conclude my lengthy review by saying that Across the Universe really is a must read. Characters that keep changing and unfolding in a world that you don't know what to expect from makes for an exciting read. You'll fly through the book and after reading the end, you'll be anxiously waiting for the next installment, A Million Suns!


Just as something interesting, this is the blueprint of Godspeed. Big huh? If you click on the picture, I've linked it to the website for this book and there's a whole interactive thing you can do with the ship. Pretty cool stuff... ;)

Cover Love

Don't you just love admiring covers, whether they're sitting on a shelf or hiding behind your computer screen? Below are some recent finds of mine that also happen to have gorgeous covers!

DIE FOR ME is the first of three books about Kate, a sixteen-year-old American who moves to Paris after the death of her parents. It introduces a new version of the undead with revenants, beings who are fated to sacrifice themselves over and over again to save others’ lives. Kate finds herself falling for Vincent, who she discovers is not the typical French teenager he appears: he is something else entirely. 
Expected publication: May 10th 2011

Blake Duchamp...
He's all that Winter Adams can think of. Ever since their fateful meeting at Pilgrim's Lament. Ever since he looked at her with those emerald eyes. Ever since he saved her life.
But Blake isn't all that he seems. There is a strangeness about him, something dark and otherworldly. Something dangerous. In his attic is a secret he would kill to defend, but Winter seems to have a special ability to make him forget his duty. And he is her only protection against the gathering darkness. The only problem is, to protect Winter, Blake must risk exposing her to an even greater danger. Himself.
Expected publication: June 1st 2011 

At seventeen, Cordelia is an ordinary teen with an extraordinary and frightening secret. A secret that induces vivid dreams which she not only experiences true love, but crippling fear while barely escaping with her life each night.
After a life altering event, Cordelia has an unexpected encounter with Evan, the mysterious boy from her dreams, who reveals who and what she is – a descendant of the Greek gods. At that moment everything she knows of her world is a lie, and she must leave the present and go into the past to assume the role she was put on this earth for – safeguarding her ancient empire amidst evil forces that toil hastily to destroy it.
In a race against time, Cordelia must decide if she is truly a part of this dangerous world, or risk defying the gods, and ultimately lose the boy who has put a claim on her heart.
Expected publication: April 1st 2011

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Very excited that these are all coming out soon! Are you? What other great covers have you found recently?

What's Happening?

A Tapestry of Words and The Bookish Type are hosting an event starting today and it will run until April 18th! It's in honour of the lovely dystopian novels we love so go check it out! Lots of reviews, interviews, guest posts and giveaways ;)

 

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On a personal note, i'm just letting you guys know that i've pretty much finished with my "old reviews". I've just got my review for Across The Universe to post up and then review I Am Number Four, which I just finished yesterday. Up next is Unearthly so keep a lookout for that!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review: Delirium

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: February 1st 2011

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Words cannot properly express how fantastic this book is. There'd been so many praises for Delirium and it was everything I expected! Tell me you read the summary and weren't immediately interested. Tell me you finished the first chapter of this book without wanting to shut out real life and immerse yourself in it. I loved Lauren Kate's writing style - descriptive without being overly so. Everything just flowed right. Quite surprised at how much I enjoyed it, actually. My expectations were that high - I think it was weeks before I saw a less than 5 star review for this book - leading me to believe I would end up feeling underwhelmed. That definitely was not the case here.

There was nothing predictable about this book. I found everything out along with the characters and didn't expect any of the plot lines. Since there were quite a few in there with multiple characters, all tied together, you never knew which story you were going to explore and what the outcomes would be. Delirium kept me in suspense, constantly making me wonder if our doomed couple would be able to escape Lena's cure in time. Lauren Oliver was really smart with what she told us too. I felt that many things weren't straight out disclosed, and never were, but were just inferred. We had to put the pieces together ourselves or guess, which was great because it's just an extra element of mystery!

The plot overall was intriguing and capturing. It's a scary world that they're living in and a scary thought - a world without love. A world where you didn't get to experience it and didn't want it, where it was forbidden and wrong - a disease. I cannot imagine anyone living in a place like this but luckily, this is fiction and hopefully in a thousand years we'll still have our brains and morals!

Alex is the boy Lena's so enthralled by. He's young and mysterious and every little bit we learn about him is gold. I absolutely adored him, his attitude towards life and learning about his backstory. It was really wonderful, seeing him bring Lena out of her shell. He opened up her eyes to the real world and let her start living. The way Lena and Alex met was very interesting. None of that usual "saw him in the street/ally/club/school" stuff. No, Lena goes into a government building for an important interview and sees a guy she doesn't know, lurking around on the floor above her while wild animals charge into the room. Unique, huh? I would complain and ask for more Alex/Lena scenes but…honestly, there were plenty. I'm just being greedy. Everything was actually perfectly balanced - their relationship, Lena's impending doom, complications with the government, problems with friends and family, etc. Nothing was overdone and nothing was touched on too briefly. Everything was just right.

Just randomly, there were little tidbits at the beginning of every chapter. Sometimes they were excerpts from government handbooks, sometimes they were poems, articles, etc, and I loved it. As well as providing some amusement (who didn't snort and think the government was completely and utterly insane?), we got more insight and knowledge about how tightly controlled and brainwashed the government has its people. Truly flabbergasting.
"Hana and I go down toward the labs together. Hana is almost five-nine. When I walk next to her I have to do a half skip every other step to keep up with her, and I wind up feeling like a duck bobbing up and down in the water." - Teaser (adorable, no?)
The ending is unbelievable. It will leave you stunned, speechless, and unbelieving that the sequel won't arrive for another year.

Review: Matched

Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Series: Matched #1
Publisher: Penguin
Published: November 30th 2010

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Matched was such a fantastic novel. Upon completion, I was breathless and still in fan-mode. I had heard about this book a while ago and when I saw the gorgeous cover, I knew that I had to have it. The whole concept of living in a completely controlled society intrigued me. What better place to have a love story? A love triangle?
The book begins well and pulls readers in immediately as we await Cassia's match. I was very excited about this and couldn't wait for the impending "glitch scene". I was very surprised as the glitch didn't occur until after the ceremony. Here I was, bouncing in anticipation, and it didn't even happen! Well played, Condie, well played.

As the story continued, I realised I wasn't getting into it as easily as I should've been. But around the halfway mark…I was there. Matched sucked me and held me in its clutches so that I couldn't stop reading until I finished it in the early morning hours. It's another one of those books that you have to read in one sitting and can't let go of until you've finished. There isn't a low/calm point where you can take a break because every single chapter ends at an interesting point so in the end, you never end up stopping.

I feel as if we didn't get to know Cassia enough. Most of the book was spent with Cassia hanging out with Ky, sneaking around, having internal debates with herself, etc. There wasn't much development with her character, or any of the others for that matter. Well, either that or my memory is really foggy. But with that being said, I really loved Ky… What to say about him? Quiet, strong, smart, romantic? What's not to love? Cassia and Ky's love story absolutely messed with my heart. There were sweet moments, sad moments and moments that just made you want to die. There was a certain thrill and constant tension between them. It's because of them and their secretive, dangerous relationship that makes this book so gripping. You wanted to know what sweet thing Ky was going to do next, whether they would finally get caught, whether they would stay together… Exciting stuff, I tell you.

I thought the novel ended on a perfect cliffhanger. Absolutely cannot wait for the next in the trilogy to see how Cassia overcomes the complication (which I must say made me cry) that has been thrown her way. The fact that Xander, the other boy, was willing to help her was heartbreaking too. Poor boy. He and Cassia seemed to be the perfect match for each other but then Ky came along and muddled everything up. The worst love triangles? When both guys are great people and you know that one will end up hurt, even if they absolutely don't deserve it and deserve the girl as much as the other guy.

Matched will stay with you, long after you've finished. The sequel, Crossed, hits the shelves in November and I bet you won't be able to wait until then!


Isn't the cover gorgeous? I can't wait to stick it onto my bookshelf. It's even more gorgeous than the first!

Review: Nightshade

Title: Nightshade
Author: Andrea Cremer
Series: Witches War #1
Publisher: Penguin
Published: October 19th 2010

While other teenage girls daydream about boys, Calla Tor imagines ripping out her enemies’ throats. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Calla was born a warrior and on her eighteenth-birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves. But Calla’s predestined path veers off course the moment she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a boy her own age. This human boy’s secret will turn the young pack's world upside down and forever alter the outcome of the centuries-old Witches' War that surrounds them all.

Nightshade is a story about Calla, the strong werewolf leader of the Nightshade pack, who finds herself stuck between choosing sexy alpha-male, Renier Laroche, or human, Shay Doran. It was an enjoyable read, as it was fast-paced and interesting the whole way through. I also don't read werewolf stories very often so it was a nice change. In this novel, we not only get one hot male lead but two! ...Plus a whole heap of other interesting characters.

Calla meets Shay when she finds him being attacked by a grizzly bear on the land she's been assigned to protect. Laws are broken as she saves his life, and things only go downhill from there. Throughout the book, Calla makes stupid choices and risks, all in the name of Shay. She is fascinated by his way of thinking and is unable to resist. The world won't let her get her way easily though. On her 18th birthday she is set to marry Ren, the alpha male of the Bane pack. She has no choice in the matter as it was decided on by the Keepers, who take care of the wolves and their families, before she was even born. As a Guardian, her job is to protect the Keepers from the Searchers, and the rules she must follow are strict, with disloyalty resulting in fatal consequences.

I found all of the characters in this book interesting and unique. Shay is rebellious and convinces Calla that everything she has ever believed in and has been told by the Keepers is false, while Ren is, for the lack of a better word, an asshole. As a result of his wolf nature, he has a bad attitude and is controlling, pushing Calla further and further away from him with every word he utters and every move he makes. The male leads both evolve and end up quite different to what they are like at the beginning, and Cremer makes it hard to choose between the two as both have their pros and cons.
At first, Shay was the frontrunner for me. Ren was the sexy badboy but his attitude was a major turn off. Shay, on the other hand, was sweet and kind, and really seemed to like Calla from the very start! It took Ren a long time but he eventually straightens up and shows his true feelings for Calla, though it is difficult to fully trust him because of his constant and abrupt mood swings. Ren and Shay are equal for me at the moment, but i'm hoping that will change in the next book. Neither boy has trouble bringing on the sexy so i'm looking forward to more!
As well as the three mains, there is a large number of other characters. There are all of the Keepers, the Searchers, the wolves from both packs, family members and friends. All of them get significant page time too so it's a little difficult to keep track at times. Notepad and pen, anyone?

One thing that I disliked was that the twists weren't really twists. I correctly predicted almost all of what would happen - that never happens, by the way - and was a little let down by the lack of surprise. The ending did manage to stump me though. We are at a very exciting point of the novel when it suddenly ends, so the sequel can't come fast enough.

Despite it being predictable at times, I was still able to get into it and really love the characters. Nightshade is a thrilling and action-packed story, filled with romantic tension, adventure and excitement. There is a perfect balance between plot and romance, and the writing captures your attention from the very start. I'm very much so looking forward to seeing more of this strong female protagonist Andrea Cremer has created in Wolfsbane.

 

Wolfsbane is released on July 26th and unfortunately won't have the same gorgeous cover we were expecting. For an unknown reason, the covers are being changed and not for the better.

Nightshade (hardcover)
Nightshade (paperback)
Wolfsbane (all versions)
Wolfsbane (not being used)
Who else is immensely disappointed? I guess the new covers do look more like Calla but I just can't get over how gorgeous the original covers are *sigh*
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